Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Some Thoughts On My Racist Self

This post is being written on Thursday even though its probably dated for Wednesday. I hate how Blogspot no longer lets you change the dates on your posts because it'd be more appropriate here. Anyways .... don't ask why, but for some reason known only to laziness and the dead batteries in the remote control, I happened to catch Oprah. Now, normally, I'm not a fan of Ms. Winfrey. There is nothing more horrible than watching her try to prattle on like she is one of us. Yeah, I'd lose 80 pounds if I had a personal trainer, a personal chef, and a personal dietician ... but since most of us don't, those who watch her show are forced to watch her act as if her 100's of millions don't exist and she is Oprah, the next door neighbor.

Her topic was the next show coming up called Trading Races. I have to admit; I'm excited about this show. How perfect is this? People actually trading races to get a taste of what the "other guy" feels everyday. The editors of this episode did a superb job of whetting my appetite since the clips looked explosive and controversial.

I have always wondered if racism is so black and white (no pun intended). What I mean, is it possible for anyone to be racist regardless of one's race? Is it racist for black comedians to openly mimic white people? Or is it justified given the past treatment of blacks? I think about that given that it certainly couldn't go both ways i.e. a white comedian couldn't mimic blacks without a huge backlash. I have to admit, I'm uncomfortable in either situation. Someone once made the argument that it is impossible for

I do admit I feel like such a Klansmen when I drive through an unsavory part of town and double check to make sure my doors are locked. But then again, I also keep an eye open if I come upon a group of white teens walking at night since you never know if I might make the news as some kids decide they wanted to make a bean dip! See, I'm even referring to myself in a racist way!!

But I have been on the opposite side. I dated a girl in high school whose father told me his daughter didn't date "dirty Mexicans" when I called her one night. Back in Arizona, I was walking around around dinner time in downtown Tempe. An older and probably affluent white lady saw me walking towards her and her husband. She moved her purse to side opposite me and then double wrapped the strap around her arm. I was in shock considering I'm wearing an Arizona State t-shirt and a buzzcut looking like I'm in ROTC and she had just passed thuggish white teens trying their best to look like Paul Wall or Eminem.

I guess I'm always fascinated with the dynamics of racism. I hope that in 10 years or so, my nephews won't even blink to see a black & white couple. I am hopeful and I believe that this is already happening, but there will always be pockets of resistance. I was behind a truck the other day that had a volunteer firefighter sticker in the back window next to a "It's a White Thing. You Wouldn't Understand" sticker. I was so disappointed that a public servant would brag on one hand about a most commendable achievement and then destroy that same image at the same instant.

Is it racism when Muslims are treated in an oppressive manner or is simple discrimination? It's strange, but racism seems to be evolving. It's no longer just a black & white thing, it's an all out assault. In L.A. prisons, there are race riots between Mexican Americans and Blacks. There is a backlash against Asians in several communities.

I'm just sort of babbling at this point. I guess I believe racism can go both ways. I am capable of racism just like any member of a minority or a majority. Any thoughts to go along with my rambling?

18 comments:

jennifer said...

i've met chicano/as who have told me that people of color can't be racist because we don't have the power to be racist.

generally speaking, when someone who has a lot of power acts out his/her racism, it can be felt by more people. but i don't know that any act of racism--small or large--is without consequence...

sonrisa morena said...

dude i'm totally with on the oprah thing!!!! i too would loose 80 pounds if i had all of her money!!i'm really not a fan of hers but she has done alot good deeds...

racism? hmmm? really we could have this conversations for days. i think EVERYBODY has a bit of racism in them, some do it in a more subtle way though. just like you i too make comments about my own peaps!!it's okay for us to do it but when i hear somebody that is not from the same culture make the same comment i tend to get upset. i also believe that it's not fair that black people can make "white" jokes yet if a white person were to make a "black" joke you know somebody is going to end up with a lawsuit!! like i said we can this conversation for days. i hope one day it all goes away unfortunetly i don't think i'll be around to enjoy that day...

DCNats said...

when I had to take my wife to the hospital a couple of weeks back we got a lot of strange looks, and strange questions...

