Author Topic: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy  (Read 4839 times)

Nick_Miller

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Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« on: April 17, 2018, 08:13:17 AM »
Quick experience...

I was watching Black Panther at the movies back in February. This still irks me. Crowd was very diverse, folks of all backgrounds. Maybe 50/50 black/white, although that's just a quick estimate. As far as I could tell, everyone was enjoying the movie, laughing together, etc. It would have been an awesome experience.

Except...

For the women two seats down to my right. She was young, African American, maybe mid-20s. About a third of the way into the movie, I forget the scene, she reacts to something on screen and says (loudly) "mother f'ing white people!"

Yes, that got my attention. I chose to ignore it, hoping maybe I misheard or something. Later, again, she reacts to another scene with, "I f'ing hate white people! Damn!"

So I sat there, seething, not sure if I should say something or whether I should just keep quiet and try to enjoy the movie. I did the later.

My take-away...

I still think about this from time to time, and it was 2 months ago! And it was 2 or 3 comments, not directed right at me, but directed at folks who look like me. And it really pisses me off still.

SO...can I even IMAGINE what it might be like for PoC who have dealt with far worse and far more frequent comments directed right at them? For PoC who have dealt with being watched carefully in stores, and being pulled over without cause by people in power? Or worse?

Heck, the stupid comments of a single person have stayed with me. I can't imagine how much I'd stew on things if I was harassed by store owners, or police, or more systemic types of oppression. I wonder how angry and bitter I'd become.

Any other folks have similar experiences? In my position, would you have also ignored it? If you are a PoC and a young white guy had loudly said, "I f'ing hate black people!" would you have sat there? Or did/said something? I swallowed my outrage and tried to let it slide. But obviously it still bugs me.


« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 08:15:23 AM by Nick_Miller »

gentmach

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 08:40:30 AM »
I was called a misogynist for something back in 2013 or so. I don't know what the act was so don't ask. Most of the woman's fellow feminists have told me to disregard it but I'm still annoyed by it. (It was the final straw in a tall stack with those people.)

Just know that you aren't alone with being annoyed at identity politics. Sadly you will have to ride it out.
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haflander

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 08:52:02 AM »
For some background, I'm a millennial in a very diverse area. I went to school with many minorities and even work in an industry that consists of more minorities than whites.

I remember complaining once to my uncle. He's a very wise man and one of my favorite people on this planet. He also lives in KS and makes plenty of money, btw (although due to his own hard work and bootstrapping). I had an accident and was mad that I was determined by insurance to be the at-fault party. I've since come to recognize that I suck at driving, another motivation for biking. Anyway, I said something like "I'm the victim here, it wasn't my fault." He replied with "you're a straight white male, you're never the victim." Obviously this can be translated many ways, but that always stuck with me.

Dabnasty

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 09:07:02 AM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

driftwood

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 10:46:36 AM »
That cracks me up. The movie showed that regardless of race, there are those who will fight over power, especially large amounts of personal power. I was hoping the opposite would be true, and that this secluded society would be able to avoid the same problems the mixed-race outside world had.
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maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 10:55:17 AM »
Any other folks have similar experiences?

If we can broaden it from racism to include sexism, then yeah. I was being recruited for a position at another university. Things were going pretty well, and then I was told by one of my advocates there that they'd met with some higher ups and were told that the problem was I "had a Y-chromosome", and their goal was to avoid hiring people like me right now.

Even though it was months ago, like you, it keeps popping into my head and re-provoking the same negative emotional reactions. Like you, I cannot imagine it must be to experience similar sex-linked discrimination far more frequently and have way more of these moments and phrases constantly popping back to the surface of your consciousness.

Philociraptor

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 11:18:03 AM »
If you are a PoC and a young white guy had loudly said, "I f'ing hate black people!" would you have sat there? Or did/said something?

Yes, I would have just sat there. There are assholes of every race, sex, and creed, and changing their deeply-ingrained views is not within my circle of concern. All I can do as a person of color (late 20's latino male with a beard that I've been told makes me look vaguely Arab) is do my best from day to day to show the world that people of color are just people like everybody else. After I've completed my FI journey I plan on volunteering to help those who are disadvantaged, especially children. Let's teach them that they are not different than their peers who have a head start (thanks to money, sex, or skin color), but that they can achieve just as much.

Wexler

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 11:34:53 AM »
Quick experience...

I was watching Black Panther at the movies back in February. This still irks me. Crowd was very diverse, folks of all backgrounds. Maybe 50/50 black/white, although that's just a quick estimate. As far as I could tell, everyone was enjoying the movie, laughing together, etc. It would have been an awesome experience.

Except...

For the women two seats down to my right. She was young, African American, maybe mid-20s. About a third of the way into the movie, I forget the scene, she reacts to something on screen and says (loudly) "mother f'ing white people!"

Yes, that got my attention. I chose to ignore it, hoping maybe I misheard or something. Later, again, she reacts to another scene with, "I f'ing hate white people! Damn!"

So I sat there, seething, not sure if I should say something or whether I should just keep quiet and try to enjoy the movie. I did the later.

My take-away...

I still think about this from time to time, and it was 2 months ago! And it was 2 or 3 comments, not directed right at me, but directed at folks who look like me. And it really pisses me off still.

SO...can I even IMAGINE what it might be like for PoC who have dealt with far worse and far more frequent comments directed right at them? For PoC who have dealt with being watched carefully in stores, and being pulled over without cause by people in power? Or worse?

Heck, the stupid comments of a single person have stayed with me. I can't imagine how much I'd stew on things if I was harassed by store owners, or police, or more systemic types of oppression. I wonder how angry and bitter I'd become.

Any other folks have similar experiences? In my position, would you have also ignored it? If you are a PoC and a young white guy had loudly said, "I f'ing hate black people!" would you have sat there? Or did/said something? I swallowed my outrage and tried to let it slide. But obviously it still bugs me.

You did the right thing.  There was nothing to gain from engaging a random idiot.  PoC learn early that deescalation is the safest response.  Like you said, imagine having interactions like that on a daily basis and dealt out by people in positions of authority.  And swallowing it every time.  Every day.  For years. The white guys on this thread are nursing 1-2 minor grudges from years ago.  Given that, it should be easy to muster sympathy for people who, just once, don't deescalate. Or comply. Or talk back to cops.  Or Starbucks managers.  People imagine that it's difficult and unreasonable people who do this, but it may just be someone who has been meek and compliant for years in the face of endless bullshit finally just giving up.  This was a useful post and a good way to frame it.  Impressed with the measured responses.

