How Not To Be A Doofus When Accused Of Racism (A Guide For White People)

[Note: In 2005, this piece was originally entitled "How Not To Be Insane When Accused of Racism". I changed the title in 2011. The wording of the quote from Prometheus 6, however, isn't mine and so I haven't changed it. Also, the URL contains the original wording, and I don't want to nuke all the links to this post by changing the URL. :-( My sincere apologies to disabled people who object to the wording. --Amp, 2011]

Prometheus 6 wrote something that has stuck in my head ever since:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but “racist” is the only word that makes white people as crazy as “nigger” makes Black people.

It’s true – a lot of white people, hell, most white people turn ten different shades of pissed off and shoot steam out their ears if someone suggests they’ve said something racist. And if you make a point of talking about race and racism, sooner or later someone will accuse you of being racist, fairly or unfairly.

Frankly, I think we whites – especially, we whites who think of ourselves as against racism – have to get over it. So here it is, in honor of “blog against racism day” (okay, it’s now the morning after blog against racism day, so I’m slow):

Amp’s Guide to Not Being a Doofus When Accused of Racism.

1) Breathe. Stay calm. Stay civil. Don’t burn bridges. If someone has just said “I think that sounds a bit racist,” don’t mistake it for them saying “you’re Klu Klux Klan racist scum” (which is a mistake an amazing number of white people make). For the first ten or twenty seconds any response you make will probably come from your defensiveness, not from your brain, so probably you shouldn’t say whatever first comes to your mind.

2) Take the criticism seriously – do not dismiss it without thinking about it. Especially if the criticism comes from a person of color – people of color in our society tend by necessity to be more aware of racism than most Whites are, and pick up on things most Whites overlook. (On the other hand, don’t put the people of color in the room in the position of being your advocate or judge.)

3) Don’t make it about you. Usually the thing to do is apologize for what you said and move on. Especially if you’re in a meeting or something, resist your desire to turn the meeting into a seminar on How Against Racism You Are. The subject of the conversation is probably not “your many close Black friends, and your sincere longstanding and deep abhorrence of racism.”

Think of it as if someone points out that you need to wipe your nose because you’ve got a big glob of snot hanging out. The thing to do is say “oh, excuse me,” wipe your nose, and move on. Insisting that everyone pat you on the back and reassure you that they realize you don’t always have snot hanging from your nose, before the conversation can be allowed to move forward, is not productive.

4) Let Occasional Unfair Accusations Roll Off Your Back. Sometimes, even after you’ve given it serious thought, you’ll come to the conclusion that a criticism was unfair. Great! Now please let it go. Don’t insist that everyone agree with you. Don’t enlist the people of color in the room to certify you as Officially Non-Racist. Don’t bring it up again and again, weeks or months after everyone else has forgotten about the original discussion. In other words, see point #3.

Shorter Ampersand: Don’t make it a whacking huge deal if you say something racist, or something others perceive as racist. Apologize, move on, and consider the criticism seriously so that you can improve your thinking, if need be.

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250 Responses to How Not To Be A Doofus When Accused Of Racism (A Guide For White People)

  1. Pingback: Some links regarding white privilege and racism… « Jnageotte’s Weblog

  2. 202
    robert berger says:

    I have always believed in treating all people respectfully no matter who they are. But unfortunately, we have become so paranoid about
    being offended and causing offense that things have really gotten out
    of hand. You should never make blanket statements about groups
    of people based on race, gender, religion, nationality, or political
    affiliation, period, because people are individuals.
    Most white people are not evil racists who are out to offend
    blacks and other non-whites , and take away their cvil rights and turn
    back the clock and return to the bad old days. And most men are
    not evil sexists who want to be physically violent to women and
    take away their rights to vote, have successful careers and their
    right to choose an abortion. Some sanity and common sense, please.

  3. 203
    Ampersand says:

    Robert, can you point out to me where, in my post, I said or implied that “most white people [are] evil racists who are out to offend blacks and other non-whites , and take away their cvil rights and turn back the clock and return to the bad old days.”

    And can you then point out where I said or implied that “most men [are] evil sexists who want to be physically violent to women and take away their rights to vote, have successful careers and their right to choose an abortion.”

