TV Tropes Org

Forums

search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [416]
1
 2  3  4  5  6 ... 17

Racism, Sexism, Antisemitism and other things one can unwittingly be:

 1 The Handle, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 2:50:29 PM from Location, Location, Loca
This is not a complaint thread, this is a thread that poses a legitimate, if controversial question.

This is not a thread for complaining. Recently, someone I respect and care for has accused me of being antisemitic. The more I tried to reassure them that I wasn't, the more they said I was digging myself deeper. That me being not mindful of being antisemitic meant that I could be and not notice it. That I didn't need to be like the KKK or the Nazis or the Spanish Inquisition to be an antisemite: that there was a continuum, in which I could unwittingly find myself.

This filled me with grief. Not because I care for my reputation or the esteem that person had for me, but because I couldn't imagine how horrible it could be to live with such a mindset. Anyone could be an enemy, after you and those like you, for something you did not even choose but were born into. And I was incapable of reassuring them that just this one person, me, was not a threat, was not malevolent or prejudiced towards them. They are living a nightmare, and I can't help at all, I can't even make one piece of their world feel safer. Seldom have I felt so powerless...

Many people are behind the times, and maintain a prejudice against Once Acceptable Targets that are not so anymore. Given that the prejudice is socially damaging, they hide behind legitimate arguments to strike against the objects of their Irrational Hatred (or contempt, or fear, or...). This can make things difficult to benevolent people who do not share those intentions when they put forwards the same, legitimate arguments.

If someone protests against being accused of prejudice against an ethnic or cultural group, when can we believe them?

Suppose that, for example, you make an argument against Zionism, and that you are accused of being an antisemite. How do you prove your inquisitors wrong? But, then again, should you have to? But then again, are you, unknowingly? Are you in need of a Heel Relization?

Or suppose that, for example, you make an argument against some (negative, "stereo")typical behavior of one ethnic group or another, calling those who perpetrate them to Stop Being Stereotypical... but you aren't a member of said group. Could you reasonably be accused of racism? How would you fend it off? How would you distinguish yourself from someone who would say the same things out of malicious prejudice? Can't a "white" person speak badly of BET or Tyler Perry?

As a matter of fact, even supposing the accusations were true, that the person arguing against Zionism, or BET, or the Islamic Veil, is, in fact, doing it out of prejudice... isn't it unfair, in terms of debate, to use the Ad Hominem, the Genetic Fallacy that, because their intentions are evil, their arguments are necessarily false? Wouldn't it be better, stronger, more virtuous, to simply take apart the substance of what they have to say?

Is this not an Abomination Accusation Attack? Is this not damaging for both the accuser and the accused? Isn't it intolerable, to have this mindset, to live in this world, where there is "you" and "those who are like you", and every single one of "the others" is liable to be plotting to opress you, deride you, make you feel like less of a person?

How can one ever feel comfortable among "others"? How can one ever trust again?

edited 22nd Aug '12 2:51:19 PM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun wentand then it dawned on me.
If someone on the Internet thinks I'm racist, sexist, homophobic or whatever, there's no point in protesting, since they think they're the best judges and have already made up their minds.

That said, I'm so apathetic towards most social justice issues (or so antipathetic towards both sides playing the moral superiority card), that such a designation would probably be entirely accurate, in my case. My concern is getting along with people who aren't on the opposite end of a TV or internet screen. People I can actually get to know.

 3 Morwen Edhelwen, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 3:38:32 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
I don't know, tbh.
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 4 Game Chainsaw, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 3:42:39 PM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
First of all, people should never say Stop Being Stereotypical, because that, in itself, is racist. If you want to protest against a behaviour that happens to be consistent with a stereotype, protest against the behaviour. If something is wrong, it is wrong, regardless of who does it. If it is right or neutral, it is ok, regardless of that persons skin colour/gender/religion/whatever. So there is never any reason to do this. At best, you're perpetuating a stereotype you presumably don't agree with. At worst, you're being a racist ass. It's a Double Standard.

...I really hope what I just typed out there is self-evident to everyone.

