To feel totally ignorant about racism

(348 Posts)
IcingandSlicing Mon 02-May-16 09:24:47

In that topic the other day I've learned that I am totally ignorant about racism. I had no idea that comments about hair for example that could be totally not ill meant could strike such a deep chord among other people
Or is it the comment itself or the way it was made - by the tone of voice etc nonverbal information you get from people - that makes it racist?
Or just some comments people make regarding kids like cheeky monkey for epinstance (there are tees with this) could be seen as racist?
I'm at a lost to be honest.
I've probably offended many people without even knowing about it.
I'd assume that in 2016 people would feel equal no matter how they look and not take offense from random comments.
Aibu to think that I'd better keep away from black people in case I'd say something that would offend them? (I mean I can say whatever negative thing I want about blond haired people, red haired people, black haired people, people who colour their hair, people who don't colour their hair, people who have thin hair, people who have thick hair, etc, but I feel like with black people it's likely to strike a deeper chord than ever intended and I am ignorant enough not to understand the history behid that makes it worse.)
And sorry about that I really don't mean to offend. Just to understand. flowers

Euphemia Mon 02-May-16 09:27:25

What type of negative thing do you say to/about people?

DoreenLethal Mon 02-May-16 09:28:46

I don't understand what you don't understand.

Just be a nice person and stop insulting people. Hope that helps.

IcingandSlicing Mon 02-May-16 09:29:17

I mean people may try to offend you but what if you don't take the offense? You're not giving them the pleasure of offending. Is that possible?

WakeUpFast Mon 02-May-16 09:31:03

Well firstly, stop saying negative things about people's hair colour. Nobody appreciates negative comments. confused

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 02-May-16 09:31:25

confused

Look if you think something you've said was a bit racist, it probably was.

Generally speaking it is best to avoid making comments about a strangers personal appearance regardless of their skin colour.

IcingandSlicing Mon 02-May-16 09:31:37

Oh sorry I think I don't offend people, but reading that topic made me question myself. Maybe some minor (as I feel it) remarks that people make are actually making other people feel really bad.

Euphemia Mon 02-May-16 09:32:25

My boss asked recently "Do you like your hair that colour?" hmm I could have taken offence, but instead I laughed and said "Well I pay a lot of money to have it this colour, so yes!"

I don't think she was trying to offend me. Not many people intend offence, do they?

I'm confused by this thread! confused grin

WellieWanger Mon 02-May-16 09:33:28

Are you for real?hmm

IcingandSlicing Mon 02-May-16 09:33:42

You mean I should self-censure myself about what I say or think?

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 02-May-16 09:34:35

Yes, because you're not 5 years old.

NeedAGrip Mon 02-May-16 09:34:35

I think, as a general rule, it's best to try and avoid making negative remarks about people's appearance. No one likes it.

Is this something you do a lot? confused

Euphemia Mon 02-May-16 09:35:05

Of course! Surely you don't just say whatever pops into your head?

NeedAGrip Mon 02-May-16 09:36:39

You mean I should self-censure myself about what I say or think?

I definitely think that an adult should self-censure what they say.

TheSolitaryBoojum Mon 02-May-16 09:36:54

I understand, and it's something we see on here a lot in different forms. Not just things that are taken as racist or sexist, but a lot of posters saying 'I never knew that x was offensive or could be taken in the wrong way'
Some are goadyfuckers, but many posters only have their own experiences and history to work from, and so may upset or offend someone else with what they thought was an innocuous comment.
The answer isn't to withdraw, it's to be open to criticism and listening to the reasons your comment was taken badly. Which is hard, because you often feel blamed for something you didn't intend to be upsetting.
I was at a racial/bilingual awareness training session in the mid-80s and the leader of the sessions started by telling us that we were all racists. When she unpicked the reasoning behind that bald statement that offended many there, it made sense.
Listening and learning and changing if necessary is essential.

wizzywig Mon 02-May-16 09:36:57

Do you mean you feel you can no longer say to a black/afro carribean/ person of colour "ooh love your hair" or "how long does it take to do your hair?" But that you could say to any other person the same questions? I do that sometimes because i genuinly didnt realise that some hair styles take hours to do but once its done, they dont need to style it for a week. Thats because i wash my hair everyday

tethersend Mon 02-May-16 09:37:28

I think you need to get away from the idea that intention has anything to do with whether or not something is racist or not.

Even the most innocent child can repeat racist comments- although they bear absolutely no malice, the comments are still racist.

As for not taking offence, that doesn't mean comments aren't racist. On every golliwog thread ever, someone always cites an example of a black friend who isn't offended by them, as if that negates the entire social and historical context.

If you don't know enough about history, read up on it. I mean that genuinely.

BIWI Mon 02-May-16 09:37:59

I can say whatever negative thing I want about blond haired people, red haired people, black haired people, people who colour their hair, people who don't colour their hair, people who have thin hair, people who have thick hair, etc,

Why? Why do you think it's acceptable to say negative things about other people? Seems to me you have a bigger problem than worrying about being racist.

IcingandSlicing Mon 02-May-16 09:38:32

Yes, that's what I do all day, go out and about and offend people grin

WellieWanger Mon 02-May-16 09:39:09

General rule of thumb, don't make personal comments to people. If you aren't sure, keep your mouth zipped. Of course you should not avoid contact with 'black people'. Then you would look like a massive racist. Which is what you are not wanting to do. Really confused about this post.

BadDoGooder Mon 02-May-16 09:39:17

Of course you should self censor! confused
Or are you one of those people who thinks they can be rude to people?

This was the thing that got me....

I mean I can say whatever negative thing I want about blond haired people, red haired people, black haired people, people who colour their hair, people who don't colour their hair, people who have thin hair, people who have thick hair, etc

No, no you can't say whatever you want about people.
There's your problem, you are just rude and judgy.....

TheSolitaryBoojum Mon 02-May-16 09:40:28

So can you give some examples of things you've done and said that make you feel avoiding entire swathes of the population is the answer?

RosieandJim89 Mon 02-May-16 09:41:02

OP do you mean that you may have made a comment about someone's hair such as "oh it's so frizzy" not taking into account that their race could make such a comment more offensive than for example a women who has simply been caught in the humidity? I personally feel that is not racist but if someone takes offence to it then yes they could see it that way.

TheSolitaryBoojum Mon 02-May-16 09:41:54

I missed the negative comments bit when I read the OP. blush
To which the simple answer is 'Stop being nasty to others'

BadDoGooder Mon 02-May-16 09:41:56

Oh and avoiding all black people because you think you might "say the wrong thing" does kinda make you seem racist.

I have a massive big mouth, and I manage to spend time with people of all races/creeds without ever offending them, so you need to take a look at yourself.

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