    You’d have much better standing to be calling for “common sense” if you gave any appearance of having read the post you’re allegedly responding to. As it is, you’re making up lies and implying that I or other here have said ridiculous statements. Maybe that sounds like “common sense” to you, but to me it seems like you’re being both rude and stupid.

  4. 204
    robert berger says:

    I did not say thaty YOU personally made these blanket statements
    about white people and men; what I meant is that many blacks
    have made statements like this and so have SOME radical feminists.
    If an individual white person says or does smething reprehensible
    to blacks or other non-whites, then by all means condemn that
    person. But it’s wrong to make blanket statements about white
    people or men. We must not succumb to the very dangerous notion
    of collective guilt; this has led to demonizing Jews as “Christ killers”,
    and ultimately let to Nazism and the holocaust.

  5. 205
    Radfem says:

    Being told that something you did or said was racist is just soooo horrible. Much more so than what happened to two young 17 year old Black women I talked to this past week who were either tasered in the face by officers or hit with a stick, choked and kicked by officers.

    I really really wish that the big feminist organizations gave a damn about things like this. Maybe if it were their kids.

    Yes indeed. Being called a racist or told you did something racist trumps racism.

  6. 206
    Plum says:

    Jellyroll:

    wow, you people are totally self-obsessed.

    You people?

    maybe you should just realize that people of color are more qualified to identify racism than you are.

    You’re kidding, right? That is quite a RACIST statement in itself. No race is “more qualified” than another to recognize & point out racism & bigotry, when it rears it’s ugly head. Case and point: I’m white, and I can clearly see that you’re a racist.

    if you are called “racist” by a person of color. stop talking and start listening.

    I’m sorry, but I’ll decline on your advice. I don’t partake in preferential treatment, based on the race of the person who is making false claims against me. I’m not going to walk on eggshells just because of somebody else’s paranoia. If “people of color” want to be treated as equals, they must be willing to face the same attitudes, criticism & scrutiny that applies to white people. Being an equal is not all about the “good stuff”; it’s also about a lack of special treatment. If anyone truly wishes to end racism, then they need to trash the idea of specialized, race-tailored, acceptable responses. If I wouldn’t even give someone of my own race this kind of consideration (in response to ludicrous “you’re a racist” allegations), then why would I handle the situation with kid gloves if the accuser is of another race? Yes, offering a different response, based on the race of the accuser, would indeed qualify as RACIST.

  7. 207
    Plum says:

    Glaivester:

    And this will surely be controversial. On average, black men tend to have mor “masculine characterstics” than white men (more muscle-mass, darker skin and hair, broader nose).

    Eh…. kindly explain how dark hair & broad noses qualify as “masculine” features. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s this little thing called BRUNETTE WOMEN. African-American, Asian, Italian, Greek, Jewish & many other races of women have dark hair and/or large noses; are you (indirectly) implying that such women are unfeminine?

    Why is the female ideal & “femininity” always presented as a blonde?

    Very irritating… and racist.

  8. 208
    Ampersand says:

    maybe you should just realize that people of color are more qualified to identify racism than you are.

    You’re kidding, right? That is quite a RACIST statement in itself. No race is “more qualified” than another to recognize & point out racism & bigotry, when it rears it’s ugly head.

    I’m a cartoonist. I’ve been dealing with cartoons my whole life. Do you think that makes me more qualified to talk about cartoons than you, all else being equal? Or do you think your opinions on cartooning are just as educated as mine?

    Now, of course, there are some cartoonists with stupid, ignorant opinions about cartooning. And there are some non-cartoonists who are nonetheless experts on cartooning. But on average, I’d expect that the cartoonist to have a more educated opinion about cartooning than the non-cartoonist.

    In a culture where whites are the majority, dominant culture, generally people of color deal more with racism than white people. That means that on average, people of color have more educated opinions about racism.

    Why do you think it’s racist for me to point out that reality?

    Case and point: I’m white, and I can clearly see that you’re a racist.

    So if a person of color says white people should listen to people of color rather than dismissing concerns about racism, that’s racist. Got it.

  9. 209
    Robert says:

    In a culture where whites are the majority, dominant culture, generally people of color deal more with racism than white people. That means that on average, people of color have more educated opinions about racism.

