Author Topic: The phrase I use regularly for awkward situations, political discussions, etc.  (Read 4827 times)

Jrr85

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Same here.  I recognize I live in a bubble and that the stuff is actually out there, but I can't help that suspect that most people who I see complain about this type stuff (who are generally other well off people from privileged backgrounds) aren't experiencing any nazi or racist comments as much as they are flying off the handle at relatively innocuous statements or opinions that differ from their beliefs, partly in an attempt to convince themselves that they are more virtuous than the people they are surrounded by and partly to signal to other people their virtue. 

Certainly some people have to be outliers and have experiences that are outliers, and I could just be an outlier, but it's not like I've had to put any effort into avoiding nazi or racist comments so it's weird to hear other people from priviliged backgrounds talking as if they com across racist statements on a monthly or even weekly basis.     

I am Jewish and have overheard anti-Semitic comments from strangers and seen swastika graffiti in the liberal bubble of New York City. A friend constantly made cheap Jew jokes until I said they made me uncomfortable. I also used to live near this building: http://abc7ny.com/lobby-of-queens-condo-filled-with-racist-posters-and-flags/2334197/

Not to mention Charlottesville. White nationalists and neo-Nazis are not a relic of the past. You're lucky that you haven't encountered or noticed this in your personal life. That doesn't mean everybody else is overreacting.

I've heard shit about Muslims, about immigrants, about plenty of marginal groups. I've heard outright racist and homophobic comments from family members. I try to speak up when I can, and I hope that other well-off, privileged people speak up, since they're less vulnerable. The onus shouldn't be on the group directly affected, since they will be punished socially more.

I want to stand up for my friends who report much worse abuse, due to being visibly trans/black/Muslim/etc. Even if I'm not directly experiencing something, that doesn't mean I should be quiet.

To be clear, I wasn't trying to imply that people claiming to have suffered discrimination are not routinely encountering it.  I would suspect that any individual black person has heard more racist stuff than i have, any particular jewish person has heard more antisemitic stuff than I have, any immigrant more xenophobic stuff than I have, etc. 

I was referring more to the many white people who act like they routinely have to object to racist/nazi type sentiments in casual conversation with their coworkers, family, friends, etc.  I get that there are people who are from families that act like that and repeatedly deal with the same family members, but I don't get where other people run into casual racism/nazism that aren't a victim of it. 

Pretty much everybody I deal with has a job of some sort and manages to more or less successfully interact with society, which pretty much requires that they not be the type of people that go around dropping comments indicating that they are supportive of racist/nazi views.  These other people claiming to constantly come across racist co-workers, acquaintences, etc. seem to live in the same type bubble I do, so it just seems odd that their experience is so different.   
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 11:52:29 AM by Jrr85 »

SunshineAZ

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My go to phrase:

" Opinions are like assholes.....everybody has one and they all stink"

LOL one of my Dad's favorite sayings.  However, depending on who I am talking to, I sometimes change it to "Opinions are like noses, everyone has one and they all smell". 

GreenSheep

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Sometimes silence can be very powerful. It doesn't work in all situations, but when a comment is very clearly directed at me and there isn't a chattering crowd to talk right over it, and it's not something I feel morally compelled to argue, I just let it hang in the air. For as long as possible. Let it sink in. Sometimes the person who said it will visibly feel like the moron that they are, or another person will chime in and take up the argument on my behalf, and it's so gratifying!

BlueHouse

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I was at a lecture last week about 9/11 in a venue where people are very civilized, very polite, and very interested in learning.  One of the speakers went off into a conspiracy-type rant which included some generalizations about middle-eastern men and a bit of what I consider to be crazy-talk.  It made me uncomfortable and I really wanted to stand up and shout Stop spreading hate!

Any thoughts on how to handle this type of thing?  Short of disrupting the lecture (a few hundred people) or booing or hissing, what would you do? 
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

Jrr85

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I was at a lecture last week about 9/11 in a venue where people are very civilized, very polite, and very interested in learning.  One of the speakers went off into a conspiracy-type rant which included some generalizations about middle-eastern men and a bit of what I consider to be crazy-talk.  It made me uncomfortable and I really wanted to stand up and shout Stop spreading hate!

Any thoughts on how to handle this type of thing?  Short of disrupting the lecture (a few hundred people) or booing or hissing, what would you do?

Nothing.  It's a lecture.  The way that works is that the lecturers lecture and people in the audience listen.  It's not the job of individual members of the audience to push back against a lecturer's point of view.  If it's really offensive, you just get up and leave as non-disruptively as possible and if you feel the need, express your opinion to in a venue where people have shown some indication that they are interested in hearing it.   

pbkmaine

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I like: "That has not been my experience".

SoundFuture

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I was at a lecture last week about 9/11 in a venue where people are very civilized, very polite, and very interested in learning.  One of the speakers went off into a conspiracy-type rant which included some generalizations about middle-eastern men and a bit of what I consider to be crazy-talk.  It made me uncomfortable and I really wanted to stand up and shout Stop spreading hate!

