Saturday, June 14, 2008


Here's what I'm sick of.

People who say "Oh, gosh, I don't think there's much racism around here."

But in the next breath say "There was this black lady at Kroger who was yelling at her kid."

Or they'll say something like (I'm paraphrasing) "We are empowering them [minorities?] to show up and if they [minorities?] can't, we will speak for them. They [minorities?] fear these situations and are afraid to show up to these protests." I haven't lived in the Peoria area very long, but I will say that I've noticed that there are many minority groups that do a very good job of sticking up for themselves when there's something they feel strongly about.

Then there's people who say stuff like:

Oh...or what about the person who says..."There was this black guy...and he was REALLY African Black...."



Grandma's Attic said...

Snap! Some people's brains still function as though they were in the iron age, I'm afraid.

i do not know me said...

Grandma, as far as I know we are still in the Iron Age. Silicon, oil, information, digital, industrial, post-industrial have all been thrown around, but none has stuck that I know of. Technologically we are still in the Iron Age in the sense that it is the primary material for our tools just as Bronze and Stone were before it.


Tough to say that either your 1st or 3rd example are racist when not in their original context. Both could be merely descriptions.

mama o' the matrices said...

did anyone ever settle if we're supposed to say 'black' or 'African-American?' Never much liked the Af-Am thing, myself - growing up, the folks in Harlem would've been seriously pissed to hear that I thought they all came from Africa.

But hey, I'm just an ignorant Yid.

Rixblix said...

IDNKM, that's the color as a descriptive is irrelevant. Just as saying "that fat girl". In this day and age, it's just irrelevant.

Mama o', one thing that shames be about some of my fellow central Illinoisans is their obliviousness. We still have Christmas Programs in school, chock full o' baby jesus songs and all. Yid, maybe, hardly ignorant.

i do not know me said...

If you were giving a description to the police of a child you had seen being abducted would you mention the child's sex? height? weight? hair color? eye color? skin color?

Giving detailed, accurate descriptions is quite relevant in some situations. Skin color is one element of a useful description of a person's appearance.

Descriptions of physical appearance are not relevant in many cases, but when accurate appearance description IS needed, skin color is quite relevant.

Rixblix said...

IDKNM, apples and oranges.

Michael said...

We will not be truly blind to race until we can mention skin color with no more flinching than we do when mentioning eye color. It is obvious we have a ways to go when people immediately notice the reference rather than simply move on. My wife is blond ... is that a comment on her intelligence? I think not. My son is dating a red head ... should we assume she has a bad temper or is of Irish heritage? I agree with the middle example completely. It is racist. But simply refering to a person's skin color is not necessarily racist.

i do not know me said...

I just wanted to provide an exception to your blanket "skin color as a descriptive is irrelevant" statement. I agree they are apples and oranges. I said exactly that: in some situations skin color does not matter, but in others it does.