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"SO GHETTO!"
January 4, 2012 12:37 PM   Subscribe


 
Ghetto as a cute perjorative meaning, well, you know, like poor black people in the city is over, right? Like 2 1/2 years ago?
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:45 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am waiting with bated breath for Shit Basque Girls Say to Hmong Girls.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:46 PM on January 4, 2012 [61 favorites]


Everything about race, gender, and subculture relations, and how we relate to those relations, became much clearer to me once I learned that it's not a conversation about "black people are like this" or "gay guys do/don't talk like this" as if those things were intrinsic to the race, sex, or lifestyles of the people involved.

Rather, as I learned from a friend, it's all about who has power and who doesn't. it doesn't matter if people of group X talk like this while people not of group X don't. what matters is that, the group that has the power uses the difference in the way of talking to control the group that doesn't have the power. Once I realized this, all the things groups did - self-naming, "taking it back," code language - made a lot more sense.
posted by rebent at 12:48 PM on January 4, 2012 [42 favorites]


These "Shit ______ People Say" videos are all starting to sound like "Shit Stupid Humans Say".

Granted I'll be the first to admit there are plenty of stupid people out there
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:49 PM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: shit people say
posted by clvrmnky at 12:49 PM on January 4, 2012


I was surprised at just how thoughtful the YouTube commenters were, especially about a pretty sensitive issue like race relations.

Ha! Just kidding!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:50 PM on January 4, 2012 [41 favorites]


"Shit __ say" is this year's "Keep calm and __."
posted by me3dia at 12:54 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haha.. she's adorable! This is very funny.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:55 PM on January 4, 2012


I am waiting with bated breath for Shit Basque Girls Say to Hmong Girls.

I can do Shit Niçoises Say to Norwegian-American Girls, will that work for you? All of them have to be said in the slightly nasal condescending tone.
T'es trop grande !! Aucun homme nevoudra de toi, ha.
Pffft elle a un accent.
N'importe quoi ses fringues. Elle a trouvé ça où ?
Mais c'est pas possible, on dirait pas ke t'es américaine ! T'es intelligente !!
M
posted by fraula at 12:56 PM on January 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


Seems the half life on running something into the ground is getting shorter and shorter.
posted by Mooski at 12:56 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Seems the half life on running something into the ground is getting shorter and shorter.

Twenty dollars it is the same as it is in the town.
posted by griphus at 12:59 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


I felt this was much gentler than it could have been (particularly given how infuriating it must be to have to deal with this stuff all the time) and had a sort of warm sense of humor about it that I wasn't expecting.

Also, Franchesca Ramsey is charming! I'm going to have to poke around to see what else she's done.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:00 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know why I clicked on this - I try to avoid boring hashtag guff.

But this was actually funny and well done.
posted by cincinnatus c at 1:01 PM on January 4, 2012


Wow fraula, someone seems to be doing their best to keep the rude French stereotype alive
posted by Hoopo at 1:02 PM on January 4, 2012


Seriously, if you are hanging around people like this, why do you continue to hang out with them? Stop making videos about it and start saying: Hey, you're an ignorant asshole.
posted by ofthestrait at 1:03 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's sad that she appears not to realise that this is racist. Just like it's sad that the smug fuckhead behind "Stuff White People Like" appears not to realise that it's racist.

In both cases they're talking about shit/stuff a certain, largely stereotypical, social group says/likes. The fact that they then ascribe the shit/stuff said narrow social group says/likes to an entire race (and, in this case, sex) could be done ironically and amusingly but they both singularly and embarrassingly fail to do so. They're just spouting racist shit and they think it's okay because they're being racist about the race with the power. Which is bullshit dressed in a coat of bullshit.

As an aside, I find it blackly funny that so many of the MeFi uberliberals think this bullshit is cute as all fuck.
posted by Decani at 1:04 PM on January 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


Seems the half life on running something into the ground is getting shorter and shorter.

Xeno's Paradise?
posted by maryr at 1:05 PM on January 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


As an aside, I find it blackly funny

AND WHAT EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT!!!!!!!!???????????
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:09 PM on January 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


Xeno's Paradise?

Oh yeah, I used to drink there. They never top you off all the way, though.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:10 PM on January 4, 2012 [34 favorites]


My Shit pre-Mycenaean Minoans Used to Say blog kind of flopped, apparently due to some sort of readability issue.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:12 PM on January 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


Seriously, if you are hanging around people like this, why do you continue to hang out with them? Stop making videos about it and start saying: Hey, you're an ignorant asshole.

In a perfect world, that would be good advice. But when your lab partners, co-workers, bosses, etc. do this, there's not a lot of recourse.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:13 PM on January 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


I thought it was funny and smart, I think she got it exactly right.
posted by carter at 1:14 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


It kind of negates the effectiveness when the stereotypical manner of your video is just as bad as the thing you're making fun of.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:15 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flagged as inaccurate. I say "ghetto" and I am not a white girl.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:16 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What's a nubian?"

Sorry, that clip is all i can think of right now. ;)
posted by usagizero at 1:16 PM on January 4, 2012


Hey now, before you get all upset...

TOO LATE!
posted by mullacc at 1:17 PM on January 4, 2012


Didn't think it was funny OR racist. Well maybe a tiny bit racist, but not so much offensively as annoyingly so.

Rather, as I learned from a friend, it's all about who has power and who doesn't.

Caveat: It is not ALL about who has the power and who doesn't. That plays a big role, but that's being reductive. For instance, it really is possible for a member of an underprivileged minority to be racist and offensive to the majority in power. It's just that, in both cases, the effects are more destructive to the underprivileged minority.
posted by Edgewise at 1:22 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lol all the white people calling it racist to make fun of racism
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:22 PM on January 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


Oh look a recent and relevant discussion.
posted by griphus at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


what matters is that, the group that has the power uses the difference in the way of talking to control the group that doesn't have the power

And then after that, what did the Berkeley undergrad sociology professor say next?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's sad that she appears not to realise that this is racist.

It kind of negates the effectiveness when the stereotypical manner of your video is just as bad as the thing you're making fun of.
B1.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [26 favorites]


So this is a video where someone dresses up to look like another race, affects a goofy stereotypical but unrepresentative feminine bobble-head accent, and gives us a sample of the kinds of things that those people supposedly with the intent of making them look stupid.

Pretty poor taste any way you look at it.
posted by Winnemac at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holler!
posted by mrgrimm at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Decani: “They're just spouting racist shit and they think it's okay because they're being racist about the race with the power.”

Isn't racism pretty much about who has the power?
posted by koeselitz at 1:26 PM on January 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


They're just spouting racist shit and they think it's okay because they're being racist about the race with the power. Which is bullshit dressed in a coat of bullshit.

Even if it is racist, so what? I see it like reach group has a racism box. Once full, it's a dick move to try and put more racism in the box. Some groups had their buckets filled a long time ago, and instead of being given a chance to empty their box, they just got handed a second box to take the overflow. Some groups spent so much time filling other people's boxes that they have plenty of room in their own to take a little without being big whiny babies about it.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:28 PM on January 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


"Shit __ say" is this year's "Keep calm and __."

So this is a follow up to something else? Can anyone provide some context?
posted by Outlawyr at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2012


Personal prejudice does not equal racism.

We all have personal prejudices (white people do THIS, girls are like THAT, men only want THOSE, gay people are into THESE, black girls are THIS). Shit gets racist when powerful people start using that crap to control, dominate, disregard and ignore marginalized people.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2012 [20 favorites]


Ugh. So the way to release frustration/talk about/make fun of offensive shit that gets said to you is to perpetuate offensive stereotypes about other women?

I didn't like this. I found the framing really offensive. I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone. Right, wrong, that's how it made me feel.

To me it was a bit of a "fuck you," and that made me want to say "fuck you" back. It made me think to myself, "I get shitty comments from all sorts of people all the time, but there are some that I only ever hear from certain groups of people. And what do you know, mocking the way I talk is one of those things. Should I make a video about that."

Ending up feeling that way just feels like shit on so many levels.
posted by cairdeas at 1:33 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's sad that she appears not to realise that this is racist. Just like it's sad that the smug fuckhead behind "Stuff White People Like" appears not to realise that it's racist.

That guy is white.

I was relieved for this video frankly. I had someone say to me at my first day of college in MA tell me that I didn't seem Indian, even though I grew up there, am Indian, etc. She wondered why I wasn't wearing "the dot" on my head and telling me how good my English was compared to the international students from China and complaining about how the Korean students seem to only hang out with each other.

I think it's a pretty good instructional video for keeping people from saying stupid things. It certainly happens enough.
posted by anniecat at 1:34 PM on January 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


So this is a video where someone dresses up to look like another race, affects a goofy stereotypical but unrepresentative feminine bobble-head accent, and gives us a sample of the kinds of things that those people supposedly with the intent of making them look stupid.

Pretty poor taste any way you look at it.

It tastes even worse when one actually experiences someone like the person being mocked in the video actually saying this kind of stuff.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:36 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm thinking about making a shirt that says "Racism - it's not just for racists"
posted by symbioid at 1:38 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Most of the folks who call things "ghetto" have never visited one.
posted by The White Hat at 1:38 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fuse theorem, it tastes pretty bad too when one actually experiences someone mocking you in your face for your appearance and how you speak. It tastes pretty bad when that is something you have experienced it dozens of times from strangers. Two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by cairdeas at 1:42 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't "ghetto" as a pejorative adjective come passed down from the early 90s NYC club scene? (Which would make it no less racist but at least mean the people saying it likely had somefamiliarity with actual ghettos?)
posted by Navelgazer at 1:43 PM on January 4, 2012


Most of the folks who call things "ghetto" have never visited one.

Eh, as someone who used to associate with well-off white people people who would call things ghetto WHILE they were in the ghetto, I wish this were more true than it is. Exposure to something can easily cut both ways.

In a similar vein, I also wish my father could have understood that exclaiming "Snoop Dogg!" when he saw a black guy was offensive NO MATTER HOW MUCH THAT PARTICULAR BLACK MAN LOOKED LIKE SNOOP DOGG.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone.

If you, as a white person, have said those kinds things to black people, then that is evidence that perhaps you need to be more considerate. That is, consider the social dynamics of a situation, so that what you say might be very patronizing and hurtful. In the same way that I may not mean to step on your toe when I wasn't paying attention, your toe still hurts, and it gets really frustrating when it seems like everybody isn't paying attention and keeps stepping on your toe.

p.s. Nobody is free of being on the receiving end of shitty comments, but black women get it for being black and for being women, and that's called intersectionality.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:46 PM on January 4, 2012 [16 favorites]


I think that if you're mocking the ways in which people are an asshole to you, you get a little bit of a free pass.

This isn't like the "shit girls say" twitter from a week or two back, when the perfectly harmless chatter of women was being snickered at. This is a woman of color expressing her frustration with racism using humor.

Part of the ugly core of racism in America is how white people make situations all about themselves and their feelings, first and foremost. In the case of this women, OTHER PEOPLE said hurtful things to her first, and she's chosen this format as a way to comment on her experiences. She isn't just parodying random people on the street going about their own business.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:47 PM on January 4, 2012 [51 favorites]


Decani:

It's sad that she appears not to realise that this is racist. Just like it's sad that the smug fuckhead behind "Stuff White People Like" appears not to realise that it's racist.

I understand what you mean, but it seems like you're in the untenable position of asserting that it's racist to discuss the racism of others unless you completely eschew any generalities, which is kind of absurd. There's also a world of context behind this that makes it seem more like a response to racism than racist itself, I'd say, but I realize that some people prefer to discuss social relations in an ahistorical and ceteris paribus kind of way. I don't agree with that approach but I see where it's coming from.

They're just spouting racist shit and they think it's okay because they're being racist about the race with the power. Which is bullshit dressed in a coat of bullshit.

So people from groups that have historically been discriminated against and abused, or even institutionally mistreated for long periods, must be unstintingly restrained, circumspect, and in every way more deferential to those who offend them than their offenders are or else their words are to be condemned in their entirety? They must be assiduously cautious in even talking about the racism directed against them, or else they're "spouting shit"? It seems like this can be inferred from what you're saying. This young woman is hardly spouting invectives or hate speech. She's drawing attention to racist sentiments that are voiced by people who seem to be unaware of their own prejudice. The "shit x says" formula is incidental to the content of her performance.

cairdeas:

I didn't like this. I found the framing really offensive. I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone...Ending up feeling that way just feels like shit on so many levels.


This is a parody of someone who doesn't understand the world, right?

I'm really baffled by these responses. The underlying idea seems to be that for blacks to talk about white racism is racist, because hey, we're not all like that! I mean, do you really not see the fault in that logic?
posted by clockzero at 1:49 PM on January 4, 2012 [58 favorites]


It tastes even worse when one actually experiences someone like the person being mocked in the video actually saying this kind of stuff.

But generalizing about those people is pretty damn stupid. Or is this only generalizing about the bad white girls?
posted by smackfu at 1:49 PM on January 4, 2012


OFFENDED!
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 1:52 PM on January 4, 2012


No offense, cairdeas, but it seems like you're suggesting that when you feel offended by something, it's just terrible, but when someone else is offended and isn't shy about noting that it comes from people like you, they're making you feel bad, and that's way more important than whatever they feel. This is exactly the attitude of unselfconscious entitlement that the video is mocking.
posted by clockzero at 1:52 PM on January 4, 2012 [20 favorites]


I thought it was white girls with blonde hair that it was mocking.
posted by smackfu at 1:52 PM on January 4, 2012


Fair enough, clockzero, when someone says something offensive to me, which happens daily in NYC, should I not be shy about noting who it comes from? Should I make a video titled "Shit Group X" says? For example, "Shit Black Men Say?" Should I do so while dressed up as the race/ethnicity of that group and mocking how they speak? And if my doing so offends anyone else in that group, are they simply suffering from unselfconscious entitlement?
posted by cairdeas at 1:57 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


im carist

wait that doesnt work
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:57 PM on January 4, 2012


"Shit __ say" is this year's "Keep calm and __."

Keep Calm and Stop Remixing This Fucking Poster.
posted by Kabanos at 1:58 PM on January 4, 2012


Eh, as someone who used to associate with well-off white people people who would call things ghetto WHILE they were in the ghetto, I wish this were more true than it is. Exposure to something can easily cut both ways.

In the spirit of only reclaiming words that apply to me, I have started using redneck where other people might use ghetto.

Try it, exurban white peeps of my acquaintance, you just might like it! I don't know what all you rich urban white people are going to do though.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:58 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anybody wants to read Narrative Priorities' comments in the thread about "Shit Girls Say," and then contrast them with the position she is carving out here, please feel free to do so, but don't have any milk in your mouth because it will chortle violently out of your nose.
posted by phaedon at 2:00 PM on January 4, 2012


cairdeas:

Fair enough, clockzero, when someone says something offensive to me, which happens daily in NYC, should I not be shy about noting who it comes from? Should I make a video titled "Shit Group X" says? For example, "Shit Black Men Say?" Should I do so while dressed up as the race/ethnicity of that group and mocking how they speak? And if my doing so offends anyone else in that group, are they simply suffering from unselfconscious entitlement?

