Author Topic: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy  (Read 5036 times)

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #50 on: April 23, 2018, 08:56:43 AM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

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

Dear progressive people,

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

Agreed.

Also agree. I'm fairly open when it comes to social views, and I was surprised when I started seeing friends talk about racism this way. It seems counter-productive in many situations. You're then debating semantics of racism vs prejudice and potentially alienating people who interpret your remarks are prejudiced.

If White Person says "that was racist" and means it was a comment directed at someone based on the color of their skin, and Other Person says "it's not possible that the comment was racist, because you're white, it was only prejudiced," and means it was a comment directed at someone based on the color of their skin... I am honestly curious what benefit this conversation could bring, outside of an academic setting.

I say this as a pedantic former SAT tutor who is trying to breathe calmly at the current evolution and reversed usage of "woman" and "female." It's happening whether I like it or not, regardless of what the dictionary says, and regardless of whether there are sexist connotations to the different usage.

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

Disagree.

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

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

Agree with the disagreement.

It's possible that the people in the powerful group may feel and remember each minor incident for longer, because each one is so rare, but that does not mean their feelings are more intense or comparable to a lifetime of discrimination. Comments and actions by those in authority, being brought up with warnings about how to talk to police, having people roll their car windows up when you approach... This has a much more severe impact on people than one-off comments.

maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #51 on: April 23, 2018, 09:08:23 AM »
I say this as a pedantic former SAT tutor who is trying to breathe calmly at the current evolution and reversed usage of "woman" and "female." It's happening whether I like it or not, regardless of what the dictionary says, and regardless of whether there are sexist connotations to the different usage.

Okay, I know it's off topic, but now I just have to know what the correct and reversed usages are for these two words. I've associated the use of the term "female" a bit with the pickup artist community and people influenced by that school of thought.

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

Disagree.

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

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

Agree with the disagreement.

It's possible that the people in the powerful group may feel and remember each minor incident for longer, because each one is so rare, but that does not mean their feelings are more intense or comparable to a lifetime of discrimination. Comments and actions by those in authority, being brought up with warnings about how to talk to police, having people roll their car windows up when you approach... This has a much more severe impact on people than one-off comments.

Well part of the problem here is mixing and comparing effects of single incidents and effects over a lifetime. Over a lifetime it is clear that those subject to constant discrimination and institutional racism/racism suffer and lose a lot more.

For individual incidents I could see the argument either way. It may be that constant exposure to racism/prejudice-based-on-race reduces the marginal impact of each individual incident. It could also be that the same constant exposure acts as a sensitizing agent so that each individual incident stings more than it otherwise would.

But this is a bit like the argument about what word we're allowed to use to describe "a comment directed at someone based on the color of their skin." Does it really matter which causes more suffering on a case by case basis? Either way, I hope we can all agree that both are bad, and and I'm sure we can all agree that people who will experience more racism/prejudice-based-on-race over their lifetimes clearly are worse off than people who will experience less racism/prejudice-based-on-race.

GuitarStv

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #52 on: April 23, 2018, 10:46:55 AM »
Well part of the problem here is mixing and comparing effects of single incidents and effects over a lifetime. Over a lifetime it is clear that those subject to constant discrimination and institutional racism/racism suffer and lose a lot more.

For individual incidents I could see the argument either way. It may be that constant exposure to racism/prejudice-based-on-race reduces the marginal impact of each individual incident. It could also be that the same constant exposure acts as a sensitizing agent so that each individual incident stings more than it otherwise would.

I think it's flawed to say that the individual incidents have the same impact though . . . because you can't really isolate them from the rest of the life that a person has lived.  It's like being hit.  Every time you're hit it sucks, but if you're getting punched in the same spot, that existing bruise makes it all the more intense.



But this is a bit like the argument about what word we're allowed to use to describe "a comment directed at someone based on the color of their skin." Does it really matter which causes more suffering on a case by case basis? Either way, I hope we can all agree that both are bad, and and I'm sure we can all agree that people who will experience more racism/prejudice-based-on-race over their lifetimes clearly are worse off than people who will experience less racism/prejudice-based-on-race.

Does it really matter which causes more suffering on a case by case basis?  Well, yes and no.  No, it doesn't matter in the aspect that all people deserve to live a life free from bigotry, prejudice, and racism.  Yes, in that it's important to keep in mind that as shitty as the rare instances of comments towards us as straight white folks are, it's probably only a fraction of other people deal with on a daily basis.  I suspect that if more people kept the latter in mind we wouldn't have sports teams named the Redskins any more (just as an example).

MrMoogle

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #53 on: April 23, 2018, 11:33:28 AM »
Well part of the problem here is mixing and comparing effects of single incidents and effects over a lifetime. Over a lifetime it is clear that those subject to constant discrimination and institutional racism/racism suffer and lose a lot more.

For individual incidents I could see the argument either way. It may be that constant exposure to racism/prejudice-based-on-race reduces the marginal impact of each individual incident. It could also be that the same constant exposure acts as a sensitizing agent so that each individual incident stings more than it otherwise would.

