COMMENTS: I OVERHEARD

What I overheard:
A mother of a white first year university student said to her daughters black roommate, "so what's it like being a colored person?"
Why was the comment offensive?
The mother had never met the black student, so I felt the question was inappropriate regardless of racist undertones. The word colored was reminiscent of segregation era language, and the tone implied being a person of color was something to be pitied or ashamed of.
Did you ask for clarification?
No - It was overheard in a hallway and I didn't feel comfortable intervening.
Did you speak to the person the comment was directed at?
No
What I overheard:
"The only reason she got into Harvard was because she was black." - A boy who got rejected from all the Ivy League schools, despite perfect SAT scores.
Why was the comment offensive?
This comment completely ignored the female students' accomplishments and qualifications worthy of admittance to Harvard. Nevermind that she excelled in all AP courses, performed lead roles in the theater department, played on the school Badminton team, member of National Honors Society, AND leader in key club. This boy was upset that HE didn't get in and blamed her for taking his spot because he was white. It was unacceptable for him to take it out on someone else, especially on the basis of race, when she completely deserved to be there.
Did you ask for clarification?
No - It seemed as though students that knew him better were already explaining to him why what he said was wrong. I didn't think it would be helpful for me to pile on, plus I was scared to speak up to begin with.
Did you speak to the person the comment was directed at?
No
What I overheard:
"Well, they're not a typical black person."
What was the comment offensive?
Because it implies, first that there is a "typical black person." Second, I think it was said because the person being referred to was mixed race and had light skin. At the time, I felt like the person speaking was trying to say that this person did not share experiences that other black people may have had.While I did not ask them to clarify, I did point out that while my friend may be multi-racial, they are still subject to some of the pervasive, systemic racism that exists in our society.
Did you ask for clarification?
No - Now that you ask, I realize I probably should have. I felt pretty confident that I was reading the statement correctly and just opened my big mouth instead to add my thoughts instead of asking what the other person meant.
Did you speak to the person the comment was directed at?
I told them what had been said. I probably said, "Can you believe this?" or something like that.
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