I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW

You know what I can't stand?

Wait, I have to take a minute to process and accept the fact that I just started this post exactly as Andy Rooney would if he could use a computer. OK. Done.

I can't stand it when white people start saying incredibly racist shit to me, or in my presence, in that grating "Well now that there are none of THEM around we can be honest, right? This guy knows what I'm talking about" tone. Casual acquaintances or even total strangers do this. As long as they see a white face, they figure it's safe to tell me how they really feel. I'm trying to determine if this actually happens to me more now that I live in the south, but suffice it to say that it happens a lot now and throughout my life. The speaker in these situations is almost inevitably a white person over 40 boiling over with the frustration of being rhetorically castrated at work and in polite society. They frequently rail against "political correctness", which is a poorly disguised way of venting their resentment and humiliation at not being able to call the President a n*gger without getting fired or ostracized.

These people automatically assume that I – or you, or any other white person – feel exactly the same way. We are stewing in anger and biding time until we can feel free to cut loose and engage in some real talk about the fags, Mexicans, black welfare queens, and, if the company happens to be exclusively male as well as white, bitches. They think that you want to hear their 20 year old racist joke (which inevitably commits the even bigger sin of being completely un-funny. Note: if you're going to be offensive and an asshole, at least be funny.) about chicken and watermelon from a forwarded email. They think that anything they say will be OK because you're white, and all white people understand how They are. Hell, you feel the same way!

I have no idea if people of other races talk shit about white people when there are none around, or if women engage in as much epic man-hating when alone as movies and TV would lead us to believe. What I do know is that it's incredibly ballsy to assume that anyone who shares your genitals or skin color agrees with your racist, sexist, or otherwise intolerant attitudes.

Wait. Is "ballsy" the word I want here? Actually, what I meant to say is "delusional."

63 thoughts on “I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW”

  • This happens distressingly often to me here in Queensland, Australia. Further support for my theory that Australia is kind of a tiny (in terms of population), inverted USA. Here, the further NORTH you go, the more racist sexist homophobes you find. I can't decide if this Queensland is mini-Florida or mini-Texas. Probably Florida – it's full of beaches, air-conditioned retirees and hate-crime, right?

  • The Everlasting Dave says:

    I like to turn the tables on that situation. "Know what I hate about white dudes? Everyones listens to us and we get paid more than anyone else."

    Also, I have no objections to that Tiffany song playing on loop in my head. It's actually kind of awesome.

  • Oh, you have no idea how delusional it can get. I have also had the oh-so-fun experience of white people telling me racist "jokes" about black people. The kicker/punchline/problem is, I'm not white, I'm asian–they just assumed that we're all in it together against the Black Team.

  • I have no problems with the jokes provided they're funny. I even have some good white guy jokes about us not being able to get laid enough compared to other races.

    But then I also chuckle at dad jokes so I'm not a good barometer for these things.

    It's only when behind that joke there's a real sense that "they" should be lynched in a very real way, that's when it's no longer funny. Part of the reason I felt had to get out of teaching was my encounters with an ethnic group started making me think Hitler was on to something. Not a good way to be.

    I actually got Tommy James, which now has skipped tracks to Billy Idol :D

  • eau,

    I'm not one to pull very many jokes out of the Greg Proops book, but this one nails your sentiment perfectly:

    "I went to Australia in search of enlightenment. What I found instead was Arkansas, with a beach."

  • This may make little sense, but I will laugh at a racial joke if I think the person making it is just trying to be funny and it's not coming from a place of hatred. Even though I still get its racist, and most of the time, after laughing, we both acknowledge how inappropriate the joke was, as if that somehow mitigates the fact that we find something funny about a joke we probably shouldn't find humorous.
    But as far as the other point about racists thinking that everybody else that is white agrees with them: I am an election judge, during the last Pres election I was assigned to a polling place that served a large trailer park with lots of old people. This was in an area just outside Chicago that was middle to upper middle class, and the trailer park was kind of in a forgotten corner of the suburb. I heard at least 8-10 people declare openly in the polling place that there was no way they were ever going to vote for a nigger. I get that they were old, but why would anybody think that sharing this racism with a bunch of strangers was appropriate?

