What makes a racist to you?

When i think of the word “racist” i think along the lines of KKK, or the movie American History X. To me it tends to insinuate some sort of violence directed at a group of people. To others it can mean just the smallest amount of jest can make someone racist. It seems that most people can’t tolerate the fact that everyone is outside aesthetically human and inside they are physiologically human. It’s when the outside is remarked that everyone starts calling the remarker a racist.

I guess i’m just getting sick and tired of people looking for something to be offended by, especially when it comes to race. It doesn’t matter if it’s their own race or a different one. But even the slightest one-liner from someone of an opposite race (black/white or white/black) will start the shit storm of the century and it pisses me off. Looking thru the Pit there’s half a dozen topics in there now from Cartoon Network to Rush Limbaugh.

Why can’t you all just ignore it? I know why, b/c then it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

To me, it is just intolerance for others, and it includes gender differences, sexual orientation, disabled, etc. I sometimes wonder if blind people can be “racist” because so much of racism seems to rely on appearance of others. But maybe that’s another topic.

“There are only two things I hate: those who
are intolerant of other people’s cultures … and the Dutch.” --Nigel Powers

:frowning: They are some of the friendliest, most helpful people I ever met!

To me, racism is a belief in the superiority of one ethnicity over another (or all others). Cultural bias is what I think of when someone thinks their own society and customs are superior to others.

Many sociologists and intellectuals believe that racism is the exertion of power through direct or indirect means by an ethnic group with power over another. Frankly, I find this assertion to be a rather lame attempt to redefine a term for purposes of advancing political agenda.

Racism works in any possible direction. Those who believe in the superiority of an ethnicity other than their own are equally racist to those who believe their own ethncitiy to be numero uno. For an example, I know a white guy who advocates black supremacy.

I know a lot of people who believe, at least vaguely, that (indigenous) Native Americans are spiritually purer than other American ethnic groups, get a +2 bonus on starting wisdom, and gain Track and Animal Empathy for free. I also know a lot of people who believe, at least vaguely, that Native Americans are a bunch’a drunks. Both groups are equally racist; the latter group is more likely to cause Bad Things to happen because of their belief.

When a Mommy racist and Daddy racist love each other very much…

quothz is correct.

A racist is someone who believes one race (or more correctly, ethnicity) is inherently superior to all other races. Using this definition, there are very few racist in existence. As an example, if a person says “Jessie Jackson is a racist,” what they really mean is “Jessie Jackson is a bigot.”

In general, I believe that racism isn’t about words - it’s more to do with beliefs and opinions. My friends and I often say very racist things to each other, just as we say offensive but non-racist things to each other (“F—, you’re an ugly f—ing retard!”). The only reason we do this is because we are comfortable around each other and safe in the knowledge that our insults will never be taken seriously. I would never say these things to someone who I only just met, because there’s a real chance that they will take it seriously and be offended.

This is why I think that, in general, it is unacceptable for people to say racist things in public. They might be joking of course, but they might seriously think that a race is inferior in some way. Because the listeners don’t normally know the speaker intimately, they can’t be sure which case it is. Even comedians aren’t always immune to this - there is still a real possibility that the comedian believes in the stereotype that fueled the joke.

Paul Holmes is one of New Zealand’s most popular and well-paid entertainers (I use ‘entertainers’ in the loosest sense of the word - I’ve never found him very entertaining at all). A week or so ago, on a radio-based talkback show he hosts, he referred to Kofi Annan as a “cheeky darky”. Of course, much brouhaha followed (as well as a fair bit of hubbub and a smidgen of katzenjammer), including our Prime Minister ‘distancing herself’ (as the news put it) from the comment, and Mitsubishi withdrawing sponsorship from his TV show. This is to be expected - he really can’t expect to say that kind of thing in public without some backlash. However, my friends and I have recently gotten into the habit of calling each other “cheeky darkies” all the time. And why not? Notwithstanding the racist overtone, it’s a really funny phrase. Especially the “cheeky” bit. And it’s not as if we’re offending anyone by using it amongst ourselves.

So basically, public speakers probably shouldn’t say racist things, because they often appear to be saying more about themselves (whether true or not) than about whatever the heck they’re talking about. But, as long as you’re not actually racist, I reckon it’s OK to say these things to people who know for a fact that you’re not racist.

I tend to see racism as something that happens when someone becomes committed to their views; children quite routinely dislike or avoid other people for all kinds of reasons, including racial ones, but I don’t think it is racism until it has persisted through a process of being intellectually challenged.

I can see this being true for children, but I think that adults bear the responsibility for their “isms,” whether or not they’ve had the courage to examine them.

To address the OP, I found this definition of racism at www.dictionary.com: “The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.” I think that many people believe, whether unconsciously or not, that race or ethnicity “accounts for differences in human character.” (Remember, that can be positive, as quothz pointed out.) Hopefully, fewer people believe that “a particular race is superior to others.”

I can’t define racism. I’ll have a go at anti-racism, though.

