sweetie, wheah's mah white sheet? i'm goin' foah a rahd...
A few yrs ago* someone at work -- call her Rachel -- told me that so-and-so (white person) did not like me and considered me a racist and a jerk.
The jerk part I was okay with, but I didn't want to be a racist, so I asked Rachel to find out why so-and-so felt that way -- maybe I *was* a racist and didn't know it (how many times do you hear "I'm not prejudice [sic], but...")
Turns out that according to so-and-so, she had heard me use the N-word at a company function. Specifically, while mic'ed for the company talent show, I had said "I'm not your n____" to the VP of Marketing.
I knew this was utter BS, but it took me a while to figure out what so-and-so was talking about:
I was waiting to do my little song/guitar act, and the VP was helping me adjust the microphones. He was goofing around, pretending he was announcing a sporting event, then stuck the mic in my face and said "What do you have to say about that?" I was taken by surprise, and said [drum roll, please] "I'm not your color guy." **
So-and-so obviously thought she heard "I'm not your colored guy", was understandably offended, and later in her own mind converted my quote to include the N-word.
When I figured it out, I told Rachel, who told so-and-so. So-and-so laughed, and the whole misunderstanding was cleared up. No, wait, that would be the movie version. What happened was that so-and-so said "I heard what I heard."
So that was that. All's well that ends well, and you can call me the George Wallace of the 1990's.
*Thx to Extrem for reminding me of this...
** In case it's not common knowledge: sporting events are often covered by two people: a play-by-play announcer who tells what's happening on the field, and a color announcer ("color guy" before women got into the business) who gives background and extra depth to the coverage.