Strictly speaking I think anyone who asks aloud “Why isn’t there a White History Month?” is saying something untoward. And I suspect that while these people may only drink Diet Racism in public they have cases of regular stashed in their garage.
And they serve it (the regular stuff) to friends and family who they believe to be like minded.
Those of their friends and family who squirm at the regular stuff but don’t have the courage to call it out for what it is get offered the diet stuff instead.
If there was a White History Month, it might include a lot of inconvenient truths about the historic relationship of white people to other races, and about the present privileged position of white people.
For the diet racists, White History Month might actually be a case of “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it”. Here in Austria, it’s the neo-nazis who complain the loudest about there being too many documentaries about nazism on TV.
Love this product, but am I the only one who thinks that a better frame could have been selected to illustrate the post?
Like misogynism, it is worth it to call these people out. Even if they go no further than speaking Diet Racism, the act of speaking it is harmful.
So if you’re feeling brave (and please do take this excuse to feel brave, all of us), call them on it.
“I would never date an Asian guy”, “That’s racist.”
“Why isn’t there a White History Month?”, “Because that’s what every month is, including Black History Month”
“The Irish were persecuted, too”, “Tell me how your people are disadvantaged today.”
“Shouldn’t there be a White Entertainment Network”, “That’s called All The Rest of TV”
“Stop and Frisk shouldn’t be a problem if they have nothing to hide”, “Put your hands up against the wall then, please, while I pat you down and scrutinize your belongings. If you have nothing to hide, I’ll just delay you from getting on your way for an arbitrary length of time.”
“My kids would have a way easier time getting into college if they were minorities”, “Not they wouldn’t. They are living life on the Easy Setting. Any difficulties they face are because of themselves, not their skin colour.”
Anyone have any other common “Diet Racism” comments we can come up with canned comebacks for? Forearmed is… forearmed?
also see Iain M. Banks’ concept of Synthetic Evil.
You can often identify diet racism by an opening qualifier of “I’m not racist, but…” If the subsequent statement wasn’t actually racist, it would, in fact, sound strange (and not require the qualifier). (E.g. “I’m not racist, but I like chocolate.”)
Although more often than not, that opening is followed by something incredibly racist rather than diet racist.
For some reason it´s usually taxi drivers that I have heard using it, right after verifying I was born in the same country as them. It´s an “oh boy, here we go again” moment.
“The Irish were persecuted too, you know.”
The makers of this video have totally been reading the comments on Boingboing. Sorry, I don’t mean everybody on here, but some comment thread in the last week or two was full of that crap.
“Can I touch your hair?” “Can I bite off your fingers?”
“I never even THINK of you as black!” “That’s strange, cuz I ALWAYS think of you as white.”
“My friend got bad service there once too, and SHE’S WHITE.” " ."
I need help on that last one…
Is that the only time in the past month she’s gotten bad service somewhere, or does she have to deal with the same problem at every retail establishment she goes to?
And there you go.
Thanks to Captain Awkward, I’ve got a couple of all-purpose responses to whatever racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. stuff slops out of someone’s mouth in my hearing:
“WOW.” [long pause, stunned look]
[laugh] “AWKWARD!” [humorous, skeptical look]
for use in re: “jokes” - “I don’t get it, can you explain what’s funny about that?”
A variant of that one is “You’re not like other black people.” To which I think the best response would be, “Funny, you’re just like other crackers.”
Emphasis on were.
‘Is she an asshole like you? Cos that would explain it’.
“And I believe that the problem has originated right here in February. Nothing personal, for those of you born in February, but there is something wrong with February. I have been watching February closely…”
One of the big differences with prejudice against Irish/Italians/Polish/other white nationality is that it was often historically and culturally specific, so in another city or a couple of decades later, people have moved on and don’t even remember the context. (I think in the case of Irish people in the UK or America, this was often a result of large numbers of poor Irish people entering the country. It isn’t seen as a big deal any more as other countries such as Poland have taken Ireland’s place as the face of mass immigration). After a few years, you also pick up the dialect and customs of the area, so (especially somewhere like America) nobody cares where you came from. In this sense, you could say that persecuted Irish people from 100+ years ago suffered prejudice because they were immigrants rather than because they were Irish. If you have an American passport, grew up there and identify with America as your home country, nobody cares that your parents/grandparents were born in Ireland (if anything, it might be an advantage). Black people will still look different and the historical inequalities that their ancestors suffered are much more likely to have an effect on their chances of success now, even if their family has lived there for centuries.
So a Polock, a Mick, and a ? walk into a bar.
And the bartender says “What is this? A joke?”
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