  • @cromartie – While I agree with the sentiment, I think Proops probably came here searching for the same thing all American comics visiting these shores are after – drunken, dimwitted comedy audiences with very low expectations.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    When the tell the joke, or send that e-mail, they want reassurance that they're not alone in their racism/misogyny/xenophobia/homophobia/religious intolerance, and that you're with them -and not, "THEM!".

    And then, if you do object, for cover, they use the old, "Hey! It was just a joke!" And imply the you're the one without a sense of humor.

    Want evidence?
    Look at all of the Conservative politicians and leaders over the last 3-4 years, who got sending, or resending, out racist e-mails with Obama as a fried-chicken and watermelon eating, spear-carrying, African witchdoctor with a Hitler mustache – or Michelle, as either Aunt Jemima with her two picaninny daughters, or some African Amazon trying to enforce slavery through vegetarian/natural food tyranny on white peoples children.
    What did they all say?
    'Hey, a friend sent it to them – and, 'It was just a joke!"'

  • Don't worry, they (The blacks, the gays, etc.) are saying the same things about you when you (Whitey, WASPs) are not around.

  • FYI, women do NOT engage in much man-hating or share many (any) man jokes when men aren't around. You see, we don't need to, because we just don't feel that threatened. I can only assume the racist jokes are coming from a place of deep fear. It would almost make me feel sorry for the cowardly bastards if they weren't such… cowards.

    I only share MY genitals with the braver sorts.

  • @E*

    Do you mean straight women do NOT engage in much man-hating/man-jokes or do you mean lesbians or both? If the former I'd mostly agree that doesn't happen often from my experience as a gay man who straight women seem to like to spill their guts to. If the latter I must assume you're being facetious with such a man-hating post.

  • I can't stand this myself, because if you dare speak up against this you're a politically correct "fascist" who wants to force everyone to speak a certain way. Moreover, heaven forbid you ever bring up racism against non-whites to a conservative. The only racism that exists is anti-white racism or reverse racism; anything else will be dismissed as someone "playing the race card."

    The problem is that people often don't understand what racism is. There are several kinds of racism(e.g. institutional) and some are more subtle than others. The subtle kind tends to be the worst. People don't typically realize this because the media has them thinking that a modern-day racist is almost always a redneck, a neo-Nazi, or both. We don't see mainstream racists, good Christian racists, liberal racists, only Bubba and his friend Hando the bootboy. Racists in the media tend to be all around bad people who are easy to identify and condemn. Real racists are far more subtle. It could be that liberal who voted for Obama, never tells a racist joke, but quietly discards any job application with a "black-sounding" name. And when that happens, it's never because they believe in white superiority or anything like that, they always have a rationalization like, "I'm just being practical, you know how they live on that side of town."

  • So what do you do in this case? Seriously, I want to know…..

    Saying "That's pretty racist" and walking away sometimes works, but I often feel passive-aggressive afterwards.

    "You're a racist asshole" would make me feel better, but probably would just expand the gay's hate-circle.

    Any suggestions?

  • Another aspect is the desire of people to simplify their world, if a skin color, gender or personality type always equals the same, it's easier. Simplistic models don't match up very well to the real world, but their ease can be hard to resist, for anyone. And the day I walked in on melanin-rich coworkers complaining about white people, I said "Pardon me, but when I looked in the mirror I saw kind of a pale pink.". Racism to me seems to be practiced in some way by everyone, I try to keep mine on a very short leash, and I hope my kids didn't pick up any from me.

  • Freeportguy says:

    Oh yeah, the so called "anti political correctness"…who keep requesting it from others…especialy Obama!

    Remember when the GOP requested Obama to make Sarkozy apologize for calling Netanyau a liar in a private conversation caught by an open mike?

    Or the time when they asked Obama to apologize for…there are so many occasions, it's hard to keep track!

    The GOP is only anti PC when…ot would prevent them from being hammered on for something they did or said.

