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Thread: Talk Racism Issues And Be F*king Nice About It

  1. #1
    Confused Nex's Avatar
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    Default Talk Racism Issues And Be F*king Nice About It

    So the recent discussion in the Random News Article Thread, as well as one of my favorite comedy bits ever, prompted me into making this thread in the hopes of some good, mature discussion. I know, silly hope on the internet, but I have faith.

    What I want to do here i define what makes something racist. Does simply displaying an image associated with racism make you racist? Does saying a derogatory word make you racist? Is the intent what really matters? Or is it something else entirely?"

    For those who don't know, the recent discussion in the Random News Thread has been about some kids who showed up to their school's "white-out" for a hockey in KKK hoods. Go read the discussion if you haven't: http://apforums.net/showthread.php?t...=1#post2822799

    The comedy bit I was referring to earlier is this:


    Here we have Louis C.K. discussing "The N-Word." No, not "Nigger." "The N-Word."
    How is saying "the n-word" any different than flat out saying Nigger? Everyone knows what you mean by it. Everyone's thinking the word you won't say. If I were to angrily call a black man "n-word" would he be any less angry?

    The biggest question here is, were those dumbass kids racist just for wearing the outfit? Does a substitution for a derogatory word make it better? Should I be offended when a friend tells me the stupid "Dego wop wop wop wop" Italian tire joke even though I know it's all in good fun? If not, should I be offended when someone I know hates Italians tells me the same joke?

    There are numerous examples that I'm sure each of you can think of more.

    Once again, what I want to know is what you think defines racism.

    For me, racism truly and completely lies in the intent. I think that angrily calling a black man "n-word" is just as bad as calling him a nigger. I don't think that putting on a KKK outfit makes you racist. I think burning a cross in a black man's yard while wearing it does.

    A word is just a word. Clothing is just clothing. That's all it can ever be. We are the ones who make them more than that, and it's when that intent is loaded on that a these plain old things become racist. Yes there is undeniable history behind these things that give them a racist connotation, and that is hard to get past. But one has to wonder when we're another 100-200 years removed from this, will those same connotations still be as strong, if they're there at all?

    Disclaimer: I'm not saying that just because there's no ill intent behind these images or words that it makes it okay to say them. I'm certainly not going to walk around saying nigger or wearing a KKK hood.


    So, what are everyone else's thoughts on the matter. What makes something racist?
    Last edited by Nex; February 27th, 2013 at 12:05 AM.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    I feel like if you're putting everyone else down/hating on them that doesn't share the same race as you and elevating everyone else that has the same race as you, making race an overly important part of your own identity(which it really shouldn't be) then that's racist to me.*

    What I don't consider racist is saying the "n" word or depending on the person wearing a KKK hood, that's just what I call being an insensitive douchebag.
    That said I can relate that it seems outlandish from a logical perspective to let something affect your behavior that you had nothing to do with and couple that with the fact that people get offended by a lot of very minor stupid stuff, why make the exception here?

    Well to that I just say, look at the history of it and dig up that little box in your heart labeled in cursive "empathy" and you should be able to get it(and if I have to decide between the logic perspective or the empathetic one I will try my best to choose the latter).

    But yeah basically I agree a lot that intent(or rather the person in question) plays a big role, but at the end of the day racist is just another label of a category of douches(seems like a to friendly word for it) ignoring all the basic rules of social interaction many other douches do.

    *Which is also the reason why nationalism of a certain degree rubs me the wrong way, it seems very close to racism. I know people of my nationality that really drive it home with their pride angle so much that they might as well just come out and say "Our country/culture is better than yours". But they lack that hatefulness of other countries, still though like I said it just rubs me wrong.
    Last edited by DarthAsthma; February 27th, 2013 at 12:19 AM.

  3. #3
    WRYYYYYY GuetaMinute's Avatar
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    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    A word is just a word. Clothing is just clothing. That's all it can ever be. We are the ones who make them more than that, and it's when that intent is loaded on that a these plain old things become racist.
    I think I can agree with this.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuetaMinute View Post
    I think I can agree with this.
    It seems a bit contrary though since the fact that we can make them more than that means they can be more than just words or clothing. Words, clothing, and many other material can become symbols that can stand for different ideologies that affect people whether they want it to affect them or not. I would certainly say it's a form of racism to wear these material knowing what types of obvious implications they have and how they can still affect people. In the case in question we were talking about, I wouldn't know to what degree the racism would be with me personally just thinking it was more dumba**es thinking it'd be a laugh to do something so idiotic. Without knowing them, I'd say it was more ignorance thinking it would be no big deal than any intent to insult people (though that could still be there.)

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    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    It's fairly related, so I'm just gonna throw in the obligatory:

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nex View Post
    I think that angrily calling a black man "n-word" is just as bad as calling him a nigger. I don't think that putting on a KKK outfit makes you racist.
    I have a quibble.