Any thoughts on how to handle this type of thing?  Short of disrupting the lecture (a few hundred people) or booing or hissing, what would you do?

Nothing.  It's a lecture.  The way that works is that the lecturers lecture and people in the audience listen.  It's not the job of individual members of the audience to push back against a lecturer's point of view.  If it's really offensive, you just get up and leave as non-disruptively as possible and if you feel the need, express your opinion to in a venue where people have shown some indication that they are interested in hearing it.   

I agree with Jrr85, but probably because we both have conservative thought processes (note, having a conservative thought process doesn't make you a "conservative", it's just how your mind works).

If you're in a situation with a lecturer expressing an opinion you don't agree with, you have a couple of options.
#1 Say and do nothing and try to understand where they're coming from.
#2 Say and do nothing and ignore them but otherwise be respectful.
#3 Quietly excuse yourself. 

Disrupting a lecturer because you find what they're saying as offensive is not acceptable in a normal lecture format (save for a few exceptions such as a call for violence). If you want to question them during Q&A, or if there is a format that allows dialogue, then have at it (to question their judgement, not their motivations).

If you want to write the organization hosting the lecture for a rebuke of their opinions, and/or blog/publish an opinion piece later about what they said and why you found it to be incorrect, that is also acceptable. When listening to an offensive speaker always remember that they are ultimately not immune to the consequences of their speech. Remember that the respect you're showing to the venue is respect for the expression of opinion, not respect for the offensive opinion.

Gin1984

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You might as well say "fair enough" and move on with eating Thanksgiving Dinner because it's highly unlikely your efforts are going to change anyone's mind, and why ruin your Thanksgiving?  Think about it... how often do you see those discussions ending with someone saying, "oh, you're right, I was wrong, thanks for changing my viewpoint"?

I already know I'm not changing your viewpoint, I've seen what you think based on your own words. It's not about changing your views; it's about not legitimizing them and not standing by silently, as @Kris points out.

I'm not sure if you're confused who you are responding to because I haven't expressed any viewpoints here other than to respond to this:
Sometimes I want to call someone out for something I disagree with, and sometimes I just want to have Thanksgiving in peace.

It wasn't about my viewpoint.  It was about arguing a point with his family, I presume, over Thanksgiving rather than enjoying the TG dinner and sticking to far less controversial topics.   You likely aren't going to change your family member's viewpoint, so don't ruin the day.  That is all... pretty simple.
Yeah, I feel this way 110% with my family and most of my friend group, too. I can choose my friends, so I'm not going to tolerate Nazis spouting Nazi shit at my dinner table, but I suspect I might have a higher tolerance than other people when it comes to other stupid shit.

Most people seem to read the room well enough to know they are starting down a dark path and stop right quick.
I have to say I have never experienced someone expressing or displaying Nazi hatred in real life, just television or online.  Not even at a near-by table or such.  I think I would be shocked to suddenly experience that from someone some day, but I'm certain it wouldn't be from anyone I'm friends with or any relatives.

Same here.  I recognize I live in a bubble and that the stuff is actually out there, but I can't help that suspect that most people who I see complain about this type stuff (who are generally other well off people from privileged backgrounds) aren't experiencing any nazi or racist comments as much as they are flying off the handle at relatively innocuous statements or opinions that differ from their beliefs, partly in an attempt to convince themselves that they are more virtuous than the people they are surrounded by and partly to signal to other people their virtue. 

Certainly some people have to be outliers and have experiences that are outliers, and I could just be an outlier, but it's not like I've had to put any effort into avoiding nazi or racist comments so it's weird to hear other people from priviliged backgrounds talking as if they com across racist statements on a monthly or even weekly basis.     
It may be who you are around as I found more comments in certain social groups.

BlueHouse

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I was at a lecture last week about 9/11 in a venue where people are very civilized, very polite, and very interested in learning.  One of the speakers went off into a conspiracy-type rant which included some generalizations about middle-eastern men and a bit of what I consider to be crazy-talk.  It made me uncomfortable and I really wanted to stand up and shout Stop spreading hate!

Any thoughts on how to handle this type of thing?  Short of disrupting the lecture (a few hundred people) or booing or hissing, what would you do?

Nothing.  It's a lecture.  The way that works is that the lecturers lecture and people in the audience listen.  It's not the job of individual members of the audience to push back against a lecturer's point of view.  If it's really offensive, you just get up and leave as non-disruptively as possible and if you feel the need, express your opinion to in a venue where people have shown some indication that they are interested in hearing it.   

good point.  The lecture was not in any way related to what the conspiracy-nut started discussing.  In fact, I'm quite sure the main speaker (a pilot, who happened to be his daughter) looked somewhat embarrassed.  It was a cringe-worthy moment, but I'm just hoping that the dad's last minute rant, which had nothing to do with the topic, gets cut-off of the recording. 
Thanks for the insight.
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand