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News & General Discussion => General Discussion => Topic started by: Hydra009 on May 12, 2021, 08:32:06 PM

Title: Racism false positives
Post by: Hydra009 on May 12, 2021, 08:32:06 PM
This is kind of a weird topic, so buckle up.

I was watching a TV show and a character had a German flag hanging up in his dorm room.  Didn't think anything of it.  Naturally, there's a thread about this, with some people assuming that he's some sort of stealth racist.  White character + german flag, clearly a racist lol.  Maybe he has German relatives or German ancestry?  Maybe he visited Germany and wanted a keepsake?  Maybe he just really likes Germany?  Who knows.  The point is, jumping to conclusions, especially about such a very serious thing as racism is not a good thing.

There was a little tempest-in-a-teacup about someone flying the Norway flag because it was incorrectly assumed to be the Confederate flag.  And there was a little thing recently about someone offended by the name of the country Montenegro (literally, "Black Mountain").  Hopefully, that reaction was just an aberration, but unfortunately, I've noticed a lot of hair-trigger reactions in that vein.

Personally, I have to go to pains sometimes to dig myself out of the automatic racism hole due to my interests.  I really like metal music (statistically, the whitest music there is), european history (apparently, that's super popular among alt-Right types), Norse mythology/neopaganism (which unfortunately has a white supremacist faction (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathenry_(new_religious_movement)#Racial_issues)), science fiction (historically, extremely white but has opened up somewhat over the years)  I've even jokingly claimed to support fictional scifi empires with a history of xenophobia (towards aliens, not humans).  Oh, by the way, big Lovecraft fan.  These are not red flags for racism, but I can definitely see someone considering them to be a whole lot of yellow flags.

I definitely can see how someone could get the wrong impression.  In my defense, I also like some non-metal music, non-european history, don't condone Lovecraft's bad-even-for-the-time racism, and I like all sorts of "pagan" religions, including those in the Middle East and Asia.  And if I were a neopagan, it would surely be the non-racist variety.  I'm not with those racist guys.

Even so, I feel like I have to walk on eggshells about this stuff and actively combat any sort of false impression before it blossoms.  And it even seeps into fiction.  Are enough of my characters people of color?  Is anything problematic (feeds into a racial stereotype)?  Left unchecked, I can get neurotic about it and over-scrutinize fiction for racial messaging that was almost certainly never the intent.

Do any of you guys struggle with giving off a vibe that could be misinterpreted as worse than it actually is?  Is there any way to "prove" you aren't a racist?  Because it seems like those sorts of accusations are inherently difficult to defend against.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Cassia on May 12, 2021, 09:04:24 PM
It is good you still care. I am at a strange convergence when just this past year I am finally 'woke' to the extent of racism in the US because of BLM....just as I started not giving damn about what almost everybody thinks of me after seeing how they reacted during the election and pandemic.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Hydra009 on May 12, 2021, 09:23:02 PM
It is good you still care. I am at a strange convergence when just this past year I am finally 'woke' to the extent of racism in the US because of BLM
Same.  I mean, I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was *that* bad.

In addition to reading the dreadful history of policing black communities (same old story, Ricks killing Mortys), I read about the Tulsa massacre (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_massacre) (the single worst event of racial violence in the US) and the destruction of the Negro Fort (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negro_Fort) (US forces under Andrew Jackson bombarded the fort and a shot ignited its magazine, instantly killing mostly freemen and escaped slaves), neither incident made it to my high school curriculum.  Definitely paints things in a different light.  Not just prejudice and discrimination, but deliberate mass slaughter.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Mike Cl on May 12, 2021, 09:34:28 PM
Yeah, Hydra, I'm more aware of racist 'appearance' than ever.  And like Cassia, the orange monster's reign made me much more aware of the systematic extent of racism--much, much more than I had thought.  At this stage of my life I simply do not go out much.  And I don't engage in social media very much.  But I'm still aware on a much higher plane, of what I say and how I say it.  As a country, we have a long, long way to go..................
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: GSOgymrat on May 13, 2021, 01:34:13 AM
Do any of you guys struggle with giving off a vibe that could be misinterpreted as worse than it actually is?  Is there any way to "prove" you aren't a racist?  Because it seems like those sorts of accusations are inherently difficult to defend against.