  • It's the South. I've moved a lot, lived in many different states in various regions of the country, and Georgia was the first place I regularly encountered white people doing the automatic assumption that every other white person was as bigoted as they were. Prior to Atlanta, the closest I came to overt racism was while living in Omaha. I was commuting by bus, and had a white co-worker or two express surprise because "You know what type of people take the bus." When pushed to explain just what that statement meant, they had enough common sense to start stammering and not be able to come up with anything explicit.

    I guess there are some advantages to being old — I, too, hear the Tommy James version in my head, not Tiffany's cover.

  • Well, I recently attended a plant sale at the botanical gardens where the volunteers at the checkout were all women and it happened that all the people in line were women. The woman in front of me was buying a thornless blackberry with a tag that described it as "fully erect and self-supporting." We all had a hearty laugh, or I should probably say "cackle." Is that the kind of thing you mean?

  • If they don't know my family, I tell them that my wife and kids are black. I gets really quiet.

  • I have Black people in my family (by marriage – imagine in GA!! my my Miz Scarlett) Reports to me are, yes, other races talk smack about everyone else.

    What's even funnier is many non-white folks think we all look alike.

    In the US the, fer sure, place where whites have diversity is appearance – blondes, red-heads, brunettes, and raven hairs (and designer colors) plus everything from 'blue veins Irish' descendants to olive skinned Italian descendants.

    Yeah, they all look alike…it's a hoot.

    //bb

  • In my work I interview people from all over the country about various social issues- and we maintain a database of several thousand people from all over. Several times I've been tempted to dump the Atlanta-area section of the database, because no matter what the topic being discussed, if there is the least bit of opportunity to launch into a rant of racist vitriol, most white people pounce on it with enthusiasm. Although I interview plenty of racists from all over, Atlanta stands head and shoulders above the others as the place where whites immediately launch into bitching about all those Black people and all the benefits they get and how they just turn to shit everything they touch. Either they assume I'm on board with it, or they just don't care.

  • This happens to me very rarely in my everyday life now, probably because I'm in a graduate English program where most of us aren't racist and those who are hide it well because they know they'll get a verbal beat-down if they show those kinds of crappy colors. But, when I go home (Florida as it happens), this happens fairly often, especially with older white people. They literally assume that "we" all secretly dislike and/or blame people of color, if not hate them.

    In my experience, women don't engage in man-hating when they're alone together, and this portrayal in movies and TV shows has always puzzled me. When women are alone together, we tend to talk about particular men—-those we're dating, have dated, or want to date, or are married to, or whatever. There's very little generalizing about "men" as a whole, except maybe in the context of conversations about dating (ie: "Well, sometimes they're hoping for you to call them first", etc.).

  • F**king Georgia! (Also living in Georgia after having lived elsewhere.) It's here in Georgia that I hear everything from snide remarks about Ebonics from people who should know better to full scale, "So, have you heard of Charles Murray…?" pretty much as soon as every black person is out of earshot. The only consolation is that this is usually from folks who are about a decade and a half to two decades older than me. Which also more or less matches up with Ed's observations.

  • You must have an appearance which telegraphs the message: "I am a white racist, just like you".

  • I don't experience this sort of thing very much, if at all. But when I do, I've become pretty intolerant of it. I do try to abide by Jay Smooth's rule—point out why something someone says is racist (or homophobic, etc.) without accusing them of being a racist. They get it right away that I don't think it's funny and then I don't have to see or hear shit like that from that person ever again.
    (And maybe the reason I don't experience this sort of thing very much is because I have successfully culled most of the people who would say or email shit like this out of my life.)

  • When acquaintances do it, a broadly comic, "Heyyy, I'm right here!" reminds them that the tyler has not done his job. When strangers do it, I try to talk to them about it — not sneeringly, but getting to the heart of the problem as they've presented it, and recommending a book that will help them. If they don't know enough people of difference to understand that people aren't grapes, and you can't weight them in a bunch, they need some education.

    I try not to alienate them when I do this, but I secretly envy the folks who handle the problem with outright scorn. It doesn't fit my personal philosophy, but all kinds of soldiers are needed in the war.

