What do you consider to be "racist"?

Sara - posted on 09/10/2010 ( 83 moms have responded )

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I was having this conversation with someone earlier, and I was just wondering what you all think. Do you think referring to a black/brown/red person as "colored" is racist? Where do you draw the line at what you consider to be racist?

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Tah - posted on 09/16/2010

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because being tall or brown haired hasn't been the reason for any wars, protest, racism or social unrest, that's why it's okay to say the brown haired or tall guy...and you just proved my point, there are other physical features that can be used besides the person's color, like hair color, height, clothing...etc...just saying..

[deleted account]

If a white person is living in Asian or African country, where white is a minority, should they get offended by being referred to as "the white woman" ? It's clearly distinguishing a difference even if it's only being used to describe someone in conversation.

PS ... Where I live in the UK everyone's an inbred so we notice new additions to the potential gene pool!

Serena - posted on 09/11/2010

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I guess first of all before the word itself is questioned, why is it being used? Being a person of "color" myself as you would put it, why would my race be brought into the question first of all?
For example why is it being pointed out that more "colored" people are moving into the area? When a question is brought up like that it does usually have negative connations attached to it.
I personally think anytime a race is brought up to describe a person, it brings along stereotypes and negative connations all in itself.
But I do agree that as a whole we cannot tiptoe around everyone, something said will eventually offend someone.

[deleted account]

Kelly, I like the way you worded your post. I was thinking the same thing, but couldn't figure out how to put it into words.

I do believe that when we get to the point where we (society) can say, "the black guy" "the Native American girl" or "The woman with glasses and green shirt" and we process it all the same then we are not racist anymore. If you cringe when someone describes someone as "black" because it's not PC, ask yourself why you are cringing. Does "black" have a negative connotation? Not saying that you, yourself are racist. But that racism still exists until it becomes a non-issue.

[deleted account]

I guess I see what you are saying, but I don't associate anything negative with a person's skin tone. In my opinion, avoiding the use of race to describe someone implies that one associates negative characteristics with that race.



By refusing to use "black" in a description of that man, since it is an obvious trait and one that differentiates him from the other men (especially if you are not standing by them and cannot see the color of the shirt they are wearing), I feel like it implies that being black is a negative thing to be. Being black would not be a negative unless you associate negative traits or stereotypes to that skin color, which I do not do.



I'm not sure if I am expressing this clearly, so forgive me for going on and on., but if someone went through that long description and went out of their way to avoid saying that Dr. Moorse is black, I would see that as racist, because to me, it would imply that he didn't want to use the word "black" because he associates negative characteristics (negative stereotypes) with the race, which is racist.



It is not racist to acknowledge a difference in race, it is racist to attach negative characteristics or stereotypes to people of a certain race.

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Isobel - posted on 09/16/2010

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and women were beaten, traded like chattel, refused the right to be educated, used as slaves, and believed under the law to be "not human" for a lot longer than African Americans.

I am not making light of the history of slavery in North America...I think it was a despicable practice and that it is still affecting how society works today...

I do however, think that we make light of womens' struggles every day.

Isobel - posted on 09/16/2010

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there has been political unrest in the matter of being female...and I would consider that a primary distinguishing feature as well. I do think that avoiding the obvious is suspect. I also think it's funny that while I would never say "oh,, he's the black guy" I have on certain occasions said "she's the one with the huge boobs" lol

Paige - posted on 09/16/2010

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This is a very broad topic. I think it depends on what what you're saying, how you say it and how you act about it. Now, this can go either way. I've seen racism towards people with darker skin, and to people with lighter skin. Certain words like the N word is definitely an off limits word, among others. You could be saying something completely normal to someone with darker skin but your body language and how you say that sentence can twist words. In an ideal world, nobody would give two shits what the colour of your skin is - because let's face it, we're all human who need the same necessities (food, air, water and shelter) and strive for the same things in life (career, love, happiness etc). Sorry, racism just baffles me. Especially how some people take it to the EXTREME, like the white supremacists.

[deleted account]

I would add that "colored" is considered racist in my area because it is too broad and simply means "not white". Here, that term applies to Indian people, Black people, Hispanic people, and Native Americans. When you say "colored" you are not embracing their race, you are only excluding them from the white race.

[deleted account]

The word "colored" is different than the word "black". Colored was used in a derogatory way to describe African Americans.