Give it a shot, see what happens. That sounds pretty interesting.
posted by clockzero at 2:02 PM on January 4, 2012


No offense, cairdeas, but it seems like you're suggesting that when you feel offended by something, it's just terrible, but when someone else is offended and isn't shy about noting that it comes from people like you, they're making you feel bad, and that's way more important than whatever they feel. This is exactly the attitude of unselfconscious entitlement that the video is mocking.

I haven't seen the video because I'm at work, so I can't speak specifically about this, but I don't think there's anything entitled about expecting people not to make offensive generalizations about any group. As a white person, I shouldn't do that about any non-white group. That same principle applies to non-white people making generalizations about white people. Now, for the obvious reasons of relative power and history, it's decidedly MORE offensive when I engaging in stereotypical generalizing, but that doesn't make a black person making a generalization about how white people behave non-offensive, and it doesn't make a white person feeling offended by some sort of illegitimate feeling.

People get offended when you treat them as a member of a group first and foremost and as an individual second; that's not unreasonable, and if you don't want to offend people, it's probably best to save your judgment for people who you know have done something wrong, not people who happen to share some demographic features with them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:03 PM on January 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


I know what would happen though, clockzero, and so do you if you're being honest.

And the point is that I have no desire to do something like that even though I think it is a parallel situation to this video because I think it solves nothing and does nothing but perpetuate stereotypes, tarnish groups with the brush of individual assholes, and create bad blood.
posted by cairdeas at 2:05 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


phaedon, the difference is that "Shit Girls Say" was straight-up just mocking women, while this is jokingly pointing out offensive behavior which the people being mocked might not realize is offensive. There's a distinction, I feel.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:08 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, in an attempt to answer my own question, I found this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-yLGIH7W9Y
which, by the way, is not funny.
posted by Outlawyr at 2:09 PM on January 4, 2012


Phaedon, take a look at the comment I just made here.

Shit Girls Say pissed me off because it was a twitter, created by men, which mocked the normal conversations of women for no reason other than "LOL! Girls, amirite?"

This video is one woman's way of talking about how the behavior of other people has hurt her personally.

I feel like my right, as a white woman, not to be mocked for the things I say is kind of forfeit if the things I say are hurtful to someone else.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:12 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fuse theorem, it tastes pretty bad too when one actually experiences someone mocking you in your face for your appearance and how you speak. It tastes pretty bad when that is something you have experienced it dozens of times from strangers. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Hmmm, yeah but the point of the video is not blonde White girls who Valleyspeak (or whatever that way of talking is called now). The actress could have chosen another (non-Black) race, another hair color, and another way of speaking and the message still would have been on target. Perhaps where she lives she predominantly experiences this stuff from blonde White girls so that's why she took that approach.

I thought it was white girls with blonde hair that it was mocking.

Nope.

this is jokingly pointing out offensive behavior which the people being mocked might not realize is offensive

Yep
posted by fuse theorem at 2:14 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


For example, "Shit Black Men Say?" Should I do so while dressed up as the race/ethnicity of that group and mocking how they speak?

What you seem to be missing is that there's already a history of that very thing existing. And it hasn't always been just for lol's. It has also served as reinforcement and justification for systemic legal and social discrimination. I can make all the "corny white guy" jokes I want, it's not going to reinforce some sort of societal idea that white guys are inherently unqualified for certain jobs. Whereas the idea that black men don't speak properly does exactly that.

These imbalances aren't cause by feelings. They're caused by history.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:22 PM on January 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


Perhaps where she lives she predominantly experiences this stuff from blonde White girls so that's why she took that approach.

This is a very, very fine line you are trying to walk here.
posted by smackfu at 2:24 PM on January 4, 2012


God, I seriously want to die laughing right now. Black women get a pass for stereotyping white women because it comes from a place of pain. How refreshing. The mocking and infantilization of white women when it comes to race relations. A BLACK GIRL WEARING A BLONDE WIG? HOW CLEVER!

I love how a white man can't make fun of a girl for saying "Is that hummus?" without causing a riot in these parts, but this black woman's parody qualifies as "observant.".

Anyway, I think this type of shit's hilarious. But if you're going to get on your high horse and least have some consistency. I hate "contextualization" of humor. How you're going to tell me what's fucked up nonsense and what's not. You said a lot of dumb shit about "putting women in a position of wanting to show how they're not joy-killing feminists" in the previous thread, and frankly this parody has the effect on white people who do not wish to appear as joy-killing racists.
posted by phaedon at 2:24 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked her hair. I wondered if it was dyed or maybe a wig.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:26 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you serious billyfleetwood that there isn't a history of making young women, as a group, out to be vapid idiots, and women haven't been legally/socially discriminated against based on that? And that there isn't a history, that I was referring to above with clockzero, of men making derogatory/offensive comments to women in public that strengthens/reinforces male power in those situations?
posted by cairdeas at 2:26 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. Profound.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:26 PM on January 4, 2012


Ok. I will say this slowly, Phaedon.

You...don't...seem...to...understand...racism.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:27 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Her other videos crack me up. I enjoyed her playing queen for a day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


cairdeas:

I know what would happen though, clockzero, and so do you if you're being honest.

I really don't. Honest.

And the point is that I have no desire to do something like that even though I think it is a parallel situation to this video because I think it solves nothing and does nothing but perpetuate stereotypes, tarnish groups with the brush of individual assholes, and create bad blood.

Wow, you're a really good person, I guess. And you're right. For a black woman to discuss racism is just irresponsible. They definitely shouldn't do that because it might upset white people.
posted by clockzero at 2:29 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Are you serious billyfleetwood that there isn't a history of making young women, as a group, out to be vapid idiots, and women haven't been legally/socially discriminated against based on that?

Nowhere did I say or infer that. Your example was making "shit black men say". I used that specific example in hopes of showing how a "two sides of the same coin" argument simply doesn't work in these cases because of historical imbalances.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:32 PM on January 4, 2012


You...don't...seem...to...understand...racism.

That ... is ... so ... constructive.
posted by smackfu at 2:32 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


clockzero, if after all this you honestly think what I'm trying to say is that is "for a black woman to discuss racism is just irresponsible," then I'm not optimistic there's a point in the two of us continuing to talk about this. And if you're exaggerating my position for effect, well, ditto.
posted by cairdeas at 2:32 PM on January 4, 2012


Ok. I will say this slowly, Phaedon. You...don't...seem...to...understand...racism.

The "saying things slowly" bit is especially patronizing on the internet. Didn't... really... get it... can you say... it slower... please...
posted by phaedon at 2:33 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your example was making "shit black men say".

Not just that, but doing it in blackface. And clockzero honestly doesn't know what the reaction would be to that. It just seems like disingenuous arguing at this point. Like much of the internet.
posted by smackfu at 2:33 PM on January 4, 2012


I enjoyed her playing queen for a day

Heh, jar or pickle.
posted by carter at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2012


Phaedon, a white girl saying "Is that hummus?" to you isn't hurting you or anyone else.

A white girl asking a black woman if she can touch her hair is a hugely loaded, othering, shitty thing to do. I have done it in the past and I wish I'd known better. There's other stuff in this video that still strikes a little close to home, and now I'll try to be a little more thoughtful going forward.

I'm sorry you hate "contextualization of humor", but not everyone else is operating on the same set of priorities as you.

In this case, as a white woman, I'm the target of both of the videos we're talking about here. So I think I'll just go ahead and continue to have my own reaction, and continue to be baffled why it's making you so angry.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:36 PM on January 4, 2012 [21 favorites]


I love how a white man can't...

If you want to make a salient point about race, you might start with not phrasing your argument in a way that tends to seldom be found outside of pamphlets distributed by a organizations whose titles end in "Brotherhood" and who own militia-patrolled compounds in the American backwoods.
posted by griphus at 2:36 PM on January 4, 2012 [18 favorites]


It's sad that she appears not to realise that this is racist.

I wasn't going to make a comment about this, but then I thought, hell we aren't going have the same old idiotic prescriptivist derail we always have when a comment like this comes up....

Personal prejudice does not equal racism.
Isn't racism pretty much about who has the power?
And then after that, what did the Berkeley undergrad sociology professor say next?

Well shit, too late for that. In fact, many people do use the definition that racism = people doing bad things to one another on account of their race. The power + prejudice definition is academic, and insisting on it in a conversation, and other language based squabbles, is one of the more annoying things about Metafilter.

As we can see here, there is plenty of discussion on Metafilter about this definition, and whether or not people agree with it.

Definition derails (like whether or not digital copyright violations are stealing, pro choice versus pro life, the word socialist) are really annoying on Metafilter, because they obscure the true arguments, and have people arguing over symantics.

Granted, most of the rest of the thread was bingo calling (yay more stereotyping), and oppression olympics (Blacks vs women: who's more oppressed), misrepresenting arguments, and people being very offended. The argument equivalent of people retreating to their corners and throwing fruit at one another.
posted by zabuni at 2:37 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can anyone explain to me why it was racist that she didn't like rap? (I really want to know)
posted by Tarumba at 2:37 PM on January 4, 2012


Shit like racism and sexism are systemic and pervasive, and no amount of lone-black-actress-making-a-video is going to up-end the power structure that was built by and is maintained by whites, so I really don't know what people are getting all butthurt over. "People should address each other as individuals, not as members of a group!" is a position of unbelievable privilege, and it's one that's usually very selectively applied or advocated, since I don't usually see people here clamoring for not calling all Democrats/Republicans/politicians assholes. For example.
posted by rtha at 2:39 PM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


If anybody wants to read Narrative Priorities' comments in the thread about "Shit Girls Say,"

Also, why are you dragging shit in from other threads? Is everything you've said on this site going to be perceived as perfectly consistent? Have the discussion we're having *here*, not the one that may or may not still be happening in a different, still-open thread.
posted by rtha at 2:41 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you want to make a salient point about race, you might start with not phrasing your argument in a way that tends to seldom be found outside of pamphlets distributed by a organizations whose titles end in "Brotherhood" and who own militia-patrolled compounds in the American backwoods.

Way to Godwin me! I'll never use the phrase "white man" again. Next time I'll use "Brooklyn hipster," I'm sure you and Jon_Evil will more comfortably relate.
posted by phaedon at 2:43 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


As we can see here, there is plenty of discussion on Metafilter about this definition, and whether or not people agree with it.

Heh, one part of that in particular rings a bell here:
Unless the other person already agrees with you, you're redefining the terms of the argument. This does not go over well with people. It's a bad rhetorical strategy. It gets especially bad when people are condescending about it - "oh, you silly, don't you know that 'racism' actually means 'prejudice + power!'" This usually causes people to push back harder.
posted by smackfu at 2:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're not the kind of "white girl" who ever says these things, then I don't see what there is to get upset by. She's targeting a pretty specific mentality. I doubt many black people think that all white women think or talk like this -- but they're familiar enough with the type that I'm sure this is extremely funny to them.

I loved the "Shit Gays Say" video. Some of the stuff hit close to home, some didn't. In almost all cases I was able to recognize the stereotype and totally get the joke. In this one I have spent enough time around both black and white people to get where she's coming from, and while some of these lines may have sprung fully from her imagination, there's a familiarity to the idea behind them that is very funny. The "Shit Girls Say" video merely poked light fun at a very slim margin of extremely average behaviors. That was what made it funny. This video does the same. In fact, part of the humor in all these videos is that the title assumes a total generalization, but many of the actual comments themselves are startlingly specific. They are not things that just anyone would say, but you can still imagine someone you know saying them.

You know why a white guy doing "Shit Black Guys Say" video wouldn't be funny? Because hardly any white guys have had enough casual interaction with black guys to be able to even think up anything beyond the very crudest of stereotypes. And if a white guy who obviously really knew his stuff actually pulled it off, I bet that few black people would be offended. It's the skill of the comedian and his/her relationship to the material that saves the day, every time.
posted by hermitosis at 2:45 PM on January 4, 2012 [18 favorites]


Can anyone explain to me why it was racist that she didn't like rap? (I really want to know)

The video didn't posit that it was racist. But it did posit that many people who don't think of themselves as "liking rap" still jam out to music that qualifies as rap. It's a joke about deluded self-identification.
posted by hermitosis at 2:49 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


can you say... it slower... please...

actually, I can't. Metafilter condenses all my spaces for me. But, rather than just be patronizing, I will say that the context really does matter. The context of Shit girls say is "group X relates to the world in a laughable way, as recounted by group Y [who have more power and privilege than group Y]" but the video here "group X [which has more societal power and privilege than group Z], relates to people in group Z in a laughable way, as recounted by group Z".

Or maybe we can talk about how Shit Girls Say works on the assumption that "girls" are white girls, but we don't even have to think about it because it's already ingrained in all of us.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:51 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Shit White MeFites say about Black People talking about Shit White People say.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:55 PM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


She's pretty good. someone give her a TV show. BTW, I'm a white girl with very thick curly/frizzy hair and I get the same 'can I touch it?' 'Is it real?' comments all the time. Another common one is 'do you have black relatives?'

BTW, I'm on the 'it's always racist, no matter where the power lies' side of the argument, in case anyone cares. But this was too over the top to be offensive.
posted by Summer at 2:56 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


actually, a Brooklyn hipster saying "is thus hummus?" is pretty funny.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:56 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


damnit, "this"
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:57 PM on January 4, 2012


THUS SPAKE HUMMUSUSTRA
posted by en forme de poire at 3:00 PM on January 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Thus Hummus sounds like the stage name of a guy opening for a band you've never heard of.
posted by griphus at 3:08 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think maybe these videos are actually best viewed as being sort of like the Friend From High School twitter. We are, presumably, all somebody's friend from high school, but that feed is clearly joking about a very, very specific type that most of us know. Same thing here.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:11 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gaaaaaa, I so didn't know that the Warsaw Ghetto was black! LOL I thought it was like, Jewish, or something.
posted by Xoebe at 3:11 PM on January 4, 2012


and continue to be baffled why it's making you so angry.

It's one thing to say Shit Girls Say is offensive. Point taken. You're not a fan of certain kinds of comedy. Particularly the offensive kind. But to then take a bit like Shit White Girls Say and laugh your ass off just doesn't make any sense to me. I mean, express a preference, sure. But don't go about defending it as categorically different.

And Jon_Evil, while I appreciate you taking the time to talk X's and O's, I don't get what your theory of intersectionality has anything to do with comedy. Sociological theory, great. By your logic, "black man" (can I say that?) comedians like Patrice O'Neal should be dug up, reanimated, and killed again for ripping on women. And yet he is praised within certain circles. At least allow for some flexibility.

I don't really understand how you people process the world on a daily basis in terms of power and privilege, allowing for special considerations along race and gender lines. Then you start freaking out and treat certain forms of comedy as of oppression, based on who is saying what, what is being said, etc. It is therefore baffling to find you laughing hysterically when white people or men are the target of satire. I don't think your ideas or notions about what is right and wrong are any more developed than mine. But you do try to pass off one form of discriminatory humor as objectively more acceptable than the other. And that's baloney.
posted by phaedon at 3:14 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't really understand how you people process the world on a daily basis in terms of power and privilege, allowing for special considerations along race and gender lines.

