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Thread: Innocent comments or racial slurs??

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    International Debutant Adders's Avatar
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    Innocent comments or racial slurs??

    So I thought long and hard about starting this thread following some interesting (but waaayyyy off topic) discussion in the Road to the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Clearly this is a contentious topic with the potential to go bad very quickly........please let's not let that happen!!

    My view of CW is that compared to any other forum I've ever posted on the membership is in the main; intelligent, knowledgeable and capable of presenting well balanced and reasoned opinions on all subjects.......surely we can discuss this without it becoming a ****fest? For those that didn't see the original discussion it started here with what by the posters own admission was a lame joke, but was interpreted as something far more sinister by a number of posters, others like myself couldn't really see what all the fuss was about.

    So the comment was about the West Indies being "dark horses literally" for the World Cup, for reference he then clarified it as "WI are naturally of the dark skin tone and hence dark horses".

    The very last thing I would ever consider myself is a racist in any shape or form, but I learned during the discussion that referring to an indigenous footy players skills as "black magic" as I have been known to do is also considered poor form by some........so perhaps I'm not as liberal and up with the ways of the world as I might think I am? Or is it a case of political correctness going too far, where the colour of persons skin is taboo and not to be mentioned?

    So anyway, I start this thread with an open mind.........I didn't see the harm in the original "joke" (cept it really wasn't that funny), and I don't see the harm in the black magic comment either. But if the discussions can convince me I'm a bit off the mark and these comments really do have negative/derogatory/condescending connotations then I'm certainly up for learning a thing or two and changing my opinion.

    Discuss.........(and play nice )
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    The first starting point for any discussion about racism and racial slurs is that, unless you have experienced first-hand for an extended period of time, it sort of doesn't matter what you think. Without that first-hand experience, it's difficult to really comprehend the gradual but constant degrading effect seemingly harmless casual racial slurs has on someone. In isolation they're harmless, yes, but over five, ten, twenty years it sort of wears you out a bit. And it's kind of grating to have people who don't know what that's like tell you what is and isn't racist.

    Basically, if someone who has experienced racism says that something is racist, then it's best to shut up.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Re: black magic, it's got bad connotations (associating people of color with "backward ways", mysticism, etc).

    I don't understand this whole business of 'political correctness going too far' - you are allowed to say whatever you want. You can't control what other people find offensive. It's a ludicrous thing to tell another person what they should or should not take offense to. Especially if that person has spent their encountered countless instances being marginalized overtly and not-so-overtly by phrases, words tor actions that might be so common that they have become a routine part of the culture. Then it's up to you whether to keep saying it or not. In many cases, I would support a decision to keep saying it. Here...I don't see a reason to use phrases like that, so why do it?
    Last edited by silentstriker; 15-09-2014 at 05:12 AM.
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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Yeah, the point I made in the other thread was basically that there isn't, for any reason I can see, any need to add a racial element to comments of the sort alluded to above.


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    I followed that discussion but didn't have time to add before mods told us to keep on topic.

    I think there's a useful distinction to be made between 'slurs' and 'misguided opinion based on subconsious racism'. Adders seems to be under the impression that some people say that 'black magic' is on par with ****. I don't think anyone seriously argued that in the world cup thread, only that it came from the same mine.

    Everyone, even the most dyed-in-the-wool liberal, has the tribal loyalty to people who look like them imo. Just please try and keep it away from the way you look at and treat other people, and to be willing to say sorry and admit when you **** up.

    As for why you shouldn't: because it contributes to creating stereotypes, and those stereotypes then subconsciously influence your or other people's decision making later, even though you rationalise your decision by 'I looked at this rationally and this person really is better than this other person, race doesn't come into it because I am not a racist'.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    And another thing: "I have a black/asian/hispanic/____ friend and they don't think it's racist" is not the catch-all many assume it to be. One person cannot speak for millions upon millions of people, and whilst it certainly cuts both ways, it's definitely incorrect to just assume that makes it all OK.

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    Yeah, the point I made in the other thread was basically that there isn't, for any reason I can see, any need to add a racial element to comments of the sort alluded to above.
    This is basically it. I'll laugh as much as anyone at stereotypes even at my own expense, so long as they're (a) actually funny and (b) respectful. Jokes which amount to "look they're black ha ha" fall into neither of those categories.

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    International Vice-Captain OverratedSanity's Avatar
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    I think when someone says that they're offended by a certain comment which, to him, had racial undertones, then the guy who made the comment should simply say "I aplogize, that wasn't my intention"

    And everyone should have moved the **** on. Instead of ending it there, we entered into this ridiculous back and forth of what's racist and what isn't. There's no answer to that. Anything, even the most innocuous comment can be offensive to someone without you realising it. So , when that is pointed out, instead of getting all outraged and going "How dare you call me a racist?!",why not just apologize? Doesn't take much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    The first starting point for any discussion about racism and racial slurs is that, unless you have experienced first-hand for an extended period of time, it sort of doesn't matter what you think. Without that first-hand experience, it's difficult to really comprehend the gradual but constant degrading effect seemingly harmless casual racial slurs has on someone. In isolation they're harmless, yes, but over five, ten, twenty years it sort of wears you out a bit. And it's kind of grating to have people who don't know what that's like tell you what is and isn't racist.

