General Question

Leanne1986's avatar

How do you feel about racial double standards and is it something you have exerienced/witnessed?

Asked by Leanne1986 (24064 points ) April 7th, 2009

This is one of my major pet hates. In my opinion, for the most part, the “rules” should apply to everyone or not at all but there have been so many times that I have witnessed something that has been accepted but if it was said/done by someone of another racial background it would be considered racist and offensive.

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106 Answers

Myndecho's avatar

As a rule I say what I want as long as it isn’t aimed to insight hatred, of course other factors come into play with this.

Nimis's avatar

You mean like using the n******* word?
There’s a (cultural) context to everything.

tigran's avatar

@Nimis: check out this context

ubersiren's avatar

Yeah, I really wish I could start a White Entertainment Television channel.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

They infuriate me and I have witnessed them multiple times. For instance, just today I was reading an article about racism and whoever wrote the article typed out the word “cracker” and then went on to type out “nigger”, but instead of fully typing it out, they put, “n*****” instead. I’m sorry, but “cracker” is just as offensive as “nigger”.

Nimis's avatar

@tigran The chorus is so silly.

@DrasticDreamer Also offensive, yes.
But definitely not just as offensive.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Please read this posting on Racialicious. It answers exactly the argument about why there’s no “white” equivalent to ethnic media. The default of Western culture IS white. “Normal” = white. It’s such that most people don’t even realize it until they’re shown that this is the case.

I’d like to see a chocolate-colored woman, or a brown woman with curls, tossing her natural hair in a shampoo commercial, and the subtext is that she’s just as beautiful and sexy as any white woman with long blonde or red hair.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Nimis I completely disagree with you. It is just as offensive. As someone who grew up never being racist and hating people who are, I find it extremely unacceptable to be labeled a “cracker”, which is generally used to refer to a white person directly connected to and part of slavery. The term comes from white people using whips (cracking whips) on slaves.

KalWest's avatar

@DrasticDreamer
Do you REALLY think cracker is just as offensive as nigger? Blacks were an enslaved minority at one point – white people were not. I think there’s a difference. Nigger is way more demeaning.

Qingu's avatar

I think reverse racism should just be called racism.

At the same time, I think it’s naive to ignore the power disparity behind such terms. The fact that a historically oppressed culture uses a term gives it a different valence than if the overclass uses a similar term.

But as our society becomes more and more equal, that difference should fade. I also think it’s incredibly important to disentangle race from culture. It’s also important to bear in mind the intent of the person who speaks these terms.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@KalWest Yes, I do. There is a difference, of course there is. For anyone to deny that is just kind of stupid. However, it is just as unacceptable to group a white person into a category that was directly involved with slavery. How can you come to the conclusion that one demeaning word is more acceptable or tolerable than another demeaning word? They are both horrible and should never be used.

Along the same lines, that’s why I hate it when people call someone a “pussy”, too. If you’re going to use the argument that black people were enslaved at one point and white people weren’t, how about this? Women (and I am one) were also enslaved, demeaned, and oppressed and repressed. “Pussy” is just as bad as “nigger” and “cracker”. None of them are worse or more acceptable than the other.

Response moderated
avalmez's avatar

iimho, if we all accept that racism of any form is wrong, what’s the sense of arguing that this racist word or phrase is more or less acceptable than that racist word or phrase?

i mean how can a non-racist person of any background make an argument even mildly more supportive (or less negative) about any specific racist comment or act over another?

so to answer your question, yes there’s a double standard and everyone should work to eliminate it.

btw, there are similar multiple standards regarding things like illness that are very much akin to racism. AIDS, mental health, alcoholism…many and i assert they have a more widespread effect on humankind than what we’re discussing here.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@avalmez Perfectly said – that is exactly the point I was trying to make. How can one racist word be worse than another? The simple answer is that it can not. Racist is racist.

hitomi's avatar

I just have to add in the use of “white” and “black” I don’t want to be that overly PC asshole, but WHITE isn’t a race…and there ARE “white” people who were enslaved….the Hebrews, who MOST people will LABEL as “white” (now at least), were enslaved for AGES.

Also, the Romans enslaved EVERYONE…it didn’t MATTER what COLOR you were…if the Romans stepped in to take over the land, they enslaved some of the people there. This includes the GERMANIC world, which is pretty much the motherland of WHITE.

Nimis's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Sorry about not replying earlier.
Was just feeling lazy and figured others would reply just fine.

@avalmez There are degrees to everything.

Situation A: Person kills someone.
Situation B: Person tortures, rapes, then kills someone.

I’d say the latter is worse.
But that doesn’t mean that I mildly support murder.

But I agree with your underlying sentiment.
All forms and degrees of racism should be unacceptable.