Edited to emphasize that I think the stories that people shared show a lot of reflection about how being discriminated against sucks, for white guys too, and I would also nurse those same grudges.  We all would, and it's a good place to find empathy for people in similar situations.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 11:41:12 AM by Wexler »

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 12:08:53 PM »
There is an intense debate about whether racism requires the combination of prejudice with power or not.

The take-away - no matter how you choose to define racism - is that there is a critical difference between merely being prejudiced or biased vs. having power wielded alongside that prejudice.

Your anecdote raises this really key difference, because I think it's a false sense of what racism must feel like to think about you feeling bad at this movie has anything to do with what POC experience on a daily basis. I appreciate you opening a dialogue on this. And by no means am I doubting that you genuinely felt hurt and outraged (or that anyone wouldn't have been upset in a similar situation).

I find it hard to believe that the woman in question had any power over you at the movie theater. She wasn't even directing her comments AT you. And as a white male at the movie theater, you don't have a history of people making movies unsafe places for you or targeting you with hatred. If she was truly disruptive (let alone targeting you), you probably would/could have appealed to some authority that would have backed you up - an usher, the theater manager, AMC or whatever company franchise, and so on.

Can you imagine how you'd feel right now if when you said "This bugged me" everyone else told you:
- it didn't happen
- you're making too big a deal out of it
- what did you do to make her say that

Can you imagine how you'd feel right now if she did aim those comments at you and when you went to the theater manager to complain:
- you were ignored or told it wasn't a big deal
- you were told that her right to speak at movies is more important than your right to feel safe
- you were told it was your fault
- you were kicked out of the movie theater
- you were banned from the theater for life
- he punched you in the face
- all white men would be labeled as complainers in the media

Can you imagine knowing that you can't complain without severe consequences and that everyone else in the room agrees with her?

Since none of that is true in your situation, can you see why your analogy falls apart a little bit here and can you see where her prejudice might be coming from? (A life in which many of these things often ARE true.)

I would hope that you can take your own outrage and turn it into an opportunity for healing and understanding. Exercising compassion for where someone is coming from - even when they are acting like a jerk - and maybe taking on SOME tiny piece of the burden that has caused someone else to have to live with prejudice PLUS power directed at them, every single day of their life.
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haflander

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 12:13:57 PM »
Just wanted to add that I love this thread and the thoughtful replies all around. This is an example of when people on the internet are smart and cool instead of the opposite. Faith in humanity restored.

Kris

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 12:26:27 PM »
There is an intense debate about whether racism requires the combination of prejudice with power or not.

The take-away - no matter how you choose to define racism - is that there is a critical difference between merely being prejudiced or biased vs. having power wielded alongside that prejudice.

Your anecdote raises this really key difference, because I think it's a false sense of what racism must feel like to think about you feeling bad at this movie has anything to do with what POC experience on a daily basis. I appreciate you opening a dialogue on this. And by no means am I doubting that you genuinely felt hurt and outraged (or that anyone wouldn't have been upset in a similar situation).

I find it hard to believe that the woman in question had any power over you at the movie theater. She wasn't even directing her comments AT you. And as a white male at the movie theater, you don't have a history of people making movies unsafe places for you or targeting you with hatred. If she was truly disruptive (let alone targeting you), you probably would/could have appealed to some authority that would have backed you up - an usher, the theater manager, AMC or whatever company franchise, and so on.

Can you imagine how you'd feel right now if when you said "This bugged me" everyone else told you:
- it didn't happen
- you're making too big a deal out of it
- what did you do to make her say that

Can you imagine how you'd feel right now if she did aim those comments at you and when you went to the theater manager to complain:
- you were ignored or told it wasn't a big deal
- you were told that her right to speak at movies is more important than your right to feel safe
- you were told it was your fault
- you were kicked out of the movie theater
- you were banned from the theater for life
- he punched you in the face
- all white men would be labeled as complainers in the media

Can you imagine knowing that you can't complain without severe consequences and that everyone else in the room agrees with her?

Since none of that is true in your situation, can you see why your analogy falls apart a little bit here and can you see where her prejudice might be coming from? (A life in which many of these things often ARE true.)

I would hope that you can take your own outrage and turn it into an opportunity for healing and understanding. Exercising compassion for where someone is coming from - even when they are acting like a jerk - and maybe taking on SOME tiny piece of the burden that has caused someone else to have to live with prejudice PLUS power directed at them, every single day of their life.

I wanted to write some version of this, but you stated it better than I likely would have. So I'll just +1.
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maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2018, 12:30:49 PM »
I would suggest that redefining the broadly used term "racism" which is widely used to mean "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone based on their real or apparent race" isn't likely to be successful. At a more fundamental level it's likely we simply have different views about where the meaning of words comes from. My view is that words mean what native speakers of those words tend to intend those words to mean when they use them in communication. Another, widely used, school of thought is that there are inherent rules for what words mean and how they are used in a language that exist independently of the speakers of that language.

A good example of the conflict between those two schools of though is the singular they/their, which is grammatically incorrect according to pretty much any written definition of the words, but is now widely used, and which I can use in conversation with a native english speaker and usually have them* understand what I mean.

The combination of racism with imbalanced power dynamics is clearly a lot worse than racism in the absence of imbalanced power dynamics. And it may be that we need a word to describe the concept of that combination of things. But while semantic change is alive and well and the meaning of words do shift over time, intentional efforts to change the meaning of existing words as they are understood by native speakers of a language tend to consume vast amounts of time and energy without making much progress.

Anyway, I think we're in agreement about the actual concepts. Just disagreeing about what words to use to describe them. Which is thankfully not the hill I want to die on.



*See what I did there?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 12:47:29 PM by maizeman »

Lis

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2018, 12:32:57 PM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

(signed, your fellow white person.)

Listen, as Philociraptor says, bigotry, hate, and general asshole-ness comes in all races. But what you experienced was not racism. Racism isn't just treating someone differently because their skin is different than yours (regardless of what your skin tone is). There is a class aspect to it - that historically, people of color have been oppressed by whites, that whites have experienced (and still do) privilege. That you, a self described white guy, could sit in a Starbucks and not order anything, and the worst that would probably happen is that they might ask you to leave (but really, they probably wouldn't), or you could walk down the street in a hoodie and not many people would care, or heaven forbid you lost your mind and decided to shoot up a church or a movie theater, you'd be a "troubled soul" and not a terrorist.

I've heard the "white people suck" comments and I keep quiet and I feel conflicted. I hear the white people jokes and I laugh along awkwardly, not knowing if I find them funny or if I should or what I should do about them. But any awkwardness, or even a bit of anger, I feel is a small price to pay for the privileges I end up having for not having to deal with the above.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 12:37:34 PM »
If you are a PoC and a young white guy had loudly said, "I f'ing hate black people!" would you have sat there? Or did/said something?

