White racism creates more sexism in the world.

In What does cultural competence look like? resistance of Resist racism discusses the problem of “cultural competence” through learning cultural “facts”. A recurrent problem with this is that white people often use some “fact” they learned in a text about how a non-white group allegedly behaves to stereotype individuals of that demographic.

Ironically, the racist stereotype that non-white people are more sexist than white people can actually result in white people acting sexist towards non-white women specifically.

For example, in my immediate family, my father is the only male. We are Chinese. A white man had dinner with us, and asked my father about our family’s position regarding a common political debate. My father is conservative, so he offered his standard conservative reply, which was incongruent with the rest of us, who were on average left of liberal. After hearing my elderly father’s opinion, however, instead of turning to us and hearing ours, the white man was satisfied with my father’s answer and began discussing another topic.

This white man assumed that there was no point in asking about our thoughts, because we were Chinese daughters and a Chinese mother, so our opinions must match that of my Chinese father. Before this incident, I had never had the experience of being shut out of a political debate because of my gender. Ironically, it was the racist stereotype of Chinese women being submissive to Chinese men that actually resulted our political voices being silenced.

When white people assume that members of a racialized group all share the same culture, and that this culture is more sexist than to what they are accustomed, they might actually adhere to the perceived sexist social norms and adopt a deplorably sexist attitude towards its female members.

Similarly, non-antiracist feminist movements which assume that Asian women lack agency are prone to being sexist towards and silencing the voices of racialized women specifically.

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63 Responses to “White racism creates more sexism in the world.”

  1. Adam Says:

    You’re right: damn white people! Your personal experience totally justifies your generalization. And as all your other posts indicate, you are not at all ideologically anti-white.

    Keep kidding yourself, racist.

  2. Adam Says:

    And East Asian racism? It does what to sexism? Wait, what am I thinking? Look at the sort of blog I’m on.

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  4. 2ndnin Says:

    Restructure, the incident you describe seems more like politeness than racism or sexism. The White man asked a question to your father and received an answer that satisfied the question with no indication from your father that there were other dissenting opinions, at the same time neither you nor your family spoke up to indicate your dissent. How could the White man reasonably question for dissent without appearing to be rude or impolite when your father closed down the conversation.

    Your assumptions about his thoughts seem really rather disturbing (I won’t say racist since feminist theory makes anti White racism a faux pas topic), attributing them to racism and sexism rather than politeness. Within at least the sections of White culture (Scottish primarily) I am familiar with you would be expected to throw your own views in if you dissented and doing so was not against the company line. If you don’t do so it is typically assumed you agree or have no wish to currently disagree. While these different cultural standards can overlap to give sexist results making the assumption to start with instead of a cultural misunderstanding seems odd and looking for trouble. Of course if the White man normally would question you separately it puts a different spin on it however we don’t have the information to say if that is so.

  5. somebody42 Says:

    @2ndnin: So it’s polite for the White man to only be interested in what the only other man in the room thinks? And to not give a damn what all the other people in the room think? Your privilege is showing, dude. Badly.

  6. somebody42 Says:

    @ Adam: So commenting on racist (and sexist, in this case) behavior by white people is racist against white people? Say what? Of course, we should never, ever assume that a person who has lived her whole life as a woman of color knows of what she speaks and has had tons of practice noticing patterns of racism vs. innocent mistakes?

  7. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    White racism creates more sexism in the world.
    January 4, 2011 — Restructure!

    After hearing my elderly father’s opinion, however, instead of turning to us and hearing ours, the white man was satisfied with my father’s answer…

    …………….

    Restructure,

    You’re great at sharing your experiences in such thought provoking ways.

    I would agree with the conclusions of the article, but would like to add that what your father’s unfortunate actions / patriarchal control did was confirm and legitimate the White male’s cultural – sexist stereotypes with a clear demonstration of female subordination.

    Out of “politeness”, all the White male dinner guest could do at that moment was to remain silent, but nonetheless he was internalizing the messages of the patriarch’s actions, no doubt leaving “satisfied” in the cultural knowledge he acquired.

    Many White males do take their “lead” from Men of Colour in their sexist treatment of women. For instance, when White males observe Black males treating their women like “bxtches” and “hos”, they can internalize those behaviours as carte-blanche approval to act likewise in dominating or abusive ways in any contact with Black women because it’s “OK”, these women are “used to it”.

    Hence, White policemen’s over-aggressive treatment of Black female suspects/detainees that sometimes caught on US media – amateur video and Black female complaints of police harassment/brutality.

    I know some bloggers would like counter argue that police treat ALL female offenders like this…

    Emphatically No!

    They generally treat women of their own racial group with a bit more courtesy and verbal respect (the velvet glove treatment) and even empathy when interrogating or making an arrest.

    Please don’t trot the G20 summits as an example of White women “get roughed too”. It is not a completely fair analogy. We don’t have a G20 summit every day. And I am not “justifying” or “legitimating” violence on White women.

    As for stereotypes, I would like share a reserve trajectory experience, where as a Black male, some women of colour can project racist stereotypes unto us as “hyper-sexed” and “rapists”.

    The “Black Brute/rapist” ideology is so pervasive that it can lead some women to develop severe cases of “Negrophobia”, that they can shun and recoil at even the slightest interaction with Black males.

    They develop what is called an “aversive racism”, out of their paranoia from the White supremacist – media generated myths feed to them. They are also warned by their own men to “beware” of the Black man, keep a distance from him.

    And from where do their men get this racist ideology?

    This was in part the basis of my Ontario Human Rights Complaint: an extreme poisoned work environment created by a Woman of Colour’s (I will not name the woman’s ethnicity) Negrophobia and the White Female Management’s refusal to intervene with appropriate Human Rights – Anti-Racist policy but instead tried to repress and silence the existence of racist graffito targeted at myself.
    They gave the Woman of Colour “approval” to act out in racist ways and acted on their own privilege as White women to remain silent.

    For those who don’t understand or take Human Rights Complaints take issues seriously, don’t recognize the great harm that cause, they should then consider how much these legal conflicts COST the tax payer in damages suits—never mind the professional and social CONSEQUENCES they inflict on the Complainant.

    This is an interesting thread illustrating the many trajectories that racist and sexist ideology take on, how they interact and collude with one another.

  8. 2ndnin Says:

    @somebody42
    The white guest asked for information on the family view on the issue not the single male participant’s view. That he only received a single unified response can hardly be construed as listening to only the other male in the room.

    Given the information offered by Restructure all we know is that the white man asked her father about the family’s political outlook on an issue. The response he received was a singular view point with no indication that the family had dissenting opinions, the family offered no dissent. I don’t think it is really a sign of privilege to find yourself backed into a corner in a discussion. Of course there are ways to open this up and depending on the context it would be highly appropriate to do so (lecture theatre, classroom etc where even if there was no dissent asking is often a useful use of time) however in a polite dinner asking others after you asked about the family view would seem horribly disrespectful to me. Further we are also not aware of the family connection to the white man, perhaps Restructure’s father and him are long time friends and so the primary relationship is between her father and the guest not the family as a whole and the guest. Again people have different liberties and ability to open up questions after receiving a single view depending on the relationship between the group.

    Also the assumption that I am a guy…

  9. Restructure! Says:

    The White man asked a question to your father and received an answer that satisfied the question with no indication from your father that there were other dissenting opinions,

    Well, the white man asked the question in a way that sounded like, “What do you people think about X?” (it might have been “What do you guys think about X?”). There is absolutely no reason to assume that everyone thinks the same, and my father was speaking for himself, not for the family. My father knows very well that when we discuss politics, his opinions are in the minority, which is why he always complains that he is “under attack” when we discuss something controversial.

    at the same time neither you nor your family spoke up to indicate your dissent.

    That’s because he switched topics right after without missing a beat, and since he was a guest, we didn’t want to be rude.

    Further we are also not aware of the family connection to the white man, perhaps Restructure’s father and him are long time friends and so the primary relationship is between her father and the guest not the family as a whole and the guest.

    No, the connection is between the guest and our whole family.

  10. Restructure! Says:

    I would agree with the conclusions of the article, but would like to add that what your father’s unfortunate actions / patriarchal control did was confirm and legitimate the White male’s cultural – sexist stereotypes with a clear demonstration of female subordination.

    No, my father doesn’t have the upper hand in political discussions, because his opinions are usually based on being ignorant about the subjects under discussion, and the rest of the family is more politically savvy and articulate. He is used to being the odd one out, and often feels that everyone is criticizing him and calling him a bigot. As least in the past 7 years or so. He fully expected to be called out by us, since that’s what usually happens, but the white man assumed a very different dynamic.

  11. numol Says:

    Almost every time someone on the Internet posts a personal example of bigotry in action, the comments section becomes host to people who think they can interpret events better than the original poster… especially if the OP is a person of color and even more especially if the OP is a woman of color. This is, itself, an example of racism and sexism.

  12. Janine Says:

    @numol: That’s because you people look for any harebrained excuse you can find to accuse others of some kind of prejudice. It’s a mental disorder.

  13. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Restructure! Says:
    January 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    …………..

    I got it. Thanks for clarifying with more details about your father’s political views. I wanted to support not dispute your experience.

    ………………..

    Janine Says:
    January 7, 2011 at 3:53 am

    @numol: That’s because you people look for any harebrained excuse you can find to accuse others of some kind of prejudice. It’s a mental disorder.

    ………..

    No, it’s not “harebrained” or “mental disorder” as you try to pathologize it. It is a double consciousness, a critical awareness of unequal power dynamics operating in a domestic setting.

    I also hear the Discourses of Denial at work in your rebuttal. Out of racial group solidarity to the White male, you also immediately close ranks to demonstrate allegiance, rather than step out of your experience and see how the White male might have inadvertently colluded with sexism based on his preconceived assumptions about Asian femininity and their subordinated “place”.

    I don’t think Restructure is casting “blame” but simply unpacking an instance of the subtle ways which in which unequal power relationships / racism and sexism interlock within a domestic setting. For now and the purposes blog discussion, she can only reference those personal experiences as a springboard.

