Author Topic: Explain Racism to me  (Read 14007 times)

Melisande

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #50 on: November 27, 2016, 07:24:21 AM »
I confess that I didn't read the entire thread, but I've read a lot of threads like this and I know how they are typically argued. In general, people are not seeing the big picture.

Over the last couple of decades there has been an increasing broadening of the meaning of "racism." Back in the 50s and 60s, I'm petty sure that no one saw anything wrong with naming a baseball team the "Braves." This cultural shift can be traced back  to the rise of identity politics in humanities departments in academia in the 1980s and 90s. Since then identity potilitics has taken over parts of the internet, large parts of campus life, parts of actual political discourse and generally seeped into every day life.

What is identity politics all about? It is all about power. Ideally, it is about empowering those groups who have been historically disempowered, or ideally not disempowering in the first place by swiping their culture or pretending members of the group are all the same way or what have you. This is why it doesn't matter if, say, someone in a minority group dresses up as a stereotypical white American -- how about as a cowboy. It's because, at least in our country, whites have been the dominant race -- they have had the power, therefore stereotyping is fine.

Well, that is the theory. In practice, it often boils down to upper middle class white adolescents empowering themselves through good-doing, or campus diversity offices empowering themselves by guaranteeing their paycheck.

Then, thee are also many ways to criticize identity politics. But I'm at 2% power on my iPad, so I'm going to post now before my screen  goes blank. I might post some of the criticisms of identity politics when I get it re-charged.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 07:26:03 AM by Melisande »

FINate

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #51 on: November 27, 2016, 02:35:26 PM »
I did the race IAT and, while I'm sure it's somewhat valid, doing "white+ good" then "black+ good" is going to skew the results - vs starting with "black+ good". Doing the opposite of what you were doing thirty seconds ago is hard. I wonder if they take that into account. But I'm not at all surprised I have implicit bias.

The priming effect is well known so well designed psych tests have built-in controls for this, such as asking the same or similar questions in different order, or randomly varying the order of questions per participants (your responses almost certainly became part of their research data).

For the costume thing - I don't see wearing Arab dress as being a non-dominant race. Let's flip it: how could a non-white person dress up as a white person, and would that be racist? Or is there no white culture to borrow?

Dominance is relative to the individual context. An Arab in the Middle East has a different view of their social standing vs. an Arab in the US or Europe.

I'm white. I grew up rural and relatively poor and we are "Okies" - a pejorative term for poor people from Oklahoma who migrated to California during the Great Depression/Dust Bowl. I'm wealthy but still, I don't particularly appreciate it when wealthy elite whites dress up as "hillbillies," "rednecks," or "white trash" and/or when they act out their stereotypes in other ways such as accents and behavior. It's only "fun" for them because of the novelty of pretending to lower their social status. It's like the rich guy who thinks is fun to go "slumming" by hanging out in dive bars with people he considers beneath him. It's really comes down to the intent behind it. I don't have a problem with a rich person going to a dive bar if the sincere goal is to meet and get to know different types of people - this is admirable. But it's extremely demeaning if they're doing it just for the novelty of it, as a way of asserting their dominance ("glad I'm not like these people!"). I have a very hard time believing people dressing up as other cultures/races for the purpose of having fun are doing so because they seek a better understanding.

Let's take white vs. non-white out of the equation for a bit, since I think it's difficult to be totally objective in viewing our own context. Consider for a moment the Uyghur, an ethnic and religious minority in Western China. How do you think they would feel if the dominant Han Chinese stereotyped them for "fun" at parties? This boils down to dominant groups having fun at the expense of others. Going back to the idea of the wealthy going slumming, it's interesting to note that the poor cannot do the opposite. The policies and prices of a high-end bar effectively exclude the poor from their establishments. It all boils down to a lack of sensitivity to the asymmetry of the relationship on the part of the dominant group. And if you rarely see someone outside of your own group then you are almost certainly part of the dominant group.

Part of the thing here is that I'm not north American, I guess.

Edit: the other thing is that, lately, I just don't come into contact with non white people. I live in a tiny town in Canada, and there are... well, I don't know. In the places I go, I might literally not see a non white person in a week.

I'm also not, in this thread, particularly specifically interested in African American stuff. I'm not in America. It's just not relevant. I have fairly neutral feelings towards Mexico, too - I don't have the cultural input that Americans may have, have never worked at a company employing Mexican cleaners and therefore have a grudge because "they're talking our jobs" or anything like that, so the example just don't work for me. Perhaps that's why this is so head scratching.

This is not about you. You may not understand it, but all you need to understand is that people don't like their culture appropriated as a play thing by other groups. There are plenty of other non-offensive ways to have fun.

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2016, 03:04:12 PM »
I did the race IAT and, while I'm sure it's somewhat valid, doing "white+ good" then "black+ good" is going to skew the results - vs starting with "black+ good". Doing the opposite of what you were doing thirty seconds ago is hard. I wonder if they take that into account. But I'm not at all surprised I have implicit bias.

The priming effect is well known so well designed psych tests have built-in controls for this, such as asking the same or similar questions in different order, or randomly varying the order of questions per participants (your responses almost certainly became part of their research data).

For the costume thing - I don't see wearing Arab dress as being a non-dominant race. Let's flip it: how could a non-white person dress up as a white person, and would that be racist? Or is there no white culture to borrow?

Dominance is relative to the individual context. An Arab in the Middle East has a different view of their social standing vs. an Arab in the US or Europe.

I'm white. I grew up rural and relatively poor and we are "Okies" - a pejorative term for poor people from Oklahoma who migrated to California during the Great Depression/Dust Bowl. I'm wealthy but still, I don't particularly appreciate it when wealthy elite whites dress up as "hillbillies," "rednecks," or "white trash" and/or when they act out their stereotypes in other ways such as accents and behavior. It's only "fun" for them because of the novelty of pretending to lower their social status. It's like the rich guy who thinks is fun to go "slumming" by hanging out in dive bars with people he considers beneath him. It's really comes down to the intent behind it. I don't have a problem with a rich person going to a dive bar if the sincere goal is to meet and get to know different types of people - this is admirable. But it's extremely demeaning if they're doing it just for the novelty of it, as a way of asserting their dominance ("glad I'm not like these people!"). I have a very hard time believing people dressing up as other cultures/races for the purpose of having fun are doing so because they seek a better understanding.

Let's take white vs. non-white out of the equation for a bit, since I think it's difficult to be totally objective in viewing our own context. Consider for a moment the Uyghur, an ethnic and religious minority in Western China. How do you think they would feel if the dominant Han Chinese stereotyped them for "fun" at parties? This boils down to dominant groups having fun at the expense of others. Going back to the idea of the wealthy going slumming, it's interesting to note that the poor cannot do the opposite. The policies and prices of a high-end bar effectively exclude the poor from their establishments. It all boils down to a lack of sensitivity to the asymmetry of the relationship on the part of the dominant group. And if you rarely see someone outside of your own group then you are almost certainly part of the dominant group.

Part of the thing here is that I'm not north American, I guess.

Edit: the other thing is that, lately, I just don't come into contact with non white people. I live in a tiny town in Canada, and there are... well, I don't know. In the places I go, I might literally not see a non white person in a week.

I'm also not, in this thread, particularly specifically interested in African American stuff. I'm not in America. It's just not relevant. I have fairly neutral feelings towards Mexico, too - I don't have the cultural input that Americans may have, have never worked at a company employing Mexican cleaners and therefore have a grudge because "they're talking our jobs" or anything like that, so the example just don't work for me. Perhaps that's why this is so head scratching.

This is not about you. You may not understand it, but all you need to understand is that people don't like their culture appropriated as a play thing by other groups. There are plenty of other non-offensive ways to have fun.

Right. So, Pulp's "Common People". There are a lot of "ists". The right thing to do is treat each person individually, and not as part of any grouping. But, there are lots of people that don't like lots of things. Cultural appropriation is normal - it's how things pass from one group to another. Internet speak is doing that, globally, extremely quickly in terms of speech patterns (or, typing patterns).

It's like... it's ok for a group to get offended/'own' something... but on the other hand, another group can't take that thing.

Whenever we see *anything* different, we're interested. I think the "looking down" thing is key. The intent. I guess that's what I don't get; how can people be so *mean*? Because if the mean people weren't mean, we'd all be able to do pretty much as we pleased without the suspicion of -isms. Oh, they like wearing (whatever). Ok. The end.

