General Question

howardroark's avatar

First--I'm a white guy. Is it racist if I put bronzer on my face and go as tiger woods for Halloween?

Asked by howardroark (27points) October 22nd, 2009

I think this is a good halloween costume, but I am worried about the potential backlash of a white guy going in blackface, even though Tiger is half Thai half black.

is it really any different than people dressing Mexican or Indian or Scottish for halloween?

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85 Answers

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I was considering going as michael jackson from thriller (the zombie version) so I say no. ( I am white too)

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

nope, only the people that revel in being victims will find fault with it. Just carry a golf club to hit them with, if they give you shit.

buckyboy28's avatar

Yeah. That’s probably a bad idea. I’m sure that some people will find it humorous, but most will find it offensive.

Put some baby powder in your hair and go as Arnold Palmer.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

But, if you put satire into your costume, then that could be racist.

syz's avatar

Um, feels a little squidgy to me. I probably wouldn’t.

poofandmook's avatar

maybe just find a Tiger Woods mask?

Sarcasm's avatar

There are quiet a few people who find offense in it (without actually giving a reason, they just say “How is that NOT offensive?”). Personally I don’t find it offensive, but know that others may.

Some people just like to be upset about nothing. You’re just dressing up like him, right? You’re not trying to make some statement about how black people are dumb, unevolved, etc. etc. are you?

Menekali's avatar

Not at all man, it’s all in good fun! It’s Halloween!

Jeruba's avatar

It’s always a little dicey going as a real person, living or dead. Were you planning on using anything other than skin color to identify yourself as Tiger Woods? Because by itself I don’t think that would do it. And if you have other good props, do you really need skin color?

poisonedantidote's avatar

It’s very important that we know what racism is. i feel that too many things are being labeled racist these days. and feel that this detracts from just how serious a charge calling something racist is.

we should reserve this lable for things that are really truly racist.

putting on face paint is not racist, no matter what color it is, saying the word black is not racist, using sayings that have obscure refferences to slavery are not racist. E.G. the pact between slaves that used to be whipped leading to the saying ’‘you scratch my back i scratch yours’’ is not racist.

telling someone they are the wrong color for the job and then showing up at their house with a burning cross and a demand that they leave town is racist.

there is a massive gap between things that are racist and things that are not. and the difference should be obvious to anyone.

sorry to go off on a tangent there, but it seems the question had already been answered by everyone else, so i thought i would leave my two cents.

jackm's avatar

If you know all the poeple who you will be seeing then its fine, otherwise, no dont do it.

eponymoushipster's avatar

he’s mixed, so is it really blackface?

Jack_Haas's avatar

Go as John Daly instead, that way you can get drunk out of your mind and everyone will think you’re an awesome impersonator.

howardroark's avatar

First thanks for the feedback. I have good props, but if I don’t darken my skin then I would be dressed as “a golfer” not Tiger Woods. Have you watched the PGA? everybody is a white guy with a tucked in polo holding a calloway. There is only 1 golfer who everybody in the world knows—Tiger woods (yeah, the black guy).

I like the John Daley idea. I just need realy goofy plad pants.

dpworkin's avatar

Who has the chutzpah to tell Howard Roark what to do?

frdelrosario's avatar

Dude, who’s going to go as Mrs. Tiger Woods?!

DarkScribe's avatar

The realistic answer is no, it isn’t offensive to pretend to be a famous black person for something like Halloween, but many people will regard it as being so. If you went as a French Inspector Clouseau, an Irish Leprechaun, as British Royalty or a Chinese Jackie Chan it would likely be accepted in good grace, but there is a different and unrealistic standard sometimes applied to African American ethnicity by a small group who will regard it as offensive. You see constantly this attitude in all manner of situations regarding African Americans – often originating with people who are not African American themselves

timothykinney's avatar

While I agree with @poisonedantidote, I’d like to point out that there is a specific reason that blackface is construed as racism. It was historically used as a way for white people to look ridiculous while specifically making fun of how uneducated or unfortunate African Americans were perceived to be. It was like wearing a dunce cap that said “I am dumb because I’m black.” There was no attempt to actually look like an African American, but rather to look like a caricature of a foolish one.

Now, if you went out in public wearing a shirt that said “I am dumb because I’m black” I think a lot of people would consider that racism. But, to a lot of people, going out in blackface amounts to the same thing.

It’s not just putting on black face paint, it’s about mimicking an era when putting on a particular style of face paint was purely intended to amuse racists at the expense of African Americans.

