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So, I was in chat and I have had the pleasant experience of people using 'international students' as a benchmark for bad grammar. I hate this implicit assumption that we can't speak english. Obviously some of us are better at it than others but being 'native' american does not guarantee good grammar (I can swear upon it as someone who is an english major). I don't think that they're necessarily better than us but I can't help feeling as though there's an implicit superiority complex going on -- and not only with respect to the use of the english language.

So what do you guys suggest? My solution, unfortunately, involves bear mace. However that's not tenable in the long term is it? How do you get rid of the gut-wrenching feeling of hate?

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How do you get rid of the gut-wrenching feeling of hate?

:huh:

Your point about some people's grammar might be true but it's irrelevant. As a rule, it's true: People who acquire a language as children become native speakers of that language. They have implicit knowledge of their language that second-language learners can never obtain. It follows from the brain maturation procedure and how/when language develops.

Hating someone for being condescending is really a waste of your time and energy on someone who is clearly not deserving. Best I can suggest is, grow up and move on. There are always going to be immature people who get a kick out of making others feel small. It's your choice to get offended though, and it's much a wiser choice to simply ignore such people and not be friends with them.

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I grew up speaking english as my first language, but because of where I'm from I'm not considered 'native' (you do linguistics, you deal with the complications of this). But I did grow up speaking english as a child. I don't know about how my brain processed/ processes it but I intend to find out. Anyway, using international students as a benchmark for lousy english is stupid.

Not entirely sure how much emotions are a choice. Making friends is though. Thanks for the reminder.

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I grew up speaking english as my first language, but because of where I'm from I'm not considered 'native' (you do linguistics, you deal with the complications of this). But I did grow up speaking english as a child. I don't know about how my brain processed/ processes it but I intend to find out.

Then for all relevant intents and purposes you are a native speaker of (some variety of) English.

Anyway, using international students as a benchmark for lousy english is stupid.

Agreed.

Not entirely sure how much emotions are a choice. Making friends is though. Thanks for the reminder.

It's one of those things you learn as you grow up. It takes work and it's not easy but getting offended really is a choice and not something that someone external can control or change in you. You have issues you care about and you have typical ways of reacting when things go wrong, but both of those are things you can change. One good place to start is to just not get into situations that are difficult; that includes not be friends with people who put you down for being 'international', whatever that means.

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Hating someone for being condescending is really a waste of your time and energy on someone who is clearly not deserving. Best I can suggest is, grow up and move on. There are always going to be immature people who get a kick out of making others feel small. It's your choice to get offended though, and it's much a wiser choice to simply ignore such people and not be friends with them.

I'm not sure how helpful it is to tell someone to just "grow up" and not be bothered by things. It's obviously much easier said than done. The point that our reactions to everyday experiences are a choice is true but it's not much comfort when you face (what sounds like) pretty intense discrimination simply based on place of birth.

As a native speaker of English but one that was born in Asia, I feel your pain. Despite majoring in Latin and English, I don't know how many times I've had people talk to me like I'm handicapped when I simply didn't hear what they said the first time. It's ridiculous.

Interestingly enough, I also face discrimination from other Asians as they deem me unworthy to teach their children "real English" because I don't fit their vision of what an English teacher should be.

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I'm not sure how helpful it is to tell someone to just "grow up" and not be bothered by things. It's obviously much easier said than done. The point that our reactions to everyday experiences are a choice is true but it's not much comfort when you face (what sounds like) pretty intense discrimination simply based on place of birth.

And telling them your own story without giving any relevant advice is helpful?

I didn't say it was easy, but I still think that ignoring the behavior and moving on is the best strategy here.

(and, although not quite relevant, I wasn't speaking without experience. As a non-native speaker and a minority in America, I have some experience of my own dealing with this crap.)

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And telling them your own story without giving any relevant advice is helpful?

I didn't say it was easy, but I still think that ignoring the behavior and moving on is the best strategy here.

(and, although not quite relevant, I wasn't speaking without experience. As a non-native speaker and a minority in America, I have some experience of my own dealing with this crap.)

Showing solidarity and support is more helpful than telling someone to grow up. Maybe you could've done the same.

