General Question

LornaLove's avatar

Help how to deal with a racist aggressive neighbor?

Asked by LornaLove (6042 points ) January 12th, 2014

Today I had an unfortunate experience with a neighbor. My neighbors have been unfriendly ever since I moved in over 9 months ago. I found this odd as obviously I have never met them before. This week, I found a trash bucket thrown in my garden, it was rolling around making a noise on the stones outside my window. It was not my trash bucket.

I moved it to the general rubbish area only to find it hung on my front door by its handle a few days later?

Today I was playing music not too loud at around 4pm. The neighbor started ringing and banging on the door like a mad woman. When I answered she screamed at me asking ‘Could I play my music louder?’. I realized at that moment that perhaps the music was too loud as it could be vibrating against the wall. Sometimes vibrations with music can be worse than the actually loudness of the music. I apologized profusely and was going to say thank you for coming and telling me. I would hate to cause any neighbor distress with noise as I dislike it myself.

She did not accept the apology she said and was highly aggressive, stabbing her finger in my face and making racist comments. Like, ‘I don’t know where you are from but we do not accept this behavior here’.

She said I was a disgrace.

I asked a friend of mine to chat to her in a calm way to find out if it were the vibrations and what noises were annoying her.

The rest of the conversation was simply ridiculous. She said that ‘I partied all night long’, ‘Had party’s here often’, banged doors, banged windows and made a racket as early as 9am. (I’m never awake at 9am). These are all lies.

She said she was going to get me evicted since I was a tenant in this house and she owned her own home. She also told my friend that I was not from ‘here’ and that I was a disgrace.

I need some sound advice on how to deal with this woman as she is lying first of all. Although I do believe at times (within normal hours) my TV could bug her. There is no other music being played her. (I’m in the UK). I do have a strong accent which is not British and this is why she knows I am not from here.

Any advice?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

hearkat's avatar

I can’t make suggestions about the diplomacy with the neighbor. However, I would bring this up with your landlord before she does. Chances are, she has been like this with others who lived there before you. You might also ask if there is anything the landlord might do – or allow you to do – to insulate the wall between your place and hers. Also, consider rearranging the furniture to put speakers and TVs on different walls than those you share with Ms. Crabby McNasty.

Coloma's avatar

Avoid them and document all aggressive acts. People like this are very angry and unhappy and they are just grievances looking for a cause. They will find a cause in any little situation so to be able to spew their venom on anyone as a releif for their own fucked up-ness.
You could try killing them with kindness but then you also do not want them to become friends.

These people sound really unstable, just keep your distance as best as you can. I’m sorry you are dealing with idiots that should be eliminated from the gene pool.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am very sorry you are having to deal with this racist neighbor. That is very sad.

I do not have a permanent solution, but I have a suggestion.

Write everything down. Keep a log of incidents the neighbor perpetrates. Write dates and times when they hang a trash bucket on your door for instance.

Also, make clear boundaries and speak your mind. Make it clear you will not tolerate racist comments and hateful behavior.

Report everything to your landlord and show your landlord your log of offenses.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

As a tactless American, I’d tell her to fuck off and try to do something about it. There might be repercussions. This woman definitely deserves to be scolded. If everything is as you say, I’d never be nice to her and every time she complained I would let her know exactly how I felt about her.

Bullies only respond to those who stand their ground.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Like other have said document EVERYTHING and avoid them at all costs,plus tell your landlord what is going on,before they get to him/her and spew all their lies about you.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@SwanSwanHummingbird The problem when you do that, is that kind of person has a real talent to all of a sudden becoming the poor victim, and can make you look like the asshole, as much as letting them have it would feel so GOOOOD it aint worth it.