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2016, 06:14:53 AM »
The intent. I guess that's what I don't get; how can people be so *mean*? Because if the mean people weren't mean, we'd all be able to do pretty much as we pleased without the suspicion of -isms. Oh, they like wearing (whatever). Ok. The end.

What's the motivation?  That's easy.

People are social critters.  One of the easiest ways to form cohesiveness in a group is to focus negative feelings at a particular person/group of people/thing that has some sort of difference and then let human behaviour take over.  People receive social capital (and enhance group inclusiveness) by professing and demonstrating a dislike of others.  There are countless examples of this throughout history, enough that I suspect that this trait was enforced by evolution.

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2016, 06:37:44 AM »
The intent. I guess that's what I don't get; how can people be so *mean*? Because if the mean people weren't mean, we'd all be able to do pretty much as we pleased without the suspicion of -isms. Oh, they like wearing (whatever). Ok. The end.

What's the motivation?  That's easy.

People are social critters.  One of the easiest ways to form cohesiveness in a group is to focus negative feelings at a particular person/group of people/thing that has some sort of difference and then let human behaviour take over.  People receive social capital (and enhance group inclusiveness) by professing and demonstrating a dislike of others.  There are countless examples of this throughout history, enough that I suspect that this trait was enforced by evolution.

Sigh, yes, the tribe. Monkeysphere (the idea that you "can't" care directly about more than ~100 actual people - most people can't). Protect ourselves. So evident in what we're doing to the environment.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #55 on: November 29, 2016, 09:08:23 PM »
The First Nations thing is one of those sort of smile and look up things.  We invaded, attacked, warred against, defeated, and ultimately conquered, a selection of, call them migrant nation states.  They lost the clash of culture, they lost the war.  It's very important that we respect their culture.

Smiles and nods all around, yes yes, this is all very proper.

But don't fly the confederate flag you southern racist...you lost the war and should damn well act like it.

This is weird to me!  I mean I get it!  But this is weird?  Objectively, sitting outside, this is strange yes?  No? just me?  OK I'll go.

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #56 on: November 30, 2016, 09:10:30 AM »
The First Nations thing is one of those sort of smile and look up things.  We invaded, attacked, warred against, defeated, and ultimately conquered, a selection of, call them migrant nation states.  They lost the clash of culture, they lost the war.  It's very important that we respect their culture.

Smiles and nods all around, yes yes, this is all very proper.

But don't fly the confederate flag you southern racist...you lost the war and should damn well act like it.

This is weird to me!  I mean I get it!  But this is weird?  Objectively, sitting outside, this is strange yes?  No? just me?  OK I'll go.

I've thought a bit about 'white fragility' and I think that factors a lot.

My prior thinking was: nobody gave me the 'choice' to have lost the 'culture' of my group of people from 200, 500, 1000 years ago. It's just not a thing. The world has changed; that's how it is now. I don't quite understand how that is different. Particularly for *this* generation.

Now - in Canada there was the residential schools thing, which is completely abhorrent, so that's separate. Reparation should be/should have been made for that.

If the government made an agreement with a group of people that that group of people owned certain lands, that's cool. Canada's a big country, tons of room for lots of FN people to have vast, vast areas; that should be set. Then, those bands should make the money they need from that land. They should be somewhat protected from nasty modern 'sell us your land' stuff (in fact, it should be prohibited). But, it should be possible to transition for a non-FN person to live the FN life. The bands should be responsible for their own finances, and should be treated equally - an individual should have the same rights and responsibilities as any other Canadian. That's 'fair'.

Sure, parts of that brief southern culture that weren't about slavery are fine. But seeing as the rallying cry of the confed. flag was specifically about keeping slavery (no?) it's hard for the rest of the world to not associate the two. Same with naziism - I'm sure there were good things under Hitler's regime (busses ran on time?!). But you can't separate the (theoretical) good things from the horrors.

*Edit* The big difference of course, between my situation and that of the FN, is that the FN's way of life was removed forcibly, where my history has been abandoned voluntarily with western progress. I don't want to live in a stone cottage with a life expectancy of 40, no electricity, doing backbreaking farm work all day, etc. If FN people want to live in their traditional way, they should of course be able to.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 09:29:54 AM by daverobev »

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #57 on: November 30, 2016, 12:38:24 PM »
The First Nations thing is one of those sort of smile and look up things.  We invaded, attacked, warred against, defeated, and ultimately conquered, a selection of, call them migrant nation states.  They lost the clash of culture, they lost the war.  It's very important that we respect their culture.

Smiles and nods all around, yes yes, this is all very proper.

But don't fly the confederate flag you southern racist...you lost the war and should damn well act like it.

This is weird to me!  I mean I get it!  But this is weird?  Objectively, sitting outside, this is strange yes?  No? just me?  OK I'll go.


The situations are totally different.

The confederate states were fighting to protect slavery.  The upshot of the civil war was that they lost the right to keep slaves.  Flying a confederate flag is a tacit approval of the southern cause of the civil war . . . which was oppression of people.  This is why it's not generally seen as a good thing to do.

The Native Americans were fighting to protect their land and way of life from invaders.  The invaders won, and then oppressed the Native Americans for many years.  Allowing Natives to maintain their culture doesn't harm anyone else, it simply reverses some of the injustice that was perpetrated.  This is why it's generally seen as a good thing to do.

Northwestie

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #58 on: November 30, 2016, 12:45:19 PM »
I find it odd that this even has to be explained

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #59 on: November 30, 2016, 01:21:33 PM »
I find it odd that this even has to be explained

Which bit?

Northwestie

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #60 on: November 30, 2016, 02:01:24 PM »
I find it odd that this even has to be explained

Which bit?

Any and all of it

MichaelB

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #61 on: November 30, 2016, 03:11:38 PM »
I think that it is perfectly okay to call something racist or prejudiced if you think it is.  The person should be tough enough to defend themselves if they think they are being unfairly treated. 

The more I think about racism, the more I think the problem is less with calling it out, and more with the fact that society sees it as an irredeemable moral failing.  In my opinion, we all have cultural blind spots and ignorance, and someone pointing that out doesn't offend me, it educates me. 

I am a bit racist.  It took me 40 years to realize it, and I am working to remedy it.  I likely will never be completely rid of bias, because all  humans are biased in some way.  I can just spend my life trying to judge people at face value and not by stereotypes.

I probably am going to regret joining this thread (Internet thread about racism, what could go wrong?)...but this is a really, really good point.

I think the reason it is so stigmatized to where it feels like an irredeemable moral failing--well, besides the fact that it has been responsible for a ton of really evil shit--is because, on a subconscious level, people realize that they are a little bit racist, and they have internalized that it's wrong. (Because it's been responsible for a ton of really evil shit.) There are two responses, I think: the more right wing response is to differentiate between themselves and, say, the KKK. "Whoa, racist?? I'm not a hateful guy like them!" The response more common on the left is to project, and respond by doubling down on the outrage when someone sees a bias in others that they are maybe a bit aware of within themselves. (And that they maybe have worked hard to stamp out in themselves, to their credit.)

Either way, I think it's basically the equivalent of the religious person who believes that sex of some kind is wrong, and also wants some themselves. The response is either "Well my indulgence isn't nearly as bad as that guy" or it's the Puritanical impulse to stamp it out. (Or, they go full alt-right and decide it's not wrong at all, go crazy! Like a repressed homeschooled kid when he gets to college.)

shenlong55

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #62 on: November 30, 2016, 03:16:57 PM »
The more I think about racism, the more I think the problem is less with calling it out, and more with the fact that society sees it as an irredeemable moral failing.

I think this is an important point and can be applied to more than racism.

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #63 on: December 01, 2016, 10:27:34 AM »
[


If the government made an agreement with a group of people that that group of people owned certain lands, that's cool. Canada's a big country, tons of room for lots of FN people to have vast, vast areas; that should be set. Then, those bands should make the money they need from that land. They should be somewhat protected from nasty modern 'sell us your land' stuff (in fact, it should be prohibited). But, it should be possible to transition for a non-FN person to live the FN life. The bands should be responsible for their own finances, and should be treated equally - an individual should have the same rights and responsibilities as any other Canadian. That's 'fair'.
"If"? The British crown made an agreement that is still legally binding in Canada. In Canada every person is impacted by these treaties, they are legal living peace accords. I highly encourage you to look up the treaties, every Canadian should. There's conjecture everything west of Ontario would be part of the USA without the treaties. B.C was on its way to being independent until the prairies were settled (rail line connection was part of agreeing to join) that only happened when the treaties were signed.