Qingu's avatar

@hitomi, I don’t really see the relevance. Blacks were enslaved, on an entirely racial basis, by the very culture that they are now expected to integrate with.

avalmez's avatar

@Nimis i guess so…

hitomi's avatar

@Qingu I was simply trying to point out the inaccuracy of saying that “black” people were enslaved at one point and “white” people weren’t….white people HAVE been…that and I disagree with the term “white” in almost any context, but this IS me being overly PC (and it’s an issue that I’ve had trouble with ever since I was a little girl).

avalmez's avatar

slavery, like bigotry, is wrong no matter how equal an opportunity it might have been in one case over another. and slavery is more directly an economic issue than racist.

i’ll grant that it might seem easier to enslave peoples one views as being somehow less than human.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I do not believe in degrees of racism, either. Someone either is or isn’t. Just as a word is either demeaning or not. Logically, one racist term can not be more demeaning than the other. Which is exactly why “cracker” is the same as “nigger” – they are both extremely racist, demeaning words.

Failing to realize that is like saying because a certain race was enslaved, they now have every right to be racist back, which is obviously counterproductive and makes absolutely no sense at all. One racist word can not be more racist or “worse” than another, period.

SuperMouse's avatar

@aprilsimnel I agree 100% with your post.

Racism against African American’s is real and still exists today. @DrasticDreamer I absolutely believe there are degrees of racism. Whether they realize it or not people carry lots of preconceived notions about others based on what they look like. Sad but true. On the spectrum of racism there are those who get jittery when they ride an elevator with a person of a different race, and those who put on white hoods and burn crosses.

I also don’t think there is any comparison between “cracker” and “nigger.” Nigger is way more offensive. I do not believe it is a double standard for African Americans to refer to themselves as such. It is taking a word that was used against and taking some of the sting out of it. Kind like homosexuals took over the word “gay” and changed it from slanderous to acceptable. I see nothing wrong with that.

I have a very close friend who is quadriplegic and refers to himself as a “gimp.” Do those who think it is offensive to hear African Americans say the n-word think this is just as offensive?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It shouldn’t happen but frankly I don’t have enough time in the day to get upset about every little non PC that is said in the world.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I can not even comprehend how people think one racist word is worse than another. It completely blows my mind. Amazing…

hitomi's avatar

@SuperMouse I am just wondering about your first sentence of “Racism against African American’s is real and still exists today.” I might be over-sensitive because this has been a long-standing issue for me, but by being so specific in saying “against African American’s” are you saying that racism against OTHER groups ISN’T still “real” and “exists” today? I don’t agree with everything that @DrasticDreamer has said, but I do agree that racism is racism and no one form of racism is WORSE than another. I also agree with your statement that everyone carries preconceived notions, that doesn’t make it RIGHT to act on it by voicing racial slurs against any group.

Nimis's avatar

@DrasticDreamer
If you were to use Venn diagrams, there would indeed be two circles.
One labeled RACIST and the other labeled NOT RACIST.
I agree with your statement that you either fall into one or the other.
Though some would argue that everyone falls into RACIST.

However, within the circle labeled RACIST, there are also
secondary circles of SOMEWHAT RACIST and VERY RACIST.
What about that blows your mind?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

What blows my mind is not the idea of varying degrees of racism you’re referring to, but instead that people seem to think one racist word can be worse than another, which I will never, in a million years, believe or understand.

Both words are aimed at entire groups of people, based on race. They are both meant as derogatory slang, aimed at an entire group of people. To say that one racist word is worse than another is entirely illogical.

avalmez's avatar

i just about shot a “well bless your heart!” at someone.

@Nimis and there’s a little pregnant too don’t forget.

Nimis's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I think the weight of each word is tied into its history.
Yes, all racist words are aimed at entire groups of people.
But what did that particular race go through?
What role did that word play in their history?

@avalmez Ha! Good one. You got me there.
Would totally have to rescind my degrees to everything comment for that one.
Have you seen that commercial that uses that phrase?
Drives me batty every time I see it.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Nimis You’re absolutely correct in saying that the weight of the word is tied into its history. That said, do you think I want to be labeled as a cracker? As someone who grew up abhorring the slavery of black people and women and the repression of gay people, do you think I want anything to do with being labeled with the monsters who were responsible for such disgusting actions? I can not even describe how highly the term “cracker” offends me. Derogatory is derogatory, racist is racist.

No one will ever convince me that one racist word is more acceptable than another. If people know the true definition for the word “racist”, believing one term is more acceptable than another is simply failed logic on their part.

avalmez's avatar

@Nimis no i haven’t seen that commercial but i’ll keep an eye out for it (don’t watch that much commercial TV though as it interferes with my time on fluther! (yeah, right!))

avalmez's avatar

@DrasticDreamer of course i’m with you on this. i don’t get how anyone can make allowances for racism, period. i don’t often have an absolute opinion on a topic, but in this case i do.

and, that’s not how i started life growing up in Texas where, believe me, racism is more than a casual topic for discussion. but, my current stance is where i’ve come to be and i must write i am very proud that i allowed myself to live and learn.

SuperMouse's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I find the n-word way more offensive because it is usually used by the group in power (i.e. whites) to demean a minority group struggling to even the playing field.