I think you could get away with darkening your skin artificially, wearing a wig and a polo shirt, and it not being racist. But if you use the style of blackface makeup, in my opinion, you are purposely referencing an era of intolerance and hatred.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@poisonedantidote GA. glad to see someone has the ability to see what is racist and what is not. If you got big white teeth, and can smile like Tiger Woods, go for it.

however, if you go dressed like this, then that my friend is racist.

Facade's avatar

Please don’t. Just to avoid unnecessary problems

rooeytoo's avatar

Would it be racist if a black person put on white makeup and went as Arnold Palmer? I abhor racism but sometimes it just seems as if it has gone way too far in the politically correct direction.

And if you wore a Tiger Woods mask, it would be okay. Tiger himself has always gracefully avoided getting caught up in those debates. He doesn’t call himself African American because he has so many other ethnicities mixed in and is proud of them all.

I really admire most everything about Tiger, it would be cool to go as him.

F1's avatar

It is widely accepted that all “white” people came from the South or of an Africa origin so how can it be concieved as a racist act.If it offends somebody then it just shows their ignorance.You are in effect celebrating your culture from around 17,000 years ago.Racism only exists in the minds of the ignorant.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@rooeytoo Would it be racist if a black person put on white makeup and went as Arnold Palmer? I abhor racism but sometimes it just seems as if it has gone way too far in the politically correct direction.

I feel exactly the same way. I can’t understand why people want to get upset about every little thing.

I wonder how many people would go ballistic if I dressed in this costume and went as Sitting Bull? I am distantly related to the man, and to go as him for Halloween would be to honor him, not to denigrate him.

Lorenita's avatar

It’s not racist, it’s actually a good idea for a costume

F1's avatar

Is it racist that golf balls are predominantly white?

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

It is also racist that green olives are packed in a jar, but black olives are packed in a can.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i don’t think that recognizing that people having different skin tones means you’re racist. i think it means that you have the ability to perceive colour.
it’s just as prejudice as me buying a blonde wig to be marilyn monroe when i have brown hair. scandalous!

RedPowerLady's avatar

Yes it is culturally inappropriate. I am speaking as a person of color.

You might see this discussion we had on here about wearing black face.
Here is the link

Also you can wear a nametag that says tiger woods (okay cheesey but hey it’s an option). If your costume is good then it won’t matter anyhow. You do not have to wear a black face to be Tiger Woods. If you feel you do then perhaps you should reconsider your costume.

Just think of it this way. It only matters what Black people would think. It is their choice to decide if it is appropriate or not. (that means their choice as a community and not as the one random person who could give a f*ck). Of course the APA (American Psychological Association) has said that dressing up like this is harmful for children so that should warm your heart ~

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

We’ve all seen white guys trying to act like black guys already. It never comes off well.

LuhvKiller's avatar

Ha i think that’ll be funny as hell…Make sure you get some pictures. I THINK YOU SHOULD DO IT!!! lol

ubersiren's avatar

I’d say not. You’re not going as a black person, you’re going as a person person, and in order to look like him, you need darker skin. I don’t think it’s sexist when men go as Marilyn Monroe or something…

RedPowerLady's avatar

How about you call the NAACP and see where they stand?
(877) NAACP-98 (make sure you ask for the history of black face while you are at it, you know just for fun).

Or rather trust the opinions of a bunch of people who are not of color and might have limited experience dealing with what is appropriate or not.

If you have to ask if something is racist or not best to not do it. Don’t you think?

eponymoushipster's avatar

is it racist if you like that race? – Jerry Seinfeld

filmfann's avatar

The nice thing about it is you have someone white going in costume as some who they admire who is black.
I am old enough to remember when that didn’t happen.

SuperMouse's avatar

I don’t think it is a good idea. As I said in the thread that discussed black-face, I am not one for being overly politically correct, but this just seems to cross a line that it is needless to cross. There are tons of other great costume ideas out there, why pick something that you know is going to get some people’s hackles up?

For the record I think it smacks of racism, but even if I didn’t I would discourage it. If for no other reason than many people do look at it that way, and there are plenty of jerky white guys you could go as.

LuhvKiller's avatar

I think its all fun and its halloween…it would be great to see that… My ex was white and he dressed up like Fred G. Sandford a few years ago and it was funny as hell LOL Even though he didn’t use black face they still knew who he was supposed to be LOL SO DUDE DO IT! DO IT! and take pics!!