I am a work in progress when it comes to cultural diversity and racism and if someone said I exhibited racist attitudes or behaviors I would seriously consider that feedback. I try to culturally sensitive, listen, educate myself, and attempt to see things from the other person's perspective but I don't always succeed. Sometimes I do understand and simply disagree.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Hydra009 on May 13, 2021, 02:24:48 AM
I am a work in progress when it comes to cultural diversity and racism and if someone said I exhibited racist attitudes or behaviors I would seriously consider that feedback.
Normally, I would, but this guy wasn't particularly credible.  It was a coworker who was rude to customers - I saw that firsthand - and then if they were rude back, he said it was due to racism.  This went on for quite a while before it stopped being credible.  I found out later that I was suspected of being a racist because I had befriended a white coworker.  (I had befriended other coworkers as well, a fairly diverse group, but I doubt he knew that)  Quite the stretch, but apparently this was a very stretchy guy.  Not sure what I could have possibly done to avoid that accusation.  Sometimes, people have preset conclusions and afterwards try to justify them, which is ironic because that's how racism works.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Hydra009 on May 13, 2021, 02:58:16 AM
Honestly, I kinda resent living in a society with ongoing racial tensions and being a party - no matter how peripheral - to these sorts of squabbles.   I would love nothing more than to go into cryosleep and wake up to a futuristic Star Trek-like society where skin color is treated like eye color.  Can you imagine being upset about someone's eye color?

Maybe if humanity encountered alien monsters, we'd finally unite against a common threat and this measles of the mind would fall by the wayside.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: GSOgymrat on May 13, 2021, 06:46:38 AM
Honestly, I kinda resent living in a society with ongoing racial tensions and being a party - no matter how peripheral - to these sorts of squabbles.   I would love nothing more than to go into cryosleep and wake up to a futuristic Star Trek-like society where skin color is treated like eye color.  Can you imagine being upset about someone's eye color?

I agree, however some people see White people calling for a colorblind society as a means of avoiding the discussion of racism and discrimination and as a way to undermine the hardships of minority groups, as it is often used to argue that the United States is a meritocracy, in which people succeed only because they work hard and not because of their privilege. In Star Trek, some would argue, a colorblind society is achievable because no one has to work.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: aitm on May 13, 2021, 08:29:29 AM
I would think the ultimate goal would indeed be for everyone to be “colorblind”.  The obvious is not so much that people of color dislike hearing someone saying “I don’t see color”, because I truly believe that they want that as well, but that so...so many whites firmly believe racism is over and people of color need to be reminded of that. They have no reason to learn about “the past” because to them it legitimizes the claims of systemic racism. Pure denial on the part of those who claim they are not racist while refusing to admit, even to themselves how racist they really are.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Cassia on May 13, 2021, 09:42:47 AM
Obviously, skin color is no measure of a person. I do find the world has moved on without me sometimes. A glass of wine or some sippin' whisky and, yeah my filter lets go a bit. I blurted to someone "wow, you got fat" and I was called a 'concentration camp victim' in return, LOL.

Saying anything negative could get one in trouble nowadays. Even at work, it was becoming more difficult to criticize a bad design without getting labeled as a 'glass half empty' type. My first electronic designs were attacked 'live' on overhead projectors in public meetings by the senior engineers. Talk about a learning experience for all. Now it is all done with online comments and is kind of secretive to avoid bad feelings.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Hydra009 on May 13, 2021, 10:00:57 AM
I agree, however some people see White people calling for a colorblind society as a means of avoiding the discussion of racism and discrimination and as a way to undermine the hardships of minority groups,
Imo, it should absolutely be addressed and then put behind us.  Before 2016 I would've said that people with seriously racist views are a tiny minority - predominately older generations and a few holdouts who can't get with the program of multiethnic societies/countries.  Most people are fine and shouldn't be made to feel guilty for views they don't hold or transgressions they never participated in.  Nowadays, I'm not so sure that argument is watertight.

