Is this behaviour racist?

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Is this behaviour racist?

Postby luislsacc » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:21 am

So I wanted to know what people think in this behaviour I sometimes have.

In my city, the huge majority of people are caucasian ( if I had to guess I'd say about 97% of people, but I'd probably be wrong). Sometimes, when I'm walking the streets, on a shopping mall, etc. and I see a black person I think to myself "Oh hey, a black dude.". I don't think ill of the person, but when I see a caucasian I don't think "Oh hey, a white dude." I don't think I suffer from what I've seen some people call "White guilt", as neither I nor any of my close relatives have ever enslaved anyone, but I wanna know, am I being racist? I think my taking notice is equal to the type of notice I'd take from seeing someone rollerblading, but is the mere fact that I take notice racist?
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby Deepbluediver » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:54 am

According to dictionary.com (I love this site, FYI), Racism is:
    a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
And a racist is basically some one who believes or ascribes to a policy of racism.

Since all you're really doing it noticing some one one stands out in the crowd, then no, I would say that your behavior does not constitute racism. It's just the equivalent of noticing some one who is unusually tall or has some other defining physical characteristic outside the standard deviation for the rest of the population.

Personally, I think it's a good thing to constantly evaluate your own behavior and actions, but you will make yourself crazy if you try to do 1984 style policing of your own THOUGHTS. Much like a physical flinch or reaction, there's only so much a person can be reasonably expected to control over their own mind, and so long as you don't ACT negatively because of it, then whatever goes on inside your brain is your concern and no one else's.


Edit: Why the frell can I never get the "List" function to work???
Last edited by Deepbluediver on Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby Tailsteak » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:18 am

If you were vacationing in China, and you saw a fellow white face in the crowd, in that circumstance your mind would (presumably) say "Hey, a white dude".
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby snowyowl » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:02 am

Good point. When you get the same stimulus repeatedly, that part of your mind switches off until something different happens. It's how you notice things that are new and interesting. Rather like staring at an image until it gets burned into your retina - in fact, I'd hazard a guess that it's the same neurological effect.

So I'd say thinking "oh hey, a black guy" isn't racist, it's just you noticing something uncommon (same as "oh hey, a dude with long hair"). Staring at said black guy is rude, and it's possible that living in an area with not many black people is a cause or an effect of some deeper bias. But the thought itself is perfectly innocent.
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby Merle » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:11 am

As others have said, simply noticing somebody's skin color is to be expected, and I don't think it can be termed "racist".

However, there are other racist ways of thinking or acting that can happen with similar lack of conscious intent. I'm sad to say that I've noticed some automatic responses on my part to people fitting certain stereotypes and been disturbed by them.
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby RyukaTana » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:53 pm

Deepbluediver wrote:According to dictionary.com (I love this site, FYI), Racism is:
<snip>


One thing I want to say is, a term like that is far too complicated, I think, to refer to the dictionary. Some people disagree that racism has to be negative (I don't, but again, it's complicated).

Luis, don't get bogged down by the PC society. Thinking 'that's a black dude' definitely isn't racist, unless you assume he's going to start rapping, or you ask him to rap, or something. Hell, saying 'Nigg*r' (I'll semi-censor for those sensitive in this area, but honestly, I wouldn't normally), isn't racist. Calling a black person a 'Nigg*r' is racist, but saying it isn't. Hell, I don't even use the N-word to describe 'black people', but rather, to me, it refers to anyone who falls into the negative, stereotypical 'black' culture (I am using negative not to describe all black culture, but to single out the worst parts of the stereotype) regardless of the color of their skin. I don't need to get my ass beat, so I don't do it publicly, but I don't think it's racist to do so.

The point is, racism stems from a fundamental belief that being of a race makes you <blank> (which can even be positive, such as 'being East Asian makes you good at math'). Even believing that 'more black people than white people act <this way>' isn't racist, so long as you don't see a black person and say 'he must be <this way>'. It's being able to distinguish the individual from his ethnicity.

I mean, as I said, it's complicated, and some people would disagree. However, I think that (or something along those lines) are the only reasonable definitions of racism. Ethnicity has an effect on people, it shapes them at least in part (both on a hereditary, biological level and on a cultural one), but no one is identified solely by their race.
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby luislsacc » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:23 pm

RyukaTana wrote:(...)saying 'Nigg*r' (I'll semi-censor for those sensitive in this area, but honestly, I wouldn't normally),(...) Hell, I don't even use nigger to describe 'black people(...)

You missed a spot there, not that I mind though. Heck, where I live we speak portuguese and it's more polite to say "negro" (the origin word for the "N" word) instead of "black" as they are both words for the colour black but the term "black" when reffering to a person is more associated with stereotypes.

Thanks for your support guys, I didn't really think it was a racist behaviour but in respect to some "I'm colourblind when it comes to race" people (despite the horrendous mistake that their saying holds) I thought I should review my behaviour. Again, thanks everybody! :)
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby RyukaTana » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:33 pm

Whoa... this is creepy... I think the forum reverse censored me...

Here's a cropped screenshot of what the forum says:

Image

Now, I hit 'Edit' (and do nothing else)...

Image

What the eff?
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby luislsacc » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:21 pm

It's Skynet! It's going to take over the world by making us all seem like douchebags therefore making us spend all our time arguing in Internet forums while it takes over the world. It's just starting by translating writing to non-PC terms so we don't realise it's coming!

Edit: This has gotten rather silly for a topic in the Serious Business board.
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Re: Is this behaviour racist?

Postby RyukaTana » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:23 pm

I guess, but I am seriously wondering what the hell happened there...
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