    For the white family members themselves, however, who rant at tragic, operatic length about how they have been the victims of racism because someone NotWhite was promoted over them at work, I have to pull out bigger guns. These are folks who don't think of themselves as racist; this, naturally, gives them license to make racist generalizations and claim that it's Just The Facts. But a lot of these biases can be ironed out, one small wrinkle at a time, with a well-turned phrase that makes them think. Timing and opportunity is everything.

    And hey, Tiffany? Tommy James and the Shondells!

  • Here in Utah (and, I suspect, throughout much of the west) this phenomenon tends to be directed at Latinos (generally identified by the handy catchall of "Mexicans"). We don't have the racial history of the South, but we have a fast-growing Hispanic population who are apparently stealing everything from car stereos to white collar jobs to free education (or in-state resident tuition fees, for college). And they keep talking Mexican while they do it!

    Added to the typical "I just hate political correctness" excuse for why you're following the brown kid around the store is the omnipresent "I don't have a problem with Mexicans, I'm just against *illegal* immigration." Which, of course, doesn't explain why they blame "Mexicans" when they find their car broken into in a 98% white suburb.

  • It's not the South. Check out the comments on just about any story on philly.com (the website of the Philadelphia newspapers); obviously the mouth-breathers have to put in a lot of asterisks and misspellings (most of them unintentional)) so they're not automatically deleted, but their message is clear. And you can tell they're local, because they know the geography and demographics (boy, do they know the demographics….).

  • Here's the Jay Smooth advice RosiesDad mentioned:

    http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html

    FWIW, I find this sort of thing to be much more insidious in Los Angeles and particularly Chicago, where affluent whites don't really need to hang out with minorities that much after high school, and the ethnic identification is more specific and intense.

    In LA, I've discovered, "I'm not racist, but…" is almost always followed by something about Armenians. Koreans are off the hook, apparently. (Koreans must be relieved.) And apparently you can say whatever you like about "illegals," since "they're breaking the law."

    The First Amendment does not forbid me from forming negative opinions about you based on your words.

  • Not to fret, all my fellow ubermenschen, Ed's just posting this here because this is his 'public' blog. If you go to his *real* blog (the one you can only access if you type in the super secret white-power-structure-only password–hint: it's an anagram of "mayonnaise"), he'll tell you what he really thinks about those other 'people.'

    *But* seriously–Like many of you, I am pissed off, not at the racism itself (which, when it's spoken from a place of economic/physical impotence, often has the sad humor of the hapless clown), but at the assumption that I, too, am a racist. Why? Because most racists are racists because they're emotionally deformed, bone-ignorant, fraidy-cats, or some/all of the above. Racism is usually the last refuge of a loser. So when people assume I'm racist, they're assuming that I've made the same kind of horrible, life-killing choices as they did. Fuck them.

    As for what to do when confronted with such people, I find it's usually best to just shut down the conversation then and there. "Well, as someone who's spent my life in the company of [blacks/gays/Judaics/Hispanics/whathaveyous], I have to say that my experience so totally contradicts what you're saying that clearly we're too different to have anything more to talk about. Goodbye." Where it gets tricky is when said other person is a relative. Hard to shut out your in-laws. In those cases, I just feign a seizure and wait for them to leave the room.

  • @Tteddo True story: my boyfriend took me to meet his parents for the first time just after Obama was elected. He warned me that they were hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, but he did not warn me that they were Super Racist. Shortly after introductions, they casually lapsed into appallingly racist comments about Obama, Democrats, black people in general, until bf's mother noticed that I had gotten very, very quiet. She looked over at me and remarked, "Wait, I bet we're going to find out now that Jacquie's father is black." I calmly looked her in the eye and said, "No, my stepfather, actually."

  • 1) Tommy James and Andy Rooney. I guess I can start making "young people" jokes, around you, eh? 'cause we're both old. Get it? [Oh, crap, you probably were thinking of Tiffany's remake, huh?]

    2) Are there people lining up to share your genitals?