C. - posted on 09/16/2010

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I do think using the word 'colored' is racist. I don't know, it just seems to be wrong in every sense.

I do refer to people as black, hispanic, asian, european, etc.. But I don't mean it as anything bad. If I'm describing how someone looked, I'll use those terms b/c certain features are more prominent in other races and it could help better my description. If I'm describing someone standing several feet away from me, I'll try to use what they're wearing as the description. If there's several people wearing similar styles of clothing, then I may say what race if the people are of different ethnicities, if that makes sense.

I think if you automatically go to 'Oh, that black girl did this and said that' or 'That [Mexican, German, Indian] was talking trash'.. To me, THAT is racist, too.

Iris - posted on 09/16/2010

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I'm not saying it is wrong Laura. We all have a different way of referring to people and this is just where I attend to describe the person by clothes/height/hair etc. Maybe it's being more PC, but for me it's more norm.

I've been in a situation where I'm looking for my husband in a crowd of co workers, all wearing their Blues. I ask "have you seen Mr P, working at so and so, and so and so rank, bold head with glasses". I've never had to say "he's black or a brother". This is just one of those things where I feel it separates us more from each other. Especially within a group of say five people, the only black/white/hispanic etc is distinguished by race. I just don't see the need for it.

Isobel - posted on 09/15/2010

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for the record...i did say the guy in the blue shirt...because I know that it's offensive to some people to describe using the colour of their skin, and I don't believe in hurting people's feelings...I guess I just don't understand why it's offensive in this particular case.

Isobel - posted on 09/15/2010

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you've got a group of 6 people, 5 men and one woman...I say, could you go get Pat for me?

which one's Pat...the one in the red???

why is it so wrong to say she's the woman?

Isobel - posted on 09/15/2010

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in a group of five foot two girls, I'm gonna call the six footer the tall girl

in a group of brown haired guys...I'm gonna call the blond a blond

in a group of men, I'm gonna call the woman a woman...

I'm just saying...why should it be harmful to use the obvious distinguishing feature.

Not that it should determine anything about a person other than to make identification as quick and easy as possible.

?? - posted on 09/15/2010

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I don't know how relevant it will be, but tomorrow (thursday) on Dr Phil they are talking about being "politically correct" and being "over sensitive" in case anyone wants to tune and see what the big bald know it all has to say about this topic.

Iris - posted on 09/15/2010

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To me it sounds more normal to use "the one in the blue shirt" than "the black/white/asian guy". Why should we refer to people by race when we can say "the one wearing the black pants/sneakers" etc.

Tah - posted on 09/15/2010

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@Mary Elizabeth, that is also true...intent does matter, sometimes i walk into a room and introduce myself as the nurse and they will say "your my nurse"...and it's in the way they say it..I have even been asked if i was sure..lol...i'm pretty sure..if im not im getting paid pretty good to change your trash..lol..but i dont let it bother me. They will describe other staff members to me, well so and so..you know the little black girl...said i can do this much..etc..lol...i do think that some people have underlying issues with race, but i look at what time and where they are from, how old they are, things like that and it helps me not get so upset...my mother used to say that she didn't want us dating outside out race, but thats because when she was born and growing up 50's and so on, she told us about things that happened to black people who dated white people. they were beaten up, lynched, disappeared. some were friends of hers, so she still had that mentality..but she has come around alot and it doesn't bother her if we do, She still gets happy when she sees young black doctors, it gives her a sense of pride to see how far black people have come, she said she remembers when you were a teacher (teaching black children only), you stayed home or tried to become a nurse, TRIED...to....but usually you were a nurses aide...so i had to even understand that about my mom and i'm pround of how far she has come also...

ME - posted on 09/15/2010

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That is also a good point Kelly...a persons intent can drastically change the situation...

For example...I started seeing a new OB a few months after moving from CO to IL...My mom asked me about her, and I talked about how funny and friendly, and sweet and young she was...how much time she spent in the room with me, her credentials...that sort of thing...A few months later, my mother met her because I was pregnant, and she was driving me around...The first thing she said as we left the office was..."I can't believe you didn't tell me she's black". She said that because she couldn't believe that I didn't care, and she said it because (in some ways) she couldn't believe that a young black woman was a doctor. My mom is not a bad person, and she loves my doc now, but I know that for a minute, it bothered her somehow...Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of people with an unconscious racism lurking insidiously beneath the surface...