And I don't think ignoring bad behaviour is the best way to go. It should be addressed and confronted... much like what you do to me on a regular basis.

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And I don't think ignoring bad behaviour is the best way to go. It should be addressed and confronted... much like what you do to me on a regular basis.

I think you're confused about the nature of discussions on this board. At least ones I'm involved in. I don't "confront and address" your "bad behavior." I express my opinions, when I have them. They may be different from yours, and we may discuss our differences and agree or disagree on varying matters. If I thought you were disrespecting me or calling me names, I would not take the time to reply. I have better things to do.

And no, I don't think that showing solidarity with someone who describes intense feelings of hate is being helpful to them. I think that telling them they're over-reacting and there's a healthier path they could choose, difficult though it may be, is much more helpful.

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I think you're confused about the nature of discussions on this board. At least ones I'm involved in. I don't "confront and address" your "bad behavior." I express my opinions, when I have them. They may be different from yours, and we may discuss our differences and agree or disagree on varying matters. If I thought you were disrespecting me or calling me names, I would not take the time to reply. I have better things to do.

And no, I don't think that showing solidarity with someone who describes intense feelings of hate is being helpful to them. I think that telling them they're over-reacting and there's a healthier path they could choose, difficult though it may be, is much more helpful.

Well, see now you're doing what you've criticised me for and bickering instead of addressing the OP.

If you had addressed her concerns in the way that you just did, I would have no complaint. But you twice condescendingly and paternally told her to "grow up". That kind of talk is not helpful at all to someone who's being discriminated against, not in my view at least. And telling someone that they're over-reacting when they're being discriminated against is simply insulting. Don't minimise the OP's feelings like that.

And PS. I made a newbie mistake by sending you a revised SOP by PM without asking you. You "confronted" by bad behaviour by hanging me out to dry in my SOP thread that I started and publicly castigating me in front of the board to prove a point. You chose to do so instead of simply telling me not to send you an SOP by PM. How ridiculous for an apparent arbiter of mature discussion.

For future reference, for whoever is reading this post, please DO NOT just PM me your SOP if I have not agreed to read it in advance. Furthermore, most of the time I will NOT agree to read your SOP. I get a lot of these requests; I do this on a volunteer basis in my spare time, and I can't commit to helping you all. As you'll notice I do comment on threads in the community when I have the time, but I am not an expert and you shouldn't treat me like one. THANK YOU.

Necessary? Not really.

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To respond to the OP, and ignore the off-topic hurt feelings:

It does suck when people make blanket generalizations. That said, this is one that I have to say has a huge degree of truth to it. Granted, it depends on the field. But a shockingly large number of the international students in my field (being predominately represented by two countries) can barely string together what I'd consider a cohesive sentence.

There's a difference between a blanket generalization, and discrimination which is trying to make everyone that could fit that generalization fit despite all evidence to the contrary. The second is an issue I think almost everyone faces at some point, and probably also something everyone *does* at some point. The former isn't really a problem until it morphs into the latter, in my opinion.

Also worth pointing out that you're falling into the same trap, to some degree- you've made a post in the IHOG forums asking how do "we" deal with "them". Such a post would be taken much worse if it was how do "we" (American students) deal with "them" (international students).

Similarly, you're painting "them" (American students) with a broad brush and negative generalizations (superiority complex) based on a few interactions in the same post that you're complaining about "them" doing the same thing with respect to international students and a grasp of English.

I think it would be quite helpful for you to realize that in the scope of international graduate students people have encountered, your ability to communicate cohesively in English is in the vast minority, and work to educate people that such a lack is not absolute rather than castigating them for not realizing it innately.

It's just like how I respond to (the vast majority) of women who are excessively patronizing when I want to talk about cooking or raising children. I have to realize that they don't *mean* poorly when they say they won't believe I can cook until I provide evidence, and that they would never want to listen to a *man's* perspective on raising kids. I have to realize that they may have never cognizantly encountered a man who had these interests, and as such need to be educated that they do, indeed, exist.

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And PS. I made a newbie mistake by sending you a revised SOP by PM without asking you. You "confronted" by bad behaviour by hanging me out to dry in my SOP thread that I started and publicly castigating me in front of the board to prove a point. You chose to do so instead of simply telling me not to send you an SOP by PM. How ridiculous for an apparent arbiter of mature discussion.

