N was drunk and this is the excuse I make for her, but I know it's how she sees the world. She's a liberal who generally sees herself as a victim of circumstances beyond her control. (I know that I, and most people I know, fit under that description from time to time too.) She described an accident which happened to her and her attempts to get help. She was in a Hasidic / Jewish Orthodox area of London and blamed the young boys with their payos (sidelocks) for not responding to her pleas for help. She described that part first and only later, incidentally, described the Orthodox woman who went out of her way to help. She blamed the religion for making the boys so out of touch with reality. When we laughed at her for her dodgy stereotyping, she switched her damnation from the actual people to the area, blaming the area instead, believing this would avoid the tag of racism.

Aside from being quite shocked that she focused on the way the young boys hadn't come to her rescue and passed over the fact that the very first adult she saw did help her, I let her off the hook because, for me as well, Hasids are the Other, they are not like me. But the thing that is most interesting, and kind of infuriating in a way, is that she was not ashamed of seeing her experiences in terms of stereotypes but that she was 'caught out'. We are all subject to racist thoughts from time to time, and yet she couldn't say, yes that was a bit racist, a bit dodgy to think that - she shifted the blame and simply experienced shame at not saying it in the right way - basically, for not being 'politically correct' instead of for the fact that she actually meant it.

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