VS's avatar

Surely you have a video camera. Document her obnoxiousness with indisputable evidence. No she-said/she-said, because the video doesn’t lie. Also, as others have said, contact your landlord before she can as you are most likely not the first to have trouble from her. If she comes to your door again, just turn the video on and let her rant to her heart’s content. Be as nice as possible and tell her you will make every effort to be a more considerate neighbor. Make sure she sees the camera and knows you are recording her. Also, make some effort to not be muttering ‘b!tch’ under your breath while the camera is running although I know it will difficult!! Good luck!

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

I think most of this advice is valid. I understand how this type of person can escalate or try to manipulate the situation in any way that makes them appear as the sympathetic party. I know how to deal with this type of person. So maybe you shouldn’t follow my advice.

If it helps, understand that this person has probably had a lifetime of not being able to express herself until it escalated into what you see today. People don’t get this way from a lifetime of kittens and flowers.

It’s actually really kind of sad. Her beef with you might be one of the few interactions she has with another person at all.

Good luck!

CWOTUS's avatar

From the wording of your question I presume that you are of a different race than the complaining neighbor, and I’m going to go out on a limb by guessing that you are “not-white” and she is white. I would not presume, based on anything that you’ve written above, that her complaint marks her as a racist, however. She may be prejudiced against you because you’re “not from around here”, but that’s a common enough type of xenophobia that is not necessarily racist. So I wouldn’t report this as a “racial” kind of problem unless her words are much more overt vis a vis your race. That’s not proven yet.

There may be other aspects of her attack against you that are more relevant, including age, educational status, income, employment or even the fact that you have friends and she does not. Her antipathy may also be related to your generally upbeat nature and her opposition to that. All I’m suggesting here is that you not fixate on “racism” which isn’t at all obvious (to me, at least, and I thought I read pretty carefully), or you might miss some of the real potential avenues to resolve the problem.

Otherwise, the advice so far is good: document your encounters with her and the strange goings-on with physical objects and events that you can’t be sure emanate from her, but which certainly seem to. Enlist impartial witnesses, if you can, to her complaints and to your attempts at resolution. Talk to other neighbors and to your landlord about her. Above all, be factual about “what happened” and don’t try to read too much into unknown motivation. I think this might be part of your problem right now: You think you know more than you actually do know. (She may very well be a racist bigot, but you haven’t made the case for that yet.)

You also spoke of “neighbors” plural, but only documented your interactions with one neighbor. Where are the others? Are they related to this woman or from the same house?

ragingloli's avatar

Tell her next time that you will call the cops on her if she continues to harass you.

LornaLove's avatar

@CWOTUS Perhaps I have the wrong word? However, when my scottish friend went to talk to her she mentioned again that I was not from this country. He tried to ask what the actual issue was in a calm way so that we could be better neighbors. She said she was not interested in discussing it with him even though he was from Scotland (her words).

I have such a heavy heart about the whole issue. Mainly because I have been battling myself to settle in here and change worlds or countries. Our garden is very close to theirs, I am talking arms breadth away and in the summer we’d sit outside and chat.(A friend and I). I sensed a bad vibe then. At that time, I had no TV or sound making items at all. I’ve never seen such anger and rage in a complete stranger. If my TV of late was noisy she should have just come around and said so. I am more than happy to create a good atmosphere since I live here.

She made it plain that I was ‘from somewhere else’ then stated country when talking to my friend. Or screaming at my friend who had tried to go and calm things down. I have a South African accent. I am British born though and had lived her until about 13. I am white.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

An expressionless silent stare is known to send a most powerful message.

DWW25921's avatar

Document everything so when you have to knock that bitch out, you’ll have a case in court.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Peace through fire superiority. Step out in your yard late some night and crank off a few rounds from a shotgun. I bet they think twice of messing with you.

CWOTUS's avatar

Thanks for the clarification, @LornaLove. No, when you’re both of the same nominal race, then what you’re dealing with isn’t “racism” but some other kind of ethnic or xenophobic hatred. It’s still bigotry, and when it’s based on nothing more than “you’re not from here”, then it’s obviously irrational… but at least it isn’t racism.

I know how upsetting it can be. I have British friends (outside of Fluther, but whom I haven’t met in person) who have always seemed to be sensible and decent folk, but they also exhibit a strange “Mr. Hyde” quality when it comes to people in the UK “from away”. Except that they’re not as strident as you report your neighbor to be, they seem to be carrying a chip on their shoulders for people whom they have never met. I hear all the time about “Asians” (which as I understand from them generally means “Indians”) and “Pakis” who seem to be (in their words) “taking over the country”. I try to imagine – and mention in conversation sometimes – “what it must be like for the objects of their hatred”, and once in awhile when the people I’m talking to aren’t already worked up over something they will start to admit the irrationality of their behavior. But when they get to talking among fellow haters, I’m sure those little bits of reasonableness fly away again.

Here in the States there’s a lot of hatred toward Caribbean Islanders (in the East) and Mexicans (in the Southwest). It’s generally just as irrational as what you’re dealing with. I just don’t understand it; on the other hand, my job isn’t threatened and I’ve never been victimized by crime that I can blame on “outsiders”, so maybe if I had experience with those things I’d feel differently.

I know that you’re not going to “knock the bitch out” or “fire off a couple of shotgun rounds” in the garden (really, guys?), but you do need to be extra-polite to these types, since they often do operate with a hair-trigger, as you have seen and described. Aside from that, the “expressionless stare” is good when practiced with a sort of icy politeness. That can be effective in defusing a lot of situations. Unfortunately, given your circumstances, that’s probably the best that can be hoped for in the short term. I would advise that you keep a cricket bat near the front door, just in case she comes over some day with new unfounded allegations and accusations and starts to get violent.

josie's avatar

Whites can not be victims of racism in 2014. Just sayin’
Loud music is frequently a source of tension between close neighbors. I would turn it down or use buds or headphones.

Paradox25's avatar

I can understand this since I’ve been having problems with my neighbors, though not quite as much as you’ve been. Personally I felt she crossed the line when she put her fingers in your face, and you would have been justified in punching her in the face at that point, but I wouldn’t recommend really doing that.

I would record the incidents. Maybe purchase a camcorder or security camera and hide it to catch her in the act. Maybe this could lead to you threatening to sue her, and that would shape her up. At least you could have her arrested by providing strong evidence.

Smitha's avatar

Your best bet is to just ignore her, especially if she is old. She is probably set in her ways. I don’t think it can be called racism. They probably did exactly the same things when the prior residents lived in your home. Contact your landlord and tell them about the issue, may be they can actually handle it for you. If you feel like it’s harassment, do the video taping and sue her for harassment and emotional distress.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Just do whatever you want, and if she threatens you, call the cops.

LornaLove's avatar

@josie

Legal The UN does not define “racism”; however, it does define “racial discrimination”: According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.[24]
This definition does not make any difference between discrimination based on ethnicity and race, in part because the distinction between the two remains debatable among anthropologists.[25] Similarly, in British law the phrase racial group means “any group of people who are defined by reference to their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin”.[26]
In Norway, the word “race” has been removed from national laws concerning discrimination as the use of the phrase is considered problematic and unethical.[27][28] The Norwegian Anti-Discrimination Act bans discrimation based on ethnicity, national origin, descent and skin colour.[29]

Since this woman assumes I am not a citizen, and I have a different nationality she made the following statement. Which can be deemed racist.

‘I don’t know where you are from (not here), we do not do this here (This country), you are a disgrace and I will have you evicted’.

To my friend who later chatted to her she said ‘She is not from here’. Nationality attack.

I check this today since I phoned the council for mediators. She said it was a case of racism. We are meeting tomorrow to see if we can charge her with a criminal offence. (Since she was so very threatening).

source

Also, ALL race groups can and are effected by racism. Check out white racism in South Africa. 2014

Affirmative action

More

Pandora's avatar

When it comes to music, you can turn down the bass. That is usually the culprit. I once had a neighbor who was lived at the end of a cul de sac and I lived two houses down. When I stepped outside, I did not hear the music but in my home I could hear the thumping on my walls.