"So, um, she's your wife?"
Yes
"I mean, you are married?"
Yes...
"So you are legally married?"
YES!!!!

and then when I explained that my wife doesn't speak English I got this:
"Well how do you communicate with her?"
In Spanish...
"Oh, you're Spanish too?"
No... Neither of us are SPANISH!
"So you're not Spanish but you speak Spanish!?"

none of that would have happened if we were both white or both latino, but since we're interracial couple we get dumb questions like that all the time.

Ruben said...

Racism pleagues every race and community. I have some racist views and I'm sure that everyone else does also.

Regina said...

As I just said on my blog, to be American is to be racist. I feel so weary whenever I hear anyone say, "I'm not a racist." I'm guessing they're using a specific definition and are really saying, "I don't physically attack people or insult them out loud because of their race." Okay, good for you, but we're ALL racist in this country. It's unavoidable.

People of color who say we can't be racist because we don't have the power are also using a definition of racism that I don't find useful. I think racism is bigotry based on culture or race, and anyone can play.

Earth Girl said...

The very definaition is racism is prejudice to a person of a race differnt to yours, so yes, a black comedian making fun of white people is most definatly racist and shouldn't be allowed. However discrimination against muslims isn't racism as a muslim is a person who follows the religon of Islam unlike Jews who are followers of the Jewish faith and most often belong to the Jewish racial group.

I often find that 'non-white' people are way more racist in their opions and treatment of people.

Ignorance in this subject matterreally annoys me. A few years ago the Black-British singer Craig David was trying to break into the US music sceene. He toured with his own band who were all black except for a white guitarist. the record company told him that he would have to replace the guitarist as blacks in the US wouldn't accept him if he had a white gutarist. This institutinal racism pissed me off but not as much as Carigs comments on the subject "this is reverse racism!" he siad. What a fucking dick, the opposite of racism would be tollerance and acpetance you fool!!!!
Racism is NOT only aimed at black people.

BTW -The record company also made him re-shoot one of his music videos which featured a white woman as the romatic interest. Dickwads.

NML said...

Great post Cincy. I think it's difficult for anyone to claim that they don't have a little racism in them. It's what you do with it that makes the difference though. Racism isn't just a black/white thing, but it is the posterchild for it. I hope that Trading Races comes to the UK.

unforgiving b*tch said...

I think that most people tend to be a bit racist, but working in the environment that I have, has changed a lot of that for me.

I'm just generally displeased with anyone who is ignorant, ghetto-acting (if that's a term that can be used without seeming racist), trashy, loud, obnoxious, etc.

For me, it's much more about how a person acts than what ethnic group they identify with.

SeaKitty said...

listen bud. i've been reading all your ML stuff. worry not. this too shall pass. write until she no longer comes out.

Cincysundevil said...

Jenn-
I have come across that too. I wonder if that is just a simple matter of syntax.

Cincysundevil said...

Sonrisa-
I'm with you; I think we all have a bit of racism in us. Unfortunately, I don't think it will ever go away; society will just find a new group to discriminate against.

Cincysundevil said...

Dcnats-
Wow; I guess I never thought of those sorts of things about getting married to someone who isn't Hispanic. That is absolutely crazy the way people treat you and your wife. Hopefully things get better in time for you.

Cincysundevil said...

Ruben-
So true, my friend. I too think we all have racist views.

Cincysundevil said...

Regina-
Very powerful point you make there. I am with you on that in that racism can occur with anyone regardless of socioeconomic standing. Money isn't the only way in which one has power and can use it in a racist way.

Cincysundevil said...

Earth Girl-
Great points! I never knew that about Craig David. Can you imagine in this day and age telling a superstar how he is supposed to shoot a video? What is this world coming to when he can't even pick his own band members?

Cincysundevil said...

NML-
I hope that most people realize that as well: It's what you do with the realization that we all have racism problems that matters. I think too many people try to rationalize their behavior instead of owning up to it and dealing with it.

Cincysundevil said...

Unforgiving-
What I find interesting is when most people start to describe the people they don't like, it tends to be more along the lines of a socioeconomic lines rather than a racial make up. Most people tend to hate ghetto acting people regardless of race; it's just easier to attribute it to a race.

Cincysundevil said...

Seakitty-
Thanks! I think ML and I will not be in contact for a while if ever again.