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to be a bit irritated by this racism thing?

(38 Posts)
extremepie Sat 02-Jul-11 12:02:28

By this I do not mean racism itself (which is, or course, wrong), its people's perceptions of what constitutes 'being racist'.

Unless I'm mistaken, I was under the impression that racism is discriminating against someone on the basis of their race, that is, the colour of their skin.

It has nothing to do with what country you come from or what religion you are, it is about what colour you appear on the outside!

Sorry, it's just been irritating me because it seems that anyone who comments on religion or immigration in a negative way is accused of being racist and they are not! Coming from a particular country does not automatically make someone a certain colour and neither does belonging to a particular religion and it annoys me when people make these assumptions!

Rant over, thank you.

I say this as a white, blue eyed, blonde (very scandinavian looking), south african who suffered a lot of bullying from kids at school because I was from another country, just in case anyone was wondering :D

M0naLisa Sat 02-Jul-11 12:06:29

I agree. Nothing more to add other than 'i agree' smile

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 02-Jul-11 12:09:22

Yes. I think people say 'racist' when they actually mean 'xenophobic'

shudabinme Sat 02-Jul-11 12:09:31

Often wondered if 'they' should provide a colour chart as to what is ok and what isn't (speaking as someone with dark hair, brown eyes whose skin goes from white to mahogany depending on the weather, with a blue eyed blonde haired sister)

motherinferior Sat 02-Jul-11 12:09:35

Ahem - race is not simply an equation with skin colour. Racism targets people with black or brown skins but not everyone of Asian/African origin has black or brown skin.

I say this as a white, green-eyed, red-haired (very Scandinavian looking) woman with one Indian and one white parent.

animula Sat 02-Jul-11 12:10:18

I think "racism" extends to more than simply skin colour. Racism based on skin colour is a sub-set, and has a name: "chromatic racism".

I'm not really up to date on current thinking on racism but I did read a trilogy of books, published by the Open University Press, about ten years ago which were really enlightening. If you goggle "racism", "education" and "open university press" I think they'd come up.

One of the points they made was that racism is mobile, not static, and changes over time. Consequently, definitions of racism, along with strategies for anti-racism, need to be flexible and open to re-interrogation.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 02-Jul-11 12:11:42

sorry. pressed post too early.

Theophobia is hatred of religion. But I think all religion. I don't know what the word is for hated of any religion but yours. Bigotry is the one size fits all word I suppose.

mayorquimby Sat 02-Jul-11 12:36:00

It's not something I'd get too worked up about because the issues do quite blend together. So what is largely xenophobia can also have elements of racism involved. Ditto theophobia because quite often someones religion is linked to their race or origin.

mayorquimby Sat 02-Jul-11 12:37:12

Oh right, didn't know that about theophobia, thought it was singularly based as well. Would sectarianism be the correct term then or is that only for catholic v protestant? Or as you say much easier to just label it all as bigotry.

worraliberty Sat 02-Jul-11 12:38:14

Unless I'm mistaken, I was under the impression that racism is discriminating against someone on the basis of their race, that is, the colour of their skin

No, I think that's called being 'colour prejudiced'....not racist?

InTheNightKitchen Sat 02-Jul-11 12:49:01

Criticising people for their country of origin or religion is not racism.

But the people criticising others for their foreign nationality or religion that you refer to ARE IN FACT RACIST, so YABU.

somethingwitty82 Sat 02-Jul-11 13:49:30

obviously the racism has outlived its usefulness.

As Scottish travelers are now defined as a separate race to other Scots.

And slagging a religion is not racist since 'any sincere belief' is now a religion so climate change and thinking the BBC should be filled with lefty waffle has also granted religious protection through the court. It is a system of irrational belief system even if face of evidence to the contrary: so i guess racism is a religion hmm

extremepie Sat 02-Jul-11 14:32:55

This is the definition I found of racism which seems mostly accepted.

-racism is a belief or ideology that all members of each racial group possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, in particular to distinguish it as being either superior or inferior to another racial group or racial groups-

While the UN does also include nationality in this, although there is no reference made to religion at all.

I was quite badly bullied in school after I did a show and tell and brought in an african drum from my home. After the kids found out I was from Africa it started. They used the whole 'why don't you go back where you come from' line, plus things like 'oh, I bet you were raised by elephants' and 'do they even have cars where you come from', and so on. There were many white perpetrators (mostly boys, who were physical too) but the worst one was the only black boy in the class, who picked on me because he was English and proud. No one ever stopped them or commented that they were being racist to me.

I never considered myself a victim of racism because I was always under the impression it was about colour (race/ethnic origin, whatever you want to call it!) and in my case it was never about colour it was about country. Was I wrong?

My main point is that sometimes people make wrong assumptions - for example making racist comments about muslims, when muslims come in all colours, from all countries. Or, for example people making negative comments about South Africans in front of me, wrongly assuming that I am English and therefore won't mind or might even agree with what they say.

I feel that these, while are still unacceptable, are not true examples of racism, I think that term is thrown around all over the place these days unnecessarily. Sometimes it seems like you can't say anything without being accused of it!

LDNmummy Sat 02-Jul-11 15:08:29

I agree with motherinferior and animula. I experienced the same things as you in school by the sounds of it extremepie, it was very scarring sadly.

I understand where you are coming from but essentially it is racism. I am also a 'white African' though I have 'black African' heritage too.

It is all essentially racism, as animula said, racism is mobile not static.

MillyR Sat 02-Jul-11 15:13:49

I don't think racism does just mean skin pigmentation, as there really isn't any such thing as race when it comes to humans. Racism refers to prejudice and discrimination based on physical characteristics that are connected to a geographical location, nationality and ethnicity. That is generally how it is looked at when being dealt with both nationally and internationally.

Discrimination based on religion and belief is separate to racism, which is why we have separate laws to deal with it.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 02-Jul-11 15:44:35

I've always broken it down to - if your prejudice is skin colour that is different from yours, then you are racist

If your prejudice is people who are from a different country from you, regardless of colour, you are xenophobic

For example, if you are british and hate the french, that's xenophobic rather than racist.

If you are, say, british and your skin is white and you hate people who have skin that is not white and you don't care whether they are british or not, you are racist.

If you are british and your prejudice is people from other countries whose skin is not white then you are racist and xenophobic

Of course, that is all very complicated and it is far better, imo, to do away with it all and file them all under the heading 'Twat'.

extremepie Sat 02-Jul-11 16:10:58

Very true!

AitchGee Sat 02-Jul-11 16:18:00

So my dislike for anything Muslim is not "Racist"? That's comforting

tethersend Sat 02-Jul-11 16:22:31

From Wiki:

While biological scientists sometimes use the concept of race to make practical distinctions among fuzzy sets of traits, others in the scientific community suggest that the idea of race is often used by the general public in a naive or simplistic way. Among humans, race has no taxonomic significance; all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens. Regardless of the extent to which race exists, the word "race" is problematic and may carry negative connotations. Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies that define essential types of individuals based on perceived sets of traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism obsolete, and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits.
As people define and put about different conceptions of race, they actively create contrasting social realities through which racial categorization is achieved in varied ways. In this sense, races are said to be social constructs. These constructs can develop within various legal, economic, and sociopolitical contexts, and at times may be the effect, rather than the cause, of major social situations.

OP, would you consider the holocaust and other incidences of ethnic cleansing racist acts?

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 02-Jul-11 16:22:43

Well, muslims are not a race. Islam is a faith, You can be black and muslim, white and muslim, asian and muslim. You can be british and muslim, you can be french and muslim, you can be pakistani and muslim. So that particular form of vile bigotry has another name, imo.

Of course, if someone assumed that muslims must be <insert colour> or was a bigoted twat against people they thought must be muslim based on their skin colour, then that would make them also racist.

onagar Sat 02-Jul-11 16:49:47

The important difference is that if you claim you don't like black people because they are 'dishonest/lazy/whatever' you are attaching a characteristic to their skin color that has no basis in fact.

If you oppose Islam because it encourages the mistreatment of women or the catholic church because it encourages homophobia those are real characteristics of those religions which you are perfectly entitled to have an opinion about.

You might also oppose capitalism or communism on the same basis. For that matter you wouldn't generally say that voting Tory was prejudice against Labour.

This business about redefining racism is people taking advantage. It's about saying "I don't think people should be allowed to disagree with me - there ought to be a law"

AitchGee Sat 02-Jul-11 18:55:44

"Well, muslims are not a race. Islam is a faith, You can be black and muslim, white and muslim, asian and muslim. You can be british and muslim, you can be french and muslim, you can be pakistani and muslim. "

Very true, that's why is so difficult to protect our Western humanitarianism and common-sense liberalism. I woke up and smelt the coffee, time for you.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 02-Jul-11 19:01:37

Oh? 'Our' what now?

What colour am I?
What faith am I?
What country am I in?

Tchootnika Sat 02-Jul-11 19:24:31

ISWYM, OP, but you're being a bit simplistic.
1. As has been pointed out, 'race' and skin colour don't go hand in hand.
2. Yes, there is generally a difference between race and religion, but consider e.g. anti-Semitic comments: might be ostensibly about religion, but in legal terms, at least, also likely to be racist.
3. In recent years there's been legislation to atttempt to address apparent criticism of religious groups that has been widely understood to be thinly veiled racism - most notably 'Islamophobia'.

Obv. culture and 'race' (which is arguably in itself a bit of a red herring, since most of us are quite mixed, whether we realise it or not) are sometimes inextricably linked, so apparent criticism of one will often be accompanied by assumptions about the other.

Hope that makes some sense.

kaid100 Sat 02-Jul-11 19:30:30

I think pleasantness and politeness is something we should extend to all people whatever their background or attributes. Only concentrating on single traits sometimes makes us forget that there's no reason not be nice anyway.

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