Social Question

Aethelflaed's avatar

People of Color, have you ever experienced racism?

Asked by Aethelflaed (13752points) January 24th, 2012

It’s like Blackberry’s question about sexism, but with racism.

How often do you experience racism? In what ways do you experience racism? Tell me your stories, your musings, your ramblings on racism.

ETA: Any writings/blogs/whatever you wish white people would read to become a better ally in fighting racism?

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33 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I’m a blonde, blue eyed woman and as a child I was subject to a lot of racial hatred.
My father was an architect for the Bureau of indian affairs and built hospitals and schools across the southwest. I was absolutely hated by the mexican american and native american kids. It was especially awful in Jr. High when all the girls hated me and all the hispanic and indian boys liked me.

I moved back to California from New Mexico for HS…I couldn’t wait to get out of that scene. Sooo…goes to show that racism knows NO bounds and it is not just about people of “color.” White is a color too and believe me, it was a very painful experience to be a little blonde white girl in the middle of the reservation.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Coloma Ok, but, the question was directed specifically towards PoC.

Coloma's avatar

@Aethelflaed Isn’t white a color too? ;-) Never mind, I get it.

Blackberry's avatar

Nothing too bad. I was asked to leave a house party in a rural part of Oregon because I was black.

A girl and I had to hide our relationship in high school because her parents didn’t want her to date non whites.

The rest was just random cruel jokes and a few stares in the south while walking with a white woman lol.

mazingerz88's avatar

Yes, especially when I became President of the United States of America. Btw, please do watch my State of the Union speech tonight at 9 ET. Especially you @Blackberry. Saw that rather cynical post of yours…dude, that hurts! : )

smilingheart1's avatar

While I am not of color, I hope you accept this story from my workplace which is United Nations in concept. A new Engineer from Nigeria started a couple weeks back and was re-introduced to an Anglo Saxon electrician he didn’t recall meeting earlier. The electrician smoothed over the moment with this quip “I know…us white guys all look the same!”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aethelflaed Your response to Coloma was very racist, but in a way I hadn’t considered before. Wow, that floored me. I’ve got to chew on that a few.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Aethelflaed Is there a reason that you directed this only to people that aren’t white? I thought your answer to @Coloma very disrespectful and, just because she is white does not mean her feelings were any less hurt by the bullying she suffered because she didn’t fit in.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Since when are we not allowed to ask specific groups of people for their opinions, even if other groups of people might have something to say on the matter? It happens all the time on Fluther, what makes this any different?

Coloma's avatar

Well… there is such a thing as reverse racism.
Perhaps the Q should have been directed to “people” in general.
PEOPLE, have you ever experienced racism?

Again, bottom line, racism is about race, therefore it should encompass ALL races.
To eliminate the caucasion race is racist.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I think it came across as dismissing someone’s feelings because they don’t fit into the right box that made me uncomfortable with @Aethelflaed comment to @Coloma, that’s all. I would, like to know why it’s only directed at people who aren’t white though. That is just a genuine question to @Aethelflaed and nothing more than that.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Well, sexism goes both ways, so was it not okay for @Blackberry‘s question (which inspired this one) to be directed to women, if he was specifically interested in hearing women’s perspective?
I’m not suggesting that racism can’t go in a million directions, but, if the OP was only interested in hearing a certain perspective, that doesn’t make her racist. That doesn’t make her question racist. She just had a specific question in mind, I don’t think that is racist in any way.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m trying to get my head around this, but if you exclude any person based on race isn’t that racism? I understand your point about asking groups, but still if you exclude someone whose, for the time being, a member of the majority it’s still racism.

Blackberry's avatar

I asked women about sexism because I wanted to know what it’s like to be a woman in that aspect. I already know of examples of sexism as a male. Maybe @Aethelflaed is white and has already experienced racism towards her, but wanted to understand other people of color as well? I don’t know.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Wait, why is everybody accusing @Aethelflaed of racism when she was simply being specific in her question? Maybe Caucasians have experienced racism, but that was not the question. The question was specifically to people of color, who experience a specific type of racism in this country, and not necessarily an open Q to all persons. Asking about racism isn’t racism, seeking a certain kind of information isn’t racism, and sorry, @Adirondackwannabe , but I don’t buy the catch all ”...if you exclude any person based on race isn’t that racism?”; I feel that is too broad and convenient for this case.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth I see your point but I think you missed mine. It’s always going to be wrong to exclude someone on the basis of race. I think Coloma’s point was valid. Anyone can experience racism at one time or another.

bkcunningham's avatar

It is a direct question to a specific group of people. I’m really trying to wrap my head around how asking the question was wrong, and how @Aethelflaed‘s polite response to @Coloma‘s example was wrong. @Coloma even said she got understood. I don’t want the world to become just one color, one gender, one financial group, one of anything. I like diversity. I like differences in people. So what if the question is directed at people with darker skin? Am I being a racist without realizing that I am one? To me it is no different than asking a certain age group what their experience has been regarding something, and me, as a person nearing senior citizen status, saying, ‘Oh, no, wait, you can’t discriminate.’