I have been lucky to almost never encounter outright anti-Semitism, aside from "cheap Jew" jokes that I do speak up about with friends. The one time I was near strangers making comments, though, I stayed quiet. It's the safety issue that Wexler mentioned. I was alone, against two men, on an otherwise empty street. Who knows if they were deliberately being loud because of me, or if they didn't even realize I was Jewish, but I did not feel safe speaking up.

Much more persistent effects have been felt as a woman. And there are certainly a minority of women, and a smaller minority of men, who say all men suck. Their reasoning is, even if you are nice to the women you know, and would never dream of pressuring someone into sex or something, what have you really done to break down the systemic sexism in society? There are plenty of men who only engage in conversations about feminism in order to defend themselves as being one of the good guys. It seems hollow when a guy tells women he's a feminist but is silent when in the company of other men. Or even better, lectures women about how they're doing feminism wrong. I can understand how constantly encountering people like this, while fighting sexism by yourself, can make someone bitter.

Applied back to myself as a light-skinned person, so what if I'm not consciously racist, and have black friends, and date black people? What have I done to stop people brutality, and for-profit prisons, and job discrimination, and CIA interference in functioning democracies, and and and? I have benefited from institutional racism, and I have done effectively nothing to dismantle it. I am complicit in a way. Because of this, I try not to be the person going "but I'm a good guy!" (I do not subscribe to either the "all men suck" or "all white people suck" narratives, but I try to understand where they come from.)

There's a good movie/Netflix show called Dear White People that explores these issues from different angles. Even the "straight white guy keeping quiet while black people talk about white people being the worst" angle. I recommend it to anyone in this thread who hasn't seen it.

Just wanted to add that I love this thread and the thoughtful replies all around. This is an example of when people on the internet are smart and cool instead of the opposite. Faith in humanity restored.

+1
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 10:01:59 AM by MonkeyJenga »

RWD

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 12:57:56 PM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

(signed, your fellow white person.)

Listen, as Philociraptor says, bigotry, hate, and general asshole-ness comes in all races. But what you experienced was not racism. Racism isn't just treating someone differently because their skin is different than yours (regardless of what your skin tone is). There is a class aspect to it - that historically, people of color have been oppressed by whites, that whites have experienced (and still do) privilege. That you, a self described white guy, could sit in a Starbucks and not order anything, and the worst that would probably happen is that they might ask you to leave (but really, they probably wouldn't), or you could walk down the street in a hoodie and not many people would care, or heaven forbid you lost your mind and decided to shoot up a church or a movie theater, you'd be a "troubled soul" and not a terrorist.

I've heard the "white people suck" comments and I keep quiet and I feel conflicted. I hear the white people jokes and I laugh along awkwardly, not knowing if I find them funny or if I should or what I should do about them. But any awkwardness, or even a bit of anger, I feel is a small price to pay for the privileges I end up having for not having to deal with the above.

Pretty sure it still fits under a few of the definitions of racism...
Quote
racism (countable and uncountable, plural racisms)
  • The belief in distinct human races with each having their intrinsic attributes.
  • The belief that one race or ethnic group is superior or inferior to another race or group of races.
  • Prejudice or discrimination based upon race or ethnicity.
  • (sociology) A hierarchical system that benefits one race at the expense of all others.

GuitarStv

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2018, 01:01:14 PM »
About a third of the way into the movie, I forget the scene, she reacts to something on screen and says (loudly) "mother f'ing white people!"

Yes, that got my attention. I chose to ignore it, hoping maybe I misheard or something. Later, again, she reacts to another scene with, "I f'ing hate white people! Damn!"

I had a similar experience a while back when in university.  My response was to wholeheartedly and loudly agree.

"Motherfucking white people"
"Yeah, they're the worst!"

"I fucking hate white people!  Damn!"
"Those miserable white bastards!  When will they learn?"

Eventually the person looked back, realized that I was taking the piss, we exchanged a laugh about it, and it stopped.  YMMV.

Curmudgeon

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2018, 01:49:35 PM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

Racism already has a perfectly good definition;  there's no point in redefining it in order to absolve some people's racist actions.

I've heard the "white people suck" comments and I keep quiet and I feel conflicted. I hear the white people jokes and I laugh along awkwardly, not knowing if I find them funny or if I should or what I should do about them. But any awkwardness, or even a bit of anger, I feel is a small price to pay for the privileges I end up having for not having to deal with the above.

"White people suck" comments are racist.  Period.  White people jokes?  Heck, I'm always up for a good joke, bring 'em on!

mm1970

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 02:18:49 PM »
Quote
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

Is this true everywhere, or the US?

Would it be possible to be on the receiving end of racism as a white person in Asia? Hawaii?  Africa?


Just pondering because I've not thought much about it, though I have read about Hawaii's attitude towards white people.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 02:28:18 PM »
So it has been established (not by this thread) that folks of different races have different life experiences. Some folks are born on third, some folks are still on the bench. Most people will agree with this.

OP acknowledges this. He admits that he was troubled by the person's words, but then checked his privilege, opening the discussion to the forum.

Now, OP is being told that what he experienced wasn't racism. It almost implies that his feelings aren't relevant to the discussion, simply because of the color of his skin.

Personally, I think the movie-goer's words were horrific. Really the question is: what needs fixin' in this situation? Should OP have ignored the movie-goer, and not been hurt by their words in the first place? Should the movie-goer be disciplined/corrected* or otherwise shunned due to her words?

I lean toward the latter. I have a problem with anyone that is mean to anyone else, or anyone that says mean things directed at another person/group of people. What the movie-goer said does nothing to even the playing field or improve things, or add value in any way, shape, or form. Switch the races in OP's post and I'd say the same thing. You can argue that maybe the movie-goer has had a consistently bad experience with a certain race of people, justifying her actions/words. I say baloney (bologna?). You can't judge a group of people by a few bad apples**.



*couldn't think of a better word in this instant, but hopefully my point gets across
**that choice of words is sure to be controversy-free

RWD

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2018, 02:39:26 PM »
Quote
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

Is this true everywhere, or the US?

Would it be possible to be on the receiving end of racism as a white person in Asia? Hawaii?  Africa?


Just pondering because I've not thought much about it, though I have read about Hawaii's attitude towards white people.

I wouldn't want to be a white South African...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_farm_attacks

iris lily

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2018, 05:57:56 PM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

It is common in the African AMerican community to talk to the screen and laugh and yell during scenes. It is no big deal unless you dont expect it.

Yours is a culturally specific expectation. Doesnt mean you are wrong, it just means that your movie watching culture is different.

Living as I do in the ‘hood I sometimes encounter this, but I usually dont go to blockbuster films that draw a wide audience.