SuperMouse's avatar

Come to think of it, there are some pretty cool white guys you could dress as too. Don’t even try to tell me Ben and Andrew are not as cool as Tiger Woods.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@SuperMouse the last two guys look pretty shady…~

LuhvKiller's avatar

@DarkScribe so you tryin to say its not ok to dress as a BLACK person cause the black folk will get mad and Retaliate??

rooeytoo's avatar

“Tiger Woods is African American, Chinese, Native American, Thai, and Caucasian. He likes to say that he is Asian American and that he is African American. On an Oprah Winfrey show he called himself “Cablinasian”(Tiger Woods: An American Master pg.4). He made up this name from all of his ethnicity.”

If you go as Tiger, you could possibly piss off half the world!

proXXi's avatar

If you wan’t to be Tiger for halloween but don’t out of fear of being percieved as racist racism wins.

And the stupid cycle continues…..

mponochie's avatar

I am a black woman and I say go for it, Halloween is all about being whoever you want for a day as long as you aren’t doing something offensive or using it to advance a racist agenda it should be okay. I went as Marilyn Monroe once and no one had a problem with that. I’m with Psychedelic_Zebra carry the iron club for anyone who doesn’t have enough of a since of humor to get it. By the way Tiger is Cablasian (cascian, black and Asian).

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

Hmm, two out of three lovely black ladies say go for it, and the detractors be damned. You admire Tiger Woods, so you want to dress up as him for Halloween. as long as you don’t act like a fucking idiot, you know exaggerating stereotypes, etc I don’t see the harm. Haven’t we evolved far enough in our melting pot culture to pretend to be someone we are not one night a year?

Or let the people that whine that you are being a racist for your idea win, and tuck your tail between your legs and go as Billy Ray Cyrus or Pee Wee Herman.

too many people whine about our cultural differences, and say we aren’t playing fair, but then when someone steps up to do something bold, yet respectful, they yank out their Politically Correct manual and tell us no, you can’t do that, it might offend someone. Fuck the people who want to be victimized, we are all human goddammit, let’s act like it, mmmkay?

RedPowerLady's avatar

Two of Three people who are randomly online hardly makes a majority when you consider the entire ethnic group.

It also hardly holds up to the recomendations by the American Psychological Association.

” Halloween is now scary not because of witches and ghouls, but because it seems to be the Holiday when white Americans feel free to engage in all sorts of race and class based mimicry.”

And if that is not enough to convince you just read what others have to say, some of them say it quite better than I ever could:

Or consider what the NAACP has to say:
Blackface costume draws fire NAACP objects after woman wins prize as Mother Goose character

RedPowerLady's avatar

the quote above is not from the APA, they have some other information about how viewing it is harmful to children and such, the quote is just a good one

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

Well @howardroark, that clears it, according to @RedPowerLady, you can’t dress up as Tiger Woods because you will hurt the little kiddies view of the world, mess up the moral sensibilities of sensitive people everywhere, as well as probably foul the air and water of under-developed Third World countries in the process and make people of color look like buffoons.~

God forbid you try to have fun by doing something neat for Halloween, and end up offending the pathetic people who love to play the victim and wear their race on their sleeve.

avvooooooo's avatar

@RedPowerLady I think you’re illustrating for us all the example of people who read too much into something simple and choose to make a big deal out of the inconsequential.

This is not, in the tradition of blackface, blackface. Its simply increasing the resemblance to someone. Just as someone would paint their skin green to get a closer approximation of Elphaba (or orange to represent an Oompa Loompa), people use various means to increase their resemblance to many people/things (alive and dead, real or fictitious) on Halloween. If this was meant to ridicule or demean, it would be offensive. But in this case, its in the spirit of Halloween (dressing as someone admired) and shouldn’t have deep, dark ulterior motives assigned to it.

The APA says many things. Some of them make sense, some of them don’t. You can’t sit there assign psychologically correct ideas to everything accodring to your B.S. Psych. Mainly because for every psychological theory/article out there, there’s one that says pretty much the polar opposite. Picking and choosing articles to try and prove an unprovable point, when articles published by the same association saying pretty much the exact opposite can be found, is kind of ridiculous.

Until people stop looking at racism at “what people who don’t look like me do to people that do look like me” and start looking at it as “what people who don’t look like me do to people that do look like me AND what people who look do look like me do to people who don’t look like them AND whatever else is out there that is based on superficial judgments that lead to something truly wrong being done,” the system isn’t going to change. In other words, people need to look at what they’re doing to maintain a racist status quo instead of just looking at themselves as victims because of what they look like without looking at their own behavior toward others and how they might be just as (or more so) racist than the people that they’re accusing of being racist/committing racist acts. Everyone contributes to the system that exists in their own way.