The world is complex oh my goodness how to process the complexity oh fudge oh fudge oh fudge oh fu
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:19 PM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Most of the folks who call things "ghetto" have never visited one.

Most of the people who call things "ghetto" have never learned the meaning the of the term. Especially the fact that it doesn't only refer to African-American slums.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:35 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please someone make an Xtranormal movie of these. To really make them pop, you know.
posted by katillathehun at 3:40 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is therefore baffling to find you laughing hysterically when white people or men are the target of satire.

You don't think comedy that rips at representatives of power is funny?

I don't really understand how you people process the world on a daily basis in terms of power and privilege,

This is pretty obvious.
posted by rtha at 3:42 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


But don't go about defending it as categorically different.

But phaedon, what if it is categorically different? Would you be willing to entertain the possibility, just for the sake of argument? Would this conversation make any more sense to you, then?

I don't think your ideas or notions about what is right and wrong are any more developed than mine.

Of course you don't. But your assessment is incorrect.

I know you want this to be simple and fair. But it's neither of those things. And if you're going to try to prove the irrelevance of inequality to comedic discourse, you're going to need to pack bigger rhetorical guns than "I don't see it," "You're wrong," and "No, you're the real racist!"
posted by pts at 3:45 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I found this video hilarious and very well done.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:59 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


And if you're going to try to prove the irrelevance of inequality to comedic discourse, you're going to need to pack bigger rhetorical guns than "I don't see it," "You're wrong," and "No, you're the real racist!"

Seriously, meh.
posted by phaedon at 4:01 PM on January 4, 2012


Most of the people who call things "ghetto" have never learned the meaning the of the term. Especially the fact that it doesn't only refer to African-American slums.

In the context they are using it, it does. Nobody picks up a garment of clothes and says "By golly, this reminds me of Lodz."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:18 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


You know, I played Cards Against Humanity over the break. It's like Apples To Apples, but for terrible people. One of the potential answers (the "nouns" if you will) is "Poorly Timed Holocaust Jokes".
posted by maryr at 4:26 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I propose changing "ghetto" to "country club", as in "what are you wearing?!? That's so country club, girl!" or "that's so golf". I think this would solve everything. Also, fucking lighten up, my honkeys.
posted by kingv at 4:29 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


What do you mean 'You people' ?
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:29 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't the very fact that the word "ghetto" is used for run down inner cities a legacy of anti-semitism? "Ghetto" being the area of Venice the Jews lived in and so forth.
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not exactly specific to Judaism (like, say, blood libel). Every city's got the areas where the ostracized groups are forced to stay, or unable to afford to leave.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:49 PM on January 4, 2012


Phadeon: yes, you can say black man. And I need to stress, stress, stress, that it's CONTEXT that makes something offensive or not. The stuff in shit girls say is stuff I'd probably laugh about with my friends from back home if we'd had a few beers and there weren't any women around. But I sure as shit wouldn't put it up on the internet. But please do understand the marked difference between a man saying "girls say this and it's dumb" and a black woman saying "white people have said this to me and it has hurt me".

Now, I happen to think that re-animating comedians so they can be killed again is a bad idea. I don't want to kill anybody. I would, however, like people to apologize for hurtful shit they've said, think about why, and to work on not saying shit like that anymore.

And as far as how we people deal with this shit on a daily basis, we do what we can when we can. Sometimes it means getting into arguments on the internet. Sometimes it means taking part in marches or civil disobedience. Sometimes it means upsetting someone we love by challenging their worldview. Sometimes it means acknowledging we can't do anything about it right now, and moving on.
posted by Jon_Evil at 4:50 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


"How dare you point out specific examples of white people saying racist things? I'm white, and I'm not racist!" -Shit White People Say To Minorities

Seriously, stop being unduly offended on behalf of white people for one second, and try looking at the video as a funny learning opportunity. It's about ways in which you might cluelessly say annoying, offensive things to your POC friends without realizing it. I've personally heard at least half of the things in this video, in the same oblivious tone of voice too, so it's barely even exaggerating
posted by naju at 4:54 PM on January 4, 2012 [43 favorites]


"How dare you point out specific examples of white people saying racist things? I'm white, and I'm not racist!" -Shit White People Say To Minorities

Who's saying that? The video wasn't called, "Specific examples of white people saying racist things," it was called "Shit White Girls say." There's a difference there.

And it wasn't just "funny learning opportunity about offensive things" it was "funny way to dress up as/derisively imitate women from another race."

Those things will never be funny or cool to me, sorry. If you want to act like I'm just a silencing racist who can't handle it when anyone talks about white people being racist, fine, but that's not at all what's going on here.
posted by cairdeas at 5:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you want to act like I'm just a silencing racist who can't handle it when anyone talks about white people being racist, fine, but that's not at all what's going on here.

Let's pretend for a moment that the video was called "Shit Asian Guys Say" (because that's what I would relate to). My reaction would be "Damn, are there really Asian guys that say these things? Because I totally don't, and some of those comments are really outrageous. Well, now that I think about it, maybe I know a couple guys that might say stuff like that. I will be sure to call them out next time and say that's not cool, especially now that I know black women get this from some Asian guys thanks to this video."

Your reaction was "I found the framing really offensive. I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone. Right, wrong, that's how it made me feel.

To me it was a bit of a "fuck you," and that made me want to say "fuck you" back.""

I think it would be better if you tried to approach being confronted with issues of race, knowing that you're not a racist, by attempting to reduce the amount of racism, or at least raise awareness of racism in the world, rather than saying "fuck you" to people who raise the issue of race, however poorly you think it might be done.
posted by shen1138 at 5:57 PM on January 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


As a middle aged white man who suspects he's actually more unconsciously racist than he'd be comfortable copping to, I found it hilarious.
posted by hwestiii at 6:00 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think it would be better if you tried to approach being confronted with issues of race, knowing that you're not a racist, by attempting to reduce the amount of racism, or at least raise awareness of racism in the world, rather than saying "fuck you" to people who raise the issue of race, however poorly you think it might be done.

This is exactly what I'm trying to do, shen1138. Note that I haven't said "fuck you." My opinion happens to be that this video, specifically the way it was framed, is racist and contributes to racism and sexism too. I don't think it's a coincidence that although a few women in the thread have expressed appreciation of the video, most of them have been men.
posted by cairdeas at 6:03 PM on January 4, 2012


and shen1138, in your hypothetical "Shit Asian Guys Say" video, would you still be a-okay with it if the person were dressed up as an Asian guy and doing an impression of "how Asian guys talk?"
posted by cairdeas at 6:05 PM on January 4, 2012


I think the repeated mention of her "dressing up as" a white girl is just hilarious. She is wearing a blonde wig, that's it. Obviously in this case it's meant to denote whiteness, but LOTS of black women wear blonde hair and in no cases would I ever think they are trying to "dress up as" or pose as a white girl.
posted by hermitosis at 6:21 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


But you said it yourself hermitosis -- "obviously in this case it's meant to denote whiteness." And the entire video, she's mocking what is supposed to be the speech of "white girls."
posted by cairdeas at 6:23 PM on January 4, 2012


Ok. I will say this slowly, Phaedon.

You...don't...seem...to...understand...racism.


Shit Condescending MetaFilter Kneejerk Liberals say.
posted by Scoo at 6:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm white, male and not from the US, so I'm about as far from the target audience for this video as you can be. Still found it pretty funny.

But not half so funny as all the butthurt "wah I'm not racist, *this* is racist" stuff going on in this thread. You guys are doing some kind of meta-parody, right? You can't be for real. Surely.

Either way, it's hilarious.

Carry on.
posted by motty at 6:26 PM on January 4, 2012


But you said it yourself hermitosis -- obviously in this case it's meant to denote whiteness." And the entire video, she's mocking what is supposed to be the speech of "white girls."

Yeah, so what? Saying she's "dressing up as" a white girl makes you the hair-and-clothing police, responsible for deciding what looks belong to which kinds of people. The reason that every hair and costume shop in America stocks blonde wigs but DOESN'T stock "four-in-one minstrel blackface kits" is that the two have nothing to do with each other. No one culture owns the idea of long blonde hair anymore, it's mostly associated with artificial standards of beauty.

As for the speech, are you really going to complain about her dialect? Really? Perhaps you'd be more comfortable if she was talking in a "blacker" voice? Part of the privilege of whiteness is that we end up tacitly setting the standard for how other people try and talk and act and dress, and everything else becomes "other." So, black people training themselves to talk in a more homogenous "regular" (white) way for everyday purposes is just fine, but doing so to poke light fun at imaginary white people is just the utter limit for you, eh?
posted by hermitosis at 6:34 PM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


If a white wig and a vaguely Valley-Girl-meets-Gwyneth-Paltrow accent gets you all riled up, cairdeas, then I can't even imagine how you feel about the atrocities that drag performers perpetrate upon all of womanhood.
posted by hermitosis at 6:39 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If this upsets you, just make fun of black people or whatever. Lord knows you'll have no trouble finding something ridiculous about whoever you decide to pick on.
posted by planet at 6:41 PM on January 4, 2012


hermitosis, if you're going to call me "the hair-and-clothing police, responsible for deciding what looks belong to which kinds of people" for saying that she is wearing a blonde wig in the video to indicate that she is imitating a white girl, something that is obvious to everyone, and something that you yourself ten minutes ago said was obvious, it makes me feel like engaging with you is going to go nowhere.
posted by cairdeas at 6:44 PM on January 4, 2012


smackfu: "I thought it was white girls with blonde hair that it was mocking."

Because, you know about those white-skinned blonde girls...
posted by Samizdata at 6:44 PM on January 4, 2012


Right, it's incredibly obvious, and actually so incredibly common among all people, everywhere, that to act offended about it is completely pointless, and really does make you seem like the clothing police. If all it takes to imitate a white girl is to wear a blonde wig, then I... well, I... well who the fuck cares in the first place? (And that was my point.)
posted by hermitosis at 6:48 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


As for the speech, are you really going to complain about her dialect? Really? Perhaps you'd be more comfortable if she was talking in a "blacker" voice? Part of the privilege of whiteness is that we end up tacitly setting the standard for how other people try and talk and act and dress, and everything else becomes "other." So, black people training themselves to talk in a more homogenous "regular" (white) way for everyday purposes is just fine, but doing so to poke light fun at imaginary white people is just the utter limit for you, eh?

Yes, I am going to complain when someone from one race imitates the "dialect" of another race for the purposes of mockery. Sorry. I don't care how many horrible implications of racism you throw at me for that, and how you're making me out to be someone who is just trying to control how black people talk. Though I do have to say I find it to be in extremely bad faith.
posted by cairdeas at 6:49 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't the very fact that the word "ghetto" is used for run down inner cities a legacy of anti-semitism? "Ghetto" being the area of Venice the Jews lived in and so forth.
I could be completely mis-remembering this, because my brain ceased functioning about forty-five minutes ago, but I think the Chicago school sociologists coined the modern usage of "ghetto" in the early 20th century. They were sort of self-consciously borrowing the Medieval term to refer to a modern phenomenon, and I think they used ghetto, rather than older terms like "slum", because they wanted to highlight ethnic and racial segregation and not just poverty. This was all pre-Holocaust, so they weren't thinking of the modern horrors associated with the term ghetto.

Sorry: back to your regularly scheduled argument.
posted by craichead at 6:49 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, we determine the range of dialects that determines who gets to be considered "normal" and/or intelligent and/or worth listening to, throughout the culture of an entire continet, and then we also get to decide who's allowed to use it and for what purposes?

I don't think you need help throwing any horrible implications onto that. It came totally pre-packaged in them.
posted by hermitosis at 6:52 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


hermitosis, unless you think that's how she normally talks, you're being super silly.
posted by planet at 6:54 PM on January 4, 2012


It doesn't matter how she normally talks, planet. The problem is that according to cairdeas, affecting "white" speech is totally okay and encouraged if you are at a job interview, but discouraged if you are mocking a white person.
posted by hermitosis at 6:58 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The post where craichead said that must've been deleted before I read it, hermitosis.
posted by planet at 7:00 PM on January 4, 2012


(Sorry, cairdeas, of course.)
posted by planet at 7:01 PM on January 4, 2012


A white girl asking a black woman if she can touch her hair is a hugely loaded, othering, shitty thing to do.

It is, for me, a pretty good example of "crappy racist stuff that people have to deal with on a regular basis, that I had no idea about until someone said something on the Internet, because it doesn't happen to me." Seriously, until a year or two ago, I had no idea. What the crap, world?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:02 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, we determine the range of dialects that determines who gets to be considered "normal" and/or intelligent and/or worth listening to, throughout the culture of an entire continet, and then we also get to decide who's allowed to use it and for what purposes?

I very clearly said in my last comment that it is offensive to me and I will complain when one race imitates the dialect of another race for the purposes of mockery. If that's judging when it's okay to use a dialect and for what purposes, then I'm comfortable doing so in that specific situation.

I find it to be in very bad faith that now you are trying to skew that to say I'm deciding what is normal, intelligent, worth listening to, on an entire continent. I never said anything remotely related to that at all. Up until now I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that I just wasn't being clear, but now I think you are being deliberately obtuse. However I don't feel that bad withdrawing the benefit of the doubt given, you know, you didn't give me the benefit of the doubt in not trying to paint me as a continent-rampaging bigoted authoritarian in the most dramatic terms you can think of. Reply however you want, but I won't again.
posted by cairdeas at 7:02 PM on January 4, 2012


The problem is that according to cairdeas, affecting "white" speech is totally okay and encouraged if you are at a job interview, but discouraged if you are mocking a white person.

Are you serious? I never said anything remotely resembling this deleted or otherwise. Now you're just outrightly lying. Have you lost it??
posted by cairdeas at 7:03 PM on January 4, 2012


You didn't explicitly say it, but that's the sort of claim you are staking when you try to determine when black people aren't supposed to imitate "white" dialects. That comfort you claim to take in doing so -- in this specific situation, of course -- is a pretty cushy one indeed.
posted by hermitosis at 7:08 PM on January 4, 2012


One of the potential answers (the "nouns" if you will) is "Poorly Timed Holocaust Jokes".

Please do not take my Lodz comment as a joke. It was meant to be illustrative, not humorous.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:08 PM on January 4, 2012


in your hypothetical "Shit Asian Guys Say" video, would you still be a-okay with it if the person were dressed up as an Asian guy and doing an impression of "how Asian guys talk?

Just for the record, this video does actually exist. There's also a Shit Asian Girls Say. Not to mention, Shit Black Girls Say, Shit Black Guys Say, Shit Southern Gay Guys Say, Shit Jamaican Guys Say, Shit Baby Mamas Say. They're all pretty much the same level of humor and originality as this video.
posted by gladly at 7:22 PM on January 4, 2012


FWIW, middle aged (44) white (whiter than Wonder bread, as I have been described) guy here and I laughed pretty good. Prolly because I have seen and heard such things happen before.

