A man who works in a grocery store recently took to Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" for input about whether his reaction to being called a racial slur by a disabled person was appropriate. He explained that he is black and still working during the pandemic.
That day, the store had gotten several shipments so he was working very hard to stock the baking section and admits that he was "a little on edge with how much stuff there was to do."
A woman with a disability approached him, pointed to the shelf near him, and asked for something. He picked up what he thought she was asking for and asked, "These?"
It wasn't what she wanted, and according to OP, "She got visibly upset and just refused to say anything else." She just pointed again. He tried a different product, but it wasn't what she wanted either. The woman she was with came over and tried to ask her what she was pointing at, but she wouldn't say anything, and the other woman didn't know.
Then, OP writes, "Out of nowhere, the first woman just blurted out that she wanted marshmallows and 'that [n-word] wouldn't give me any.' Without even thinking, I just perk up and ask her, 'What the f--k did you just say?'"
At that moment, the woman with a disability started crying, and the woman she was with started "staring daggers" at him like he was in the wrong. OP explained to his manager what happened, and the situation was diffused, but now, OP is conflicted.
She clearly had a disability, so he wasn't sure if he should have given her some slack for what she said. Obviously, he has no idea how severe her disability is, so it's hard to say, but most commenters agreed that "everyone (even disabled people) have the responsibility to not be racist," as one person wrote.
Another commenter pointed out that there are so many types of cognitive and intellectual disabilities, some that can result in "radical changes" to people's personalities, "including having high impulsivity leading to violence and becoming very offensive, including using racial slurs."
But the very same commenter writes, "That being said, OP, you are allowed to have a human moment and be offended by racial slurs. Don't feel bad at your reaction. It was natural."
This is a difficult situation, but he should not feel bad for reacting to a racial slur. Several commenters called out the reaction of the woman she was with, who did not have a disability. Instead of "staring daggers" at him, she should have explained that the word she used was extremely offensive and facilitated an apology.
Instead, she got mad at him for being offended by an offensive word. "TA is the caregiver who could have easily said something like, 'We’ve talked about this before, you can’t treat people like that or use that word,' one person wrote.
"Because she didn’t say that it’s my guess she’s been filling this person’s head with crap and they don’t have the mental capacity to understand what they’re saying is wrong." That was my thought, too. It's a problem that she was shocked at OP's reaction and not at the word that came out of the other woman's mouth. Although the situation is a tricky one, it's not wrong to get offended at something offensive.