Sometimes an innocent word in one language can be very offensive and carry an entirely different message in another language. One Waffles and Pancakes comic is just about that. A boy gets an aquarium, and names his fish Negro. Soon everything escalates quickly to accidental racism.

D.T. Saranya says that the story is inspired by her fish whose name was “Negrillo”. “Negro” means “black” in Spanish and Portuguese, and derived from the Latin word “niger”, meaning “black”. In the U.S. “Negro” was accepted as normal until after the later African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. However, during the 1950s and 1960s, some black American leaders, notably Malcolm X, objected to the word “Negro” because they associated it with the long history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination that treated African-Americans as second class citizens, or worse.

Have you ever encountered accidental racism? Share your stories in the comment section.

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