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ESL forum > Ask for help > English language to stop from insulting...    

English language to stop from insulting...


English language to stop from insulting...

Hello teachers, I need you help please.


I had a horrible experience at school today. One of the teachers, a native English speaker, made quite insulting comments about the country I originally come from. It was said in front of the other teachers at lunch time and was meant to be a joke. He went on and on until one of the other teachers asked him to stop because it sounded really humiliating. I tried to stop him myself obviously, but I felt like I was at loss for words. I wanted to be polite but firm to show that his behaviour was unacceptable.


So I am wondering if you know of some websites or other resources where I can learn some useful vocabulary and phrases helping in this kind of a situation?


Thank you in advance.

19 Jan 2010      

New Zealand

This is really hard because I think many of us in that situation would be shocked silent and then end up replaying in our heads all the things we could have said.. and wanted to say...wishing we had said this or that... but not very often do people confront a situation like this straight away unless they are comfortable with confrontation with colleagues.

I have come across rude people and people who think they are being funny but actually are being insulting...

You feel hurt, embarrassed, and then angry at yourself for not saying anything...
I honestly dont know what to say... I don īt like confrontation and especially not in front of a crowd so if I was really going to talk about it I would catch them when they are by themselves and even then I would be diplomatic...I am to soft sometimes!
I would say something like: I don īt know if you realise it but when you were trying to joke around before it really hurt my feelings.

IF they are considerate they will apologise... and you should accept and let bygones be bygones...
IF they are sarcastic and continue to be rude, defensive and not listen to you, then they are not worth your time to worry about.
People who fall into the second category tend to eventually be seen for their true colours. By the people who are around them... and it looks like people who heard what he said were also taken aback...
Don īt let it get you down! You have a whole community to give you a cyber hug! Hug

19 Jan 2010     


Izulia, I īm afraid in such situations you would need to first of all raise your voice, second of all say clearly that it is insulting you.  I īm sure he knew well that you would not rebuff him/her. 
How old are you? Are you he or she? How old is he person? How long has he been working for the school? How long have you been working for the school?
Did this person by any chance have a horrifying experience in that country where you īre from?  
Do other teachers understand English?
Forum members, come on you people, HELP OUT!

19 Jan 2010     

New Zealand

This link gives some great advice! I think I will take it myself and maybe I will never again regret what I didn īt do or say!

19 Jan 2010     


Insulting comments about the country I originally come from???
Sorry my friends but this is the worst insult for me

In your position I will szueeze up him to tell me SORRY.

19 Jan 2010     

Nani Pappi

Hello Izulia,
Do you really want to behave like him/her?
If the other teachers noticed and you already tried to stop him, ... let him speak alone.
Do your work the best you can and show him/her that you are professional and a good person.
     Acts speak louder than words...

19 Jan 2010     



If it was meant to be a joke (even in bad taste) I personally have a collection of nasty jokes to response. In this particular case I usually fight the fire with fire.

When I worked at a bank a co-worker used to tell (in loud voice to assure everyone will listen to) jokes about black people. They were nasty (and you can even sue a person if you feel insulted according to Brazilian laws). Since I was the only one representing the black race (which I proudly am part of) I reacted using one of my nasty jokes about Spanish people (he was a Spanish descendent) or about men in general. Or sometimes a joke about his I.Q.

He had to use his sense of humor to take the joke (as I did) and after one or two of my nasty jokes he stopped teasing me.

I think you can get some results using this "technique":

- he can find it funny;

- he will feel the same pain you did;

- he will look ridiculous, so he īll think twice next time;

- for everyone you took the joke, but he knows you didn īt.

Hope it helps, but as my friends always say: "my advices only work to me." Hope it īs not the case.

EDIT: I have nothing against Spanish people, but in jokes they are represented as being stubborn.

- Since the person is a native speaker, just translate a good joke to English and practice in front of a mirror (using HIS gestures) until you feel secure enough.

19 Jan 2010     

Russian Federation

Sometimes it is enough to say: "Stop it, please. I don īt want you to talk to me like this and I won īt let you do it again. It īs not funny at all."
I was in such a situation and I said that it īs a bad taste to talk in this way about the country whose language is spoken in the outer space and the country that  won lots of battles and some wars. Every country has the events they are proud of. For example, I know that Americans will prove anybody their country is the best one. The thing that is important here is that he/she should see in your eyes that you won īt let him/her behave like this again.

19 Jan 2010     


@Nani Pappi, people who act this way want to make us look ridiculous and bother us. If we demonstrate they made it, they īll keep with the same behavior - or even worse.

If it was intented to be a joke and you say "stop, you īre insulting me", he can say: "can īt you take a joke?" or "It wasn īt meant to insult you, sorry" - but he īll do it again and again.

I think a bully doesn īt stop when he finds the appropriate prey.

19 Jan 2010     


Hi dear izulia,

I don īt really know what can be said to help you. I would like to be able to act as zailda, but unfortunately I tend to be more like cheezels, which doesn īt help our self esteem. I think that if I were in your shoes, I would have a private talk with that person. If the person is a decent person, he/she will apologize to you in the same environment where the "jokes" took place. If he/she doesn īt do that, just consider you shouldn īt bother about that any longer as it is not worth the effort.
Good luck and get all my sympathy. HugsHugNatália

19 Jan 2010     


Thank you all for your support! You made me feel SO MUCH BETTER!
Hope you have a good day!
Hugs :))

20 Jan 2010