There’s a guy who works in my office who is Indian. The other day he was telling me about a serious problem confronting him, and I said, “Holy cow!” The words had not even crossed the distance between us when I realized what I had said. Thankfully, he didn’t react. He’s probably heard it before.
So I started to think about other, similar situations that could arise. For example:
Saying “Bless you,” when an atheist sneezes.
Asking a Japanese friend in a bar, “How about a nip?”
Asking a black guest at Thanksgiving, “Do you like dark meat?”
Listening to a blind person explain something complicated, and then saying, “I see.”
Telling a Native American that you want to “Stay home and watch the Redskins.”
Asking to borrow a dollar from a dwarf because you’re “A little short.”
Asking a Muslim if he wants to join you at a buffet and “pig out.”
Greeting an old friend with glaucoma using the expression, “You’re a sight for sore eyes.”
Telling an amputee, “The shoe is on the other foot.”
Describing a “sobering” experience to an alcoholic.
Can you think of other examples?