Everyone! Stop Giving Old People a Pass Just for Being Old!

Illustration for article titled Everyone! Stop Giving Old People a Pass Just for Being Old!

French parfumier Jean-Paul Guerlain was fined 6,000 euros this week for making racist comments in a televised interview. When discussing his famous Samsara fragrance (a "heady oriental fragrance featuring main notes of jasmine and sandalwood"), Guerlain said, "And for once I started working like a nigger. I don't know if niggers ever worked that hard." (Um, pretty sure they did.) His excuse? "Hnnnnnnnggggggg!!! I'm old!!!!!!!" Dear old people: NO.

Enough with that excuse. You didn't say that racist thing because you're old—you said it because you're racist. And when you point out, as Guerlain did, "I am from another generation...[working like a nigger was] a common expression at the time," you are giving all the lovely old people who bothered to fucking think and evolve with the rest of society a bad name. I mean, did you JUST time travel here? Or are you Encino Man? Because then, sure, you can have a grace period to catch up. Otherwise, you're just an unrepentant old racist.

It's not like Jean-Paul Guerlain is, like, 342. The dude is 75 fucking years old. That means he was born in 1937. Here is a list of things that have happened in the world since 1937 that might give a cosmopolitain gentleman a clue that it's not okay to say shit like that:

  • 1. EVERYTHING.

End of list. I mean, 75? That's younger than my dad who, weirdly enough, managed to go his entire life without ever calling another human being the n-word. Weird, right? I guess that makes my dad literally Gandhi.

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I know it's tacky to talk about Hitler, but LET'S TALK ABOUT HITLER. If Hitler was still alive—just 123-year-old Hitler all Rascal-scootin' around Florida—people wouldn't be like, "Oh, Hitler. He's just old! I mean, it was the '40s! Everyone was exterminating 6 million Jews in the '40s! Awwww, look at him scoot!"

And for that matter, young people, can we all start standing up to our grandparents? If your grandpa asks you what you're doing for "Martin Luther Coon Day," and you think to yourself, "Well, it's just grandpa. He's old," you are wrong. Tell your grandpa to shut up! Your grandpa is the worst! Like, basically you're saying, "Oh, he's old and he's going to die soon, so I just want to make sure that he gets the chance to hurt as many people as possible on his way out." Yes. Your grandpa sure has a lot of dehumanizing to do before he become not human anymore! Dude, fuck your grandpa. Give old people a little credit.

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DISCUSSION

sorciamacnasty
Sorcia MacNasty

See, I call shenanigans. My grandmother was born and bred in the deep south, at a time when it was totally normal to use the n-word and "colored." But you know what? Her family thought that was a pretty shitty way to talk about other human beings so they never used those terms! In fact, they were told to feel sorry for people who DID use those terms, because those people were ignorant and ill-bred. She passed this basic idea on to my mother, who grew up in the same town as the first sit-in during the Civil Rights Era, who then passed on the glories of NOT being a racist asshole onto her own kids.

You aren't racist because you grew up in a specific time and/or place. You're racist because you're a terrible person. And you should fucking work on that, regardless of age.