My Cat Was Bullied on Twitter for Defending My Right to be Jamaican: The Fishy Taste of Ethnocentrism

Last year, when asked what you would most like to read about on my blog, I received a lot of requests via comments, email, and social media to write about my life as an expat in America, and the cultural differences I have encountered.

On that topic, I have enough tales to fill this blog for a lifetime to come, but have kept many to myself or within private circles. This incident, however, happened on a public forum between a Jamerican cat and an American woman. I’m just sharing the story and adding my two cents.

Here’s what happened — and how the stink of ethnocentrism found its way to our noses.

How It Started

As many of you know, my feisty feline has his own Twitter page. He tweets without opposable thumbs under the handle @ShadowThePRcat, via my old BlackBerry. He mostly spends his time chatting up writers, causing trouble with other Twitter Kitties, and advocating for his favourite causes.

Recently, I saw a bit of sisterly love playing out, which involved a good Twitter friend from the UK, who also happens to be Shadow’s favourite ringleader. Sensing the opportunity for some innocent mischief and witty banter, I joined in and later dragged Shadow into the mix.

Shadow and Rosetta take special pride in ganging up on me, and sure enough, within minutes, I was being accused of starving the poor kitty, because he was denied tuna that evening.

Now, I know this all sounds trivial, but it gets ugly — and I want you to be as confused as the three of us were when it did.

As the playful tweeting progressed, Rosetta jokingly offered Shadow some fish, giving him the chance to state his preference. Shadow replied with:

The Cray-fight

Almost immediately, Shadow was hit with this:

If you read through the thread, you will see Rosetta doing her best to defuse the situation, but the Cajun Queen was persistent and continued to push the issue. Meanwhile, Rosetta and Shadow just continued to respond to each other.

The Cajun Queen would not let that slide either.

Finally, Shadow decided to dip his paws in deeper mischief than I suppose he had anticipated.

Things only continued to escalate from there.

Apparently, this bit really hit the mark for the Cajun Queen, as she then threw her last tweet in his direction and blocked him.

The Aftermath

If you’re wondering why I didn’t join in on the conversation, I do believe Shadow is a grown kitty and can handle himself well. Any dealings I had thereafter was specifically with Rosetta, and you can bet, I said crayfish.

I make no apologies for my culture, especially on an international forum like Twitter. I will not be bullied and cowed into being “Roman” in “Rome”. You have to bring me to actual Italy for me to consider that one.

Ethnocentrism & Racism

To be honest, this is just one of the many instances of ethnocentrism I deal with on a regular basis as an immigrant. You would be surprised how often my words are better than your words escalates to my culture is better than your culture, and finally, I am better than you. And that, as you all know, is the groundwork for racism.

It’s one thing to debate the finer points of each other’s culture with each other, or even outsiders. Jamaicans do this all the time, as have many of my European friends. We have plenty of good laughs about our own culture, at our own expense, as you’ve seen from my many Jamaican posts.

It’s another thing entirely to impose your culture on someone else, telling them that they must adopt your way of doing things or risk the dropping of F-bombs.

No F-Bomb Given

When I told my friends and coworkers what had happened, few people believed me at first. You just can’t make these things up!

For those who didn’t already know, it took them a few minutes to get past Shadow having a Twitter account, before they could even begin to comprehend the idea of a grown woman from Louisiana publicly arguing with a one-year-old cat on Twitter over the word crayfish. Many still didn’t believe until I sent a link to the thread. The guffawing that ensued cannot be put into words.

Was I offended by the Cajun Queen and her antics? I was more surprised by the turn of events, than anything else. That soon melted into a cocked eyebrow, then rolling of the eyes, and then annoyance.

The Reel Real Deal

What you may notice from the date of the tweets is that this started on Friday morning and continued into the afternoon, just as my article 15 English Words Jamaicans Just Can’t Seem to Get Right! was published. Am I the only one who finds this hilariously ironic?

What’s even funnier in this whole scenario is that Shadow, while well-meaning, is only half right. While there are many variations of the word crayfish, crayfish itself is the most correct. There are no equals.

Crawfish is considered an American invention, which came about a century after crayfish became the Middle English derivative of the Old French word escrevisse. Crawfish is also particular to a specific part of the United States — the deep south.

Just as the Cajun Queen said, those yankees up north — much like the rest of the world — say crayfish. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to debating matters of English, I look to the English (ie from England) for the “correct” answer, if indeed there must be one.

But funniest of all is the fact that after Shadow’s advocating that both pronunciations and spellings were correct around the world, and his insistence that both sides should just respect the other, she accused him of trodding on her culture.