I WAS taken aback recently, though, when there was audience shouting and clapping at a theatrical play put on by the Black  Rep here in St. Louis, a professional, well respected company. I just didnt expect it in that environment. Scenes that *I* thought were dramatic (old racist white woman gets beat up by black man) elicited cheers from some young college age audience members. And then, I noticed that the Company WAS seemingly playing that scene broadly, so perhaps they were specifically expecting the cheers and clapping, and they changed the tone of the play. Or maybe I didnt understand  what the tone should be. but believe me, this was no comedy.

Anyway, that was an interesting cultural experience for me.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 05:59:45 PM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 06:01:18 PM »
About a third of the way into the movie, I forget the scene, she reacts to something on screen and says (loudly) "mother f'ing white people!"

Yes, that got my attention. I chose to ignore it, hoping maybe I misheard or something. Later, again, she reacts to another scene with, "I f'ing hate white people! Damn!"

I had a similar experience a while back when in university.  My response was to wholeheartedly and loudly agree.

"Motherfucking white people"
"Yeah, they're the worst!"

"I fucking hate white people!  Damn!"
"Those miserable white bastards!  When will they learn?"

Eventually the person looked back, realized that I was taking the piss, we exchanged a laugh about it, and it stopped.  YMMV.

Thats funny, and a good way to handle it!

Kris

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2018, 06:18:18 PM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

It is common in the African AMerican community to talk to the screen and laugh and yell during scenes. It is no big deal unless you dont expect it.

Yours is a culturally specific expectation. Doesnt mean you are wrong, it just means that your movie watching culture is different.

Living as I do in the ‘hood I sometimes encounter this, but I usually dont go to blockbuster films that draw a wide audience.

I WAS taken aback recently, though, when there was audience shouting and clapping at a theatrical play put on by the Black  Rep here in St. Louis, a professional, well respected company. I just didnt expect it in that environment. Scenes that *I* thought were dramatic (old racist white woman gets beat up by black man) elicited cheers from some young college age audience members. And then, I noticed that the Company WAS seemingly playing that scene broadly, so perhaps they were specifically expecting the cheers and clapping, and they changed the tone of the play. Or maybe I didnt understand  what the tone should be. but believe me, this was no comedy.

Anyway, that was an interesting cultural experience for me.

Yeah, was gonna say this.

The fact that it isn't "polite" to talk back to the screen is a cultural thing. It's just that most of the time, white culture is THE culture.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Sarah Saverdink

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 07:06:01 PM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

(signed, your fellow white person.)

Listen, as Philociraptor says, bigotry, hate, and general asshole-ness comes in all races. But what you experienced was not racism. Racism isn't just treating someone differently because their skin is different than yours (regardless of what your skin tone is). There is a class aspect to it - that historically, people of color have been oppressed by whites, that whites have experienced (and still do) privilege. That you, a self described white guy, could sit in a Starbucks and not order anything, and the worst that would probably happen is that they might ask you to leave (but really, they probably wouldn't), or you could walk down the street in a hoodie and not many people would care, or heaven forbid you lost your mind and decided to shoot up a church or a movie theater, you'd be a "troubled soul" and not a terrorist.

I've heard the "white people suck" comments and I keep quiet and I feel conflicted. I hear the white people jokes and I laugh along awkwardly, not knowing if I find them funny or if I should or what I should do about them. But any awkwardness, or even a bit of anger, I feel is a small price to pay for the privileges I end up having for not having to deal with the above.

+1. The OP's situation is an example of witnessing bigotry, but not racism. Institutional racism goes beyond individual attitudes and perceptions. We live in a society the systemically gives preference and advantage to white people, where white culture is the default for societal expectations and acceptance.

I agree that it must be jarring to hear those remarks and this was a one-off situation. Imagine being subjected to those kinds of attitudes every single day for your entire life... Death by a thousand papercuts.
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Noodle

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 07:52:07 PM »
One of the many, many difficulties of discussing race in this country is that we don't have great language for it. Specialists use terms differently than everyday speakers, and a conversation that is already fraught with difficulty gets more so...it's similar to the way laypeople use "theory" to mean "idea" or "possible explanation" or "hypothesis" while scientists mean "a well-supported explanation which is considered to be an accurate description of reality" leading to big fights over things like evolution because it's "just a theory."

Racism for most people means "mistreating anyone of any race because of their race, often on purpose." Racism for people who spend a lot of time discussing it means "the way institutions and society are set up to treat non-white people unfairly, even when it's not intentional" and they would use "bigotry" or "race prejudice" the way the layperson uses racism. Same with "privilege"--for the layperson it's "something special that someone gets that someone else doesn't, usually money" (probably because "underprivileged" has been used as a polite synonym for poor for quite awhile now.) To a specialist, it's "the way certain groups of people tend to have advantages of various kinds, often but not necessarily economic." (John Scalzi explains it better than I do.) https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

I wish we had clearer language to talk about this stuff, because I feel like often people are arguing when they actually agree. But the more specific language is full of terms like "intersectionality" that can be tough to decipher, so there's not a great solution out there at the moment. At the moment, it's possible for someone like the OP to simultaneously be experiencing racism and not experiencing racism depending which speaker is using which definition. Language--it's weird as heck!

maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 08:08:54 PM »
I wish we had clearer language to talk about this stuff, because I feel like often people are arguing when they actually agree. But the more specific language is full of terms like "intersectionality" that can be tough to decipher, so there's not a great solution out there at the moment. At the moment, it's possible for someone like the OP to simultaneously be experiencing racism and not experiencing racism depending which speaker is using which definition. Language--it's weird as heck!

I completely agree on the bolded bit.

In the end, especially for topics full of landmines, I find the most helpful thing is to focus on trying to figure out what people mean by the words they are saying, rather than get my nose bent out of shape if they're using words to mean somewhat different things than I'd use the same words to mean.

If we agree on the concepts, shouldn't that matter more than if we agree on the language?

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 08:49:50 PM »
Having lived overseas many years and traveled quite a lot, I have experienced anti-white racism many times. People are people, and people are racist. Societies are racist. Technology is racist.

The black ladies at work have unending troubles with our voice recognition system, which obeys me almost every time. I don't doubt it was programed by people who look and sound like me.

All we can do is try to be individually decent.

pecunia

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 09:07:27 PM »
Isn't there such a thing as basic rudeness these days?  The woman was rude.  She did not consider the sensibilities of the people about her.  This inconsideration occurred in multiple fronts.  1) She was intolerant of fellow human beings.  2) She interrupted the movie experience of others.

I guess my lack of understanding and full sympathy for her situation will label me as racist in this crazy world.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2018, 07:13:20 AM »
I've been super impressed by the thoughtful responses.