Some of those treaties made land allowances that were never granted, some of that land was appropriated for hydro projects. We have the treaty land entitlements TLE ongoing today. Reserve lands are prohibited from selling, it makes them worthless to use as collateral. Imagine trying to get a mortgage when you can't use the house as collateral. How would you get a loan? It helps to understand the housing crisis when you see the problems with financing.

Malaysia41

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #64 on: December 01, 2016, 12:20:19 PM »
Watching "A Slavery By Another Name" (PBS) was an eye-opener.

Over my life, I've definitely harbored some vague sense that black people are more prone to criminality.

Before you scream at me - let me explain.

I'm saying this was sort of a background association that, as far as I could tell, bloomed in my brain due to cultural influences - movies, family discussions, public discussions. Of course, upon inspection, it would always  be easy for me to use my frontal lobes and dismiss this association as silly, and tell myself - with rational thought - that I didn't actually believe that. But it was still there, just suppressed.

This PBS documentary revealed the convict lease system that flourished post civil-war reconstruction. Small town governments passed bogus loitering laws which the police used to arrest black people and put them into the prison population. There, they were leased out as unpaid labor. This was made possible by the exception clause in the 13th amendment, and a retreat by the federal government.

As a result, by the 1940s, there was an alarmingly high number of black people in prisons. That was the birth (or perhaps solidification) of the idea that black people are more prone to criminality. Historians noted that if you went back to pre-civil war days, and looked at how white people regarded black people, you'd read words like 'hard working', 'honest', even 'loyal' (IIRC). The convict lease system totally changed perceptions, and we're STILL living with these skewed and racist perceptions today. Even me - a person born WAY after convict lease ended. A person who, outside of messaging from popular culture, has never had a reason to think any differently of black people.

It seems that echoes of past injustices and conflicts fade slowly. In my opinion, many go through periods of amplification.* I wonder - how many people who are honest enough to recognize in themselves any latent racism, know from where it came?

*The other past conflict that I believe is having amplified effects today: cold war anti-communism efforts. Our government consciously pushed nationalism, patriotism, the supremacy of the individual, and religion - all in an effort to fight communism. We aided rebels, supported assassination attempts, and ousted democratically elected leaders in sovereign nations, all due to our fear of communism. The results are still with us: my extended family is so vehemently anti-communist/ anti-socialist that many sop up the rhetoric from bogus think tanks. They HATE "liberals". They think environmentalists are secret commies. I don't think they'd be so easily influenced by this messaging if they hadn't lived through the cold war propaganda. But this is off topic - just another example of the vestiges of past policy echoing loudly today. (IMO).
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 12:55:23 PM by Malaysia41 »

Kris

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #65 on: December 01, 2016, 12:26:02 PM »
Watching "A Slavery By Another Name" (PBS) was an eye-opener.

Over my life, I've definitely harbored some vague sense that black people are more prone to criminality.

Before you scream at me - let me explain.

I'm saying this was sort of a background association that, as far as I could tell, bloomed in my brain due to cultural influences - movies, family discussions, public discussions. Of course, upon inspection, it would always  be easy for me to use my frontal lobes and dismiss this association as silly, and tell myself - with rational thought - that I didn't actually believe that. But it was still there, just suppressed.

This PBS documentary revealed the convict lease system that flourished post civil-war reconstruction. Small town governments passed bogus loitering laws which the police used to arrest black people and put them into the prison population. There, they were leased out as unpaid labor. This was made possible by to the exception clause in the 13th amendment, and a retreat by the federal government.

As a result, by the 1940s, there was an alarmingly high number of black people in prisons. That was the birth (or perhaps solidification) of the idea that black people are more prone to criminality. Historians noted that if you went back to pre-civil war days, and looked at how white people regarded black people, you'd read words like 'hard working', 'honest', even 'loyal' (IIRC). The convict lease system totally changed perceptions, and we're STILL living with these skewed and racist perceptions today. Even me - a person born WAY after convict lease ended. A person who, outside of messaging from popular culture, has never had a reason to think any differently of black people.

It seems that echoes of past injustices and conflicts fade slowly. In my opinion, many go through periods of amplification.* I wonder - how many people who are honest enough to recognize in themselves any latent racism, know from where it came?

*The other past conflict that I believe is having amplified effects today: cold war anti-communism efforts. Our government consciously pushed nationalism, patriotism, the supremacy of the individual, and religion - all in an effort to fight communism. We aided rebels, supported assassination attempts, and ousted democratically elected leaders in sovereign nations, all due to our fear of communism. The results are still with us: my extended family is so vehemently anti-communist/ anti-socialist that many sop up the rhetoric from bogus think tanks. They HATE "liberals". They think environmentalists are secret commies. I don't think they'd be so easily influenced by this messaging if they hadn't lived through the cold war propaganda. But this is off topic - just another example of the vestiges of past policy echoing loudly today. (IMO).

Yes. I would almost say this should be essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand race relations and institutionalized racism in the U.S.

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #66 on: December 02, 2016, 04:33:05 AM »
I've thought a bit about 'white fragility' and I think that factors a lot.

My prior thinking was: nobody gave me the 'choice' to have lost the 'culture' of my group of people from 200, 500, 1000 years ago. It's just not a thing. The world has changed; that's how it is now. I don't quite understand how that is different. Particularly for *this* generation.

Now - in Canada there was the residential schools thing, which is completely abhorrent, so that's separate. Reparation should be/should have been made for that.

If the government made an agreement with a group of people that that group of people owned certain lands, that's cool. Canada's a big country, tons of room for lots of FN people to have vast, vast areas; that should be set. Then, those bands should make the money they need from that land. They should be somewhat protected from nasty modern 'sell us your land' stuff (in fact, it should be prohibited). But, it should be possible to transition for a non-FN person to live the FN life. The bands should be responsible for their own finances, and should be treated equally - an individual should have the same rights and responsibilities as any other Canadian. That's 'fair'.

Sure, parts of that brief southern culture that weren't about slavery are fine. But seeing as the rallying cry of the confed. flag was specifically about keeping slavery (no?) it's hard for the rest of the world to not associate the two. Same with naziism - I'm sure there were good things under Hitler's regime (busses ran on time?!). But you can't separate the (theoretical) good things from the horrors.

*Edit* The big difference of course, between my situation and that of the FN, is that the FN's way of life was removed forcibly, where my history has been abandoned voluntarily with western progress. I don't want to live in a stone cottage with a life expectancy of 40, no electricity, doing backbreaking farm work all day, etc. If FN people want to live in their traditional way, they should of course be able to.

I don't get the same feeling seeing the Confederate flag as I do the Nazi flag. I'd never considered that some people might feel that way; its an interesting perspective I may have to explore more. Thank you for pointing this out.

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #67 on: December 08, 2016, 01:23:32 PM »
Watching "A Slavery By Another Name" (PBS) was an eye-opener.

Over my life, I've definitely harbored some vague sense that black people are more prone to criminality.

Before you scream at me - let me explain.

I'm saying this was sort of a background association that, as far as I could tell, bloomed in my brain due to cultural influences - movies, family discussions, public discussions. Of course, upon inspection, it would always  be easy for me to use my frontal lobes and dismiss this association as silly, and tell myself - with rational thought - that I didn't actually believe that. But it was still there, just suppressed.

This PBS documentary revealed the convict lease system that flourished post civil-war reconstruction. Small town governments passed bogus loitering laws which the police used to arrest black people and put them into the prison population. There, they were leased out as unpaid labor. This was made possible by to the exception clause in the 13th amendment, and a retreat by the federal government.

As a result, by the 1940s, there was an alarmingly high number of black people in prisons. That was the birth (or perhaps solidification) of the idea that black people are more prone to criminality. Historians noted that if you went back to pre-civil war days, and looked at how white people regarded black people, you'd read words like 'hard working', 'honest', even 'loyal' (IIRC). The convict lease system totally changed perceptions, and we're STILL living with these skewed and racist perceptions today. Even me - a person born WAY after convict lease ended. A person who, outside of messaging from popular culture, has never had a reason to think any differently of black people.

