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Subject: Try Diet Racism! rss

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Tom Patterson
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I thought this was funny. I look forward to the provocative, thoughtful discussion about race in America below.

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Marcel
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Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.
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Interesting that the video called out the "shouldn't there be a white entertainment television" comment so harshly and with so little explanation. That can be a pretty hard argument for someone to wrap their head around even if they're sympathetic to the same cause. I find it hard to believe that the entirety of the intended audience could easily make all the logical connections required there.
 
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Michael Carter
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White entertainment television already exists. It's called TBS.
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I'm going to criticize the video on two grounds.

First, as is true for the vast majority of presentations on the internet, but an extra danger given that this is meant to be humorous: the video invites viewers to join the narrator in mocking "diet racism". This creates a very real danger, to my mind, that a viewer will simply laugh along, feel good about themselves and slightly superior because they laughed along at racism, and then get up and do these same things themselves with increased confidence that they're not racist, because hey, they laughed at the video. It invites viewers to a feeling of self-righteousness and superiority rather than a sober consideration of the way their own thought patterns are influenced by privilege. That may score points with a certain segment of the population (which no doubt the makers of the video are counting on), but I don't believe that's productive or helpful.

Second, I'm of the opinion that applying the label "racism" to these smaller acts is very often actually unhelpful. Racism is severely frowned on in our society; it's one of the worst things you could do, just below child rape and smoking and slightly above murder. People get defensive when the word is applied to them; they clam up, get stubborn. I don't say that "racist" might not be an accurate description of some of these acts, but I do say that calling them that will, I think, very often have the effect of engendering anger rather than due consideration of other people's feelings. The gentle presentation is better, I think. "Hey, have you ever considered that..." heaping condemnation on someone is something you do to make yourself feel good (see point #1). It's not something you do to win a person who's in the wrong.

In short, I think the way the points in the video were presented leaves a great deal to be desired.
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Tom Patterson
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twomillionbucks wrote:
Interesting that the video called out the "shouldn't there be a white entertainment television" comment so harshly and with so little explanation. That can be a pretty hard argument for someone to wrap their head around even if they're sympathetic to the same cause. I find it hard to believe that the entirety of the intended audience could easily make all the logical connections required there.


If you say: "Why is there BET if there's no white entertainment television," and you consider yourself sympathetic to all other points of view present, then it would probably be a good idea to start asking yourself why that little tidbit was included in the video. Hell, if a sketch gets you involved in a conversation and thinking critically, that's probably a good thing.
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I'm confused is the video aimed at laughing at the people who think comments like that aren't racist or laughing at the people who think that comments like that are racist. I assume the former but it's unclear.
 
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mag74b wrote:
Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.


It's the dreaded black face!

I did open a topic on that a while ago. Some people did explain the historical reason for all the taboo around it (in the US), but it doesn't fit into most of the europeans culture.
 
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Asur wrote:
mag74b wrote:
Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.


It's the dreaded black face!

I did open a topic on that a while ago. Some people did explain the historical reason for all the taboo around it (in the US), but it doesn't fit into most of the europeans culture.


Blackface was present in parts of Europe and had pretty similar, if not quite as extreme, problems as in the US.

E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_and_White_Minstrel_Sh...
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twomillionbucks wrote:

Second, I'm of the opinion that applying the label "racism" to these smaller acts is very often actually unhelpful. Racism is severely frowned on in our society; it's one of the worst things you could do, just below child rape and smoking and slightly above murder. People get defensive when the word is applied to them; they clam up, get stubborn. I don't say that "racist" might not be an accurate description of some of these acts, but I do say that calling them that will, I think, very often have the effect of engendering anger rather than due consideration of other people's feelings.


This strikes me as an important point. I'm ambivalent on this; on the one hand I think it is important to call out racism for what it is, but on the other hand if your purpose is to forward a conversation and a certain word shuts the conversation down, that's a problem. I think a large part of this problem is that labeling people as "racist" has been used as an all-purpose cudgel and in many recent cases, often comes along with loss of job or position especially in the most publicized (read: celebrity) cases. Nobody is going to entertain a conversation where they think they are being told they are a horrible person who deserves to lose their job and social standing. Whereas if you say "That thing you said was a bit uncool/racist/jerkish", I feel like that should all be in the same ballpark in terms of opening a conversation as to why saying it was problematic and why one might want to avoid saying such things in the future.
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Asur wrote:
mag74b wrote:
Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.


It's the dreaded black face!

I did open a topic on that a while ago. Some people did explain the historical reason for all the taboo around it (in the US), but it doesn't fit into most of the europeans culture.
Not to open that can of worms again, but the stereotypical portrayal of Zwarte Piet (in Holland) is very much grounded in colonial racicst stereotypes. We have no need to import taboo's from the US, we manage to be racists all on our own.
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Asur wrote:
mag74b wrote:
Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.


It's the dreaded black face!

