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Greetings,

     I'm going to attempt to bring some things to light that I've experienced in hope we can recognize this in future dialogue. In the aftermath of the post by BlackKos Inc, regarding terms that people might not know to have racist origins. I shall bring to light some of my personal experiences in hope not to offend, but to enlighten. Perhaps some of you can share yours.

    Now, I've experienced accidental racism most of my life but a couple instances really stick out. They stick out because it's friends and family. I was adopted by a Jewish couple. I'm mixed Ethiopian and Irish. Just a little background for ya.

     The one that pissed me off the most was on April 29th, 1992. LA Riots if you didn't know. The police officers who beat King were found not guilty. LA explodes. I was living in LA off of Robertson and Pico at the time and I drove to my parents house in the cushy suburbs of Sherman Oaks to see if they were alright.

     To side track a bit. This is a really trippy part of LA. On the west side of Robertson is Beverly Hills. On the East side it's known as Vietnam. I'm sure you can guess why. Not because it's an Asian neighborhood but because of the gun shots which I heard plenty of. It was aptly named.

     So I drive to the folks house and get stopped by a police barricade. Yeah, the cops ran out of LA into nicer parts. I show them my ID which has my parents address still on it. I'm let through. Won't call this accidental or racist because stuff was going down. Anyways, wasn't a problem. Obviously the parents were fine because they had police and protection and stuff but I stick around to be polite and watch the news with them. Looting is everywhere and being filmed by helicopters, obviously black and hispanic people doing it. I'll remember this for the rest of my life. My mother who raised a black kid says, "Why are those people doing this?" THOSE PEOPLE????? Mom....  I said, "Mom, I am one of those people!!!!!!" "You know what Mom, back in the 1930's in Germany. You were one of those people too...." I said my good byes, knew they would be fine and left. Now you might say, Ohh, the language wasn't exactly racist or she didn't really mean how she said it. Yeah, sighs. Let's say she did apologize later and she did say it how I perceived it. Plus, she remembered the incidents that happened to me in Sherman Oaks later on. The many times I was pulled over or stopped and asked what I was doing there.

     Another time was my friend I've known since 3rd grade. We've done everything together. I don't remember the date but he said a couple years ago. "Your not really black because your mixed." I wanted to smack the shit out of him. I said, "oh really?" "Lets go get arrested right now and find out whose black." He did a double take and apologized. He's not stupid, obviously. We were arrested together at a young age and I was taken in while he was let go. Funny thing is, he did the crime and I came to help him after he ran to my house and woke me up from my sleep. Nothing came of it but it showed how they wanted to blame me.

     You might say, oh these are small things and they are. But, it's what I perceive, not you. I could name blatantly racist things. But those don't bother me. I expect it. Sadly to say. It's the knife in the back which hurts the most.

Originally posted to kdnla on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Small things are simply precursors (5+ / 0-)

    for bigger things. Once you've overcome the inertia, it's too easy to just keep going.

    From our youngest days we're simply indoctrinated to be wary of difference, and the more superficial the difference, the more easy it is to react as our indoctrination tell us. It's the easy way, the lazy way, the not-very-bright way.

    Unfortunately, it takes conscious effort to deprogram oneself, to stop with the superficialities, and to recognize the indoctrination for what it is: brainwashing.

    Thanks for trying to help us overcome it.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    by achronon on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 02:23:26 AM PDT

  •  Sometimes it's racism, sometimes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, isabelle hayes

    it's tribalism, sometimes, who knows.  "Those" people is a designation of "other", however we define other at the time.

    At DKos, "those people" can be Teabaggers, or Republicans, or gun nuts (or gun control advocates), or sexists, or Obama advocators, or, sometimes, trolls. Just watch any hijacked thread in almost any controversial diary. Split any idea or problem into two or three sides, and there's plenty of othering going around.

    This is not to excuse insults, even inadvertent, on the basis of race. They exist all too often, and this site has chosen to call at least some of them out. But at least part of the problem is that there seems to be no particular animus against the othering process itself, or only when it slides into certain very carefully defined categories. And it is a problem, even when it doesn't seem to promote intergroup animus.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:16:59 AM PDT

    •  That's different (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimbeaux

      "Othering" based on behavior is fundamentally different from generalizing based on race or any other immutable trait.

      Hence the desperate attempt by homophobic people to pretend that gay is a lifestyle choice.

      We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

      by Urban Owl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:29:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fundamentally different? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think so. It's the behavior of choosing a same sex partner that most people tend to use to categorize "other" in that case.  It's almost always something on the surface that provokes or maintains the othering process, whether inherent or adopted (or, in the case of the Jewish pograms, the mandated wearing of the star of David).

        I sometimes think that the less outward difference there is, the more hysterical the attempt at othering is, because it's so much harder to maintain the bigotry when you can't be sure you're identifying the other correctly.  When there's an obvious sign, like skin color or genital difference, it's much easier.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:36:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yep. The knife in the back hurts the most... (6+ / 0-)

    I have a few stories to tell and the way I have been dealing with what I "perceive" is my somewhat quirky sense of humor. I find hilarity in human behavior simply because I am able to distance myself from what is happening. I am a Turkish American immigrant whose appearance is white and who speaks English with almost no accent. That should make me free of the wrath, one may assume but that is not always the case. It happens in a unique way. Once for example, I casually mentioned my background as a part of discussion with a group of people and I'll never forget the following:

    "How come?!!"

    "But, but...you look normal??!!"

    -Yeah...I still laugh at it.

    Then the occasional asshole, when I am introduced as someone from Turkey:

    "Are you a Muslim?" (The body language is all that counts here. The person who is asking the question lungs forward, an appearance of aggression in the face, the sound of voice, this accusing tone, and look in their eyes as if I am all of a sudden a hair ball coughed up by fluffy)

    I usually respond saying I don't know what my religion is or is not (which is the truth) but I'll let you know when and if I figure it out.

    Now the key is, I don't ever remember asking anyone their religion when I am introduced to them or ever after since it really is not my business.

    What in the world is fucked up in these people's heads?

    Anyone knows?

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:36:30 AM PDT

  •  Does intent figure in or is it always per se? (0+ / 0-)

    Can't you go crazy divining racist intent to speech or acts which imply racism but not per se define racism? Also, does charge of racism need a bigoted/prejudicial act to constitute racism. The charge of racism is a pretty heavy label, and I wonder if it becomes trivialized when someone expands the intent beyond a specific intent?

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:33:44 AM PDT

  •  One of the things that drive me crazy (4+ / 0-)

    is when someone says "oh, I forgot you were Mexican.  You are not them."

    Another is when I am told "But you don't have an accent!" ... well, duh, I was born, raised and educated (with degrees in English lit) here ... what am I supposed to sound like?

    I guess one of the reasons it drives me crazy is because these small things encourage (to my mind) me to separate myself from my ethnicity and culture and to think less of them.

    Thanks for this

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:56:01 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    achronon, marykk

    people would be shocked to know of how frequently people encounter blatant racist acts and language as well.

  •  "those people" couldn't have been those people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    who were doing the looting?  it's not just lack of intent, but lack of grouping by race, in her question... maybe.  i guess only you know what she meant.  oh - wait a minute.  do you know?  did she admit to this?  

    also, i'm sure you've seen minority racial groups band together to fight against the oppression they experience - when they do, is it racist to identify them accurately as the groups they are?  if not, what do you mean by "obviously black and hispanic people" - if not stating that they are obviously racial groups - within the context of the neighborhoods of LA they represent?  "those" people - black and hispanics from those neighborhoods, demonstrating against the injustice of the application of law toward them.  or "those people," those who looted and took advantage of the unrest.  how were you a part of "those people" in the context of what your mom said?  i honestly don't understand this.  

    it's easy to empathize with the offense to "those people" when someone ascribes the actions of one person to an entire racial group.  that's clear racism.  but it's hurtful to be accused of racist attitudes when they don't exist - just an fyi, if you think you ever find you're accusing someone in error.

    i'd love to see discussions on race and society that allow everyone to be honest about their views.  msnbc had a great 2-hr forum on race during obama's first election cycle.  during it, this really great black guy on the panel said something like, "white people never have to understand black culture to survive; conversely, black people must understand white culture to survive."  it was an aha moment, and suggested the need for an overhaul in how we deal with racial understanding.  i was so hopeful for more of this dialogue but it just didn't happen.  the discussion has devolved into some really hateful shit on the right, and booby-trapped browbeating on the left, imo.

    somewhat off topic, but sorry, your complaint about your mom sent me in a certain direction.  this very minute i'm in my mom's house, where she doesn't live anymore because she needs more help than we can provide.  i've traveled 2 hrs to be here, to take care of things because it looks like her life is close to the end.  funny - i used to have a lot of grudges against her - things she said, things she did.  i can't remember one of them now.  all i can remember is the unwittingly shitty things i said and did to her, and am amazed at how much love she has always had for me.  i guess i am a very lucky girl.

    Republicans don't want to cut Social Security, they want DEMOCRATS to cut Social Security! -conniptionfit

    by jj24 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:22:29 AM PDT

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