@hitomi, I do think that racism exists against many – if not all – minority groups. I am not convinced that there is such a thing as racism against white people. I know that probably sounds like a pretty inflammatory thing to say, but when we are being completely honest with ourselves I think we have to admit that there isn’t a whole lot that is closed off to white people in this country solely because of the color of their skin. I have never been pulled over just so the cop could check my registration. I have never been followed around a store to be sure I am not going to steal anything. No one has ever stared at my family as we moved into an upper-middle class neighborhood in the suburbs, or thrown a brick through my winder, or burned a cross on my lawn.

avalmez's avatar

@SuperMouse i know first hand that racism against whites exists. Any minority member reading this thread knows racism against whites exists. Are you “white” (Caucasian Non-Hispanic)?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@SuperMouse Not convinced there is racism against white people?! Wow! I’m not trying to be rude here, and I promise you I’m not, but that really does prove to me you don’t actually know the definition of the word “racist”, which is what I was wondering when some people were posting their answers.

hitomi's avatar

@SuperMouse I think we might then be talking about different definitions of racism…I define racism as HATE against someone DUE to RACE – ANY RACE.

That being said…I also have to say PERSONALLY – YES, there IS racism against White people. I have grown up in Baltimore, Maryland and have spent a LARGE portion of my time here living in areas and going to schools that were predominately black. I had people call me names, I had teachers show preferential treatment and there is NO DOUBT in my mind that it was because I was WHITE. I also have a friend, not from here, who was driving in the wrong part of downtown Baltimore and got lost and was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of being a drug dealer.

It is narrow, limited and naive to say that there isn’t racism against white people. Am I trying to argue (using your definition of racism) that it is the SAME and EQUAL, no…based on your definition of the word racism it is far more common to find racism against black people, BUT in some areas there IS racism against white people.

avalmez's avatar

Racism is not just expressed as “blacks need not apply” or “this side whites, that side mexicans” (in the latter case, “blacks excluded” implied).

it’s expressed by uncle whoever trashing “crackers” during an after-dinner conversation.

It’s my grandfather almost apologizing that he used to jokingly tell me that some day i would marry a white girl. after i did marry a white girl, he told me, “Poor avalmez! You believed me!”

@SuperMouse yes i think there’s an issue with folks not understanding what the term “racism” means in it’s fullness.

hitomi's avatar

PS. I should have put “white” in quotes because I am NOT, in fact, “white”....I am a pure-bred American mutt…a hunk of which includes Asian and Native American roots

avalmez's avatar

@hitomi great! sounds like you embrace all of your mutt-iness!

hitomi's avatar

@avalmez Hell yes I do!!! I love it! :-D

DrasticDreamer's avatar

This conversation has saddened me. Until people realize that anyone can be racist, against any other race, it will never go away. Until people realize that the hatred implied when using the words “nigger” or “cracker” or “pussy” or “fag” or whatever the hell else anyone can think of, is the exact same thing, for everyone – there will always be division. Until we are all treated equally, in everything, including defense, nothing will ever change.

… I need a cigarette. :(

Nimis's avatar

Until people realize that anyone can be racist
Everyone is racist.

@DrasticDreamer If you agree that there are varying degrees of racism,
shouldn’t it follow that there are vary degrees of racist terms?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Bullshit, Nimis. Sorry, but that is another thing I will never agree upon. A lot of people are, yes. Everyone? How can you possibly or even conceivably try to prove that? You can’t. You have not met everyone, nor will you ever get the chance to.

To say that all humans are racist is severely undermining the achievements that people are capable of accomplishing.

Nimis's avatar

@hitomi Gary Coleman! Ha.

@DrasticDreamer I think there are a lot of things we disagree on.
But I respect your opinion. Can we leave it at that?
Race debates kind of tire me out.

hitomi's avatar

Saying that not all people ARE racist is undermining the power of Human NATURE…we HAVE preconceived notions about people….we don’t ACT on them, but they’re there.

@Nimis I KNOW!!! I love it!

KalWest's avatar

@SuperMouse
“I find the n-word way more offensive because it is usually used by the group in power (i.e. whites) to demean a minority group struggling to even the playing field.”

That’s what I meant.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Oh, trust me, hitomi, I know the kind of things people are capable of. But to even try to assert that all people are racist is BEYOND ridiculous. To not be able to recognize that some people are not, in fact, racist is very sad. The faults of some are not necessarily the faults of all.

@Nimis: Yes, we can. (And just so you know: When I cussed, it was not directed at you, I tend to use it in my regular speech. No offense meant.)

@KalWest: Why is it more offensive when used by a group in power? The hatred behind the words, whether used by a group in power or a minority, are still the same. The hatred behind the words is what makes them equally shameful, equally racist, equally wrong.

hitomi's avatar

@DrasticDreamer If we are defining racism as HATE toward someone(s) based on race than I suppose you are right….however, if we’re talking about preconceived notions and just THINKING something about someone and it has ANY route in just their race than YES…everyone’s racist…you can’t help but have some preconceived notions. – really it comes down to the link that I posted earlier -

tinyfaery's avatar

Answer to my question Does reverse racism exist? Answer: no.

hitomi's avatar

After a discussion with my brother I just decided I have to amend my previous statement. Not EVERYONE is racist….I will give Mother Theresa and the Dali Lama the benefit of the doubt. There are a few people that I am on the fence about (Pope John Paul II, Martin Luther King, Ghandi), but I stand by the assertion that 99.999% of the human population have at LEAST thought something about someone based solely on that person’s race…was it necessarily negative? No. Did they act on it? No. Did they refuse to let go of it after KNOWING someone? No. But the thought was there….and that’s racist.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@hitomi: That, I agree with 100%.