It seems that echoes of past injustices and conflicts fade slowly. In my opinion, many go through periods of amplification.* I wonder - how many people who are honest enough to recognize in themselves any latent racism, know from where it came?

*The other past conflict that I believe is having amplified effects today: cold war anti-communism efforts. Our government consciously pushed nationalism, patriotism, the supremacy of the individual, and religion - all in an effort to fight communism. We aided rebels, supported assassination attempts, and ousted democratically elected leaders in sovereign nations, all due to our fear of communism. The results are still with us: my extended family is so vehemently anti-communist/ anti-socialist that many sop up the rhetoric from bogus think tanks. They HATE "liberals". They think environmentalists are secret commies. I don't think they'd be so easily influenced by this messaging if they hadn't lived through the cold war propaganda. But this is off topic - just another example of the vestiges of past policy echoing loudly today. (IMO).

Yes. I would almost say this should be essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand race relations and institutionalized racism in the U.S.

What was helpful to me was to understand the history around race relations in the USA (from the northern perspective and the southern perspective), how jobs and poverty and education figured in, and how crime is distributed through some of the big cities of the nation.

Not ALL African Americans fit the stereotypes I learned (obvious now but I was young and dumb). I knew AA guys in the military that were using the exact same route to get started in their lives as I was. We had the same opportunities available to us. And it was obvious that the guys (any race) who got too heavy with the tattoos and could not present themselves well in an interview were going to have fewer opportunities to choose from.

I still believe that there are opportunities in our country for everyone. A person needs to culturally fit in, clean up nice for an interview, build their skillsets, get an education, etc. I recognize that women and minorities still face hurdles but I don't believe the hurdles are as great as they are presented to be by some people. I've met plenty of white guys who couldn't get a good career foothold b/c they weren't competitive in one way or another. And they complain about fairness.

I think the biggest hurdles a person faces is whether they come form people (families) that value and encourage education. How easily they are distracted and influenced by outsiders who would lead them to value being "cool" and having "fun" over the hard work it takes to educate one's self.

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #68 on: December 10, 2016, 03:05:05 PM »
How about the new York Yankees? Northeastern Americans
New York Knicks - knickerbocker is a family name that actually refers to a Dutch family from new York that was appropriated
Boston Celtics - Irish (comparable to using Arabs in identifying a culture)
New Orleans Saints - Christian homage - its religion
New Jersey Devils - Christian reference
At lower levels we have Crusaders and Saints- people who would fight in holy wars, people elevated by the catholic pope

For the record, the NJ Devils hockey team is named after the Jersey Devil -- a mythical figure that lives in the Pine Barrens in NJ.  I grew up near there and boy were we scared of it.  Nothing to do with Christianity, other than when a scary creature emerges in folklore, it almost always is "part devil".    Honestly, I was just as scared of the "Pinies".  People who lived there but didn't go to school and rarely wore clothes and sometimes ate their own young.  I'm pretty sure the only person who ever heard of them was my brother who made them up to scare me. 


BlueHouse

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #69 on: December 10, 2016, 03:09:53 PM »
1. Someone else's culture is not an appropriate costume. Period.


I once went to a costume party as a geisha.  It was the year that "Memoir of a Geisha" was out.

I've seen other people dressed up as Asian rice-pickers, wearing the straw hats, with plastic glasses that have asian eyes, and wearing buck teeth. 

I'm positive that the second example is offensive, but I'm not sure whether the first one (Geisha) is.  I don't think I'd wear a Geisha outfit in Kyoto, but unsure whether it would be just another historical figure, comparable to a costume of Marie Antoinett

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #70 on: December 10, 2016, 07:28:28 PM »
I'm positive that the second example is offensive, but I'm not sure whether the first one (Geisha) is.  I don't think I'd wear a Geisha outfit in Kyoto, but unsure whether it would be just another historical figure, comparable to a costume of Marie Antoinett

I don't think wearing kimono or yukata (or other such garments) is offensive, but dressing as a geisha (or geiko, or maiko) can be simply because the Western perception of what a geisha is and does (and even looks like, in terms of makeup and hair styling) is totally off.  Real geisha train for years in various cultural arts and wear their garments in extremely specific ways (coordinating colors in a certain manner, wearing particular kinds of knots on their obi, etc).  I think if you are willing to study hard - places like Immortal Geisha are devoted to such information - then it would be acceptable to "dress as a geisha" for events like a Japanese culture festival, or a fashion show devoted to multicultural outfits, or other such events, if you are wearing the kind of super fancy garments they would or buying vintage kimono to wear.

And I'd say if you're dressing as a specific geisha, yes, that would be more like dressing like Marie Antoinette - but even then, if you're throwing on a cheap satin-y kimono and not even bothering to tie an obi correctly and being a generic geisha, that's pretty disrespectful to the artistry that real geisha aim to cultivate. Even an inexpensive kimono ideally requires some research to put it on correctly - if you wrap the front pieces the wrong way, that's how bodies are dressed for funerals.  So unless you are pretending to be an undead spirit (which those could be a thing, for a costume party - there are lots of undead spirits in Japanese mythology), best to double-check you're doing it right!  Also, my impression is that dressing as a samurai could be acceptable, as it would be like someone dressing like a medieval European knight.  Geisha actually still exist and still spend years training to do what they do.

Caveat: I am a white person, but I have heard many Japanese people express the idea that they don't mind others wearing kimono/similar garments if they are worn properly/with respectful intent.

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #71 on: December 12, 2016, 02:49:33 PM »
1. Someone else's culture is not an appropriate costume. Period.


I once went to a costume party as a geisha.  It was the year that "Memoir of a Geisha" was out.

I've seen other people dressed up as Asian rice-pickers, wearing the straw hats, with plastic glasses that have asian eyes, and wearing buck teeth. 

I'm positive that the second example is offensive, but I'm not sure whether the first one (Geisha) is.  I don't think I'd wear a Geisha outfit in Kyoto, but unsure whether it would be just another historical figure, comparable to a costume of Marie Antoinett

So according to FIFoFum's rules these are all inappropriate, insensitive stereotypes?
- tweed and bowler hat British tea-drinking royalty
- German "octoberfest", lederhosen etc outfit
- Kilt
- swedish blond hair wigs (something else stereotypical scandianvian?)

Somehow I find it hard to believe the outcry would have been huge with any of these.. We wouldn't have time for much beyond condemning people dressing up in lederhosen! Certainly some of the costumes in OP were dumb and legitimately insensitive, but is simply dressing up as another culture offensive?

letired

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #72 on: December 12, 2016, 04:44:07 PM »
So, for First Nations, fine. For Metis and Inuit and Native American and (legal status) Indian. I can understand... not wishing to get into it. It's just not relevant on a daily basis - person X is person X, not "an (Indian/Aboriginal/FN/etc). Is it *racist* of me to not care about someone's ethnicity (race, I suppose)? I either know them as a person, and they are X, or I read about them in the news.

A hopefully quick point about the bolded part. I don't know if it is racist, per se, to not care about somebodies race, but it is a little racist to tell someone else that their race doesn't or shouldn't matter. As a white person, my race 'doesn't matter' in the sense that it is considered normal and has no impact on my day to day life. But if I were Black or another visibly non-white ethnicity, that would have a much bigger impact on my day to day life and it would be shitty if the people around me refused to acknowledge that. I'm not very eloquent with these things, but a lot of folks have written about how 'colorblindness' can be really hurtful when it means people refuse to acknowledge how things can be different for different groups, if that's something you are interested in reading about.

And a general note on offensiveness/racist-ness: I try to think about punching up vs punching down. Punching up means if I paint myself orange and wear and Donald Trump mask, I don't think its offensive. Not many wealthy old white men have been systematically punished for decades/centuries for bad fake(???) tans. Punching down means that if I put on blackface and an Obama name tag, it's offensive because of the history of blackface and racism in America. If I wear an Obama mask and imitate his oration style and don't paint myself black, I think it's probably ok because I'm imitating one of the most powerful men on earth without invoking racist stereotypes about Black people.

