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To think it's possible to be a bit racist....

(28 Posts)
coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 20:10:51

I'm not saying it's right, just possible... From other threads on here it seems as though some don't believe it is, and that racism is simply a black or white issue (pardon the pun)...
For instance, if someone says "he's got a fiery temperament, but then he is Italian", it may be a lazy stereotype and therefore racist, but surely it's not in the same league as "I hate all n****rs".

Should both be regarded as equally unacceptable as racism is racism full-stop, or is it reasonable to shrug your shoulders about the former and not cut them out of your life on account of their prejudice?

harderandharder2breathe Thu 23-Mar-17 20:16:19

It is a continuum but I think it's a continuum from bad to awful

Yes someone reposting a Britain First poster is racist and someone who attacks someone because of their race is more racist. But that doesn't make the first person ok.

LostSight Thu 23-Mar-17 20:19:46

I think everyone is, at least a bit, racist. It's very deeply ingrained. But some of us fight it and some stoke it.

VladmirsPoutine Thu 23-Mar-17 20:20:34

The thing about white privilege is that these issues don't tend to have a massive affect on those whose acceptance is most sought after.

Judging from the race threads on here it would appear that a person thinking that all Muslims should "go back home" is not racist because Islam is not a race. There you go - a discussion on race reduced to semantics. Nothing about the hatred and abhorrence of the sentiment expressed - nope! It's about semantics.

Moussemoose Thu 23-Mar-17 20:26:02

Racial stereotypes are awful.
National stereotypes fascinate me. Not everyone from a particular nationality behaves in a certain way, but, there are societal norms that vary from country to country.

Italians do sound excited to a British ear, don't know about a fiery temper though.

coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 20:31:32

I think everyone is, at least a bit, racist. It's very deeply ingrained. But some of us fight it and some stoke it.

I think we probably are... We are all prejudiced to a greater or lesser extent. It's a basic survival instinct as it's impossible to know everyone before we've met them, so we work on generalities until we know more. We just need to ensure we're always kind, open and generous-spirited, and see the person behind the race/sex/religion or whatever characteristics they have.

Boulshired Thu 23-Mar-17 20:31:52

I find with examples like the Italian in my experience have come from the person themselves. I am surrounded by DPs large Irish family and I sometimes have to remind myself that they can say things that I cannot. When they talk about uncle Paddy, I revert to Patrick which they all do a double take.

coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 20:34:58

*Racial stereotypes are awful.
National stereotypes fascinate me*

Isn't there often a large overlap between the two? If I replaced Italians with Pakistanis would that change things?

aquashiv Thu 23-Mar-17 20:36:03

Why do you change his name to Patrick if his name is Paddy?

coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 20:37:18

When they talk about uncle Paddy, I revert to Patrick which they all do a double take.

What's wrong with calling someone 'Uncle Paddy' if the shortened version of his name is Paddy and he's known as that by his family?! Isn't insisting on calling him Patrick inverted racism?

Boulshired Thu 23-Mar-17 20:39:53

Because I got an earful in a restaurant for calling him paddy by Irish strangers who found it insulting even when he himself stuck up for me.

BastardBloodAndSand Thu 23-Mar-17 20:42:05

I don't think making assumptions based on someone's race but being happy to be corrected can be deemed as 'racist'. Ignorant yes (( and any 'race' can be guilty of this ))

OTOH targeting someone or belittling them solely because of their skin colour is, those people are scum. I have no wish to associate with people like that. 😑

coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 20:47:58

I don't think making assumptions based on someone's race but being happy to be corrected can be deemed as 'racist'.

But very few assumptions are entirely positive and may be seen as belittling.... Italians being hot-headed being one! Asians being studious (read boring and not fun) or Irish being lucky (read feckless, whose achievements are unmerited)

DrawingLife Thu 23-Mar-17 20:52:59

I agree with PP that a lot of the stereotypes are very ingrained. But also there's a lot of imprecise language around what constitutes racism. National/regional stereotypes are different to racial ones (Scots or Northerners vs Southerners etc.).
Some of the confusion may also have to do with how much negative emotion or intent there is attached to a stereotype. So people may be convinced that a certain group of people are less intelligent or whatever, but feel that's not racist because they don't "hate" them for it.

If I think about my own ingrained attitudes I think the most important thing is to become aware of them because they can do real harm, e.g. people with certain names or accents being less successful in job applications etc. It's the same kind of subconscious bias that still holds women back, so we should really be aware of it.

sniffle12 Thu 23-Mar-17 20:58:26

I have been on unconscious bias training and they said that studies have shown that everybody, of any race, usually an unconscious preference for their own race. However importantly, having the unconscious bias doesn't mean that you act on it. Our actions are made up of a) the split-second reaction which happens instinctively, and b) the slower, reasoned reaction that we reach after thought and reflection. So being open-minded and willing to reason with yourself (basically: think before you speak/judge/act/whatever) is what's important.