@tinyfaery: There is no such thing as reverse racism. All that exists is racism. Anyone from any race can be racist.

tinyfaery's avatar

Do not agree.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@tinyfaery: Look up the definition of the word. If you’re going by your own definition, you’ll have to specify. Otherwise, here is the actual definition:

racism
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Nowhere in the definition does it say, “exclusive to white people”.

avalmez's avatar

and hey…toss religious intolerance into the fray…some offshoots of religious organizations are in fact racist!

SuperMouse's avatar

I am white of European descent and I can say that I have never, ever been the victim of racism. Do people have preconceived notions about me because I am a woman or a non-traditional student? Probably. But have I ever been discriminated against because I am white? No. @DrasticDreamer and @hitomi, I would be curious to hear the circumstances surrounding your being victims of racism.

Racism is reflected in the systematic discrimination against minorities by the majority group holding power. As a member of the majority group in the United States, it is therefore impossible for a white person to be victimized by racism.

@avalmez, we’re not talking about religious intolerance, we are talking about racism based solely on skin color. My point is not that I have never be discriminated against because I am Baha’i’ (certainly I would be if I lived in Iran), but that I have never been discriminated against because I am a white woman.

tigran's avatar

I’d say, racism exists and its quite normal. Good education can lessen the effects of it, but I think we grow up preferring the kind of people we associate most with. If there is assimilation, it obviously lessens our discriminatory tendencies but if there isn’t a force that mixes cultures, then those natural feelings exist.

hitomi's avatar

@SuperMouse I already answered this question…and if you are using your own very narrow and limited definition of racism than, no I suppose I have NOT been subjected to racism based on a broad, national scale, but I have lived in an area with a black majority for more than a decade (as I said before) and have, in this environment, been discriminated against for my race.

SuperMouse's avatar

@hitomi what makes you describe my definition of racism as “very narrow and limited”? I have worked with, lived alongside, and been to school with people of color my entire life. I see many of these folks struggling with issues I have never been forced to face. It is just that simple. I am wondering what, in your decade of living in an area with a black majority, have you missed out on because you are white?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@SuperMouse You are wrong, flat out. Look up the actual definition for the word “racist”. As a matter of fact, you do not even need to look it up, because I provided the definition for everyone to see. If you think I’m lying, please, by all means, look it up yourself.

Are white people the only race? No, I think not. The very word “race” is meant to imply that there is more than one, otherwise there wouldn’t even be a word for it. Therefore, the word ”racism” implies that a person, from any type of race, can and often times will be, racist against someone outside of their own race.

And as a matter of fact, I have been the victim of racism. In school one year, a girl who wasn’t white was talking to her friends during class. When I proceeded to do the same thing with my friends she told me to “shut the fuck up”. When I said, “No, you’re talking too, you shut the fuck up”, she proceeded to call me “a racist, white bitch!” and then proceeded to spread rumors to all of the people in school that I was, indeed, racist. And people started to believe her. Why, you might wonder? Because obviously, since I was white and I had the nerve to speak up for myself when she was extremely rude to me, it must have meant that I was racist! Wrong!

What she said to me and the rumors she started spreading, were in and of themselves racist. It made it especially difficult for me to deal with, because I went to a very integrated school and people automatically believed her because she was black and I was white. I have always HATED racist people, and for people to believe her so easily, when she didn’t even have to give them a reason why, was horrifying. Especially because in that school, racism was not tolerated, by anyone, and you would get the shit kicked out of you if people even suspected you were racist. I was extremely lucky that I wasn’t beat the hell up.

avalmez's avatar

@SuperMouse racism = bigotry = prejudice = intolerance = religious intolerance = move to iran and you’ll certainly come to understand the intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry based on your religion and that it is not unlike the same based on race, or sexual orientation, or whatever it is that make you different from another and thus the subject of their [whatever] that somehow makes you less not based on the “quality of your character” but based on your different-ness

hitomi's avatar

@SuperMouse First off – your definition is limited and narrow based on DICTIONARY definitions of the term racist. Second – I’m not technically WHITE, but, based solely on appearance it is generally the agreed upon label I have been assigned (although don’t get me started on my issues as a child dealing with my “race” identity).

Since you’re making me dredge up facts about my laugh that I would rather blow off than dwell on I am going to do this properly.

I was 8 years-old when I moved to Baltimore. We lived in a neighborhood with a black majority and I was immediately ostracized from certain groups because of being white and, on more than one occasion, had someone say “you’re white so you wouldn’t get it”.