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #73 on: December 12, 2016, 05:10:33 PM »
So, for First Nations, fine. For Metis and Inuit and Native American and (legal status) Indian. I can understand... not wishing to get into it. It's just not relevant on a daily basis - person X is person X, not "an (Indian/Aboriginal/FN/etc). Is it *racist* of me to not care about someone's ethnicity (race, I suppose)? I either know them as a person, and they are X, or I read about them in the news.

A hopefully quick point about the bolded part. I don't know if it is racist, per se, to not care about somebodies race, but it is a little racist to tell someone else that their race doesn't or shouldn't matter. As a white person, my race 'doesn't matter' in the sense that it is considered normal and has no impact on my day to day life. But if I were Black or another visibly non-white ethnicity, that would have a much bigger impact on my day to day life and it would be shitty if the people around me refused to acknowledge that. I'm not very eloquent with these things, but a lot of folks have written about how 'colorblindness' can be really hurtful when it means people refuse to acknowledge how things can be different for different groups, if that's something you are interested in reading about.

And a general note on offensiveness/racist-ness: I try to think about punching up vs punching down. Punching up means if I paint myself orange and wear and Donald Trump mask, I don't think its offensive. Not many wealthy old white men have been systematically punished for decades/centuries for bad fake(???) tans. Punching down means that if I put on blackface and an Obama name tag, it's offensive because of the history of blackface and racism in America. If I wear an Obama mask and imitate his oration style and don't paint myself black, I think it's probably ok because I'm imitating one of the most powerful men on earth without invoking racist stereotypes about Black people.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not quite sure I follow on the first part. I think you're saying, for example, if a person was a Muslim, and then wanted to take breaks at work to go and pray, I should not deny them that. I absolutely agree. That's... not race though. There are Christian Asians, Muslim Caucasians, Athiest um... anything. First Nations. How do you.. Hmm.. go between an ethnicity (theoretical) that wants a different part of the bus for itself? That's no good (ie, Indian caste system - in my mind that is clearly a Bad Thing).

I also don't quite get Trump/Obama. Purely on the 'blackface' bit. It's costume. Probably you have two options as a white person - confuse everyone, by being white Obama; or offend 50+%, by being black Obama. A guy dressing up as HR Clinton, no problem though, right? I mean, unless you're being really mean on her because she's a woman; I don't know. Then it comes down to intent I guess. I mean, I'm an Obama fan, so I would want to be authentic/funny not hateful. I'd probably not choose him at a fancy dress party. Though, of course, 'technically' he is of mixed race, does that make it even more confusing? I don't know.

letired

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #74 on: December 12, 2016, 05:37:00 PM »
So, for First Nations, fine. For Metis and Inuit and Native American and (legal status) Indian. I can understand... not wishing to get into it. It's just not relevant on a daily basis - person X is person X, not "an (Indian/Aboriginal/FN/etc). Is it *racist* of me to not care about someone's ethnicity (race, I suppose)? I either know them as a person, and they are X, or I read about them in the news.

A hopefully quick point about the bolded part. I don't know if it is racist, per se, to not care about somebodies race, but it is a little racist to tell someone else that their race doesn't or shouldn't matter. As a white person, my race 'doesn't matter' in the sense that it is considered normal and has no impact on my day to day life. But if I were Black or another visibly non-white ethnicity, that would have a much bigger impact on my day to day life and it would be shitty if the people around me refused to acknowledge that. I'm not very eloquent with these things, but a lot of folks have written about how 'colorblindness' can be really hurtful when it means people refuse to acknowledge how things can be different for different groups, if that's something you are interested in reading about.

And a general note on offensiveness/racist-ness: I try to think about punching up vs punching down. Punching up means if I paint myself orange and wear and Donald Trump mask, I don't think its offensive. Not many wealthy old white men have been systematically punished for decades/centuries for bad fake(???) tans. Punching down means that if I put on blackface and an Obama name tag, it's offensive because of the history of blackface and racism in America. If I wear an Obama mask and imitate his oration style and don't paint myself black, I think it's probably ok because I'm imitating one of the most powerful men on earth without invoking racist stereotypes about Black people.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not quite sure I follow on the first part. I think you're saying, for example, if a person was a Muslim, and then wanted to take breaks at work to go and pray, I should not deny them that. I absolutely agree. That's... not race though. There are Christian Asians, Muslim Caucasians, Athiest um... anything. First Nations. How do you.. Hmm.. go between an ethnicity (theoretical) that wants a different part of the bus for itself? That's no good (ie, Indian caste system - in my mind that is clearly a Bad Thing).

I also don't quite get Trump/Obama. Purely on the 'blackface' bit. It's costume. Probably you have two options as a white person - confuse everyone, by being white Obama; or offend 50+%, by being black Obama. A guy dressing up as HR Clinton, no problem though, right? I mean, unless you're being really mean on her because she's a woman; I don't know. Then it comes down to intent I guess. I mean, I'm an Obama fan, so I would want to be authentic/funny not hateful. I'd probably not choose him at a fancy dress party. Though, of course, 'technically' he is of mixed race, does that make it even more confusing? I don't know.

For the first part, I'm trying to say that is can be disrespectful to ignore differences that arise from differences in race or ethnicity or skin color or religion or culture. All these differences lead to different life experiences. My experience in life would be completely different if I was a Black woman (I am a white woman), even if nothing else changed about my starting point in life except my skin color, and to ignore that is unfair (and rude). When I have friends with different backgrounds, especially backgrounds that have a history of oppression or discrimination, I shouldn't ignore that and act like those differences aren't a potentially important part of their life and how they relate to the world. The idea is that you don't want to erase or ignore their experiences. I'm sorry, I really don't understand the thing with the bus???

Re: costumes. Yes, I was trying to make a point about negative stereotypes and power dynamics  and when costumes become offensive or racist. Though I don't get why dressing as Obama would be confusing if someone was white, you'd just wear a mask (there's one for pretty much every president) or do a really good job with the rest of the costume or wear a name tag.  I also would not chose that as a costume, but I also don't like costume parties at all!

Metric Mouse

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #75 on: December 13, 2016, 06:03:27 AM »
1. Someone else's culture is not an appropriate costume. Period.


I once went to a costume party as a geisha.  It was the year that "Memoir of a Geisha" was out.

I've seen other people dressed up as Asian rice-pickers, wearing the straw hats, with plastic glasses that have asian eyes, and wearing buck teeth. 

I'm positive that the second example is offensive, but I'm not sure whether the first one (Geisha) is.  I don't think I'd wear a Geisha outfit in Kyoto, but unsure whether it would be just another historical figure, comparable to a costume of Marie Antoinett

So according to FIFoFum's rules these are all inappropriate, insensitive stereotypes?
- tweed and bowler hat British tea-drinking royalty
- German "octoberfest", lederhosen etc outfit
- Kilt
- swedish blond hair wigs (something else stereotypical scandianvian?)

Somehow I find it hard to believe the outcry would have been huge with any of these.. We wouldn't have time for much beyond condemning people dressing up in lederhosen! Certainly some of the costumes in OP were dumb and legitimately insensitive, but is simply dressing up as another culture offensive?

You should see the outcry aimed at people who wear their hair in cornrows or dreadlocks.

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #76 on: December 13, 2016, 06:48:10 AM »
For the first part, I'm trying to say that is can be disrespectful to ignore differences that arise from differences in race or ethnicity or skin color or religion or culture. All these differences lead to different life experiences. My experience in life would be completely different if I was a Black woman (I am a white woman), even if nothing else changed about my starting point in life except my skin color, and to ignore that is unfair (and rude). When I have friends with different backgrounds, especially backgrounds that have a history of oppression or discrimination, I shouldn't ignore that and act like those differences aren't a potentially important part of their life and how they relate to the world. The idea is that you don't want to erase or ignore their experiences. I'm sorry, I really don't understand the thing with the bus???

Re: costumes. Yes, I was trying to make a point about negative stereotypes and power dynamics  and when costumes become offensive or racist. Though I don't get why dressing as Obama would be confusing if someone was white, you'd just wear a mask (there's one for pretty much every president) or do a really good job with the rest of the costume or wear a name tag.  I also would not chose that as a costume, but I also don't like costume parties at all!

