Monday, November 10, 2008

What do you do?

What happens when someone you know says something racist? Something that offends you on the behalf of mankind straight to your core? What do you do? Even in jest, the words are flung out there in an "I'm just kidding" kind of way. Is it ever okay? A few times I've run into it this week. A phrase so racist my grandmother would blush. (And she's said a few doozies in her time, let me tell you.)

I'm not overly politically correct. I don't see the point in it. However, I try to be respectful of each culture and nation and person as I can. I still tend to be abilist, sexist, and racist at times. But I catch myself more often than not and think "I don't even think that... why am I saying it?"

Phrases that were perfectly acceptable in my grandparents era are offensive and hurtful today. Joking phrases that I can't even type still float about by educated and respected people. And to me? It's not ok.

But, what do you do? When someone says a phrase that degrades an entire culture? Without even noticing it or correcting themselves? What do you do? Do you allow that to change your opinion of them? Do you speak up? And how?

People think its funny or acceptable. I want to say. I have a great sense of humour... and I don't think its funny.



I am participating in NaBloPoMo for November. Why? To entertain you. This is all for you. You're welcome.

10 comments:

  1. It wasn't me was it? Was it me?

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  2. I have a great sense of humour... and I don't think its funny.

    I think you said it perfectly right there.

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  3. You stand up for what you believe in, or at least you don't laugh.

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  4. Tough call, if you're stuck in a business situation - but I think not laughing and getting away as quickly as possible would be the first step.

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  5. In my opinion, too many people hear things like that and stay quiet. They get offended, but don't do anything about it.

    I'm on the school that says "I may not have started the problem, but what am I doing to stop it?" It's not enough to say "I'm not like that." We may not change the world, but we can certainly make it less comfortable for the people who embrace racism and bigotry in any fashion.

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  6. OK. I'm gonna sit here long enough (I have to pee REAL bad) to be honest:

    I was raised in a time when "N" was the only word to describe the "black folks" and it wasn't allowed at my parent's house. We were hillbillies with ethics.

    I never, ever had a racist bone in my body.

    Then I went to work for a newly elected black boss who spent the next ten years screaming at me, accusing me of things I'd never done, and gradually turning me into a bigot.

    But, to this day, I can't say the "N" word, so my dad won.

    BUT, let me clarify here: I worked with whites AND blacks. A few of the whites were racist. But I found out that deep inside, ALL of the blacks were extremely racist, but it was acceptable since, well, at one time, hundreds of years ago, one of their ancestors.....well.....

    So being racist is NOT a white majority thing.

    Now, I just cringe at racism, and go on my way. Walking a wee bit faster than normal.

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  7. I often say something, because when someone says something racist/sexist/ablist, it does change my opinion of them, and I owe it to them and our relationship to be honest. To get biblical, which is extremely odd for me, we are our brothers' keepers.

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  8. Once my brother told a racist joke. Some of the people laughed, some cringed, some said nothing. I just said, "I'm surprised that you would tell a racist joke". It made him think and he hasn't told another racist joke (at least around me).

    I would have to feel very comfortable with the person to say something like that, though.

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  9. I'm with anonymous...I called my Grandpa on something he said, but I suppose it was because I knew we could discuss it and even argue but it wouldn't affect our relationship.

    When I hear people say things that are racist, I have a hard time not letting it affect my opinion of them.

    Even when it's said in joking. Actually, joking is just as bad if not worse, when you think about it. People who are overtly racist because they're ignorant is one thing, but people who are intelligent and know better, and still joke about it? I don't know...

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  10. This may be too late, but I'm doing it anyway. A bit of pro-action inspired by Joe.

    Not saying the "N" word doesn't make someone not racist. What makes someone a racist is making a presumption (any kind of presumption) about a person or a group of people based on their race. So making the generalization that "all blacks are racist" is actually outrageously racist. Outrageously.

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Crap monkies say "what?"