You might be a racist if

So I’m sitting at a drive through window waiting for my food with the window down. I overhear two sentences of what must have been a very interesting conversation as a couple of people walk in front of my car and enter the restaurant seating area.

Woman: Can we at least agree that racism is bad?

Man: I’m not racist!

I only heard those two sentences. Nothing of what came before, and the door closed behind them after the man spoke.

It was a 20-something woman and a 50-something man, both white.

I guess I’m sharing this to find out if I’m being too judgy to just assume he categorically is a racist.

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white cis-male, late-50s, native texan speaking here.

i have to say, if your best response to the proposition “can we at least agree that racism is bad” is to exclaim “i’m not racist!” then you, sir, are almost certainly a racist. i’m having a hard time envisioning the conversation that led up to that which could absolve him of that.

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Just the fact that the man in your scenario couldn’t be assed to even answer what should be a very simple moral question, and instead jumps to defending himself against an unheard accusation of ‘being racist’ makes it seem like the gentleman “doth protest too much.”

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So it’s possible that was the first part of a statement that began “I’m not racist, but…”

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If you think you’re not racist, you’re probably a racist.

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really, that’s one of those verbal tics which represent an unforced error of enormous proportions, like a goalie making an own goal while trying to throw the ball back out onto the field.

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To my mind (and painting the guy in the absolute best light), he had earlier tried to justify the racist actions of others.

Me? He’s a racist.

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There’s a gif for that! Edit: make that several!

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Any bets that he used a “it’s just facts” racist argument previously?

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It is much more fun to say something completely unconnected after the “I’m not racist but …”. Such as, “I’m not racist but it really is raining heavily today.”

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Ah yes, the libertarian, “It’s not racist if it is True”

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You are likely correct.

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Um, fun for who?

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I’m not a racist, but I think I’ll take lunch 15 minutes early today.

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You might be racist if…

You grew up in a white-dominated society.

For pretty much everybody, the question is not “are they racist?”, but is instead “how racist are they, and what are they doing about that?”.

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Racism is not really about individual psychology. It’s about power and wealth and the fundamental structures of society.

image

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Meh. Sounds to me like a white person trying to be ironic, and clever. About a phrase that involves, you know, racism. I don’t think it’s a great move to play around with the topic like that.

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It’s just an idea to try and take away people’s expectation of respectability when saying “I’m not a racist but…”

A more direct one is just telling them that “but” negates whatever non-racist attitudes they have.

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Yeah, that’s a viable motive, but I doubt it would work in the moment, as in:

A: I’m not racist, but –

B: And I’m not racist either, but I’d really like another beer, how bout you?

It might deflate Racist A, and even derail whatever they were going to say, but I don’t think it would get them thinking about how they shouldn’t be expecting respectability after starting a sentence like that. Do you?

The initial way I read @XantheStone’s comment was a recommendation that people just say it randomly, before they say or announce whatever random thing. Which, as I said, strikes me as even worse (I can easily imagine some white dude doing that with an “Ain’t I clever?” smirk.)

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