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Racism false positives

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Hydra009:
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), 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.

Cassia:
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.

Hydra009:

--- Quote from: 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
--- End quote ---
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 (the single worst event of racial violence in the US) and the destruction of the 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.

Mike Cl:
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..................

GSOgymrat:

--- Quote from: Hydra009 on May 12, 2021, 08:32:06 PM ---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.

--- End quote ---

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.

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