Social Question

The_Inquisitor's avatar

When is the last time you've experienced racism or witnessed it?

Asked by The_Inquisitor (3146 points ) May 21st, 2011

Experiences shape the way we see life, and so do witnessing things. For the longest time, I hadn’t experienced racism and I almost thought that it barely happened. I also hadn’t witnessed any racism for a long time too.

Just a few days ago, I was driving in my car from toyota, and listening to some Korean music. I had my windows rolled down, and my music wasn’t blasting or anything, and someone yelled “Go back to Tokyo!” in a mocking Asian tone (my ethnicity is Chinese, but I am Canadian). At first, it didn’t register in my brain that she was being offensive… but after, it really upset me!

So, when was the last time you witnessed or experienced racism?

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30 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

A few minutes ago on a different forum I’m not posting a link.

Someone posted this video it’s important to watch it to the end and a lot of the responses on this other forum were things along the lines of “My fucking surprised face at who would get violent about it” and “Apologists will tell you it’s because of “cultural differences….” among other comments. It’s pretty obvious to me what these posters really want to say.

tranquilsea's avatar

Not my experience but that of my sister.

She was taking public transit in the middle of the day. To her right was a couple of Mexicans speaking Spanish. Some ignorant racist behind them shouts, “HEY, YOU! SPEAK ENGLISH! WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU IN?” The two Mexicans went silent. My sister turned to them and said, “I’m sorry, he’s just a twerp”. The racist got up and stood right in front of her and said, “WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?”. She said, “I think you heard me.” He went into a tirade about how pale she was and that she needed to get some sun then his stop came up. He reached towards her and knocked her hat off her head.

I told her she should have said, “You’re just jealous they can speak two languages and you can just barely speak one.”

YARNLADY's avatar

When I first joined the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, I received several nasty e-mails from people who had a higher CDIB than I do. It seems they don’t like that everyone who is a descendant of an original enrollee (a person who was counted as a Choctaw by the Dawes Act) can join. They would rather restrict it to those who are ¼ Indian and up. Their comments were extremely racist.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard: wow, what racist comments.. as if his race had anything to do with it.

@tranquilsea; .. how rude people can be!! =\ Good job to your sister for standing up for others though.

@YARNLADY; :o… they didn’t even have the guts to be racist in person. How cruel to bully through emails.

Another time that I went through racism was in elementary school. I had a classmate who told me that his father hated Chinese, and then he also said he hated me because I was Chinese. Hmm, then in High school, I was walking down the hall, and a guy said to me in a casual tone “stupid Chinese”, and disappeared into the crowd…

ovisaries's avatar

I said the N word yesterday but it depends on your point of view if it was racist or not..I wasn’t being racist when i said it, but things like that can easily be heard out of context.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Actually its been a long time. This is probably partially due to the fact that I am a white male, but I also think racism is now quite rare in Australia. At least it is rare amongst the people I tend to encounter.

flutherother's avatar

Rude and thoughtless comments can be far more hurtful than they were intended to be but there are also more deliberate forms of racism.

About a year ago on a bus in Glasgow a young girl was speaking on her mobile phone when a guy told her that she was in Scotland and she should speak English. This is very unusual as Glasgow is quite multicultural and you can hear all sorts of accents and languages spoken. Another guy stood up for her and told the first guy that he was bullying the girl and he should be ashamed of himself. It got a bit tense and confrontational until the first guy, the bully, got off the bus.

Hibernate's avatar

I see it every day but I cannot stop it [ because people mentality here is wicked ]

lawkes's avatar

The most qualified (highest gpa, advanced degree, and experience) hired employees for my business happened to be white folks from Ivy league universities, so when I didn’t hire a black man and a Latino lady because of their underqualified credentials for an opening job position, they accused me of racial discrimination based on the fact that my entire business consisted of qualified white employees.

This is the typical racism against whites… “all whites are racist”.

Well, with no surprise at all, both accusation were found to be invalid and thrown out by the court.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@lawkes, yes that’s also racism. There’s lots of things that white people can’t say just because they’re white, but a lot of jokes that other races can say and not get whooped.
I wrote an essay once for class, about racism that was created by the imaginations of people who think that everything is related to discrimination against them, when really, they are creating racism themselves. Sometimes very silly.

Brian1946's avatar

@lawkes

”...they accused me of racial discrimination….”
“This is the typical racism against whites… ‘all whites are racist’.”

Are you claiming that because they accused you (you are only white, not all of them) of racial discrimination, that they therefore are accusing all whites of racism?

lawkes's avatar

Given the details of the context, yes.

downtide's avatar

The English Defence League (bunch of right-wing racist loonies) had a demonstration in my home town a few months ago and there was spme unpleasant racism there. I was heading into town on the bus that same morning and there was a bunch of youths on the bus who were obviously going to take part, saying some pretty nasty things about non-white people they happened to see out the windows.

I didn’t say anything because there was six of them, all bigger than me and most likely all armed, and I have no skills or ability to fight or defend myself.