Thing to do when accused of being a racist in things like debates over issues where that accusation can be flung around is, first of all, step back and evaluate your mindset. Would this situation anger you so much if it wasn't a(n) X person doing it? If the answer to that question is yes, you're not racist, you're angered by a situation. If the answer is no, then you clearly have an unconscious prejudice. You may still be right about the individual situation, but clearly there is more than the current situation influencing your views. Now bear in mind that this includes taking into account your feelings towards the individuals involved; I might distrust a nations government. So an action taken by the that government may bring me to immediately distrust the situation. It's still an at least partially irrational reaction (because I don't have all the facts) but it isn't a racist reaction, because it's an organisation that I am suspicious of that is triggering the response, it isn't a response to the ethnicity of the people of the organisation in question.

For instance, I don't have a thing against Iranians. The Iranian government, on the other hand, I trust about as far as I can throw them, and I can't throw government very far. So any action by the Iranian government that hit national news would immediately raise eyebrows, but that isn't me being racist, it's my distrust of the Iranian government. (Stemming from Ahmedinejad and his cronies).

That doesn't make my reaction right. Just means it's not based on race. Or sex, or any other irrationality in that family of irrationalities.

Once you've thought about that, simply review the facts, and evaluate. If you're confident that whatever irrational thoughts running through your mind at the time didn't influence your actions, just remember how you were feeling at the time and make sure you take steps to correct the prejudice. Then, just restate the facts, and keep stating them; ignore all accusations and rhetoric, and as the argument shifts to other topics, evaluate what you're being told and any new information and make sure any prejudices aren't influencing what you are saying.

This means even if there is some irrational, subconscious disposition running through your head, your conscious mind can overcome it and proceed objectively.

If, on the other hand, you were clearly acting out of a stereotype based on racist feelings, you have some serious apologising to do, and should probably leave the forum/argument for a few days until you've done a fair bit of self reflection and analysis.

To be honest, if you are feeling any such prejudicial thoughts, some self reflection is probably in order anyway. And possibly a visit to the psychologist.

...um, I think that's good advice on this issue? It all seems a bit... obvious?

?:( Was this helpful or not?

EDIT: I really mangled that post the first time through the ringer.

edited 22nd Aug '12 3:54:49 PM by GameChainsaw

 5 Deboss, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 5:41:04 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
If someone protests against being accused of prejudice against an ethnic or cultural group, when can we believe them?

Suppose that, for example, you make an argument against Zionism, and that you are accused of being an antisemite. How do you prove your inquisitors wrong? But, then again, should you have to? But then again, are you, unknowingly? Are you in need of a Heel Relization?

Honestly, you can't. Not unless you have a large body of data on the subject.
 6 Morven, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 5:45:10 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
A few things here.

First, you don't have to be prejudiced to say or write something that comes across that way. It might be that you don't know about another meaning of the words you're using, or you don't know the history of a phrase or term and how it's been used against a group of people. You might have spoken unclearly.

Second, all of us have been surrounded by prejudiced attitudes, beliefs and speech, all of our lives. It's impossible to not be influenced by one's surroundings. Thus, we can easily find that some stereotype, some aspersion, some bias has crept into our thinking or language without us really realizing it.

Thirdly, sometimes we are right to be against certain things. I am prejudiced against neo-Nazis, for instance. I am unlikely to not be influenced by those prejudices should I meet a neo-Nazi. I also don't care, in that case.

Fourthly, sometimes someone can accuse you of something and be completely and utterly wrong.

edited 22nd Aug '12 5:45:27 PM by Morven

A brighter future for a darker age.
If you want to protest against a behaviour that happens to be consistent with a stereotype, protest against the behaviour. If something is wrong, it is wrong, regardless of who does it. If it is right or neutral, it is ok, regardless of that persons skin colour/gender/religion/whatever.

Can't agree with this. For example: black people eating fatty foods (like fried chicken).

First off, let me say that I'm not against people being of a heavier body type, or enjoying what they eat. What I am against, however, is people becoming so accustomed to or spoon-fed a certain type of food that they become blind to alternatives. I was reading a psychological study which basically said that people develop their eating habits and disorders as children, and that once they're adults, changing this is one of the hardest things to do (in one sense, it's harder than narcotic, nicotine or alcohol addiction). The thing is, though, you can't call it "wrong". You can't make people stop eating what they want or making a certain thing a part of their culture. Do you really want to be the one to tell people, for example, to stop eating food that has religious or cultural significance?