In elementary school my experience was excellent, despite some comments.

Middle school was an entirely different experience. I had a teacher that flat-out ignored the white kids in class (myself included). This was a chorus class and I have a GOOD voice. I’m not star material, but I definitely have an above average voice. He rolled his eyes at me whenever I raised my hand to try for a solo. At 11 years old it reached the point where I started doubting my singing abilities, I stopped raising my hand, I got “sick” when it came time for concerts so that I wouldn’t have to go because I was MISERABLE and NO ONE said ANYTHING. I even SAID something and nothing changed…I was just being “oversensitive” despite the fact that other “white” kids in the class (all TWO of them) said the same thing.

I have also been told that I got bad grades from a white teacher because I deserved them, but when a black student got a bad grade from the same teacher it was racism.

I have had people say derogatory things about white people around me for a majority of my life and been labeled and criticized for it.

Is that good enough for you?

avalmez's avatar

hey, if we can all agree that judging someone by anything other than “the quality of their character” is just not right, then this thread just might end with a consensus. what do ya’ll think? can we leave it that or some amendment thereof? i’m fairly new to this site, but i think it could set a precedent!

hitomi's avatar

I just realized that my last response came off as angrier and more confrontational than initially intended.

Dredging up memories seems to have unearthed the associated emotions as well and I lost my temper a bit. I apologize for getting angry and am angrier still that I started tearing up over something that happened a little over 10 years ago I really was just trying to lay out a personal experience, as per SuperMouse’s request.

SuperMouse's avatar

@hitomi, this is an internet site, please don’t feel forced to dredge anything up on my account. I would not expect you to share anything you are not willing to share. A simple statement of your desire to keep these painful experiences to yourself is fine, or quite frankly just ignoring the request works too. This isn’t about anything being good enough for anyone.

@DrasticDreamer and @hitomi, unfortunately, you were both victimized by some obnoxious individuals. I am sad that you were both wronged, but I stand by my point. I am saying that in our country racism plays out in the form of discrimination against minorities by those belonging to the majority group in power. You as white people (or in your case hitomi, a person who outwardly looks white) are not fighting the same system wide imbalances as a person of color in this country. Whether you perceive my definition of racism as limited and narrow or not, it is reality in our country.

@avalmez, lurve for an excellent point well stated (your first response). For the purposes of this thread, I am just sharing that In this country I have not found myself to have been judged negatively because I am white. Lurve again for the quip you posted while I was crafting mine! You make much sense.

avalmez's avatar

@hitomi hey, no need to apologize whatsoever. i used to walk to school having rocks thrown at me (and i certainly returned the favor). many folks have unfortunately suffered similar experiences. not your fault…why apologize for others? live and learn..thats he ticket!

bea2345's avatar

@hitomi It is with shame that I make this admission: there is racism directed against whites in the West Indies. Things are better now, but there was a time when the white spouses of people admitted on a work permit could not get permits themselves. With the result that they could not take paid employment. It is one of the reasons one of my brothers lives abroad: my sister in law could not get a work permit, notwithstanding her impressive qualifications.

avalmez's avatar

@SuperMouse um, thanks, i really appreciate your response…but, uh, did i miss the lurve? :)

hitomi's avatar

@avalmez thanks! I just didn’t mean for it to be angry and suddenly realized how ridiculous it was – it’s a shame that people can be so cruel, my brother had rocks thrown at him when he was walking to school also.

@SuperMouse my argument with that story was that it WAS the majority group in power…it was a TEACHER and the rest of the faculty and staff of the school….you are acting like it only counts if it’s white people against everyone else…what about my mother being judged by a black person for being Asian? If you’re only looking at the grand scale than we need to look at the world and who has the majority around the globe and that means that they’re the only people that can be racist? That’s just absurd.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@SuperMouse: I am not arguing that there is not system-wide discrimination against minorities. There is, without any kind of doubt. What I am arguing, and what I am absolutely right about is that anyone, from any race, can be racist. And numerous people from varying races are.

I will not tolerate someone saying, “Only white people can be racist” because that itself is a racist comment. Just as I will not tolerate someone saying I was not the victim of racism in certain situations.

SuperMouse's avatar

@avalmez, I GA’d both answers! I totally brought the lurve!

@DrasticDream and @hitomi, I am not arguing that whites are the only people who can be racist. I am saying and I am correct that racism manifests as systematic discrimination against people in the minority. In the West Indies @bea2345 mentions, whites are more than likely the minority being discriminated against by the group in power. It is my understanding that in this thread we are speaking of the current state of the United States. The current state of the United States is that for the most part white males hold the power. (Yes, I know the president is African American, but how many members of his cabinet are? How many senators or congress-people are minorities?) @hitomi I did not say that African Americans are the only people that face discrimination in our country, in fact more than once I referred to “people of color” and a more clear way to state it would be “people who do not look like the majority” whatever their color may be. I am in no way stating that Asian Americans or any other minority group do not face discrimination and racism.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am absolutely right that no one can be absolutely right.

hitomi's avatar

@tinyfaery you are right! (but not absolutely ;-D)

@SuperMouse but you DID say that only the majority can be racist…so what about black vs. Asian? is that not racism?