    3) In my (limited, but not as much as yours) experience, many people like to talk. And when in groups, they often try to find commonality, and to exclude "others". Sometimes, this breaks down on easily identifiable physical traits (skin color, age, gender)—and when I'm the only fair-skinned person in a group, yeah, I've heard jokes about white people. When the commonality is something less visible, but also known, the exclusionary humor still happens. [Oh, look at those who are less educated/more educated/less athletic/poorer/don't share our hobby…]

    4) It probably says something about my ingrained racism that my brown-skinned friends:
    -making fun of folks of the same race…usually sounds petty or angry
    -making fun of whites…usually sounds absurd (as in—uh, that's not even remotely true, guys)
    -making fun of other non-whites…never even seems to attempt to be funny. Like it's "valid criticism", acceptable to say….

    5) You've seen this, right? http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html

    People suck. Thankfully, you have the weapon of wit to deal with them.

  • I almost never have this happen to me these days, probably because of the particular circle of people I associate with on a daily basis. I had several such experiences when I was living in Ukraine earlier this year, however. One, interestingly enough, involved a middle-aged American who was staying at the same backpackers' hostel as me in a provincial city. He was there looking for a wife and felt the need to inform me of his disapproval of "Ukrainian girls' hooking up with these niggers" who were studying in the local university. (Evidently Ukrainian girls hooking up with African students there getting an education was a travesty, but Ukrainian women getting married to white trash, misogynistic pond scum is perfectly cool.)

    And I had several such uncomfortable conversations with Ukrainians I met who made incredibly racist remarks to me, which I interpreted as testing me, to see how far they could push the supposedly enlightened, politically correct American. I found the widespread racism towards blacks in Slavic Eastern Europe fascinating in a strange sort of way, considering that their own countries had only two generations ago been invaded by a regime whose leader considered Slavs to be subhumans.

  • Arslan: I just wanted to comment on this distinction you draw between the subtle and blatant forms of racism, particularly your contention that the subtle racism is worse. I certainly recognize the pervasiveness of subtle racism, and I agree that it is a pernicious force that must be eradicated before we can say that racism is dead. But I disagree that it is worse. I think it is a positive development that much racism has gone from being blatant and in your face to more subtle. It's a consequence of the fact that blatant racism has become unacceptable in polite society in most settings. People certainly still hold racist sentiments, but I think it's a good thing that when people are tempted to express those sentiments, they are compelled by social norms to express it in a more subtle way. Having to do this might force some of these folks to reexamine their beliefs every now and then. Is this critical self examination common? Probably not, but if it happens on the rare occasion, that's good. Just my two cents.

  • My experience from living in Mississippi and Louisiana for many years –

    I generally didn't hear racist remarks from "Bubbas". It was surprisingly from middle to upper-middle class people.

    I worked with an engineer, who while otherwise very nice, used the n-word so frequently (and with more than a bit of disdain) that I finally had to ask "What's the deal Steve? Did some black guy kick your dog when you were a kid?"

  • Phoenix_rising says:

    Ed, if you're seriously tired of it, you can try getting gay-married outside your race and adding a brown baby to your family through adoption.

    Worked for me, anyway.

  • @Brandon, I know how you feel, since I live in Russia and have visited Ukraine several times. Occasionally you meet these expats(I'm not an expat, I properly call myself an immigrant) who complain about "political correctness" in the West and spout off all kinds of racist shit. That's what they came to Russia for, to be racist and chase women who typically just jack them for cash and leave them home alone jerking off to their profile pic on whatever foreign dating service they use. A just fate for them. I also notice that there are some people who make comments about Russian women dating Turks(some of whom are by appearance white), while they don't say the same about those who totally whore themselves out to Germans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, etc. Say what you want about the Turks, but every Turk I've ever known to live in Russia actually makes an effort to learn the Russian language, unlike those aforementioned peoples.

    As for racism in Russia and Ukraine, one thing you have to understand is that a lot of people here have absolutely no understanding of racial dynamics or history in America(in fact most people don't really identify as "white", and you are just American). For example, one common question I get is "Is it true that blacks in America are more aggressive than other people?" The first dozen times I was just like LOL WUT, but then it hit me: All they see of black Americans is what MTV and Hollywood shows them.