Tah - posted on 09/15/2010

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ok..but why CAN"T he be the one on the bluer shirt, or the black shirt, or the one with the mustache or the one in the middle, ot the one with the dreads(thinking about my brother..lol)..i mean there are other traits to pick from, not saying it's wrong to say the black guy, but why is that the most obvious trait to you...physically.....im not going to say i don't notice what color people are, i would be lying, but if someone comes on my unit and says, hey is mrs jones your patient we need such and such, and it's julie's patient, i could say the white girl on the skilled side...but i say, the one with the hello kitty scrubs, or with the short brown hair, i think she went in 10...do i know julie is white..umm yeah, is it her most obvious trait to me..it's really not...i love her hair cut and if i had more heart (i am scared to go past 3 inches below my shoulders security blanket i guess..lol) i would have had them cut more than the 3 inches i had cut last month and got it like hers..not the fact that she is white.....but that is just me..

ME - posted on 09/15/2010

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I agree with Tah...There are plenty of other ways to refer to people...if what you see first is the color of a person's skin, I think that says something about who you are as a person...

[deleted account]

Exactly, Laura! I don't consider the fact that someone is black (or white or spanish) to be a negative trait, so why is it offensive for us to use it?

Isobel - posted on 09/15/2010

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right but what about this scenario...cause I've been in it.

"could you ask Dave to grab that thing over there?"
"sure, which one's Dave"
*looks at three white guys and a black guy and says
"ummmmmmmmm...the one in the bluer shirt?"

why can't you say, "he's the black guy" I would have no issue with saying the blond guy, or the bald guy, or the tall guy...what exactly is wrong with describing somebody with their most obvious physical trait?

Tah - posted on 09/15/2010

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I dont think that because we don't refer to somone by their race, heritage whatever, we are ignoring the differences, i just don't think that it's the only way to define or describe someone, it's not the first thing i would think of. I have friends of all different races now and i enjoy learning about them and their cultures and they seem to enjoy the same thing, if i am referring to a friend that is Mexican as my mexican friend, it's because i'm talking about something that speciffically has to do with that...like the dip she made....it was so good it should be the 8th deadly sin...and it's something that they make in her family and in mexico so, yes then i would use it, but not to say she just got another job, or is coming to book club..no..not the first thing i would use if at all..

[deleted account]

I think we all should never consider a person's color of skin in any way. We need to look at all people equally. No one is better than anyone else regardless of their skin color or eye color or hair color. We shouldn't even have to talk about it. Were all the same, black or white, red or yellow. God loves us all, & we need to love all.

[deleted account]

Yes, that would be a racist remark. I know in the South you are never to refer to anyone as "colored".

[deleted account]

I guess we do it because it is our most defining feature, there are 3 yellow houses on my street, she drives a silver Escalade, which about 4 people on my street drive, and all of the black women on my street, except for one, have black hair. There are 3 old couples, one Asian, one black, and one white. There are several gray houses, and I have black hair, but I am the only Native American, so that is my most defining feature.

While my neighborhood is mostly white, my actual street is not, of the 16 homes on it, we have 4 black families, 5 white (including mine), 2 Korean, 2 Indian (like from India), and 3 hispanic families. To be honest, we like recognizing the different races. We are all the same in that we hold the same values, live in the same area, and have tons of other little things in common, but our race is a part of our individuality and we enjoy sharing and recognizing it. We are not all the same color, we do not all have the same background, so why should we pretend we do?
We embrace the differences. Tala has different traditions than I do, because she is black. I have different traditions than others because I am Native American--our race is the reason for our differences, but it is not a negative thing, it is a good thing. How boring would the world be if we were all exactly alike?
If we continue ignoring these differences, and people of different races/cultures are not encouraged to embrace their cultures and share them, eventually we will all be the same and our cultures will be lost. My tribe is experiencing that right now, and it is sad.

Tah - posted on 09/15/2010

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to some people that may be...now at work i noticed people go by hair color or she works this shift or blah blah blah..and i get the feeling they are being PC..in my neighborhood we were mostly black so it was no need to say the little black lady down the street, we would say lee's dad with the buick...my mom still tells me who may have moved or passed away and if i don't remember them she will say their children's names or something like that because it's probably a given that were black..lol...so it just depends and thats prob why it's not the first thing i use to describe someone, now if u have to say the white girl with the freckles, she works nights, i guess i would....but it wouldn;t be the first thing to me...and i guess maybe if you are white and the majority of your neighbors are and black or people of different ethnicities start moving in it may be easier for you to say the black couple, or the korean family...so it all depends on where you live and what your used to and how you mean it...