To be honest, I posted this here instead of talking about it with real life friends because I knew I was more likely to get a measured response here. This is a wonderful example of us not all necessarily agreeing on everything, but approaching the issues with a certain level of respect.

I have the luxury of just letting this go, knowing it may not happen again for 5 years, or 10 years, or for the rest of my life. I'm glad I got my thoughts off my chest though.

Dabnasty

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2018, 07:18:04 AM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

It is common in the African AMerican community to talk to the screen and laugh and yell during scenes. It is no big deal unless you dont expect it.

Yours is a culturally specific expectation. Doesnt mean you are wrong, it just means that your movie watching culture is different.

Living as I do in the ‘hood I sometimes encounter this, but I usually dont go to blockbuster films that draw a wide audience.

I WAS taken aback recently, though, when there was audience shouting and clapping at a theatrical play put on by the Black  Rep here in St. Louis, a professional, well respected company. I just didnt expect it in that environment. Scenes that *I* thought were dramatic (old racist white woman gets beat up by black man) elicited cheers from some young college age audience members. And then, I noticed that the Company WAS seemingly playing that scene broadly, so perhaps they were specifically expecting the cheers and clapping, and they changed the tone of the play. Or maybe I didnt understand  what the tone should be. but believe me, this was no comedy.

Anyway, that was an interesting cultural experience for me.

First, I was being sarcastic here, largely because I thought this thread was going to go off the rails. But it didn't and there's actually been a good conversation so now I feel like a jerk.

Second, I don't give a hoot about cultural expectations when it comes to movie watching. I'm very familiar with what you're referring to, but if I miss dialogue due to chatter, I'm gonna be pissed. Talk during fight scenes, I can deal with that. Also, I do recognize the difference between talking "at" the movie and talking "during" the movie, but again, not during dialogue.


Kris

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2018, 08:00:07 AM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

It is common in the African AMerican community to talk to the screen and laugh and yell during scenes. It is no big deal unless you dont expect it.

Yours is a culturally specific expectation. Doesnt mean you are wrong, it just means that your movie watching culture is different.

Living as I do in the ‘hood I sometimes encounter this, but I usually dont go to blockbuster films that draw a wide audience.

I WAS taken aback recently, though, when there was audience shouting and clapping at a theatrical play put on by the Black  Rep here in St. Louis, a professional, well respected company. I just didnt expect it in that environment. Scenes that *I* thought were dramatic (old racist white woman gets beat up by black man) elicited cheers from some young college age audience members. And then, I noticed that the Company WAS seemingly playing that scene broadly, so perhaps they were specifically expecting the cheers and clapping, and they changed the tone of the play. Or maybe I didnt understand  what the tone should be. but believe me, this was no comedy.

Anyway, that was an interesting cultural experience for me.

First, I was being sarcastic here, largely because I thought this thread was going to go off the rails. But it didn't and there's actually been a good conversation so now I feel like a jerk.

Second, I don't give a hoot about cultural expectations when it comes to movie watching. I'm very familiar with what you're referring to, but if I miss dialogue due to chatter, I'm gonna be pissed. Talk during fight scenes, I can deal with that. Also, I do recognize the difference between talking "at" the movie and talking "during" the movie, but again, not during dialogue.

Sooo... Devil's advocate question here:

Let's say this is a movie about black people, by black people, for black people. And let's say that the audience is mostly black. And let's say that the audience culture is therefore more slanted toward talking in a movie.

As a white person in the audience, do you still feel entitled to be pissed?
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2018, 08:25:20 AM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

It is common in the African AMerican community to talk to the screen and laugh and yell during scenes. It is no big deal unless you dont expect it.

Yours is a culturally specific expectation. Doesnt mean you are wrong, it just means that your movie watching culture is different.

Living as I do in the ‘hood I sometimes encounter this, but I usually dont go to blockbuster films that draw a wide audience.

I WAS taken aback recently, though, when there was audience shouting and clapping at a theatrical play put on by the Black  Rep here in St. Louis, a professional, well respected company. I just didnt expect it in that environment. Scenes that *I* thought were dramatic (old racist white woman gets beat up by black man) elicited cheers from some young college age audience members. And then, I noticed that the Company WAS seemingly playing that scene broadly, so perhaps they were specifically expecting the cheers and clapping, and they changed the tone of the play. Or maybe I didnt understand  what the tone should be. but believe me, this was no comedy.

Anyway, that was an interesting cultural experience for me.

First, I was being sarcastic here, largely because I thought this thread was going to go off the rails. But it didn't and there's actually been a good conversation so now I feel like a jerk.

Second, I don't give a hoot about cultural expectations when it comes to movie watching. I'm very familiar with what you're referring to, but if I miss dialogue due to chatter, I'm gonna be pissed. Talk during fight scenes, I can deal with that. Also, I do recognize the difference between talking "at" the movie and talking "during" the movie, but again, not during dialogue.

Sooo... Devil's advocate question here:

Let's say this is a movie about black people, by black people, for black people. And let's say that the audience is mostly black. And let's say that the audience culture is therefore more slanted toward talking in a movie.

As a white person in the audience, do you still feel entitled to be pissed?

Interesting point. What sets the expectations for crowd conduct? 1) The rules posted by the theater? 2) The example set by the majority of the patrons? 3) The nature of the film itself? Some combination of these? Applying these to the facts...

1) During my viewing of BP, the theater posted the normal "please be quiet and courteous to other patrons, and please silence your phones." To me, that sets the rule right there.

2) In a mixed crowed that appear to be 50/50 PoC/white, and maybe even 50/50 female/male, the lady I mentioned in my OP was the ONLY person I could hear talking to the screen. It was silent most of the time, other than some laughs after jokes, and maybe a few Woots in action scenes, but things quieted down quickly after those parts.

3) I agree that the film was probably targeted to black folks, with a predominantly black cast and focused on black culture (using a made up country, but still).

So I think #1 and #2 cut toward, "Don't talk to the screen, especially if you're going to say racist/bigoted things!"  #3 might create some latitude. What's the answer? To have a few screenings that are more "friendly" to chatter?  How would you even describe that without offending folks?

simonsez

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2018, 08:43:50 AM »
Sooo... Devil's advocate question here:

Let's say this is a movie about black people, by black people, for black people. And let's say that the audience is mostly black. And let's say that the audience culture is therefore more slanted toward talking in a movie.

As a white person in the audience, do you still feel entitled to be pissed?
A movie about black people - sure, could be about anything as long as it tells a good story/entertains
A movie made by black people - cool
A movie FOR black people - huh?  Is it a medical documentary about those diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and what they should do?  That was about the best example I could think of and it's not very foolproof.  Can you expand on this?

