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I think we need different words to differentiate "hard" bigotry from "soft" bigotry

 
 
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 08:21 pm
We are all racist to some degree, and that which describe everything describes nothing. I think we need better ways to describe "soft" racism, and other lesser examples of bigotry than people think of when they hear "racist" etc.

I think a lot of the back and forth over racial issues comes down to a logomachy over different definitions of racism, with some people not being willing to describe soft bigotry with terms they traditionally reserve for hard bigotry.

That society is getting around to tackling soft bigotry is a great thing, but it has a backlash from folks who think that we are being "too sensitive" to call things racist that are merely racially insensitive but not hateful. This backlash would be mitigated slightly if more accurate language were to be used for things that are not hard racism but that are forms of bigoted thinking about race.

Similarly, we need better language to differentiate forcible sexual assaults from other infringements on the right to give informed consent. Calling it all "rape" causes a lot of equivocation in debates on the issues and if we had better language to describe these very different things we would be a better society for it.
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 08:31 pm
@Robert Gentel,
The real problem is that these judgments are subjective. There are many cases where good people can disagree whether something is even any kind of bigotry or not.

The recent case of a random white man who was accosted by a black woman for wearing dreadlocks is an interesting example. She felt passionately that it was bigoted for a white man to wear a black hairstyle (and many people agree). Many people feel that a hairstyle is a personal choice and that even historically dreadlocks aren't exclusively black.

The same is true for sexual assault. Dan Savage (the famous sex advice columnist and the founder of "It get's better") got in big trouble for saying that it was OK for his boyfriend to initiate sex... even when he was asleep. Many people think that this is sexual assault since you should get affirmative consent each time. On the other hand, many people feel that in a committed relationship, implied consent can exist until revoked.

In any case, these are subjective judgments that people are going to disagree about. I don't think that adding additional layers is going to change this fact.
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 08:35 pm
@Robert Gentel,
There are differences between races. It's not insensitive or insulting to acknowledge them or to point them out. I think that fear of those differences is where racism becomes ugly.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 08:39 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
The real problem is that these judgments are subjective. There are many cases where good people can disagree whether something is even any kind of bigotry or not.


The subjectivity is a separate issue from what I am talking about and having more accurate language to describe things will help reduce the subjectivity in national debates due to the reduction of equivocation between person to person.

Quote:
The recent case of a random white man who was accosted by a black woman for wearing dreadlocks is an interesting cases. She felt passionately that it was bigoted for a white man to wear a black hairstyle (and many people agree). Many people feel that a hairstyle is a personal choice and that even historically dreadlocks aren't exclusively black.


Either way the accusation was not or should not have been of racism but of cultural appropriation. Even then yes people may not agree with her but no matter where people fall on that spectrum the overwhelming majority agree that we were not talking about hard bigotry here.

Quote:
In any case, these are subjective judgments that people are going to disagree about. I don't think that adding additional layers is going to change this fact.


Then I don't think you are giving enough consideration to the role language plays in culture and society. Having more nuanced and more accurate language absolutely would change the national debate on these issues. A lot of it is wasted on logomachy and while even without logomachy these issues will remain subjective and polemic the use of more accurate language only helps and does not hurt.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 12:12 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Where did you get the term "soft" racism. That sounds like a lot of obnoxious, insulting, sarcastic remarks can be soft racism. And, not just to actual races, but ethnicities too. Where did the value of having a thick skin go? Is this what Jesus meant when he said the meek shall inherit the Earth (the meek being the highly sensitive). So much for valuing the ancient Stoics.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:04 pm
I prefer the Deputy Fife response:

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fi.ebayimg.com%2F00%2Fs%2FMTAwMVgxMDAx%2Fz%2Fx7EAAOSwPYZU2lFQ%2F%24_12.JPG%3Fset_id%3D880000500F&f=1
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:12 pm
If anyone decides to take Craven up on the search for a word to fit casual or accidental racism, please see if you can also shake out a word for this bullshit that's happening in universities exemplified by the black chick at San Francisco State who threatened a white kid with scissors because he was "misappropriating her culture" by wearing dreadlocks. This shite has chafed my ass royally.