For example, people who are green generally don’t cut people off in parking lots because those other people are purple. They do it because they either didn’t see the purple people or because they’re assholes. But if the purple people are willing to say “The only possible reason why that green person did that is because I’m purple” then there’s a problem on their end. Assuming racist intentions in everything, putting on “racist” colored glasses insures that everything you see is racist. Whether it is or not. This assumption of bad intentions is something that people of all races are guilty of and is what maintains the climate of racism that still exists today.

I’ll leave you with this. People (of any and all races) who go looking for things to object to will find things to object to, no matter how hard and far they have to look to find “objectionable” things. This is not to say that there aren’t plenty of truly objectionable things out in the world, but people that go looking for something hard enough will find something even if they have to make it out of whole cloth. Kind of like a mother-in-law inspecting her daughter-in-law’s house and moving the refrigerator to find a speck of dust to object to.

proXXi's avatar

I’d approach this the way I approach nearly everything:

“Do it now, tomorrow it might be illegal”.

Sarcasm's avatar

@avvooooooo I wish I could give you more than just 1 GA.

deni's avatar

NO this isn’t racist, it’s a costume, the whole point is to be something you’re not. I’m not even gonna read the responses above because I assume people are saying the opposite. Just do it man. (see that? tiger = nike = just do it…..)

eponymoushipster's avatar

People dress like sexy nurses all the time – i dont see any sexy nurses objecting. GA @avvooooooo !

proXXi's avatar

Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooo nurse!

sakura's avatar

Wear a mask.. then everyone will know who you are!

howardroark's avatar

How am I supposed to drink with a mask on? mask is out of the question.

ubersiren's avatar

Remember that movie, White Chicks? Remember when Dave Chappelle played the white character on his show? I wasn’t offended by any of that.

proXXi's avatar

Offence is a state of mind.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I too wish I could give @avvooooooo a cajillion GA’s for that answer.

deni's avatar

Yes, @avvooooooo though I can only give you one GA, in my mind I give you 500000.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@avvooooooo That is a long winded way of saying that you wish racism didn’t exist. Unfortunately it does. Unfortunately wearing bronzer on one’s face is not appropriate and can cause psychological damage to the children who see it (not to mention how it supports oppression). Your opinion simply is not more educated than the entire quorum who make the recommendations written by the American Psychological Association. This is just another example of people using well-written rhetoric to support continued oppression.

The argument that because people get mad at oppressive actions they are the ones supporting racism is an argument of pure privilege.

And dressing up like a green person is NOT the same as dressing up as a black person. There is no history of racism, brutality, death, etc.. that comes from being a green person.

Costumes are not all in fun. But I suppose you would have to be a person of color to understand that. It really is awfully tiring to convince a whole fluther of people who are not of color (and even one or two who are) how oppression works.

So there you have it. It isn’t well-written rhetoric. It won’t change the minds of the tons of people who believe their own opinion is more important than that of a the APA or the NAACP or an ethnic group of people who have said “STOP THIS” (despite the one or two people in the group who really don’t care or find it funny). It is just simple information on oppression.

Again, if you have to ask if something is racist you probably better not do it. Or better yet let’s just go ahead and do it and blame everyone who finds it offensive. Call them the racist because you know we are just ‘playing the victim’ and the majority will once again choose for the minority.

breedmitch's avatar

Skip the black face. But do wear a red shirt and black pants. That’s Tiger’s outfit. No other professional golfer wears wears Tiger’s Sunday outfit.
In other words, you can do Tiger without the black face.

aprilsimnel's avatar

There’s an enormous difference between inpersonating a person as a character, which Fred Armisen on SNL does for Obama, and going out like a damn clown like those Aussie dudes did last week and said, “Oh, we’re just being the Jackson Five,” when they looked like freaking Gollywogs.

If you think you can pull off Tiger and not paint your face jet black, slap a 3-ft. fake afro on your head and carry on like a goof, then good on ya’ and good luck.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@avvooooooo Awesome GA, I want to give you the 11,880 points I left behind as EPZ. but you are never going to change the mind of someone who is looking to be a victim, and wears their victimhood on their sleeve.