I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that talking in a movie is a cultural activity.  However I've only been in theaters that ask you to turn off your cell phone, dim the lights to put focus on what will be showing on the screen, etc.  Talking is not the point and actively discouraged.  I guess I would have a different mindset if I went to a venue that had more open social guidelines with a movie playing in the background.  In the movie theaters I am familiar with I think it's a little disrespectful and could be annoying hearing hushed chatter throughout but it wouldn't piss me off unless it was unnecessarily loud and not innocent banter but rather inciteful outburts.

PoutineLover

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2018, 08:56:15 AM »
Re: talking in movies, I used to go to a theatre that showed old grindhouse films and a huge part of the experience was people shouting out comments during the show. It was funny and related to the scene and nobody was bothered by it.
In general people doing distracting things during movies like texting with volume on or talking loud are annoying, but some people are just jerks. Can't get too worked up over this stuff. And if it really bugs you, I bet the theatre would give you free tickets if you complain afterwards.
Racism? Maybe a little, but not nearly as significant as what most poc face much more regularly. I think part of why racism is so problematic is that it is pervasive and it affects many aspects of someone's life, so a one off incident is upsetting sure, but it won't have a lasting impact.
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Dabnasty

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2018, 08:59:19 AM »
This is just awful. People who talk during movies are the worst, so disrespectful. Do they even consider that you paid $10 (or whatever movies cost now) to go to the theater and they're interfering with your movie?

I don't care what they've dealt with in the past, talking during a movie is unforgiveable. The tough part of whether or not to say something is that it may start an argument and then everyone is mad at you too for interrupting the movie.

It's a bit of a lose-lose but I would probably ignore it unless it was a full scale conversation.

It is common in the African AMerican community to talk to the screen and laugh and yell during scenes. It is no big deal unless you dont expect it.

Yours is a culturally specific expectation. Doesnt mean you are wrong, it just means that your movie watching culture is different.

Living as I do in the ‘hood I sometimes encounter this, but I usually dont go to blockbuster films that draw a wide audience.

I WAS taken aback recently, though, when there was audience shouting and clapping at a theatrical play put on by the Black  Rep here in St. Louis, a professional, well respected company. I just didnt expect it in that environment. Scenes that *I* thought were dramatic (old racist white woman gets beat up by black man) elicited cheers from some young college age audience members. And then, I noticed that the Company WAS seemingly playing that scene broadly, so perhaps they were specifically expecting the cheers and clapping, and they changed the tone of the play. Or maybe I didnt understand  what the tone should be. but believe me, this was no comedy.

Anyway, that was an interesting cultural experience for me.

First, I was being sarcastic here, largely because I thought this thread was going to go off the rails. But it didn't and there's actually been a good conversation so now I feel like a jerk.

Second, I don't give a hoot about cultural expectations when it comes to movie watching. I'm very familiar with what you're referring to, but if I miss dialogue due to chatter, I'm gonna be pissed. Talk during fight scenes, I can deal with that. Also, I do recognize the difference between talking "at" the movie and talking "during" the movie, but again, not during dialogue.

Sooo... Devil's advocate question here:

Let's say this is a movie about black people, by black people, for black people. And let's say that the audience is mostly black. And let's say that the audience culture is therefore more slanted toward talking in a movie.

As a white person in the audience, do you still feel entitled to be pissed?

It's nothing to do with entitlement, "pissed" is an emotion and I do not choose it. I choose my actions, not my feelings. My action would be to do nothing because I would be in the minority and if I complained I would probably get laughed at. If I was invested in the plot I would probably be pissed but based on your scenario I either wouldn't be invested or I wouldn't watch the movie in theaters. The hypothetical situation is difficult for me to think about because I don't pay that much money to watch movies.

One more thought, even if talking during movies is culturally acceptable at home or in groups of friends, I do think the theater environment is different because 1) If it is a large crowd the talking could quickly compound to the point where you couldn't hear anything. 2) silence is not imposing on the rest of the audience but talking is. When two cultures with opposing norms clash, I think the one that is not imposing on others should take precedent.

netskyblue

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2018, 09:17:46 AM »
As a somewhat average person who doesn't frequently get into deep discussions of racism, I'm one of those who would instinctively define racism as bigotry due to race.  Institutional racism is a different thing.  All the -isms: (sexism, ageism, anti-semitism, etc) bigotry due to -whatever-.  It's putting "institutional" before the word that makes it about something more than one individual bigot's words, beliefs, or actions.  At least, that's how I'd define it.

OP - no, I wouldn't have done anything.  I kind of feel like bigoted people are entitled to their bigoted beliefs, it's when they act on those beliefs in a way that causes harm to others that it becomes a problem.  The woman's comments weren't directed at you (she may not have even known you, a white person, was within earshot - I have no idea). 

I *guess* there's the argument that expressing bigoted beliefs harms people, especially impressionable children, and may pass those attitudes on, but... eh... We do have freedom of speech and she's entitled to voice her belief that she hates white people if she wants to.  It may, arguably should, result in people shunning her as a result, because being bigoted is a bad thing, but it is her right to say that's how she feels.  We could get into a debate about times when the "freedom of speech" argument is being taken too far - for example, a black boss saying to their white employee, "I hate white people."  There's more at play there than a random person expressing their beliefs.  Whereas a random dude walking down the street commenting to the guy walking along with him, "I hate white people," well, that's really nobody else's business.  Fine, you hate white people, I'm going to make a concerted effort to never engage with or befriend you, Random Dude, because I don't like bigoted people.

Talking during a movie, on the other hand, that's just generally not allowed.  Every theater I've been in tells you to not talk during the movie.  But regardless of what the comments were, I still personally wouldn't say anything.  You usually have to be so disruptive that the majority of people around you are having a problem with it before it seems escalation to theater staff is appropriate.




Dabnasty

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2018, 09:20:23 AM »
Getting back to the OP and feelings of being offended, I think my initial reaction may be to take offense but that wouldn't last long. Maybe the reason it continues to bother you isn't about any personal feelings but rather worry and fear that this individual has misplaced anger. Just like when someone makes an unsupported inflammatory claim on these forums, I don't take personal offense (well, maybe I do but I certainly shouldn't) but it does cause some level of distress knowing that a member of the society which I am also a part of is making decisions based on inaccurate or misguided information.

ariapluscat

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2018, 09:59:29 AM »
ok but in the specific context of watching 'black panther' the comment might have a specific meaning beyond 'i personally hate all white people'. like she was referring to the way characters/representations in the movie were acting and it wasn't about white people in general, much less you specifically. like how different is her comment than when shuri called someone a 'colonizer'? did you have a different reaction to that line within the movie?

