#FridayFlash: Racist Bastard

#FridayFlash - Racist Bastard

by Tony Noland

Xai Feng gritted his teeth and waited for the asshole to stand up. Everybody knew the fucking bastard Carruthers hated Asians. How he had the gall to show up here at all was beyond anyone's belief. The Asian-American Association lunch was supposed to be for Roger Wu; this guy just stank up the place. Through the whole lunch, he and Mei Xu and Shao Hui and the rest of the guys had watched him over there, eating and laughing. They didn't bother to keep their voices down much as they talked about him. The whole group, the core group anyway, was all basically of the same mind about the guy and since Carruthers, of course, couldn't speak Chinese, it was OK.

The way that bastard had treated poor Xu Huang! Right after Carruthers had gotten promoted, Xu Huang had told everybody what a mean, vicious and foul mouthed dictator he was. The first thing he did after he came into that department was to meet with everybody one on one. He said it was just a "get to know the team" exercise, but Xu Huang had said that Carruthers had made it a point during his meeting to say that he didn't think the Asians were very talented and that they certainly weren’t doing enough good quality work. Racist bastard! Xai Feng and everybody else knew that Xu Huang was one of the smartest, most talented guys in the building. He graduated top of his class from Beijing University, and had turned down three other high-paying offers to come work here. Xu Huang had told them so himself.

Here we go, Xai Feng thought. He's coming up to the podium. How could Roger Wu act like he was friends with that guy? Xai Feng wasn't a bit surprised that Roger was being promoted. He was a great guy, very hard working. Xai Feng had never worked in that department, but Roger had a reputation as someone who knew how to deliver and knew how to spot talent; Xai Feng was just sorry that it meant the Roger would have to relocate. He certainly deserved this farewell luncheon. Roger had been in that department for six years, and had done a lot of great things. The funny thing was that he had been Carruthers' supervisor for most of that time. Why hadn't he done something about him? Surely his racism and bias would have shown itself. Xu Huang had quit because that asshole was such a prejudiced bastard, made all sort of changes to Xu Huang's work schedule and deliverables.

Look at him! He's shaking Roger's hand and they're both smiling as though they were really friends! You had to give Roger credit for loyalty anyway, thought Xai Feng. He's been defending that guy all along. The other guys in that group, the guys like Li Xu and Hong Ching, they defend him too. Must be Roger’s influence, that culture of loyalty. All the guys that worked with Carruthers over there seem to defend him. They're so blind. That's just because they’ve benefited from the association; he probably didn't show his true colors to them.

Strange, Xai Feng said to himself. His voice doesn't sound like I expected it to. It isn't nearly as deep and harsh as I thought it would be. Xu Huang said he was raspy and yelled all the time and had stained teeth. Maybe he's had them whitened or something.

Xai Feng looked around the room. Almost all of the Westerners and even a lot of the Asians were smiling as Carruthers spoke. That fucker - he's just using his charisma to hypnotize everyone, even the Regional Director and the Vice-President. It just goes to show how people can be fooled. All the guys at that table worked with him on that big reorganization plan. They're only in his camp because that all turned out well in the end. And that table over there is all people from the employee safety committee he chairs. All the staff from Roger's department are over at those five tables. I don't know why everybody else seems to like the guy.

Sure, go ahead and laugh at his little jokes. He can talk about the work he's done with Roger, what a great mentor Roger has been, his friendship with him and all the rest. All of us know that he's a racist and that he hates Asians. The way he treated Xu Huang proves that. Forcing him to change the way he was working, to cut short all of those interesting side projects he was working on. And for what? Like Xu Huang said, numbers of projects completed aren't as important as picking the right projects to work on. Whatever Xu Huang was doing, I'm sure it was more important that whatever Carruthers was trying to force him to do. Xu Huang was a really smart guy, with lots of experience. He told us all about it!

Carruthers should have just stayed out of it and let Xu Huang use his best judgment. The asshole didn't micromanage anyone else in that department. After the initial meetings, he just left everyone else alone to do their jobs, but no, not poor Xu Huang. It was only Xu Huang he picked on, having him come in for extra meetings to track progress, making him write all those reports on the backlog, all that stuff. That proves he's a bigot. After all, didn't Xu Huang file an EEO complaint against him before he quit? Isn't that proof enough of what kind of person Carruthers is?