Necessary? Not really.

You artfully neglected to quote my entire post, which was in reply to someone else - not you - saying they PMed me their SOP without permission and asking if that was ok. My reply is to that person. Yes, it appears in the thread you started, but it wasn't addressed to you. In any event, if it offended you, I apologize.

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Not so artfully, as that was me. But all right, apology accepted and water under the bridge.

Wait, both users are yours? I didn't know! In any event, I looked back at the thread and I believe I was also being as helpful as I could be actually giving you advice on your SOP on the forum. But, as you say, water under the bridge.

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Well, see now you're doing what you've criticised me for and bickering instead of addressing the OP.

If you had addressed her concerns in the way that you just did, I would have no complaint. But you twice condescendingly and paternally told her to "grow up". That kind of talk is not helpful at all to someone who's being discriminated against, not in my view at least. And telling someone that they're over-reacting when they're being discriminated against is simply insulting. Don't minimise the OP's feelings like that.

And PS. I made a newbie mistake by sending you a revised SOP by PM without asking you. You "confronted" by bad behaviour by hanging me out to dry in my SOP thread that I started and publicly castigating me in front of the board to prove a point. You chose to do so instead of simply telling me not to send you an SOP by PM. How ridiculous for an apparent arbiter of mature discussion.

Necessary? Not really.

Grudge, much? It's no big deal, you're arguing with someone you don't know on the internet.

Which is why I agree with fuzzylogician's advice for the OP. It IS easy to just grow up and ignore these things when you realize how trivial it is. It's not like your parents are saying these things or your best friends. It's strangers on the internet. That you will likely never meet. And have zero relevance to your life. People will always have biases and stereotypes of all kinds, and they exist because they derive from some basis of truth.

While as the OP may be a native English speaker in a foreign country, most internationals are NOT native speakers. Hence the assumptions, which aren't fair, but they are what they are. Many foreigners regard Americans are fat, stupid, arrogant, or a combination. Some are, but it's not a fair generalization of this country. Do I get butthurt about it? Nope, and nor should I. Everyone is entitled to your their opinions, and it may prove annoying, but certainly not worth hate, which is a very strong word.

If you really get worked up on what they say, then you should re-evaluate your own sense of priorities and what things actually matter.

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The problem with continually accepting this kind of behavior is that it continues to perpetuate and reinforce the same future behavior. For example, take the more charged topic of racial discrimination. If someone is continuing to use race as a means for harassment, it is not actually productive for society to "move on", but rather to make people aware of what's happening and the stakes involved.

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The thing is, accepting *what* "kind of behavior"? People using "International Student" as a grouping?

People saying that the majority of international students have trouble with English?

As I said, there's a difference between those, and continuing to assume they can't speak/write properly after they've shown they can.

A lot of our international students can't understand very, very simple sentences for the first few months (some up to a year or more) after they start here. And by simple sentences, I mean "You need to go down to the first floor and talk to XXX (our department administrator)".

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The problem with continually accepting this kind of behavior is that it continues to perpetuate and reinforce the same future behavior. For example, take the more charged topic of racial discrimination. If someone is continuing to use race as a means for harassment, it is not actually productive for society to "move on", but rather to make people aware of what's happening and the stakes involved.

I agree with what Eigen said. This is hardly analogous to racial discrimination. Furthermore, I want to again emphasize what I said in my earlier post; it's one thing thing to get mad at what someone close to you says... but some stranger on the internet? Come on, immature people and trolls are plentiful around these here parts.

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I agree with what Eigen said. This is hardly analogous to racial discrimination. Furthermore, I want to again emphasize what I said in my earlier post; it's one thing thing to get mad at what someone close to you says... but some stranger on the internet? Come on, immature people and trolls are plentiful around these here parts.

It's analogous to cultural and nationalist discrimination... either way, it's a negative act based on perceived difference, no matter how you want to slice it. Why you want to defend these xenophobes by saying, "well, people discriminate against Americans too! So what?!" is beyond me. What I fail to understand is why you're wasting all this time trying to diminish the OP's experience. The only reason I can think of is that you're just disagreeing with me because it's me.