    And that brings me to the next point about subtle racism. I too am concerned about the increase in blatant racism, but let's be honest, who has done more damage in the last few decades to minorities? Skinheads and White Nationalists with no power or influence, or HR managers, policemen, doctors, loan officers, and real estate agents who harbor more or less hidden animosity toward black Americans? Skinheads, for example, aren't the reason why black Americans get redlined and trapped in poor neighborhoods. The KKK isn't responsible for the higher unemployment rate among black Americans.

    The problem is that people don't even know what racism is. If you ask a conservative if they think white people are superior to black people, this is overt and they will probably get angry. But let them talk enough and you will basically hear what amounts to the same things, in other words. One way I can explain it is this: If you felt it was significant that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school, and defended Zimmerman based on similar claims(instinctively accepting whatever supposedly exonerated him), then yes, you are racist, and you need to get that fixed.

  • One more thing- You know the best place for sex tourists in Kiev? The bottom of the Dnieper river.

  • Arslan, I see your point regarding systemic racism, and you may be right. But I think one runs the risk of trivializing the terror that ordinary people can inflict on minorities. An extreme example that comes to mind is the image of those frenzied, spittle spewing mobs that gathered at the entrance of Little Rock High School when it was desegregated. Most of the people spewing invective at those children were probably not very influential or highly placed in the capitalist hierarchy, yet I can imagine the psychological hell that they inflicted on those kids. Or imagine the plight of an African-American child who had to hear racist taunts every day at school from his or her classmates who heard their parents use those terms at home. (And to be clear, I'm not saying that such things still don't occur, but to the extent that they are far less common, that is a good thing.) I know you have more of a Marxist perspective than I do, so you are probably inclined to view racism in more systemic and materialist terms. And I don't mean to mitigate the importance of that aspect, but I just think that the psychological and cultural harm inflicted by overt racism is just as real, and it's a positive thing that most people today who wish to be socially accepted at least feel the need to check themselves before they express racially tinged sentiments.

    I head the same sentiment several times regarding Turks. I remember reading about a protest by FEMEN (notorious for their topless protests) against Turkish football fans who get drunk and harass Ukrainian girls; because, you know, football fans from Ukraine and other countries are models of chivalry and sobriety. I also heard numerous Ukrainians complaining about how Turks and other dark-skinned foreigners came their and didn't learn the language, yet I heard nothing but praise for my admittedly shoddy Russian…As far as the stereotypes they have of blacks from American media, sure; I hear a lot of such questions, but I get plenty of equally ludicrous questions from folks back home about Eastern Europe.

  • baldheadeddork says:

    I turned into a bigot magnet for a couple of months after I shaved my head for the first time. Was not fun.

  • In defence of the Commonwealth, I have lived in Canada all my life and I'm really old, and though I have encountered racists of various kinds (especially anti_French Canadian anglos in my youth), I do not think we have as many here as you do in Aussie or (shudder) the American south. I have been elbowed with anti-Semitic or anti-Native kneeslappers, where I responded as in examples above :"I' Jewish", "I'm a Passaaquoddy elder". etc. My interlocutors a few times turned away in disgust but mostly, they apologized. They couldn't help it, they're Canadian, Sorry is our middle name and Political Politeness is our birthright.

    Your wackoid rightwingers (and the NRA etc) are trying mightily to export their brand of "discourse" up here however. Could you please get them to cut it out?

    Thanks.

  • NRA has noting to do w/ racism.

    In fact, I learned from several of their articles over the years about the roots of many of our gun laws being aimed (!) at restricting the Freedmen from protecting themselves and exercising their newly acquired 2nd amendment rights.

    Duh! Colt, S&W, Remington, Glock et al. – they all don't care what color you are when you lay your $ down for their products.

    //bb

  • I didn't mean that the NRA are racist, far from it. They want to sell guns and there are only a limited amount of guns white guys can buy or acquire. I am not surprised that they found that gun laws were supported by racist lobbyists for their own purposes. Lobbyists always support laws for their own purposes and exert maximum leverage to get them passed.

  • @caroljane

    Do we have a definition misunderstanding here? Lobbyists usually have a strong financial interest in the legislation they "lobby' for. The racists politicians who wanted 'gun control for the newly free Black man' had a political power motive first that overrode simply money power.