Quote
as it is often used to argue that the United States is a meritocracy, in which people succeed only because they work hard and not because of their privilege.
I wish it was a meritocracy.  It's not, by any stretch of the imagination.  And imo, the most powerful form of privilege is wealth.  Wealth blows any other considerations out of the water and it's the sole difference between a lunatic raving in the streets and a "smart businessman" President.

People wonder why Congress doesn't support what they support.  The answer is simple: wealth.  By and large, people in that tax bracket have different priorities than people in your tax bracket.  Change that, and you instantly made progress on a thousand fronts on issues that people actually care about, including racial justice.

Quote
In Star Trek, some would argue, a colorblind society is achievable because no one has to work.
That's the beauty of it.  Everyone is free - unshackled from the need to sell their time for money to survive, free to pursue their own interests.  So long as society needs mass labor, it'll want the cheapest possible mass labor, and thus create an exploited underclass, often along racial lines.  Imho, political/economic injustice is the main driver of racial injustice.  Gene Roddenberry nailed that on the head.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Hijiri Byakuren on May 15, 2021, 03:02:55 PM
I would think the ultimate goal would indeed be for everyone to be “colorblind”.
Unfortunately we're way past the point where "colorblind" is a viable option. Racists have succeeded in forcing people of color into forming sub-cultures that are as much a part of their identity as any other culture. To ignore that now is just a transition from racism to xenophobia, essentially. And I hope it's obvious why you can't solve a problem by trading it for another.

The most viable solution right now is to just be conscious of race issues and try to act appropriately on a case-by-case basis.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Jason Harvestdancer on May 20, 2021, 08:58:08 PM
There is a certain woke faction that claims everyone is racist, and failing to admit your internal racism is proof that you are racist.  By their logic, it is impossible to have a false positive.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Mermaid on May 22, 2021, 02:07:26 PM
There is a certain woke faction that claims everyone is racist, and failing to admit your internal racism is proof that you are racist.  By their logic, it is impossible to have a false positive.
Way to completely miss the point.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Mermaid on May 22, 2021, 02:07:55 PM
Unfortunately we're way past the point where "colorblind" is a viable option. Racists have succeeded in forcing people of color into forming sub-cultures that are as much a part of their identity as any other culture. To ignore that now is just a transition from racism to xenophobia, essentially. And I hope it's obvious why you can't solve a problem by trading it for another.

The most viable solution right now is to just be conscious of race issues and try to act appropriately on a case-by-case basis.
Seconded.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: aitm on May 22, 2021, 04:01:09 PM
Unfortunately we're way past the point where "colorblind" is a viable option.


Maybe, I think we simply haven’t gotten to that point. Eventually humanity will, perhaps. Either we will end up in the real “melting pot” or we will die off in some incredibly stupid way.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Draconic Aiur on May 22, 2021, 06:11:27 PM
As a person who tries to be a good person and believe all individuals are equal while also understanding systematic racism is a problem. This whole "woke" thing is also full of hate and is depressing. To want to strip yourself of a thing you like because it's white is wrong on so many levels because it not only strips you of your identity, it also strips you of your individual independence. I am white, and I am emotionally concerned with all the hate against me when I think I'm on the same consensus as those who want equality and free from oppression. Yet I'm also on the side that seems to hate my ethnical background because of people of the past and present who are deemed "racist" and while I try not to be "racist" it seems as though that same party will dub me racist no matter what, and I feel hated and I feel scared  because the war cries are as loud and are deemed "justifiable". While I also see the nightmare tragedies of the past, does that justify hating the future white children because of it? When I was a kid I saw that hate directed at me and I felt ashamed despite never having done anything "racist"  because my parents are hippies and taught me better. At the same time I feel angered by all the hate directed at me still and that is a problem we need to face in the near future.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Mike Cl on May 22, 2021, 07:29:28 PM
As a person who tries to be a good person and believe all individuals are equal while also understanding systematic racism is a problem. This whole "woke" thing is also full of hate and is depressing. To want to strip yourself of a thing you like because it's white is wrong on so many levels because it not only strips you of your identity, it also strips you of your individual independence. I am white, and I am emotionally concerned with all the hate against me when I think I'm on the same consensus as those who want equality and free from oppression. Yet I'm also on the side that seems to hate my ethnical background because of people of the past and present who are deemed "racist" and while I try not to be "racist" it seems as though that same party will dub me racist no matter what, and I feel hated and I feel scared  because the war cries are as loud and are deemed "justifiable". While I also see the nightmare tragedies of the past, does that justify hating the future white children because of it? When I was a kid I saw that hate directed at me and I felt ashamed despite never having done anything "racist"  because my parents are hippies and taught me better. At the same time I feel angered by all the hate directed at me still and that is a problem we need to face in the near future.
Kind of along these same lines Draconic.  I grew up white and in a white society; I was not aware of 'races' per se (at least, not much).  That was not my 'fault' in that I was born into it.  I lived in Eastern Oregon in the small town of Hermiston (famous for it's melons) and there was not a 'colored' (meaning no Latins, blacks (Negro then), Asians or anything other than white in town.  Same for the school, of course.  I went into the 5th grade; my dad was then sent to Alabama (dept. of the Army civ).  My world changed.  I became aware of prejudice for the first time, directed toward me.  As it turned out I was a Yankee in the Heart of Dixie--which was all new to me.  I also became aware of the separate world of the 'colored's'.  Blacks (as I said Negro then) had their own schools, stores, churches and sections of towns--and more.  As the Supreme Court specified, separate but equal taken to the extreme illogical conclusion that is the hallmark of the South.  I saw my first 'colored' signs over bathrooms and drinking fountains and other places.  I lived in a military housing project next to the Supply Depot Army Fort; it was federal, so all races were working there and the blacks were allowed to live in the same housing project everybody else was.  So, I could play with them, but not go to school with them.  This young white boy was seeing another side to our society; I was pretty dumbfounded.  At least my parents never used the 'n' word nor spoke about any person of color because of that color.  So, I was 10/11 when I began learning about what our society was actually about. 

I have been in situations in my life where I was subjected to prejudice because of my color; that did not make me feel all that good, and I was angered at times.  Yet, I realized from my life experiences that what I had suffered was a 'walk in the park' compared to what non-whites had to endure on a daily basis.  There are those who are not white who want me to feel bad about my ethnic background (mostly Swedish and Irish) but I had no control over that.  I was simply born as I was born.  Yet I do understand why non-whites feel hatred and fear.  But hating me for being white or anybody else for being white is just as wrong as hating for the opposite reason.  Hate begets hate.  I should be judged by what I have done and am doing now; not for what I was born into. 

But our (the USA) society is clearly centered around and caters to, white society; especially centered around old white men.  That has to change.  Hate won't change it for the good.  But respect for a person as a person will.  As a white centered society, we need to have the blindfold ripped off so that we can see things as they really are, and not what we hope them to be.  This is what the orange monster did for me.  I was sure our society was on the way to becoming equal for all.  What a fucking fool I was!!

So, Draconic, I understand how you feel.  But I also can understand why blacks (or Asian or Latin) would look at our society in general, and even me, without knowing me, with hate and fear.  There are good people in all sections of our society and conversely, bad people, too.  I hope the good in all of us prevails; but I really am in fear for the future of this country.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Cassia on May 23, 2021, 08:12:15 AM
I was raised to be covertly racist via certain family, teachers, coworkers and friends.  For example my impulse reaction to encountering a black male depends on context and could still be significantly different than my reaction to a white person.