SuperMouse's avatar

@hitomi, I said that the majority group that is holding the power is the group that is responsible for the systematic discrimination that is caused by racism. People of any race can be haters. While I believe that your point is true, I also believe it is off topic for this discussion. Keep in mind that what so many seem offended by is feeling victimized as white people by the use of the word “cracker” to describe whites. That to me is absurd given all the advantages white people have in a country like ours. To feel discriminated against because someone calls you a cracker just feels wrong in consideration of how good we, as the ruling majority, have it.

gimmedat's avatar

Acts that discriminate are manifested across all segments of society. Whether those acts are based on age, ethnicity, religion, or occupation it’s the act of discrimination that is harmful.

What was the original question? Oh, yeah, racial double standards and rules. Should social mores about acceptable/non-offensive behavior apply to all, regardless of ethnicity? Yes.

hitomi's avatar

@SuperMouse At this point I was just asking out of personal curiosity about your view. I still disagree, but I was just clarifying the specifics of your view.

ubersiren's avatar

I don’t know how anyone can say that racism can’t exist between any two races, or even intraracially. I used to work a hotel night shift where a black security guard used to tell me not to buzz any black people into the lobby unless he was there with me. I worked in Baltimore. I know a lot of black people who are unhappy with the up and coming Hispanic population. I had a Pakistani cab driver that used to call me “the fat white one.” And that was before I had a baby and gained any weight.

The article linked above said that “cracker” and “honkey” weren’t as hurtful slurs as “nigger” because they are always thought of as funny. But, I think that is only the case because the racial majority (whites) has always had the advantage of laughing at it. I think they are meant to be hurtful, but if the majority just laughs at it, it has no merit as an insult. But you know what is insulting? You know what black people have said to me that was hurtful? When they’ve said things like, “because you’re white.” Or even more blatantly, “white bitch.” White is hurtful enough… white people in this country are made to feel so bad about ourselves because of anti-black sentiment that should be ancient history. Most other countries engaged in slavery. Most other countries have had severe and brutal bouts of racism. We are not the only ones. But we ARE the only ones who have moved past that, yet continue to pass on the guilt to future generations.

I can’t stand anything that reinforces the continuing segregation. This includes equal opportunity, giving black student scholarships, and glorifying people who should be equal to me with things like Black History Month. Not that we shouldn’t teach our children what happened, and I don’t condone true racism today, but you can’t expect to be respected solely because you’re black. Or white. Or whatever.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@SuperMouse – Yes, systemic discrimination. Which doesn’t happen to white people. The first thing I thought of was Eddie Murphy getting piles of cash handed to him at the bank without collateral in that old SNL sketch, after laughing that the black bank officer was “a silly Negro.” There’s a reason why every time I show that Eddie Murphy skit from SNL where he’s in whiteface, it gets laughs from people I know who weren’t even born at the time, of any race I’ve shown it to. If people weren’t familiar with the tropes in Eddie’s sketch, then they wouldn’t laugh. There’s truth in comedy.

The more a culture and people deviate form European-based appearance and mores, are still considered “not normal.” Why isn’t Comic View, for example, on CBS? They wouldn’t dare air it, but Jeff Foxworthy, whose audience is arguably of the same social class as that of Comic View‘s, had a show on that network!

You know another sign for me that we’re all over this will be when there’s a über-successful minority Seinfeld. Or a minority Stephen Wright. Not one minority comedian never talks about race. Aziz Ansari and Baron Vaughn still have to do racial jokes in their stand-up acts. Female comedians have to talk about being a woman in a man’s world, and gay people have to talk about being gay in a straight world. Everyone expects these things. This makes me sad. And it makes me wish I were funny.

@ubersiren – Should be ancient history, but 140 years, unfortunately, is an eyeblink ago in historical terms. People in Central Europe are still fighting over shit that went down in 900. Americans are awfully fortunate, considering. And as for various history months, I agree with you. So someone needs to tell the Texas and Missouri people who are the final arbiters for American history texts to integrate those books and add more stories about people other than the usual 10 people of color and a few women at the end of each chapter.

I’ve never heard of any Asians in my books, unless it was about the internment camps in the 1940s and how the Irish and Chinese fought each other to get jobs during railroad days. Why? How come the only Spanish-speaking person in such books is Cesar Chavez? It’s not that different now, and it’s not right that kids don’t know more of the history of their country and of all its people. Perhaps children need to be assigned something like Lies My Teacher Told Me, A People’s History of the United States, and A Different Mirror. We all need to be more exposed to each other. More exposure. Everywhere. So we can finally get these damn masks off and start treating each other like human beings. I’m so fucking sick of all this. What are we going to do about it? And it has to be us, you guys. Obama’s busy.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@tinyfaery Go ahead and go on believing that only white people can be racist, then. It only proves you don’t even know the definition for the word “racism”. I will not have anyone say that I wasn’t a victim of racism, when I know for a fact that I was. I would never look at anyone who was a victim of racism and say to their face, “That’s not racist!”. To do so is complete bullshit.