I wonder who she voted for…

69 thoughts on “My Cat Was Bullied on Twitter for Defending My Right to be Jamaican: The Fishy Taste of Ethnocentrism

    1. What’s funny is those people tell me I’m arrogant because I won’t accept their idea, and think I’m right.

      And then I go… wouldn’t the person trying to convince the other one be the arrogant one who is confident they’re right? I’m not upset that you disagree with me, so why are you upset that I disagree with you? And that being the case, which one of us is that actually has a problem? 🤔😋

  1. Really surprised your cat didn’t just flick its tail and walk away. Cats normally do not tolerate much nonsense.
    Seriously you have no idea how often I have had to explain the concept of agreeing to disaagree. Generally I can’t be bothered with this sort of nonsense these days. These sorts of people just want an excuse to argue and fight.

    1. Shadow was talking to Rosetta, so it was a bit hard to turn tail and walk away. Also, I find that cats rather like toying with anything they view as inferior. Predator and prey concept, I suppose.

      I haven’t met many people who understand the concept of agreeing to disagree, especially recently.

  2. Now I think of it I say crayfish when I go to the Chinese market for them or order them at restaurants. I don’t think I knew what they were until offered them by southern cousins which must be where I picked up their version.. So it it’s like speaking two languages.

    1. Yes, it is like speaking two languages. English English, and American English 😂 I say crawfish if that’s what it says on the menu when I go out, so they know what I’m referring to.

  3. Good gravy! Why I don’t tweet much.But I was born “up North”” and say crawfish. Being lobster eaters we pitied the poor souls who had to eat those “fake shrimp”. Of course then I went to Jamaica and they taught me how good they were properly done!

    1. I don’t blame you, but Shadow does love Twitter! Pitying the poor souls who had to eat fake lobster and shrimp is hilarious. I used to hate crayfish. I always thought they looked like roaches. Didn’t try it until I was an adult. Still not their biggest fan, but they’re very good in Jamaica. I’m a bigger fan of shrimp and mussels. I have had New England lobster though. Very good also!

  4. wow…some people can’t get past their nose to spite their face..ha!! I have heard it both ways…crawfish, crayfish, crawdads…among other things. Kind of silly to try to tell someone they are wrong when you are talking about the same dang thing…lol!!

  5. Here in the UK it’s Crayfish, and they’re not little lobsters! I am totally with Shadow cat on this one, it’s of course a colloquialism, let her get her head round that one lol! OOOh my inner cat just clawed her way through there!

    1. Hahahahaha, your inner cat sounds like it could keep company with Shadow. I’m still a little confused by why she got so worked up over the word, but as many others have pointed out, it’s probably a sign of more deep-rooted issues.

  6. *Rolling on the ground* There are no words, dear Shadow. Your fellow Jamaicans stand by you.

  7. I’ve always called them crayfish, but then again I’m from one of those bad northern states. I wonder if I should rub into this woman that despite her assumption of Louisiana’s superiority, the only time they got in a war with “those yanks” they LOST. Well, sort of. The confederates may have lost the war but they’ve certainly won the US government – and many of the people.

    Oh, and just to be a little more petty, technically they’re called Cambarus bartonii. Academic elitism for the win!

    1. Academic elitism does win! 😂 Maybe Shadow should have told her that instead of opting for diplomacy. That certainly didn’t work. This was a valuable lesson illustrating that it’s impossible to show reason to unreasonable people.

      1. I’ve definitely given up with trying to reason with most people. Nowadays I usually just ignore the trolls and/or mute them if it’s an online conversation. It might be a little immature, but I’ve learned that it’s impossible to change people’s opinions in the era of ‘alternative facts.’ We’ve truly hit a wall when made-up nonsense is considered to be irrefutable evidence.

        I should also add that I’m listening to angry rap music right now, so my replies might be a little more cynical than usual 😛

      2. Haha, I mute and block a lot of people for the same reason. But I also think some people need someone to stand up to them when they’re being idiots, because the reason they became what they are is because not enough people did.

      3. Yea, you have a point. Even if you can’t change the other person’s opinion, which you almost certainly can’t, at least other readers can see that there’s an alternative voice.

    2. And your little history bit is also impressive. When she called you guys “yankees” I could tell she was one of those proud to be a southerner types, even without the crawfish. Funny how people can hate their own fellow citizens so, for something as simple as writing textbooks which use different words than them.

      1. My guess is that she was using craYfish as an outlet for more deep-seated issues. There is an attitude of elitism and moral superiority in the Northeast towards the Southeast (though of course not everyone consciously ascribes to it), so it could be that she was lashing out about that. It’s remarkable how there’s still so much left-over angst from the Civil War.

      2. I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago that I find it funny how proud the south is of the civil war, considering they lost. There are so many landmarks here celebrating it. A confederate flag is proudly flown atop Stone Mountain in Atlanta. I take it as a reminder of where their moral values are rooted, though of course, there are always exceptions.

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