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rojo's avatar

Can a person of any race be called racist for denigrating another person of the same race?

Asked by rojo (24123points) October 8th, 2015

This question was generated from another question asked.

Personally, I don’t believe so. As the article provided in the above question pointed out: “It’s intended to be provocative, offensive, and even insulting, but it’s not a racist term.” This was in response to a specific insult but I think that it goes for any statement where the insulter and the insultee are of the same race, even if the insulter is full of self loathing.

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13 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Can? They WILL be called racist by anyone opposed to whatever was said and for whatever reason. Labels are as arbitray as personalities. Of course they can be called racist. Whether they are or not is a matter of consensus.

rojo's avatar

I should have asked “Is a person…...”

flutherother's avatar

Racist comments made about your own race are usually humorous rather than racist.

longgone's avatar

I believe so, yes. Here’s why:

Most racists allow for exceptions to their rules. They use blanket statements, sure – but when questioned, many of them will arrogantly explain that of course they don’t mean to say all Germans are stupid. They start talking in doctored statistics and probabilities. It’s like the typical racist’s defense “I’m no racist. Hell, some of my friends are foreigners.”

This could very well happen within one’s own race. I can’t denounce all Germans, but I can earnestly believe that most members of my nation are lazy, thieving idiots. I just have to be arrogant enough to assume I am the exception.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This is a tricky question given the example offered. Here are two answers:

Did Professor Butler denigrate someone of her own race in a racial way? It all depends upon which definition of “coon” she is attempting to use. The original and subsequent definitions of the term are explained here.

If she was only aware of the original definition, then no. If she was aware of how the term has evolved, then yes. It has not only become a slur targeted at people who are black, but occasionally used by people who are of the same race but of a higher level of education and financial status.

The more top-line question: Can a person of any race be called a racist for denigrating another person of the same race? I suppose it is possible, but I have yet to see an example of it. In all of the cases I have witnessed or read about, there is some underlying factor.

Usually it is based upon region, religion, political affiliation, education, economical status, etc. The color of one’s skin is rarely the most prevalent factor.

geeky_mama's avatar

Sorry, I disagree with you @flutherother.

Blacks hate on blacks, whites hate on whites.. Even in the GLBTQ community it’s not unusual for gays to hate on trans or vice versa.

Example: My friend ‘A’ is a beautiful, educated black woman living in Atlanta. She was teased as a child for speaking “too white”, called “oreo” (black on the outside, white on the inside) and worse. By.her.own.classmates.

Example: A Caucasian (pasty white like me) woman befriended me at the YMCA and after a yoga class we were chatting in the lobby and she talked about how pleased she was to make a friend with “someone like us” and then darted her eyes over to a single (white) mom struggling to bring her kids in to swimming lessons. The kids had clothes too big or too small..and nothing was name perhaps one could assume they were less wealthy. I was horrified. I’ve never talked to her since. (BTW, I get 90% of my clothes at the Goodwill and I’ll bet she didn’t realize every last bit of that yoga outfit I was wearing could’ve been from her cast offs!)

Be it class, social standing, gender, sexuality or race—people can be racist and hateful to “their own people”.

I actually sat through a powerful speech by Laverne Cox on just this topic. She talked about how black women are catty about being “too dark” skinned. Racist within their own race. It happens.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@geeky_mama Do the examples given boil down to race? They seem to deal with other biases, specifically economic status and gender identity.

@longgone The same is applicable in the examples given. They pertain to regional or national location. Is that the same as being a racist?

Misspegasister28's avatar

I’m pretty sure that’s called internalized racism.

josie's avatar

There is a sort of order or status that determines who can be racist or not.
It is what Lenin called kto koro but I can’t type Cyrillic so it doesn’t really look like that.
It means who whom.
Meaning sort of who is doing it to whom.
In the West, only whites can be racist. Just like only males can be sexist.
Just like only straights can be homophopic- gays can not be hetrophobic.
Just like only Christians can be religious bigots- Muslims can not.
Just like Islamic regimes can rocket Isreal- Isreal must apologize for shooting back.
Just like when whites shoot blacks, it makes the news as an example of psychosis and or hatred. When blacks shoot blacks it’s just another day in south Chicago.

josie's avatar

I found a Cyrillic keyboard that I could copy to Fluther

How cool is that?

geeky_mama's avatar

I agree – definitely some flaws in my first answer. Some of the examples I gave above were based on marginalized groups hating on others within their marginalized groups. That said, going back to the original question,can (or are) people within the same “race” able to be “racist” – YES absolutely. Their reasons for doing it? Myriad. Not merely boiled down to socioeconomic status (class) or religion.

The example of my friend being called an Oreo? She was actually called this by her peers. Same school, same level of education, same socioeconomic circumstances (if anything, my friend had it harder as she was being raised by a single mother with less money)—yet they were attacking her for acting “uppity” or above her fellow black sister. I’d call that racist.

1. Japanese race hating on their fellow Japanese – I have 2 examples.
Okinawan and Eta/Burakumin descent. Both still experience (or have recently experienced) racism within their own race and culture.

Some Okinawans have a slightly darker skin tone (hey, it’s like Hawaii there.. if I lived there I’d have a darker skin tone, too!) and were considered to be indigenous Ryukyu. They’ve been part of Japan since 1590 (fully annexed in the late 1800s)..yet when I lived in Japan in 1987 there were signs in restaurants in Tokyo that read: “No Okinawans or Dogs Allowed”. Sound familiar? Except..they were Japanese in race. And had been since the 1800s.

Eta were historically (we’re talking the early days of the introduction of Buddhism to Japan – no one is exactly sure, but “Burakumin” or these “unclean” Japanese are documented from the 1300s) separated and discriminated against from their fellow Japanese. You’d think that by 2015 there would not be prejudice within an otherwise very homogeneous nation against a group from nearly over 700+ years ago…but it continues. It’s a dirty little secret in Japan that no one wants to talk about. Their DNA (Eta) and coloration are identical to every other Japanese citizen. It’s merely their misfortune at birth that “brands” them as Eta/Burakumin.

2. Black women/men hating on other black women/men based on how dark their skin tone is = racism.

3. Indians are also prejudiced against darker skin Indians. (Source)

4. Actually, racism based on skin color is pervasive in Latin America and Africa, too. (Info)

…and technically, Indian citizens hating other Indians could be either racism, caste, historical division, class or religious prejudice…because India is a mishmash of languages, religions, cultures and city/states..thrown together under colonization.

But I’m using the example of say, the same woman born in Bangalore being unwilling to let her son consider marriage to another woman born on the same street in Bangalore because her “skin is too dark”.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Pffft, of course not. Only white people are racist. I thought everyone knew this…

rojo's avatar

@geeky_mama ” ... the same woman born in Bangalore being unwilling to let her son consider marriage to another woman born on the same street in Bangalore because her “skin is too dark”.” I wonder if it was always thus? Or is it a result of the influence of western standards of beauty? It does seem to be that regardless of geographic area the darker the skin the more prejudice is elicited; Marrying a lighter skin from your own is apparently looked upon as moving up the social scale while going darker is to be seen as a reduction in social status.

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