    They have more experience with being on the receiving end. That’s not the same thing as having more experience period. As one example among many, a POC is unlikely to have been an intimate part of a conversation about racist beliefs; I’ve heard white people say things that chilled my blood, that they would not have said to black people. Being part of the in-group provides information which is inaccessible to the out-group – just as the converse is true.

    Neither perspective is superior in terms of being educated about racism. Each has advantages, and each has better information about certain components of the larger conceptual cloud of “racism”.

  10. 210
    Plum says:

    Radfem said…

    Also, African-Americans often are steered by realitors into shopping for prospective homes in “Black” neighborhoods.

    Question: Why are so many African-Americans (once they become wealthy) so eager to distance themselves from their own people?

    I am a lower middle-class white, living in a mixed race mini-hood… and if I ever struck it rich, I would stay right where I am because I can’t stand elitists. Now, if *I* feel this way, why on earth would any black person prefer the company of those snobs?

  11. 211
    Plum says:

    @ Ampersands: I’m sorry, but I’m not really seeing the similarity between a learned profession that one must attend college to educate themselves about, and racist viewpoints, comments, etc… which one can easily be exposed to, out on the streets or on the internet. My point was, since I am inside my own body, and I know my own thoughts & intentions more than anyone else… only *I* am qualified to determine whether or not my comments may or may not be racially motivated.

    @ Robert: Spot-on. Excellent post.

  12. 212
    sylphhead says:

    Question: Why are so many African-Americans (once they become wealthy) so eager to distance themselves from their own people?

    You mean why do they leave poverty-stricken communities?

    And this will surely be controversial. On average, black men tend to have mor “masculine characterstics” than white men (more muscle-mass, darker skin and hair, broader nose).

    Eh…. kindly explain how dark hair & broad noses qualify as “masculine” features. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s this little thing called BRUNETTE WOMEN. African-American, Asian, Italian, Greek, Jewish & many other races of women have dark hair and/or large noses; are you (indirectly) implying that such women are unfeminine?

    I think your reaction is slightly misplaced – I think the OP is not necessarily agreeing with that idea, hence the air quotes around masculine.

    I’m going to have agree that I find something problematic about the original comment, though. Mainly the whole, smug “I know this is controversial” disclaimer, as if she’s being some sort of truth-trammeling muckraker. Definitely not a compliant echo chamber for the worst sorts of pop culture trash built on a smorgasbord of historical prejudices, no, never.

    since I am inside my own body, and I know my own thoughts & intentions more than anyone else… only *I* am qualified to determine whether or not my comments may or may not be racially motivated.

    1. It’s not true that because you inhabit your own body, only you are qualified to speak on your own motivations. If that were true, then the CJS would halt to a standstill if all defendants could claim that they had no criminal intent and this could not be challenged. Other people can put two and two together, especially when there’s strong self-interest in denying or fudging true motivations.

    2. … but even if we grant your shaky solipsistic premise, intent is not what’s most important. Let’s allow that so-and-so’s actions were not racially motivated. Okay… but if they achieve an effect that harmonizes remarkably with existing racial prejudices, it is still worthy of some mention, so that such happy accidents don’t happen again.

  13. 213
    BananaDanna says:

    “Question: Why are so many African-Americans (once they become wealthy) so eager to distance themselves from their own people? ”

    For the same reason that it happens with other races… are there really that many communities where people from widely varying SES levels gladly, harmoniously live alongside one another? It just so happens that for a plethora of reasons, there are statistically less wealthy AAs than other groups, so it means that the racial demographics of the neighborhoods that they gravitate towards in an attempt to be among members of their economic class are mostly going to be skewed towards non-blacks. And that’s not even always the case. If you look at any large city where there’s a large amount of AAs — Detroit, Atlanta, D.C., there’s neighborhoods that are full of wealthy black people.

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  19. 214
    Lesley Stampleman says:

    Just here to simply say that I agree with this checklist. I’ve said a few stupid things in my life. I apologized, moved on, and learned. Let’s keep that inherent white privilege in mind. It exists whether we like it or not.

  20. 215
    Tim Valentine says:

    As a Black person I think this should be opened up as a guide for everyone. Ironically racism is not racist, it’s an equal opportunity employers, because anyone can be racist.