    In wanting to “vindicate” your White group member from any charges of potential wrongdoing, you weigh in with denial rhetoric that unequal power cannot exist in Canada and that the Asian woman’s comprehension of her own experience is invalid, that it just lacks “common sense” and therefore is a “mental disorder” emerging out of her “hyper-sensitivity” and “neurosis” to events unfolding.

    It’s clearly, something you choose not to identify with—being silenced as a woman, in order to safeguard White privilege from criticism.

    In Human Rights disputes, especially in charges of racism or sexism, the Respondent often takes this tactic of trying to cast the Complainant as “mentally ill”, a strategy to de-legitimate their complaints / experience.

    Racial solidarity may seem “natural”, as Whites like to accuse People of Colour of the same thing. But we’re not the “you people” in Power or the ones who forged and control the stereotypes/mythology.

    So you assert your race privilege rather than demonstrate allegiance to the woman of colour and her own double oppressions with sexism and racism. Her dissent must be silenced to preserve the notions of White benevolence/ democracy and dispel charges of racial stereotyping also at work.

    This is often a big underlying conflict in Feminism; why White women and Women of Colour cannot form easy alliances, because White women want to reinforce privilege / dominance over women of colour, while exonerating their men from accountability.

    You would rather go against your own common gender interests / stonewall your oppression as women than examine/dismantle White patriarchal dominance.

  14. 2ndnin Says:

    Given Restructure’s clarifications I would agree the guest was not simply being polite given that the question was addressed to the group (thus not backing him into a corner politeness wise) so shouldn’t simply have brushed forward.

    Thanks Restructure.

  15. Janine Says:

    Anti-Status: You have a habit of vomiting psycho-babble in lieu of making sense. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  16. Slush Says:

    I’m missing the details that lead you to conclude that this dinner guest assumed your father spoke for all of you because you are Chinese, as opposed to him assuming that because he is sexist.

  17. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Janine Says:
    January 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm
    ………

    Janie,

    Go read another book! Besides quoting some cheap Shakespeare!

    Since you have nothing valuable to share, no insight into these matters because you’re holding steadfastly to your White privilege, I would recommend that you get yourself an Anti-racist education.

    Or does the the sight of a book just intimidate you…?

    Don’t tell me, are you not the White angel of death sent to replace fred on this blog…?

  18. numol Says:

    @Janine: “You people”, huh? Also, don’t go around diagnosing mental disorders every time you disagree with someone — it’s bigoted in several ways, as Anti-Status Quo Voice points out, and it makes you look like a clueless hipster troll. And quoting Shakespeare does not give you the cred you think it does — it only proves how smug you are.

    @Restructure! & Anti-Status Quo Voice: For what it’s worth, I salute you both. You continually demonstrate your wit and grace, and exhibit amazing patience when dealing with willfully-ignorant and bigoted people on this blog.

  19. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    numol Says:
    January 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    For what it’s worth, I salute you both. You continually demonstrate your wit and grace, and exhibit amazing patience when dealing with willfully-ignorant and bigoted people on this blog.

    ……

    Thanks for your words of support here.

    But in all honesty, I’m not here to “dazzle” anyone with my wit or anti-racist knowledge. But if bloggers like Janine, fred, and JAY are intimidated or put off—that’s just too bad.

    My comments emerge from 40 years of life experiences of belonging to two oppressed groups and from an ugly Human Rights Complaint that left me devastated for years and nearly de-railed my whole work life. That’s where I’m coming from.

    But rather than remaining traumatized and a little “bitter” by that awful experience, I went out to get myself an education about racism and White privilege, to unpack, as they say, what happened, to become more critically aware.

    Prior to 2000, I was a quiet, almost compliant Black male, who just wanted to get along, work hard, be nice to White folks and dumb animals, not appear “threatening”, to be the best “model minority” I could be.

    I was deeply betrayed for my efforts in trying to make White people smug and sanctimonious. But I recognize I was probably just as “dishonest” in trying to play the game where the rules were always changing and in “performing” what I really wasn’t.

    I repressed feelings and often bridled my tongue.

    I repressed / didn’t talk about racism for fear of offending and alienating White people. Although racism / White privilege was all around me and affecting my life choices, I couldn’t name it because I was taught to see through colourblind lenses via my education and social relationships.

    More importantly, I didn’t have the knowledge or the language to articulate what I was experiencing because of the “now you see, now you don’t” nature of White privilege. It was hard to pin down and name.

    Since the Human Right incident, I went out and got my self that Anti-racist – anti-oppression diploma by reading as much as I could by well-known Anti-racist and feminist scholars. I have a large collection of books on anti-racism, privilege, feminism, Gay studies, Black history, film studies etc.

    And I didn’t just read them but APPLIED that knowledge, and educated my more open and critically thinking Black and White friends along the way.

    Armed with that knowledge, I am now liberated, especially from the fear of offending White people, wanting them to “love” and “accept” me, not see me as a “deviant monster”. But perhaps I am “deviant” now because of recalcitrant voice, and that I am no longer in “awe” of White people and Eurocentricism.

    Understand, I do not hate White people as I don’t have the power to oppress them but I do see them in a different and more critical light now…and I can immediately detect discursive racism or the denial of it when I hear and see it.

    With that strength, I can immediately detect the voices on this blog who have experienced oppression, those who are knowledgeable in Anti-racist Thought and principles from those who don’t and won’t do the work. The arguments of anti-racists are usually sincere and free of denials and contradictions.

    I can immediately recognize in them, the same discourses of denial, disavowal, blame the victim, colourblindness that my former White employers and co-workers used in their denial and repression of workplace racism.

    And yes, it cost them a lot financially—but I suffered the most from the social consequences of filing that Complaint.

    Now, I have no fear anymore in challenging the White privileged – supremacist naysayers who enter this blog who are always invoking biological difference, demanding stats and evidence and displacing the burden of proof onto POCs.

    And yes, unfortunately, I do get a bit “emotional” sometimes, exasperated is more the word, because I am appalled to see in the 21st century how racist Canada really is, for all its false rhetoric of multiculturalism and diversity. And it is not the Racism 101 kind that bothers me, but the insidious rhetoric of White domination and paternalism that pervades thinking and public policy.

    It is not just about “personal interactions” and “prejudice” but institutional and political practices, the exclusion and alienation that results.

    I would be the first to admit that Black people can be also be “prejudiced” as well—-usually out of profound alienation from negative social experiences, but I always remember that we cannot ACT on those antipathies in turning our feelings into political action / social exclusion.

    This is my stance.

  20. jewamongyou Says:

    I wonder if non-white men are subject to the same sort of projection. Since they are human, and white men are human, my guess would be that the same phenomenon would be observed. So why single out white men?

  21. numol Says:

    @jewamongyou:

    Do you have anything better to do than troll this blog and try to get a rise out of ASQV? Really, you seem to have made it your life’s mission to harass him. You must be horribly insecure, since you are so desperate to believe that the experiences of POC are all just “projections” and that you, the white guy, see reality so much more clearly.

    It is you who is projecting. You troll, you goalpost-shift, you put words in people’s mouths, you harass, you apply totally different standards to other people than you do to yourself, and then you have the nerve to act like YOU are the one who sees things clearly? Please.

  22. Janine Says:

    @numol: “You people”, huh? Also, don’t go around diagnosing mental disorders every time you disagree with someone

    I don’t diagnose mental disorders every time I disagree with someone. But in this case its hard to miss. What do your parents think about your extremist views?

  23. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Numol,

    Don’t worry about Janine, she’s no worse than fred or the other trolls.

    But there is a commonality to these responses, or what gets their hackles up in feeling “attacked”….

    In their imagination they have constructed White identity as a “sincere fiction”, a fantasy as something good and benign, the “saviour” of the Dark People, the “civilizing agent” to the world that has given us Western culture, etc. So any interrogation / critique of the White image as something another other than “benevolent”, hits a visceral nerve in White people and they come out swinging just like POCs.

    I’m not kidding—-you will find many other instances/ threads of that same White desire to be recognized as Benevolent Savior of humankind; and if bloggers perceive White identity as under “attack”, they fiercely defend with “pathology” or “ungrateful” rhetoric; POCs are “crazy” and “paranoid”; that POCs “hate” White people; “we’ve been so good to you, why do you want to hurt us”?

    Or worse, they will take the “high road”, and start mockingly referring to themselves as “Evil” and ‘Blue-eyed – White Devil”—–when no POC invoked that allusion. Where is that rhetoric coming from…?

    Janine, like many White women, who have never stopped to reflect critically on her identity ( what is means culturally and socially ) is perhaps struggling to defend the fissured notions of White womanhood that she has consumed over the years.

    Janine has not only a mirror into which she can gaze and spend her empty hours, but also a deep reservoir of historical and cultural icons /mythology of White women as Goddesses, Virgin Mary, angels, fairies, nuns, Florence Nightengale nurses/caregivers, Developing World Missionaries and Aide Workers etc, etc.

    So any perceived POC “bashing” of White feminine identity is bound to create an adverse reaction of “hysteria”. Doesn’t sound very “stable” to me…?

    Globally White women (European, Jewish, Hispanic) have their own treasure trove of sexist stereotypes and discourse. Most of it created by White patriarchy to revere / protect them from sexual contamination and given them MARGINAL/ RELATIVE POWER over men and women of Colour. The mythology is assimilated, affirmed and perpetuated by White women.

    If you are interested, I recommend take some time to watch some Pre-1960 movies…Old movies are the best to watch, because their age has DISTANCED us as viewers, so we can more easily recognize and deconstruct the images and narratives, then make the leap to more contemporary films and you’ll see the same discursive ideologies 50 – 70 years later.

    Vintage films are not only about anti-Black or Asian stereotypes, but also about how White femininity constructs / represents itself as an identity.

    Watch on YOUTUBE: The Cheat (1915), East of Borneo (1931), Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932), Thirteen Women (1932), Imitation of Life (1934).

    I’m currently researching on a book of critical essays examining White female representation in Classical Hollywood cinema…exploring issues of racial identity, Hollywood cosmetics, fashion, photography and gender performativity.

  24. Janine Says:

    Anti-Status says: POCs are “crazy” and “paranoid”; that POCs “hate” White people; “we’ve been so good to you, why do you want to hurt us”?

    Stop hiding behind POC. I’m not white and I’m nothing like you. But you described yourself to a tee.

  25. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Janine Says:
    January 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Anti-Status says: POCs are “crazy” and “paranoid”; that POCs “hate” White people;

    ……….

    Context….? I’ll remind you that I wasn’t the one who originally invoked the discourse of “mental disorder” and “psychosis” to frame/dismantle the arguments.

    This is a strategy White people often deploy to dismiss and blame People of Colour…

    You say: “I’m not white and I’m nothing like you.

    So if you’re not White, what ARE you then, why have you been “masquerading” as something else…? What do you identify as…?

    Usually, people of colour assert their identity immediately, their social position, or did you already do this on an old thread…?

    If you are indeed a woman of colour yourself, then it’s very sad that you are colluding with White supremacist ideology and supporting the status quo. Do you think White people consider you the “exception”—not like the others…?

    You can’t examine issues of femininity, sexist stereotyping, etc without identifying/interrogating race. The two interlock, but ultimately racial identity prevails gender as a social category.

    Janine, no one says you have to completely “agree” with everything said…but if you’re going to impose your opinion, why not make it an informed perspective, without dismissive/ silencing discourse like “mentally ill” and free of paradox and contradiction…?

    We can also choose to just ignore each others comments in the future. I’m not asking you to respond to me…

  26. Janine Says:

    Anti-Status says: This is a strategy White people often deploy to dismiss and blame People of Colour…

    You use critical discourse as a strategy so you think mental illness is a strategy. Its not a strategy. You really are crazy.

    Anti-Status says: So if you’re not White, what ARE you then, why have you been “masquerading” as something else…? What do you identify as…?

    Nobody masgueraded idiot.

  27. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Janine Says:
    January 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Nobody masgueraded idiot.

    ……..

    Then why were you in hiding? To bait and entrap me in my comments, while exposing how duplicitous you are as a person?

    You’ve still evaded the questions of your own racial identity / ethnicity; Are you Black, East/South/Pacific Asian, Native Aboriginal, Latina? Am I to assume now you are of “mixed race” – bi-racial identity? A light-skinned person of ambiguous racial features?

    Again, you’re making with the “crazy” rhetoric—Is that the best you can do as a rebuttal to the many power issues discussed on this thread? Name calling—I’m an “idiot”—-is this your best strategy for debating an argument?

    I beginning to believe I’ve said something that hit a nerve with you….

    From the discourse you’ve fabricated, I’m beginning to think here’s that tragic social phenomenon of the Woman of colour “masquerading” and “passin'” for White…why, so she can annex the social privileges, even if it means eradicating her own racial identity and sacrificing alliances with other women of colour…

    Janine, I could think of several choice epithets to hurl at you….but I’m not going to declare them as I would betray my commitment to dismantling harmful sexist ideology.

    Let’s just say, you’re a narcissistic woman and even a little self-deluded yourself in arguments that reveal a heavy commitment to White supremacist patriarchy.

    None of the readings/comments on Restructure’s blog would seem “soooo pretentious” or “overblown conjecture”, as so many trolls like frame them, if they would step out of their tunnel vision vacuum, explore some of the many histories / critical works out there in developing a critical conscience about the world in which we live.

    Troll yourself out, sweetie…The platform’s all yours now…But as I said before, go read book / get yourself an education on Race and Privilege—-and then come talk to us.

    Please don’t engage/troll again me.

  28. numol Says:

    @Janine: You really do sound like a right-wing radio talk show host when you go around calling people “crazy” just because you don’t agree with them.

    @Anti-Status Quo Voice: Thanks for your defense, and for the movie list — I’ve actually seen Imitation of Life quite a few years ago and… yeah it was pretty messed-up from what I remember (trying to portray itself as “progressive”, too… my, how things have *not* changed). And the stuff you say about White women rings very true. It’s interesting how we Whites know so little about our culture (because of built-in self-deception, maybe? http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/60/001.html).

  29. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    numol Says:
    January 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm
    I’ve actually seen Imitation of Life quite a few years ago and… yeah it was pretty messed-up from what I remember

    …………..

    Great that you’re interested in the film list, although I apologize to Restructure for straying so far from the original article in duking it out with Janine.

    Nonetheless, all the following comments should reveal, how some women of colour can also unwittingly collude / keep racist stereotypes / White patriarchal domination in place by dissing her sister’s experience by pathologizing / invoking “psychosis” discourse.

    ………………

    Imitation of Life (1934) is a “great” but essentially flawed film, hardly a “progressive” story but one that merely keeps the White status quo in place. Anyone interested in issues of race, feminism/motherhood and privilege should watch it. It’s one of my favourite hokey racist films that I reference in my research.

    You should watch the cult films, Bitter Tea, Shanghai Express (1932), and Jezebel (1938). In Thirteen Women (32), the “half-caste” Asian woman is represented as a homicidal maniac and it includes a great scene about White privilege and the crisis of claiming White identity.

    In Shanghai Express and Bitter Tea, it’s interesting and appalling to watch how the White female characters are both exalted and punished because of their involvement with racialized others. Asian culture / men and women are represented as the agents of “excess and corruption” on her purity.

    And some more contemporary films: Long Walk Home (1990) with Whoopee Goldberg and Sissy Spacek; Passion Fish (1992) and White Massai (2005), film narratives representing the trajectories of race, gender and privilege; how White women construct their social identity in opposition to subordinated Asian and Black women.

    I will check out hartford reference.

    Take care and thanks Restructure….

  30. Janine Says:

    Anti-Status says: Then why were you in hiding? To bait and entrap me in my comments, while exposing how duplicitous you are as a person?

    Hiding? I never said anything one way or the other. I don’t need to bait or entrap you. All I need to do is sit back and watch you make a fool of yourself.

    “You’ve still evaded the questions of your own racial identity / ethnicity; Are you Black, East/South/Pacific Asian, Native Aboriginal, Latina? Am I to assume now you are of “mixed race” – bi-racial identity? A light-skinned person of ambiguous racial features? ”

    Youre desperate to know my background so you can attack it and me. Like you try to do right here…

    “From the discourse you’ve fabricated, I’m beginning to think here’s that tragic social phenomenon of the Woman of colour “masquerading” and “passin’” for White…why, so she can annex the social privileges, even if it means eradicating her own racial identity and sacrificing alliances with other women of colour… ”

    You accuse me of fabrication and then you fabricate that.

    “Let’s just say, you’re a narcissistic woman and even a little self-deluded yourself in arguments that reveal a heavy commitment to White supremacist patriarchy. ”

    I’ll give you bonus points for using white supremacist and patriarchy in the same sentence. HA HA

  31. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    numol Says:
    January 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    …………….
    Thank you for the article:

    Hypocrisy as a Way of Life

    ” That some may “believe” that they are actually doing good only makes them more dangerous, for they have swallowed their own rhetoric-perhaps a convenient self-delusion. Hypocritical behavior is sanctioned and rewarded in European culture. The rhetorical ethic helps to sanction it. European culture cannot be understood in terms of the dynamics of other cultures alone. It is a culture that breeds hypocrisy-in which hypocrisy is a supportive theme a standard of behavior”.

    Yes, some very relevant points that have also played out on this thread….

    And I, too have been duped by hypocrisy myself and perhaps that recognition was what made me more angry at my former White female employers than at the actual instance of workplace racism /harassment.

    Paternalism is another form of hypocrisy, hard to gage, because you are never sure of the other person’s empathy or commitment—until a crisis/conflict happens. Things develop in how the person intervenes or does nothing.

    Thanks again, I have printed it off and will try to seek out the whole book.

    ……………………….

    Re: Movies and sexist stereotypes…Have you seen the remake of The Women (2008) with Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, and Jada Pinkett- Smith?

    In our topics of about sexist / racist female stereotypes, despite all the good intentions of opening up and liberalizing to include some Women of Colour female actors, it’s rather interesting that the Lesbian character is assigned to the Black woman and the man-trap / home wrecker is assigned to a Hispanic woman.

    While it appears innocuous, “nothing at all”, I still questioned why the Black woman was cast/accepted the role of the Lesbian, given all those negative discourses about Black female testesterone levels, and “mannishness” as we have seen discussed on two threads on racist – sexist stereotyping.

    Likewise, Eva Mendes plays her part with all the “sizzling hot Latina pxxxy” discourses working overtime.. So any sexist White males out there consuming this movie, would again see Black women as “aggressive Lesbians”, and ethnic Latina women as “hyper-sexed”. As beautiful and talented as Smith and Mendes are, they are entrapped in ideology and can’t win….

    Both roles/actors just re-inscribed racist rhetoric while leaving White protagonist Meg Ryan at the “just right” centre of female representation.

    Of course the Jewish woman / actor Bette Milder got off easy in this narrative and just assimilated into “normal” whiteness….

    Women of Colour actors, I think, really need to be conscious of the roles they accept, otherwise they just end-up re-inscribing dominant ideology with their bodily presence, unaware of the ideological impact of their roles.

    Diane English, the director and writer of this updated nonsense, made some unfortunate choices…All of her “good intentions” at “diversity” and inclusiveness just falling flat.

  32. CJ-Canadian Says:

    it wouldn’t not surprise me if Janine enjoys racist anglo-american tv shows like Glee, the big bang theory and racist hollywood movies that refuse to hire POCs etc

  33. CJ-Canadian Says:

    and Janine is the type of self loathing type that what to join this “white club” she reminds of Michelle Malkin who defended the internment of Japanese Americans during world war 2

    more on the “white club”

    http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/the-white-club/

    this may explain why she constantly defend cover racism and white supremacy

  34. numol Says:

    @Anti-Status Quo Voice: No, I haven’t seen the remake of The Women. I have heard about it, though, and how racist/sexist it is. I don’t think that casting a Black woman as gay is inherently stereotypical *unless* she is aggressive and “stereotype gay” — but from your description, I assume that they did make her aggressive and at least a little stereotypical. Sigh. Hollywood always treats diversity as a buzzword rather than a real commitment (otherwise maybe we would’ve had Smith or Mendes in the lead role).

    What’s especially sad is that, while big stars like Smith and Mendes may have a choice in what roles they play, a lot of actresses do not — they are not famous or rich, so they wind up getting literally trapped into playing stereotypes because there are no other roles available to them.

  35. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    numol Says:
    January 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t think that casting a Black woman as gay is inherently stereotypical *unless* she is aggressive and “stereotype gay” — but from your description, I assume that they did make her aggressive and at least a little stereotypical. Sigh. Hollywood always treats diversity as a buzzword rather than a real commitment (otherwise maybe we would’ve had Smith or Mendes in the lead role).

    ……….

    Oh, no….don’t misunderstand me…I completely agree with you here!

    Nonetheless, for critically UNconscious viewers, the role of a Lesbian if represented on scree by a Black female actor still carries the potential of re-enforcing a negative stereotype in one’s imagination about Black women regardless of whether the character is aggressive or not….

    I can’t help but feeling uneasy about jewamongyou’s comments about the so-called “aggressive” nature of Black women because their supposed “high testesterone levels”. Anyone who subscribes to biological racism is bound to read / accept the this “deviant” sexual stereotype anyway…

    In the original 1939 film, the same character, a feminist / writer, was represented as “coded” for Lesbian—i.e unmarried and dressed in a tailored suit vis-a-vis more traditionally feminine attire worn by the other female characters. She refers to herself at one point as a “frozen asset”. In the remake, Pinkett – Smith is not represented as aggressive or mannish, but just extroverted / ambitious….the supposedly “neurotic” / aggressive” are ironically displaced unto her “crazy Russian” lover—another ethnic stereotype, in perhaps “saving face” or recuperating Smith’s star image—she couldn’t go all out—she has to think of her fans….

    You are also right about Hollywood’s non-committal deployment of “diversity”—- sigh! I sometimes think that directors are not always conscious of their casting choices and minority actors are equally unaware of the ideology underpinning their roles…They just feel they are playing a “great part”, and not concerned about the consequences.

    Eva Mendes, is also entrapped in Latina female stereotypes, there is nothing she can do to “humanize” it because the script doesn’t provide that opportunity.

    I think Monique in Precious falls into this trap as well…Her role just re-inscribed US Republican ideology about the “Bad Black mother”—-abusive, duplicitous, and on welfare, etc.

    Anyway, there are problems with the 2005 remake. The producers try to “update” and repudiate/transform the 1939 female stereotypes but it’s all in vain.. they just created something else….

    Get both versions when you can and see for yourself…You might see something different and just as valid…

    Great chatting!

  36. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    CJ-Canadian Says:
    January 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    and Janine is the type of self loathing type that what to join this “white club” she reminds of Michelle Malkin who defended the internment of Japanese Americans during world war 2

    ……………

    I agree…but my quarrel with Janine and numerous other bloggers of colour from oppressed groups, is the way in which their language and thinking is so complicit and invested in to dominant ideology.

    To employ several rather unpleasant terms, they have become “agents of oppression”, “sellouts” or even “race traitors”. I wouldn’t want these kind of conservative People of Colour in Public Office representing me…

    They fail to see that their investment in dominant ideology is not only dis-empowering to them, but also to the countless others who fought for Social Change in dismantling sexist / racist policy, so we can all have a chance at equity, justice, etc.

    They perhaps enjoy the good life and benefits, but wish to forget about those who made their liberation and social opportunities possible in breaking down barriers / demanding policy change.

    By subscribing to the dominant ideology/status quo, refusing to develop critical thinking and demonstrate solidarity with the oppressed, they do the work of activists a great disservice.

  37. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    CJ-Canadian Says:
    January 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    more on the “white club”

    http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/the-white-club/

    ” When the Irish, Italians and Jews came to America they were not seen as white at first even though they pretty much looked it. Only when they showed themselves willing to carry out club duties were they admitted and were able to enjoy its privileges. Had they kept their culture, married blacks or made common cause with them, they would have stayed at the bottom and would be regarded much as Latinos are now.

    ……………..

    Many Thanks CJ! I’ve argued this point before to jewamongyou and other trolls on other threads…But they tacitly evade this kind of interrogation about their once oppressed European ethnicity and assimilation into the dominant mainstream.

    You’re right this is also what I’ve been interrogating Janine about….! She just wants to ignore this particular history or just doesn’t know it….

    Cheers!

  38. bn Says:

    Hi restructure,

    I do follow yours and 2ndnin thoughts on the subject.

    What I would like to know is, how fast do you jump to the conclusions you are exposing here? Were you able to pinpoint the opinion that you have just experienced an example of white racism creating sexism during this dinner?

    From what you are writing, I get the impression that this was a rather friendly dinner with the guest being a friend of the entire family. Was there no possibility to elaborate on the subject at a later time? Also, why did your father, when being asked for “you people”, only explain his own viewpoint?

    I think that both 2ndnin and Anti-Status Quo Voice and you have valid viewpoints. I do follow the politeness viewpoint very easily, as I have behaved similarly in comparable circumstances. Much depends on how familiar and willing you (and your guest) are in bringing up touchy subjects such as racism and sexism in this context, as you clearly consider the guest of being both in the white and male category, and him being both racist and sexist, it is evident that you need a very good relationship in order to bring up this subject.

    The racist/sexism viewpoint is also possible, and I do follow the arguments. However, I do have some problems with this discourse. Assuming that racism and sexism is everywhere, it becomes easy to denounce it and see its traces everywhere. As in this example, there is no way of knowing the actual reasons of why the discussion went as it went. The guest might have acted on the assumption that the father was speaking for the entire family, or he might have not. Is he familiar with the rest of your family disagreeing with your father’s opininons? If he is a friend of the entire family, I assume he has noticed these things? Do these discussions go wrong rapidly, was he maybe keen of not starting an argument at the table? Although, in this case I would not understand why he would have asked the question in the first place…

    While I absolutely think that the mechanisms that you and Anti-Status Quo Voice are speaking about might play a role in people’s behavior, it often exasperates me that there seemingly is no possibility to actually pinpoint this down. So many things just remain assumptions, possible assumptions, but nonetheless, the mechanism might or might not work the way you describe it.
    I think, the best way to increase awareness in this case would have been for you to just express your disagreement with your father’s opinion, thereby showing that you (as a female child) have a different opinion and are speaking out on your own.
    By not having done this you have actually done at least three things:

    1) You have solidified your opinion that white racism is everywhere and actually leads to more sexism
    2) By doing so, you might have increased your own willingness to interpret other acts as following exactly this rule, because you have once witnessed it
    3) If the guest was sexist to begin with, you not disagreeing with your father has increased the probability of him thinking that he is right to apply sexism, as there were no counterarguments from the females at the table

    As I say, nothing of the above means that you are actually wrong, I am unable to tell this from the information that is given here (and I would probably be unable to judge this even if I had been sitting at the table).

    I would welcome any link to a source that gives information of how to actually link individual behavior (or individual movies, plays, books) to racist/sexist reasons, while excluding other possible reasons (as for example politeness or simply false assumptions in this case).

  39. bn Says:

    Hi Anti-Status Quo Voice,

    Have you thought about including the role of female representation in classical comics into your book? Or is there already some work on that?

  40. numol Says:

    @bn: Oh, I see — it must all be HER fault. Sure [/sarcasm].

  41. bn Says:

    @numol
    What was her fault?
    restructure told us something going on at dinner. A white man asked an elder chinese man a question concerning “you people”. The elder chinese man answered, the white man who asked the question did then change the subject.

    What kind of fault are you speaking about? No one did hurt anyone, no harm was done. It all depends on how you interpret what was happening. I merely pointed out that, if the white man was behaving due to racism ans sexism, restructure might have had (depending on whether or not she was already seeing her interpretation that she exposed to us) the opportunity to shatter both the racist and sexist views of the man, simply by not behaving the way the white man expects her to behave due to his racism and sexism.

    In a more subtle way, you are right. I do claim that there is no end to racism and sexism unless those who experience racism and sexism speak up and denounce what is happening.
    Therefore, there is a duty for those experiencing racism/sexism to speak up, especially in those situations where it is not sure whether or not the racist/sexist is actually aware of him/her being racist/sexist.
    This is just a logical argument: suppose the white man has no idea that he actually is behaving racist/sexist. If no-one ever tells him that his behavior might be due to racism/sexism, how should he ever learn this? He needs to hear the views of others. He needs to be given the opportunity to reflect his actions.
    Therefore, if no such reaction happens, as I have tried to argue above, the racist/sexist expectations of the racist/sexist might get reinforced. I do maintain this opinion. Don’t you agree? You do seem to speak up when you perceive racism/sexism, so you do seem to think that it is a good thing to speak up and destroy those views? Not speaking up can never be a neutral way of behaving, because restructure is part of the society. If she does not speak up in a situation in which she perceives racism/sexism, in my opinion, she does have a (passive) part in maintaining these structures.
    Note that this is only true if she is part of the situation. If she were a neutral observer, unnoticed by anyone at the dinner party, there would be no (or nearly no) consequence of her not denouncing what she has observed.

    Of course I know that this, once more, increases the pressure on those who actually already are oppressed. However, even if you know this, it doesn’t change the situation. The oppressed victims of sexism/racism still must vocalize their views, especially to those who are unaware of their behavior.

    This, at least, is my opinion. Maybe there is a way of fighting racism/sexism without denouncing it, by I do not know how that can work.

  42. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    bn Says:
    January 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Have you thought about including the role of female representation in classical comics into your book?
    ……………………

    In answering your question to the above —- No. I have not pursued Comic books as an area of study. Comic books would be out of my purview, although I strongly agree that representation of gender and sexuality in comic books needs critical interrogation. Perhaps it has been already been examined and published. I have surveyed at a few comic books in the past, and they actually alarmed me because of their insidious power to reproduce and disseminate stereotypes and racist discourse as “fun” and “entertainment” to uncritical readers who perhaps bother don’t read anything else. The ideology found in Comic books and the people who consume them are far from being “harmless”.

    My own research on female representation in Classical Hollywood cinema is focused on one particular 1930s Hollywood star of bi-racial identity (whom I’m not mentioning) to deconstruct how Hollywood constructed her star image and “rewrote” her racial identity as White/Anglo Saxon through the cultural practices of make-up/cosmetics, fashion, photography, acting, etc.

    My work is also meant to be a loud critique and indictment of Whiteness, Eurocentricism, White privilege and patriarchy all operating in concert to preserve centrality and dominance.

    I know this may seem “odd”, for a Black man to tackle such an arcane subject. After all, what the hell does a Black man “know” about Hollywood, social oppression and sexual stereotyping? He couldn’t possibly have the literacy or critical thinking skills to write such a book, don’t you know.
    I also challenge many White scholars for their failure to see interlocking oppressions and their own “colourblind” privilege in failing to see / approach Hollywood stardom and female representation in a more critical way.

    But I have done my research and referred to / examined the careers of other Women of Colour in contextualizing my arguments in a broader Anti-racist – Feminist framework. I examine other Hollywood female stars of both White/European and of Colour and their struggles and failures to assimilate and “transcend” their race in mediating structures of White privilege / dominance.

    Re: Restructure’s original thesis about the ways in which racism re-enforces sexism and male dominance, I also had questions about her experience. She promptly clarified them for me. I have fully accepted them as valid and I won’t interrogate her any further in “trashing” her experiences. She ought to know her own reality.

    What disturbed me most on this thread, was again the Discourses of Denial and Paternalism generally underlying other blogger comments. One of the great challenges in dismantling racism and sexism, appears to be our inability to listen, believe and empathize with the experiences of women of colour. One of the greatest struggles of People of Colour remains the dismissal of our social experiences by White people.

    I’m afraid I see a constant need among White people in always constructing POC experiences as “hyper-sensitivity”, “hysteria”, “neurosis”, or as “intellectually deficient” to our social environment, that somehow the Person of Colour is just unable to articulate his or her experiences. The rhetoric that we are all “crazy” emerges loud and clear. In the White imagination, it appears People of Colour are just “so emotional” and “intellectually challenged”, nothing we say has any meaning, it “just can’t be “real” or “objective”.

    As a result, those experiences are stonewalled, rendered as invalid, illegitimate, as they are seemingly lacking in “objectivity or common sense” thinking. Whiteness and subjectivity / perspective always remain in place.

    This becomes a kind of psychological warfare, as I have found Whites like to “colonize” POC experiences and banish them into nothingness. Questioning a statement or ideas is fine, what isn’t OK is the constant need to pathologize or de-legitimate a Person of Colour’s social experiences with oppression in institutional and private settings.

    It also creates a kind of alienation and general apathy in trying to communicate or working for change—-which is exactly why Restructure created this blog—-to facilitate change.

    On a personal side, I have lost numerous White friends over the years because of this same denial—-an alienation that has set in because their refusal to listen to my experiences and their efforts to patronize and dismiss my many social struggles and me.

    Again, my comments emerge from my frustration in trying to articulate my social experiences with racism – White privilege and heterosexism, and seeing the myriad ways in which Whites (and a few critically unconscious POCs too) deny, shut down and silence them.

    It is important to listen. Although social experiences aren’t always things one can hold or touch, they are REAL nonetheless and they can cause great harm.

    Denial of oppression keeps power and inequality in place, not to mention that flies in the face of the dominant rhetoric that society has truly achieved fairness, egalitarianism, merit and democracy, etc—all the ideologies that “liberal Whites” cherish and hold so dear to their consciousness.

    It remains one big lie.

    For that reason, I always congratulate Restructure’s efforts and testimonies here.

  43. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    bn Says:
    January 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    RE: my comment:
    insidious power to reproduce and disseminate stereotypes and racist discourse as “fun” and “entertainment” to uncritical readers who perhaps bother don’t read anything else.

    ……………

    I am not suggesting this of you. If you can recognize that racism and sexism are indeed inherent in Comic books, then you have a level of critical awareness.

    Just wanted to clarify.

  44. bn Says:

    @Anti-Status Quo Voice
    “insidious power to reproduce and disseminate stereotypes and racist discourse as “fun” and “entertainment” to uncritical readers who perhaps bother don’t read anything else. ”

    Oh, I am not touchy. Never thought you might have thought this of me ;-).
    I have read my share of the usual comic books, superman, batman, mickey mouse, donald duck, some german stuff, but I am no great fan. I asked for the obvious parallels between these media. Both are necessarily short-lived, with characters necessarily being described in a short-hand way, as opposed to books. I am pretty sure you might be able to observe parallel currents in comic books and hollywood movies. I would especially be interested in how these media have changed their view on hetero/homo sexuality, racism and sexism. Hoping there is a way, to come back to my previous posts, to somehow objectively measure if and how society has progressed concerning these subjects.

    “I know this may seem “odd”, for a Black man to tackle such an arcane subject. After all, what the hell does a Black man “know” about Hollywood, social oppression and sexual stereotyping? He couldn’t possibly have the literacy or critical thinking skills to write such a book, don’t you know.”

    I do not think this odd. I do not think you have to be a woman to be a woman’s doctor, I do not think you have to be the best golf-player to be the best golf-trainer. I think that if what you have to say makes sense, then say it. Your race or gender identity should not play the slightest role in the evaluation of the soundness of your work. If someone does take the author’s identity and history into account, they inevitably put in some of their own prejudice in their evaluation of the perspicacity of the work.

  45. numol Says:

    @bn:

    “No one did hurt anyone, no harm was done.”

    I’d say that any kind of bigotry is inherently harmful. And why assume that nobody’s feelings were hurt?

    “…there is a duty for those experiencing racism/sexism to speak up….Of course I know that this, once more, increases the pressure on those who actually already are oppressed.”

    And THAT is the problem I have with your opinion. The onus is NOT on people who experience bigotry, and insisting that it is comes across as very privileged and spoiled. I do not think that bigoted actions should ever get a pass just because “nobody told [person] not to do that”.

    I agree with what Anti-Status Quo Voice says: Restructure! knows her own reality. She already explained the situation in her initial post, and she’s been more than patient with all the questions — read her comments in this thread in addition to the post itself, if you haven’t already. Why doubt her? Why act like you know better than her?

    Also, if you are not subject to the same racism/sexism as Restructure! (and I apologize if I’m assuming incorrectly here), it’s not even your place to tell her what she could have done differently when experiencing said bigotry — to do so is extremely paternalistic.

  46. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    numol Says:
    January 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    She already explained the situation in her initial post, and she’s been more than patient with all the questions — read her comments in this thread in addition to the post itself, if you haven’t already. Why doubt her? Why act like you know better than her?

    …………..

    Well stated numol. The whole line of

  47. Restructure! Says:

    In a more subtle way, you are right. I do claim that there is no end to racism and sexism unless those who experience racism and sexism speak up and denounce what is happening.

    That is ridiculous. You’re basically saying that if racism still exists, then it’s not the racist’s fault, but the fault of the victim of racism.

  48. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Continued..

    Ooops…hit the Enter key by mistake!!!!

    Well stated numol.

    I admit, at the beginning, I also rushed in to “rescue” and “interpret” Restructure’s experience as well, and that was wrong to do.

    I recognize better now what went wrong with the whole line of interrogation of Restructure’s experience. Clearly, it is a point of Male privilege and patriarchy in itself blindly operating…that Restructure/the Asian woman even has to “explain” and “account” for her statement/perspective was wrong—-that many males just can’t grant her the “benefit of the doubt” / give her credit for being able to articulate her own experience with oppression.

    One wonders now, if an Asian or White male wrote this, would he be subjected to interrogation in the same way—would the onus to explain / provide burden of proof be displaced upon them or would the male just be immediately applauded for his “exceptional” insight into gender and racial oppressions?

    I have learned from this unconscious habit of male privilege.

  49. numol Says:

    (Sorry if I’m out-of-line jumping in like this, Anti-Status Quo Voice)

    @bn:

    “I do not think this odd….I do not think you have to be the best golf-player to be the best golf-trainer.”

    The golf comparison does not make sense, since there is a relationship between being a good golf player and being a good golf trainer.

    Also:

    “If someone does take the author’s identity and history into account, they inevitably put in some of their own prejudice in their evaluation of the perspicacity of the work.”

    I think we probably see through the prism of bias all the time, pretty much no matter what.

  50. bn Says:

    @numol:

    “No one did hurt anyone, no harm was done.”

    I’d say that any kind of bigotry is inherently harmful. And why assume that nobody’s feelings were hurt?

    You are right, evidently restructures! feelings were hurt.

    “…there is a duty for those experiencing racism/sexism to speak up….Of course I know that this, once more, increases the pressure on those who actually already are oppressed.”

    “And THAT is the problem I have with your opinion. The onus is NOT on people who experience bigotry, and insisting that it is comes across as very privileged and spoiled. ”

    As I say, I am aware of the problem. After all, it all depends on what you want. As I tried to point out, if you do not speak out, there is no chance of ever reducing racism/sexism. You are right, it is no “duty” to anyone to speak out, so the onus is not on the one experiencing racism, but all people who do not verbalize their observations of racism/sexism are certain to not change the world, at best, and to deepen the structure of racism/sexism, at worst. Once more, this is just a logical statement, no morality attached. Without speaking up, the racist/sexist might never have noticed that racism/sexism did play a role.

    “I do not think that bigoted actions should ever get a pass just because “nobody told [person] not to do that”.”

    Agreed. They “should not get a pass”. But, as I tried to point out, if you do not speak up, they do get a pass. That is the problem.

    “I agree with what Anti-Status Quo Voice says: Restructure! knows her own reality. She already explained the situation in her initial post, and she’s been more than patient with all the questions — read her comments in this thread in addition to the post itself, if you haven’t already. Why doubt her? Why act like you know better than her?”

    I do not doubt Restructures reality. There is, however, the possibility that her reality is not the same as the white man’s.
    Therefore, in order to make sure that Restructure’s reality is palpable to everyone, including the one who is suspected to behave in a racist/sexist way, it is necessary to speak up.

    “Also, if you are not subject to the same racism/sexism as Restructure! (and I apologize if I’m assuming incorrectly here), ”
    Don’t apologize, I have not told you my background, which makes me what? Right.

    “it’s not even your place to tell her what she could have done differently when experiencing said bigotry — to do so is extremely paternalistic.”

    This is a discussion place. It is everyone’s place to say or argument what could have happened if things had gone differently. I only point out the logical consequences of behaving in this or that way. Restructure can do whatever she likes to.
    It is therefore not paternalistic to point out what could have been said, and explain the consequences of possible different actions. It could be paternalistic to suggest that Restructure “should” behave in this or that way.

  51. bn Says:

    In a more subtle way, you are right. I do claim that there
    is no end to racism and sexism unless those who
    experience racism and sexism speak up and denounce
    what is happening.

    That is ridiculous. You’re basically saying that if racism
    still exists, then it’s not the racist’s fault, but the fault of the
    victim of racism.

    No, that is not basically what I am saying. I am saying that if no one is verbalizing that racism is happening, and the one that is behaving racist is not conscious of him behaving that way, then there is only one way that he will act less racist next time: he must be aware of the racism he has just committed. Otherwise, he will just continue in his same old ways, thereby perpetuating racist behavior.

  52. bn Says:

    @numol

    (Sorry if I’m out-of-line jumping in like this, Anti-Status Quo Voice)

    @bn:

    “I do not think this odd….I do not think you have to be
    the best golf-player to be the best golf-trainer.”

    The golf comparison does not make sense, since there is
    a relationship between being a good golf player and being
    a good golf trainer.

    There is a certainly a correlation between a person’s qualities of player and trainer. The point is, there is only a correlation. An exceptional trainer does not need to be an exceptional player, and an exceptional player can be a very bad trainer. Therefore, if you always assume that a good player must make a good trainer, you will make errors – due to your bias in thinking. If, however, you judge the trainer’s qualities purely from your observations of his training, unbiased by his qualities of a player, you will be able to better estimate his training qualities.

    Also:

    “If someone does take the author’s identity and
    history into account, they inevitably put in some
    of their own prejudice in their evaluation of
    the perspicacity of the work.”

    I think we probably see through the prism of bias all
    the time, pretty much no matter what.

    Knowing this, we must try very hard to reduce our bias whenever we can.

  53. Restructure! Says:

    Otherwise, he will just continue in his same old ways, thereby perpetuating racist behavior.

    I don’t want to delve into our personal relationship with the white man under discussion, because it is personal, but this white man has been married to a Chinese wife for decades, and his wife is intelligent, “loud”, and snarky. They have marital problems. We actually know him from before, but we hadn’t seen him for years. He really should have learned that stereotypes about Chinese people are untrue by now.

  54. bn Says:

    Let’s try that again.
    @restructure

    In a more subtle way, you are right. I do claim that there is no end to racism and sexism unless those who experience racism and sexism speak up and denounce what is happening.

    That is ridiculous. You’re basically saying that if racism still exists, then it’s not the racist’s fault, but the fault of the victim of racism.

    No, that is not basically what I am saying. I am saying that if no one is verbalizing that racism is happening, and the one that is behaving racist is not conscious of him behaving that way, then there is only one way that he will act less racist next time: he must be aware of the racism he has just committed. Otherwise, he will just continue in his same old ways, thereby perpetuating racist behavior.

  55. bn Says:

    And again
    @numol

    (Sorry if I’m out-of-line jumping in like this, Anti-Status Quo Voice)

    @bn:

    “I do not think this odd….I do not think you have to be
    the best golf-player to be the best golf-trainer.”

    The golf comparison does not make sense, since there is
    a relationship between being a good golf player and being
    a good golf trainer.

    There is a certainly a correlation between a person’s qualities of player and trainer. The point is, there is only a correlation. An exceptional trainer does not need to be an exceptional player, and an exceptional player can be a very bad trainer. Therefore, if you always assume that a good player must make a good trainer, you will make errors – due to your bias in thinking. If, however, you judge the trainer’s qualities purely from your observations of his training, unbiased by his qualities of a player, you will be able to better estimate his training qualities.

    Also:

    “If someone does take the author’s identity and
    history into account, they inevitably put in some
    of their own prejudice in their evaluation of
    the perspicacity of the work.”

    I think we probably see through the prism of bias all
    the time, pretty much no matter what.

    Knowing this, we must try very hard to reduce our bias whenever we can.

  56. bn Says:

    Otherwise, he will just continue in his same old ways, thereby perpetuating racist behavior.

    I don’t want to delve into our personal relationship with the white man under discussion, because it is personal, but this white man has been married to a Chinese wife for decades, and his wife is intelligent, “loud”, and snarky. They have marital problems. We actually know him from before, but we hadn’t seen him for years. He really should have learned that stereotypes about Chinese people are untrue by now.

    Interesting. So that opens up quite a number of new questions for me. First of all, if he is married to a chinese woman for decades, supposedly he is in close contact with many chinese people all the time. So what does he actually mean by “you people”? Is he then referring just your family, Restructure? Or is it like a local branch of chinese people he might be referring to?
    Hm. He should have learned that stereotypes about chinese women are untrue by now? If he had learned this, this would make him non-sexist in that way, isn’t it? So if he has learned it, then his actions were not due to sexism, but due to some other reason that we don’t know.
    On the other hand, if he has not learned it, then his actions might still be due to some kind of sexism (possibly induced by racism), but as a man living under chinese people, what does him make that? Should he not be fairly insensitive if that were the case? If he is married to a chinese woman, he cannot be openly racist (or be conscious of that fact). I am confused.
    As I say, I do not doubt your reality, but I do not know what my reality about the man’s motives is here.
    If I think him openly racist, there is a contradiction with him having a nice dinner with your family and being married to a chinese. If I think him openly sexist, there is a contradiction with him being married to an intelligent, loud woman. So I have good reasons to reject these possibilities, the only remaining possibilities being that he is unconsciously racist/sexist, which would make him rather dumb considering his experience (and would give his wife a rather bad credit for choosing him ;-)); or I am back to the possibility that there was no racist/sexist action at all, and the situation can be explained by some other internal arguments on his side. I don’t know. Seems strange.

  57. numol Says:

    @bn:

    “It could be paternalistic to suggest that Restructure “should” behave in this or that way.”

    Which you did, and you are continuing to do so, albeit passive-aggressively. Asserting that her not saying anything to the white guy contributes to racism definitely qualifies as that.

    “If he is married to a chinese woman, he cannot be openly racist (or be conscious of that fact).”

    This is really, really not true. And neither is the assumption that a man cannot be sexist if married to a “loud” woman. And most (maybe all) of us whites are at least unconsciously racist (and “dumb” = “person who can’t talk”, so it’s a slur BTW), and experience often does not change that fact. And later, you call his wife “a chinese” rather than “a Chinese woman” or “Chinese person”… that seems a bit off to me.

    And you are still trying to poke holes in Restructure!’s story. You are so determined to disbelieve her. Why? Are you just a troll?

    And I maintain that, unless you are subject to the same types of oppression as Restructure!, it is not your place to question her like this. If you are, I’ll leave you alone — because it’s not my place to argue about racism with someone who actually experiences it.

  58. bn Says:

    @numol

    “It could be paternalistic to suggest that Restructure “should” behave in this or that way.”

    Which you did, and you are continuing to do so, albeit passive-aggressively. Asserting that her not saying anything to the white guy contributes to racism definitely qualifies as that.

    Point taken. I suggested something. I suggested that, if she had spoken out, there would have been the possibility to attack the man’s racism/sexism. This is what I suggested. I did not suggest that Restructure should have said it. I even clearly stated that this was only an option if she had realized that racism at that point. And it depends on a lot more, also personal and emotional points, whether she should, or even would like to, behave in such a way. This is why I did not suggest she should have behaved like that. But I just said what I consider to be the possible consequences of her not verbalizing it. Which is not paternalistic in any way, only my view of the subject.

    “If he is married to a chinese woman, he cannot be openly racist (or be conscious of that fact).”

    This is really, really not true.

    Point taken. You are right, there is the possiblity that a white man being married to a chinese woman is racist. I was not precise. Let me rephrase: or if he is married to a chinese woman is more what I wanted to say.

    And neither is the assumption that a man cannot be sexist if married to a “loud” woman.

    Same thing than above. It reduces the likelihood of him being sexist.

    And most (maybe all) of us whites are at least unconsciously racist

    Possibly, at least if you count the uncounscious level.

    (and “dumb” = “person who can’t talk”, so it’s a slur BTW),

    I do not consider this a slur. I like to play with words a bit. I am not a native speaker, so I do not know all the implications that you might associate with a given word.

    and experience often does not change that fact.

    Unlikely. If experience, and the reflection on your experience, does not reduce your racism, why speaking about it? Why trying to change the way people think? You only start on this quest because you think that you can change something. At least I do hope that.

    And later, you call his wife “a chinese” rather than “a Chinese woman” or “Chinese person”… that seems a bit off to me.

    I really do not know what you are interpreting in something like that. I even remember not having typed woman at this instant, but was too lazy to go back and fill it in, because I did not think that any person would be able to construct any reproach out of that. Seems I was mistaken. What exactly do you interpret into someone shorthanding “chinese woman” to “chinese” after seeing that he has been used “chinese woman” over and over again? See, on a kind of subconscious level I was aware that someone might interpret something into this, so please let me know what you are seeing.

    And you are still trying to poke holes in Restructure!’s story.

    Am I? Where do I poke holes in the story? I just found out more about the situation, which in my eyes does complicate the situation. Do you disagree?

    You are so determined to disbelieve her. Why?

    I do not doubt Restructure’s reality. But I do not know whether her reality is the white man’s reality, and whether her reality is my reality. I do not know whether the example she is giving is an example of white racism creating sexism, or if it just some coincidence. On the other hand, I do believe that white racism might lead to more sexist behavior. I just don’t know whether this is a good example.

    Are you just a troll?

    I do not consider me a troll. This is my reality. Yours might be different. So what is your definition of a troll? Someone not agreeing with you, is that a troll? I do not see any logical fallacies in my argumentation, so I cannot say that it is impossible that any person besides me has the same opinion than me.

    And I maintain that, unless you are subject to the same types of oppression as Restructure!, it is not your place to question her like this.

    At the risk of repeating myself. I do not question Restructure’s reality. She saw what she saw, interpreted it like she interpreted it, and drew her conclusions. This is absolutely valid and I do not see a way to proof her wrong, even if I did want that. On the other hand, there is also no way to proof her right. So it remains to be interpreted by every individual whether what did happen was due to racism or not. For me, knowing more about the situation lead to me being more uncertain about the situation. I am uncertain whether or not the act that has been observed was an example of white racism that leads to sexism.

    If you are, I’ll leave you alone — because it’s not my place to argue about racism with someone who actually experiences it.

    I am usually not. The only time I was experiencing racism (in a way), was when I was in a French university complaining that the library closed so early. They then told me that I can go to where I come from if I do not like it here. Ah yes, also in France, it is harder for you to get an apartment if you are not French (and not rich). But I do not really consider this racism; the landlords are only afraid that you might leave the country without paying them. It is understandable, albeit very uncomfortable if you are looking for an apartment in Paris. I do not know how to change that though.
    I still think that the entire argumentation with “it is my place”, “it is not my place”, is completely besides the point. Either you do have something to contribute, then say it, or not, then don’t.

  59. bn Says:

    @numol
    My rephrasal of the sentence “it is impossible that a white man being married to a chinese woman is racist” got lost in the format war.
    Here possible rephrasals:
    It is less likely that ….
    It is probable that he is less racist than the average population of white people …

  60. numol Says:

    @bn:

    “…I just said what I consider to be the possible consequences of her not verbalizing it. Which is not paternalistic in any way, only my view of the subject.”

    Uh, you may not have intended to be paternalistic, but you sure are acting paternalistic (at least from where I’m sitting).

    “I do not consider [‘dumb’] a slur.”

    Well, it matters a whole lot more if other people who might be hurt by it would consider it a slur. And I’ve heard it called an ableist slur before, so I try not to use it.

    “If experience, and the reflection on your experience, does not reduce your racism, why speaking about it? Why trying to change the way people think? You only start on this quest because you think that you can change something.”

    I’d say that experience can make a white person less racist, but I very much doubt that any of us could totally get rid of our racism. The brainwashing runs deep. BTW I never actually said that experience could not reduce our racism at all.

    “I really do not know what you are interpreting in something like that. I even remember not having typed woman at this instant, but was too lazy to go back and fill it in, because I did not think that any person would be able to construct any reproach out of that.”

    Look, the weirdness of your wording is not something I “constructed”, it just jumped out at me. It seemed, as I said, “a bit off”. Potentially dehumanizing, maybe.

    “Where do I poke holes in the story?”

    I never said you succeeded in poking holes in her story — I don’t believe you are succeeding. I only said you were trying.

    “I do not doubt Restructure’s reality. ….I do not know whether the example she is giving is an example of white racism creating sexism, or if it just some coincidence.”

    Those two sentences seem to disagree with each other. You frequently speak of “my reality”/”Restructure’s reality”/etc., but your wording privileges your own “reality” over hers.

    “Someone not agreeing with you, is that a troll?”

    [Sigh] No, my definition of a troll is someone who buzzes around the Internet like a mosquito and tries to get a rise out of people. There are lots of people who I disagree with who I don’t consider trolls. The way you write is very similar to that of some of the trolls who sometimes show up on this blog — that’s why I’m suspicious.

    “…I cannot say that it is impossible that any person besides me has the same opinion than me.”

    That really does not matter. If someone is alone in their opinion, that does not make them wrong. If a million people agree, that does not make them right. So that’s neither here nor there.

    “…it remains to be interpreted by every individual whether what did happen was due to racism or not.”

    You are right on one level — every person interprets reality through a unique lens, as you seem to agree, and that’s our right as individuals.

    However, if someone who does not experience the same oppressions as Restructure! comes along and accuses her of being complicit in racism by not saying anything (as you have done), and questions her well-reasoned assumptions (and I do believe what you are doing constitutes that), there are major power-imbalance issues.

    Restructure! explained the situation, and her reasons for drawing her conclusions, in her post and in this comments thread. She was criticized very harshly for this. Then, later, you (apparently a person with at least racial privilege) showed up and said stuff like this:

    I think, the best way to increase awareness in this case would have been for you to just express your disagreement with your father’s opinion, thereby showing that you (as a female child) have a different opinion and are speaking out on your own.
    By not having done this you have actually done at least three things:

    1) You have solidified your opinion that white racism is everywhere and actually leads to more sexism
    2) By doing so, you might have increased your own willingness to interpret other acts as following exactly this rule, because you have once witnessed it
    3) If the guest was sexist to begin with, you not disagreeing with your father has increased the probability of him thinking that he is right to apply sexism, as there were no counterarguments from the females at the table

    No matter your intent, this is yet another instance of a person with certain unearned social privileges acting like a person without those privileges must justify herself to them, and yet another instance of a person with certain unearned social privileges telling the person without those privileges how she “could have acted better”.

  61. bn Says:

    @numol

    “…I just said what I consider to be the possible consequences of her not verbalizing it. Which is not paternalistic in any way, only my view of the subject.”

    Uh, you may not have intended to be paternalistic, but you sure are acting paternalistic (at least from where I’m sitting).

    Agreed. You are allowed to interpret my words as paternalistic. I am allowed to not view them as paternalistic. My problem is: you are not arguing with what I have said, but only with your opinion that it might sound paternalistic. I am more concerned with the question whether you think what I have said is right, i.e. the necessity to speak up when you come across racism. You never commented on that point, giving me the impression that you do not care what I am saying, but only how I am saying it, what kind of impression it might give, and who I am .

    “I do not consider [‘dumb’] a slur.”

    Well, it matters a whole lot more if other people who might be hurt by it would consider it a slur. And I’ve heard it called an ableist slur before, so I try not to use it.

    I was thinking you were thinking that I was trying to insult people with dumb. I was not. If it is likely that people get offended by it, I will just stop using it whenever it is possible that a person is listening that might feel hurt by the word.

    “If experience, and the reflection on your experience, does not reduce your racism, why speaking about it? Why trying to change the way people think? You only start on this quest because you think that you can change something.”

    I’d say that experience can make a white person less racist, but I very much doubt that any of us could totally get rid of our racism. The brainwashing runs deep.

    I would agree. And I would argue that speaking more about it, reflecting more about it, we have a chance to reduce the racism within us.

    BTW I never actually said that experience could not reduce our racism at all.

    No you didn’t. The argument went like this:

    “And most (maybe all) of us whites are at least unconsciously racist … and experience often does not change that fact.”

    So you were saying that experience often does not change that fact. I agree with you, but the main point is, that only experience and reflection _can_ change that fact. So why are you asserting that it often does not change this fact, without saying that the only way to change it is experience and reflection? You see, my whole point was that you have to verbalize occurences of racism if you want decreased levels of racism. When you argument that way (often does not change that fact) you give me the impression that you have lost the hope of reducing racism. Have you? See, if you were thinking that talking about it, reflecting about it, confronting racists with their acts is a useful tool against racism, then you would have agreed with me. Or am I wrong? By only focussing on the fact that this route may fail, without talking about the benefits of it, at the least you give me the impression that what I have said is useless: talking about it, confronting people with their racism, is useless. Is that the case?

    “I really do not know what you are interpreting in something like that. I even remember not having typed woman at this instant, but was too lazy to go back and fill it in, because I did not think that any person would be able to construct any reproach out of that.”

    Look, the weirdness of your wording is not something I “constructed”, it just jumped out at me. It seemed, as I said, “a bit off”. Potentially dehumanizing, maybe.

    Thanks for that. See, when you just said “a bit off”, especially in the context of your entire paragraph, it just seemed to me that you were trying to attack me on an emotional level. Suggesting that something is “a bit off” is very useful if you want to create the impression that the other person is strange, not honest, that he might have meant something he didn’t say, while it does not give me any possibility to actually question the soundness of your reproach. Now I know that you felt as if I was dehumanizing people. I was not. Actually, had I not read in the thread before that people were often saying “chinese woman” in a context in which it was amply evident that “chinese” would have been sufficient as the context made it clear that the person we were speaking about was a woman, I would not even have formulated my comment with “chinese woman”, but rather “chinese”. I have no problems with using “white” instead of “white man” when referring to me as long as it is evident that the whiteness of me is the important thing, not the gender.

    “Where do I poke holes in the story?”

    I never said you succeeded in poking holes in her story — I don’t believe you are succeeding. I only said you were trying.

    Let me rephrase: Where do I try to poke holes in her story?

    “I do not doubt Restructure’s reality. ….I do not know whether the example she is giving is an example of white racism creating sexism, or if it just some coincidence.”

    Those two sentences seem to disagree with each other. You frequently speak of “my reality”/”Restructure’s reality”/etc., but your wording privileges your own “reality” over hers.

    See, the whole reality stuff started off with anti status quo’s comment:
    “She ought to know her own reality. ”
    and you asserting that:
    “I agree with what Anti-Status Quo Voice says: Restructure! knows her own reality. ”
    Evidently, when you were speaking about this kind of reality, you were speaking of what Restructure was regarding as her reality. Opposed to that reality, necessarily, there are then the realities of all those persons that are not Restructure. If not, why would you even have to insist on “her own” reality?
    Your comments make it clear that your reality seems to be the same than Restructure’s. Me, on the other hand, I am uncertain whether this corresponds to my reality (i.e. my opinion of the true underlying reasons that lead to the white man’s behavior). While I am presenting my views of what might have happened, but still maintaining that Restructure! can think of the incident whatever she likes to, you are claiming that I am privileging my own reality: “your wording privileges your own “reality” over hers”. Now, as I tried to show you, I am only trying to form my own opinion about what has happened. If this (having a different opinion) is already “privileging my own reality over hers”, then you (by having another opinion than me) are privileging your reality over mine. So are you allowed to do so, and I am not? I think neither of us is.

    “Someone not agreeing with you, is that a troll?”

    [Sigh] No, my definition of a troll is someone who buzzes around the Internet like a mosquito and tries to get a rise out of people. There are lots of people who I disagree with who I don’t consider trolls. The way you write is very similar to that of some of the trolls who sometimes show up on this blog — that’s why I’m suspicious.

    Ok, I do not buzz around the internet and try to rise people. Therefore, I am not a troll in your opinion. It is unfortunate that my way of writing is similar to the writing of that kind of people, as it defocuses your attention from what I am writing to the question of how I am writing and what might me my background and what might be my motives. Which is sad, in the same way PoCs do not want to justify their opinions all the time, I do not want to be judged on the grounds of me being white.

    “…I cannot say that it is impossible that any person besides me has the same opinion than me.”

    That really does not matter. If someone is alone in their opinion, that does not make them wrong. If a million people agree, that does not make them right. So that’s neither here nor there.

    I fully agree with you.

    “…it remains to be interpreted by every individual whether what did happen was due to racism or not.”

    You are right on one level — every person interprets reality through a unique lens, as you seem to agree, and that’s our right as individuals.

    However, if someone who does not experience the same oppressions as Restructure! comes along and accuses her of being complicit in racism by not saying anything (as you have done), and questions her well-reasoned assumptions (and I do believe what you are doing constitutes that), there are major power-imbalance issues.

    Restructure! explained the situation, and her reasons for drawing her conclusions, in her post and in this comments thread. She was criticized very harshly for this. Then, later, you (apparently a person with at least racial privilege) showed up and said stuff like this:

    I think, the best way to increase awareness in this case would have been for you to just express your disagreement with your father’s opinion, thereby showing that you (as a female child) have a different opinion and are speaking out on your own.
    By not having done this you have actually done at least three things:

    1) You have solidified your opinion that white racism is everywhere and actually leads to more sexism
    2) By doing so, you might have increased your own willingness to interpret other acts as following exactly this rule, because you have once witnessed it
    3) If the guest was sexist to begin with, you not disagreeing with your father has increased the probability of him thinking that he is right to apply sexism, as there were no counterarguments from the females at the table

    No matter your intent, this is yet another instance of a person with certain unearned social privileges acting like a person without those privileges must justify herself to them, and yet another instance of a person with certain unearned social privileges telling the person without those privileges how she “could have acted better”.

    Ok, so I am right on the level that every individual has the right to interpret what has happened, but as a privileged person I am less likely to interpret what has happened in an objective way, is that what you are saying?

    OK, my comment on that.
    Firstly, I am fully aware of the power-imbalance issue. Now, my problem with that is that this power-imabalance issue is always there unless I do say exactly what Restructure is saying. That is, you are de facto denying me a valid opinion on what has happened, based solely on the fact that I am white. This is reverse racism, but of course you are aware of that.
    This becomes fully apparent due to the fact that you never actually discuss what I am saying, but only the fact that it is paternalistic, or that I cannot have the right perspective due to my privileges. You never actually answer my arguments.

    The question is, do you think that this is OK because you want to show white males the way how racism feels, or do you really think it is impossible that a white male might have something useful to say at all? (unless he is agreeing with the brown female? But then, even brown females have different opinions, so which brown female should he agree with in order to get your respect?)
    If I were a brown female, the words I am saying would still be the same, would still have the same logic within them, wouldn’t they?

    No matter your intent, this is yet another instance of a person with certain unearned social privileges acting like a person without those privileges must justify herself to them, and yet another instance of a person with certain unearned social privileges telling the person without those privileges how she “could have acted better”.

    My problem with that. It actually starts with “no matter what”. The entire paragraph denies me (indirectly) the right to have my say solely based on who I am: a privileged white man. You flatly refuse even to begin to discuss the question whether I am actually right in suggesting that there would have been ways to react that were more likely to reduce racism than Restructure’s non-reaction. It is still unclear whether you agree with me on that point or not.
    And let me repeat that no-one must justify herself to me. I fully accept Restructure’s opinion. I am just not sure that her opinion is mine.
    I have not found anyone in this thread suggesting that she could have acted better. I was the only one suggesting that a different act might have lead to less racism. So do you think she could have acted better? Or do you think that it was good that she acted the way she did in view of reducing racism?
    As I say, I do not suggest Restrcucture should have acted differently, because this was a subtle occurrence of maybe even unconscious racism/sexism, and maybe it had nothing to do with any of that. I am not in Restructure’s head, I do not know what other reasons there were that lead to her not speaking up, I cannot say that she should have acted this or that way. But I am able to say (or to argue, at the least), that her not verbalizing the racism/sexism has certainly not contributed to reducing racism/sexism. Don’t you agree with that?

  62. numol Says:

    @bn:

    Don’t twist my words — I was saying that white people can get less racist. Just probably not ever totally not-racist. I do believe that confronting racism is good, and I do think we should tell other whites to speak up if witnessing racism, but it is not the place of white people to tell people of color what to do about racism. That’s called “whitesplaining”, dude. We have neither the insight nor the right.

    “Where do I try to poke holes in her story?”

    You started trying to devalue Restructure!’s perspective in your very first post:

    “Assuming that racism and sexism is everywhere, it becomes easy to denounce it and see its traces everywhere. As in this example, there is no way of knowing the actual reasons of why the discussion went as it went.”

    …And you did it again later:

    “[The white man] should have learned that stereotypes about chinese women are untrue by now? If he had learned this, this would make him non-sexist in that way, isn’t it? So if he has learned it, then his actions were not due to sexism, but due to some other reason that we don’t know.
    “….If I think him openly racist, there is a contradiction with him having a nice dinner with your family and being married to a chinese. If I think him openly sexist, there is a contradiction with him being married to an intelligent, loud woman. So I have good reasons to reject these possibilities….or I am back to the possibility that there was no racist/sexist action at all, and the situation can be explained by some other internal arguments on his side.”

    And I may have missed some additional examples because I’ve been kinda tired lately. Anyway:

    “Evidently, when you were speaking about this kind of reality, you were speaking of what Restructure was regarding as her reality.”

    I did not mean it in the highly subjective way you thought I meant it when I used the expression “her own reality” — I’m not sure if Anti-Status Quo Voice meant it that way or not, but he did agree with Restructure!. And putting it that way — “what Restructure was regarding as her reality” — is just another passive-aggressive attempt to devalue her experience.

    And in regards to your privileging your own “reality” over hers: it’s to do with your expecting her to justify herself to you and continue to explain what she’s already explained over and over. That is privileged behavior on your part.

    “…in the same way PoCs do not want to justify their opinions all the time, I do not want to be judged on the grounds of me being white.”

    Well that’s just too damn bad, because those two things are not even remotely comparable. Do you just not believe in white privilege? I doubt that anyone wants to be expected to justify themselves all the time — guess what? People of color are in that situation a lot more often than us whites because of white privilege and white supremacy.

    “Ok, so I am right on the level that every individual has the right to interpret what has happened, but as a privileged person I am less likely to interpret what has happened in an objective way, is that what you are saying?”

    I’d argue that true objectivity is impossible for any human being. However, A) I do think that privilege often makes reality harder to see, and B) as white people, it is (again) not our place to criticize Restructure! and tell her how she could have behaved “better”. It’s not our place because of how that criticism ties into racism and the racist power imbalance.

    “…I am fully aware of the power-imbalance issue. Now, my problem with that is that this power-imabalance issue is always there unless I do say exactly what Restructure is saying. That is, you are de facto denying me a valid opinion on what has happened, based solely on the fact that I am white. This is reverse racism, but of course you are aware of that.”

    Ah, “reverse-racism”. I knew you’d bring out that ridiculous accusation eventually. After all, why shouldn’t us whites be allowed to do anything and say anything we want? Who cares about social injustice? That’s just not our problem! Expecting us to care — that’s the real bigotry! [/sarcasm]

    And no, I’m not “denying you a valid opinion”. I’m saying that sometimes it’s best to just keep your opinions to yourself, because you don’t know — you can’t know — the situation as well as the person you’re disagreeing with, and because the context is wrong for you to express that opinion anyway.

    “You never actually answer my arguments.”

    Because they don’t matter, coming from you. Sorry, but I will not take seriously yet another white guy telling a woman of color how to “better reduce racism” or whatever. And I already told you that if you faced the same oppressions as Restructure!, I’d leave you alone because it’s not my place to argue about racism with someone who experiences it.

    “I have not found anyone in this thread suggesting that she could have acted better. I was the only one suggesting that a different act might have lead to less racism.”

    Another two very contradictory sentences. Suggesting that a different act “might have lead to less racism” is suggesting that she could have acted better.

    “And let me repeat that no-one must justify herself to me. I fully accept Restructure’s opinion. I am just not sure that her opinion is mine.”

    Well that statement runs awfully contrary to your behavior in this thread. Why keep questioning her and accusing her of perpetuating racism, if you don’t expect her to justify herself to you?

    “So do you think she could have acted better?”

    Well, I don’t know that, do I? Guess why I don’t know that (HINT: it’s because I’m white). So I guess I just have Restructure!’s word to go on, then, don’t I? Sometimes you just need to accept that the speaker understands something you cannot understand, dude.

    I don’t know how to better explain my position to you, especially since you’re probably just going to keep accusing me of “reverse-racism” (and probably “reverse-sexism” now, too) rather than actually listening.

  63. Lilith Says:

    It’s possible that he was just racist in general and thought that because you’re a Chinese family, you must have some sort of set up that’s completely different to his where the man is the “head of the house” I guess, so he thought he should be like that infront of your dad? lol, Maybe he’s just a dork.


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