Right, but until you know a person, you don't know their background. A black American, black Brit, or black African will... well, no, let's be correct here, every single person will have had a different set of experiences. Are there commonalities? Of course. But you seem to be saying that you should try and make accommodations for someone before you know if they need or want them.

The bus, I think I was just trying to work out the difference between custom and segregation. You can't, in the West, say "all people of type X go here; others go there". There are probably examples I'm missing (apart from: public toilets for m/f, disabled toilets as well as reserved seating, etc). So a person whose theoretical religion segregates... Where do you say, no, your custom is not compatible? I guess that's the question with hijabs and oath taking/giving evidence/etc. If (pre existing) rules said no balaclavas in shops/banks, is it reasonable to enforce that with religious headwear as well? If the alternative was fingerprinting, or retina scans?!

It reminds me of the fact (?) that in the UK, Sikhs are or were exempt from wearing crash helmets on motorcycles because of their turbans. I'm sure the number of motorcycle riding sikhs is fairly small. You are (mostly) only affecting yourself if you fall off and hurt yourself.

Good point on the mask. But, still weird - why can I put a black mask on, but not black paint? If I wore the black mask, would I also put paint on my neck, hands?

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #77 on: December 13, 2016, 07:04:47 AM »
Good point on the mask. But, still weird - why can I put a black mask on, but not black paint? If I wore the black mask, would I also put paint on my neck, hands?

This would be due to the lingering effects of the history of blackface minstrelsy in the United States, as has already been discussed in this thread.  It's in bad taste and a dick thing to do because of that history.

It's not really any different than a group of three friends, two of whom dress up as the WTC buildings and one of whom dress up as a plane . . . then they spend the rest of the evening pretending to bump into each other and knocking each other over.  You live in a society with others.  You are responsible for learning what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.  Yeah, you're free to dress the way that you want.  No, you're not free from the scorn, judgement, and ridicule of others for being a dick.

It seems like you're trying to make this much more complicated than it really is.

daverobev

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #78 on: December 13, 2016, 07:54:40 AM »
Good point on the mask. But, still weird - why can I put a black mask on, but not black paint? If I wore the black mask, would I also put paint on my neck, hands?

This would be due to the lingering effects of the history of blackface minstrelsy in the United States, as has already been discussed in this thread.  It's in bad taste and a dick thing to do because of that history.

It's not really any different than a group of three friends, two of whom dress up as the WTC buildings and one of whom dress up as a plane . . . then they spend the rest of the evening pretending to bump into each other and knocking each other over.  You live in a society with others.  You are responsible for learning what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.  Yeah, you're free to dress the way that you want.  No, you're not free from the scorn, judgement, and ridicule of others for being a dick.

It seems like you're trying to make this much more complicated than it really is.

I'm curious/trying to get a broader understanding. I am also not in, or from, the US (nor, from your forum location, are you).

So you're saying the WTC is 'beyond the pale' at the moment? Not sure I agree with that. Of *course* there is sensitivity required. Reminds me of a time when I was young, one guy made some joke that ended with something about cancer... right next to a girl who's grandma had just died of cancer.

One of the largest differences between here (Canada) and home (UK) is the darkness of humour, I think. Perhaps I just haven't come across any dark Canadian humour yet.

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #79 on: December 13, 2016, 09:13:14 AM »
Good point on the mask. But, still weird - why can I put a black mask on, but not black paint? If I wore the black mask, would I also put paint on my neck, hands?

This would be due to the lingering effects of the history of blackface minstrelsy in the United States, as has already been discussed in this thread.  It's in bad taste and a dick thing to do because of that history.

It's not really any different than a group of three friends, two of whom dress up as the WTC buildings and one of whom dress up as a plane . . . then they spend the rest of the evening pretending to bump into each other and knocking each other over.  You live in a society with others.  You are responsible for learning what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.  Yeah, you're free to dress the way that you want.  No, you're not free from the scorn, judgement, and ridicule of others for being a dick.

It seems like you're trying to make this much more complicated than it really is.

I'm curious/trying to get a broader understanding. I am also not in, or from, the US (nor, from your forum location, are you).

So you're saying the WTC is 'beyond the pale' at the moment? Not sure I agree with that. Of *course* there is sensitivity required. Reminds me of a time when I was young, one guy made some joke that ended with something about cancer... right next to a girl who's grandma had just died of cancer.

One of the largest differences between here (Canada) and home (UK) is the darkness of humour, I think. Perhaps I just haven't come across any dark Canadian humour yet.

I'm saying that you live in an interconnected society.  You are responsible for your own actions.  You are responsible for judging if your behaviour is acceptable or not.  If it's not, others will likely let you know.

Personally, sure . . . I love to crack jokes and enjoy humour that's off colour.  I'm aware that not everyone does.  This is why I try to choose my audience and my words carefully (not always successfully).  Humour is also difficult because context dramatically changes how something said is interpreted.  Chris Rock making a joke about how much black people like fried chicken and grape soda has a totally different context and will not be understood the same way were Hilary Clinton to say it.  The background and history of the person delivering a joke changes how the joke is received.

Words can be addressed by volume and location . . . but it's very easy these days to catch actions on camera even if you're at a private party.  There were enough people affected by 9/11 who feel strongly about it, that I wouldn't personally dress up as the world trade center and pretend to crash planes into it.  The same can be said of dressing up like a nazi.  Or of doing any kind of blackface.  If a picture of me doing this became public, it's not unreasonable to expect many people to be outraged.  If you feel that these things are OK to do, then by all means . . . do them.  Own your actions though.  Don't be surprised if you get some push back.

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #80 on: December 13, 2016, 09:25:37 AM »
So you're saying the WTC is 'beyond the pale' at the moment? Not sure I agree with that. Of *course* there is sensitivity required. Reminds me of a time when I was young, one guy made some joke that ended with something about cancer... right next to a girl who's grandma had just died of cancer.

I think the two keys things I keep seeing in this conversation are that:

-No one is saying you can't do things (wear blackface, dress up like the WTC, etc).  They are saying you should understand that doing so may have consequences (people thinking you are a dick, getting fired for bad PR for your company, etc).  You are free to make the choice.  Others are free to disagree with your choice.

-Context matters.  Using your example about the cancer joke:  It matters whether it was a comedy show (where people might reasonably expect that kind of thing).  It matters whether he knew beforehand about her grandmother.  It matters whether, when he found out, he apologized or doubled down with more cancer jokes.  If he made more jokes, it matters whether she was laughing, silent, or crying. 
 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 09:04:11 AM by Watchmaker »

letired

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #81 on: December 13, 2016, 10:24:18 PM »
For the first part, I'm trying to say that is can be disrespectful to ignore differences that arise from differences in race or ethnicity or skin color or religion or culture. All these differences lead to different life experiences. My experience in life would be completely different if I was a Black woman (I am a white woman), even if nothing else changed about my starting point in life except my skin color, and to ignore that is unfair (and rude). When I have friends with different backgrounds, especially backgrounds that have a history of oppression or discrimination, I shouldn't ignore that and act like those differences aren't a potentially important part of their life and how they relate to the world. The idea is that you don't want to erase or ignore their experiences. I'm sorry, I really don't understand the thing with the bus???

Re: costumes. Yes, I was trying to make a point about negative stereotypes and power dynamics  and when costumes become offensive or racist. Though I don't get why dressing as Obama would be confusing if someone was white, you'd just wear a mask (there's one for pretty much every president) or do a really good job with the rest of the costume or wear a name tag.  I also would not chose that as a costume, but I also don't like costume parties at all!

Right, but until you know a person, you don't know their background. A black American, black Brit, or black African will... well, no, let's be correct here, every single person will have had a different set of experiences. Are there commonalities? Of course. But you seem to be saying that you should try and make accommodations for someone before you know if they need or want them.

The bus, I think I was just trying to work out the difference between custom and segregation. You can't, in the West, say "all people of type X go here; others go there". There are probably examples I'm missing (apart from: public toilets for m/f, disabled toilets as well as reserved seating, etc). So a person whose theoretical religion segregates... Where do you say, no, your custom is not compatible? I guess that's the question with hijabs and oath taking/giving evidence/etc. If (pre existing) rules said no balaclavas in shops/banks, is it reasonable to enforce that with religious headwear as well? If the alternative was fingerprinting, or retina scans?!