The rest of her stuff is pretty damn funny too.

Is it okay to say she's also rather attractive (since funny=smart=hot in my book?)
posted by Samizdata at 7:25 PM on January 4, 2012


It's only okay to say someone's attractive if you really mean it -- not if you're joking. (Am I doing it right?)
posted by hermitosis at 7:28 PM on January 4, 2012


[Folks - please be a little more careful with the "putting words into other people's mouths" thing. It tends not to go well in the best of threads and this isn't the best of threads.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:29 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Both Shit Girls Say guy and Shit White Girls Say lady are affecting an accent stereotypically associated with dumb girls. I believe if SWGS lady affected an upper middle class Northeast accent and said dumb racist shit it probably still would have worked. But I found both sketches funny so I'm disqualified from this fight.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:30 PM on January 4, 2012


This whole long, meandering argument about whether something or somebody is or isn't racist, and to what degree, and whether they're aware of it, etc., is sooooooo a first world problem situation.
posted by signal at 7:35 PM on January 4, 2012


So... no one aggravated by the "sell your gold" advert?
Seems like a universal boot to the winkies right off the bat.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:37 PM on January 4, 2012


But you do try to pass off one form of discriminatory humor as objectively more acceptable than the other. And that's baloney.

you mean what white people smell like, right?
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 7:41 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Would it help everyone if we clarified the title of this video? I feel like a lot of the argument is that the angry people are sure she is saying "THIS IS WHAT ALL WHITE WOMEN ARE LIKE I HAVE NEVER MET A WHITE WOMAN WHO IS NOT EXACTLY THIS WAY" while the finds-it-funny crowd is interpreting this as, "Several Dumb White Ladies Have Pulled This With Me." If you read the video as Shit SOME White Girls Say, would you be able to stop the assertions of how "racist" this woman is?
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 8:32 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


cairdeas:

Yes, I am going to complain when someone from one race imitates the "dialect" of another race for the purposes of mockery. Sorry. I don't care how many horrible implications of racism you throw at me for that, and how you're making me out to be someone who is just trying to control how black people talk. Though I do have to say I find it to be in extremely bad faith.

I've heard sentiments like this in the past, and while I admit my judgment is not infallible, it strikes me as a way of avoiding dealing with the content of the project -- experiences of racism black women sometimes have with white women -- by focusing instead on the manner or fashion of the presentation. It seems like an instance of the tone argument to me. That's just my perception.

And I think the content is interesting and important. Again, just my blinkered opinion, but I think that some people want to believe that racism is kinda over now, and so they don't have to be thoughtful or sensitive about that anymore, and it's an issue that's dropped out of the national conversation to some extent as a social problem. I don't see anything wrong with drawing attention to its persistence in a somewhat irreverent but totally harmless way. She's mocking the clueless racism of a certain species of ditzy white girl. Is it totally not ever okay to make fun of white girls? I hardly think she's inciting anyone to violence or perpetuating a real stereotype, and if the problematic stereotype some people see is "some white girls are dumb and sometimes clueless about their own racism," is that really such an awful thing to say? The whole point is that black women encounter white women who are like that sometimes. This isn't a smear campaign coming out of nowhere.

There's no indication that anyone is saying that all white girls are like that. It's called "Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls" because "Shit That Some White Girls, And Of Course Not *All* White Girls, Because a Lot of Them Aren't Racist At All And We Should All Reflect On That" doesn't roll of the tongue in the same way.
posted by clockzero at 8:54 PM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


it is offensive to me and I will complain when one race imitates the dialect of another race for the purposes of mockery

So, the thing about this is, what is the dialect of a certain race? How do we know? I think a big problem in these discussions is that class, regional and other differences all get swept up and confused under the heading of race.

I'm not saying there aren't ways of speaking that most people in the U.S. would consider to be "black dialects" or "white dialects". And of course there are some black people who talk in a way we associate with blackness, and there are some white people who talk in a way we associate with whiteness. But there's also plenty of black people who, in their everyday lives, talk in a "white" way. And they're not imitating anything. That's how they talk. That's how they grew up talking. That's how their siblings and their neighbors and their parents talk. That's "their dialect".

Because the thing is, there's not one single monolithic black culture (anymore than there is one single white culture.) I mean, I think most people get that some white people have British accents and some have French accents and some have German accents and some have Southern (U.S.) accents and some have Boston accents and some have South African accents. I also think most people get that some white people talk like professors and some talk like hardbitten NYC cops and some talk like irreverent teenage girls and some talk like impassioned preachers. But what people might forget is that, hey, some black people have all those accents too! Some black people grew up in Great Britain. Some grew up in France. Some grew up in Boston. Some black people are professors, some are cops, some are teenage girls, some are preachers.

The other big, big thing, that I think hermitosis was trying to point to, but maybe in not the most diplomatic way, is that there's a pretty intense disparity between the way "white" speech and "black" speech get coded. "White" dialects are associated with educated people, with professionalism, with intelligence and safety and normality and decency. "Black" dialects are pretty much associated with the opposite of all that.

So a lot of people learn more than one way of speaking. A lot of (black) people get told to talk in a certain way if they want to be taken seriously. So they might speak one way at work, and another way at home. Or they might speak one way with one group of friends and another way with a different group of friends.

Which of these ways is their true "dialect"? The one that belongs to them. The one they can use for any purpose, without anyone questioning if it's theirs?

I know that you specified "for the purposes of mockery" in your comment. But I think the deeper problem--and it's not a problem with you, or how you communicate, it's a problem with our society, a convoluted and long-running problem--is that we think of certain dialects as belonging to certain races.

Or maybe that's not saying it right at all. Maybe the problem is that we think certain dialects are superior to others. Maybe the problem can't be summarized into a single sentence. Maybe the problem is that we don't know how to speak--don't know how to listen--to each other's dialects. Maybe the problem is that in order to achieve legitimacy--to become a doctor, a lawyer, a TV anchor, a president--you have to "speak white".
posted by overglow at 9:48 PM on January 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Isn't racism pretty much about who has the power?

This statement makes me sad.
posted by zennie at 12:11 AM on January 5, 2012


"I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone. Right, wrong, that's how it made me feel."

Why does it make you feel that way?

"Yes, I am going to complain when someone from one race imitates the "dialect" of another race for the purposes of mockery. Sorry. I don't care how many horrible implications of racism you throw at me for that, and how you're making me out to be someone who is just trying to control how black people talk. Though I do have to say I find it to be in extremely bad faith."

That's more of a normative dialect, especially given that African American English is generally considered to be more non-standard dialect than upspeak.

"If that's judging when it's okay to use a dialect and for what purposes, then I'm comfortable doing so in that specific situation."

Why are you comfortable doing that?

"I find it to be in very bad faith that now you are trying to skew that to say I'm deciding what is normal, intelligent, worth listening to, on an entire continent. I never said anything remotely related to that at all. Up until now I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that I just wasn't being clear, but now I think you are being deliberately obtuse. However I don't feel that bad withdrawing the benefit of the doubt given, you know, you didn't give me the benefit of the doubt in not trying to paint me as a continent-rampaging bigoted authoritarian in the most dramatic terms you can think of. Reply however you want, but I won't again."

You've been pretty defensive and aggressive throughout this thread, and I think that you have a mistaken view of what constitutes "bad faith" in terms of an argument. It doesn't include pointing out that your position reduces to the absurd.
posted by klangklangston at 12:18 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's too bad she had to resort to a slightly misogynistic stereotype to get her point across, but she wasn't exactly parodying how white girls look and act... She was parodying how they think and relate to black folks.

Is this racist towards white folks? Yeah, but so what? The YouTube video is not going to affect how 300 million white folks are treated in the US. However, common stereotypes against black folks in the media etc definitely affect how that particularly minority experiences life.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:32 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


if we're going to talk about dialects, I'm going to post my favorite dialects video, "yeah you rite." hooray!
posted by eustatic at 1:10 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing i found disturbing about this video that disliking rap music is somehow racist.

I dislike most forms of music, rap being only one of many! (Outside of a few old school rap songs I grew up with in the 80s.)
posted by The ____ of Justice at 3:03 AM on January 5, 2012


It takes special amount of preciousness is disingenuous to pretend that this woman is in fact saying that all white women are like "this".

It's observational humour, not a slur against an entire gender or race, and has no accompanying historical baggage (unlike, say, blackface). This also goes for the 'shit girls say' sketch -- you have to especially precious to think that was a statement about 'all women', rather than a particularly daft subset with whom we are all familiar.

Is it really so hard for people to grasp that the "shit x people say" doesn't actually refer to all x people? Just like the "stuff white people like" blog doesn't refer to all white people, but rather a subset of middle-class, well-educated, young, liberal white people?
posted by modernnomad at 6:34 AM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


(preciousness OR disingenuousness).. sorry.
posted by modernnomad at 6:34 AM on January 5, 2012


The most important thing, in discussing racism in the US, is for white people to air their grievances; more specifically, we have to consider how it makes white people feel when black people want to talk about their experiences of racism from whites. Black peoples' experiences of racism are important or whatever, but before we can even begin to consider discussing that, we have to be sure to avoid making any white people uncomfortable. Otherwise, it just feels like shit on so many levels, and white people should never have to feel that way.
posted by clockzero at 6:44 AM on January 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


What a depressing thread.

I loved the video. Sadly, I've probably said or done a couple of those things myself. I'm also tempted to use the "twinsies" line at some point because it really cracked me up.

what people don't seem to get (and this is double sad in itself) is that the video is shit white girls say to black girls. It isn't "shit white girls say".

This isn't racism. Its an attempt to improve on relationships between white and black girls via humour. If you don't see that as a good thing, I don't know what to say to you.
posted by seanyboy at 6:44 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


zabuni, I just want to congratulate you for articulating what I've so often wanted to be able to express here on mefi.

seanyboy, I don't know if I'd go so far as to say this is an attempt to improve relations. I think it's more an attempt to blow off steam.

Granted, all those things she depicts would be really annoying. And she probably thought "well I can write an angry essay that expresses my frustration and unhappiness...but why not try to make it a bit more amusing and gentle?" So I sympathize with the impulse. However, I think that, underneath it all, there is definitely some anger here, so I'm not sure this was really the right way to go about it. I don't really think it's going to improve relationships between people of different races.
posted by Edgewise at 7:31 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in dear old blighty, Labour shadow cabinet minister Dianne Abbott is accused of racism after tweeting "White people love playing 'divide & rule'. We should not play their game. #tacticasoldascolonialism".

It really does seem that white skin is thin skin at the moment. I wish All The Whites (And it is everyone with white skin here - obviously) would stop moaning that they're hard done by. You're not hard done by. These comments haven't wounded you. And you should stop pretending that they have.
posted by seanyboy at 8:02 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really does seem that white skin is thin skin at the moment. I wish All The Whites (And it is everyone with white skin here - obviously) would stop moaning that they're hard done by. You're not hard done by. These comments haven't wounded you. And you should stop pretending that they have.

I wasn't offended by the video, but I wish people would stop thinking it's okay to tell other people how they feel about things. If someone watched that and says it bothered or offended them, there's no reason to accuse them of lying. All the "this doesn't really bother you, stop pretending" would be seen as assholey(which it is) pretty quickly if it were any other group doing the talking.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:10 AM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah - the "You don't know how I feel - don't tell me how I feel" defence.

Usually followed by "That's so unfair. Joanne's mum doesn't make me do that. I hate you. I wish I was dead."

Fucking teenagers.
posted by seanyboy at 8:33 AM on January 5, 2012


Ah - the "You don't know how I feel - don't tell me how I feel" defence.

Usually followed by "That's so unfair. Joanne's mum doesn't make me do that. I hate you. I wish I was dead."

Fucking teenagers.


Right, because being an adult means refusing to accept that some people will react differently than you to the same thing, that a range of responses are valid and acceptable, and that those responses can lead to productive conversation.

Oh wait, that's not what makes you an adult, that's what makes you a dick, I'm always getting those confused.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:38 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy crap this thread is positively SOAKED in White Woman's Tears.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:43 AM on January 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


However, I think that, underneath it all, there is definitely some anger here, so I'm not sure this was really the right way to go about it. I don't really think it's going to improve relationships between people of different races.

There is nothing wrong with expressing anger when something makes you angry. She is not the head of the NAACP, and is not required to be nice when talking about how racism makes her feel.

The internet is packed full of people expressing outrage over (for example) how their banks have fucked them over, and it's absurd to suggest that if they were just nicer the banks would listen to them. How many of you have poured out bitter words of frustration and fury directed at government policies, bank regulations, war crimes, etc. - and likely done it with less humor than seen in this video - and not thought twice that of course you shouldn't have to be "nice", or consider the feelings of the poor beleaguered politicians in Washington, when doing so?
posted by rtha at 9:10 AM on January 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


The amount of naval gazing on this thread is epic.
posted by Kokopuff at 9:42 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bulgaroktonos: If I'm telling you how you feel, and that's not how you feel - Just tell me. This isn't some touchy feely hand holding session where we get to own our feelings and explain them to the group. Detailing your irritation at me saying that I know how ALL WHITE PEOPLE FEEL ignores both the fact that (a) I'm obviously referencing the conversation being had and (b) derails the conversation into being about you & your precious feelings.

Here's the thing. With varying levels of accuracy, I make predictions of peoples thoughts and feelings all the time. It's called empathy. It's a useful and common human skill. It's completely different to "refusing to accept that some people will react differently than you to the same thing".

When you say "All the "this doesn't really bother you, stop pretending" would be seen as assholey(which it is) pretty quickly if it were any other group doing the talking.", you're being disingenuous at best, borderline racist at worst.

I agree with one point you make. It would be seen as assholey if your coded "other group" were doing the talking. But that other group isn't the one doing the talking. And this mysterious other group isn't doing this talking in this thread in this context.

I'm the one in this thread saying that ALL (code for some) white people pretend to be upset by perceived black-on-white racism. You can disagree with me on this as much as you want, but please don't try and derail this into "you don't know what goes on in my head."
posted by seanyboy at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing i found disturbing about this video that disliking rap music is somehow racist.

Disliking rap wasn't the racist part. Look at the entire context of that single scene - the speaker was a passenger in the car being driven by the recipient of the comment. The speaker reaches over and turns the radio down/off, justifying it by saying the music is not to her taste.

The speaker is asserting that a) her tastes in car music are more important than the driver of the car, and b) she will physically alter the environment away from what the driver of the car prefers, using the 'rap distaste' justification. The entire thing was a demonstration of flagrant disregard for someone else's agency and self-determination. Think of it as the inverse of 'let me touch your hair oh i'm doing it anyway' - the speaker is using any slight reason they feel like to justify totally fucking with someone else's personal space. And the slight reason 'just happens' to be one with notable racial undertones.

I know that when *I'M* driving, I will slap someone's hand right the fuck away from the radio unless they ask first. My car, my rules. Of course, that's one of the privileges in my white guy backpack..
posted by FatherDagon at 9:50 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only thing i found disturbing about this video that disliking rap music is somehow racist.

Yo, it's ok to not like rap music, but it's not very dope. Not very dope at all.

Also, in addition to what FatherDagon said, the other part of the "I don't really like rap" joke is that the girl then turns around and starts signing and dancing to white club music which (in the grand tradition of white popular music) is blatantly ripped off from the predominantly black artists she claims to hate.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:05 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I see that now, minus the glasses of wine I had last night! Thanks for pointing that out. I thought overall the video was funny, which is pretty commendable given how fucking TIRED I'd feel hearing ignorant shit like that day in, day out.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:16 AM on January 5, 2012


Hey, since we're joke-explaining: the only part I didn't get was "I told you to stop borrowing my lotion!" Little help?
posted by naju at 10:20 AM on January 5, 2012


About the not liking rap thing... you noticed that she transitions directly into singing along with a Nicki Minaj song, right? It's the casual dismissal of rap as a genre followed by the enjoyment of a specific rap artist that makes it semi-racist. Like, "I don't like music stereotypically associated with your people" is a knee-jerk reaction that is immediately disproved by "I love this song!"
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 10:25 AM on January 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


that the girl then turns around and starts signing and dancing to white club music which

The song she was singing is Super Bass by Nicki Minaj which is a rap song.

Also, she has done some interviews discussing the genesis of the video.

Huffington Post:
Growing up I was constantly labeled an "oreo" by my black peers because of my proper speech and "valley girl accent". But contrary to my tormentors' taunts, I didn't "want to be white" or think I was better than them; my lilting voice and preppy attire was the result of my Catholic school elementary years combined with my suburban West Palm Beach upbringing.

After I entered high school, the teasing subsided and my circle of friends grew to include girls from all walks of life; but I always seemed to fall in with the white girls from upper middle class families. I quickly became the "token black girl" in my group, which came with a whole host of awkward questions and first experiences for my peers. Unfortunately, the awkward questions and comments didn't stop after I graduated from high school. Throughout college and even today, in corporate America, I find myself fielding inappropriate questions and swatting hands away from my waist length dreadlocks.

Over the years I've found that dealing with white people faux pas can be tricky. If I get upset, I could quickly be labeled the "angry black girl." But if I don't say anything or react too passively, I risk giving friends and acquaintances permission to continue crossing the line. So I decided to create my own parody, "Shit White Girls Say...to Black Girls," to make all people laugh while, hopefully, opening some eyes and encouraging some of my white friends and acquaintances to think twice before they treat their black friends and associates like petting zoo animals or expect us to be spokespeople for the entire race.
Interview at Village Voice Blog:
Franchesca Ramsey, Vlogger, On Making "Shit White Girls Say...To Black Girls"
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'm the one in this thread saying that ALL (code for some) white people pretend to be upset by perceived black-on-white racism. You can disagree with me on this as much as you want, but please don't try and derail this into "you don't know what goes on in my head."

You said "These comments haven't wounded you. And you should stop pretending that they have" it's not "derailing" to tell you that, no, you don't really know what does or does not wound another person; you can make some guesses, but the other person is the authority, not you. If a person says something wounds them or is offensive to them or whatever, you cannot have a productive conversation by calling them a liar, which is what you did. That's not having a good faith discussion and it's very bad for the conversation and the community. That's my primary concern. The link wasn't offensive to me, so I don't really care to defend the idea that it is offensive, just the idea that if someone is offended by something we shouldn't respond by accusing them of lying.

When you say "All the "this doesn't really bother you, stop pretending" would be seen as assholey(which it is) pretty quickly if it were any other group doing the talking.", you're being disingenuous at best, borderline racist at worst.

If you believe it's racist to ask that the all parties to a conversation should be allowed to express when they're offended without getting mistreated, you will never have a meaningful conversation about race in the real world, ever. On the internet and in niche academic circles, maybe, but not with a normal person. People, even white people, expect you to afford their self descriptions of how they feel a certain amount of respect.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2012


Alright, so today I revealed myself as someone who can't pick a Niki Minaj song out of a lineup.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:32 AM on January 5, 2012


Help, I can't stop talking! is exactly right here. And I think it's not even a racist thing. People say the same thing about all kinds of genres of music, like country, but then can often be pressed to reveal specific artists from that genre that they actually enjoy. It's poseur thing, overlooking vast internal inconsistencies in order to present one's musical tastes as a social signifier.
posted by hermitosis at 10:32 AM on January 5, 2012


I dunno, the whole "I don't like hip hop" thing seems like my generation's version of "Disco Sucks!" with its attendant undercurrent of racism. That's why I went where I went with that joke. I mean, it's obviously not the same thing since there isn't an actual movement behind the statement, but I think both statements come from the same cultural place.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:41 AM on January 5, 2012


I can help settle this: that was awesome. If you did not experience it as such, allow the video and your reaction to operate as a compass pointing you to personal growth. Everybody wins!
posted by sudama at 10:43 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, since we're joke-explaining: the only part I didn't get was "I told you to stop borrowing my lotion!" Little help?

My best guess is that a "white girl" wouldn't care if another white girl borrowed her lotion but doesn't like her black friend borrowing it. Because she's black (and it's an intimate item.) I dunno...

It kinda goes along with the "what did you do to my computer?" as if a black person is more likely to screw something up because they are by nature less experienced or capable with technical matters.

I thought the acting was very well done, and the writing was above average. Solid B+!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:50 AM on January 5, 2012


Hey, since we're joke-explaining: the only part I didn't get was "I told you to stop borrowing my lotion!" Little help?

I thought it was a "black folks, they love their lotion, don't they?" joke, but I could be wrong.

I dunno, the whole "I don't like hip hop" thing seems like my generation's version of "Disco Sucks!" with its attendant undercurrent of racism. That's why I went where I went with that joke. I mean, it's obviously not the same thing since there isn't an actual movement behind the statement, but I think both statements come from the same cultural place.

As someone who wasn't alive for disco or the ensuing backlash, the role of racism (and homophobia) in the Disco Sucks thing was really weird for me to learn about, especially this popular telling of that story basically accepts that disco did suck and thus it was only natural that we should stop listening to it. It's also all made weirder by the fact that what gets played on the radio these days sounds 200% more like disco than it does like Foreigner or whatever the anti-Disco people were listening to.

I don't feel like I hear the "I like everything except rap" line from many people anymore, but if I did I would definitely hear an undercurrent of racism, if only because I don't usually go around telling people what kind of music I dislike.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:02 AM on January 5, 2012


Doublewhiskeycokenoice: "Also, in addition to what FatherDagon said, the other part of the "I don't really like rap" joke is that the girl then turns around and starts signing and dancing to white club music which (in the grand tradition of white popular music) is blatantly ripped off from the predominantly black artists she claims to hate."

I've always thought it a bit troubling, that whole "White Power" music that's played by neo-nazis. I mean, dude. It's evolved from rock and roll which is evolved from blues.

You'd think if you were so concerned about cultural purity you might just go back to White Power Polka or something.
posted by symbioid at 11:18 AM on January 5, 2012


Edgewise:

Granted, all those things she depicts would be really annoying. And she probably thought "well I can write an angry essay that expresses my frustration and unhappiness...but why not try to make it a bit more amusing and gentle?" So I sympathize with the impulse. However, I think that, underneath it all, there is definitely some anger here, so I'm not sure this was really the right way to go about it. I don't really think it's going to improve relationships between people of different races.

So she has no right to be angry that people say and do obnoxious, thoughtless, racist things to her? Her anger is not okay because...why, exactly? Why is the responsibility to "improve relationships between people of different races" on the person who's been wronged by the racism of others? Is it reasonable to suggest that people who have been wronged by racist attitudes and comments and behaviors must be held to an impossibly high standard of beatific calm and benevolence before you can even begin to consider what they're actually saying? Are you beginning to see how condescending and racist the position you're espousing is?

Jesus, I feel like a fucking broken record. The tone argument is a way to silence people who point out things that make you uncomfortable to acknowledge, not a principled, meaningful, or good-faith response to someone's grievances.
posted by clockzero at 11:28 AM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


: Holy crap this thread is positively SOAKED in White Woman's Tears.

Yeah, of course. The tearful reaction of some white women to publicly confronting their own racism is totally a cunning ruse to derail the conversation. White women are incredibly emotionally unprepared to discuss those things. It's not like any of them have grown up equating "so-and-so said some racist things" with "we can all assume so-and-so carries hatred for black people," or something. (And before you go there, connecting skin color to an assumption of negative motivations totally isn't racist here. Because, you know, it's white skin.)
posted by zennie at 11:29 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


zennie, your comment sums up the whole problem with this discussion. Whenever someone refers to any white woman anywhere, people have this tendency to get their hackles up and scream to the heavens about how "all white women aren't like that!" Great. We agree. You're right. No one is attacking you. If you're one of the good ones who isn't super-racist and never belittles people for their skin color, then you would better serve everyone by allowing us to discuss the other, not-you people who DO do this. If you don't think this applies to you, then accept the fact that it's actually not about you at all. No one made a video called "Shit zennie says," and the White Woman's Tears link doesn't seem to mention you by name, either.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 11:34 AM on January 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, of course. The tearful reaction of some white women to publicly confronting their own racism is totally a cunning ruse to derail the conversation.

I think the point is that the tearful reaction is, itself, an evasion of confrontation with racism. By waxing lachrymose and saying you're overly upset by the subject, the conversation then becomes about the hurt feelings of the second person rather than the original issue. It may or may not be intentional, but that's the rhetorical function it performs.
posted by clockzero at 11:36 AM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


zennie, your comment sums up the whole problem with this discussion.

I thank you.

Whenever someone refers to any white woman anywhere, people have this tendency to get their hackles up and scream to the heavens about how "all white women aren't like that!"

And it's so very helpful to scream back WHITE WOMEN'S TEARS!!!

If you're one of the good ones who isn't super-racist and never belittles people for their skin color, then you would better serve everyone by allowing us to discuss the other, not-you people who DO do this.


That's the thing: the otherness of that conversation. Let's talk about those other people who do that bad thing who are not us. It precludes a productive conversation where people can actually learn something. Because we all do those things, even people like me who don't fall neatly into any race category.

I think the point is that the tearful reaction is, itself, an evasion of confrontation with racism. By waxing lachrymose and saying you're overly upset by the subject, the conversation then becomes about the hurt feelings of the second person rather than the original issue. It may or may not be intentional, but that's the rhetorical function it performs.

I agree with that for the most part. But the truth is, a lot of those women are honestly upset and have no idea how to deal with this subject. Having an angry reaction to their upset reaction is normal and human, but doesn't help the conversation, especially not if you are going to give it a name like White Women's Tears.
posted by zennie at 11:54 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but if someone can't step outside the momentary hurt of having racism revealed to her long enough to understand the much deeper hurt caused by institutionalized racism, then I don't think it's my job to protect her from a perfectly apt term like White Woman's Tears. Sorry, but toughen up, kids.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 12:00 PM on January 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I agree with that for the most part. But the truth is, a lot of those women are honestly upset and have no idea how to deal with this subject. Having an angry reaction to their upset reaction is normal and human, but doesn't help the conversation, especially not if you are going to give it a name like White Women's Tears.

You're still missing the point. The black woman in that video is the one who's "honestly upset". By completely ignoring her feelings and thoughts and experiences and privileging, instead, the feelings of white women who see the video, you're (in a small and qualified way) perpetuating white privilege. That's the point here.
posted by clockzero at 12:01 PM on January 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


this whole thing reminds me of discussions of rape and sexism and how they are near always derailed into "think about the men! you might hurt their feelings!"

in both cases it's utter bullshit and allows the conversation to once again go back to the side with the power and the normalcy. even if you don't mean for it to be, it's a silencing tactic.
posted by nadawi at 12:06 PM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


rtha: There is nothing wrong with expressing anger when something makes you angry.
...
clockzero: So she has no right to be angry that people say and do obnoxious, thoughtless, racist things to her?

Honestly, you two, just read my comment again, and tell me where I said she should not express anger, or that she has no right or reason to be angry. Because I didn't say the first thing (although I can see where that could be misunderstood), and I actually said the opposite of the second thing, even in the text you quoted me on. clockzero, it's like you actively ignored most of what I wrote in pursuit of a grievance.
posted by Edgewise at 12:13 PM on January 5, 2012


What's a lifetime of dealing with prejudice, ignorance and discrimination matter when someone suddenly had a feeling?

Personally, I just like to trick white people into places where they are the only white person and watch them freak out. They don't learn anything from it, but they get to have a feeling. Then we rush them out, get the foil blankets and hurry them into trauma care.
"I was uncomfortable!"
"Shhh, it's okay now. It's going to be alright."

This thread is damned entertaining.
posted by provoliminal at 12:15 PM on January 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


Having an angry reaction to their upset reaction is normal and human, but doesn't help the conversation,

This is very true. Please consider why you seem to be advocating that it is the responsibility of the person in the video to manage the emotional reactions of the people viewing it, and not the responsibility of the person reacting to take a deep fucking breath and go "Hmm, why, exactly, am I reacting this way?" Perhaps if they managed their own emotions and reactions, it might actually help the conversation.
posted by rtha at 12:19 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Edgewise, I re-read your comment, and I don't see what this content that you think I ignored is. You didn't say "she should not express anger," but you did say "underneath it all, there is definitely some anger here, so I'm not sure this was really the right way to go about it."

I mean, what are you, a media consultant or something? What she was going about doing was expressing her feelings! You acknowledged that yourself. So to arbitrarily impute another intention, that of trying to patch things up between whites and blacks or whatever, seems perverse. But it does provide you with an opportunity to criticize her for performing poorly in something she didn't set out to do, which happens to entail ignoring her actual message.
posted by clockzero at 12:23 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


On lack of preview:

Edgewise, your comment above, in total, reads: Granted, all those things she depicts would be really annoying. And she probably thought "well I can write an angry essay that expresses my frustration and unhappiness...but why not try to make it a bit more amusing and gentle?" So I sympathize with the impulse. However, I think that, underneath it all, there is definitely some anger here, so I'm not sure this was really the right way to go about it. I don't really think it's going to improve relationships between people of different races.

Which really reads as if expressing the anger is a problem, and seems to assume that it's both her goal and her responsibility to improve relationships between people of different races. She's expressing her frustration, amusement, and yes, anger. She shouldn't be required to make it all funny, hold the anger please, in order to say what she wants to say.

What would be the "right way" to go about it?
posted by rtha at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2012


This is very true. Please consider why you seem to be advocating that it is the responsibility of the person in the video to manage the emotional reactions of the people viewing it, and not the responsibility of the person reacting to take a deep fucking breath and go "Hmm, why, exactly, am I reacting this way?" Perhaps if they managed their own emotions and reactions, it might actually help the conversation.

Zennie's free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen her address anything to person in the video. Zennie's comments are directed to the people in this thread, who are reacting angrily to the normal and understandable reactions of white women.

I'd add that it's also not helpful to do this by employing a belittling phrase like "white women's tears" that also has a pretty strong undercurrent of sexism.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:29 PM on January 5, 2012


This isn't Pokemon. You can't counter race-achu by deploying bulba-sexism.
posted by seanyboy at 12:35 PM on January 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


This isn't Pokemon. You can't counter race-achu by deploying bulba-sexism.