Brian1946's avatar

@lawkes

I’m basically Caucasian. What proof do you have that in their accusation against you, they were also accusing me of racial discrimination?

”...they accused me of racial discrimination….”

Based on the definition of the word “me”, they accused you, and only you, not all whites, of discrimination.

MilkyWay's avatar

Reading some of the posts here, I’m beginning to realise how lucky I am living in England. Granted there’s some racism every where but really, I don’t come across it too much. My mother’s half Indian and so, she’s experienced racism… but it doesn’t happen very often.
Britain, particularly England, has become very muliticultaral over the years and so, racism has detoriated. I still have some friends who are from a different ethnic group though, and they get called names at school sometimes… but it’s really a case of where you are here.

snowberry's avatar

I will preface this by saying I am what some people might call a “WASP” (a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant). And I hate racism. Where I am from (Utah), racism is not as blatant as it is here. It’s still there, but not the same. When we moved to the Midwest, we first moved to a town with strong ties to the Klan. Although I know that racism crosses religious lines, my experience is among “Christian” people, and if anything, they may be some of the worst because they set their standards above those of non-Christians. It’s the same now on the East Coast where we are now. I’m not impressed, and I’d move back west (yes, BACK West!) if I could.

Example: In a rather large (for a medium size town) private Christian school a black music teacher was promoted to head of the music department over the lower school. She was harassed repeatedly, by the head of fine arts, but his behavior was tolerated by the board because of his family ties. I’m glad to say she’s still there, but he’s gone (and hopefully his creepy board member relatives). She is an awesome person. The fact that she outlasted him only speaks to her high character as well as to her commitment to the kids.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If displaying a Confederate flag is considered racism, then two days ago while out on a walk in the neighborhood. If having to put up with the racial rantings of a BIL and his father counts, then it was last Thanksgiving.

Otherwise, the last time I witnessed it was in 1988 in Minnesota. I went into work at 6am to find the hotel’s night manager distraught over an incident that occurred the night before. She filled me in on the details: a group of women staying in the hotel had gotten drunk and were disturbing other guests. When she asked them to tone down the noise, they became belligerent enough that the police needed to be called. The group chilled, but one woman was really angry.

When the group came to check out, the one woman asked to speak to the manager on duty. I was tracked down to come and talk to her. Essentially, she said that she was dissatisfied with her stay because she had been treated with racial discrimination by the night manager. “Pardon me? She is also black.” The response was, “She isn’t black like us.” That was a new one for the books.

I was once accused of ‘Geographical Discrimination’, but that’s another hotel story.

lawkes's avatar

@Brian1946,

The court, not only found them guilty of racism towards me, but also found them guilty of falsely disparaging an entire race. Hence why I wrote, given the details of the context.

The_Idler's avatar

@queenie Yeah, I am in the same situation, my grandmother on my mother’s side came to England from India just after independence, and my mother got a lot of stick at school (although it might have been as much for having those awful braces and NHS glasses an inch thick (she couldn’t see past the end of her nose til laser surgery)), but for me I’ve been mostly OK, although one time when I was a kid, a gang of gypsies attacked me with rocks and told me to get out of their country… that was quite traumatic at the time, but more because I was being chased with broken bottles and rocks, than the fact it was race hate.

There is certainly some institutional racism in this country still, but generally not in ‘important’ institutions, and certainly not in the emergency/civil services or business. You just cant get away with it. There are clubs and societies that wouldn’t welcome ‘foreign blood’, but I don’t know why anyone would want to join a club full of pretentious, superior, racist wankers anyway.

Generally though, racism is seen more like a joke in this country. There are the old-fashioned racists, but that doesn’t mean they actually dislike foreigners or think less of them, they’re just old-fashioned… and then there are the younger racists, who most people consider to be idiotic and faintly ridiculous.

There’s a great deal more persecution OF racists, then BY racists in this country.
The BNP have a lot more to fear than any ethnic minority.

I like being able to freely chat and joke about people’s backgrounds as well, without the kind of baggage you get in the US.

I’m living next year with a West-Indian from Reading, a Chinaman from Huddersfield, and a white British girl from Colchester. If you can pass me off as kind of Indian, we’ve got all the major races of the world represented in our household, and we can all make jokes about each other and ourselves.

Racist jokes are perfectly acceptable here, so long as racism is the joke. We can use stereotypes as jokes, because the stereotypes are ridiculous and funny in themselves.

anartist's avatar

Fiddle, that video was funny! She trapped that purse goooood.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I live in a very “redneck” border state where many customer service people are of Mexican decent (Americans) and many are also Mexicans on work visas or working illegally. Where I work then very often customers will approach me and talk extra slow to me as if English is not my first language, it’s irking and it happened last Friday. I’m pretty exotic looking, definitely not anglo looking and so people usually don’t have a clue but I think it’s silly of them to go out of their way to speak to me any differently than they would another person.