    I suppose in the in end, if the Black Americans at that time were secure in their self defense rights, their political rights might of had a "fighting" chance. Who knows for sure, but it wasn't primarily about money.

    //bb

  • Yes, there is a misunderstanding, my fault for being unclear. You are right of course, the racist politicians who kept the newly freed blacks as defenceless as possible, were not motivated by money.

    The lobbyists I was referring to are the NRA & co. who work now to increase gun ownership, and to expand their markets into Canada. They are a business lobby. Naturally they will cherrypick historical incidents to support their case.

  • A transmale friend of mine shared with his wife and me that he was sickened to find out how men talk about women when there are no women around. He said that gay men and straight men have different "flavors" of how they talk (apparently gay men are obsessed with how disgusting vaginas are??) but both groups spew unbelievably crass and misogynistic shit when they think it's "private." He observed that his own response as a person born and raised female was one thing, but wondered what it was like for men who actually like and respect women (even if they don't identify as feminist) to feel obliged to participate or at least not challenge it.

    I get the race stuff as a white person all the time. "Those people," racist jokes, etc. etc.

    The only place I ever see women actually bashing men among a group of women is on TV. And you know who the majority of TV writers are? Men.

  • Remember the skits that Eddie Murphy used to do on Saturday Night Live in "white-face"? There was one where he gets on a bus, the one black person gets off the bus whereupon a party breaks out music, champagne, etc. Hilarious!! I looked, but couldn't find it on Youtube. Alas.

    I've lived in several different parts of the US and would say that the us vs. them type of racism and classicism is fairly common and I don't know that it will ever go away, but rather become more subtle in the way that Arslan describes.

  • Quoting Hazy Davy, above: "many people like to talk. And when in groups, they often try to find commonality, and to exclude "others". Sometimes, this breaks down on easily identifiable physical traits (skin color, age, gender)"

    Yep. The endless curse of the human species: tribalism. Us vs. Them. Racism, sexism, bigotry – just expressions of it, different faces on the same vicious goblin.

    I think it is important to recognize that there are different factors involved in the different expressions of tribalism. For example, I think most people would agree that white racism towards blacks is shaped by different factors than black racism towards whites. But I do believe that the underlying cause, the root of it, remains the same.

    And that is what ultimately bothers me about the experience Ed describes in his original post: "Hey, it's just Us now! Let's bash Them!" It is, for me, a very disappointing moment, a reminder that we're not as far from our old vicious, bloodthirsty, nomadic-hunter-gatherer selves as we would like to think we are.

  • My first day of work at a new company was election day in 2008. I was in my new boss' office when someone came in. My boss reminded the guy to vote and he started talking about how his wife didn't go to work today because she works with a lot of "them" and she didn't want to be there when "they" were celebrating.

    This guy didn't know me one bit. However, its nice to understand quickly who is a moron at a new job.

  • Don't even get me started on the experience of a white couple house-shopping and what some (not all, but some) realtors will tell you (in barely-coded language) about what "kinds of people" are moving where and how to avoid the "wrong" areas based on "the direction the area is going in" and how to make sure you buy in the areas that are "still nice" and likely to "stay nice for a while", and how we might want to "look at the census figures" for various areas to "get a sense of who lives there" and…you get the point.

  • I've had the same experience as the other women posting here. When my friends and I get together, we don't bash men or refer to them in disparaging ways because of their maleness. We might trash individual men for their individual behaviors, but we don't hate on the entire gender.

    It is really gross to think about how our fathers, brothers, sons, husbands, and friends might be talking about us when we're not around. Just wish they'd remember the people they're lumping together to denigrate are their sisters, mothers, daughters, wives and friends.

  • Ask yourself this question honestly… When hunting for a house/apt, price job availability and other factors being equal, would you rather live in a trailer park, African American ghetto, or immigrant ghetto? Did you have a strong preference? Why? My preference doesn't match my ethnicity. Does that make me a racist? Against whom?

    I left out middle class suburbs because they strike me as a place people go to wall themselves off from their neighbors. The middle class' pier group are their co-workers. When you're poor, unemployed, don't speak the language, etc, your pier group is probably much to closer to your home. The collective behavior of a culture is more evident when it's not scattered across a 90min commute radius. My (upper-)middle class co-workers drive me insane at the office. I can only imagine we'd be at each others throats if we were packed into undersized, broken down housing and forced to depend on each other 24×7 to survive.

