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View Diary: What Do You Think Of This Racial Comment? (77 comments)

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  •  What the hell is that supposed to mean anyway? (3+ / 0-)
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    88kathy, Catte Nappe, m2old4bs

    You probably could have just asked her.

    "I'm not sure what you mean by that," would have been a fine opening, even if she was embarrassed and didn't want to go further.

    To answer your first question, yes it was racist. In part because of the assumption that young black men should moderate the behaviors in ways that suit her. "It's his responsibility" (to tone it down closer to my taste) is the epitome of privilege.

    To address the question in your diary:
    What the hell is that supposed to mean anyway?

    Similar phrasing can be applied to anyone who is dressed, coiffed, or speaking in a way that really draws attention.

    E.g. Young women's fashion - no one would dare tell a young white woman who was dressed to the nines in a beautiful form fitting designer dress - that she should be less white. But in certain contexts, say a conservative work environment, someone will happily say, "She wouldn't have to dress so sexy." or "She really should tone down the sex appeal if she ever wants to be taken seriously." Your co-worker could have meant something similar with her statement.

    I think, the racism and privilege in her comment reflected an attitude that all those obvious features of how he presented himself were somehow artificial, and he could "turn it down" if he wanted to "get along better" in the world.

    But, ponder this, if a young white 20-something with dreds came in, talking on the phone, and bought some cigarettes, she might not take that person seriously either. But she probably wouldn't comment about them the way that she did. Because we all "know" that a young white person sporting dreds is just a passing phase for them, and we tolerate that experimentation more easily for white people. (An example of white privilege, I think).

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:50:27 PM PDT

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