If we want to go along with this ridiculous "everyone should be invulnerable and imperturbable to what people say on the internet" thing, then why do you care so much? Why do admins care so much when people swear? Why does this community care so much when caw_caw_caw and his ilk troll and push peoples' buttons?

You all seem to care a great deal. Why is that?

The thing is, accepting *what* "kind of behavior"? People using "International Student" as a grouping?

People saying that the majority of international students have trouble with English?

Yes, a lot of international students may not understand English very well, which is unfortunate. But why perpetuate the stereotype or use it as a benchmark, as the OP said?

The issue the OP had was that she is a native speaker of English but learned it outside of North America/Europe and that people are simply lumping her together with other international students like the ones you describe. I don't know how you can't how that would be frustrating.

Edited by 1Q84
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The thing is, accepting *what* "kind of behavior"? People using "International Student" as a grouping?

People saying that the majority of international students have trouble with English?

As I said, there's a difference between those, and continuing to assume they can't speak/write properly after they've shown they can.

A lot of our international students can't understand very, very simple sentences for the first few months (some up to a year or more) after they start here. And by simple sentences, I mean "You need to go down to the first floor and talk to XXX (our department administrator)".

Even though a majority of a population (e.g. international students) share a particular trait, it's not fair/right to assume that all members of that population share that trait. The world doesn't always work this way and I also find myself making these generalizations from time to time. But, it's something I strive to change for.

I agree with SANDIEGO -- most people who do this are doing it innocently. But some people use this to harrass others so when we let it go by, it appears that this behaviour is the norm and is socially acceptable.

At my MSc school, in Canada, I was living in a university town with a population that was over 95% Caucasian, so almost everyone who looks different was a student. Many people assume that I was an international student, based on my visual appearance. People talked to me as if I did not understand English (e.g. really loud, slowly and exaggerated). It does not feel nice when you realise that you are being treated differently because of your appearance. Here in the US, I sometimes get the international student = cannot speak English label too, and that does not feel nice either.

I agree that there is nothing wrong with stating the fact that "International Students" is a valid way to group students and the fact that "the majority of international students are not native English speakers". However, in my opinion, it is not okay to use the "international student" label to treat an individual member of that group differently. I think it is dehumanizing because I no longer feel like an individual, but as a "member of the group" instead. Instead of being TakeruK, I am now seen as "an International student".

So this is why I think you (I mean everyone in general, not Eigen specifically even though his post is quoted above) should not treat International students any different (in this example we are talking about presumption of English proficiency) until you learn that they are indeed different. For example, speak to us as if you were speaking to any other student. Don't treat us differently unless we ask for it or show obvious signs that we do not understand. Similarly, comments like "Omg, this person writes like an International Student", or "oh, it looks like our TA/prof is International, I guess we aren't going to be able to understand his/her accent" are not okay. I think this is pretty obvious to most people though.

To the OP, I got this a lot during my MSc and a little here in California too. It makes me feel pretty crappy about myself and sometimes it makes me feel like an outsider. But, for me, "hate" is a pretty strong feeling and I wouldn't say it goes that far. It's not bad enough for me to want to react violently -- I can always find better people to spend my time with. But, it's enough for me to speak out about it and try to prevent it from happening if I witness it. However, when it happens to me, sometimes I am too shocked that it actually just happened (even though it's not that rare) for me to react properly and I often wish I had spoken up earlier.

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It's analogous to cultural and nationalist discrimination... either way, it's a negative act based on perceived difference, no matter how you want to slice it. Why you want to defend these xenophobes by saying, "well, people discriminate against Americans too! So what?!" is beyond me. What I fail to understand is why you're wasting all this time trying to diminish the OP's experience.

I'm not defending xenophobes; I just don't think such comments represent xenophobia. No one is diminishing the OP's experience, just commenting on how his reaction is probably well over the top. I think we all agree he has the right to be and should be frustrated, but come on... hate? That's a ridiculous feeling to have.

The only reason I can think of is that you're just disagreeing with me because it's me.

I think you're confusing me with someone else. I practice what I preach. I'm new to this forum and really don't have any particular feelings toward you.

