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Was Ellen's tweet really racist?

(195 Posts)
Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 00:04:53


I'm really surprised at the outrage over this. I cannot even see how it can be seen as casual racism. He's just been declared, once again, as the fastest man on the planet. Everybody loves him and she makes a joke basically alluding to the fact that he'd get her where she wants to go quicker than anything else. He even retweeted it, and not at all in a negative way. All the talk of riding him like a mule. It's a mock up of him giving her a piggy back ffs! It seems if he was white or she was black it would be ok. confused

PointlessUsername Wed 17-Aug-16 00:08:37

People Love to take offence.

Queenbean Wed 17-Aug-16 00:10:02

It's not racist at all

But I am bloody fed up that a minority of people cry something on Twitter and it ends up as news. IT'S NOT NEWS.

EdYouKateShaun Wed 17-Aug-16 00:10:59

It was probably a bad PR decision given the possible connotations. However, the last thing Ellen is is racist!

wobblywonderwoman Wed 17-Aug-16 00:11:54

She loves him, everyone does

Of course it wasn't meant to be offensive

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 00:11:58

It's news because she felt she had to defend herself and the American networks are treating it like a story.

Queenbean Wed 17-Aug-16 00:13:22

Minor opinions on Twitter don't make it news!

ExasperatedAlmostAlways Wed 17-Aug-16 00:14:22

Nope not racist at all. The people that see it as racist are the ones bringing race into it. I bet she didn't even think about the colour of his skin at all and would have shared it if he were a white man who was just as fast.

avamiah Wed 17-Aug-16 00:16:29

I didn't think it was racist at all .
If you watch her show you'll know she isn't a racist .
She's a very funny woman and in my opinion she is the last person to ever make racist jokes.
Why would she?

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 00:18:03

I think it's a good rule of thumb to say that if something is unlikely to be considered offensive if both are black/white/whatever then it's maybe a bit of projection going on. Like the thread a few months ago were some posters were suggesting that it would be offensive to give one of those hot chocolate sachet and mug combo pressies as a secret Santa gift for a black work colleague. I totally get that casual racism is 'a thing' but to be offended at this meme just seems a massive extrapolation.

usual Wed 17-Aug-16 00:19:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PortiaCastis Wed 17-Aug-16 00:19:49

Twatter causes trouble.

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 00:22:47

I think she's very well known for her relaxed, liberal views. She's had him on her show. I'm sure she thought it a bit of harmless banter. I really hope she doesn't apologise for causing offence. She has done nothing wrong. All she's doing is congratulating him in a funny way.

AdjustableWench Wed 17-Aug-16 00:40:17

For me the question is: what potential significance could this image convey that white people just don't see because they're white and don't tend to see stuff that people who are not white can see immediately?

A white person using a black person's labour to facilitate her social or professional life? Yeah, I think that could be a problem, given the extensive history in the US of white people exploiting the labour of black people.

But if all you see is a person who wants to get her life sorted as quickly as possible, then it doesn't look racist.

If you see all relationships between people of different ethnicities as characterised by historical and political concerns about exploitation, then I can imagine that it could be construed as racist.

Rather than saying it's racist or it isn't racist, I think the most important issue is how people interpret this image differently, depending on their experience.

EverySongbirdSays Wed 17-Aug-16 00:44:23

I absolutely do think it makes unfortunate allusions to slavery. Intentionally racist - no, culturally insensitive, yes

WyfOfBathe Wed 17-Aug-16 00:48:32

I really don't think it was racist.

And Usain Bolt didn't think so either - he retweeted it! If he thought it was funny, I don't feel that others have the right to be offended on his behalf.

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 00:55:44

I disagree, EverySongbird. I think when you think of Usain Bolt, you think of speed. She's not 'riding in the back of a black man's labour' she's riding on the back of the fastest man on Earth.

A 35yr old white business owner in a bar making a pass at an attractive 21yr old black girl isn't likely doing it because he believes she should yield to his racial superiority. He's far more likely to be thinking she's young and attractive. Extrapolating racism when there's a far more obvious explanation does nobody any favours.

EnthusiasmDisturbed Wed 17-Aug-16 00:56:12

I think some people may find it culturally insensitive

Who am I to tell them not to be so sensitive and that its only meant as a bit of fun

I personally didn't see it that way and wouldn't have thought anymore about it

EverySongbirdSays Wed 17-Aug-16 00:59:11

That is certainly what Ellen meant by it property undoubtedly so, but the image of a white woman riding a black man to do her errands has separate unfortunate connotations of its own PARTICULARY in the US

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 01:04:31

It's like the episode of the West Wing where he's not allowed to display the beautiful hand drawn map of the Middle East because it doesn't show Israel despite the map being drawn 200yrs before the birth of Israel. There's acknowledgment that the overwhelming majority of Jews, including Israeli Jews would not find it offensive but that a small minority would. When it's blindingly obvious what the intent behind this meme was, I cannot fathom the offence caused. Is that because I'm white or because I'm not American?

AdjustableWench Wed 17-Aug-16 01:06:26

she's riding on the back of the fastest man on Earth.

She's a white American woman, riding on the back of the fastest man on earth... who is black.

A 35yr old white business owner in a bar making a pass at an attractive 21yr old black girl isn't likely doing it because he believes she should yield to his racial superiority.

Or... he's making a pass based at least partly on his idea that black women are hypersexual, because that's how the porn he watches portrays black women.

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 01:08:28

X posts. Yes, perhaps it's something that Black British people would view as I do but African Americans see differently. UB not being AA himself, clearly took it in the spirit intended.

EverySongbirdSays Wed 17-Aug-16 01:11:03

It's more like The West Wing episode were he wants Charlie as his "Bag Man" but is worried about "the visual" - the intent is pure the visual less so.

I think you would really need to be American, don't forget they had years of racial segregation there too. Though we owned slaves in the UK at one time too, it wasn't at all as widespread and we didn't still have Race Laws in the 20th Century

Propertyquandry Wed 17-Aug-16 01:13:00

Adjustable, the first part of your post I don't agree with as I think the fact he is black is superfluous to the meme.

As for your second point. If it look like a duck and quacks like a duck...I think it's far, far more likely he's making a pass because she's young and pretty.

AdjustableWench Wed 17-Aug-16 01:19:29

the fact he is black is superfluous to the meme.

But not superfluous to the responses.

I think it's far, far more likely he's making a pass because she's young and pretty.

Again, responses from people who are not white might be more interested in looking at the political contexts of the scenario.

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