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View Poll Results: How do you respond to racist comments during a conversation

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  • Accuse the person of being an ignorant racist a-hole.

    7 8.54%
  • Politely disagree with their comment and explain why.

    36 43.90%
  • Ignore the comment.

    24 29.27%
  • Invite them to the next Klan meeting.

    15 18.29%
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  1. #1
    Senior Member savage24's Avatar
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    How do you respond to racist comments during a conversation?

    Here's a few examples:
    1. I was talking with a new neighbor recently and while she was talking about her old neighborhood, she made a face and her tone changed a bit and she said "there were a lot of blacks moving in".

    2. Yesterday I was talking with a man who said the schools in his small community outside the city are better because "the kids are all white".

    In the first example my friend (another neighbor) and I both said something like "Hey, we don't care what color you are as long as you are a good neighbor". In the second example I ignored the comment, but I'm not comfortable doing that - by ignoring a statement like that I feel that I'm condoning it. These people would never make those statements in front of a black person, but they think it's okay to say it to me because I'm white. I'd like to be able to say something to people like this that would make them realize how hurtful and ignorant there comments are. Obviously, becoming confrontational and calling them an ignorant racist would not be a productive approach. I'd like to say something to them that would not put them on the defensive, but would slowly get into their conscious and make them examine there prejudices and leave the conversation thinking "Hmm, maybe he's right..."

    How do you handle such situations and are you comfortable with the way you handle them?
    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic
    "So, in this plan....when do we drink the kool-aid? I'm thirsty."
    "Marriage is a deathtrap these days. I would no more get married than I would own a chinese SUV."

    ....

  2. #2
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savage24
    Here's a few examples:
    1. I was talking with a new neighbor recently and while she was talking about her old neighborhood, she made a face and her tone changed a bit and she said "there were a lot of blacks moving in".


    My dad lived in an upper-middle class "half way up the hill" cul-de-sac. Was standing on his front lawn one day, watching some blacks moving in a few houses down.

    "hmm, they must be foreign"



    In general, I find that the response should correspond with the person's intentions. There are many who have racial bias or ignorant attitudes, but hold no malice. In these cases I think that attacking them just drives them further against your POV.

    In the second case, just continue the discussion with them in a very matter-of-fact way. Eventually you can just sit there and without any effort show up their faulty reasoning for what it is.

    Just ask, "so are you saying that white people are better?"

    Just spell out the racism/flaw in their argument for what it is. They may try to dance around and reword what they were saying, but at least it makes them think about what they're saying. If you're lucky it might make them think about what they're thinking.

    For me, the best way to handle that is to make a joke of their attitude. The real challenge is to do it in such a way that shows their opinion as ridiculous, but not in such a way that they feel stupid. That is tricky. But can be done.

    If someone's a blatantly racist, malicious POS then gloves can come off.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    you can't change people. Unless too blatant, I tend to ignore it. Might affect how I relate to them in the future. If I always rejected people for racist commentary, I might have to disown some of my cousins. They know how we feel due to our political affiliations. I just credit it to their influences. I think racism is a result of economic insecurity in America. Best to try to build bridges rather than offend them. Should one find it possible to try to influence others', I find the best course is not go too harsh on them and try to reason with them.

  4. #4
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus
    Just spell out the racism/flaw in their argument for what it is. They may try to dance around and reword what they were saying, but at least it makes them think about what they're saying. If you're lucky it might make them think about what they're thinking.

    For me, the best way to handle that is to make a joke of their attitude. The real challenge is to do it in such a way that shows their opinion as ridiculous, but not in such a way that they feel stupid. That is tricky. But can be done.
    You mean like this Nico?

    In example #1, I see no signs of a racist remark. It's a matter of fact statment. If he'd have said There are a lot of n****rs moving in, then yes, it would be racist and handled as such. Would you have been so alarmed if he said, "There sure are a lot of gay people moving in."?

    Example #2, I don't see as racist either, maybe slightly bigoted but mostly a matter of preference. Would it be any less 'racist' if the tables were turned and it was a black or hispanic commenting that he though the city schools were better because they were black or hispanic?

  5. #5
    Senior Member savage24's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Nicodemus]

    There are many who have racial bias or ignorant attitudes, but hold no malice.
    This sentence describes my father perfectly!