Facade's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra I don’t think it has anything to do with being a victim. I personally just feel that they are other costumes this young man could wear that aren’t borderline offensive yet still amusing. Why not err on the side of caution?

avvooooooo's avatar

@RedPowerLady My answer was not “a long winded way of saying that you wish racism didn’t exist.” It was a lengthy explanation of the fact that everyone contributes to the problem, none more so than those who choose to find “intentional” offense when none exists. I did not say that people do not have a right to be angry at oppression, I said that making something into something that it isn’t is wrong and perpetuates the problems that we have instead of solving anything at all. I am one of the first to stand up to true oppression, no matter who is being oppressed or doing the oppressing, but I refuse to get riled up about things that are blown out of proportion. There is a true difference between the two. Its the difference between oppression and drama.

You are dealing in drama. You are making a huge deal out of very little. This particular matter is not the traditional “blackface” which is meant to offend and originated as a mean-spirited imitation of black people to make others laugh. Not unlike some of the black comics today that make racist statements/imitations about/of white people and think its perfectly OK because what black people say to/about white people isn’t racism. No matter who’s doing it to whom, it’s still racism. This also stands for people of any other race making comments about people of any other race. Its all under the same umbrella, it cannot be denied just because of the skin color of the person who says it. Racism is in some cases a two way street, in others its like a major junction. But it works in a variety of ways, as I have endeavored to explain.

As I have actually read quite a bit of the publications of the APA, not just those that confirm my personal opinions, I think I’m aware of the collected knowledge, theories, and ideas that are present. I took the time to form an educated opinion by reading things that I disagree with as well as things that I agree with and thinking critically about the points made and why I do not agree. That is how you learn and become able to have a better understanding of complicated matters like racism instead of trying to see it in, pardon the pun, black and white.

I’m also quite well aware of what causes psychological damage to children. Seeing someone dressed up as someone they respect isn’t going to do it. Seeing someone who was making fun of them, telling them that they are stupid or what have you because they’re of whatever race they are, however, can be damaging. You’re painting everything with a very broad stroke here and trying to imply things that simply do not exist. I’m aware of what is and is not harmful because I’ve studied children, psychology, and done so past the B.S. that you claim on your profile. At some point, you push some things so far that your entire statement appears ridiculous. Claiming psychological harm because this guy wants to get a little tanner to better look like someone he wants to portray in a respectful manner is ridiculous.

There is no one who plays the victim more than those who intentionally seek out things to call racist. And there is no one more racist than those who seek to accuse other people of racist actions. Racism exists, overt and covert, but the assumption of bad intentions on every side is what’s keeping us stuck where we are. Nothing can change until everyone changes. And since there are so many people unwilling to change because they don’t see themselves as doing anything wrong, so full of “righteous indignation,” little can change.

I don’t have to be a person of color to understand when things are racist, mean spirited, not “all in fun,” meant to be offensive or whatever else. But you would have to be a person of logic to understand that not everything that can remotely be considered racist if you look at it from just this certain angle, tilting your head to the perfect 75 degree angle, is. Sometimes you have to take things at face value without reading God only know what into them. Its not about what races make up my ancestry and the effect that has on one’s point of view. Its about logic over emotion and looking to play the victim… of nothing.

My understanding is not impaired by my skin color. Your statement that it is, however, is the same kind of racism that you would howl about if it were applied to you. Yes, you just made a racist statement about me. But because its about me and not about you, its perfectly OK as far as you’re concerned. Therein lies the real problem.

@RedPowerLady, your posts here are just an example of someone using poorly written, reactionary rhetoric to support continued oppression. You are working as hard as you can to uphold the system in the name of bringing it down.

Please actually read the publications of the American Psychological Association, not just those articles that support your own thinking, before claiming to know what their opinion is. And as for those articles that you have read, please go back and re-read with a critical and analytical eye.

P.S. There was a very big problem with being a green person for Elphaba. Lots of discrimination. And a history of violence, oppression, green-ism and everything else eventually leading to death. Again, reading up before you make claims of knowledge is important. The works of L. Frank Baum and Gregory Maguire might be enlightening.

Kraigmo's avatar

It all depends on the motivations. If you enjoy the controversy, or if you like making the point that (Hey, blackface isn’t automatically racist!), then those are two reasons NOT to do it.