    I’m very careful to charge anyone as being racist, unless they flat out admit to it. Often it’s due to a lack of socialization and curiosity of individuals different than themselves. Once a person has taken the time to honestly and sincerely consider the other persons point-of-view or “walk in their shoes” the accusation of racism tends to go away and tolerance, friendship and acceptance enters.

    It’s not just Black & White. It’s not just Americans. Everyone should consider these suggestions and try to veer away from accusing people of racism without supporting examples, then if you do have examples don’t dismiss each other, work together to find a common ground.

    But that’s just my thoughts, ideas and suggestions on the topic.

  21. 216
    BeeLady says:

    <A black woman from Louisiana,,,Just sitting here blushing and givivng everyone a *group hug*. from my heart.

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  23. 217
    julie says:

    Thanx for the post Ampersand. I am not handling the racism issue well. So, I can do with this.

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  26. This is useful when you’re in a situation where dialogue is counterproductive, or would be changing the subject. Apologizing and moving on isn’t the only proper way to respond, it’s the way to respond when you’re affirmatively trying to discuss something other than race. Like in the middle of the marketing budget meeting or whatever. Commenters seem to be losing sight of this.

    Moreover, apologizing isn’t an admission of guilt, and the more you discuss and explain (when circumstances don’t call for it), the more you sound like you’re looking for an out. “I’m sorry, but” always sounds insincere, like you’re really only sorry you got caught. If you don’t really believe that, for instance, blacks are criminals, say so, even if that’s not what you meant to imply; attempting to justify it only looks worse.

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  32. 219
    Catherine says:

    Hi, I have a question; what if you are confronted with accusations of racism and homophobia, discriminating on the basis of family status, as a white person at work, a person in power, with accusations leveled by an employee and brought to the board of directors. What if you are immediately fired with no explanation beyond ‘you’re racist’ ?

    What if, a few months later, the same board members who fired me, found themselve accused of racism, homophobia, discrimination on basis of family status? And then fired the woman making the accussations. Who then brought this to the OHRC. What if this ruins my life for two years….all because I’m trying to get a RAISE for an employee & the board approved it, then reneged. And the woman was thus yes treated unjustly. She promised me she would ruin me. She did. SO tell me – how does a white woman handle that? The organization itself was wrecked. The rumours were acted upon although unsubstantiated and there was no due process. Your suggestions are welcomed.

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  37. 220
    julinkah says:

    On how to be “Not Racist”
    There definitely is a strange conception in most white souls that being accused of racism is a painful experience and completely unfair. Like there was not the slightest possibility of you and me being racist, acting racist, talking racist. In short being a Racist!

    Once again beautifully displayed was this white racism denial strategy in the reaction of Thomas Hornung, a politican of Die Grüne in Mannheim.

    (The whole story on BlackNRW and Der Braune Mob.)

    After him throwing racial slures at a Black women and treating her with the affiliated disrespect and humiliation that most racists apply when trying to not having to deal with the criticism aimed at them, he simply put it as if the real insult was directed against him, when accusing him of being racist. Not only did he until today not see any necessity of apologizing, no he and his fellow politicians – of whom nobody has positioned so far- decided to go through the whole of white denial strategies.

    1. Not remembering the incident.

    2. Remembering it but having a totally different memory than the actual victim.

    3. Claiming to be hurt by accusations of being a racist, and thus positioning as victim, not as aggressor.

    4. Having extra fancy proof that there is not even the slightest possibility of being racist because of homosexuality, “knowing“ Black people, living in a “multicultural” city, loving travels overseas, being really sad about Micheal Jackson´s death, and disagreeing with Madonna adopting a Black child (to name a few).

    5. Get back to your hurt feelings and put even more emphasis on the victim stance, achieved by accusing your actual victim of being a liar.

    6. Display a pseudo compromise and propose another meeting -private of course- to talk about the “misunderstanding”.

    My fellow white person denial is not a solution!

    It is like that: “We (white people, yes ALL of us!) are racist. The actual work is not escaping this reality, but confronting it. That is reflecting upon it. What is it like to be white? What do I do and how many times have I actually proven that I am racist?