Thank you for this intelligent, well reasoned, and serious reply. I will definitely consider your zeal for discourse every time I read anything you write.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:39 PM on January 5, 2012


You're still missing the point. The black woman in that video is the one who's "honestly upset". By completely ignoring her feelings and thoughts and experiences and privileging, instead, the feelings of white women who see the video, you're (in a small and qualified way) perpetuating white privilege. That's the point here.

I wasn't referencing the video at all, either the black woman or the hypothetical white woman seeing the video. This is... it's just not some kind of contest. Of course the woman in the video has a point about what she has to deal with all the time. I wouldn't expect someone watching that video to break down in tears; that was in reference to in-person confrontation.

Please consider why you seem to be advocating that it is the responsibility of the person in the video to manage the emotional reactions of the people viewing it ...

I'm not.
posted by zennie at 12:40 PM on January 5, 2012


Black people have to deal with shit from white people on a continuous basis that I, as a white person, can only sorta maybe comprehend. Women have to deal with shit from men on a continuous basis that I, as a woman with a somewhat unique history, have a better-than-average understanding of. Black women will catch shit from black men, white women, and just about everyone under the sun. In this case, some white women believe that some of the examples in the video are racial/gender stereotypes, or they don't appreciate catching flak from a fellow member of an unprivileged group, and are bristling. Hey, pretty much expected, right? Doesn't mean their feelings are not hurt, doesn't mean they don't get to point this out, especially since they themselves may not engage in any of the listed problematic behaviors, but people still need to watch the video, hear the complaints, talk about the problems, etc. Eggs and omelets, right? Right.

(derail)
Metafilter, WHAT THE FUCK is this White Women's Tears nonsense?

Let me see if i can gather enough straw real quick to sum up most of my problems with it:

On Tears:
"Bursting into tears was a devastating rhetorical tactic, and would reliably crush one's conversational opponent. Scored double points, too, which could later be redeemed for Guilt Trips, or collected and cashed out. No wonder so many women spent a lifetime honing their skills, seizing the slightest opportunity to provoke abuse or injury just to help them more effectively unleash the devastating torrent. If not for certain minor defensive advantages, men would have been wiped off the face of the planet ages ago."

No, no one has said that. Yes, some have come close. Please, cut it out.
(/derail)
posted by tigrrrlily at 1:12 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the whole framing of "White Women's Tears" even if I sort of understand the sentiment of it. It's better to just say that white people will sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, divert attention away from the aggrieved minority's point and effectively make the conversation about them and their feelings. But the way it's talked about in that link just put me right off.
posted by naju at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2012


I'd add that it's also not helpful to do this by employing a belittling phrase like "white women's tears" that also has a pretty strong undercurrent of sexism.
I'm not sure it does. I mean, there's a theory behind it, which is that one form of power that middle-class white women have is the power to provoke a protective response in white men. It's a weapon of the weak, and it's a byproduct of all sorts of fucked-up stuff, but it's a thing we can do that other people can't do. A man who cries is pathetic. A black woman or working-class white woman who cries is weak and needs to pull herself together. But when a middle-class white woman cries, she expects people to rush to comfort her and remove the source of her upsetness. That's the chivalric bargain: in exchange for being docile and obedient and making our men feel manly, we get protection. It becomes an instinctive reaction, so that middle-class white women's first impulse when they feel attacked is to cry and expect people to punish and silence the attacker.

I don't know if I buy it, but I don't think it's sexist. It's based on a theory about the way in which middle-class white women are socialized in our society.
posted by craichead at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zennie's comments are directed to the people in this thread, who are reacting angrily to the normal and understandable reactions of white women.

I'd add that it's also not helpful to do this by employing a belittling phrase like "white women's tears" that also has a pretty strong undercurrent of sexism.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:29 PM on January 5




One of the reasons folks coined the phrase "white women's tears" is because that the "normal and understandable reactions of white women" are geared towards justifying the white woman's racism while simultaneously making her feel better about her racism.

Is the phrase belittling? Not at all. The phrase is contemptuous. It's disdainful. It's hateful, reviling, reproachful, and hopefully a little bit shaming. Because a white woman should have thet goddamned good sense to be ashamed of herself if she can't be reflective enough to recognize that she might have said or done something racist when a minority tries to point it out to them.

But instead, all too often, the "normal and understandable reaction" is for white women to wring their hands because their feelings have been huuuuuuuuuurt. Then they pout or cry or otherwise make something of a scene, so that the conversation is derailed and it's all about them and their feelings, and not at all about their racism. She really didn't mean it! She's hurt that you called her racist, don't you see?!

"Many of us, myself included, have stories to tell of white women crying and taking on postures of weakness to avoid conflict with black women. They cried, they shut down, they ran out the room, and feigned helplessness -- especially when confronted with the criticisms black women had about their racism. It’s almost a rule of thumb that senior black women pass along to younger black women to expect white women to faint, get weepy, and come up with stories about their one black friend when the time comes to talk openly and honestly about their complicity in the status quo. Watch for the dagger that follows, I was once told...

"...Not every white woman you and I know has used tears to get her way. Just a lot. Just one too many. Just enough to keep the stereotype alive, I guess"



There's some people in this thread who have had "normal and understandable reactions" to this video. That's fine. But understand that when you do, some other people in this thread know exactly what you're doing--even if you (consciously) don't--and we're gonna call you out on it.
posted by magstheaxe at 1:36 PM on January 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


I wasn't referencing the video at all, either the black woman or the hypothetical white woman seeing the video. This is... it's just not some kind of contest. Of course the woman in the video has a point about what she has to deal with all the time. I wouldn't expect someone watching that video to break down in tears; that was in reference to in-person confrontation.

I don't really think it matter, zennie, if you were talking about this instance or instances like this. I think the things you were saying were still privileging the reaction of white women to the bad experiences of black women over expressions of those bad experiences. You said that "a lot of [white] women are honestly upset", which to me suggested rhetorically that the plight of these white women, who, let's not forget, are injured only in that their own injurious attitudes are being brought to light, was really important to discuss before or instead of addressing the experiences of racism black women have with white women, which was the topic of the original discussion. I mean, cry me a river. Is one supposed to feel bad for white women who unselfconsciously espouse racist sentiments now, because being confronted with their own hatefulness is upsetting to them? Haven't we kinda lost track of what's important when we're defending the emotional well-being of racists rather than considering the experiences of those who are wronged by them? What in the world is so damn important about preserving the happiness and composure of blithely racist white women?

You're completely eliding the black women, here. You're assiduously highlighting white women and their feelings in a discussion of black women's experiences, while sparing the former even the faintest hint of accountability for themselves. In a discussion of black women's experiences of racism, insisting on bringing white women's feelings to the fore of the discussion and repeatedly asserting their significance is marginalizing and cements white female privilege over black women. That's the point.
posted by clockzero at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


People's protective impulse in response to a crying woman is not as strong when the woman crying is of lower social class, or of an underprivileged race.

White women should stop crying as of right now.
posted by tigrrrlily at 1:45 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Many of us, myself included, have stories to tell of white women crying and taking on postures of weakness to avoid conflict with black women. They cried, they shut down, they ran out the room, and feigned helplessness -- especially when confronted with the criticisms black women had about their racism

This is giving me horrifying flashbacks to how meetings sometimes went in the feminist and women of color groups I was in in college. Jesus.

posted by rtha at 1:50 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's some people in this thread who have had "normal and understandable reactions" to this video. That's fine. But understand that when you do, some other people in this thread know exactly what you're doing--even if you (consciously) don't--and we're gonna call you out on it.

Well, I guess we're back to my earlier point, where one party has decided that it knows what the other party is "really" doing based on nothing other than intuition and "experience" with having believed the same they believe now in a prior interaction.

If you're in the business of confronting people their own racism, you're going to upset people. It's normal to be upset when you realize that you're not behaving in the way you expect yourself to be. It's expected. If you want people to change their behavior you have to deal with them being upset. "Dealing" with other people's attitudes or behavior by shaming them doesn't work to change anything.

Honestly, I think these conversations would be more productive if there were less shame in being racist than there is. Being racist, even fullout using racial slurs, N-word joke racist, is not the final word on someone's character; the more we acknowledge that, the more room we open up for conversation about racist habits or ideas. Shaming people (which you acknowledge is the purpose behind references to "white women's tears") just makes any kind of productive conversation harder.

I'm also of the opinion that we should always feel at least a little bad for someone who is upset or has hurt feelings, but Metafilter has shown me that I'm obviously in the minority on that one.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:00 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're completely eliding the black women, here.

Pretty much, as I wasn't really talking about the video. If you choose to broaden that to "zennie only cares about the white women" then I guess I can't stop you.

You said that "a lot of [white] women are honestly upset", which to me suggested rhetorically that the plight of these white women, who, let's not forget, are injured only in that their own injurious attitudes are being brought to light, was really important to discuss before or instead of addressing the experiences of racism black women have with white women, which was the topic of the original discussion.

You are putting words in my mouth. I wasn't making any such rhetorical point. I could say more but I feel that you're just going to insist on more points I'm not making.
posted by zennie at 2:11 PM on January 5, 2012


"Dealing" with other people's attitudes or behavior by shaming them doesn't work to change anything.

Why isn't the reaction of the person upset at being confronted considered shaming? Why is something like "white girls say racist shit sometimes" considered confrontational/angry and shaming, but crying and being defensive, and making the conversation about your feelings, considered just...having feelings?

I'm also of the opinion that we should always feel at least a little bad for someone who is upset or has hurt feelings, but Metafilter has shown me that I'm obviously in the minority on that one.

What??!? The woman who made this video is upset and has hurt feelings! And yet somehow we are to be more concerned about the hurt feelings that some viewers express.
posted by rtha at 2:12 PM on January 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can feel bad for two people at once. I certainly feel bad for anyone who has experienced the kind of things described in the video, I just don't express every single thought I have on Metafilter.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:18 PM on January 5, 2012


Oh and to clarify, I didn't find the video offensive or shaming. I was refering to the "white woman tears" tactic. That's what bothers me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:23 PM on January 5, 2012


as I wasn't really talking about the video

then what are you talking about? this thread about a black woman responding to things white women have said to her. white women's tears specifically came up because some people said it hurt their feelings. other people pointed out that is a "thing" and is problematic, even if the upset person doesn't realize it or purposefully does it.

how can you remove the cause of the hurt feelings in this conversation? aren't you whole cloth changing the topic? and isn't that the problem we're discussing, where the white woman's reaction becomes more discussed than the original offending statements?
posted by nadawi at 2:25 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was talking about humans and their assumptions about each other.

Which was clearly a mistake. I'll be going now.
posted by zennie at 2:36 PM on January 5, 2012


Well, I guess we're back to my earlier point, where one party has decided that it knows what the other party is "really" doing based on nothing other than intuition and "experience" with having believed the same they believe now in a prior interaction.


No, we're doing it based on what some of the white women in this thread are saying:

I found the framing really offensive. I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone. Right, wrong, that's how it made me feel.

For instance. All about her. White woman cryin'.


If you're in the business of confronting people their own racism, you're going to upset people.

Lordy, I hope so!


It's normal to be upset when you realize that you're not behaving in the way you expect yourself to be. It's expected. If you want people to change their behavior you have to deal with them being upset.

I have no problem with them being upset, expect when the purpose of being upset is to defend their actions and attitudes: "I didn't mean it!" "How could you say that?" Etc., etc.

Ideally, one's being upset would be the start of some self-reflection and a change in one's attitudes. But many times--as in white woman cryin' syndrome--it's just a defense mechanism.


"Dealing" with other people's attitudes or behavior by shaming them doesn't work to change anything.

Honestly, I think these conversations would be more productive if there were less shame in being racist than there is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:00 PM on January 5


Trust me on this: when people aren't ashamed about being racist, you tend not to get very far with them.


Anyway, I'm done. The white women have started cryin' in this thread, and it's become all about them. I have a low tolerance for that sort of thing, so I guess I'll bow out.

Thanks to everyone else who understood what the video was about, and esp. to those who used it as a chance to reflect on how they could help make things better.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:47 PM on January 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


" and isn't that the problem we're discussing, where the white woman's reaction becomes more discussed than the original offending statements?"

Right. What about the men whose feelings were hurt by being excluded? We have opinions about race and gender too!
posted by klangklangston at 5:44 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


i don't think i've been quite this embarrassed to be a white woman in a loooooong time. well, maybe embarrassed isn't quite the right word. chagrined? nonplussed? dismayed? take your pick. all i can say is, right now i'm not that thrilled about seeing tone arguments in this thread from white women who would raise holy hell if anyone told them to change their tone because they sound too angry.

i mean, damn. yes, it is uncomfortable to be confronted with a way in which you yourself might have been unknowingly or unthinkingly racist. but deciding that your hurt feelings at being confronted with your own racism trumps the hurt feelings of the person/people who have had to bear the brunt of that racism? that's some bullshit right there, straight up. bulllllllllshit.

did i see glimmers of myself in that video? maybe i did. am i all butthurt and crying about how it's mean and not fair and this lady really should have chosen a lighter tone because this tone offends my sensibilities? fuck that noise. maybe it's not "fair", but who the hell said life is fair? has life been fair to the recipients of the racism that's being showcased in this video? clearly it hasn't. i could go on with tons more examples of how life isn't fair, but that's not the point. the point is, most white people at some point in their lives have done or will do something racist. our culture is sick that way, we prize whiteness over all other colors. instead of refusing to acknowledge that you yourself might have said or done something that could be construed as racist by a person of color, try examining your behaviors and CHANGING something, if that video struck such a nerve with you.
posted by palomar at 6:34 PM on January 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


[folks? Make an effort or go to Metatalk. Please.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:17 PM on January 5, 2012


magstheaxe: I wasn't going to reply in anyone this thread again, but since you quoted me, I'd like to reply specifically/only to you, because even if you didn't like what I said, it doesn't seem like you'll twist my words around like a few of the men did. I'll be honest if that's okay with you, but I promise not to cry.


cairdeas: I found the framing really offensive. I felt as if she was implying that I -- me, personally -- was a stupid fucking ditz coasting inconsiderately through life, without being on the receiving end of shitty comments from anyone. Right, wrong, that's how it made me feel.

magstheaxe: For instance. All about her. White woman cryin'.


As far as I have ever been aware, the point of Metafilter is that someone posts a link and then everyone discusses it and gives their own reactions.

If you think it was wrong for me to give a negative opinion on this video or have a negative opinion on this video -- or do anything at all but just silently learn and appreciate, I respect your right to think that.

But if you believe that, it makes no sense to post it on a website whose *purpose* is for all kinds of people, not just certain groups, to look at things, give their reactions on them and discuss them. And get indignant if someone does just that.

There are tons of blogs out there where members of certain groups are the only ones allowed to give their opinions, and/or you can post if you're not in those certain groups but you are not allowed to express disagreement. And I think it's perfectly legit to have those spaces and it would be wrong for anyone to intrude there.