i'm personally in the "talking during movies varies by situation." i know ppl who went to see black panther in neighborhoods which were majority black so they could get the Full Experience of talking and hearing other ppl talk as well as the difference in promo materials. as iris and kris pointed out. i also know ppl who dressed up in cosplay to see the hobbit on opening night and loudly cried when they saw a digitally animated dragon. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

i think you're extending sympathy as much as possible to understand some isms so that's nice. i certainly was taught de-escalation wrt race. there are a few key moments i remember but they generally are from my childhood and/or are about ppl who actually had power over me. so a lot like fifofum brought up. and i think the 'getting it off your chest' is key for poc too. sometimes its complaining to friends and family while other times it's changing the conditions that are complained about.

its hard to talk about the message of the movie without getting into spoiler territory. but clearly several ppl left the movie with a different impression of the message and characters than i did. wrt simonsez, there is a fubu aspect to the movie as the actors, director, and most staff have made that clear through their comments.

simonsez

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2018, 11:17:18 AM »
wrt simonsez, there is a fubu aspect to the movie as the actors, director, and most staff have made that clear through their comments.
Oh really?  That leaves a sour taste on the surface without knowing more.  Although if the intent of the FUBU sentiment was meant to convey that being a POC and becoming an actor/actress/director/etc. is more normalized but the film is still meant to be enjoyed by everyone, that's fine.  I would applaud that.

I don't really read or watch interviews about movies and would have no idea going into the theater if a movie was intended for me/not for me.  Was there any dedication at the start or the end of the film that spoke about that? 

ariapluscat

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2018, 11:35:25 AM »
wrt simonsez, there is a fubu aspect to the movie as the actors, director, and most staff have made that clear through their comments.
Oh really?  That leaves a sour taste on the surface without knowing more.  Although if the intent of the FUBU sentiment was meant to convey that being a POC and becoming an actor/actress/director/etc. is more normalized but the film is still meant to be enjoyed by everyone, that's fine.  I would applaud that.

I don't really read or watch interviews about movies and would have no idea going into the theater if a movie was intended for me/not for me.  Was there any dedication at the start or the end of the film that spoke about that?

?why??? sour taste??? i'm lost, really.

no, there wasn't a dedication or something like that. i don't quite understand, i guess?

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2018, 11:57:26 AM »
wrt simonsez, there is a fubu aspect to the movie as the actors, director, and most staff have made that clear through their comments.
Oh really?  That leaves a sour taste on the surface without knowing more.  Although if the intent of the FUBU sentiment was meant to convey that being a POC and becoming an actor/actress/director/etc. is more normalized but the film is still meant to be enjoyed by everyone, that's fine.  I would applaud that.

I don't really read or watch interviews about movies and would have no idea going into the theater if a movie was intended for me/not for me.  Was there any dedication at the start or the end of the film that spoke about that?

?why??? sour taste??? i'm lost, really.

no, there wasn't a dedication or something like that. i don't quite understand, i guess?

I think simonsez is referring to your use of the word "fubu." I know it as a clothing brand, but urban dictionary tells me it can also mean "for us, by us." I didn't know that definition until just now, and maybe that's what has led to the confusion. Your original "fubu" statement makes more sense now that I looked that up.

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2018, 12:39:30 PM »
wrt simonsez, there is a fubu aspect to the movie as the actors, director, and most staff have made that clear through their comments.
Oh really?  That leaves a sour taste on the surface without knowing more.  Although if the intent of the FUBU sentiment was meant to convey that being a POC and becoming an actor/actress/director/etc. is more normalized but the film is still meant to be enjoyed by everyone, that's fine.  I would applaud that.

I don't really read or watch interviews about movies and would have no idea going into the theater if a movie was intended for me/not for me.  Was there any dedication at the start or the end of the film that spoke about that?

?why??? sour taste??? i'm lost, really.

no, there wasn't a dedication or something like that. i don't quite understand, i guess?

I think simonsez is referring to your use of the word "fubu." I know it as a clothing brand, but urban dictionary tells me it can also mean "for us, by us." I didn't know that definition until just now, and maybe that's what has led to the confusion. Your original "fubu" statement makes more sense now that I looked that up.

Wait, what?  Does FUBU mean something different than 'for us, by us'?  If I muddied the waters, I apologize and definitely correct me.

In terms of why a sour taste - the film industry belongs to the arts.  I'd say normally as a patron (or at least for me) you read a book, gaze at a painting, listen to music, watch a film, etc. regardless of what person/gender/race/religion/etc. was behind the creation of it.  The product is what matters.  Now if there is a story to tell by those involved in creating the art, that's great and those interested can have their fill.  But if someone tells me the art in question is intended (or not intended) to be enjoyed for a certain demographic characteristic that you don't get to choose*, it can leave a negative predisposition for the excluded.  Why can't I just view what someone else created and judge if the material is up my alley?  If the art in question caters to something I personally am not normally entertained by, who cares - the artist still captured my attention and probably some $$.  If the artist(s) are literally saying "I don't want people of this type to view my work" - then yeah, that sentiment is sour to me and counter-productive to a friendly society across all boundaries.

But here, it sounds like we have a very well made movie with a great cast and it's action-based and about comic books, what middle-aged straight white guy wouldn't like a movie like that?  Why delineate and say this movie is intended for black audiences?  I don't follow what that helps.

* I guess a good exception to this is age.  You don't choose your age yet we find it pretty convenient to rate movies and classify books based on age and the intended audiences - except maybe inconvenient for the 16 year old wanting to go to the R-rated movie or 17 year old wanting to purchase porn erotic art but society has agreed that's the acceptable cutoff point to marginalize.

ariapluscat

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2018, 01:05:17 PM »
yes, i mean fubu as 'for us by us.' there is also a brand by the same name with a similar intent as far as branding. maybe i was unclear.

i think there may be a difference of opinion of what 'for us by us' means. and it's really hard to talk about this w/o spoilers for black panther. i don't think fubu in this context means 'this is only for black ppl' or 'this work isn't accessible to non-black ppl' but more 'black experience was key for the creatives here and experiencing black diaspora may give you additional emotional resonance for the movie.' afaik none of the creatives behind the movie have said they don't want x type of people to view their work.

the least spoilery example i'd use is how coogler, the director, uses oakland throughout his filmography and publicity, including in black panther. would that meet your threshold too (we don't choose where we grow up)?

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/15/585702642/director-ryan-coogler-says-black-panther-brought-him-closer-to-his-roots


the interview may clarify what i was referring to as far as intent

craiglepaige

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2018, 01:31:55 PM »
Unfortunately OP, your movie experience was shitted on by a moronic viewer who thought it was perfectly fine to be an idiot in a public space.

What would I had done if I was in your shoes?
More than likely nothing.  Although I've wanted to come across a person like that before and would consider asking them out to the bar for a drink and some conversation. 