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

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The easiest way to describe people is based on appearance, be it skin color, hair color, or any other outstanding characteristic. Race can be the easiest starting point.

Tah - posted on 09/15/2010

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@Kelly, if you 2 don't see a problem with it thats fine, but why are you guys calling each other by your race...i mean what is the conversation...can you just say Tala..or my friend in the yellow house, i'm wondering why you 2 do that...im not saying it's wrong, but my immediate neighbor Lisa...who is white, her husband is black...i say yeah Lisa just flew out to a holding center to see marvin before he goes to afghanistan..which one is Lisa?(says my other friend)..The one with hte blue explorer, Marvin's wife..he has that red beater..she lives to my left..OH..i know who your talking about her son played soccer with my daughter...That isa conversation that i just had and it never occurred to me to say the white lady to my left..not because it would offend her, there were just other ways to describe her

Ntombi - posted on 09/15/2010

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Wwe know racism in South Africa. We have black people, white people and coloured people. Coloureds are descendents of black and white parents. Racism for me is racial intolerance. When my son was 6 I said he was black and he said no he is brown and his friend Jared was skinny coloured and he used to get vefry angry if we said we were black.

Karen - posted on 09/15/2010

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who really needs to see a colour,,,, as far as i am concerned, we are all the same.......

Cyndel - posted on 09/14/2010

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No! it isn't racist. Our country is too caught up in racism, it is such a sinsitive topic, esp since Presedent Obama started campaning. I'm so tired of being told I'm racist because I think the Prez is doing an awefull job in office. I would say the same thing about McCain if he had won and was doing what Pr. Obama is doing. I don't care about where he was born or raised, what his religion is, what his ancestory is, All I care about is how he is taking care of my wonderful Country, and he is tearing it apart.
Any way, no I don't believe calling someone who isn't white 'colored', It is simply stating a factual description not insulting the person. Though someone can chose to use it in an insulting way, but in and of itself it is not an offinsive word.

[deleted account]

Tah, you bring up a very good point here:
"Tah will do, so when someone has to add my color or what have you into a conversation that it isn't warranted in, it can be perceived as racist."

I live on a pretty diverse street in a mostly white neighborhood. In the town as a whole, about 15% of the population is "non-white" (about 35% of the metro area we are located in is "non-white", we just happen to live in a rather "white area" as my friend calls it). Anyway, when referring to my friend Tala in conversation with someone, I will often refer to her as "Tala, the black woman in the yellow house" She will often refer to me as "the Indian in the gray house" and my neighbors as "the little white couple from New York"
So my question is, are we racist against each other?
I don't think we are. Tala is one of my very best friends, I don't care if she calls me Indian, or sometimes she gets all PC and says "the Native American chick", but honestly, I don't care either way. And my neighbors don't care that she calls them "the little white couple" (they are little), So I guess I don't understand why she would have reason be offended if we do the same thing.

Tah - posted on 09/14/2010

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@Dana....i was joking also...lol..i am not so easily offended...you are funny...lol...i was saying it is steve martin and i was joking about cathy's baby...i added the lol so noone thinks i think it is racist.



For the record since i am somewhat of a minority on here, just stating the obvious...lol...i don't think if you refer to me as black it's racist...i don't expect anyone to say the mocha colored girl with the black truck..Tah will do, so when someone has to add my color or what have you into a conversation that it isn't warranted in, it can be perceived as racist. If you have a pre-cconceived notion about me and just because of the color of my skin and are not willing to explore it, talk with me, have me sit next to you, or deal with me on any level because of it due to this i would call it racist.



Some people are too sensitive i will admit, some people have encountered racism so much they are always defensive now, like someone who had been cheated on time and time again so they are always expecting to find something with the new person they are with and are always on guard..it is that type of thing. The guy in the pool was a prick and his children having no manners is what would bother me more than anything....i can't stand disrespectful children...just had to get after some yesterday...sorry....wooosahhh..and i'm back..



I look at it like this, yes some people are racist, they bring out the 56th street in me. Some honestly don't know, You would be surprised how many people i meet, since we are military, that only saw black people on t.v and heard about them from dear old dad before they or their spouses received orders to the big city. Some are determined to stay inside their box, holding on to stereotypes and saying racist remarks and don't see a thing wrong with it, they are a waste of my breath..trust me.