The tradeoff is that few people outside of those groups will hear or see what gets posted there. But that doesn't make it okay to go to places where everyone is equally allowed to have an opinion and then act like they're an asshole for having an opinion. In other words for you to come here and tell me that by having an opinion I'm "making it all about me" makes no sense.

Some people have brought up how in feminist threads here there are men who make it all about the men and how bad that is. I personally love when men post in feminist threads even if they're dissenting, as long as they're civil. When they start twisting people's words, trolling, having meltdowns, or just being mocking and snide, that's a problem. But civil, honest disagreement/civil expression of feelings, and willingness to discuss it, is not at all to me.

I couldn't agree more that there are many, many things that people in power positions need to know about. And plenty of things white people collectively need to know about. I just don't think acting like certain people don't have the right to give their opinion achieves that in the slightest. Telling them you think their opinion is wrong and why, fine. But I think just saying, "shut up and learn from me, and don't say anything back" makes people extremely closed off to what one has to say.

I also don't think anything is achieved when people feel like they can't be honest. The thing is both people have to handle honesty. It doesn't work if you're honest and then feel like the other person shouldn't be allowed to be honest back, or vice versa, even if their opinion is something that makes you mad. Because how can you ever change anyone's mind if you never know what they think? That's again why I'm fine with men posting their reactions in feminist threads, as long as they can continue having the conversation and not just have a meltdown and close off to what anyone else is saying.

Now, all that being said.

...
magstheaxe: It's normal to be upset when you realize that you're not behaving in the way you expect yourself to be. It's expected. If you want people to change their behavior you have to deal with them being upset.

I have no problem with them being upset, expect when the purpose of being upset is to defend their actions and attitudes: "I didn't mean it!" "How could you say that?" Etc., etc.

Ideally, one's being upset would be the start of some self-reflection and a change in one's attitudes. But many times--as in white woman cryin' syndrome--it's just a defense mechanism.

I tried to express this about 5 times upthread, so this will be my last attempt, but I'll give it a shot.

I was not offended by this video because of the content. The content absolutely should be known about by everyone.

I also was not upset because I "realized I was not behaving in the way I expect myself to be." I was not upset in order to "defend my actions and attitudes" or because I was desperate to avoid "self reflection and change in my attitude."

Why?

Because shockingly, some people have been paying a slight bit of attention over the past 6 decades and some of these things had already gotten through to some people before the video came out a few days ago. Is there anyone, who has been paying the slightest bit of attention in the past 60 years, who does not know many black women have said it offends and bothers them if you gawk at their hair or try to stick your hands all over it?? I'm sure there are, but I'm pretty sure I knew about that one since the age of 5. Not only that, people shouldn't even need someone to tell them not to do that because it's common sense that it's rude! I don't tell people they should get over slavery. This is basic, 101 stuff that most people should not have only dawning on them after watching this video. And some of the other more random stuff, I wouldn't feel bad if I said to someone whether they were black or not. "What did you do to my computer?" I am very well aware that it's convenient for a lot of people to arbitrarily blame a black person for things like this. I agree that it's galling and wrong, and if I were on the receiving end of that it would seriously piss me off. But am I avoiding facing up to my own behavior on this issue, as you say? Well to be frank, I'm not in the habit of blaming others for breaking my things unless I have a good freakin reason, and if I had that good of a reason I wouldn't care what color they were when I called them the fuck out on it! Coincidentally this actually happened to me on New Year's Eve, but I think the person who did it was a white guy. Can't say that I accused any of the other races of people who were there. Or hey, any of the women for that matter.

Okay? The point is not, I'm so perfect, I don't do any of this stuff, poor me. The point is, the reason this video bothered me isn't because I'm just ashamed and avoidant of my own behavior and of facing it. So can I say why it DID bother me?

It's really very simple. What bothered me wasn't the content of what she said.

-It bothered me, like I said up above, that she was derisively mimicking what was supposed to be the way white girls speak. I think it is fucked up when ANYONE of any race mimicks what is supposed to be the speech of another race, culture, ethnicity, and whatever. It's wrong. If a person does that sort of thing, it makes me not want to continue watching them and giving them my attention. Again, not the content, but the racial mimicking. And it bothered me PERSONALLY because I have been personally targeted with that many, many, many times by people who were trying to bully me, humiliate me, intimidate me, etc. It's been done by people who were fellow female teens, and by people who were male adult strangers. I'm not trying to say shit that happens to me negates shit that happens to her or is more important. Or if she engages in this behavior then we don't ever have to take the issues she raises seriously, and it makes her points invalid and they shouldn't be heard. I am saying that behavior offends me, period. That's it. I am trying to say two wrongs don't make a right, and it's still asshole behavior.

-It bothered me that the started as "Shit White Girls Say." Yes, I know plenty of people think that's no big deal and I should get over it because she didn't mean ALL white girls and whatever. Well, I disagree. If she wants to talk about shit *some* white girls say than she should say so. I saw someone upthread say something like, she couldn't title the video "Shit some white girls say" because it wouldn't be as cute. I think stereotypes are stupid, harmful, and counterproductive, and not cute at all. That's my opinion. They offend me, and if I'm in the group being stereotyped, then I'm going to be personally offended. Some people believe it's not important to be careful with language, but I disagree with those people. In feminist threads people throw around "mansplaining" a lot. As much as I've gotten into it with people in feminist threads, I'm never going to say anything like "mansplaining" because I think it's stereotypical and sexist.

-The video bothered me because she's perpetuating a trope, that young middle class white women are vapid, superficial idiots, that I've been dealing with people using against me since I was about 10. And it bothers me when women use misogynistic tropes against other women. Note that almost every single person in this thread who said they *enjoyed* the video (or found it hilarious, or whatever), was a guy.

The point is, I'm not disagreeing at all that the issues she brings up are important ones. They are important, they happen, and everyone should know about them.

But I'm not going to feel bad about having a negative opinion on other aspects of this video and talking about it. And I don't believe for a second that just the very act of expressing my opinion is just my way of silencing what she is saying. Absolutely I believe that people DO sometimes criticize the medium as a way of stifling the message. I absolutely believe that it happens. But people aren't NECESSARILY doing that just by expressing an opinion.

And from what she said, this wasn't just a rant on her part, where she just wants to blow off steam and doesn't care what anyone thinks about it. From what she has said about this video she wants to get through to people. I think it is perfectly legitimate for me not to sit there with open ears to her as she does things that really offend me. And not be open to continuing to give my attention to someone who I feel is expressing contempt for me. I think there's nothing wrong with saying why she's not a messenger I particularly want to listen to, even if I think the message is important. There are plenty of other people who are out there having conversations about these things without the aspects that bothered me here.

All right, that's what I had to say. This was specifically in reply to you, magstheaxe, but I can't blame you if it's tl;dr.
posted by cairdeas at 12:17 AM on January 6, 2012


cairdeas - i'm not looking to fight, but i'm wondering, have you listened to anything else she's done? like her talking about her boobs being different sizes or doing her hair? her normal speaking voice is very, very close to how she talks in this video. she touches on that some in a comment someone posted upthread where she talks about the video. i understand your general aversion to it and i'm really not trying to argue that with you (even if i disagree strongly), i'm just wondering about the voice thing...to me, because i've heard her voice elsewhere, it's not as strongly "playing white" as you've taken it.
posted by nadawi at 12:30 AM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Note that almost every single person in this thread who said they *enjoyed* the video (or found it hilarious, or whatever), was a guy."

What the? Where are you getting this? I don't know what the heck you're trying to prove but this is wrong. It's also weirdly sexist to be pointing this out, like this proves anything.

I thought you were against stereotypes?
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:06 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


for whatever record is being kept, i'm a white female who found this hilarious and well done and just short of perfect for what she was shooting for.
posted by nadawi at 1:14 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am a white guy and I found this... never mind.
posted by crossoverman at 2:24 AM on January 6, 2012


cairdeas, I understand where you're coming from. I really, seriously do. But I don't think this is the hill you want to die on, not only because you're playing pretty directly into some unfortunate tropes regarding how white Americans talk about race, but because you're making assumptions based on misinformation.

A lot of what seems to be bothering you here is that you perceive this video as portraying a black woman imitating the speech of white women in order to mock them. Because she's black, you assume from the start that she can't really talk that way, because it doesn't fit your expectations of how a woman who looks like she does should sound.

From where I'm sitting, this video is of a black woman in a wig, quoting unfortunate dialog from her own past, in a very slight exaggeration of her normal speaking voice.

Should she have changed her voice to be a more stereotypically black one? Should she not have worn a wig? Should she have restructured her video in a way that detracted from its effectiveness to make white women like us maximally comfortable? Should she have decided, ultimately, that her desire to blow off a little steam with (fairly gentle) humor was less important than white women's right to avoid all potential discomfort?

Finally, if your takeaway from this thread that only men and/or black folks found the video funny, then you are not reading this thread very carefully.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:52 AM on January 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


cairdeas, all due respect, but it seems that you're reading a hell of a lot into this woman's speaking voice and conflating her natural speaking voice with your being somehow bullied by this video.

Also, just FYI, but I liked the video and I am a white woman who has been teased for my wildly Valley Girl speech at times.

This video is not about you specifically, and insisting that by not naming it "Shit SOME White Girls Say To Black Girls" is ridiculously hair-splitting. How many "Shit Group X Says" videos have there been already? Have you bothered to look it up? Have you seen any that were "Shit Some Gay Men Say" or "Shit Some Girls Say"? I haven't. Seems like all these videos are sticking to a particular naming convention, and I'm sure some people in those groups have gotten all bunched up over being lumped into a giant group like that.

But guess what? IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It's about ALL OF US. AS A WHOLE. You are not being targeted, persecuted, whatever. It's just a video. If you don't do the things in the video, then you know what? You don't need to get all bunched up over it. Just take a deep breath and LET IT GO.
posted by palomar at 7:05 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


(insisting that by not naming it "Shit SOME White Girls Say...", that all white women everywhere are being attacked, is what that should say.)
posted by palomar at 7:51 AM on January 6, 2012


OMG why do I feel like all of us in here are going to be drowned Alice in Wonderland-style.
posted by hermitosis at 8:24 AM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


(God, I'm back, and I'm going to hate myself in the morning, thread why can't I just quit you?)

cairdeas:

Yes, you have a right to not like the video, for whatever reason.

Yes, you have the right to express that opinion, in this thread and anywhere else.

But know that every time you exercise the right to express you're opinion, you're derailing the conversation. What might start out as a productive conversation about race relations will turn into a conversation about you, and your feelings, and how unfairly you feel like you and people like you have been treated. The conversation stops being about black people and their experiences with racism, and starts being about you and your experience. Your experience as a white woman will dominate the conversation, and black folks are left on the sidelines. Again.

It's happened here in this thread. This last--what? quarter of the thread?--has been all about white women cryin', and how you and some others don't feel that applies to you even as you're doing it right now.

What really frosts my cupcakes is that cryin' white women (IME) refuse to own it when they cause derailing to happen. You don't mean to do it. White women never mean to do it. But it still happens, every time some of us try to have an honest conversation about race somewhere. And even when it still happens, you refuse to back down. Because you have a right to express your opinion, you see. You're not disagreeing with the video, you just think it's unfortunate that she uses ugly stereotypes about white women. After all, you've been targeted, too, and it's important that people understand that!

Etc., etc. Your feelings, your experiences, your sense of being offended, your opinion that simply must be heard. You, you, you. Not a thing about racism. Not a thing about a black woman's racism experience. In your response to me, I counted seventy-eight times that you used "I/me/my", and one time where you used "race".

Look, we don't want white women to feel like they can't be honest and open, really. But there is a time and a place for that honesty. When a minority person is trying to share what he or she has been through thanks to racism, to try to expand a white person's understanding, that's not the damn time.

I mean, we just want to be heard, for heaven's sake. But it seems like every time, the message is clear: the folks that need to hear it the most don't want to hear it. Is it any wonder we hate to talk honestly about race with so many white folks?

(That's why we frequently couch race discussions in humor and satire; white women generally have a hard time cryin' if they're laughing instead. Although, as this thread has shown, that's not a universal truth.)



This is the bottom line, cairdeas:

You have every right to share your negative reaction to the video. This is Metafilter, that's what the site's for.

But when you do so, you become a white woman cryin', whether you mean for it to be or not, because your insistence on making sure that you're heard ultimately results in some black people not being heard. "Shut up, learn from me, and don't say anything back" is the end result of you sharing your negative opinion.

That's the reality. When you do it, the results are on you, baby.
posted by magstheaxe at 10:27 AM on January 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Okay, fair enough. I disagree that just stating my opinion automatically means I'm drowning other people out. Especially on the internet where we're not running out of space for anyone for anyone to post. And nobody has to reply to my opinion if they think there are better/more important things to talk about. However, if you feel that way, that's your right. We don't agree on this.

But this is something that I now don't understand.

You have every right to share your negative reaction to the video. This is Metafilter, that's what the site's for. But when you do so, you become a white woman cryin', whether you mean for it to be or not

I thought the whole "white woman cryin'" thing was talking about when white women manipulatively and fakely pretend to be hurt and vulnerable in order to shut down and avoid conversations of their racism, get white men on their side to gang up on the person who is trying to talk about racism.

Are you saying it means that, as a white woman, ANY time I express a negative opinion about something a non-white person says that has to do with race, I am a white woman crying? That it's not okay to try to have a back-and-forth discussion participated on by both people, that I always have to listen and never opine, and if I do opine I'm a white woman crying?

Because the first thing, I totally buy that happens all the time. But the second thing, if that's what you're meaning, that might just be another thing that you and I are just going to disagree on.
posted by cairdeas at 11:09 AM on January 6, 2012


I thought the whole "white woman cryin'" thing was talking about when white women manipulatively and fakely pretend to be hurt and vulnerable in order to shut down and avoid conversations of their racism, get white men on their side to gang up on the person who is trying to talk about racism.
I don't think it has to be manipulative or fake. I think it's more the assumption that one's hurt feelings are so deeply important that the whole conversation has to stop while one is soothed and comforted and the mean person who has hurt one is made to be quiet and/or take it back.

I'm really unconvinced that this is a "woman" thing, though, because it's an awfully close relation to things that white men pull in discussions of racism, men-of-all-races pull in discussions of sexism, etc. They just might be slightly less likely to describe it as being about hurt feelings.
posted by craichead at 11:20 AM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cadeiras: It'd be cool if you'd come back to address what several people have brought up in regards to the fact that your knee-jerk "she's making fun of how white women talk"thing doesn't really hold water when you watch her other videos and hear that's not really all that far off from how she actually talks. Your declaration that her speech is her attempt at talking white is a point people have had a problem with since your first comment, and I've seriously been puzzled myself since you first made that statement. As someone who has actually watched her other videos besides this one, I'm not hearing what you're hearing (from someone who arguably also "talks white" for an ethnic person).

