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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Can one make a racist remark but not be a racist?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) July 21st, 2010

Is it possible for a person to make a racist remark but not be a racist? Say you are out with the fellas some you know well and others you know from work etc. and a few friends of theirs you don’t know. Some of the group openly support the Minutemen and Arizona’s illegal law. While everyone is chopping it up a Hispanic tune comes over the jukebox and one of the newbies says “F*** who ordered up the t*** b****** h** d****** music?” One of the other guys told him it was un-cool because one of the group was a Black of Hispanic origin Porto Rico or Cuba or something. The newbie apologizes and said he really did not mean anything about it, he was just joking. Later he explain to a group of us away from the Hispanic man that he thought because of those in t-shirts supporting the Minutemen that we were anti-Hispanic and said that just to fit in better that he really didn’t have anything against Hispanics. Is that plausible or do you think it was a cover because he got caught dinging Hispanics?

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18 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

Quick. Backpedal…. Sounds like an excuse to me. I would never say anything like that to fit in. Please.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I guess you can If you tell the fact without take your side on both differences.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Willingly acting like a bigot or racist to fit in does not speak well for that persons character or integrity, but we all can do stupid things under certain circumstances.

A racist is someone whose usual attitudes and behaviour are characterized by a profound hatred of or intolerance for an identifiable group.

The former often regrets their behaviour at some point while the latter does not.

BoBo1946's avatar

it would be a red flag, but the motives of the person would not be known until further investigation.

AnonEGrrl's avatar

I don’t know. I wonder if some people who make racist remarks do it because they know it will hurt, rather than really believing what they are saying.

Austinlad's avatar

I would say one can make an tactless remark without its being racist. Unfortunately, the person one says it to, if offended, may not be able to see it that way.

whitenoise's avatar

Yes, for instance out of ignorance.

One may even willingly and frequently make a racist remark, without being a racist. The motivation for the statement in such case would be decisive.

Within certain sub cultures, for instance, racist remarks are often exchanges amongst each other as part of the street lingo.

To call a black guy from the streets in Baltimore a bigot, because he calls himself a nigga, seems unfounded. It would not be my style, but…hey.

aprilsimnel's avatar

If they’re not even a little bit racist, then how would such words make that passage from the head to the mouth? Unless they were three years old and mimicking someone?

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

filmfann's avatar

Often jokes are hurtful. Sometimes these include racial comments.
I am white, and someone might take offense if I called them a cracker, which I often do. I call myself that sometimes. It’s not meant to be mean, but some people do feel hurt by it. If I see they are, I will apologize, and watch my language around them.
It is my intent to be funny, not mean.

BoBo1946's avatar

Good example…the comment Imus made about the Rutger’s basketball team. Personally, don’t think Imus is racial, just a poor choice of words at the wrong time. But, having said that, we really never know until we have spent a lot of time with a person. That is what I was referring too in the prior comment, you would need more information on that person to tag the person as racist. Again, it certainly would be a red flag! And, red flags, does not mean the person is guilty.

ETpro's avatar

Using race baiting to gain support, friendship, approval. That IS racism. That is the fundamental drive it is all about. Back when George Wallace made his firey speech on how he would defend the good white people of Alabama from the blacks and Northern Carpetbaggers that were trying to take what the whites had, he did it to win approval. He won office four times doing it. Here’s a Comic Book that shows how he used race, frightening whites of the black and northerner threat.

Fox News is doing the same thing today, subtly suggesting that blacks are trying to take your job. They do this to divide Americans against Americans for political gain. The hatchet jobs they did on Obama, with Glenn Beck openly claiming he hates white people and wants to take away their rights. They carried out a hatchet job backed by lies about Van Jones. For weeks,n they pushed the hatchet job backed by the faked tape against ACORN with all the claims that mostly black ACORN is stealing elections and cheating whites. The latest victim is Shirley Sherrod being smeared with a fake, edited tape. Fox’s owner, Australian Rupert Murdoch, Chairman Roger Ailes and even their chief Saudi Investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud may not hate blacks. They may be just fine with them on a one-to-one basis. But they are quite willing to use white fears, claims the world is a zero sum place, and whatever blacks get you whites have to give up to build political clout in a country where most voters are still white. And that’s racism at its core.

Pandora's avatar

If he truly wasn’t racist than he wouldn’t have buckled into peer pressure. I worked with a woman who was racist and would say racist comments. She swore she wasn’t racists. When she would say something and asked me to verify what she would say as truth. I would tell her that it was a racist comment.
It was a cover. And by the way, most racist don’t see themselves as racist. They think by going with the current theme of bias against any group, moslems, arabs, hispanics or blacks that they are merely telling the truth as they see it. If most of the people they know speak badly of a race or color than it must be true. They are all bad and not to be trusted. But because they may be friends with one or two than they believe themselves not to be racists.

kevbo's avatar

I was always taught that racism required an imbalance of power or authority. No power, no racism. Instead it would just be plain ol’ prejudice.

christine215's avatar

@whitenoise has a very good point about the ignorance factor (though I don’t believe it applies to the o/p’s scenario)

my gandmother was not born here and didn’t come here till she was in her teens
when she retired, she volunteered as a foster grandparent at a state subsidized day care… one day she was telling me about one of the little boys and she was describing him as this cute little melanzana boy “Peter” (insert generic name here, I don’t really remember the name)

she’d heard that term before, but didn’t know it was considered a racial slur, only that it was descriptive of a person who was very dark in color, so she didn’t understand when I said “Grandmom, you can’t say that!”

Once I corrected her, she never used the term again. My Dad’s side of the family didn’t have a prejudiced or racist bone in their bodies
(mom and her side… well I can’t say the same sadly)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

whitenoise “To call a black guy from the streets in Baltimore a bigot, because he calls himself a nigga, seems unfounded. ” I would call that a clear case of just plain whole sale ignorance not knowing the history of the word or it’s significance. That would make as much sence as Gay people runing around calling each other the ‘F’ word because they thought it was cute or fly.

MissA's avatar

Clearly, the guy’s character is flawed. I can’t imagine saying that or worse, trying to explain saying it later.

I would gravitate toward the opposite direction when ever I was in close proximity.

Makes me want to take a hot shower.

zensky's avatar

By definition, if one makes racist remarks one is a racist.

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