I think it's flawed to say that the individual incidents have the same impact though . . . because you can't really isolate them from the rest of the life that a person has lived.  It's like being hit.  Every time you're hit it sucks, but if you're getting punched in the same spot, that existing bruise makes it all the more intense.

I would think because of hedonic adaptation, the person who experiences it the first time would likely have a greater reaction that the Nth time for someone else.  Again, for a given instance. 

It makes white men, who get the biggest benefit from privilege, look like the biggest babies when they finally experience something like this first hand.  It's the privilege from not having to experience this often that makes it such a big deal on a personal level.  Of course, I am generalizing here, not all/most/many? white men blow up.  But when compared to someone who experiences institutional racism, it makes it look like they stubbed their toe compared to having a leg amputated, but are reacting worse. 

Dabnasty

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #54 on: April 23, 2018, 11:45:00 AM »
Ok, bracing myself for the pile on that will inevitably happen.

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

Dear progressive people,

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

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

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

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

How is this helping anything?

My understanding of this comment was not that the emotions are exactly the same, but rather they have similarities or at the very least are both negative.

But I also didn't see that as the important part of this post. We're going off on a tangent based on a little detail. I think the important takeaway (which I agree with) is that using semantics to negate someone's opinion/feelings without explaining that it really is just a matter of semantics is counterproductive.

Not to mention:

rac·ism - prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

A secondary definition doesn't even require that the judgments be negative:

- the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

It's good that we are discussing the differences between institutional racism and other types of racism, but there are in fact differences.

maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #55 on: April 23, 2018, 01:44:02 PM »
Thanks to all for the thoughtful and reasoned posts on this topic by everyone over the last day or so. This thread started out thoughtful, teetered on the edge of descending into another batch of name calling and eventual thread-lock but seems to have recovered admirably. You folks are generally awesome.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2018, 12:42:45 AM »
I say this as a pedantic former SAT tutor who is trying to breathe calmly at the current evolution and reversed usage of "woman" and "female." It's happening whether I like it or not, regardless of what the dictionary says, and regardless of whether there are sexist connotations to the different usage.

Okay, I know it's off topic, but now I just have to know what the correct and reversed usages are for these two words. I've associated the use of the term "female" a bit with the pickup artist community and people influenced by that school of thought.

Woman is a noun (specific to humans), female is an adjective (generic to all animals with certain biology). Female-as-noun and terms like "woman senator" are increasingly common. The opposite does not happen - "Man senator" and "hey look at that group of males" is rare to non-existent. You can google "woman vs female" and find a lot of arguments over this. Some people believe that female-as-noun is mostly used in derogatory/skeevy contexts, like your PUA example, and that it reduces women to their biology and puts them on the same level as other animals. I have mostly stopped caring, although I stick to the grammatically correct use.

maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2018, 12:52:28 AM »
Thanks!

Converting adjectives to nouns is a pretty common in the evolution on english words, but the opposite pattern is much less common, and now that you've pointed it out, "woman senator" really is a weird sounding construction, although I don't think I would have blinked at it previously.

KTG

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2018, 01:17:55 PM »
For the women two seats down to my right. She was young, African American, maybe mid-20s. About a third of the way into the movie, I forget the scene, she reacts to something on screen and says (loudly) "mother f'ing white people!"

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

Well, just remember that Black Panther was created by two white guys, so this shows how stupid she is. She might very well hate white people, but who cares? That's her problem.

zoltani

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #59 on: April 26, 2018, 01:36:26 PM »
I love females = creepy PUA

I love women = fedora wearing nice guy


can't win

zoltani

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #60 on: April 26, 2018, 02:01:54 PM »
"I love [name of a specific woman]" would seem to be the winning option, particularly if you can be reasonably confident the feelings are reciprocated.

/s

I was joking

maizeman

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #61 on: April 26, 2018, 02:29:49 PM »
Oh sorry about that. I suck at reading tone, especially in written text.

accolay

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2018, 12:26:46 AM »
"mother f'ing white people!"

I say that fairly often enough... and I'm white. For the record, it's easier to hate everybody equally: Fuckin' humans.

Can black people be "racist" though? I don't know, but does it matter? As far as definitions go: biased, prejudiced, bigoted or racist... all but different sides of the same asshole coin.

accolay

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2018, 12:33:47 AM »
Interesting point. What sets the expectations for crowd conduct? 1) The rules posted by the theater? 2) The example set by the majority of the patrons? 3) The nature of the film itself? Some combination of these? Applying these to the facts...

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

And this is why Matinees on a weekday are awesome. The best is an early show when you're the only one in the theater. Crowds are the worst.

MrMoogle

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #64 on: May 01, 2018, 10:31:06 AM »
Interesting point. What sets the expectations for crowd conduct? 1) The rules posted by the theater? 2) The example set by the majority of the patrons? 3) The nature of the film itself? Some combination of these? Applying these to the facts...

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

And this is why Matinees on a weekday are awesome. The best is an early show when you're the only one in the theater. Crowds are the worst.
I agree.  The other thing for me is perfumes/colognes.  Less people = less chance of me running into someone I can smell across the theater and a less chance of giving me a reaction.  When I saw Dunkirk, no one was sitting close by, but man I could smell them, and my head was pounding even before it started.  I should have just walked out.

babybug

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #65 on: May 02, 2018, 02:01:32 PM »
Anyone can be racist. I wish someone shut down that anti-white racist heckler in the movie theater.  Racism is always vile and disgusting.

