Originally Posted by quentinak
Calling a black person an "animal" can easily be construed as racist or offensive because this was how blacks were historically characterized by whites. It is either poor choice of metaphor or an indication that there's a hint of prejudicial attitude in Flavia, although it is obvious that Flavia isn't a bigot. We all have our small degree of prejudice in us if we're honest with ourselves IMHO.
I'm not trying to blow it out of proportion, but I do find that her choice of the words to be in poor taste.
She didn't want to offend Serena at all, in Italy we can say to someone "you are an animal" on a facetious note, but she should have chosen another word