Then there are those who are so fascinated and want to know, about our hair styles, complexion, what we eat..lol..everything...i don't mind them because they ask and want to understand so if they say something that offends me, i will let them know what and why it offends and they get it and it's cool. So many things can constitute being racist you would be amazed..

Stifler's - posted on 09/13/2010

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Assuming black people should be slaves is definitely racist. I don't get the Simpsons thing though?

Tah - posted on 09/13/2010

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yes dana..i actually came on here to type that but decided to read first...thats him...and yes cathy...it's racist..please have a talk with him...lol

[deleted account]

"Colored" is usually frowned upon in my area, besides, no one would know what you were talking about. I call my black friends black. All of the black women I am friends with are very PROUD to be black and consider the term a complement, not an insult. They call me indian or white. I'm not especially proud of my race, but I'm not ashamed of it either, it doesn't bother me if people choose to use it to describe me.

Tah - posted on 09/13/2010

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so im watching that movie with queen latifah and o my goodness his name just went out my head...ill remember in a second and re-post..he's well known though...played in roxanne...big nose...anywho...she was in jail and they were pen pals and then she escaped and came to his house and surprise she's black.....so his client(an older white women )comes to dinner and he ask queen latifah to wear a uniform and be his maid...and the woman goes on and on about how her parents had servants and they used to take all the food they hadn't finished eating off their plates and put it on a pile and give it to the maid for her family...and then she broke into a "old negro spiritual" that the servants used to sing coming in out of the fields..."mama..is massa gonna sell us tommorrow, mama..is massa gonna sell us tommorrow..hmmmm mama..is massa gonna sell me tommorrrowwww..."..and then she ask them to join in....the daughter is darn near choking on her water..queen latifah is in the kitchen throwing everything around and im pissing my pants im laughing so hard.....but i would call that racist...lmbo...

Jessica - posted on 09/13/2010

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What I consider racist? Demeaning and volatile behaviour towards aperson/group of people of a particular race/country/language. Calling someone coloured, with no stress or hate behind it, is simply an observation.

[deleted account]

To me racism is treating a person/ group of people differently because they have a different skin colour (differently can be overly positive or negatively). Terms used to describe different races are not racist unless used in a derogatory way, although the black people I know are offended by the use of coloured to describe them as they are not rainbows (their words).

To me descriptions use the most obvious/ distinctive feature, so if I was in the city I wouldn't describe an indian man as the asian dude because it would not be the most distinctive feature, I may pick up on his height or the fact he has a red jumper on BUT if I was in my village I would describe him as the asian dude as that is really distinctive in my village.

I agree with Sara H that is exactly right getting rid of racism is not about not seeing race and colour but about seeing it and it making no difference to your perceptions and behaviours.

[deleted account]

Okay, we have the racism discussions from different angles on here pretty often. Which is good, it needs to happen. But I was lying in bed and thinking about this. From being involved in several debates about this topic what I've found is that no one on here is racist. The argument comes from some people wanting to be totally color blind and pretending race doesn't exist and saying that is when we are no longer racist. Here is what I think. I think skin color and racial features are just that...features. I have curly hair and a snub nose from my Irish ancestry. Those are my features. A black person has brown skin from their ancestry. Identifying someone as black or dark skinned is not a problem. It's just their most distinguishing feature. I honestly believe, that when we can walk the line recognizing and celebrating differences without treating or thinking poorly of someone because of those differences, then we are no longer racists as a society. I hope I made sense. Tell me if I didn't and I will try again. =)

[deleted account]

I commented about milk in another community. The original poster asked for advice on when to start cow's milk so I gave my opinion. Another chick commented as well and her opinion was drastically different than mine. Later I saw her in another thread and she had commented that she lived in India. The "milk" thread continued and I mentioned that perhaps our difference of opinion was cultural and THAT somehow makes me a racist. It's all silly really. She flagged my post and complained to CoM's. Funny thing is, I'm a moderator of that community so when she flagged the post I knew right away....I let our admin deal with her.

Anyhow, I think she was silly and obviously misunderstood what I was saying......I just don't think she liked the fact that I disagreed with her. Oh well. C'est la vie!

Stifler's - posted on 09/12/2010

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I think political correctness has gone mad. People are black. People are brown. People are white. So what. Just because someone says "black people" or "black person" doesn't mean they hate African Americans or any other race that has dark skin or are trying to insult them.

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