Anti-racism is the belief that your race makes a difference to how you experience life. So I guess racism is the denial of this.

I do not think it is ever relevant or useful or meaningful or anything but destructive to call a person racist.

Racist comments, or words, or attitudes, are those that fail to acknowledge, or those that enforce, the way people of different races experience the world. Often this takes the form of something like “Everyone experiences things the way that I do, and I’m okay, so what’s your problem?” - forgetting that “I” am white and therefore somewhat privileged - or “If you don’t experience the world the way I do, it’s some kind of problem with you, because it can’t be a problem with me.”

I am very frustrated by the attitude that something can be called racist only if it is (a) intentionally racist and (b) attributable to an identifiable source.

Example: I have a friend who is quite clearly (by the way he talks, dresses, acts etc) African. When he first meets someone and they ask the inevitable question - “Where are you from?” - he says “Here.” He hates the question and it took me quite a while to realize why.

The reason is because it makes difference the most important feature about him. It’s like the person who asks the question is saying “Of all the things I could know about you - your likes, dislikes, interests, loves, passions, talents, etc - the most important thing there is for me to establish is how you differ from me.” And for an African, that is quite a loaded statement, because of all the history of nastiness befalling Africans because of, essentially, that difference.

Note that he doesn’t mind if someone asks the question after they have expressed interest in something other than his obvious difference. He is, primarily, a human being, and to be treated as Different before being treated as A Person, is what bugs him.

The problem, of course, is that asking where someone is from is a common question for everyone. If one Canadian asks another Canadian (“I’m from Montreal. How about you?” “Saskatoon.” “Oh, my cousin lives there …”) it’s no big deal, right? It’s a conversation starter, it’s interesting, it’s all kinds of things that are perfectly innocuous.

BUT to an African it may mean something different.

I’m not for a second saying that it’s racist to ask an African where they are from. What I’m saying is that what, to you, is a perfectly innocent question, to someone else may have a different meaning. Just like what, to you, may be a funny cartoon, to someone else may be cringe-worthy and possibly hateful. Being anti-racist is being aware of this, and understanding that your interpretation of events, your experience, will probably be different than other people’s (based on things like your race), and acknowledging that their experience is valid too.

Hey, don’t make it look like I said that! I’m half dutch!

Violet and Duderdude2

I take this as a BIG compliment. Can you see the implications of the quote? Two different things, huh. Intolerance and the Dutch. Thanks Nigel Powers.

btw: I’m sad to say I might be a racist myself. There are this people of a [European] country I can’t stand. I might have a good reason for it - they are well known for their ignorance and arrogance - but it’s still a no-no. I’m doing my utmost to change my mind, but it’s hard. And I’m not happy with myself.

*good thing is: The feeling is mutual *

Yea, I think, as with many situations, words are used and their meanings are twisted into many different shapes.

Racism - I think we all know the exact definition. But, it’s somehow married with other definations. As someone else said, bigotry is one, or discriminator is another.

Frankly, I guess I don’t have much of a problem with racism by definition. The question is, can one be racist without being discriminating.

If, for instance, a black individual claims that they’d rather not have romantic endeavors with caucasian individuals for instance, because of their own preference, that’s racist. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s that person’s own preference and beliefs.

But, if that same black individual is sitting across a desk from a caucasian and tells that person, “Nope, you don’t get the job because you’re caucasian.” That’s discrimination and that’s a problem.

Wow, I never realized that there were so many clueless people around. Am I the ONLY one who got that this is a self-referential joke?

Here, I’ll spell it out for the monumentally stupid:

Statement A: hatred of those who are intolerant of other cultures:

Statement B: hatred of a particular other culture.

The joke is in the epistemological discord of the two statements. That is, somebody make a high-handed and moralistic statement and SIMULTANEOUSLY violates that statement. THAT is the joke. The statement is not about cultural intolerance but it is a joke about personal hypocrisy.
Some days ya just gotta wonder what kind of edjimicashun people get these days…

nope, you’re not the only one. See above post. :slight_smile:

They didn’t get it? Damn, I thought it was fairly obvious…

A racist is someone who deems people inferior not by virtue of their breeding but of their birth.

Someone who deems people inferior by virtue of their breeding would simply be an elitist. :slight_smile:

I like that take on it from the movie, Stand and Deliver. A racist is someone who, based on race, discriminates… BUT … a racist is also someone who, based on race, refuses to discriminate.

I have a friend who is Jamacan. She and I are very close. I am a married white guy with children. She is a divorced black woman.

She comes over to my place quite often and has even accompanied us on family outings.

I gave this background for a reason. One day while we were talking she told me she was very glad that I was married. When I asked her why she said it was because she would have felt a lot of pressure. She told me she does not believe that the races should be mixed. He reason was not that she thinks hers is superior to any other but that she felt that if races were not kept pure eventually everyone would be the same. She thought that losing ones cultual heritage was terrible.

Do you think she is a racist based on her thoughts? I never saw her as such myself and never will. She is the most thoughtful and caring person one could ever know.