    Yes, accepting this reality requires a lot of work and something we are not used to: Self Reflection.

    “An identity in power never has to develop consciousness of itself as responsible, it has no sense of its limits except as these are perceived in opposition to others.”*

    And I won´t deny it, it is not easy sometimes. As I said it is hard work, looking at one`s self. But in the end it is the only way out. Believe me, this weird feeling of guilt associated with racist behaviour eventually stops. There is hope!

    But in order to achieve that you would have to actually assume responsibility! It is not about denying racism but acknowledging it and becoming aware of your role in it.

    And no we are not victims of our own disability to deal with the racist sentiments inside. They are homemade, remember colonialism, enslavement, genocide, holocaust? Yes, we did that. It is not going to make it any better if still in 2009 nobody wants to be responsible.

    If I do not want to be called racist, I should not act racist.

    Using racist language is a clear proof of being racist. And no, if you really did not mean it that way, you wouldn´t have used it. N-Words don´t just slip off one`s tongue. They come alongside a lack of awareness and a white need to re-create colonial scenarios.

    Racism is indeed nothing to be proud of. Still if you feel offended by a Black person clearly confronting you with your racism, there must be a point when you start thinking about it. Is it really possible that millions of Black people run around and call white people racist for no reason? Now logically speaking, does that really make sense to you? Like naming racism was some strategy to ruin an honorable white persons` reputation? Think hard now, are you serious about that???

    Or could it be that you and your mama really are racists and that is why you run around and insult, humiliate, offend and disrespect Black people?

    I am talking about projection and denial here. And if you don´t know what I mean then you clearly have to educate yourself. Yes you are indeed responsible for your knowledge and you should, as I said it is your responsibility, to finally know these things.

    No don´t rush into self pity! Stop denying the fact that you are racist. It is obvious. Please get yourself together my fellow white person! It is overdue!

    Sincerely…

    * Young, Lola and Pajaczkowska, Claire. 1992. „Racism, Representation, Psychoanalysis”, in : Donald, James. ‘Race’, Culture and Difference. London: Sage. P. 202.

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  39. 221
    Laurel says:

    I heard this comment on NPR in the last week, but I wasn’t able to record the source. Does anyone know who said this?

    HOW INTOLERANT ARE YOU PREPARED TO BE
    TO PROTECT AGAINST INTOLERANCE?

    Thank you,
    Laurel

  40. 222
    LeSigh says:

    Nobody likes to be criticized, however, if a person is truly not meaning to be offensive in what they say or do and are accused of racism- then what does it hurt to bite the bullet and apologize? Perhaps go a step further and explain that you certainly meant no offense. It’s called humility and none of us have enough of it.

    I want others to treat me with respect- and it hurts when someone thoughtlessly says or does something I perceive to be negative or offensive. I always appreciate it when someone apologizes to me. I feel that I owe it to others to provide them the same courtesy in return. Half the time, most people don’t mean to be offensive, but it is always a nice gesture to be sincere in our interactions with others. Miscommunication happens. Apologize, move forward, and let go. You’ll win more friends that way.

    At the end of the day, the old advice is the best: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It may sound trite or cliche, but it is the absolute truth.

  41. 223
    PMac says:

    The original statement/post: “Not to put too fine a point on it, but “racist” is th”e only word that makes white people as crazy as “nigger” makes Black people.”

    I do not know about anyone else but the word “nigger” is and has had connotations of evilness since my having grown up in the sixties. Now, I believe my life’s experiences are a bit more unusual than the average person in this Country (and just don’t ‘think’ that but know that!!!).

    Ok, why do I know this? Because I went to prison for eighteen months of my life and this puts a different perspective on numerous views in life, wouldn’t you all agree?? (I’m not proud of it but it’s not like I wasn’t set up via the WI’s CCAP website by the establishment).

    Ok, first of all, I lived alone for years in an apartment of my own in the Midwest, worked at an airport, had security clearance, went to college at night for paralegal and just really lead a pretty good life until I got myself set up (via the State’s legal website – this State being the first in the Nation to have such a legal website whereas all other states have now jumped on board and have their own versions of such websites). I then found myself set up while visiting an establishment in Waukesha, WI located over a 100 miles south of my residence in then Green Bay, WI.