If you really truly love Tiger Woods, and this isn’t some joke against him, or sensitive Blacks, or sensitive/guilty Liberals, then go for it. It’s your right. But it better be funny without mocking Mr. Woods, or else there’s no point.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@avvooooooo You simply do not understand how racism works. In fact the majority of your arguments are arguing for privilege rather than against racism. And there is simply no way for me to make you see your own privilege in this matter. If fact your ego seems to be getting in your own way. While I have cited articles by the NAACP and others in the cultural community and have given information from the APA you seem to believe that your opinion is more important than that of an entire ethnic/cultural group of people. In fact you citing the works of fiction to support your theory just proves my point that you feel your opinion is more important than anything else.

A lot of racism happens in the hands of good intentions. You can simply keep calling those who face racism the racists but unless you come to understand your own privelege nothing will change.

RedPowerLady's avatar

how about you make it short and sweet?

RedPowerLady's avatar

Are you suggesting your opinion is more important than that of a black senator?
(speaking about darkening skin to look like Obama, same issue as this, good intentions included)

“It’s uncharted territory that we’re in,” said state Sen. Ray Miller, a Democrat from Columbus and one of several black leaders who commented on the subject. “We’ve made a lot of progress in America on the issue of race relations, and we need to be careful not to move backwards. Something like painting your face I would discourage.”

avvooooooo's avatar

@RedPowerLady You really don’t see how racism works. Its a system. Its not what one group of people do to another group of people. I’m aware of the “privilege” of the people of the ethnic background that you assume I am with no evidence other than your own racist assumptions. Yes, you’re being a racist and making assumptions that have no evidentiary support.

I am very aware of white privilege. Not only have I read this article but I have also spent an entire semester of grad school talking about race and racism as well as attending a small conference and workshop led by Peggy McIntosh. Your assumption that because of my presumed race that I know nothing is, in itself, racist.

@RedPowerLady What you continue to fail to see if that if you only read things that back up what you already think and not things that challenge you to think, you’re going to remain stuck with an uneducated opinion.

Works of fiction, FYI, that deal with discrimination outside the usual bounds of our society shed light on discrimination itself without being weighted down by history and assumptions of bad intentions.

There is simply no way for you to move beyond your own ego, your high opinion of your own opinion, to see that you are a part of the problem, not the solution.

I am aware that my opinions are my own and are important to me as such. Other people’s opinions carry varying amounts of weight depending on the time and consideration that they have put into forming them. Some I consider more important and some need to be considered as the opinions based on ignorant assumptions that they are and, therefore, carry very little weight.

Again. One more time. I have read extensively in formulating my opinion. Things I agree with as well as things I do not. I have had many discussions, academic and otherwise, that contribute to my educated opinion. I seek out people of many races who don’t think like me in order to learn from them and further my knowledge. Until you bother to look beyond yourself and challenge your beliefs and assumptions, your opinion will be considered (by many) for exactly what its worth.

You are being racist. You are trying to make out my opinion to be uneducated, self centered, racist, what have you because you don’t want to be bothered with examining your assumptions and notions to see if they hold water. You don’t want to challenge your thinking by hearing anything I say or reading anything that might change your opinion. You would rather assume that what I say is invalid instead of looking for the truth in it. And this is mostly because you assume me to be white. That is the heart of racism and a part of the reason things are not changing. In the pursuit of racism you assume racism and take on racism yourself in order to find it. Sad, but an apt example of the continuing problems.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@avvooooooo First off you can continually call me uneducated all you want but it is quite obvious I am educated both in general terms and as far as cultural education goes. I also have personal experience with the subject matter.

I fail to see how someone who finds something offensive, when it clearly is as stated by the community who is taking offensive, is the racist person.

I will also note that I looked at a few of your previous answers and have seen that you are quite often rude to other users. It is clear you don’t want to discuss this matter or back up your opinion but rather state your own opinion as fact. I see no reason to continue this conversation as you seem to be more about personally attacking people who face racism than supporting the fight against oppression. You can disagree respectfully but have not done so, perhaps that is the next subject you should study.

avvooooooo's avatar

@RedPowerLady Your continual assumptions that I do not have knowledge in this area, that my opinion is all I’m counting on, is another faulty assumption that you are embracing.

I have formed my opinion based on facts. I have formed it based on critical thinking, learning, challenging my beliefs and assumptions. I have formed it based on studies, opinions, and many things in the world around me. Its not just something I came up with out of nowhere nor is it the party line of people I found that think exactly like me. You seem to have issues with challenging what you believe to be true and refuse to do it, therefore keeping an uneducated opinion, despite whatever formal education you choose to claim. Learning from others, instead of doggedly sticking to what you think, is critical in the formation of what people would call an educated opinion. Reading things that only back up your beliefs does not count. It is quite obvious that you’re comfortable with your opinions and have no desire to face the possibility that they might change if you actually listened and learned. So you choose not to bother to do either and continue to insist that your ideas are the only truth in the world. They aren’t.