If we want to go along with this ridiculous "everyone should be invulnerable and imperturbable to what people say on the internet" thing, then why do youcare so much? Why do admins care so much when people swear? Why does this community care so much when caw_caw_caw and his ilk troll and push peoples' buttons?

You all seem to care a great deal. Why is that?

I can't speak for the others here, but do I seem like I care very much? Haha, don't kid yourself. Reasonable discussion and debate is perfectly acceptable and in fact, should be encouraged. That I am debating with you should not be mistaken for me caring. I don't take this personally, and neither should you, yet you seem to be outraged and emotionally invested.

Yes, a lot of international students may not understand English very well, which is unfortunate. But why perpetuate the stereotype or use it as a benchmark, as the OP said?

The issue the OP had was that she is a native speaker of English but learned it outside of North America/Europe and that people are simply lumping her together with other international students like the ones you describe. I don't know how you can't how that would be frustrating.

I agree yet again that it may be very frustrating, but again, simply not worthy of any serious invested emotions, and certainly feelings of hate. I'm beating a dead horse here, but no one is dismissing or diminishing the OP's experience. We're just acknowledging that there is a reason behind it. As with all stereotypes, wrong though they may be, they derive from a seed of truth. Certainly, you can understand why uninformed individuals might generalize?

In fact, I'm sure you can understand why informed individuals might also generalize and make these statements? Unless you suffer badly from the Dunning–Kruger effect, you should probably realize that you too likely do this all the time as well. There was no intent to harm, even if harm was done, so it shouldn't elicit hate. The reaction seems disproportionate to the offense.

I'm not justifying such behavior. Those guys in chats were being dicks, plain and simple. But it's hardly xenophobia, and therefore, I don't think it's analogous to any of these examples of discrimination. The severity is just not comparable.

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If we want to go along with this ridiculous "everyone should be invulnerable and imperturbable to what people say on the internet" thing, then why do youcare so much? Why do admins care so much when people swear? Why does this community care so much when caw_caw_caw and his ilk troll and push peoples' buttons?

Also, I want to add, while I don't believe people should care about what anonymous internet strangers say, some people still do. We all do things we shouldn't sometimes, for instance, stereotyping and using incorrect generalizations based on assumptions and preconceived notions.

However, let's look at the OP's original post. He asked, "So what do you guys suggest? My solution, unfortunately, involves bear mace. However that's not tenable in the long term is it? How do you get rid of the gut-wrenching feeling of hate?"

He had a question, and I gave him an answer and my best advice. Just don't care, remember that these people who said these offensive things are nobodies to you, and their comments are worthless. Only your own views matter. While you may disagree with my beliefs, at least I gave the OP some constructive advice, as was the point of this thread. Reread your posts, and see what you've managed to contribute.

Edited by bamafan
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Just as a point of clarification, a xenophobe would be someone *scared* of "foreigners". Simply stereotyping them really isn't xenophobic.

That said, I almost completely agree with TakeruK.

The difference is, I think there are some differences in treatment with international students that are courteous- watching them to see if they understand what's going on, making sure they don't completely get left out of the conversation, taking the time to make sure they understand how things work. It's what I would appreciate someone doing if I was in a foreign country that worked differently.

On a basal level, lumping people with similar characteristics is something we do to more easily process new events and situations. In my mind, it's not about an immediate assumption when you meet someone that is based on past assumptions, but rather how quickly you're able to adjust your perspective based on new evidence.

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I'm not defending xenophobes; I just don't think such comments represent xenophobia. No one is diminishing the OP's experience, just commenting on how his reaction is probably well over the top. I think we all agree he has the right to be and should be frustrated, but come on... hate? That's a ridiculous feeling to have.

I agree yet again that it may be very frustrating, but again, simply not worthy of any serious invested emotions, and certainly feelings of hate. I'm beating a dead horse here, but no one is dismissing or diminishing the OP's experience.

Excuse me. Who exactly are you to tell someone that their emotions are ridiculous? You're diminishing the OP's feelings by saying that his/her reaction is "over the top" "unnecessary", etc. I'm sure the OP wasn't looking for advice like "Get over it and grow up". I think that advice is unhelpful and insulting, so my opinion is that I don't think you've contributed anything to the thread.