Faked offense citing racism <--- this

{disclaimer: this request is not in any way attempting to diminish the initial conversation. I am interested to see what people might come up with as a universal term for this "accidental" racism..}

{ps - I hate that I felt like I had to write that disclaimer}
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:20 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
Either way the accusation was not or should not have been of racism but of cultural appropriation.


not sure about the general US reporting, but in our community it was reported as cultural appropriation and there's been a ton of debating. Apparently things got pretty hot at a couple of dance festivals this weekend where there were panels on the topic of cultural appropriation. Our general sense was that things were very different in the US than they are in Canada.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  4  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:20 pm
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:

Where did you get the term "soft" racism. That sounds like a lot of obnoxious, insulting, sarcastic remarks can be soft racism.

I would consider that run of the mill, "hard" racism. IMO, soft racism is automatically assuming someone who committed a crime is going to be black, being pleasantly surprised to see a black person working hard (because you don't expect that), assuming that black people you meet come from difficult backgrounds, etc. It is different (and much more prevalent IMO) from the active hatred you hear about.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:22 pm
@Lash,
Cultural insensitivity. That's what it is. Strictly speaking its not their fault if they knew no better. But if it goes on and on and on and if its not purposeful ignorance it is just plain ignorance.

Racism is when a person takes personal outrage over anything he associates with a specific race to the complete exclusion of any other reason and it has nothing at all to do with himself personally.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:32 pm
@Lash,
My brother, who whines constantly about how society is too whiny, called that case the poster child for "crybulies". But when he says that he means his qualms with "political correctness" and oversensitivity. Come to think of it you two would agree on a lot of that (though I don't).
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:34 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Uh oh. If you're talking about Lusatian, you just smacked me with a glove filled with birdshot.

I mean. I'm pro-expression and anti-bigotry, but the dreadlock lady... c'mon. You didn't agree with her, did you?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:35 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
I don't have any great suggestions but had considered things like racial insensitivity as terms. I think that would be a bit more specific than the superset of cultural insensitivity. Other words I briefly considered were things like "tone deaf", and "gaffe" as I think if it were called something like a racial gaffe it would be more teachable and people less likely to be defensive and defend their position vs merely feeling like they put a bit of their foot in their mouth by not knowing or being sensitive to something.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:35 pm
@Robert Gentel,
...and I like crybullies. SOLD!
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 01:38 pm
@Lash,
Of course I disagree with her, the difference between me and him is that he sees those as examples of society getting worse and I see it as either neutral (more of an evolution of journalism and the clickbait of outrage exaggeration, an artifact of us having more cellphones with cameras etc) or actually a symptom of a positive thing (society increasingly becoming intolerant of bigotry).

I remember you holding similar positions on "political correctness" in the past, not that this makes you agree with him on his other totalitarian positions etc.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2016 02:01 pm
@engineer,
<agree>
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2016 03:28 am
@engineer,
I think a lot of it is down to irrational fear. There's a comedy show called Impractical Jokers about four New York lads playing pranks on one another. They seem like a good bunch of lads, but whenever they have to deal with someone black they get a bit frightened.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2016 01:04 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

I think a lot of it is down to irrational fear. There's a comedy show called Impractical Jokers about four New York lads playing pranks on one another. They seem like a good bunch of lads, but whenever they have to deal with someone black they get a bit frightened.


If they were in NYC they'd be "guys." Or, as Jerry Lewis used to say for comedic effect, "fellows."

FYI, it is not Blacks that are the cause of fear in NYC. There are many groups that can engender fear, mostly based on dress, manner of walking, etc. NYC is a study in street smarts. My opinion only.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2016 06:41 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Has anyone mentioned xenophobia?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2016 09:21 pm
@neologist,
It's not really a lesser form of racism though, it's a different form of bigotry (though it can be related).
 

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