I also have personal experience with the subject matter. More so, I learn from others who have had different varied experiences.

People who are looking for something to take offense at (especially looking at a certain group of people in order to take offense at anything a member of that group says/does), as I have repeatedly said, are those who perpetuate problems. As far as you personally, the things you have said that are racist, the assumptions that you have made about me which are racist, speak for themselves. The problem is that because you are the one saying then and you don’t consider yourself to be racist (or things said against/to a presumed white person to be racist), then everything you choose to say is perfectly fine. Just as how you might not see yourself as a ______ person an anything you say isn’t ______. Fill in the blank with any number of words. Again, symptomatic of the societal problems.

You, despite your claims to have posted sources to back yourself up, have posted no links to studies done by the APA to back up what you say. FYI.

Looking through your previous answers it is obvious that you don’t actually take in or consider anything that anyone else has to say. There is nothing that anyone can say to you to make a dent in your opinions. Which is the saddest thing of all and the reason why things aren’t changing.

I have done all I can in order to disagree respectfully with you but you refuse to listen to what anyone else has to say and make assumptions that you wish to make about me and what I say (again, assuming bad intentions). It is impossible to get through to you. Which, again, is incredibly sad.

Just a note. I don’t see a whole lot of people agreeing with you. But I do happen to see a lot of people agreeing with me. Maybe you should take that into consideration and actually take what I wrote into consideration instead of letting anything that might challenge you roll off like water on a duck’s back.

DarkScribe's avatar

@RedPowerLady I also have personal experience with the subject matter.

Racism exists, in fact it thrives, but it is not determined by a person’s actions, it is determined purely by the motivation for their actions. Unless you can truly read minds, rather than continuing to assume that you know what people are thinking, you cannot have the vaguest notion of who and what is racist. You are not helping your cause by blunt refusal to consider any opinion other than your own.

The fact that you are a member of a minority race does not give you insight that is not available to those who are not subject to racism. If only the opinions of those with direct experience could be considered then we might as well shut down all schools and Universities.

avvooooooo's avatar

@DarkScribe The problem is rather that everyone is subject to racism rather than people lacking experience being the victim of it. Another problem is that some people have decided that the only racist actions are those perpetrated against their group and not anything they do to anyone else. Its like I said earlier,

“Until people stop looking at racism at “what people who don’t look like me do to people that do look like me” and start looking at it as “what people who don’t look like me do to people that do look like me AND what people who look do look like me do to people who don’t look like them AND whatever else is out there that is based on superficial judgments that lead to something truly wrong being done,” the system isn’t going to change.”

rooeytoo's avatar

I was helping one of the young aboriginal kids to load music onto his mp3 player. He told me he wants “nigger” music. It turns out he meant hip hop or rap and of course all those guys use that word all the time. I told him it was not a particularly nice word and he should use another, so he said blackfella which is a perfectly acceptable term to him. There are blackfellas and whitefellas in his world.

So now if we are going to go completely politically correct, I was probably wrong to tell him nigger is not a nice word because apparently it is acceptable to call each other that if you are black, but I am not allowed to say it because I am not black. How about if I have black blood in my background but I just don’t look black, does that count, am I allowed to say it?

You can go nuts trying to figure out all this stuff.

timothykinney's avatar

It’s interesting how my feelings of agreement and disagreement changed back and forth during this discussion.

I don’t agree entirely with @RedPowerLady‘s stance on the subject, but I do believe that wearing blackface is insensitive enough to the recent violence (psychological and otherwise) that it can constitute racism to strangers. This, in itself, ought to be enough to consider a different costume. I do, however, think that darkening one’s face and blackface are two very different things. Blackface has a very specific tradition. Wearing “bronzer” is not as suggestive, in my opinion.

I agreed with some of @avvooooooo‘s original points, but I don’t agree with her more recent points. I think she’s correct racism often means assuming things based on racial criteria, but I don’t believe it’s helpful to repeatedly and prolifically state how much one has read the literature and attended workshops. I also believe it is positively unhelpful (to both the individual and the group discussion) to use inflammatory phrases which are basically designed to incite anger.

I would suggest that we all take a breath and think about what we’re going to have for dinner.