The whole idea that a minority can't be racist is a form of abuse and tyranny.  It's like saying women can't be sexist. Or men can't be sexually abused.

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GreenEggs

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #66 on: May 02, 2018, 02:23:48 PM »
I might have yelled back "I hate purple people!", but I most likely would have just ignored her and watched the movie.

America's going through some growing pains.

partgypsy

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #67 on: May 02, 2018, 02:52:14 PM »
As a women growing up before "pc" ness I have heard a lot of stuff.

One that sticks with me, is my graduate school advisor giving me the advice as a woman; having a career, being married, having kids, that you can 1 well, 2 middling, and 3, well you should pick 2 of the three. I pointed out that there were already 2 graduate students with kids, and he pointed out they both had wives to take care of the kids.

I should have been pissed off, but I was more, that doesn't apply to me (because I had a hubby who worked part time). Sure enough even though I waited past graduate school until my job was more stable (just landed a big grant) to get pregnant, when my boss found out I was pregnant the crap hit the fan. So I think my former advisor was being well-meaning though it was harsh to hear at the time. 

I didn't realize only 1 "race" could be racist. I guess I would think that woman's behavior was racist, because it is stereotyping. But yes it is different than institutional racism, which white guys do not get to experience.

Makes me wonder if she was responding to something specific on the screen, like a evil white guy?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 03:07:28 PM by partgypsy »

MrMoogle

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #68 on: May 03, 2018, 08:37:34 AM »
As a women growing up before "pc" ness I have heard a lot of stuff.

One that sticks with me, is my graduate school advisor giving me the advice as a woman; having a career, being married, having kids, that you can 1 well, 2 middling, and 3, well you should pick 2 of the three. I pointed out that there were already 2 graduate students with kids, and he pointed out they both had wives to take care of the kids.

I should have been pissed off, but I was more, that doesn't apply to me (because I had a hubby who worked part time). Sure enough even though I waited past graduate school until my job was more stable (just landed a big grant) to get pregnant, when my boss found out I was pregnant the crap hit the fan. So I think my former advisor was being well-meaning though it was harsh to hear at the time. 

I didn't realize only 1 "race" could be racist. I guess I would think that woman's behavior was racist, because it is stereotyping. But yes it is different than institutional racism, which white guys do not get to experience.

Makes me wonder if she was responding to something specific on the screen, like a evil white guy?
I haven't seen the movie, but if it was a group of evil white guys, then "mother f'ing white people!" would make sense.  Context does matter, and I don't have it.

Your advisor gave you the "general" solution, but it wasn't really applicable to you.  I'm sure it applied to some.  I think that's my biggest issue with stereotypes, it's the lazy way to do things.  It's like if a physicist came to NASA in the 50's and was like, first we will assume the earth is flat and there is no wind resistance, and then we can determine ..., to people who are trying to get to the moon.  Those assumptions are great for a lot of scenarios, but you are insulting everyone in the room if you think this is helpful and can be applied to all situations.  If you just ask a few questions, you will easily see "general" advise isn't correct in this situation.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Experiencing racism as a middle-aged straight white guy
« Reply #69 on: May 03, 2018, 11:57:59 AM »
As a women growing up before "pc" ness I have heard a lot of stuff.

One that sticks with me, is my graduate school advisor giving me the advice as a woman; having a career, being married, having kids, that you can 1 well, 2 middling, and 3, well you should pick 2 of the three. I pointed out that there were already 2 graduate students with kids, and he pointed out they both had wives to take care of the kids.

I should have been pissed off, but I was more, that doesn't apply to me (because I had a hubby who worked part time). Sure enough even though I waited past graduate school until my job was more stable (just landed a big grant) to get pregnant, when my boss found out I was pregnant the crap hit the fan. So I think my former advisor was being well-meaning though it was harsh to hear at the time. 

I didn't realize only 1 "race" could be racist. I guess I would think that woman's behavior was racist, because it is stereotyping. But yes it is different than institutional racism, which white guys do not get to experience.

Makes me wonder if she was responding to something specific on the screen, like a evil white guy?
I haven't seen the movie, but if it was a group of evil white guys, then "mother f'ing white people!" would make sense.  Context does matter, and I don't have it.

Yeah, there is context in Black Panther for this sort of comment. Without giving away any plot details, a theme of the movie is the African diaspora, which was largely caused by slavery. It references ongoing institutional racism and how Western agencies like the CIA have interfered in the self-governance of African countries.

Some of this may cross over into spoilers, so:

Spoiler: show
It's set in a fictional African country that has resisted outside interference due to natural resource wealth, and the main group of villains are Western white men. Now, there are black bad guys too, but they are not the only black people on screen, and they typically have more layered stories and redemption arcs, unlike the limited, more stereotypical white men*. Hah. How often do you say that about a Hollywood movie?

*Tim from The Office exempted.