Last Saturday night, I headed off to one of our local offies to grab a few beers after Eurovision. When there, the guys who owned it explained to me (I can't remember how the conversation started) that they had originally lived in Turkey, but that they couldn't return there, because they'd be killed if they did. I expressed shock at this and asked why. They said it was because they were 'something called' (not apparently expecting me to have any knowledge of this) Kurds. I immediately exploded with a friendly 'Oh Kurds! Oh that's completely different from Turks - even I know that!' They seemed happy with that.
Anyway, tonight I just went down there to buy a few beers for the evening, and as I handed over the money I said 'And how are my favourite Kurds this evening?' The guy beamed when I said it, and all seemed fine.
But then I was walking back down the road and I suddenly thought that what I'd said actually probably sounded a bit patronising - bordering racist, actually - but maybe the guy felt he had to express happiness at the local's recognition of his national identity. Damn. It's not something I can really find a way to apologise for or correct, but maybe I should have more recognition of the impact of those kind of words.
Anyway, thoughts? Bluntness welcome...