I don't think these impulses originate at a readily cognitive area (for any race.) Many of us will have to work hard to fix this, no matter our race.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Mermaid on May 23, 2021, 12:02:52 PM
As a person who tries to be a good person and believe all individuals are equal while also understanding systematic racism is a problem. This whole "woke" thing is also full of hate and is depressing. To want to strip yourself of a thing you like because it's white is wrong on so many levels because it not only strips you of your identity, it also strips you of your individual independence. I am white, and I am emotionally concerned with all the hate against me when I think I'm on the same consensus as those who want equality and free from oppression. Yet I'm also on the side that seems to hate my ethnical background because of people of the past and present who are deemed "racist" and while I try not to be "racist" it seems as though that same party will dub me racist no matter what, and I feel hated and I feel scared  because the war cries are as loud and are deemed "justifiable". While I also see the nightmare tragedies of the past, does that justify hating the future white children because of it? When I was a kid I saw that hate directed at me and I felt ashamed despite never having done anything "racist"  because my parents are hippies and taught me better. At the same time I feel angered by all the hate directed at me still and that is a problem we need to face in the near future.
You must fight the urge to make it about you, because it's not about you at all. It's about others, and really making an effort to understand where they're coming from. That doesn't mean you will be persecuted for being who you are.
Mike, if a person grows up "unaware" of race, that means you lived in a world of privilege. You didn't HAVE to see it.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Mike Cl on May 23, 2021, 12:28:27 PM
Mike, if a person grows up "unaware" of race, that means you lived in a world of privilege. You didn't HAVE to see it.
Yes, in a very real sense, I was privileged.  Not in a monetary sense, for we were barely middle class.  But I was raised in an area until the middle of the 5th grade where race was not an issue for the simple reason there were almost all whites.  I knew of some of the 'colored' peoples (American Indians because of the Pendleton Roundup) but had zero contact with any.  Plus it was in Eastern Oregon, and in those days (50's) there was not the media blitz there is now.  All we had were newspapers and radio.  No TV, and no cable news or anything like it.  So, it was easy to be isolated and to stay that way.  My mid-5th grade move changed all that.  Alabama had obvious racial problems at that time, what with clear divides between whites and non-whites.  The 'colored' and 'white' signs over bathrooms and water fountains and certain stores and understood divides for churches, areas of towns and other meeting and public places.  My social awareness grew from that time forward.

One of the biggest exposures of prejudice (of a racial nature) toward me was while I was a student at Chico St. College (CA).  I dated a Japanese girl for a few weeks; during a holiday break, she went home; when break ended, I had a hard time finding her again.  When I finally did, I was informed that her parents told her not to see me anymore.  They had been in the Internment Camps during WWII and did not want her to date any white guys.  Looking back, I can understand her parent's attitude; but it did hurt a bit at the time.   
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Cassia on May 23, 2021, 01:17:26 PM
We could make a distinction between racism and prejudice. "Isms" are generally 'systems' put into place that are based on ideas. Prejudices are personal beliefs. Racism is practically impossible for a white American to experience. Prejudice against whites could be common however.
Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Draconic Aiur on May 23, 2021, 06:46:46 PM
We could make a distinction between racism and prejudice. "Isms" are generally 'systems' put into place that are based on ideas. Prejudices are personal beliefs. Racism is practically impossible for a white American to experience. Prejudice against whites could be common however.

I disagree. Racism can be felt by everyone. I will defend that to the nail because to simply say "prejudice" pisses me off. I have experienced it first hand as a minority in the Rio Grande Valley where the population is mostly Latino.

Title: Re: Racism false positives
Post by: Cassia on May 23, 2021, 07:03:47 PM
I disagree. Racism can be felt by everyone. I will defend that to the nail because to simply say "prejudice" pisses me off. I have experienced it first hand as a minority in the Rio Grande Valley where the population is mostly Latino.
If there systemic history of oppression of the white race in that area then I would agree. I lived in Miami as a white minority and I did not feel oppressed by society there. In fact, most whites were doing very well.