Thursday, August 1, 2013
I don't think I have ever been outraged at what I considered to be a racist comment by anyone on the internet. If I see a truly ignorant and shameful comment about a race or a group, I typically dismiss the commenter as just that: ignorant and shameful. I also find many of the people who cry "racist" to be ignorant or just caught up in their idea of what is right.
In the exchange above I cried "racist!" only to get the ball rolling, I guess. I mean, based on what people consider to be racist these days, this definitely falls into that category. Not because it's insulting, but because it makes assumptions about a nationality (I've learned that the antiquated definition of the word "race" is now obsolete, and that racist doesn't have to deal with someone of one of the old-timey "races" of Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid.
People who post things like this know that someone is going to call it racist. As soon as they see it, they come at it with their prepared reaction.
I wasn't offended by this shirt. I'm not Hispanic, I'm not named Juan, and I have never said I hate tacos. This has nothing to do with me, nor do I think anyone should be offended by it. But then I don't think anyone should be offended by a lot of what I see online. Sometimes I DO see how/why someone would be offended by some of the pretty rank shit people put online, but still I'm not offended or outraged. I'm just recognizing that this is one of those things that some people will call racist. Everyone knows it, too, and that's why so many people will respond with "this is not racist." They are both right and wrong. It's hard to nail it down when so much "racism" isn't even racist.
I called it racist because it definitely includes elements that are widely considered to be racist, but I also called it funny. Did anyone acknowledge that I thought it was funny? No. They got as far as the first word and they jumped on it.
From what I have read, "racism" by definition is one race believing or acting as though they are superior to other races. In that sense this is not racist. But the modern definition seems to be pointing out the differences between people of other groups, colors or nationalities, or making assumptions about how members of a group, color or nationality feel or behave in relation to certain things. Some of these assumptions are actually safe to make. Are they true for all members of these groups? Probably not. If you bring fried chicken to a party where black people will be, is that racist? Some people will say so. Will the black folks eat the chicken? Maybe not all of them, but it wouldn't be considered wholly inappropriate. If you brought grape soda, would that be welcomed? There's a good chance. Is giving money to kids at their Bar Mitzvah racist? Everyone knows how Jews feel about money.
What I'm saying is, if you're looking for it, you'll find it. If you're looking for people calling things racist just so you can disagree, then good for you.