    So the result was a 18 month prison term. While incarcerated at a minimum woman’s facility, I taught for .35 cents per hour. I had been happy the evening of my entrapment because I had just landed a job as an Computer Analyst for Humana at $18 per hour but since my arrest posted to Wisconsin’s open Circuit Courts website immediately, Humana rescinded my job and wrote me a letter to not show up for my first day of work. It, I realized now, was all illegal but my having tried to contact an attorney in this state was equally as pathetic since the first place I called an attorney had unlawfully provided me with legal advice since the fact his license to practice law had been suspended. He got his license back years later by telling the WI Supreme Ct in a hearing that he didn’t practice during the time he gave me legal advice (this info is only recently discovered 9/9/2010).

    Over the nine years of my having rented an apartment in Green Bay, I had one occasion head young teen chatting outside my back balcony. They were young black teens. Their parents were really nice people. I was a bit rattled by their use of the word ‘nigger’ in a conversation that was in reference to a white classmate. I didn’t listen much longer and shut my door and left them to their business. I never got this out of my mind. It was an odd thing. It was a word that I simply never used. It was offensive to me.

    I had black girlfriends in college at Cardinal Stritch but that word never was discussed. I treated them with respect and dignity that I would have wanted to have been treated. My first young childhood boyfriend was half black. My great grandparents sold land to an elderly couple who’s son was a Vietnam Vet who married a woman from Ethiopia while enlisted in the armed services and their son returned here to the States. He became my best friend growing up on Main Street, East Troy, WI.

    When I was incarcerated at a minimum facilty in Union Grove, WI, I often overheard young black girls calling eacher other the ‘n’ word. One time while descending a stairway on the way to the dining area, one young girls called her friend the ‘n’ word over her shoulder and just as she did, she noticed I was at the top of the stairs and realized that I heard this. I didn’t say a word but she quickly apologized to me since she knew it offended me.

    I talked to her later and tried to explain to her that the quest for black people over the years to not be addressed as such was all undermined by her using this word looslely. I am not sure if she understood what I meant since there are so many years between us, her being in her twenties and me in my late forties at the time. It brings tears to my eyes that young women would use the very offensive words, the very words, that their culture fought to not use. Maybe I’m off. I simply do not like the word. Or perhaps I cannot take the ‘word’ because of what white people have done to this word or how they’ve used it over the years. I do not know.

    I don’t like the ‘f’ word but I cannot eliminate it from this World’s vocabulary. However, I have come to realize that there are people who are offended by it. When I worked as a cost accountant in a construction company in GB, WI, all the workers would return from the job for the day and use the ‘f’ word in every sentence at least once, if not twice or more. It offended me. But ‘I’ cannot eliminate the word from the World’s vocabulary. Nor can I do the same for the ‘n’ word. I empathize with all races and anyone who has been labeled with a word that ‘negatively sets’ them apart from the normal or group.

    It’s truly sad that people in this Country are so myopic and small minded to the fact that racism does occur in this Country and simply denying it does not eliminate it or help things but often makes it worse because it allows a person to become totally withdrawn to their own selfishness and state of mind.

    This also cuts across the boundaries of the subject matter and enters into the realm of religion when it comes to Islam an the numerous faiths & religions that co exist in this awesome Country.

    This Country fought for it’s right to practice its religious freedoms and it’s what this Country is based upon. Just because its not a Christian based faith that it in the focus of current media events of today, does not mean that they and their religion doesn’t deserve equal respect, consideration, or right to be heard regarding their rights that the founding fathers of this Country gave each other.

    Not all faiths in the founding of this Nation were of one faith. This is one thing that must be paramount in the minds of American today.

  42. 224
    PMac says:

    Please understand that my saying the at the ‘nigger’ word has had connotations of evilness since I my growing is in now way or should be construed in any other way except that IT WAS EVIL TO USE SUCH A WORD!

    Thanks

  43. 225
    blakerivers says:

    Beautiful post.