To say white people are the only people who can be racist – and that is exactly what you said above – is a racist remark. And sorry to say, but what I said above still stands. The definitions for the word “racism” are what they are and nothing else, so yes, I am right about that.

tinyfaery's avatar

Where did I say only white people can be racist?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I said: “There is no such thing as reverse racism. All that exists is racism. Anyone from any race can be racist.”

You said: “Do not agree.”

If I got what you meant wrong, then please clarify. But as it is now and how it looks, I can’t see how you meant it any other way. If that isn’t what you were saying, what do you actually disagree with me about?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@SuperMouse No, we weren’t just talking about the current state in the United States, which is maybe why we both thought we were arguing about something else.

artificialard's avatar

I’ve read this whole thread with great interest

@DrasticDreamer I think where @tinyfaery disagreed with your statement was with the fact that reverse racism didn’t exist. You’re equating only white people can be racist to reverse racism which I don’t think are identical concepts.

Reverse racism is the term given when a racial minority group is given preferential treatment, but with a negative connotation as it’s presumably at the expense of the favored ethnicity. However such actions are sanctioned sometimes explicitly to address the racial imbalance in a society (for example forcing companies to hire ethnic minorities).

I guess that can also be expanded to the fact of the disadvantaged racial minority practising racial discrimination against the dominant racial class.

It’s that power imbalance that gives meaning to the term reverse racism, which implies that there are varying degrees of racism depending on which groups are directing it to where. I do believe that there are varying levels of racism and that reverse racism exists.

ubersiren's avatar

@aprilsimnel : I know exactly what you’re talking about. When I was in school, we never even studied Chavez. It seemed like year after year, we only learned about white men, unless it was February, in which case we’d do a report on a black historical figure.

@artificialard: So, I want to get the terminology correct. Is this right? An example of reverse racism is like the black supremacist groups? Like this crazy asshole?

GAMBIT's avatar

My small children know nothing about racism. They understand that skin color is determined by someone’s mother or father. They also understand that people in different parts of the world look different. Racism has to be either taught or experienced for someone to understand it. Words can be hurtful no matter who says them.

ubersiren's avatar

@GAMBIT : Just wait until they go to school- the teachers will make sure the kids know they’re different.

GAMBIT's avatar

@ubersiren – yes and it is sad because right now they enjoy learning about other cultures. There is no negative sterotypes.

Leanne1986's avatar

@SuperMouse this question was not intended to be soley based on the US. I am in England but my question is based on the situation worldwide.

squirbel's avatar

Is it just me, or is anyone not reading tinyfaery’s link?

You guys wouldn’t be arguing this far if your eyes were opened to the world that is here now. You are living in a fictitious universe.

Read.

A Look at the Myth of Reverse Racism

squirbel's avatar

Likewise, it’s the difference in power and position that has made recent attempts by American Indian activists in Colorado to turn the tables on white racists so utterly ineffective.

Indian students at Northern Colorado University, fed up by the unwillingness of white school district administrators in Greeley to change the name and grotesque Indian caricature of the Eaton High School “Reds,” recently set out to flip the script on the common practice of mascot-oriented racism.

Thinking they would show white folks what it’s like to “be in their shoes” and experience the objectification of being a team icon, indigenous members of an intramural basketball team renamed themselves the “Fightin’ Whiteys,” and donned t-shirts with the team mascot: a 1950’s-style caricature of a suburban, middle class white guy, next to the phrase “every thang’s gonna be all white.”

Funny though the effort was, it has not only failed to make the point intended, but indeed has been met with laughter and even outright support by white folks. Rush Limbaugh actually advertised for the team’s t-shirts on his radio program, and whites from coast to coast have been requesting team gear, thinking it funny to be turned into a mascot, as opposed to demeaning.

Of course the difference is that it’s tough to negatively objectify a group whose power and position allows them to define the meaning of another group’s attempts at humor: in this case the attempt by Indians to teach them a lesson. It’s tough to school the headmaster, in other words.

Objectification works against the disempowered because they are disempowered. The process doesn’t work in reverse, or at least, making it work is a lot tougher than one might think.

Turning Indians into mascots has been offensive precisely because it is a continuation of the dehumanization of such persons over many centuries; the perpetuation of the mentality of colonization and conquest.

It is not as if one group—whites—merely chose to turn another group—Indians—into mascots. Rather, it is that one group, whites, have consistently viewed Indians as less than fully human, as savage, as “wild,” and have been able to not merely portray such imagery on athletic banners and uniforms, but in history books and literature more crucially.

In the case of the students at Northern, they would need to be a lot more acerbic in their appraisal of whites, in order for their attempts at “reverse racism” to make the point intended. After all, “fightin” is not a negative trait in the eyes of most white folks, and the 1950’s iconography chosen for the uniforms was unlikely to be seen as that big a deal.