Racism is a touchy subject, yet difficult to define in a way that legitimately describes everyone’s personal experiences. We should expect some vigorous debate on the issues for these reasons. Vigorous debate is fine, but let’s leave it at that.

DarkScribe's avatar

@avvooooooo The problem is rather that everyone is subject to racism rather than people lacking experience being the victim of it.

No, not really. I have never been subject to racism, nor have any of my family or Caucasian friends ever indicated that they have experienced it. I have have been abused both for being a “Pom” – an Aussie expression for a Brit – and an Aussie when I am in the UK. (I am Australian with English and American heritage.) I have not regarded that as racism even though it is purely based on race, anymore than I would regard having a woman call me a chauvinist as being sexual discrimination. It just means that she is pissed off with me for something she regards as a “male” attitude or response.

What makes it these things is how I accept it, not how it was intended. I could be like RedPowerLady and claim racial abuse or discrimination at every hint of an opportunity, or just ignore it in the same manner that I ignore most nonsense in life. I choose the latter, and on that basis, I have never experienced discrimination. The closest I came to any form of discrimination was when my children were young and they only had “Mother’s Rooms” for changing babies etc., it made it difficult for a father to care for his kids unless he stayed very close to home. That has all changed nowadays.

bea2345's avatar

Do what you like and enjoy yourself. There must be at least one day when you can be as unbuttoned as you like.

avvooooooo's avatar

@DarkScribe I personally have experienced racism. I know many people whom people would assume to be Caucasian (that being a very broad classification) that have been called racist names and other things like that. There are more covert signs of racism, but these are the overt ones that I know of and have experienced myself as well. From the black girl in 4th grade who wanted to fight me because I was white (I never did anything to her and never had a clue why she picked me to hate) to the woman who called me a “stupid honky bitch” for standing in front of the chips she wanted (or something, I was just standing there and that was the first thing she said to me, again there was no discernible reason why this happened) in the supermarket while I was looking for mine, I have experienced racism, racial slurs, and hatred directed toward me because people consider me to be “white.” Not to mention the other incidents that are less quick and easy to explain. Even when faced with situations like this, I have never called anyone a derogatory name to their face (other than “bitch” but that was deserved) or done things because of someone’s race other than make sure that nothing I said or did could be misinterpreted. Assuming that because people would think of me as the general classification “white” that I haven’t experienced racism, discrimination, or anything else is absurd.

I think a lot of what you experience has to do with where you are. Here in the deep southern United States there is a lot of racism that goes back and forth. However, many people around here try to think of it solely as “what white people do to black people” and nothing else. This is one of the prime areas to examine race and racism because it is so prevalent.

If you have never experienced racism, good for you. But there are a lot of other Caucasian people who cannot say the same.

@timothykinney I was not the one who started pulling in “I’ve read this and that so I know all about it.” i.e. The “psychological harm that children would be subject to if they saw someone dressed as Tiger Woods” or whatever, information that supposedly came from the American Psychological Association (not the be-all, end-all of literature sources in any case) but was never linked or cited. The fact that I had actually read the things in question, plus many more, has informed my opinions and views of racism. When faced with someone who chooses not to take in anything that informs her opinion, but “quotes” studies that she probably hasn’t read that she thinks agree with her (as well as posting the top several Google results for her search terms without bothering to read the sites as “evidence”), I find that I do emphasize the importance of reading, learning, and being properly informed. When told that I know nothing of white privilege when I know quite a bit, I have every right to dissuade someone of that incorrect assumption. Obviously I have no problem discussing the importance of having an educated and informed opinion as paramount if you’re going to discuss your opinion with others or try to convince them to see things the way you do.

What’s really funny to me is that “RedPowerLady,” her very name being a cultural pride statement, has more in common with me as far as heritage than she’d ever consider with her assumptions about who I am and what my ethnic background is. Let’s just say that I didn’t get my skin tone, my eye or hair color entirely from the Irish.

avvooooooo's avatar

@rooeytoo Have a cookie. : )

rooeytoo's avatar

@avvooooooo – cheers mate! White chocolate macadamia sounds good.

avvooooooo's avatar

Part of the thing with this question is that blackface is different than applying bronzer to make yourself tanner. Some people don’t see these as different, but they certainly are. People use bronzer every day to make their skin appear darker, its not a crime. It was a misuse of the term in the question details that created the furor.

@rooeytoo Here ya go! Whenever faced with a quandry, try eating a cookie and see if that clears it up any. Even if it doesn’t, you’re happier because you just ate a cookie!

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