I've personally not been active in this thread because I honestly get tired every time a topic like this comes up and I have to roll up my sleeve to go "be brown" on Metafilter, but that's one of the main reasons as a lurker in this thread I've also assumed you as simply jumping the gun to "bawww" your feelings regardless of content and not talk about the issue from good faith. It seemed like you weren't even interested in finding out more about her or what she did before airing out your presumptions about her. Yet here you are wagging your fingers at her and all of us about our presumptions. All her other videos with her just talking and not acting sound pretty much like her "white" voice.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:31 AM on January 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Something can be manipulative and still be a true reaction from the person doing it. It can be un- or subconscious, and often is (unless the person is a sociopath, but those are rarer than we like to pretend they are).

For me, "white woman cryin'" goes in the same drawer as "yeah but," which also frequently shows up in discussions about race, as it does (usually though not exclusively) from men in discussions about sexism.

This has been one of those threads that reminds me that the world I see and move through and exist in, which I see as normal because, hey, I live here, is radically different from the worlds that other people move and exist in. It's weird. It reminds me strongly of a comment a male mefite made a long while back, in a very long thread about sexism, in which he exclaimed that he couldn't understand how we could see all this stuff - the catcalling as well as the more subtle stuff that happens to truckloads of women - when he had literally never noticed, and it was like we were in different worlds. Yeah, dude. Exactly.
posted by rtha at 12:17 PM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, what the hell? How did I hit post instead of preview?

Meant to add:

Are you saying it means that, as a white woman, ANY time I express a negative opinion about something a non-white person says that has to do with race, I am a white woman crying? That it's not okay to try to have a back-and-forth discussion participated on by both people, that I always have to listen and never opine, and if I do opine I'm a white woman crying?

If what you are doing to prioritizing your reaction to the information you've been given over the information itself, especially when the information is on a topic as loaded as race, then you may need to get out the kleenex. It's not that you're not allowed to have feelings, or to express them, but you really do need to be conscious of the fact that your feelings - which feel very personal and particular to you, of course - and how they're expressed are, oh boy, really nothing new to the black woman telling you the information she is telling you. Your feelings and how you express them, as a white woman to a black women, have a long and complicated socio-historical context. That might not sound fair, but that's how it is.

Let's say a few months from now you see a video or read an essay like this one that kind of hits a nerve for you. Rather than immediately expressing how much the nerve-hitting hurt *you*, step back for a second and think about the feelings of the author or videographer. Consider that if you haven't actually done any of the stuff the person is talking about, then you, personally, are not the target of this particular criticism. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. If someone did something that hurt you or offended you, and you talked to them about it, would you honestly want their first reaction to you to be all about how *they* felt when you told them they hurt and offended you? Furthermore, if you talked to a friend about how this other person hurt and offended you, would you want their first reaction to be all "Well, *I* would never do that! It makes me feel bad that friends can hurt each other and I want you to comfort me in my feeling badness!" I mean, no, right?
posted by rtha at 12:29 PM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Argh, magstheaxe I initially only saw this line and below: This is the bottom line, cairdeas: and didn't see the first part of the post.

I don't disagree with you at all that derailing happens very often when people try to tell society about the racism they have been through. That happens a lot. And it is important that people are able to express what they've been through.

I agree that derailing a thread will, as you said, prevent "a productive conversation about race relations." But going to the other extreme and telling people that "every time you exercise the right to express you're opinion, you're derailing the conversation" -- EVERY time, it's a derail, I think that will just not get you that productive conversation.

Saying that to people will not have the effect of getting them to sit still and listen, even in situations where they should. All it will do is get the people who already in total agreement agreeing, and a large proportion of the people who have something else to say going, "well, if I say anything here I'll be derailing, so I guess I'll go look at lolcats instead." What is productive about that?? If the only reason people appear to be in agreement is that most of the people who disagree have left or aren't saying anything, agreement has not actually been achieved.

There is room for everyone to express themselves, there's no reason it has to turn into a derail, there's no reason people shouldn't be able to handle having a discussion where everyone says what they have to say. There is no reason people shouldn't be able to do that respectfully. That is the only way I know of to have a productive conversation. For whatever it's worth though, I don't think it's a derail to tell someone that I'm not interested in discussing anything with them unless they treat me with basic human respect. (And by that I do not mean, refraining me from calling me out on my individual behaviors or whatever.)

If the goal is just to express oneself and not care what anyone thinks, blow off steam, rant or whatever, then that's totally different. But if the goal is to reach people, it's not going to reach very many people by telling them their feelings are stupid and unimportant, or irrelevant to the conversation. Even if you think that's the case sometimes.
posted by cairdeas at 12:34 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


rtha and kkokkodalk are wise.

As someone who initiated a lot of the pushback against cairdeas' point of view, I'd like to take the opportunity to add: it's not for lack of clarification that people totally disagree with you. And it's not (necessarily) coming from a place of gender bias, even though -- as you have pointed out more than once -- a lot of the video's defender's are male. MetaFilter in general skews more male than female, so that's a factor. And many of our men are incredibly caring and sensitive, or at least deferential, where matters such as gender, race, and privilege are concerned.

Your personal opinion is duly noted, and while very few people seem to share it, I doubt at this point that it is totally misunderstood. Maybe there would be more to this conversation if you had questions for other people? Or had a stake in the argument other than needing to feel good about believing what you believe? I don't feel like it's worthy of a MeTa post, because the last thing we need is yet another thread that's all about you and your opinions. But it would be nice to make room in this thread for other points of view, if you can roll with that.
posted by hermitosis at 12:36 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


hermitosis, I have been specifically addressing my comments to one person, who, obviously, is free to ignore me, not reply, talk about something else if she wants to. I haven't engaged with you or anyone else in several days, so I'm not sure how I'm preventing you from talking about whatever you want to talk about. Ignore me and talk about all those other points of view you have, I have no way of stopping you and no desire to.
posted by cairdeas at 12:42 PM on January 6, 2012


Ah, so this is basically what the "reply-all" function on memail would be like.
posted by hermitosis at 12:50 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


For whatever it's worth though, I don't think it's a derail to tell someone that I'm not interested in discussing anything with them unless they treat me with basic human respect.
Ok, but we're talking about a situation in which you start out with a big advantage. You don't have to worry about the daily bombardment of casual racism that comes from people who you might otherwise consider your friends, because you don't have to deal with that. She does. It's really easy for you to ignore this, because it's not your problem. That's why you can reserve the right to set the terms of the discussion and dismiss her for any perceived insult: because you lose nothing if this discussion doesn't take place. And honestly, you're setting the bar pretty high. I guess I can see how you could read her wig and way of speaking as a dumb blond stereotype, but I don't think it's clear that's actually there. At some point, it gets really hard to raise race-related issues in a way that everyone will consider sufficiently nice and polite. And given that she's coming from a place of hurt, and you're coming from a place of advantage, I just think it's a good idea to give her the benefit of the doubt.
posted by craichead at 12:52 PM on January 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, what a slap in the face. It's really nice to hear that even though I'm calmly stating my point of view (as have several people) after taking your umbrage to tone, that now you're not "engaging" people on purpose. Because all the people you've chose to ignore? A lot of them haven't really been confrontational but merely stating their case. You're really eroding the "it's not the tone, but the content I have a problem with" sad fort you've built for yourself.

Thanks for giving me the same amount of respect I tried to give to you. That's definitely "productive conversation".

Yet you wonder why people dislike tone argument so much, because you know, you just can't win no matter how hard you shuffle for the audience. Well good luck with that and I truly hope you gain the maturity to come back and reread this thread with a clear head and with a new found ability to evaluate things from a different perspective.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:55 PM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


kkokodalk, it's not that there is anything wrong with what you posted, and I'm sorry I'm offending you or made you feel disrespected by not replying. It's not anything against you. I agree with anyone who said this thread shouldn't be all about me and my opinons, which is why I'm only willing to carry on one discussion here and if that person doesn't want to reply to me again, then I'm done. But I'm happy to talk over MeMail if you want.
posted by cairdeas at 1:18 PM on January 6, 2012


If every time someone said something racist (or sexist, ageist, sizeist, etc. etc.) I ended what I said with "and by the way, that was racist," the conversation would change to be about racism and then I'd probably have to explain what I meant, because most of the time, people have no idea that just the way they said something or the fact that they felt they could say something is what is inherently racist about it. Some people like to separate racists into people that are hateful and people that are ignorant, thinking you can teach the latter. For me to even bring it up means I have to be willing to inform the person at length to be understood and that it actually will matter, but that is besides the point. If I did this, it is all I would ever be doing, all day every day, and not only do I have no interest in that, it would be pointless. Ms. Ramsey says as much in her interviews, about not wanting to be seen as the Angry Black Woman or take on the role of the representative of All Minorities Everywhere.
But enough about me, let's talk about white people, or, more clearly, Some White People.
Some White People get very excited about witnessing racism and getting to point it out Because It Has Novelty.
Let me get more specific and talk about Some White People who get to witness racism while they are with me. While there are a variety of reactions one could have, two dominate as far as being irritating: the people who think they now Know The Struggle and the people who are so traumatized that they now need to be comforted.
If I were young and not usually surrounded by white people, there might still be some novelty in dealing with how Some White People feel, but there isn't because rarely do I not have to consider how Some White People feel.
This isn't Ms. Ramsey's past or venting, but her usual experience. Now, instead of having to into it at length, she can just tell them to look at this video, if they care.
I could go on and on and be nicer about it, but the fact I'm bothering to say anything at all is a certain amount of effort I don't have to bother with but am, just because I feel like it.

Just the expectation that someone cares about your feelings on a topic speaks of a certain privilege. Some White People may be unaware of this. Just putting it out there.
posted by provoliminal at 3:20 PM on January 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Since, I've got the time, I'm going to add another bit of information, in the hopes that people will pipe up about resources I am unaware of: about being a person of color who is usually around white people.
Being "white enough" gives you exposure to kinds of racism most people don't see, especially if you cross socioeconomic statuses at all, which a lot of people don't.
Outside of one stereotype lies another, and defying stereotypes makes you unfathomable to some, even others who defy stereotypes.

This middle aged woman was recounting her very first experience of sexism, ever, and I'm still simply shocked by the fact that she has lived half her life never experiencing sexism because she is so completely gender role conformist, surrounded by other gender role conformists, and has never, ever, dealt with sexism to her knowledge. She starts of her comment with "I'd never call myself a feminist--"

Just talking about the U.S., it's a large and varied country where people can live in completely different worlds, completely ignorant of people right next door. Most prejudice, stereotypes, and what we here keep calling racism has more to do with ignorance than anything else, but people will defend their right to be ignorant as much as they will stubbornly resist any change that is unfamiliar.

Here's an idea that might be too psychobabbly for some people: if you have a feeling, ask yourself why you have that feeling before or instead of just reacting to that feeling. You may have to look stuff up, but the internet makes that so much easier than it use to be. The problem there is, as with most things, you have to actually care. Care to look things up, bother to think, realize you are not the first person to discover/feel/whatever and that many other humans have walked around the planet before you, and some of them might have left records of their presence.

I am typing at the end of a thread that has fallen off the front page, with all that entails. And babbling about tangential things as the main occupants of the argument have seemly departed.
I could say anything, but I'm only typing for whomever keeps checking this thread the way that I do, because, because, because--
posted by provoliminal at 4:34 PM on January 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


" Your feelings and how you express them, as a white woman to a black women, have a long and complicated socio-historical context. That might not sound fair, but that's how it is."

Yer wife'll slap me, but that's what makes me wanna kiss you full on the mouth.
posted by klangklangston at 10:27 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much of this could have been avoided if only some white women had used sock puppets with the opposite gender marked.
posted by tigrrrlily at 10:30 PM on January 6, 2012


hermitosis, I have been specifically addressing my comments to one person, who, obviously, is free to ignore me, not reply, talk about something else if she wants to. I haven't engaged with you or anyone else in several days, so I'm not sure how I'm preventing you from talking about whatever you want to talk about. Ignore me and talk about all those other points of view you have, I have no way of stopping you and no desire to.
posted by cairdeas at 3:42 PM on January 6



cairdeas, if you want to respond to me directly, use MeMail.

If you're posting in this thread, your answers are visible to everyone, and they have the right to reply to them, and to expect a response from you.

I for one have been hoping you'd reply to hermitosis's post. Or that you'd have the good sense to realize that the more time we spend talking about you and your response to the video, the more we're not talking about race, and thus the more you confirm that you're a white woman cryin'.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:16 AM on January 7, 2012


good lord people! never have beans been plated so bitterly.

you may want to watch more of this person's videos for context. you'll avoid that stomach ulcer. for example, the "white-girl" accent? it's pretty much her regular voice.

here's a relevant quote, picked out from another interview by the crew at racialicious:

"In a column for The Huffington Post, comedian and blogger Franchesca Ramsey, who created “Sh-t White Girls Say … to Black Girls,” said the video parody came about as a reaction to not only “Sh-t Black Girls Say,” but her experience being mocked for being an “oreo” with a “Valley Girl accent”:

After I entered high school, the teasing subsided and my circle of friends grew to include girls from all walks of life; but I always seemed to fall in with the white girls from upper middle class families. I quickly became the “token black girl” in my group, which came with a whole host of awkward questions and first experiences for my peers. Unfortunately, the awkward questions and comments didn’t stop after I graduated from high school. Throughout college and even today, in corporate America, I find myself fielding inappropriate questions and swatting hands away from my waist length dreadlocks.

Over the years I’ve found that dealing with white people faux pas can be tricky. If I get upset, I could quickly be labeled the “angry black girl.” But if I don’t say anything or react too passively, I risk giving friends and acquaintances permission to continue crossing the line.

posted by eustatic at 10:09 AM on January 7, 2012


that quote was posted upthread. some people just don't want to hear it because it goes against their immediate, knee jerk reaction of being offended. countless people in this thread have pointed out that she talks like that and that assuming she doesn't is actually part of the problem she's addressing. but, whatever, people will be offended over whatever they want and there's little the truth can do to combat that.
posted by nadawi at 12:56 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


This white woman thought the video was fucking hilarious. Twinsies! I've never said anything like those things yet, but I appreciated the heads-up about the hair-touching. It's something I could see myself doing because I'm a touchy-feely sort of person, and I just didn't consider that black women deal with it ad nauseum.

I wish I had more time to follow vloggers. Anyone who can take a negative situation and turn it into a positive and funny thing like this has probably got a lot of interesting things to say. And I'm pretty damn grateful there are people out there who can let me know about racist stuff *before* I do it.
posted by harriet vane at 11:40 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just saw this video and wondered if MeFi had talked about it. So I found this thread. holy shit.

I'm a white lady who has mostly lived in majority-minority areas in the South. I thought this was very funny and it totally matches stories black friends have told me in the past. It never occured to me that either her hair or her accent were supposed to be mocking white folks. I've known plenty of black women with blonde hair and black folks with every accent imaginable. So yeah. Too bad, Metafilter.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:19 AM on January 8, 2012


I just saw this video and wondered if MeFi had talked about it. So I found this thread. holy shit....I thought this was very funny and it totally matches stories black friends have told me in the past... So yeah. Too bad, Metafilter.

Same here.
(Twinsies!)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:10 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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