I do feel emotional about the issue because I've gone through the same thing. If you haven't, then maybe your advice might be ill-informed.

The severity to you is not comparable. So, again, you minimise the OP's experience, which is fine because it's quite clear that there's no convincing you otherwise. I would say something about how undoubtedly you're of the hegemonic majority but I'm sure you would counter that with some tale of minor discrimination at some point in your life...

However, let's look at the OP's original post. He asked, "So what do you guys suggest? My solution, unfortunately, involves bear mace. However that's not tenable in the long term is it? How do you get rid of the gut-wrenching feeling of hate?"

He had a question, and I gave him an answer and my best advice. Just don't care, remember that these people who said these offensive things are nobodies to you, and their comments are worthless. Only your own views matter. While you may disagree with my beliefs, at least I gave the OP some constructive advice, as was the point of this thread. Reread your posts, and see what you've managed to contribute.

I've already detailed what I feel I've contributed to this thread. Maybe you can go back and read over that.

Oh if only it were so easy to smile and turn the other cheek. Yes, that's the great philosophy that propelled, and ultimately made successful, the American Civil Rights movement. Just smile and take it...

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Excuse me. Who exactly are you to tell someone that their emotions are ridiculous? You're diminishing the OP's feelings by saying that his/her reaction is "over the top" "unnecessary", etc. I'm sure the OP wasn't looking for advice like "Get over it and grow up". I think that advice is unhelpful and insulting, so my opinion is that I don't think you've contributed anything to the thread.

I do feel emotional about the issue because I've gone through the same thing. If you haven't, then maybe your advice might be ill-informed.

The severity to you is not comparable. So, again, you minimise the OP's experience, which is fine because it's quite clear that there's no convincing you otherwise. I would say something about how undoubtedly you're of the hegemonic majority but I'm sure you would counter that with some tale of minor discrimination at some point in your life...

I've already detailed what I feel I've contributed to this thread. Maybe you can go back and read over that.

Oh if only it were so easy to smile and turn the other cheek. Yes, that's the great philosophy that propelled, and ultimately made successful, the American Civil Rights movement. Just smile and take it...

Our views may vary, but at least I'm not a hypocrite. No need to try and belittle me with your passive aggressive sarcasm about my experiences with discrimination or my reading comprehension; I read all your posts, though it's not clear that you have thoroughly read mine. We're adults, so we can and should certainly debate as such. If you're not interested setting aside emotion to discuss rationally, then I'm afraid there is no point to talking with you further. Emotions cloud your mind and lead you to hyperbole. For the record, I'm an Asian American, frequently mistaken for a fob, so I too can share in these experiences. It's funny actually; I grew up in the hood South Side of Chicago, so I had to attend ESL, not for my Asian accent, but because I grew up speaking ebonics with poor inner city black kids. Figure that one out.. :)

I never said turn the other cheek to the problem. In fact, I've repeatedly said it is fair to be frustrated. What I did say is to ignore it when it comes from anonymous chat-users online, advice that is neither unhelpful nor insulting. It is a mature response to something that is simply just not that severe. It's not your parents, nor your friends, nor your boss saying these things to you. It's not a person in power making these statements. In fact, it is not even being said to you in person. It's an arbitrary off-hand comment posted online by someone you do not know and will likely never meet. They are nobodies to you, unless you make them important by holding on to their perceived slights. To react with serious emotions, as you also have, IS inappropriate, even ridiculous. And my issue is with the word hate... that is well excessive. Do you think the OP's experiences warrants hate on his part? Because that's what you're implying, and I sure as hell do not think so.

If you get worked up over something this small... how can you manage to deal with anything in your life? There are bigger things to worry about, more important things, and if I were the OP, I'd forget about this stupid incident with stupid jerks online. It's not worth the negativity and emotions; go do something you enjoy with people you like and move on.

What exactly would you have the OP do? Remain bitter or angry about the whole situation? If my advice is not what the OP "is looking for", what is he looking for? Remind me explicitly again, how exactly you've contributed to helping the OP?

P.S.: I think you might still be confusing me with someone else. The "get over it and grow up" quote is NOT what I said, nor should it be attributed to me.

Edited by bamafan
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