Oh, please. So you went to Beijing with Roger and toured the Forbidden City together. So what? That doesn't mean anything. You were probably hating every minute of it, being surrounded by Chinese. Even that collaboration you set up with Jiao Tong University was probably just a political thing.

So you can make an audience smile, laugh and stand up to applaud you. You're a racist bastard, Carruthers, and giving Roger Wu a hug and wishing him well in his new job isn't gonna change our opinion of you.

Comments and constructive criticisms welcome. Other #FridayFlash pieces can be found here


  1. Wow, I like how you slowly revealed the character bias of the MC and exonerated the antagonist by the end.

    Disgruntled ex employees are a dangerous lot. Sometimes their damage extends far beyond themselves.

    Nice piece.

  2. Cool piece, flowed very well, from getting the reader to side with the narrator against Carruthers, and then slowly, as the narrator gets more insensed, the tables are turned

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I loved the flow of this, how smoothly you take us from agreement to the realization that the narrator is the one blinded by bias. Very well done.

  5. Your MC needs a mirror... as usual, you hit on a hot spot in our society. Love the way you worked the hypocrisy. Maybe don't come out of the gate quite so stridently, really let it build. Super piece. And I'm glad you changed it up and went beyond the black-white thing. Peace, Linda

  6. I liked the emotional simmer maintained here. I expected full on rage at some point, yet I wasn't disappointed by it's absence.

  7. Nice arc. Nice pacing of that arc. Nice internal dialogue.

    Maybe it's just me, but I was dying for a break or two, a shot of dialogue, or a quick description of something seemingly unrelated but symbolic. The internal dialogue almost became monotone to me.

    But maybe I'm just a picky bastard.

    Jeff Posey

  8. Obviously, this was a departure from talking eagles and nice, clean Lutheran jokes. I wanted to experiment with an unreliable narrator, but one that doesn't realize he's unreliable.

    Thanks to all for the comments, and especially to Laura, Trev and Jeff for the technical observations. The pacing, punch and overall feel can be improved here, but this was a relatively quick effort as I gasp along with NaNoWriMo.

  9. I 've hung with these people - you have the riff cold . well done.

  10. Nice piece, Tony. Racism is an insidious beast and I think you nailed it. Good luck with you NaNo project, I'm still plugging away too.

  11. Excellent story. It's a good look at how racists really see the world, and how they're the ones who always seem to shout about racism first.

  12. A sad testament to what's wrong in the world. As Linda said, he needs a mirror.

  13. I echo Mazzz's comment about getting the reader to side with the narrator, then the tables being turned. The rant of the narrator, unfortunately, sounds too close to real conversations I've heard--said aloud. You captured the flow and "logic" well. Bravo for tackling this!

  14. For being thrown together as you claim, it was still deep and awesome. Just saying. Good luck in Nano.

  15. You kept me reading but I got a little confused with the names, esp. Roger, since it was an Anglo name when the other Asians had Asian names. I had to go back once to check that he was also Asian. You know I'm s critical bitch so keep that in mind when reading my comments. I read through and liked the ending. Keep experiementing.

  16. Wow. Very careful development of the characters in this piece.

    Without being blatant about it you introduce a small doubt in the reader's mind about the MC - and the object of his distain and slowly let it grow as the MC revels himself (and the disgruntled ex-employee also).

    Very good craft - without the craft being visible. Very well done.

  17. Susan: It's not uncommon for Asian-Americans to use a Western name rather than the Asian name they were born with. Among some folks of Asian descent, this is sometimes a convenience to avoid having their name mispronounced for the next 40 years, or an express of a desire for community or a purposeful move for assimilation in order to facilitate professional advancement.

    However, those with a strong exclusionary sense of ethnic or racial identity consider this co-existence with Caucasians as a victimized subjugation of culture - a sell-out. If you want to be nasty, you call such people who use Western names Twinkies - yellow on the outside, but white on the inside. This would be analogous to the epithet used by people with a strong exclusionary sense of African-American identity, i.e. Oreo - black on the outside, white on the inside.

  18. Most Chinese that I met during my MBA had chosen English words, if not typical American names, to make it easier for Americans to say them, address them, and befriend them. One student told me that she also used a different one for different places in the US where she happened to meet many Americans. In that way, she said, I will know where I know them from by what name they know me by. She may have been "Susan" to me. Another student was "Peace" and that one stayed with me the longest. I liked that the name he used was Roger.


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