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JulyDiaz

Episode 177 — Black Students Acting Out

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Well first off, racism is not generally inferred to mean that. That's probably the definition Kevin Irmiter is used to hearing, but if you ask almost anyone not running a social justice blog, and they'll give you something closer to the more widely used definition: prejudice against someone based on their race.

 

The definition is widespread enough among people who study and/or talk about racism that Andrew can't just ignore it. This does put Andrew in a difficult position, though, since he knows that a big chunk of the people listening are going to be people who know and use the stricter definition. But at the same time it's widely available enough that many people will have the colloquial definition.

 

I do think that even if they don't use different words for the two, most people know that there is a difference between simple prejudice and prejuduice that is backed by an institution and history of systematic oppression.

 

Ignoring that, though, I'll use your definition for my next point: Just because it doesn't fit the specific definition of racism, it doesn't make it acceptable. It's a logical jump that I see happening a lot in the social-justice circles. Sure, it may not cause as much harm to a white person when you call them a cracker than when you call a black person the n-word, just like punching someone in the face doesn't hurt as bad as kicking them in the nuts, but "not as bad in comparison" does not equal "fine".

 

I don't think Andrew is really stereotyping or ragging on white people, though. Most of the time when he is ragging on white people I think it's pretty obvious that he's joking. And when he does make serious generalizations, they have always been generalizations and not broad stereotypes. For example when he says the South is more racist than the North, he's not saying that he thinks being from the south automatically makes you racist, or that the North is not racist as well.

 

I think the difference is that with white people, it's OK to joke around with stuff like that. Like, it's OK to make broad, sweeping generalizations about white people, as a joke, or to say stuff like "cracker" to mess with them a little bit. Because even if what you say is misinterpreted or used in a different way, the actual harm they can do is extremely limited. Whereas saying stuff about a minority group can be extremely hurtful, and you might find that you are unintentionally aligning yourself with some very bad people.

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So you are saying that it's OK to hurt white people because it doesn't hurt as much as hurting another group, right? That's exactly what I mean. Not as bad does not automatically make it OK. Punching someone in the gut is not as bad as punching them in the groin, but no one ever gets out of an assault charge by pleading that "well, at least I didn't punch them in the groin, your honor."

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So you are saying that it's OK to hurt white people because it doesn't hurt as much as hurting another group, right? That's exactly what I mean. Not as bad does not automatically make it OK. Punching someone in the gut is not as bad as punching them in the groin, but no one ever gets out of an assault charge by pleading that "well, at least I didn't punch them in the groin, your honor."

 

Do you think "white people," as a group, are hurt by, for example, saying that white people can't dance? I know I'm not, and if nobody elected me as the grand spokesperson for white people, nobody elected you either.

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Nor did anyone elect Andrew Ti, Shariq, or Kevin the spokesperson of POC, yet here we are having this conversation.

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You didn't answer my question. Possibly because the answer is obviously "No, white people as a group are not hurt by this stuff."

 

AndrewT obviously isn't any spokesperson, but you can go to the NAACP, or GLAAD, or a thousand other actual civil rights groups and be told that yes, they are offended by such-and-such. You have apparently decided that white people are being hurt by ... something ... and as a white person I'm not, and frankly, I don't want to take racial responsibility for your ridiculously thin skin.

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Ok, I'll answer your question. No, I'm not offended by that specific stereotype. But there are others that do harm. Like assuming that being from the south means your racist, or assuming that only white people can be racist. My point, though, is that prejudice based on race should not be tolerated, no matter what race is on what end. That doesn't sound like a radical concept to me.

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knock off this line of thinking... it's not up to you to judge how other people feel or are affected by slurs & insults

 

Well, I'm not the one who originated the idea that a group that is constantly hurt by racism are going to be hurt more by racial slurs then the people who aren't; I don't know who first put that on paper, or whether it was "for" them to do so, but I certainly agree.

 

It's not like I don't understand where AmPaul's coming from; I don't enjoy being insulted. But I also think that you give up some of your right to be offended when you participate in the dialogue. "I'll talk with you about how my race has systematically oppressed yours for centuries, and how I'm still benefitting from it, while you're still suffering from it, but only if you agree not to be mean about it?"

 

If AmPaul thinks that I've been rude, I'm perfectly willing to apologize--in fact, I do apologize. I've spent the conversation being smug and dismissive, and it was uncalled for; it's not like "People should be nice to each other" is a position I disagree with. I just think that if anyone's not going to live up to that ideal, it matters a heck of a lot less when that person isn't the one in power.

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Racism as oppression of systemic victims is a jargon definition that doesn't even enjoy universal currency among social scientists.

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So you are saying that it's OK to hurt white people because it doesn't hurt as much as hurting another group, right?

 

No, not really.

 

I don't think you should stereotype or be bigoted about anyone. If you are bigoted about white people that is less harmful and probably less of a big deal to me, but I still think it's bad.

 

You are free to make any remarks you please, but be ready for the consequences if people are offended. And I guess if it's about white people I'm more likely to say "relax, it's nothing to get offended about" if, for example, the person if making a joke. If we're going to make analogies, then it's like someone pretending they're going to punch other people, as a joke to make them flinch, as opposed to someone who takes a knife or gun and acts like they're going to attack with it to make people flinch. The first one is no big deal, and I would think people were overly sensitive if they got really mad over it. But the second case is dangerous to the point that you shouldn't even pretend to be racist.

 

So if you make jokes about white people like calling them "cracker" or "honkey," as long as it doesn't seem to be coming from a place of real hatred or bigotry then I think it's fine. But you shouldn't go around using the n word, even as a joke. And even stuff where you pretend to be a bigot is dangerous territory that I would just steer clear of, even if it doesn't make you overtly racist.

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knock off this line of thinking... it's not up to you to judge how other people feel or are affected by slurs & insults

 

You should tell this to every white person who says that intent and context matter when dishing out the n-word.

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Racism as oppression of systemic victims is a jargon definition that doesn't even enjoy universal currency among social scientists.

 

Which social scientists disagree with this? The ones funded by the Brookings Institute or the ones that wrote "The Bell Curve."

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