It reminds me of the fact (?) that in the UK, Sikhs are or were exempt from wearing crash helmets on motorcycles because of their turbans. I'm sure the number of motorcycle riding sikhs is fairly small. You are (mostly) only affecting yourself if you fall off and hurt yourself.

Good point on the mask. But, still weird - why can I put a black mask on, but not black paint? If I wore the black mask, would I also put paint on my neck, hands?

I don't think I'm saying that you have to make 'accommodations' before you know someone. You just have to acknowledge that other people's experiences will be different from yours, especially if they have lived as a visible minority. This was in response to a comment of yours that was trending in a 'colorblindness is the ideal' direction, and I was trying to point out that, in addition to discriminating based on differences,  ignoring differences can also be unkind verging on discriminatory.

Coming from a US perspective, I'm very confused about your leap from respecting customs to segregation. For the USA, respecting religious liberty is one of our founding principles. People can do all kind of wacky shit if they claim a religious basis.

As for where to draw the line, I think that depends on the situation. Obviously my perspective is very western and informed by US law, but generally, as long as some cultural tradition is voluntary and not affecting anyone else, it seems like it ought to be ok. And I don't know that I've ever heard of someone showing up somewhere and expecting the existing dominant culture to conform to their requirements (colonialism aside, which I realize is a very big aside).

In the case of Muslim head covering, it's not like western cultures don't have a long history of women covering their head/hair, especially for religious reasons. As I was educated in a Catholic environment, nuns spring to mind. There is a big difference between religious gear and balaclavas, so I'm also not understanding this point either, sorry.

re: mask vs paint. In the US, there is a reasonably long tradition of wearing presidential masks. There is an even longer and incredibly racist tradition of white people painting themselves black and mocking black stereotypes. One is racist, one is not. I'm not sure how to explain it more clearly? Presidents are not exactly a group that has been discriminated against. So if you are treating the Black President the same way you treat white presidents, it's legit. If you do blackface while dressing up as the Black President, it's racist, because blackface is racist.

Kris

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #82 on: December 14, 2016, 07:59:58 PM »

dividendman

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #83 on: December 14, 2016, 08:43:50 PM »
Why are cultures sacrosanct? There are aspects of every culture that are ridiculous. Some cultures have very dangerous aspects. Both ridiculous and dangerous aspects should be mocked and caracitured whenever possible, including via costumes.

Some cultures and languages fade away, it's not always in our interest to preserve them.

This thread is about racism though, making fun of or treating people differently due to physical properties they have and cannot control is my definition of racism, anything else is whining.

golden1

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #84 on: December 15, 2016, 06:07:27 AM »
Wow, are we over thinking this or what?

If the consensus opinion from the members of a particular race is that they would not appreciate it if you wore a specific costume, used a specific word to address them by etc..  then just don't do it.  Respect them as human beings and don't do it.  On the flip side, if someone screws up and does something that offends your culture, don't immediately judge them as an irredeemable or deplorable.  Attempt to educate them if they are receptive to it, and move on. 


KBecks

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #85 on: December 15, 2016, 08:32:08 AM »
Isn't racism simply, judging people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character?

Metric Mouse

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #86 on: December 17, 2016, 06:22:56 AM »
Why are cultures sacrosanct? There are aspects of every culture that are ridiculous. Some cultures have very dangerous aspects. Both ridiculous and dangerous aspects should be mocked and caracitured whenever possible, including via costumes.

Dangerous for who? And there's a big difference between actively mocking or trying to scrub away a culture, and simply allowing it to fade away by not preserving it. I'm not sure that the former is preferable to the latter.

iris lily

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #87 on: December 17, 2016, 09:19:20 AM »
Why are cultures sacrosanct? There are aspects of every culture that are ridiculous. Some cultures have very dangerous aspects. Both ridiculous and dangerous aspects should be mocked and caracitured whenever possible, including via costumes.

Dangerous for who? And there's a big difference between actively mocking or trying to scrub away a culture, and simply allowing it to fade away by not preserving it. I'm not sure that the former is preferable to the latter.
Female circumcision. Male circumcision, if you come down to it. Chinese foot binding.

And etc.

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #88 on: December 17, 2016, 10:07:21 AM »
Male circumcision, if you come down to it.

I'll agree wholeheartedly with female circumcision and Chinese foot binding, these confer no health benefit to a person.

Last I checked, the evidence seems to point to there being a slight health advantage to having a male child circumcised (reduced risk of penile cancer, evidence pointing to reduced UTI infection risk for boys under 1 year old, reduced risk of contracting syphilis/HIV/HPV/herpes).  There is certainly a medical case to be made in favour of having a child circumcised, so I don't think it's comparable to the other two you listed.  (Like I said, the health benefit is slight so it doesn't seem unreasonable to not have it done either.)

dividendman

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #89 on: December 17, 2016, 08:58:41 PM »
Why are cultures sacrosanct? There are aspects of every culture that are ridiculous. Some cultures have very dangerous aspects. Both ridiculous and dangerous aspects should be mocked and caracitured whenever possible, including via costumes.

Dangerous for who? And there's a big difference between actively mocking or trying to scrub away a culture, and simply allowing it to fade away by not preserving it. I'm not sure that the former is preferable to the latter.

No, some cultures must be "scrubbed away". Some are dangerous and should be eliminated as quickly as possible. If the ISIS culture which, among other things: stone women for nothing, light people on fire for punishment, sell people in to slavery and does all sorts of other crazy crap, then I'm all for pushing that culture out of existence.

I'm also for scrubbing away:
- pretty much all of tribal pakistani culture
- taliban afghan culture
- saudi culture
- cultures that involve human sacrifice and/or cannibalism (this still exists believe it or not )
- kkk, nazi, neonazi, white supremacist culture

I also believe we should try as hard as possible to change many more cultures, including our own western ones, for the better.

My point here is that cultures don't deserve to be respected or preserved just for the fact that they exist, and there are many cultures we should be working to eliminate or change as quickly as possible (including some aspects of our own western culture).

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #90 on: December 18, 2016, 06:16:01 AM »
Why are cultures sacrosanct? There are aspects of every culture that are ridiculous. Some cultures have very dangerous aspects. Both ridiculous and dangerous aspects should be mocked and caracitured whenever possible, including via costumes.

Dangerous for who? And there's a big difference between actively mocking or trying to scrub away a culture, and simply allowing it to fade away by not preserving it. I'm not sure that the former is preferable to the latter.

No, some cultures must be "scrubbed away". Some are dangerous and should be eliminated as quickly as possible. If the ISIS culture which, among other things: stone women for nothing, light people on fire for punishment, sell people in to slavery and does all sorts of other crazy crap, then I'm all for pushing that culture out of existence.

Literally everything in your list could have been applied to Christianity during history.  Are you advocating for the 'scrubbing away' of all Christian culture too?  If not, is it because you've realized that no matter how reprehensible the roots of a particular culture may be . . . it can hold on to some of the good and get rid of some of the bad?


I'm also for scrubbing away:
- pretty much all of tribal pakistani culture
- taliban afghan culture
- saudi culture
- cultures that involve human sacrifice and/or cannibalism (this still exists believe it or not )
- kkk, nazi, neonazi, white supremacist culture

I also believe we should try as hard as possible to change many more cultures, including our own western ones, for the better.

You say this, but it's telling that you couldn't find a single one to list . . . when there are so many problems with things that we do in the Western world.  Just looking at the US:

- The culture of constant surveillance of the populace in the guise of 'protection'.
- The culture of legitimizing murder via drones around the world.
- The culture of regularly performing torture against innocents, and denying due process.
- The culture of creating ridiculous laws and rules to purposely incarcerate a maximum number of citizens.
- The culture of purposely creating military conflicts around the world, suppressing democracy, and supporting dictators.

This list can go on and on.


My point here is that cultures don't deserve to be respected or preserved just for the fact that they exist, and there are many cultures we should be working to eliminate or change as quickly as possible (including some aspects of our own western culture).

