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To have thought this was racist

(206 Posts)
turnip2012 Sun 18-Nov-12 20:30:45

Ex was dropping off my ds earlier, at which point ex and dp were talking and it became a little heated. Dp kept getting cut off by ex interrupting him, at which point dp said "you're not even listening to me, maybe if you get your bloody afro out your ears you'll hear me better" (ex is part african). Dp is saying he felt ex wasn't listening as was responding with unrelated points. I felt the reference to his afro was racist, AIBU?

turnip2012 Mon 19-Nov-12 02:56:37

Cheeky post from 'DP' here:

Wont address all your points but just wanted to put a word in. I appreciate some of you like to make statements such as 'this shouldn't be going on in front of DS" and "act adult" etc but that is getting a bit off topic, and a little presumptuous. Just for info it wasn't exactly a fully fledged row it probably lasted about two minutes tops of heated debate and DS (DP'sS) was not with us at the time (wouldn't have happened if he was).

I'll stand by the fact that it's not racist for the simple reason that it is not racist. The whole replacing words game doesn't exactly work because the last time I checked sikh's didn't grow their own turbans(even in the context you imply its still not racist) and gingers aren't a race. If he had not been part african I'm sure my sentence would have gone a little something like "...maybe if you got your bloody mop/dreadlocks/frizzy hair/combover/toupee out your ears..." so which ethnic group has a monopoly on each of those?

The misinterpretation and representation of racism, along with the taboo of religion, are two of the most ridiculously blown out of proportion subjects of today. I will not be a part of this (excuse my language) pussyfooting around when dealing with these issues. To make an isolated comment about his hair, which happens to be an afro, being in his ears is in no way racist. It doesn't imply that because he has an afro he can't hear properly and thus as an extension all people with afros have lesser hearing abilities (which even though it sounds like it still does not constitute racism, just ignorant stereotyping). IMO its by trying to avoid the correct word that you create the racism - e.g if you want your coffee without milk guess what that's black! If I had said "...maybe if you got your bloody hair out your ears..." by being less specific coupled with the fact that he is part african with an afro allows scope for the idea that it could have been racially directed.

Sorry for the ridiculously long post, got interrupted a few times having to see to DP'sS and lost my train of thought. I think I got my point across and I hope you can see where I'm coming from... Either way I know there'll be some interesting reading in the morning :p

Thanks for your responses so far!
-Original 'DP'

turnip2012 Mon 19-Nov-12 03:01:05


We must have been writing at the same time but thats exactly the point I was making with my previous post, in an albeit roundabout manner! :D

-Original 'DP'

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 19-Nov-12 03:01:17

Well said smile

LDNmummy Mon 19-Nov-12 03:30:28

Yes and I am sure that if your ex was white with straight hair he would have said "get your straight hair out of your ears" hmm

It was a racial comment.

LDNmummy Mon 19-Nov-12 03:32:12

And I also second what Amber said WRT your DC hearing this type of thing. I say that as a person of mixed heritage with a child of further mixed heritage.

LDNmummy Mon 19-Nov-12 03:33:33

And yes, there are loads of people on MN who excuse what I like to call 'mild racism'.

I remember a thread where there was a lot of justifying the use of the term 'chinky' for example.

TheBirderer Mon 19-Nov-12 06:25:45

"The misinterpretation and representation of racism...are two of the most ridiculously blown out of proportion subjects of today."

No. It's not.

All comments on afros aside, I really hope you aren't one of those "the world is too bloody pc today" brigade that roll their eyes at modern society and it's attempts to treat everyone equally rather than let racist comments, jokes and other assorted behaviour slide. I can tell you that the UK is far better today for us calling out racism, however mild. It's not blown out of proportion, it's getting the attention it deserves to stamp it out and I'm glad. It's good that we look at ourselves and attempt to analyse our behaviour rather than falling back on the old ways of "It was just a joke", "I didn't mean anything by it" or "You're too sensitive" that used to let Paki jokes and comments about foreigners flow (and all the rest). Racism is still present in the UK and it used to be a hell of a lot worse, and the reason it gets so much attention is so we can continue the fight against it.

Sorry, but unless you've experienced it and grown up with it then you don't really know what you're talking about. It's really bloody easy to say it's overblown when you're not the target of it yourself.

OP it's up to you to decide whether or not what your partner said is racist. But I personally find it troubling that he thinks racism is blown out of proportion as a subject. I think racism is a very important issue that needs as much talking about as it can, because we certainly haven't reached the point today where we can pat ourselves on the back and say "Job done, racism defeated, everyone can go home now".

mynewpassion Mon 19-Nov-12 06:48:47

It raised my eyebrows but I was willing to give the OP's DP the benefit of the doubt but after reading his post, it was thinly veiled racism.

And, yes, your DP's attitude toward racism would worry me, especially having a mixed race child.

MrsDeVere Mon 19-Nov-12 07:31:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDeVere Mon 19-Nov-12 07:33:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmberLeaf Mon 19-Nov-12 07:40:43

greenplastictrees, wise son says thanks smile

AmberLeaf Mon 19-Nov-12 07:43:34

Doesn't matter if DS heard or not, being around someone who thinks like that has wider reaching consequences.