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  45. 226
    James says:

    I enjoyed reading your post and I feel it is a right thing. But whethever I follow your advice or not, I( am still in a big trouble for nothing. During my class at school, people tend to call me a racist by saying actual things which they don´t know. For example when it gets to “university has over 300 different nationalities in it” and I say, half is Chinese, everyone just goes “you are so racist, stop it!”. Even though it turns out there are 75% chinese in it. I have respect to every race, even though I am nationalist a bit, but to certain extend without offence or anything. Then one day I was publicly accused of being racist by my principle, which called me into her office and gave me a lecture. I just said that I will change and it will stop. At the end, she said that it all will go into my student file and will stay there for ever. I got so mad at her and at a kid who is the one that makes the racist jokes, the actual racist jokes to me and other people, because he is the one who told on me. Then I asked my form teacher about it, as the principal said that he would be signing some kind of report. He said that there was nothing serious about it. But I seriously do not understand, why are some people making racist jokes and everyone ignores them, and others are beeing accused over nothing? Why some people get offended so much for nothing, and others take it all as a joke? Why the meaning of the racism is not teached in schools? As maybe then people would learn how to distinguish between a joke and a fact and a racist comment? And what should I have had done in that situation? The student´s record will go into university and my future job, and I clearly don´t need mentioning of that nonsence about racism in it, without any reason… Do I have any rights to claim about being accused of it? Where are the guarantees that the person reading the file would not close it on that page and send it back to school? And I bet stuff in there is highly over exadurated…
    Thanks.

  46. 227
    Sasha says:

    Thanks for writing this. I appreciate the reminder to not take myself so seriously. I feel saddened by how many people seem to have taken offense to this piece… (I guess maybe on the internet, there’s bound to be those kinds of responses if you bring up the topic of race.) Anyway, just want to let you know that I for one appreciate your words. Thanks.

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  49. 228
    T says:

    I was going to say that if I were ever accused of racism I would just feel really bad, and probably more ashamed or sad than angry. Then I remember that time my neighbour told me “it’s okay if you’re a racist”. And I remember being kind of angry. Or annoyed at least. Though mostly I just wanted to tell him “No, it’s not okay”.

    I think I take most criticism badly, but in the end, when you’re being an idiot, the worst thing people could do is let you keep on being one…

  50. 229
    First gen says:

    I think this response only applies to people who didn’t mean to racially or otherwise offend someone.
    As to the original subject, I agree, say I’m sorry, but don’t just move on yet. Communication is the key to learning and getting along. I’m not suggesting a long drawn out discussion. Something simple as I’m sorry I didn’t mean to affend you in any way my apologies. And then move on. In my opinion saying sorry is so generic it could mean anything, like mentioned earlier “sorry I got caught” say sorry, then what your sorry for! Just sorry is impersonal and leaves it up to the person being offended to decide what you meant by it. (Which most likely won’t be good,) because they where offended! – Before anyone jumps on me for thinking I just want them to say sorry when you have nothing to say sorry about your wrong! My thinking is this – I’m a first gen born in America my parents, aunts, uncles and there friends are from the old country (Denmark) when we have big get togethers it’s like two different cultures. (Old ones and 1st and 2nd gens) the old ones get offended and think we are being disrespectful if we swear, text, don’t dress moderate enough, listen to loud music and don’t follow the old traditions. And at the same time we roll our eyes at them and just think they are so out of touch! So who’s right? Doesn’t matter. We know what triggers them and gets them upset so we respect there feelings and keep those things to a minimum and in return they cut us a little slack.
    I know it’s not a real good example and can be ripped apart, but on the same line of thinking I know some Asian cultures, its disrespectful to look at them directly in the eyes for very long. It’s a sign of dominance or bullying, and yet in our culture if you can’t look someone in the eye’s your lying or not trustworthy. Neither is right or wrong, just means something different depending where your from!
    So what I’m saying is yes,say your sorry and why and then move on. and yes think about what you said and learn from it. just because it didn’t seam like a big deal to you, you haven’t walked in there shoes and a comment that means nothing to you could have deep meaning and hurtfulness to them. Meanings of words and saying are constantly changing with the times and one can always learn if they have an open mind. so learn other peoples triggers and respect that person’s, race, culture, sex, or religion. In the future. So we can all get along even though we all think different. And on the other side of the original question. Think before you accuse! Something said might be unintentional and saying something once is not a pattern