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I Was Invisible, Except for My White Skin

 
 
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 08:46 am
I am pretty sure someone is going to come a long and rip me a new one for starting this thread but dammit, I deserve to be heard just like anyone else.

As a white female, I experienced racial discrimination this weekend. Not a huge, blow out offense. Just a small almost subtle one.

But it sucked.

I wasn't hurt by it but I was offended at the ignorance of the person who did it.

I was downtown Detroit, sitting between two black women. The one woman needed to get up to use the bathroom or something and so she turned and said "Can you watch my seat?" but instead of asking me, who was right next to her, she was shouting it to the other black woman who was on the other side of me. Just as though I wasn't there. I truly felt invisible. And untrusted. Like I'd steal her machine or something.

They clearly didn't know each other so don't say that maybe they were friends or whatever.

I couldn't believe it. At first I was pissed but then got to thinking, "So, this is what it feels like..." and to be honest, I think it will make me think twice the next time I feel a prejudice against someone based on their looks, be it skin color or weight or whatever.

It makes me sad to know that the people who cry "racist" at me (which is the case here in many parts of Detroit) are the ones who are racist.

Why can't we just all get along? In all seriousness, what is the big freakin' deal with people just letting people be people, regardless of what color you are?

It just opened my eyes as to how far we haven't come when it comes to racism. What a sad day....
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 10,052 • Replies: 245
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:06 am
Hmmm.

I'm having a hard time seeing this as racism, per se. I think people tend to do variations of that all the time -- be more willing to approach/ ask a favor of someone who is part of their community/ culture.

I think if it had been two women and a man of the same race, the woman would have been more likely to ask the other woman.

Two old people and a young person, the old person would've been more likely to ask the other old person.

Two moms and a single woman, the mom would've asked the other mom.

Etc.

Perspective is always cool, tho.
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Bella Dea
 
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Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:14 am
Interesting take Soz.

The reason it seemed so off is because she literally leaned over, looking past me, to interrupt the other lady and ask her to hold a seat that was no even next to her.

I could have easily said, "That seat is taken" had someone tried to sit down.
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detano inipo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:15 am
It was probably no racism at all. The blacks in the States have suffered such a long time, they have become sisters and brothers.
I still remember those terrible years when they were truly second class.
She did not mean to hurt your feelings. That is the way I see it.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:17 am
She didn't hurt my feelings. She did however, make me feel a little weird.

Just a question:

What would be the reaction if I were black and the two ladies were white?

Would you still have the same reaction to this?

If it had been me, I'd have asked the person sitting next to me, regardless of whether they were black, white, male or female.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:26 am
You should take a look at "Black White" on TV. Some very interesting stuff going on there.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:27 am
DrewDad wrote:
You should take a look at "Black White" on TV. Some very interesting stuff going on there.


I heard it was not done very well and is just another bad reality program that is edited to please the controversy over racism.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:27 am
You obvioulsy need to stop riding the bus and buy a Hummer.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:29 am
She started a thread on it! Laughing

Bella, I know what you mean. I'd probably be arguing the same with the white-white-black scenario, and it'd be unpopular.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:29 am
dyslexia wrote:
You obvioulsy need to stop riding the bus and buy a Hummer.

Laughing

I saw a Hummer this morning, it's gas hogging exhaust clouding up the air in front of me. Stupid ass vehicles....
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:30 am
sozobe wrote:
She started a thread on it! Laughing

Bella, I know what you mean. I'd probably be arguing the same with the white-white-black scenario, and it'd be unpopular.


That's good to hear Soz.

I don't mind your opinion at all, so long as it's a universal opinion regardless of my skin color. :wink:
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:33 am
I do think there are a few extra elements, power issues, etc.

To take it out of race, make it all white people; first two women and a man, then two men and a woman. In the first, one woman asks the other woman; in the other, one man asks the other man, ignoring the woman.