    Basically, if someone who has experienced racism says that something is racist, then it's best to shut up.
    Good post. With the joke that started the discussion I think I would have paid more heed to it's "offensiveness" if WW or Kyear for eg had taken objection to it..........if someone form the Caribbean had said, hey.....that's not on, then for sure, what position would I be in to say it is OK? As it was though to my knowledge it seemed to be white folk (is that acceptable btw?) that voiced their disapproval.

    As for experiencing it, well I have been an immigrant living in a foreign country for 20 odd years. I have experienced the odd occasion where I have felt vilified but certainly not a regular thing.

    But this is where I am maybe getting confused or not understanding the point. I'm proud of my heritage, I like being called a POM........I like that my friends and associates here understand that I have come from a different place and my background and upbringing is very different to theirs. I don't want them tip toeing around my Englishness for fear of causing offense.

    I'd love to ask Buddy Franklin or Cyril Roili if they find their skills being referred to as "black Magic" offensive or degrading........if they did then for sure i'd stfu, because I'm meaning it as a compliment to their footy skills and if it can be taken any other way then that's the last thing intended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adders View Post
    I'd love to ask Buddy Franklin or Cyril Roili if they find their skills being referred to as "black Magic" offensive or degrading........if they did then for sure i'd stfu, because I'm meaning it as a compliment to their footy skills and if it can be taken any other way then that's the last thing intended.
    For the record Adam Goodes wrote an article about this exact thing:

    Indigenous magic isn't a gift - it comes with hard graft
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    I believe there was a previous **** storm in the gay thread (I can't remember what the name of the thread was so please do excuse me and not jump on me to have used a politically incorrect thread name or something).

    It is something that I have picked over the years after my interaction with some of the euro-centric cultures (I could be wrong but that's what I feel) that they seem to have this guilt associated with some of the happenings in the past along racial lines. To counter that they seem to have moved to the opposite extreme where it has become taboo to even discuss race or make a comment about it. Now I don't see why any guilt should be associated with a comment such as mine (which only reflected facts) which isn't said in any way that makes an attempt to deride any race/religion/ehnicity/sex etc.

    And if you haven't experienced racism first hand then you can't really say anything about it is just bollocks.
    And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW

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    Quote Originally Posted by OverratedSanity View Post
    I think when someone says that they're offended by a certain comment which, to him, had racial undertones, then the guy who made the comment should simply say "I aplogize, that wasn't my intention"

    And everyone should have moved the **** on. Instead of ending it there, we entered into this ridiculous back and forth of what's racist and what isn't. There's no answer to that. Anything, even the most innocuous comment can be offensive to someone without you realising it. So , when that is pointed out, instead of getting all outraged and going "How dare you call me a racist?!",why not just apologize? Doesn't take much.
    The previous conversation had no place in the thread it was in, but apart from a couple of posts that got "personal" I found the discussion enlightening and don't think it was ridiculous at all, hence me wanting to start this thread.

    Like I said in the OP, I have an open mind to this and I'm fully prepared to exit the discussion with a different opinion to that I started with............As others have said there is no one conclusion that can really be reached here, but I'm hoping to get some understanding of why some people did find it offensive.

  13. #13
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adders View Post
    As for experiencing it, well I have been an immigrant living in a foreign country for 20 odd years. I have experienced the odd occasion where I have felt vilified but certainly not a regular thing.

    But this is where I am maybe getting confused or not understanding the point. I'm proud of my heritage, I like being called a POM........I like that my friends and associates here understand that I have come from a different place and my background and upbringing is very different to theirs. I don't want them tip toeing around my Englishness for fear of causing offense.
    Not to put it bluntly, but this isn't remotely the same thing. When people say they're proud to be black (for example, or LBGT, to use another example which may be more currently topical), it's in the context of the fact that historically, being proud to be black has been a big deal and/or the prevailing view of society is that there's nothing to be proud of about being black. The LBGT example is even stronger because it's more recent: people say they're proud to be gay/whatever not because there's something inherently amazing about being gay that puts them above others, but because until recently being gay was a ****ing big deal and being proud of it even bigger.

    It's very easy to say you're proud to be English when your history is one of a great power for centuries and centuries, and not too long ago completely dominated the entire globe. It's another thing to say you're proud to be ____ when your history is one of colonisation, slavery, torture, wholesale slaughter, ethnic cleansing etc etc. It's not really about national pride, it's about defying oppression.
    Last edited by Spark; 15-09-2014 at 05:52 AM.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    And if you haven't experienced racism first hand then you can't really say anything about it is just bollocks.
    Good argument, well made.

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