I'd wager that those who are openly racist probably tend towards 'gut instinct' reactions over thought and reason in many areas of their lives...

SilverdaleGlen Thu 23-Mar-17 21:00:49

SoftSheen Thu 23-Mar-17 21:04:10

There is definitely a continuum, ranging from at one end from talk or actions which are deliberately framed to hurt individuals/groups of people, to at the other end, more benign, and sometimes well-intentioned ignorance.

I think that we are all prone to make generalisations based on our experiences. E.g. the 3 Danish people who I have known in my life have all been kind and generous, and with a great sense of humour. Were I to be introduced to another Danish person I would therefore have a subconscious expectation of liking them, though no doubt there are Danish individuals who are unkind, mean and dour too!

7Days Thu 23-Mar-17 21:06:49

But there are such things as cultural norms. Surely thats where these stereotypes come from. Not all Irish are feckless alcoholics but we do drink a lot, per capita, and we do relate rather informally and cheerfully to others.
I don't think censoring words does much here. Paddy/bitch/faggot or anything else may be offensive (when used outside the group) but censoring the word does not get rid of the sentiment. Vice versa too. I'm sure many of us has had a pleasant word like darling hissed at us with venom

SoftSheen Thu 23-Mar-17 21:12:52

Perhaps showing my own ignorance here, but why is the name 'Paddy' offensive?' Surely it's just an abbreviation of Patrick?

Andrewofgg Thu 23-Mar-17 21:25:43

Yes. It is sadly the case in many areas that if a political party nominates as many candidates for the council as there are seats for that ward - the usual practice - the one with the Asian or African name will get fewer votes than the others. (In 1999 Jack Straw made that one of the reasons for the party list system for the European Parliament, where you vote for the party of yoru choice without choosing between individuals).

Voters who vote for Smith and Walker but not for Patel or Khan might be "a bit racist", but they don't compare with people who not only won't vote for Patel or Khan but want them sent "home".

rollonthesummer Thu 23-Mar-17 21:27:16

I don't get the Paddy thing if someone's name is Patrick and they call him Paddy as a nickname?! I am English and know several boys/men called Paddy!

coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 22:26:25

The Avenue Q song posted above 'Everyone's a little bit racist' is very good and exposes the difference between what many people believe they are (I.e. Not racist in any way at all) and what they actually are (holding prejudices that negatively influence how they interacts with others, but without this involving spite or hatred)

Loopsdefruits Thu 23-Mar-17 22:35:49

Ok, firstly... race and nationality are different. If you say horrible things about other white people (Italians, Irish etc...) then you're xenophobic not racist. Racism is significantly worse because it's largely based on, and perpetuated by, a social inequality whereby white people have more power than POC. You can be xenophobic about POC but the line is very very hard to see (for a white person) as a lot of national stereotypes we have for POC are based on a history of white oppression. As for everyone being a bit racist... yeh most white people do have a level of white privilege that is hard to get past, and that can lead to racism (often unconsciously), and most people regardless of race hold some sense of national identity and views on other nations.

I don't believe reverse racism exists (racism against white people) because racism requires a balance of power against the oppressed, I do think POC can be xenophobic towards white people although arguably it's more excusable because we do contribute to their oppression even if we don't mean it.

MasteroftheGame Thu 23-Mar-17 22:41:50

Andrew Yes thanks for raising that. I remember when Chuka Umuna put himself forward for his party leadership, many here on MN said he couldn't be leader because his name didn't sound right to them hmm. Many were delighted when he withdrew his candidateship, and spent the rest of the thread speculating about all manner of reasons behind why he withdrew, many with negative connotations.

I found it weird because many of those posters were the type who shout from the rooftops about discrimination but refused to accept in this particular case that they had prejudices.

coconuttella Thu 23-Mar-17 22:50:52

Loopsdefruits Interesting post...

What constitutes 'white' to your definition? English, German, Italian.... definitely yes... but then Greek, Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Afghan, Pakistani..... it's all a bit of a continuum!

Whereas I think I understand you point about racism continuing the oppression experienced by certain races, and that this is worse than, say, xenophobia between countries that have experienced no particular oppression (e.g. being rude about the French!), significant oppression has occurred whites.... for instance the Irish have a history of oppression by the English, yet both are white. Isn't this therefore just as insidious?

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