I think they're a little different. In the second scenario, the woman might be wondering if she was deemed untrustworthy just because she's a woman, it might resonate with a lot of other genuine oppression she's dealt with in her life, etc.

Meanwhile, agreed about Hummers. :-) (Ridiculous things...)
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:33 am
detano inipo wrote:
It was probably no racism at all. The blacks in the States have suffered such a long time, they have become sisters and brothers.
I still remember those terrible years when they were truly second class.
She did not mean to hurt your feelings. That is the way I see it.


so, since it was 2 black women, the idea seems to be that THEY couldnt POSSIBLY be thinking /feeling / or subject anyone else to racisim.

but, turn the tables and put in 2 white people and one black person, and all of a sudden racisim is probally with in the top 3 reasons it would happen?

( not attacking YOU detano.. just bringing out a point)

It is wierd that, when someone who ISNT black says they feel that a comment or incident was racist, that everyone jumps in to say -oh no, dont worry... you are fine-

If someone is BLACK and says something that happened to them was fueled by racisim, people jump on that band wagon immediatly to support them and begin digging up all the reasons behind WHY the situation was racist. Even if it was not..

( again.. not directed at ANY one person.. just a statement/ general observation... )
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:40 am
sozobe wrote:

To take it out of race, make it all white people; first two women and a man, then two men and a woman. In the first, one woman asks the other woman; in the other, one man asks the other man, ignoring the woman.


I agree with that too.
and.. think that may have been just what happened.

at least I hope so.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:42 am
Anyone ever watch Undercover Brother on TV? Hilarious and is a different take on the black, black situation.

Bella, I once told EOE to read Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man. He is a fantastic black writer that explains the situation of the black man in the North.

However, I still salute the movie Crash for the essence and explanation of bias among all of us.
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detano inipo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:48 am
All of us who disapprove of racism bend over backwards to be nice to visible minorities. I frequently start conversations with blacks, just to show them that I am OK.
.
When I was still married, our guests were like a small UN. It will take many more years to see others as human beings and not as blacks or Asians.
.
When I lived in Quebec during the Referendum years, I sometimes felt like a stranger in my own country. (my French was not perfect).
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 09:59 am
I don't do that, detano, because that would be patronizing. I did stop three beautiful oriental people on the street and struck up a brief conversation with them. They were delighted and the father gave me a big smile when I asked if the daughter was good at English in school.

The only ethnic group that is not represented here is the French; however, my good friend's parents are originally from Quebec, and I was surprised that she didn't know the expression, "Le petite enfant" in reference to the tiny sand fleas that we used for bait when surf fishing.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 10:07 am
we visible minorities......



hmmmm Confused


i will come back to this..
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 10:11 am
I was thinking about that visible minority thing, too.

After 9/11, I made a point of making eye contact and being friendly to people wearing headscarves, a counterweight sort of idea. That stuck around for a while after. Was just re-thinking it the other day, about whether it'd be annoying for them or welcomed -- not sure.

Thought about people smiling and being friendly to me when they saw my hearing aid (back when I wore one), that wasn't particularly welcomed.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 10:13 am
An excerpt from Ralph Ellison:

Ralph Ellison (1914-1994)

With things going so well I distributed my letters in the mornings, and saw the city during the afternoons. Walking about the streets, sitting on subways beside whites, eating with them in the same cafeterias (although I avoided their tables) gave me the eerie, out-of-focus sensation of a dream. My clothes felt ill-fitting; and for all my letters to men of power, I was unsure of how I should act. For the first time, as I swung along the streets, I thought consciously of how I had conducted myself at home. I hadn't worried too much about whites as people. Some were friendly and some were not, and you tried not to offend either. But here they all seemed impersonal; and yet when most impersonal they startled me by being polite, by begging my pardon after brushing against me in a crowd. Still I felt that even when they were polite they hardly saw me, that they would have begged the pardon of Jack the Bear, never glancing his way if the bear happened to be walking along minding his business. It was confusing. I did not know if it was desirable or undesirable...
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