I did open a topic on that a while ago. Some people did explain the historical reason for all the taboo around it (in the US), but it doesn't fit into most of the europeans culture.


Blackface was present in parts of Europe and had pretty similar, if not quite as extreme, problems as in the US.

E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_and_White_Minstrel_Sh...
I think Asur is claiming that it does not carry the same cultural baggage here as in the US, and I think he is absolutely right about that.
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Apologies for the thread jack. Here, a picture to make up:

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holy white savior complex !!!!!
 
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Venga2 wrote:
Asur wrote:
mag74b wrote:
Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.


It's the dreaded black face!

I did open a topic on that a while ago. Some people did explain the historical reason for all the taboo around it (in the US), but it doesn't fit into most of the europeans culture.
Not to open that can of worms again, but the stereotypical portrayal of Zwarte Piet (in Holland) is very much grounded in colonial racicst stereotypes. We have no need to import taboo's from the US, we manage to be racists all on our own.

We sure can.
One needs to assess the context behind these things, which is the opposite of making it immediately taboo (as in the US).
If Zwarte Piet is indeed problematic (it does look like it by the pics), and black people DO get offended, sure. Which is very different of calling a guy dressed like Bob Marley that darkened his face, immediately a racist.

But yeah, I'll quit the hijacking.
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Asur wrote:
mag74b wrote:
Why only racism in America? I am still trying to get the people here to understand that Zwarte Piet is racist. I have the impression that in General people in America, also the white ones, are more aware of racism then people here.


It's the dreaded black face!

I did open a topic on that a while ago. Some people did explain the historical reason for all the taboo around it (in the US), but it doesn't fit into most of the europeans culture.


Blackface was present in parts of Europe and had pretty similar, if not quite as extreme, problems as in the US.

E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_and_White_Minstrel_Sh...



Quote:
The show's premise began to be seen as offensive on account of its portrayal of blacked-up characters behaving in a stereotypical manner and a petition against it was received by the BBC in 1967.[7] In 1969, due to continuing accusations of racism, Music Music Music, a spin-off series in which the minstrels appeared without their blackface make-up, replaced The Black and White Minstrel Show. It failed badly, was cancelled after 10 episodes and The Black and White Minstrel Show returned to win back viewers.

Since its cancellation, The Black and White Minstrel Show has come to be seen more widely as an embarrassment, despite its huge popularity at the time


And this was in the UK. In the 60s. A stupid american import which was promptly criticized.
 
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Asur wrote:
And this was in the UK. In the 60s. A stupid american import which was promptly criticized.


It started as a US import, sure.

But it was on for 20 years. It was briefly cancelled some time in the late 60s due to some complaints about it, but quickly came back due to it's popularity.
 
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Asur wrote:
And this was in the UK. In the 60s. A stupid american import which was promptly criticized.


It started as a US import, sure.

But it was on for 20 years. It was briefly cancelled some time in the late 60s due to some complaints about it, but quickly came back due to it's popularity.


The part about being an import shows how this sort of entertainment has nowhere near the background it had in the US. And the lack of questioning.

And you still see terrible shit on TV today. You had the Ali-G show going on not long ago, and that sure sounds racist to me.
 
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Asur wrote:
The part about being an import shows how this sort of entertainment has nowhere near the background it had in the US. And the lack of questioning.

And you still see terrible shit on TV today. You had the Ali-G show going on not long ago, and that sure sounds racist to me.


It didn't have quite the background in the UK as it did in the US. But mainly that's at the time the black population of the UK was (for the most part) fairly new to the country.

Certainly cultural baggage in different countries is often different. But the cultural baggage behind the black and white mistral shows were not so massively different from the racist cultural baggage Europe had from colonial days.

Ali-G is racist in the same sense that Colbert is right wing. Well, more or less.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
You know what bugs me? When something is racist toward white people it's called "reverse racism." No, it's straight-up racism. You don't need the "reverse" qualifier.

Is being racist against white people somehow less wrong? (Or worse, is it acceptable?) If racism is wrong at all, it's wrong in all situations. It doesn't get a pass if you're racist against white people.

The video in the OP: racist. No qualifier. Straight-up racism.


I dunno, I disagree with you pretty strongly about the video being racist in and of itself.

We can also talk about "racism" as a construct. There's a line of sociopolitical thought that dictates racism is only present when privilege and institutional power structures are there to back it up as a means of exploiting and degrading those without. This argument holds that, in America, only white people can be racist because they are the only race able to take advantage of hegemonic bias.

That said, even people who agree with you would probably argue that you're correct in that anyone can be prejudiced. It's for me, an interesting debate over the philosophical definitions of the words and what they mean to certain individuals.

As to the video itself, I don't really see where it's condemning a group of individuals based on an inherent trait. It's bringing attention to a lot of micro-agressions that I've heard people say without irony.
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mlcarter815 wrote:
White entertainment television already exists. It's called TBS.

The Lawrence Welk show comes to mind.
 
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