Humor or Racist?

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01 Dec 2020 23:36 #356635 by Rex
Replied by Rex on topic Humor or Racist?
That analysis implies that one can't be racist against Asians. The power dynamic is different between varied races, but your conclusion is myopic to think racism can only flow in one direction.

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02 Dec 2020 17:25 #356650 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Humor or Racist?

Rex wrote: That analysis implies that one can't be racist against Asians. The power dynamic is different between varied races, but your conclusion is myopic to think racism can only flow in one direction.


But there WAS racism towards Asians. It was a long time ago. It happened because American were actively fighting/competing against the Japanese so Japanese Americans became distrusted. So when competition and distrust get married the baby is typically xenophobia as those who have the power seek to maintain it against the group they're competing against. And then, left unchecked, the xenophobia evolves into racism.

Not just Asians but this started happening to certain European ethnic groups as well. But then racism allowed a unification of sorts, in all "white people" and they put aside the fact that they came from different nations and places and sought to help each other against black and brown people. So it doesn't have to be color but it more easily becomes color because color makes it much easier to separate friend from foe. If two white people are filling out a form that asks what their ethnicity is they can just put white if they are afraid their application will be treated with bias. Only they have that option.

And over time, whatever 'issues' people had with those European groups who used to be very poor and therefore had more crime as they tried to survive, are slowly forgotten in favor of bigger threats. Immediately after 9/11 it felt like Black people kinds of caught a break because society was focused on Arabs and Muslims. And even other religions that simply look like Muslims, got caught up in it.

So if you're afraid that someone might be a terrorist you're going to treat that person differently. You might make some jokes that are stereotypical. Those jokes can reinforce biases that others have and make others more comfortable in their biases and even in the expression of those biases and acting upon those biases; thus making the lives of the Arabs and Muslims that much harder.

But joking about the speech patterns of Asians? No. Joking about them being bad drivers or whatever doesn't have the same sociological impact than it would if people were actually afraid of or competing with them. They are also, often seen as simply white. But if they indicate Asian on an application, what stereotypical negative attributes do you mentally connect in order to want to deny them jobs, housing, etc? None. And that's when a joke is just that. A joke.

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02 Dec 2020 22:16 #356654 by rugadd
Replied by rugadd on topic Humor or Racist?
Are we talking about racism or prejudice?

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03 Dec 2020 00:14 #356655 by TheDude
Replied by TheDude on topic Humor or Racist?
I reject the notion that power imbalances play a significant role in the moral implications of a given action involving racial bias. Most people who use the systemic bias definition or the power imbalance definition for racism will still usually agree that a term like prejudice still applies to cases where, for example, white or Asian people are the victims of racial bias (whether institutional or interpersonal). To insist that such actions aren't racist in response to their identification is to miss the point entirely. The question of "is this a morally acceptable action?" is still not answered by differentiating bias, prejudice, and racism. There is surely little if any difference in the moral acceptability of an action which is racist, an action which is biased, and an action which is prejudiced. So why prefer one definition or method of categorization over another when it comes to these actions?

I will tell you my preference and why I have that preference. When I use the term "racist" I refer to either instances of individual racial discrimination or individuals who regularly engage in racial discrimination. When I use the term "systemic racism" I mean what is meant by those adopting novel definitions of "racism" which include power imbalances. I don't call an act involving racial bias "prejudiced" simply because of a relative power imbalance between the aggressor and the victim because I think it puts the two actions on different levels of moral arbitration that I don't think are appropriate. I don't think that there is a relevant moral difference between what some would call racism and what some would call prejudice. I think it is always morally unacceptable, in every case, without exception, to engage in racial bias and/or discrimination. There is no instance in which an act of prejudice or racism or racial bias would be a morally acceptable action in my opinion. And because there is no difference in the moral relevance of the actions, and the two terms appear to have different moral value, I think it's inappropriate to use different terms to describe the two actions. Basically, I think it would be inappropriate to refer to one act as "prejudiced" and one as "racist" based on the identity of the victim because "prejudiced" and "racist" have different moral implications, while the action should not have different moral implications based on the identity of the victim.

For this reason I personally oppose definitions of racism which limit their scope to only certain groups of victims. I think that the imposition of such a definition is itself racially biased. Furthermore, I believe that racially biased actions of any sort are not morally acceptable. Ergo, it is my belief that defining "racism" in a way which limits its scope to only certain groups of victims is not morally acceptable. Consequently, the nail salon joke is indeed racist and is also not morally acceptable in my opinion.