There is no group of people on Earth who are truly perfect.  There's also no group of people on Earth who are purely evil.  Arguing for change is certainly a valid way to advocate for a better tomorrow.  When you start suggesting the elimination of a particular culture and way of life, that's not going to go over well.  Intentionally or not, you're getting dangerously close to 'advocating genocide' territory.  It shuts down any avenue for slow and incremental improvement, and entrenches/escalates distrust and differences.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #91 on: December 18, 2016, 06:17:15 AM »
No, some cultures must be "scrubbed away". Some are dangerous and should be eliminated as quickly as possible. If the ISIS culture which, among other things: stone women for nothing, light people on fire for punishment, sell people in to slavery and does all sorts of other crazy crap, then I'm all for pushing that culture out of existence.

I'm also for scrubbing away:
- pretty much all of tribal pakistani culture
- taliban afghan culture
- saudi culture
- cultures that involve human sacrifice and/or cannibalism (this still exists believe it or not )
- kkk, nazi, neonazi, white supremacist culture

I also believe we should try as hard as possible to change many more cultures, including our own western ones, for the better.

My point here is that cultures don't deserve to be respected or preserved just for the fact that they exist, and there are many cultures we should be working to eliminate or change as quickly as possible (including some aspects of our own western culture).

Thank you for expanding upon these thoughts.

dividendman

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #92 on: December 18, 2016, 10:21:20 AM »

Literally everything in your list could have been applied to Christianity during history.  Are you advocating for the 'scrubbing away' of all Christian culture too?  If not, is it because you've realized that no matter how reprehensible the roots of a particular culture may be . . . it can hold on to some of the good and get rid of some of the bad?

No. Everything is relative. In the Dark Ages the world was a different place. Perhaps the Eastern cultures were more progressive than the Christian ones, in which case I would be arguing for them to be dominant. If the Christian cultures were more progressive at that time, I'd be arguing for them.

Cultures, or let's say the cultural values they embody, are not equal. Some create much more human suffering for their own populations than others. I'm simply advocating for the cultures that create the most equality, rights, and in the end a better condition for their populations, should be the ones that persist and we should facilitate that persistence whenever we can.

I'm not going to sit here and be like, "oh, well, the Pakistani tribesmen just stoned another women to death for walking around without a male relative. Who cares though, since their culture does hold some good like the new years dances are so nice and cute and we wouldn't want the world to lose out on those turbans so we shouldn't mock their culture."

You say this, but it's telling that you couldn't find a single one to list . . . when there are so many problems with things that we do in the Western world.  Just looking at the US:

- The culture of constant surveillance of the populace in the guise of 'protection'.
- The culture of legitimizing murder via drones around the world.
- The culture of regularly performing torture against innocents, and denying due process.
- The culture of creating ridiculous laws and rules to purposely incarcerate a maximum number of citizens.
- The culture of purposely creating military conflicts around the world, suppressing democracy, and supporting dictators.

This list can go on and on.

I agree with all of this. This is all very bad. I still think it's better than the harsh suppression of females (amongst other groups) in large portions of the world.

As I said above, it's all relative.

There is no group of people on Earth who are truly perfect.  There's also no group of people on Earth who are purely evil.  Arguing for change is certainly a valid way to advocate for a better tomorrow.  When you start suggesting the elimination of a particular culture and way of life, that's not going to go over well.  Intentionally or not, you're getting dangerously close to 'advocating genocide' territory.  It shuts down any avenue for slow and incremental improvement, and entrenches/escalates distrust and differences.

I agree, that nobody and no culture is perfect. However, some cultures are better than others when measured, and yes you can measure, by voluntary human suffering being imposed by cultural beliefs.

I am suggesting elimination of cultures and ways of life. How is this different than arguing against the way of life of a coal miner because coal causes pollution? We don't like that so we eliminate that way of life. I don't like women being brutally suppressed so I'd like to work against that and have my government do so as well.

I am not suggesting we carpet bomb or nuke half the planet to achieve this, since the means would be worse than the ends (measured again by human suffering). I am also not advocating for genocide. I don't really know how to hasten the change in these places, but I think we need to do more than we're doing now, and I don't think being "culturally sensitive" is helping anything.

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #93 on: December 18, 2016, 06:31:59 PM »
Culture isn't static.  Eliminating a culture eliminates all possible good that can come from it.  As you said, back in the middle ages you would have been arguing for the elimination of all Christian culture due to the barbarous practices (particularly in comparison with the civilized and much more advanced Muslim Arabs).  Would that have made the world of today a better place?

You are suggesting the elimination of cultures and ways of life that you're not a part of because they look scary to you.  That's a slippery slope to head down.

Being 'culturally sensitive' is the key to changing someone's point of view.  Arguing that "some (our) cultures are better than others when measured" is a surefire way to prevent your opposition from listening from the get go.  If you want to hasten change for the better in places I can tell you what has been shown to work historically:
- educate the masses
- end hunger and reduce poverty
- provide stable government and rule of law.

It's a long, costly, and difficult process . . . but culture isn't what's holding people back.  Culture that seems to have sprung up from the middle ages tends to evolve in places where life isn't much better than it was in medieval times.

dividendman

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #94 on: December 18, 2016, 07:12:45 PM »
I think eliminating the more barbarous Christian culture in the middle ages would have led to a better planet faster. The current liberal democracies may have had Islam as their majority religion but it doesn't really matter what religious banner oppression or more freedom are under.

I agree with your ways to change socities. I also agree that people are basically the same and if you out people in medieval conditions they will have medieval cultures.

I'm not opposed to giving shit loads of money/food to change the cultures in these places.

P.S. I'm from Toronto originally! Indian descent (3rd generation canadian). There are many things I loathe about the subcontinent's culture and perhaps that's influencing my views.

Rimu05

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #95 on: January 06, 2017, 11:47:04 AM »
I've got nothing really to contribute about racism but somewhat about stereotypes. I'm black and East African and my first experience of knowing I belonged to a particular race was in South Africa, but not much, but in the U.S, I truly learned what racism was. You had to tick a box and you had to navigate this new strange territory of being "African" yet black. Stereotypes are especially a funny thing.

You have the black and "African" stereotypes applied to you.

As an "African, "I got complimented a lot for English I had spoken my whole life. I got asked if we read books in Africa, did we live in huts, ride elephants, walk around naked.

Then I would get, why do you act white? You don't sound black, you swim well, your very educated. The weirdest yet is when guys from other races show any interest in me, they try to speak in a very stereotypical token black person TV slang... Like "What's up ma?"

I realized that racism is really born out of ignorance. There are times, I think gosh, people are sensitive but I think because we don't have their experiences we never stop to think why they are sensitive about these things. Sometimes, it does get a bit silly, but I think the strange thing about the PC and anti PC culture is that they are two sides of the same coin. They are both offended by each other.

Anyway, stereotypes exist everywhere but often we marginalize people based on these stereotypes. Often it's the dominant group in power that has a say in these stereotypes.

PS. I put African in quotes because it's a very Western concept. When I first came to the U.S and almost all Africans I know have this experience, even those in Europe. People ask you where your from a lot because you have an accent, you'll list your country and they'll always follow up with where's that. You eventually just stop saying your country and you start saying you are African because the moment you mention your country is in Africa, everyone automatically refers to you as African and here come the "Do you speak African?" "You come from the motherland"


This thread also reminded me of the compliment I got yesterday that is an oldie but a goodie "Your English is really good." I was like "Well you know, I only speak it natively."
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 11:51:01 AM by Rimu05 »

golden1

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #96 on: January 06, 2017, 12:19:48 PM »
I don't think you need to entirely eliminate a culture in order to get rid of the worst parts of it.  Sometimes, yes, that is necessary, as it was in the case of Nazi Germany, and that was also supported by pretty much everyone.  There are other ways to transform a culture besides outright war. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #97 on: January 06, 2017, 02:11:05 PM »
I don't think you need to entirely eliminate a culture in order to get rid of the worst parts of it.  Sometimes, yes, that is necessary, as it was in the case of Nazi Germany, and that was also supported by pretty much everyone.  There are other ways to transform a culture besides outright war.

The culture of Nazi Germany was not eliminated, it just moved from the forefront to the fringes of society.

KBecks

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #98 on: January 07, 2017, 06:23:15 AM »
Eugenics was part of our science in the United States in the 1920's, these horrible concepts were not isolated to Germany.





Kris

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Re: Explain Racism to me
« Reply #99 on: January 07, 2017, 08:50:43 AM »
Eugenics was part of our science in the United States in the 1920's, these horrible concepts were not isolated to Germany.

And neo-Nazism is on the rise in the US again.