    I think too many people can't distinguish between race and class/culture; either that or we don't have a common vocabulary to joke about the latter without referencing the former. Or maybe it's just harder to land a punch line about SUVs and HOAs.

  • I agree with Gumbo. As a lifelong woman and girl talk veteran, I confirm that the "epic man hating sessions" of movies and TV are just that, of movies and TV – and mostly written by men .

    Gay men at that. The actress Parker Posey once said that she loved Sex and the City, but the four women on it were not really women, but gay boys. Whom she also loved.

    Real women just don't hate men for being men. To us "men" are our fathers and lovers ,husbands and sons, and if we're lucky we have and had
    good ones. If we're not lucky, we hate our bad luck and the individual bastards we encountered, but not men in general.

    There's something about the big lugs we just can't help liking.

  • People, by the way, as i am new here, just let me say that Eduardo Furioso had me at hello and I have delighted in this site for months. My own cyberhome is at the other polar end where I attempt to comfort the reasonable and reason with the uncomfortable. Easy as it sounds? You betcha.

  • As white woman in NYC, I second everything here — women bash individual men, but not men in groups; NYC's don't bash anyone except Rethuglicans, and they certainly don't bash black people. New Yorkers feel guilty about liking opera more than the blues. Is true, I heard it myself.

    Part of the reason women only bash individual men is, of course, they're rehashing every detail of the relationship AND I MEAN IN DETAIL; when men say they don't want to discuss the relationship, they probably mean it, when women say they do, they do.

    I know this because I had a lesbian roommate who broke up with her lesbian lover and I swear they discussed the relationship for more months than they spent in the relationship. I'm a woman, but please, even I was thinking, at some point, sex is just sex, you know?

    Not to these two. When you get two women together, they can certainly discuss the relationship. FOREVER.

  • SA – "…how men talk about women when there are no women around. He said that gay men and straight men have different "flavors" of how they talk (apparently gay men are obsessed with how disgusting vaginas are??)"

    I'd say your transmale friend needs to edit his circle of friends, or accept the burden of advertising early and often that misogynistic commentary is off the menu. Surprising as it may be to him or to you, no: not all gay men – in my experience not even that many gay men – are obsessed with any feelings at all about vaginas. Yes, some gay men are misogynists, which has been a mystery to me since the first one I ran into in about 1972. Over the course of the next few years I developed sufficient auxiliary tools on my gaydar to spot the warning signs, made my lifelong commitment to never ever leave the urban coastal bubbles again, and since then have never found myself realizing too late I had surrounded myself with offensive assholes pursing their lips at women's genitals. Shoes, maybe. But then Crocs are ugly on everyone.

  • Surprising as it may be to him or to you, no: not all gay men – in my experience not even that many gay men – are obsessed with any feelings at all about vaginas. Yes, some gay men are misogynists, which has been a mystery to me since the first one I ran into in about 1972.

    Certainly, I would assume (and hope!) that is the case. Given that my friend is not only woman-born but also a lifelong feminist, my guess is that he's engaged in just some of the circle-editing you talk about, although to be fair, that's very possible in some places, not so possible in others when you're dealing with a community limited in size and outness. Some of his experience was colored by being at gyms or involved in sports leagues catering to gay men (apparently activities coded as masculine attract the same kind of meathead mentality in their partakers no matter who they like to go home and bone at the end of the day? I have no idea…)

    I think he just found it particularly shocking because he had previous grown up in very heavily lesbian circles, and as he put it, "lesbians do NOT sit around talking about dick all the time… or ever! Unless it's plastic."

    It's a theme I see in some of the drag performances around here, an obsession with the vag, particularly as a kind of scary or horrific element. But that is a whole other conversation!

    In sum: Yes, not all gay (or straight) men talk shit about women, any more than all white people switch on their racist button the minute they think they're alone. But a whole bunch do, and it's fucking gross.

  • Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic
    but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

Comments are closed.