At the same time, though, "Stop Being Stereotypical" doesn't have to be inherently demanding someone destroy their own culture. It can simply ask someone to sit back, think about, and scrutinize what they do and why they do it. And that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

 8 Ira The Squire, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 7:36:35 PM from No idea. Measuring speed
Phyrexian Dalek
[up] I think eating food of cultural and religious significance and your other examples are exceptional cases in his argument.

edited 22nd Aug '12 7:37:33 PM by IraTheSquire

 9 Deviant Braeburn, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 7:46:56 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
"If someone protests against being accused of prejudice against an ethnic or cultural group, when can we believe them? Suppose that, for example, you make an argument against Zionism, and that you are accused of being an antisemite. How do you prove your inquisitors wrong? But, then again, should you have to? But then again, are you, unknowingly? Are you in need of a Heel Relization?"

You'd ask them why they reached that conclusion. Then when they answer, try to show how they reached the wrong conclusion.

[up]

Wait, what argument is @The Handle making?

edited 22nd Aug '12 8:20:08 PM by DeviantBraeburn

Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

[up][up]I don't follow.

[up]Also, keeping in mind that winning an argument doesn't make either of you "correct". Not being able to prove a position wrong does not inherently mean that said position ''is'' wrong.

edited 22nd Aug '12 7:49:03 PM by KingZeal

 11 Ira The Squire, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 7:51:40 PM from No idea. Measuring speed
Phyrexian Dalek
[up] What I am saying is that given that your examples are things that are related to one's culture and religion and attacking them would constitute as "racism", those are exceptional cases that are not included in the "things" mentioned in the argument that you're disagreeing with. In other words, I don't think that Game means to say that "you can condemn anything that they do, even those related to their culture, when you think it's wrong, as long as you're not targeting their culture/race/whatnot", because the italicized bits contradicts with the latter.

edited 22nd Aug '12 7:53:53 PM by IraTheSquire

But my point is that it's a gray area, because there ARE some cultural things which will never be allowed. Ritual Human Sacrifice, Wife Husbandry, and female circumcision are some truly heinous examples.

 13 Deviant Braeburn, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 8:30:31 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
[up][up] and [up]

This reminds me of an episode of THE BOONDOCKS where they talked about the cultural relationship between African Americans and Soul Food (which is mostly fatty foods.)

Skip to 16:11 and end at 16:37

And Huey makes a good point, sometimes a culture's aspect can be destructive.

edited 22nd Aug '12 8:32:17 PM by DeviantBraeburn

Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

 14 Ira The Squire, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 8:43:04 PM from No idea. Measuring speed
Phyrexian Dalek
[up][up] Yup, sure. They are in a grey area. But my point is that I think that Game was referring to things in general rather than including special cases like those.
Then we need to use specifics. Absolutes are dangerous when discussing things like prejudice, bigotry, and culture.

edited 22nd Aug '12 8:49:49 PM by KingZeal

 16 Barkey, Wed, 22nd Aug '12 9:14:01 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I just decide not to give a damn. I act how I wish, and if I'm not being blatantly rude I'm just cool with it. And when I'm being blatantly rude, it's a conscious decision.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Or suppose that, for example, you make an argument against some (negative, "stereo")typical behavior of one ethnic group or another, calling those who perpetrate them to Stop Being Stereotypical... but you aren't a member of said group. Could you reasonably be accused of racism? How would you fend it off? How would you distinguish yourself from someone who would say the same things out of malicious prejudice? Can't a "white" person speak badly of BET or Tyler Perry?

Put simply, it isn't your responsibility, if you're a member of a more-privileged group, to police the behaviour of a less-privileged group. If there's a problem, let them handle it - they probably get more than enough of folks like you trying to dictate what's acceptable and unacceptable for them to do anyway.