TandB Mon 19-Nov-12 08:24:28

I think there were some racist undertones to this.

You wouldn't say to someone "If you get your curls out of your ears" or "If you get your asymetric bob out of your ears". You would just say "Get your hair out of your ears."

What he said has a hint of "bloody stupid afro" about it. Yes, white people can have afro hair but it is relatively unusual - it is a physical feature heavily associated with people of afro-carribean heritage.

Just saying "Get your hair out of your ears" would have been a neutral, if rude, thing to say. Focussing on it being an afro suggests an underlying dislike/prejudice.

If he genuinely doesn't have racist views then he needs to think a little more about how he words things.

I am not prone to seeing racism everywhere and I do think people sometimes seek offence where there is none, but I would be unhappy if my DP came out with something like this.

GhostShip Mon 19-Nov-12 08:38:51

Was it balls racist. Just because he has a sodding Afro an it was mentioned in an argument doesn't mean it was a racist comment.

Gunznroses Mon 19-Nov-12 08:54:07

I'm sorry but this would make me laugh so hard and i'm black! So is his afro growing out of his ears then hmm ?

I'm trying to see this from a different side, so, if i was trying to get pass someone who seemed to be ages getting through a door and i said "maybe if you cut your bloody mohawk you'd be able to get through"! to me i'm taking the micky of out of his/her hair i wouldn't have thought i was being rascist confused am i ?

MadeInChinaBaby Mon 19-Nov-12 09:22:51

It's not the same as saying 'hair', though, is it? He said 'bloody afro.'

Compare 'If you opened your eyes...' to 'If you opened your bloody slant-eyes...'.

Excellent post from TheBirderer above.

GanglyGiraffe Mon 19-Nov-12 09:26:17

No, because a Mohawk isn't a racial characteristic hmm

I really don't understand why people are confused about this.

WilsonFrickett Mon 19-Nov-12 09:30:52

oh OK OP's DP. You don't think you made a racist comment. That's fine then hmm

Gunznroses Mon 19-Nov-12 09:32:42

Gangly - no need for the face, i asked a simple question, what's rascist to one person msy not be to another. A mohawk is not a racial characteristic, neither is a bloody afro!

Kalisi Mon 19-Nov-12 10:02:04

I usually hate it when people try to bring unnecessary racism accusations into arguments but on this occasion and especially after reading DP's responce, I would definately say there is a casual underlying racist attitude there.
If he had not been African, I'm sure my sentence would have gone something like.....
So you are admitting that you adjusted your insult/comment to fit in with his ethnicity? hmm sounds like a racist comment then and makes you seem rather unpleasant.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Nov-12 10:16:31

Er OP's "DP"

I'm not sure whether anybody else mentioned ginger hair or if it was just me. In my comment I said it was clearly offensive,even if it wasn't racist,in a similar way making negative comments about ginger hair can be. If you're saying it was just about his hair and not his race. So either were offensive. Or offensive and racist. I would feel uncomfortable overhearing what you said. It is inappropriate.

Well spotted that "gingers" aren't a race though <claps>

turnip2012 Mon 19-Nov-12 12:00:25

I really didn't want to get drawn back into this but some of you have a little trouble adjusting your views when presented with clear valid reasoning.

"I wonder if you would have made the same little jokey to a black man in a different environment?

I am sure much hilarity would ensue"

Forgive me but it sounds like you are making a pretty broad assumption of a persons reaction based on their ethnicity... That, unfortunately, is racism...

Yes I am 'one of those people', Thebirderer, however my scope isn't solely UK based as it seems yours is. I agree racism is wrong and measures should be taken to eradicate it (FYI i have lived in Tonga, Pakistan, Fiji, and visited various other countries and had plenty of friends of differing races both in the UK and abroad so I do confidently say that I am no racist) but its misinterpretation IS a massive problem, as this thread highlights. [Kalisi i think the next bit addresses your point too] The thing is that I actually am all for people being treated equally and that to me means not just omitting details to pay homage to some ridiculously founded insecurity - he has an afro, its nothing derogatory, nothing to be ashamed of, its just what he has! (Unfortunately the skin issue is still being ridden on. It would be nice if you could actually call a black person black, just as you would a white person white, and not have to feel like someone somewhere is taking offence - i mean its ridiculous since when did facts become subjective!?[and no i don't need the whole 'slave trade' story as that refers to the N word being used specifically as derogatory]).

Gunznroses haha no its not actually growing out of his ears it just kind of sits over them somehow despite being a pretty small afro[it is pretty unkempt]... Tbh if it did grow out of his ears I wouldn't have drawn attention to it because, well, that would just be harsh :p

AmberLeaf Mon 19-Nov-12 12:33:31

It would be nice if you could actually call a black person black, just as you would a white person white, and not have to feel like someone somewhere is taking offence - i mean its ridiculous since when did facts become subjective!?[and no i don't need the whole 'slave trade' story as that refers to the N word being used specifically as derogatory

Its not offensive to call a black person black BTW.

But this wasn't about calling him black was it? so that is a pointless argument.

turnip2012 Mon 19-Nov-12 12:44:44

No but he has an afro...

HullyEastergully Mon 19-Nov-12 12:46:34



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