The_Idler's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Well, I don’t know about how good the English is of your average “foreign-looking” person in whatever role it is that you play in America, but when I work in warehouses and factories in England, I certainly will speak differently to someone who looks like an Eastern-European (who are the latest wave of migrant workers in this country), because it’s pretty good odds English isn’t their first language and they’re probably not paying their tutor very much either.

Not deliberately or maliciously as if they were stupid, but I’d be sure to pronounce things a bit more clearly and refrain from using colloquialisms or too much slang. There’s no point saying everything twice all day when you’re at work.

I know as a nation comprised almost entirely of immigrants, its rather different in the USA, but most places it’s just being polite to speak more slowly to ‘foreigners’.
Obviously it can be done in a condescending way, but that’s surely not as cruel as deliberately talking quickly and using phrases they wouldn’t understand…

I do it for the Eastern-Europeans here, and I sure hope the Japanese do the same for me, when I’m working there, because my Japanese is just as bad as some of my previous coworkers’ English.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@The_Idler: I see your point, definitely but it’s a new thing for me. I grew up in California and never ran into this in 30+ years while living there. It’s odd you think you need to speak differently amongst foreigners, in my experience then most foreigners understand other people speaking very well without modifications but speaking that language in return is the stickler.

snowberry's avatar

—@Neizvestnaya and @The_Idler I teach English as a second language. I never assume a person whose mother tongue is obviously not English, to know an idiom or the meaning of a less than common word. I always take the time to ask if they are familiar with what I am talking about. So far every one of them have seemed to appreciate my courtesy, and some of them have thanked me for taking the extra time with them.

The_Idler's avatar

Well, in my experience, most of the migrant workers would not understand

“Just bang that shit in there and set it off, an’ if it starts playin’ up, give it a wollop, and if ye reckon the edge’s had it, just gizza shout or grab me guvna. Oh, and if any of ‘em are pissed, just bang in a noggin and get ‘em flush. If you break summat, broom’s about, just whack it all in the skip. Oh, and if they’re fucked, just chuck ‘em. Oh, and minda ya greasy mitts on the inside coating, else QC’ll ‘ave ya. See where that lumpy tosser in the United shirt is? Bogs are just past him. No fag-breaks, coz Wilson’s a fuckin’ jobsworth. Don’t yap when the ol’ guvna’s about, and that’s about it. Aight, just gonna take a slash, and then we’ll get crackin’, eh?”

So, when people do introduce migrant workers like this, I usually then have to explain everything again to them, after the person doing the intro has gone. I’m pretty sure people do this, just out of disregard for the foreigners, or plain stupidity.

It’s a good way to pass the time, if we’re doing something like box-shifting or labelling, to teach the foreigners some of these English colloquialisms, and other words and phrases they wouldn’t have learned in the classroom/from their books.

Like I said, I don’t know how it is in America, obviously with almost everyone in the country being ‘foreign’ in the end, a huge proportion of the English-speaking population could look very ‘un-English’. In the setting of a warehouse in the UK, however, where in many cases a majority of the workforce is of recent arrival from Eastern-Europe, it’s certainly not ‘odd’ to think that speaking differently to ‘foreign-looking’ people makes sense.

If anything, taking zero effort to make allowances for the probable language barrier is more xenophobic.

Brian1946's avatar

@lawkes

There’s nothing in any of your posts that proves that they were or are racists.

Given the following statement of yours from another thread, I would need more proof than your version of a court decision, to believe your assertion about the plaintiffs:

“Should we then deny all blacks and Latino’s all human rights because the majority of them are criminals and just destroy society?”

keobooks's avatar

Any time you hear someone say “I’m not racist… BUT” you’re witnessing racism. Peoplet think prefacing, “I’m not racist.. BUT” to whatever racist thing they are going to say doesn’t negate the fact that they are about to make a generalization about an ethnic group or a minority.

This goes for just about anything offensive about toen be said. Has “I’m not sexist.. BUT” ever been followed by a non sexist comment? Is, “I hate to be an ass… BUT” ever been followed by anything that wasn’t a statement that reeked of asshattery?

Plucky's avatar

About 3 weeks ago, my partner was a victim of racism. She is an east indian from Fiji ..with very brown skin and a name to match. However, she has no indian accent and does not wear sari’s or hijabs ..etc. She has spent most of her life in Canada. She’s a chartered psychologist. She runs a men’s group for men who are court ordered (for domestic violence) to attend for a certain amount of time.

On this particular day, there was a new face in the group. When this man saw my partner come in and introduce herself, he proclaimed “What the f### is this?! What are you thinking putting a f###ing arab in this group?! Have you lost your minds?! Expect me to talk to this f###ing arab bitch!”. This person has been banned from entering the premises (and he can have fun trying to fullfill his court orders elsewhere).

When my partner told me this, I was not happy. I really wanted to go find this moron and give him a what for. When this type of thing happens to her, it hurts me as well. It does not happen often ..but, every once in awhile, someone just has to give a glaring example how humanity still has a long way to go.

flutherother's avatar

@PluckyDog What a dimwit. Stupid and nasty, a charming combination.

Plucky's avatar

@flutherother That’s for sure.

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