Note, though, that there's a difference between attacking a group and an individual. The weighting of "Man, John has terrible opinions about rape" isn't the same as "Man, black people have terrible opinions about rape", for instance.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 18 joeyjojo, Thu, 23rd Aug '12 3:15:20 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
I once read a comparison of racism and original sin. It's something that moral gaurdians hold your guilty of and need to repert for despite never intenting or doing anything.

edited 23rd Aug '12 3:18:04 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 19 Deboss, Thu, 23rd Aug '12 3:51:50 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
If you want to protest against a behaviour that happens to be consistent with a stereotype, protest against the behaviour. If something is wrong, it is wrong, regardless of who does it. If it is right or neutral, it is ok, regardless of that persons skin colour/gender/religion/whatever.

Can't agree with this. For example: black people eating fatty foods (like fried chicken).

Or you could divide things into multiple categories such as "detrimental to others" and "detrimental to self". Diet choice is something that is rarely the former, usually the later and thus merits naught but a generic warning. Something that is detrimental to others, say playing music at high volumes (that's a stereotype of some kind right?) is detrimental to others and thus actually merits arguments against.
@OP: What actually made them think you were antisemitic? IMO a lot of oversensitive people can mistake certain behaviour for racist/sexist/whateverist. For example, I've spoken to people who think criticising the Israeli government is antisemitic.

It is possible to recognize bad behaviour and attitudes in yourself if you're really honest with yourself.

edited 23rd Aug '12 5:04:33 AM by Talby

I just decide not to give a damn. I act how I wish, and if I'm not being blatantly rude I'm just cool with it. And when I'm being blatantly rude, it's a conscious decision.

And when you're unintentionally rude or offense, do you make an effort to change?

 22 The Handle, Thu, 23rd Aug '12 6:34:17 AM from Location, Location, Loca
[up][up]How do I convince others that I am being honest with myself? I remember once arguing that I was very good at introspection. The bowlderized version of the answer I got was "Such an affirmation is self-defeating".

I don't understand that line of reasoning. If you won't believe me when I say I understand the workings of my own mind, if you believe I myself cannot know them nor know that I know them, then what is my testimony worth? What is the meaning in discussing my thoughts at all, let alone judging me for them?

[up]The thing about Barkey is that accusing him of, say, lying about not having offensive opinions, is a futile exercise. Since he never bothers to be politically correct or even hold back from being callously hurtful, it is difficult to doubt that you are seeing the full extent of his bigotry and that he isn't hiding anything, thus bypassing all the Inquisition-like "we know what you really think" nonsense. And since the full extent of his bigotry is not a great extension at all, I think he is more easily tolerted than someone who shows signs of hiding a bigger extension and seems to only show glimpses of it by accident, iceberg-style.

edited 23rd Aug '12 6:39:38 AM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun wentand then it dawned on me.
 23 joeyjojo, Thu, 23rd Aug '12 6:40:22 AM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Storm the bastille!
[up][up][up]You could just as easily be perfect and not realize it. People love finding fault so much they can find it when it isn'tthere.

edited 23rd Aug '12 6:41:32 AM by joeyjojo

Mn Hovercraft st plen de nguills

 24 The Handle, Thu, 23rd Aug '12 6:43:18 AM from Location, Location, Loca
[up]Or maybe if you used different standards to evaluate yourself you'd feel differently about the same empirical truths. I'm thinking of Shinji Ikari and his excessively harsh introspections, which seem to cast everything he does, thinks, or is, in the worst possible light.
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun wentand then it dawned on me.
 25 Hilarity Ensues, Thu, 23rd Aug '12 7:25:14 AM from Standing between Sho'Nuff and total supremacy.
What argument did you make against Zionism? There are definitely reasons one can be against it without being antisemitic. One I can think of is being against all nationalism in general, whether it be Jewish or anything else. As I understand it, even certain Orthodox Jews are actually against it because they think that God, not man, is the one who should bring about a land for the Jews to call their own.

...Of course, you have to keep in mind that the term "Zionist" is also used frequently by neo-Nazis as a synonym for Jew, so... I can understand why someone would have suspicions about people who claim to be against Zionism. But in general, I'd keep in mind that in politically charged arguments, accusations of racism may often (but not always) just be ad hominem attacks made by people who don't really have an argument.

I can't say much else since I don't know the specifics of the conversation.

edited 23rd Aug '12 7:42:12 AM by HilarityEnsues

Total posts: 416
1
 2  3  4  5  6 ... 17


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy