Yesterday my mom said when she was with my brother, she used the word “renege.” My brother apparently laughed at her and was incredulous that she didn’t know the word’s racist origins. He was so insistent that he made my poor mother doubt herself. She learned the word as it is used in euchre.**

1. My brother can’t spell.

2. I can’t imagine who told him that the word was racist but it was probably someone who also thought “niggardly” is racist.

3. By contrast, my parents were discussing a local immigration issue and using the term “illegals.” I requested that they use “undocumented” instead, because after all a person can’t be illegal. My dad, who is kind of a conservajerk sometimes but does like to use the right terminology for things, thought about the logic behind the term and agreed to switch. My mom got a bit flustered (this was what inspired the renege discussion) but said she understood the difference. So obviously, laughing is not the way to inspire change.

4. But of course, my brother doesn’t care about change. He’s pretty racist himself, as only a white dude who doesn’t believe in privilege can be. He just wanted to feel smart.

5. I don’t know why my brother and I are so different, but I’m okay with it.

*Unless you are being racist, in which case, stfu.

**If you throw off-suit and later realize that you have a card of that suit after all, you’ve reneged and the other team can choose to redeal the hand. Or at least that’s how we play.

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