    Why would someone angrily call a black man "n-word," as in "Hey you fucking n-word get off my lawn!" Doesn't that sound a bit absurd? The phrase "n-word" is implicitly a politically correct term. If you say "n-word," you've made the conscious decision that you'd rather not say nigger, because either you aren't a racist or at the very least you don't want to be perceived as racist. The phrase "n-word" carries none of the hatred that nigger does. Which of the terms you choose to use communicates your intent quite clearly. Use "n-word," and you're probably someone having a calm, politically correct discussion about racism on an internet forum, or something like that. Use "nigger" (angrily), and you're using it to show disdain for black people. The angry man shouting at a black person would never say "n-word," because he sees no need for such restraint (and if race didn't enter into the equation, then he would just use a generic "asshole" or "motherfucker"). I think a more effective illustration of the point you're trying to make would be the inverse: someone using "nigger" academically without any ill intent. That's where the presence of anger or lack thereof would be relevant.

    Same with the KKK outfits. Assuming you're educated about the KKK's background and history in America, why would you don the outfit (in public) if not to make a statement that you know people are going to react to strongly? Pointed white hoods have an accepted meaning in American society, just as a Nazi-era German military outfit would. If you're not racist and trying to show the world, what could possibly be your motivation for wearing such things?

    If your argument is that words are words and clothing is clothing and we have the power to change what they mean, well, that's lovely, but it's not a decision that an individual or a powerful organization or the government can make. You can't say, "Hey these terrible things only have negative power because we believe they do, so let's not!" and have society respond to you "Well sure thing! That's sounds like a good idea." Such changes, if they are to ever occur, will only happen naturally, over time, through the evolution of our culture and society. Not because you want them to (hell, I want them to, too). Same thing applies to the word "faggot," in my opinion. Maybe you don't want it to be a pejorative for gay people, but in the meantime, it is.

    I think we agree overall. I just disagree on this [semantic?] point you're making. Where I disagree with Louis CK, despite the fact that I appreciate most of his work, is the point in the third paragraph, above. But he's a comic. He gets away with stuff because that's his job.
    Last edited by CCC; February 27th, 2013 at 03:44 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Here's a hypothetical:

    If I am going down an alley and suddenly a group of african american (and/or) latino folks appear at the other side, would it be racist of me if I turned around and went back the other way?

    Just to be fair, let us say they were a bit rough around the edges in appearance

  8. #8

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nex View Post
    I don't think that putting on a KKK outfit makes you racist.
    Black American speaking Here...Here are my thoughts:

    That really wasn't the issue we had in the thread to begin with. Many of us saw that the intentions of those kids were probably just for the LOLs. The real issue was that they should have known better than to wear those things in the first place.

    Let's look at the event for what it was. It was a hockey game. Very innocent. Does hockey have anything to do with racism? Overall no, however, the sport has been unjustly associated with it every since this incident that occurred just last year:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1499508.html




    Some people are associating the sport with racism (specifically towards integration). Now pairing racism with the sport is not really a fair thing to do, but it is what it is. Now I've never been to North Dakota, but if I had gone to the high school game, and I had seen those kids, I would have had remembered the Joel Ward incident. Immediately I would feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed. I would feel as if deep down, those same people that were sitting besides me in the bleachers wished that I never came to that game.

    Such an experience would have given me a bad impression on Hockey and on North Dakota


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  9. #9

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Haven't we covered this....like a lot?

    But yeah I'm kind of agreeing with everything here.

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by valiantt View Post
    Here's a hypothetical:

    If I am going down an alley and suddenly a group of african american (and/or) latino folks appear at the other side, would it be racist of me if I turned around and went back the other way?

    Just to be fair, let us say they were a bit rough around the edges in appearance
    If you're being confronted by a scary looking gang in a sketchy alley it's not really the time and place where you ask yourself is it racist to run away from this lol

    Why i wonder if this assbeating i just took makes me a racist

  11. #11

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Also, 90% of the time, "I'm not racist but..." is usually followed by something racist.

    There's also the idea of institutionalized racism and how it intersects with things like class. Like, when people say a certain area of town is "ghetto," what do they mean by that? They don't feel comfortable there? Why? Is it racist? Classist? Both? Why do people stereotype all people from a certain area as "thugs" and such?

    Quote Originally Posted by CCC View Post
    If your argument is that words are words and clothing is clothing and we have the power to change what they mean, well, that's lovely, but it's not a decision that an individual or a powerful organization or the government can make. You can't say, "Hey these terrible things only have negative power because we believe they do, so let's not!" and have society respond to you "Well sure thing! That's sounds like a good idea." Such changes, if they are to ever occur, will only happen naturally, over time, through the evolution of our culture and society. Not because you want them to (hell, I want them to, too). Same thing applies to the word "faggot," in my opinion. Maybe you don't want it to be a pejorative for gay people, but in the meantime, it is.

    I think we agree overall. I just disagree on this [semantic?] point you're making. Where I disagree with Louis CK, despite the fact that I appreciate most of his work, is the point in the third paragraph, above. But he's a comic. He gets away with stuff because that's his job.
    I'll agree with CCC here and expand a bit. Maybe the N-word is just the N-word to some, but for the time being, it evokes terrible things and with good reason. Same with other slurs. I don't like it when people go "hey, it's just a word," especially when I get the feeling the person saying that hasn't been at the receiving end of words like "gook" (to use an example of what happened to me the other day; and words like "cracker" or "honky" really don't have the same force behind them as other slurs). When someone yells a slur at you, they're not just attacking you. They're attacking you, your family, your community, and saying "you're not worth my fucking time, all you [preferred slur] are the fucking same." I mean, you have every right to say what you want and the other person has every right to call you on your bullshit.