I don't think it's a morally good thing to tell jokes about women or men or transgender individuals, or white people or black people or Asian people or any other racial group, to impose racial stereotypes about these groups on them, to make assumptions about their behavior, etc. To propagate these stereotypes and ideas to other people in the form of jokes about whole groups of people is at best offensive and at worst directly harmful to the physical and mental well-being of the individuals in the groups being stereotyped. I do not think it is even morally acceptable to make such jokes or use slurs about your own race; what seems harmless to you may compound years of race-related trauma in another person who shares your race, so why do it?

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03 Dec 2020 08:37 #356660 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Humor or Racist?

ZealotX wrote: ...in all "white people"


Hang on a sec, you don't actually think only 'white people' can be, have been, or are racist do you?

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03 Dec 2020 17:19 #356670 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Humor or Racist?

Adder wrote:

ZealotX wrote: ...in all "white people"


Hang on a sec, you don't actually think only 'white people' can be, have been, or are racist do you?


sorry but you must have missed the part where I said:

Racism would be the Hutus vs the Tutsi who, just like Cain and Abel, separated over a hunter vs gatherer sort of lifestyle which made one more wealthy and thus led to classism which turned into one treating the other as an inferior "breed".


So keep in mind that everything is relative and white people didn't invent the notion of treating another group of people badly. I used the Hutus vs the Tootsies as an example because they're both "black" however, did not regard each other as such.

I don't know if anyone has seen the movie Hotel Rwanda but this is what it was based on.

"Hutus" were people who farmed crops, while "Tutsis" were people who tended livestock. Most Rwandans were Hutus. Gradually, these class divisions became seen as ethnic designations. Because cattle were more valuable than crops, the minority Tutsis became the local elite.

www.vox.com/2014/4/10/5590646/rwandan-genocide-anniversary

My point is that the group doing the racism has to be in a position of power over the other group. Otherwise, what you end up doing is blaming the victimized group for its natural defensive response towards the actual racism of the group in power when the group that is reacting cannot have the same impact on the other group.

Racism is often confused for racial prejudice. It's not the same thing. Prejudice is simply prejudging the other group. The group that is the victim of racism can be racially prejudiced against the racist group. If you want to call that wrong, ...ok... but I think it's a little more complicated than that. Because in their minds it is the ENTIRE group that is "doing it" even though it never is. The reality is that those who have the least power in a group cannot control the group, cannot influence the group, and cannot police or restrain members of the group bent on that action. So even if the immoral members of the group do so many bad things in the name of the "race"; screaming "White Power!" for example... that doesn't mean little Timmy down the street has anything to do with that. But... if you don't know whether little Timmy is racist or not, because it is typically something people hide and not wear as a badge of honor, then this makes a lot of people defensive or apprehensive about everyone who looks like Timmy. And this would not be so if it wasn't for the inescapable fact that racism is so hidden.

Between 2016 and now, we have seen more racists than anyone every really knew was there. Some people felt vindicated by this because they only suspected that the number of racists were much larger than the membership of the KKK. For African Americans, we knew there were many more but the Trump presidency has made them more bold. The "Karen" phenomenon... is just an example, scratching only the surface, the very tip of the iceberg. That mindset exists within far greater numbers of people who DON'T have run ins like that and who are AREN'T bold enough to say anything; especially on camera. This Karen behavior is only something that the minority of people would do who share similar beliefs. And so when you live in an environment in which everyone who "looks" like a Karen could actually be one... it's enough to give anyone pause. That's not racist because it is not believing or assuming that all white people are racist but rather the realization that any white person encountered COULD be a racist.

There's a difference.

And the fact that one form of prejudice is offensive and the other is a defensive reaction, it's like how a fist fight starts with a provocation. If you want to say both people are wrong for fighting that's your opinion and it's fair. But you could also ask who threw the first punch and credit the other person for fighting back, defending themselves, resisting, responding, etc. In Star Wars terms.... yes Luke killed an untold number of people on the Death Star. However, he did it to prevent them from destroying worlds. That's gotta count for something.