She didn’t believe me until I invited her in my home and she heard it. She thought it had to be one of the other neighbors but no one else was home during the day. She went to her house and turned of the music and came back and then realized it was from her home.

She thought I was racist because she was playing rap music but she realized it was the annoying thumping that was driving me up the walls. We then tried different things and when she lowered the bass, I no longer heard the thumping. We were both happy after that.

In her case she really did like to play the music all day long. I told her I didn’t hate the music she was playing but I really didn’t even know it was rap. You don’t get the other sounds, only the thumping beat.

It’s not to say that she may not be prejudice but I’m sure hearing a thumping sound for even a few hours each day can drive the hatred deeper. Because of that experience I make sure to always play any loud music without the bass sound, also movies. If I know my neighbors are out, like at work, then I go a little wild and put the bass back on.

You can go over to her house and see what can be done that would meet both of your needs. Does she work all day and sleep at night or work at night and sleep during the day? What hours would she consider it fine for you to live your life as you wish? Does she take a nap during 3 and 4. Does she have a baby that is hard to put down?

Explain that you only wish to be a thoughtful neighbor. If she says you are playing music at 9 am and you know you are not, than let her know that you may not be the culprit. She may actually be hearing something from another home, but thinks you may be the one since you are closer.

If none of this works then let her know that you will continue to be considerate but she is not paying your rent and should have no say in how you live. And that you are sorry she is such a petty bitch with nothing going on in her life except to make the lives of other miserable. And explain how you’ve spoken to others in the neighborhood and they all believed that it would be a waste of your time because she is the neighborhood bitch. (She will need support from others and it is best if she ends up believing that everyone is against her.) Even if she thinks you are lieing she will have doubts. LOL Plus do as others had suggested. Talk to your landlord first and explain how you tried to resolve things. Best to take another person with you as proof.

LornaLove's avatar

@Pandora Thanks Pandora. I had a chuckle at your last paragraph. :)

Just to update on this issue.

We have a council mediator who came to visit with me. (Since I called her). She is going to report back to me tomorrow to see if the neighbor is willing to set up sound tests with me.

I do believe it is a bass issue. However the parties and all the other allegations are just lies.

I would have negotiated with her regards the noise, if I could have gotten down to what was worrying her (without the fabrications part).

During the blasting she gave me, she would not answer in such a way that made sense.

for example ‘Which part is worrying you, the music or the base?’

‘I am not prepared to discuss this with you’.

So with that approach it was useless.

When the mediator came today again she said I should charge her with racism which is a criminal offence. I had not mentioned that earlier. I also have been given numbers to call should her behaviour escalate and become more anti-social than it is. (The pamphlet is to get emergency support from anti-social personalities).

I really don’t know if I want to press charges. I do and I don’t. I feel she has been passive-aggressively doing things to me since I got here, but like I said to the mediator noise would also drive me nuts, but why lie? So that is how it stands today. I am waiting to hear if she will do the sound test.

Side note: She said I had being doing this since day one, which was 9 months ago. I only got sounds here in November. (My TV bar).

Pandora's avatar

Hope it all works out.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LornaLove Be careful, racists can get a little righteous and entitled, and frankly dangerous. If I were you, I’d strongly consider the racist issue and pressing charges, she may need some professional help.

LornaLove's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yes, your right. I’m miserable about the whole thing. Even though I have offered to have sound testing in my home as well as help in other ways to reduce sound issues, with the mediators, she has declined.

The worse part I realize is her lies and offensiveness to me. I suffer depression and lately I just see the world as a hostile horrible place. One I’d rather not be in.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LornaLove Oh doll, we all feel that way some days. Keep your chin up!

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther