Saturday, June 7, 2014

Racist Comments

Let's talk about race, shall we? I have the fun experience of being a white female, which puts me in an interesting position somewhere between historically privileged and historically disenfranchised, and I'm also a noisily opinionated creature, which is unrelated to those things.

Someone on Facebook a while ago made the ignorant, painfully stupid comment that you can't be racist against white people, because apparently she understands neither the literal definition racism, or what constitutes a race, and since then I've been contemplating posting my two cents about racism and its place in the world that exists right now. Of course, I may not be the best person to talk about racism, simply because I don't get it. This has nothing to do with the fact that I am a white member of the middle class. I've experienced my share of bigotry, either firsthand or by proxy with people I'm close to. I don't get racism because I'm not a cave-dwelling douche. It makes no sense, and it has no place in a modern, global society. Hate people for something valid, guys, like something they can choose.

I've definitely had serious antipathy for several black people, and hispanic people, and asians, and lots of white people, but it had literally NOTHING to do with the color of their skin. Because that's literally the dumbest reason I can think of to hate someone. Even hating them for their clothing is more valid, because it's within their control and actually says something about their personality and preferences, even if that's still a superficial, weak reason to be prejudiced against someone.

I used to hear a lot of kids in my high school talking about slavery and Jim Crow laws with a chip on their shoulder. Does that seem stupid to anyone else? These kids were raised in a world where they didn't even experience anything remotely like that. Don't bitch at me about how your ancestors were enslaved by my ancestors, black kids. First of all, my ancestors were mostly in Sweden eating herring and not partaking in the "West Indies" slave trading (stupid Columbus, ruining terminology for the rest of time. "Look, it's not Europe! I must have gotten to India by now."). Second, Africans sold Africans to Europeans; selling prisoners of war and criminals and debtors as slaves is a time-honored tradition that every culture ever has participated in. Humans have been enslaving each other as long as they've lived in groups large enough to have enemies. Which brings me to my third point. Slavery is not a race issue anymore. If we're going to talk about slavery, why not concern yourselves with the slavery and human rights violations going on right now, you stupid people?

There is literally no reason to be racist anymore. It used to stem from the kind of fear and supremacist feelings that people have when encountering something alien to themselves. They aren't like us, therefore we immediately make this into an us and them polerization, and we have to win. But we are no longer surprised or frighted by people with different skin colors. Our maps no longer end with sea serpents and question marks. We know what's in our world, we know who lives here and what they look like. No, not every people group is intimately connected to every other, but in a time when you can talk to people on the other side of the planet instantaneously, how in the world can we still be dividing along the lines of race? That's just stupid.

So is hyphenating races, by the way. You shouldn't call yourself "African American" unless you are actually from both continents. If you immigrated, cool. The country/landmass your people come from has very little to do with your race except as Darwinian cause. White people shouldn't run around demanding to be called European Americans. And what would you call people from South America in that situation? What about the Brazilians descended from the Portuguese? Being the same color as the people of a place doesn't make you from there. If your people came from there and went somewhere else, you are not from there. It's so much absurdity.

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