If I have something to add about my experience when I was younger, fine. Like @Coloma did. But my experience isn’t really answering the question asked if it is in regards to this generation of people of a certain age. Does that make sense?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@all Because I know how white people experience racism. I know what white people think about racism. I am white, I’ve spent my whole life around tons and tons and tons of white people. Every single day on Fluther, white people get a chance to speak about racism, and they usually do. What I don’t know (as much as I’d like to) is the perspectives of people of color*, and I wasn’t 100% sure that the few on Fluther felt comfortable voicing their stories and views on it. White people can experience some hateful things, sure, but they don’t experience it on the massive, institutional level that PoC do. Also, Blackberry’s question specifically asked women, so why was that question allowed to proceed largely without anyone getting upset, but this one isn’t?

*Know why I chose that term? Because it’s what I keep reading from people who are not white. On Racialicious. On ColorLines. On People of Color Organize. From Gloria Anzaldua. From Melissa Harris-Perry. I took my labeling from the people I was trying to ask, not from white people.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Why I said what I did was because I’ve never experienced racism first hand. I’m a white male in a very predominately white area. Coloma’s comments caught me off my guard. I felt what she was saying and I probably typed faster than my brain processed everything. I’ve only called a few people racist and they really earned that title. I think my point has merits, but I apologize to Aethelfaed. I was out of line.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aethelflaed I’ve had to do that a few times lately. I must be getting cranky or something. That was very nice of you. I’ll try to behave better.:)

Coloma's avatar

I’m good, no issues here, just wished to broaden the horizon a bit, but, I respect @Aethelflaed desire to narrow down her preferences. Carry on…people. lol

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Coloma In the future, if you want to broaden the question, you can ask your own question. But please don’t hijack my question. This question has now become All About The White People, and only one PoC has actually answered the question I asked. To be quite honest, you’ve come across as exceptionally privileged to me, to think that your opinion is just so important that you have to answer all the time, even when things aren’t about you. Your need to not only answer the question, but answer it so quickly, pretty much ruined the question.

@Adirondackwannabe It’s always going to be wrong to exclude someone on the basis of race… Anyone can experience racism at one time or another. So, a couple things. One, the social justice definition of racism (prejudice+power) tends to say that white people can’t experience racism, they can experience prejudice but not racism. Now, I don’t really want this thread to become about that definition, I think that’s another question, but I think it’s important to note how many people would say, no, they can’t. Two, yes, it is wrong to exclude someone on the basis of race. It’s wrong when PoC are excluded from being included in the default. It’s wrong when white, middle class feminists assume that getting women into the workplace will be the same for black women, instead of the same old schtick. It’s wrong when PoC are excluded from getting pardons at nearly the same rate as whites. It’s wrong when PoC are the targets of laws like Arizona’s SB 1070. It’s wrong when white people trust women of color so little that they have to try to enact race-specific abortion laws just for PoC. It’s wrong when white people complain about BET, instead of trying to get more PoC represented on big tv shows in leading roles in non-stereotypical ways.

Look, racism happens. Every day. Normally, most of it is subconscious. From people who claim they “don’t see color”, instead meaning they refuse to examine their own behavior and see oppression. From otherwise decent people. From well-meaning people, who are just reinforcing a paradigm because it’s easy. But it still happens. Sometimes, you have to point out that racism on a conscious level, and make safe spaces for those who’s voices aren’t normally heard as much (like I was trying to do here), in order to effectively combat racism.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I’m not going to follow this question anymore, it’s gone over horribly, and I’m really disappointed in quite a few people here. If any PoC are interested in answering the question, please feel free to PM me, I’d love to hear it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The comment white people can’t experience racism is pure bullshit. If you’re discriminated against just for your race, that’s racism.

Coloma's avatar


Really? Are you going to take your question and go home?
If any PoC had wanted to share I don’t think my headline comment has stopped them.
Maybe they just aren’t around.
“exceptionally privileged” ?

I simply interjected a sharing that I felt had merit, I think “hijack” is a bit dramatic as well as “disappointed”. I like it when a Q takes on it’s own unique flavor and flow.
I’m sorry your Q didn’t turn out the way you anticipated. I guess we have to agree to disagree on what exact colors constitute PoC. I suppose it is true, white people are colorless. lol


Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@Aethelflaed I find it odd that in your question you ask about any resources that could bring white people to help fight racism. Blogs, etc. Then you have many whites respond and you take offense to the fact that we are interested in what you wanted us interested in. I would love to see some of these blogs.
I see racism of all flavors and would appreciate the resources of info to help educate others. No race has sole claim to to being victims of racism.

lloydbird's avatar

@Aethelflaed Are any people colorless?

Translucent people perhaps?

I don’t know any.

HungryGuy's avatar

After my starship crashed on your pretty blue planet here about 200 of your years ago, and before I had my auto-doc genetically alter my DNA to fit in, my skin was a pretty shade of green. Do I quality as a PoC?

FutureMemory's avatar

No race has sole claim to to being victims of racism.

While technically true, to accept that statement as some sort of balanced assessment of the issue is offensive.

I see nothing wrong with how this question was asked.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@FutureMemory “No race has sole claim to to being victims of racism.” That is offensive? I don’t see it.That is the truth. I have native American ancestors in my background and in my opinion, they have suffered the worst racism. Native Americans were slaughtered wholesale. Made slaves. Yes, they were also slaves. Yet i don’t think they can claim to be the sole victims of racism either. Also on my opinion, when it comes to racism, we all suffer from it whether we are the victim or perpetrator. I never said there was anything wrong with the question. Although it tried to rule out one race from answering.

MadMadMax's avatar

Are Jews people of color? Cause I got a boatload of racist experiences I could share – some would curl your toes.

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