    So those kids that dressed up in KKK outfits for a joke? Being intentionally racist, no. Perpetuating a racist framework, oh yeah, and an argument can be made that's almost as bad, as the end result is the same. Either way, they're definitely guilty of idiocy.

    Also, I'm reading over the random news thread (been absent from AP for a while), and as a Buddhist, yeah, I'm going to avoid displaying the swastika around Jews in the West, it's common decency.
    Quote Originally Posted by CCC
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by valiantt View Post
    Here's a hypothetical:

    If I am going down an alley and suddenly a group of african american (and/or) latino folks appear at the other side, would it be racist of me if I turned around and went back the other way?

    Just to be fair, let us say they were a bit rough around the edges in appearance
    Freaky gangs are freaky gangs, in Cyprus I heard a bunch of basically Puerto Rican looking people complaining about Bulgarian EU migrants comitting petty crime like that, and Bulgarians are p much white people so you know, ruffians are ruffians.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autumncomet View Post
    Also, 90% of the time, "I'm not racist but..." is usually followed by something racist.

    There's also the idea of institutionalized racism and how it intersects with things like class. Like, when people say a certain area of town is "ghetto," what do they mean by that? They don't feel comfortable there? Why? Is it racist? Classist? Both? Why do people stereotype all people from a certain area as "thugs" and such?

    It also depends on where you live. My friend was ranting about the hispanics that live in some parts of Eastern Washington. They brought a gang and drug influence to the area.

    I live in Western Washington and there's a few ghetto areas that are mostly white and meth neighborhoods. I don't think race is always a factor in these cases. It's more classist I think.

    I know that for myself I don't associate with people that dress like thugs in any race, I find that style regardless of income to look stupid. So I guess that's a fashion preference problem. Cause if they suited up like Barney Stinson I wouldn't think twice about em, but I've met people that love guys that dress like thugs. I will never understand that sort of pride in such sub cultures.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    I mostly try to not let racism get to the forefront of my life and just try to treat everybody the same

    These whole change the system, structures, whatever deals everyone is going for just seem so academical and distant to me.

    Like the whole talk about society as some sort of holy cow were looking at from the outside. If you ask me society is just you and me

  15. #15
    The Antagonist DarkFalcon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    wearing KKK outfit doesn't make you automatically racist. You can wear it, because you are a performer in historical drama or something like that. It depends on context. But if you wear KKK outfit (or something, that purposefully imitates it) to offend someone, that means you are a racist. It doesn't make you racist, since you were racist before you donned the outfit, it's just one of the ways racism shows.


    @Atumncomet: Buddhist swastika is different than nazi swastika, I see no reason why anybody should be offended unless it's nazi swastika or a swastika purposefully resembling nazi. For the comparison: nazis also were using symbol of an eagle, I can't see symbol of an eagle being banned anywhere, or people being offended by it.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkFalcon View Post
    wearing KKK outfit doesn't make you automatically racist. You can wear it, because you are a performer in historical drama or something like that. It depends on context. But if you wear KKK outfit (or something, that purposefully imitates it) to offend someone, that means you are a racist. It doesn't make you racist, since you were racist before you donned the outfit, it's just one of the ways racism shows.


    @Atumncomet: Buddhist swastika is different than nazi swastika, I see no reason why anybody should be offended unless it's nazi swastika or a swastika purposefully resembling nazi. For the comparison: nazis also were using symbol of an eagle, I can't see symbol of an eagle being banned anywhere, or people being offended by it.
    The Eagles was a general German symbol though, whereas the Nazi swastika was specifically the Nazi party. And so specifically their regime.

    I think a better gray area comparison is the Confederate American flag in terms of hard to tell motives (not that I wanna know anyone too well who flies that thing lol, but that only MIGHT be because of racism).
    Last edited by Monkey King; February 27th, 2013 at 03:54 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    I associate the eagle more with Romans or Russians than with Nazi Germany

  18. #18

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfwoof View Post
    I associate the eagle more with Romans or Russians than with Nazi Germany
    I think about 50% of Europe has eagles in their symbology lol. Egypt too.
    Hell the US has an eagle for our national animal even.

    eagles r popular

  19. #19
    The Antagonist DarkFalcon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey King View Post
    The Eagles was a general German symbol though, whereas the Nazi swastika was specifically the Nazi party. And so specifically their regime.

    I think a better gray area comparison is the Confederate American flag in terms of hard to tell motives (not that I wanna know anyone too well who flies that thing lol, but that only MIGHT be because of racism).
    yes, but that's nazi swastika, other swastikas shouldn't be associated with it in similar manner as other eagles are not associated with nazis
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Racism: What Defines It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey King View Post
    I think about 50% of Europe has eagles in their symbology lol. Egypt too.
    Hell the US has an eagle for our national animal even.

    eagles r popular
    Guess the other half had crosses

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