Perhaps if they had settled on “slave-owning whiteys,” or “murdering whiteys,” or “land-stealing whiteys,” or “smallpox-giving-on-purpose whiteys,” or “Native-people-butchering whiteys,” or “mass raping whiteys,” the point would have been made.

And instead of a smiling “company man” logo, perhaps a Klansman, or skinhead as representative of the white race: now that would have been a nice functional equivalent of the screaming Indian warrior. But see, you gotta go strong to turn the tables on the man, and ironic sarcasm just ain’t gonna get it nine times out of ten.

An excerpt cited from A Look at the Myth of Reverse Racism

hitomi's avatar

It is the attitude that being hateful and derogatory toward ANY group that continues and propagates the division of race in the world. By saying that it’s okay to respond in kind to white people because they have the power and laugh about it shows a lack of care and consideration for “white” people as individuals. The implications have been that because “white” people have the power they don’t FEEL to the same as a minority.

My brother LOOKS like a white male and has basically been told in classes that he represents everything that is wrong with the world.

No one, not even the white majority, should feel GUILTY about their race, and yet, that is how white people are made to feel….You should be apologetic and regret the fact that you were BORN WHITE! It’s backward and it IS racism to create a concept that one ENTIRE race IS universally expected to think, feel, and react in a set way. It is closed minded and shows a lack of consideration for the individual.

ubersiren's avatar

It’s getting icky in here.

hitomi's avatar

@ubersiren sorry about that….I just get really irritated when people try to make me feel bad about looking white. I really didn’t WANT to get into the fight again, but this is a bit too much like the stuff that I was told as a child that did serious damage to my self-identity and confidence

GAMBIT's avatar

I am of mixed race I have had to physically fight in my black community because I was called white boy. Since I was a good fighter nobody called me any more names. When I lived in Alabama I could not find one barber who would cut my hair because I have an afro. My grandmother was a Native American when I went to Montana a “friend” who didn’t know my heritage said “Indians are nothing but savages”. I remember when we studied black history in school a white student was beat up by the class only because he was white. I met a chinese man who looked at me and said your are Chinese? When my daughter was born a kind latino lady on the subway train said to my wife your daughter is so beautiful is she Spanish? My point is let us rejoice in who we are yes racism is out there for everybody it is up to us to choose not to be a racists and teach our children that there is good and bad in everybody.

hitomi's avatar

@GAMBIT Bravo! Cheers to being a pure-bred American Mutt or whatever else you may be!

GAMBIT's avatar

@hitomi – HA!! proud of it. LOL

ubersiren's avatar

@hitomi : I’m not referring to anyone in particular… this thread is just beginning to wither my soul!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@ubersiren I know what you mean. It’s very depressing.

bea2345's avatar

On a lighter note: Some years ago our Prime Minister, Mr Basdeo Panday, was sued for slander by Ken Gordon, the Chairman of a local news conglomerate. Mr. Gordon won. It was reported that the BBC called the newsroom of the Trinidad Express to ask if the judge, Mr. Peter Jamadar, was the same ethnicity as the Prime Minister. He was.

alossforwords's avatar

As a waiter at a restaurant in Texas, I witness alot of tables that will not tip a waiter as much if they are of a different ethnicity. I also witness many groups of people that just don’t tip because they don’t care. I get charged tip share and paid $2.13 an hour, so being stiffed costs me money that other tables left me. I find this especially frustrating. Last week I heard a table say, “Well, now we have a white guy acting like a slave for us for once.” I felt so bad for the guy, but I couldn’t say anything to the table without risking my job. If a white person had said that about a black server, they would have been kicked out of the place in a heartbeat. Sad that we’ve evolved so much but are still so blind and weak.

artificialard's avatar

@alossforords That sounds very depressing. But I’m a little confused, do you mean that visible minority servers get tipped more? My friends have noticed this phenomenon with a certain group of WASP-y acquaintances, ostensibly because they assume they ‘need it more’. I don’t know if this is good or bad.

alossforwords's avatar

@artificialard No I was referring to several races (Caucasian and African American primarily) that do not tip servers as much because they are of different ethnicity… Servers both black and white that are very well spoken and very good at their jobs.

Crusader's avatar

alossforwords said ’...several races caucacian and african american…do not tip as much…
Spoken like a true Latino Power! Or Asian Power?
Lets address this…
I have worked for 10+ years in the gratuity industry-tipping
for the laymen linguist.
The Vast Majority of Asians appreciate and compensate accordingly.
The Vast Majority of Caucasions appreciate and compensate
accordingly-though they may have higher standards for service.
Most Latinos appreciate and compensate accordingly.
Some/Few Middle Eastern Natives, (Turkey, etc..) appreciate and compensate accordingly.
Few Africans appreciate and compensate accordingly.

I am a straight white male, and I have positive acquainences
with all people until proven otherwise individually,
collectively, I can make these assertions because of
my Personal experience. Though I harbor no antipathy,
this is simply fact. I regard all equally, but not all
regard me equally, (because of my demographic)—-Fact

BBQsomeCows's avatar

‘black’ people addressing ‘black America’ on TV is racism and tolerated wrongly.

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