So while some of you may believe in "reverse racism" and you may feel somewhat victimized by certain people's reactions to you or people you know, just remember. Their "planet" was destroyed and you're wearing the same uniform. You might be Han or Luke dressed up in that same armor but when the shooting starts there's no way of knowing (unless you take your helmet off and start shooting people with their helmets on - hoping they don't also take theirs off). It's not like you can just ask people if they're racist or not and expect truthful responses. You can still say its wrong and depending on the defensive reaction I would probably agree with you. But its not keeping you from getting good paying jobs. It's not making the police think you're so dangerous that you get shot in the back or strangled to death over a speeding ticket. Racism isn't simply hurtful emotionally. It is destructive and threatens the survival and/or progress of the other group. "reverse racism" doesn't hinder anyone's progress. It's not even intended to do so. And it isn't done because the person you're accusing of "reverse racism" believes their race is superior. Many people reacting to racial issues understand that race was a distinction that was invented and isn't really even real.

The best way to combat this "reverse racism" is to simply get to know each other and show people who you are. The more familiar you are the better. The more you speak your mind the better. The more you treat people fairly the better. These are all ways of removing or marking the helmet. Those you believe to be practicing "reverse racism" are simply scared that you might be racist and hiding it. It's not the same. It doesn't have the same intent behind it.

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03 Dec 2020 18:57 - 03 Dec 2020 18:58 #356673 by TheDude
Replied by TheDude on topic Humor or Racist?

ZealotX wrote: My point is that the group doing the racism has to be in a position of power over the other group. Otherwise, what you end up doing is blaming the victimized group for its natural defensive response towards the actual racism of the group in power when the group that is reacting cannot have the same impact on the other group.


I fail to see why you believe that power balances are relevant to the definition of the word, especially given the context that we live in a society where power imbalance has not been a relevant factor in the definition of the word since its creation. A member of a powerful group can commit racist actions against a member of a less powerful group, and that member of a less powerful group can commit racist actions against the member of a more powerful group. Two wrongs do not make a right. A member of a weaker group should not be excused from moral judgment when they perform immoral action. Certainly some responses are natural, but that does not make them morally acceptable. A natural response to racist speech may be to punch the speaker in the face, but that isn't morally acceptable. I do blame the victimized group if their natural defensive response creates victims from another group. To minimize these responses as being totally upright responses to "actual racism" is not morally acceptable in my opinion. The difference in impact is not a difference on the level of the victim in either case if both are victims of the literal same actions.

I understand that people often have a gut reaction in favor of "punching up", but do they really value that more than choosing not to punch? Can't we agree that punching is generally not a good thing to do whether you're in the advantaged or disadvantaged position? And if we can agree to that, can we not also agree to hold accountable both parties engaged in a fistfight for the moral value of their actions? Can we not find better solutions than to respond to racist speech with equally racist speech?
We do not say that the larger fighter "punched and kicked" and the smaller fighter "physically aggressed upon" or anything else like that. We use the same terms for both. We do this to describe the action, because it is the action we are describing, not the outcome of the action or the impact of the action or even the implications of the action.

To be clear, it is my position that "reverse racism" is also a racist term. There is just racism.
Last edit: 03 Dec 2020 18:58 by TheDude.
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03 Dec 2020 22:12 #356675 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Humor or Racist?
Thanks for the clarification. When referencing a segment of a group it's safer to prefix the group with 'some' or the characteristic to which your referring, else it comes across as/equivalent to race baiting :D Which is obviously not your intent.
But yea, reverse racism is just people (who might be or believe they are victims of racism) being racist back at people who have been, or remind them of people who have, been racist to them in the past. A tit for tat. It's just a label for a particular application of racism, not a different type of racism. Like person A slaps person B, person B slaps them back - person A calls it a reverse slap. The question becomes, is a slap back the appropriate way to respond when the point is slapping is not appropriate to begin with.

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03 Dec 2020 23:16 #356679 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Humor or Racist?

TheDude wrote:

ZealotX wrote: My point is that the group doing the racism has to be in a position of power over the other group. Otherwise, what you end up doing is blaming the victimized group for its natural defensive response towards the actual racism of the group in power when the group that is reacting cannot have the same impact on the other group.


I fail to see why you believe that power balances are relevant to the definition of the word, especially given the context that we live in a society where power imbalance has not been a relevant factor in the definition of the word since its creation. A member of a powerful group can commit racist actions against a member of a less powerful group, and that member of a less powerful group can commit racist actions against the member of a more powerful group. Two wrongs do not make a right. A member of a weaker group should not be excused from moral judgment when they perform immoral action. Certainly some responses are natural, but that does not make them morally acceptable. A natural response to racist speech may be to punch the speaker in the face, but that isn't morally acceptable. I do blame the victimized group if their natural defensive response creates victims from another group. To minimize these responses as being totally upright responses to "actual racism" is not morally acceptable in my opinion. The difference in impact is not a difference on the level of the victim in either case if both are victims of the literal same actions.

I understand that people often have a gut reaction in favor of "punching up", but do they really value that more than choosing not to punch? Can't we agree that punching is generally not a good thing to do whether you're in the advantaged or disadvantaged position? And if we can agree to that, can we not also agree to hold accountable both parties engaged in a fistfight for the moral value of their actions? Can we not find better solutions than to respond to racist speech with equally racist speech?
We do not say that the larger fighter "punched and kicked" and the smaller fighter "physically aggressed upon" or anything else like that. We use the same terms for both. We do this to describe the action, because it is the action we are describing, not the outcome of the action or the impact of the action or even the implications of the action.

To be clear, it is my position that "reverse racism" is also a racist term. There is just racism.


TheDude:
"we live in a society where power imbalance has not been a relevant factor in the definition of the word since its creation"


And WHO decided upon the definition? Do you see? Your defense is basically saying "we, who represent the dominant force of this society have hereby deemed that the definition of what racism is, is what we say it is."

Do you not see the problem with this?

Look, I am not accusing you of white privilege. But I have to say something about it, running the risk of offending you, which is not my intention and I am truly sorry if it comes out that way.

But this has been a white society and there are white people out there (not you) fighting a "culture war" in order to keep it that way. So white privilege isn't necessarily about a boss saying "I like you because you're white." It's about what he thinks of as "normal" or "mainstream". I think white people who grew up in the 90s actually understand "alternative" more than I do. While black people were spending ungodly amounts of money trying to fit in and be accepted because that was important to our survival, a group of white kids were always about being different and kind of counter-culture. They either wore all black or "goth" or something similar. They weren't trying to be mainstream.

I imagine that they didn't want to be "controlled" or dictated to in that way. And they had the freedom to do that. And more power to them. But the point is that they understood that society... wasn't automatically correct just because that's what the masses agreed upon.

Why should the majority get to decide how to define the word that was the very instrument of the majority against minorities?

It's like saying "I punched you but I really wasn't trying to knock you out so let me be the one to talk to the cops."

So the definition that I use is the one provided by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, M.D.

RACISM (white supremacy), is the local and global power system and dynamic, structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined, which consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity.

If you don't like someone because they are black... that's not racism. That's prejudice. When you USE that prejudice to maintain the power dynamic in some way of oppressing a person of that race in order to benefit your own race... that's racism.

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03 Dec 2020 23:17 #356680 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Humor or Racist?
Some people want to call everything racist. That's simply not the case. If a white person gets hired over a black person, is that racism? It COULD be. It depends if there is racial bias involved. But it could also be that the white person was more qualified. And as long as it COULD be that, racists often get away with racist hiring and promotion practices. Because they can always say it was some other reason.

We cannot eradicate racism by barking up the tree of who likes who. Maybe you don't like me and it has ZERO to do with me being black. In the same way, laughing about how Asians sound really has nothing to do with them being Asian and everything to do with having English as a second language and the phonetic differences of Japanese that don't cross over well. And we've all watched Asian movies and heard bad voiceovers but no one is thinking... "oh Asians must be retarded because they sound like that". No, not at all. My girlfriend likes imitating accents a lot because it's funny to her. It sounds exaggerated and I typically don't laugh when she tries to imitate a Jamaican accent. In doing so, she's not making fun of Jamaican but rather the way she thinks patois sounds.

So how could you argue she's racist against Jamaicans? I'm half Jamaican. No, obviously she doesn't have any intention against Jamaicans just like no one has any ill intentions against Asians. And if your hair looks like white Jesus I will probably think that in my mind if not say something about it but guess what? That doesn't mean I don't like the person or that I think the person is somehow inferior.

So we need to really not use the race card when it doesn't apply because that's not fair to the person being accused; nor fair to the actual victims of racism who struggle and suffer real consequences as a result because that is what real racism is intended to do.

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