Like for example, after the movie was over, maybe walk up to the lady and in a corteous manner say, "Hey, I overheard your comments during the movie and wanted to know if you would be interested in talking about them?". 

Who knows if it would had even made a difference, probably not, but I think it was an opportunity to have a decent conversation. Maybe I'm too naive and positive...
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simonsez

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2018, 02:35:31 PM »
yes, i mean fubu as 'for us by us.' there is also a brand by the same name with a similar intent as far as branding. maybe i was unclear.

i think there may be a difference of opinion of what 'for us by us' means. and it's really hard to talk about this w/o spoilers for black panther. i don't think fubu in this context means 'this is only for black ppl' or 'this work isn't accessible to non-black ppl' but more 'black experience was key for the creatives here and experiencing black diaspora may give you additional emotional resonance for the movie.' afaik none of the creatives behind the movie have said they don't want x type of people to view their work.

the least spoilery example i'd use is how coogler, the director, uses oakland throughout his filmography and publicity, including in black panther. would that meet your threshold too (we don't choose where we grow up)?

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/15/585702642/director-ryan-coogler-says-black-panther-brought-him-closer-to-his-roots


the interview may clarify what i was referring to as far as intent

That helps a lot and makes sense - which I would argue the majority of the time is true when you read into something deeper.  Also, bonus points to Lee and Kirby in their concepts for creating the world that Coogler was able to do so much with.  Headlines can be so subjective and assumptions can be easily made when you don't read into the nuance and the real situation (which, hey we don't always have time for and need the extreme TL;DR version).  Thanks!

caracarn

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2018, 02:52:47 PM »
This is a great thread, thanks for sharing your experience and how it made you feel.

I had a similar experience way back in the late 90s.  I was the only white person in an entire theater watching Rosewood on opening weekend.  As a history buff I was familiar with the story and wanted to see how John Singleton portrayed it on screen.  I thought the movie was excellent.  As the situation on screen escalated the comments in the theater yelled at the screen got more and more agitated and violent.  I'd be lying if I did not say I began to question the intelligence of my decision to go see that movie at times, but in the end nothing happened to me, no one commented directly to me, but it did give me a new perspective.  Certainly Rosewood is a much different film than Black Panther, but even twenty years later I can still recall the feelings I had that day.

sui generis

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2018, 03:08:01 PM »
Sometimes bad things happen and there isn't always a better way you could have handled it that would have changed the situation or made you or anyone feel any better than you all ended up feeling.  Having been in this kind of situation many times (for, shall we say traditional racism and sexism, not, again for convenience sake, "reverse" racism or sexism) I can tell you that the few times I have tried to speak up didn't often leave me feeling better than the times I kept my pretty little mouth shut, like I was supposed to.  You can end up feeling just as shitty in both cases.  If you speak up, the result (and whether you feel shittier than had you shut up) depends not just on how skillfully you speak up but, as well, how skillfully the observers and other participants respond.  And even the most skillful speaking up can only do so much to set the tone for the response.

In the situation you were in, I think even the most skillful response was not likely to be productive for the others on-scene and was not likely to make you feel less shitty than not speaking up. 

If I may give some further advice from years of swallowing those shitty feelings, the best time spent is not analyzing what you could have or should have done differently (or what the asshole should have done differently), but just to feel your feelings and, like you've done, try to feel others' feelings, and ask what would help to feel better.  Not what *would have* helped.  But what would help right now. Maybe there are specific actions (as others have suggested, being inspired to help disadvantaged kids or volunteer in other ways), or maybe it's having a cry or punching a punching bag or taking a walk in nature while contemplating gratitude.  While the negative feelings associated with it might not completely go away, learning how to accept and work with negative feelings (which unfortunately we are all going to have innumerable more times in life) is probably more productive than ruminating at length on what could have been done differently in a (relatively) hopeless situation.

electriceagle

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2018, 07:07:47 AM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

Dear progressive people,

I think that this is part of where we have gone wrong. Institutional racism is worse than the random, power-structure-free racist comment given in the first post. This doesn't mean that the latter is OK.

People experience the same emotions when confronted with exclusionary behavior, regardless of their position in the power structure. I could even argue that individuals who are higher up and experience negative events less often "feel" them more.

If we tell them that their feelings don't matter because of who they are, they aren't going to feel like they can join us. Nobody wants to join a club that says "sorry, we're busy fighting for justice, for now you can only be a second-class member".

They go down the street and talk to someone who validates their feelings, tells them that "they" are always doing that to "us", and sends them links to a couple of youtube videos and allofasudden (sorry, new york accent) they're closet alt-right.

How is this helping anything?

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #48 on: April 23, 2018, 07:48:51 AM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

Dear progressive people,

I think that this is part of where we have gone wrong. Institutional racism is worse than the random, power-structure-free racist comment given in the first post. This doesn't mean that the latter is OK.

Agreed.

People experience the same emotions when confronted with exclusionary behavior, regardless of their position in the power structure. I could even argue that individuals who are higher up and experience negative events less often "feel" them more.

Disagree.

Experiencing a lifetime of institutionalized racism has a profoundly different impact on a person, and on how racism will impact that person.  I don't believe that they are emotionally comparable.  I know that I'm going to get stopped by police less often, be sentenced to prison less often, be hired more for jobs, be paid more, etc.  It's why I'm able to laugh off someone in a theater saying that they hate white people . . . because I'm well aware that the entire system exists to protect me.

I'm not saying that discriminatory comments are ever OK . . . but to try to equate the two scenarios is to ignore some pretty huge, fundamental differences in our society.

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #49 on: April 23, 2018, 08:04:56 AM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

You cannot be on the receiving end of racism as a white person.

Dear progressive people,

I think that this is part of where we have gone wrong. Institutional racism is worse than the random, power-structure-free racist comment given in the first post. This doesn't mean that the latter is OK.

People experience the same emotions when confronted with exclusionary behavior, regardless of their position in the power structure. I could even argue that individuals who are higher up and experience negative events less often "feel" them more.

If we tell them that their feelings don't matter because of who they are, they aren't going to feel like they can join us. Nobody wants to join a club that says "sorry, we're busy fighting for justice, for now you can only be a second-class member".

They go down the street and talk to someone who validates their feelings, tells them that "they" are always doing that to "us", and sends them links to a couple of youtube videos and allofasudden (sorry, new york accent) they're closet alt-right.

How is this helping anything?

This is so smart.

I live  in the land where everythng is about race even when its not, and it seems that it is a race amoung progressives to get to the mountaintop to shout and point at “racists and racist behavioir” first. Get there first is the goal. Create exclusionary membership in the anti-racist club. Validate their own membership by keeping others out.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 08:09:23 AM by iris lily »