Friday, April 25, 2008

unsure

i just got back from an extended vacation visiting my 2 older brothers in West Virginia. it's weird, there's so many MORE professional black people there than there are in portland. i didn't get those you-sound-so-white-when-you-talk looks from other black people like the way i do in portland. instead, they just assume you're one of the professional black people like themselves. but the funny thing is, there are still the country-ghetto-uneducated people there, too, and they're REALLY country.

i also realized that i don't always know what offends people of other races. you'd think someone black would be SO polically correct. i guess that just because i know what offends black people doesn't necessarily mean i know what offends people of other races.

when i got home, my next door neighbor, this really hip asian guy dyed his naturally black hair blond. my first reaction was to say, "you totally look like one of those asian tourists!" it was on the tip of my tongue before i stopped and thought: wait- is that offensive? i honestly didn't know. i know what comments are offensive to black people (of course) but not so much other people. is that weird? that's probably why when a white person gets called out about some racist remark they said, they always reply by saying "whaaaaat??" and everyone thinks they should automatically know what they said was wrong. not that i'm making excuses for them, not at all. but i can see how it could happen.

do white people ever get offended by subjective racist statements about themselves? and i can't remember any white people that i know of or in the media ever saying that they were offended by some kind of underhanded racial comment. seriously.

16 comments:

Natalie said...

I would assume that any time you lump someone in by appearance to a specific group of people it could potentially be offensive. I have a lot of white friends who have been offended by things people have said that generalize white people.

Jazzy said...

This is very interesting! I have never once thought that something I may have said could possibly offend someone who was non-black. This post is going to give me pause to think for the future and over past comments that in retrospect could have been perceived as offensive. You are absolutely correct that as a black person we know exactly what is going to set us off into thinking you racist bigoted MOFO, however, I have not once set down to examine what other cultures may perceive as offensive or racist. Good post definitely food for thought.

amazedlife said...

I don't know if white people in general are offended by subjectively racist statements about white people... as a individual white person, I generally am not, but I think the average white person might be. At least, that's the feeling I get from, for example, white people's reactions to Obama's "typical white woman" comment. I sort of figure, though, that if a race of people have horded the power for themselves for centuries and continue to try to do it, they (we) deserve what they (we) get. And probably deserve worse than we get.

idkmynameismikki said...

I typically make sure I Don't try to offend people of other races when I talk, mainly because I don't know what race they actually are and I don't want nobody of any race jumping on my case. But I do wonder If when I do my valley girl voice if that offends people.

Anonymous said...

That's very interesting. I've never thought that I could offend a white person with an insensitive racial remark. I've always been under the impression that they really wouldn't care or be offended in any way. However, growing up in west Texas around a very rich Mexican heritage, I'm very aware of how racially insensitive remarks affected my Mexican friends.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Obama recently use exactly those words: "Average white person" and it sent off a few remarks?

Anonymous said...

When in doubt, do without. You know what you said was offensive, cause if you didn't you wouldn't question it. Also, there is a difference between sounding professional and "talking white," white and blacks obvioously have different cultures, and different cultures have different accents just like Obama has a southern accent, but speaks well, and Hillary has a northern accent and speaks well. You probably just really sound closer to the white accent. I know that I've written one big run on sentence already but I have to say, it is very obvious in the things you say that you feel very embarassed by uneducated black people and try at length to stay away and not be assocated with them, you might infer in your personal summary that you are successful, but you're missing a key component of success--reaching back. If you don't like how some uneduacted people in the black community act work to open them up to new experiences--help. Life is not just about you and yours we were put here for a much bigger purpose--or if you don't want to do anything don't complain an stop looking down on those "uneducated black people. Also, think before you speak so that uneducated things like " you look like an asian tourist" doesn't come out of your mouth. You could easily be lumped with the same people your trying so hard to not be associated with--ignorance is ignorance--therefore, what makes you different from them?

dalia said...

<<"you totally look like one of those asian tourists!">>

wow. that really could be construed as offensive. i'm glad that you didn't say it, but i'm surprised that you actually had to stop and take a moment to think about it.

i agree with natalie above, when she said how lumping an individual in with another group based on looks is potentially offensive. it's like saying "all black people look alike," when we know in fact that this couldn't be further from the truth.

love your blog.
keep up the good posts!

cardiowhore said...

you were in my neck of the woods sort of! I reside in Virginia, close to where you were, anyway I have offended white people and you live and learn, I can also see how people can make mistakes!

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Joseph Santos-Lyons said...

even though portland supposedly had the richest black community in the USA due to high home ownership rates in the 1980's...i hear you, it really does seem that the professional class of black folks is underrepresented here. one example of this is how many black professionals are hired from the outside of Portland for so many high profile positions. i wonder if this will be the same for the latino community? in the asian community where i am more familiar, there is a presence of homegrown api folks, some of them immigrant/refugees as well. but really i don't know the exact stats.

Anonymous said...

After reading this particular blog, I can't imagine who would mistake you for an educated person. It's obvious you haven't a clue about offending others because you don't even know when you're offending YOU!

Get therapy, QUICK!!!!!

Anonymous said...

We aren't allowed to be offended...

Racism only exists if applied to minorities in the eyes of the law, in the UK anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we do get offended. A coworker once told me, out of the blue nowhere when I asked her what she wanted for lunch, "All white people look the same." I just walked away. I overheard another coworker, an Asian man, start arguing with her, "No, technically they have the widest variety of hair and eye colors of any race" blah blah blah. Who cares. All PEOPLE look the same if you really step back and take a look. If you look at dogs for example, a chi hua hua and a great dane look a LOT more different than a white man looks from a black man.

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