    For me, the best way to handle that is to make a joke of their attitude. The real challenge is to do it in such a way that shows their opinion as ridiculous, but not in such a way that they feel stupid. That is tricky. But can be done.
    EXACTLY!! Thanks for the response.
    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic
    "So, in this plan....when do we drink the kool-aid? I'm thirsty."
    "Marriage is a deathtrap these days. I would no more get married than I would own a chinese SUV."

    ....

  6. #6
    Senior Member savage24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    you can't change people. Unless too blatant, I tend to ignore it. Might affect how I relate to them in the future. If I always rejected people for racist commentary, I might have to disown some of my cousins. They know how we feel due to our political affiliations. I just credit it to their influences. I think racism is a result of economic insecurity in America. Best to try to build bridges rather than offend them. Should one find it possible to try to influence others', I find the best course is not go too harsh on them and try to reason with them.
    I'd have to disown most of mine!
    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic
    "So, in this plan....when do we drink the kool-aid? I'm thirsty."
    "Marriage is a deathtrap these days. I would no more get married than I would own a chinese SUV."

    ....

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    You can't change people's histories. I believe it's best to attempt to try to gradually influence them. Heck, some of the neighbors we've had. We would have no one to talk to.

  8. #8
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I ignore it. I'll make a mental note of it in my mind, and probably change topic's if I am stuck in conversation.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    I ignore it. I'll make a mental note of it in my mind, and probably change topic's if I am stuck in conversation.
    mostly the above is my policy. but, I have limits to the degree of racism I can take before I snap. It's easier to snap to someone you hardly know.

  10. #10
    Brusheda
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey
    You mean like this Nico?

    In example #1, I see no signs of a racist remark. It's a matter of fact statment. If he'd have said There are a lot of n****rs moving in, then yes, it would be racist and handled as such. Would you have been so alarmed if he said, "There sure are a lot of gay people moving in."?

    Example #2, I don't see as racist either, maybe slightly bigoted but mostly a matter of preference. Would it be any less 'racist' if the tables were turned and it was a black or hispanic commenting that he though the city schools were better because they were black or hispanic?

    The first example, the speaker changed their tone as if to indicate the reason they moved was because of blacks moving in. Not wanting to live near someone b/c the color of thier skin is definately racist.

    The second example, It is definately racist to think that a school is good or bad based solely on skin color. It a black or hispanic made a similar comment they too would be racist. Most of the racist comments I have heard have come from blacks. I don't know if that is because they generally have more racist additudes or just feel more comfortable expressing those additudes.

  11. #11
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Odd, I see the most racist people are the ones who constantly make everything a racial issue. But that's just me.

  12. #12
    Brusheda
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    Recently, I was staying with a friend of friend for a few days while checking out a school. The family was really nice and made me feel comfortable. The day before I was going to leave, the mom found out that her 13 year old daughters semi-boyfriend was black. She made it clear that she didn't want her daughter to date a black boy. I didn't say anything, because I felt very vulnerable. They had completely gone out of their way to help me, someone they didn't know, and I didn't want to do something that would make them regret helping me. I have felt guilty about not saying anything since then. The mom made her daughter break it off with this boy, which made the daughter spend the evening crying in her room. The situation definetly changed the way I saw these people.

  13. #13
    Brusheda
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    The OP didn't make it a racial issue, it was the others who needlessly brought race in to the equation.

  14. #14
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I just find it comical when a fellow caucasian feels that it is somehow less racist if you whisper the racist crap. I am also offended that so many people just assume that I am on board with their ignorant crap just because I have the same skin color as they do. What is this..some kind of club or something? I just whisper back that it is still racist even if you whisper it and to keep their racist crap to themselves. Idiots.
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  15. #15
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
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    Now this gets a bit hard, because I think PC is BS... but treating people of other races as if they're inferior is wrong.


    Tact falls in the PC category, though. Therefore, PC is BS, call them out as a racist.

    Another way to look at it that isn't QUITE as "offend everyone" is... if you have to quiet down to be tactful, the statements you were making weren't appropriate anyway.

    (And I do seriously have a problem with making everything a racial issue. I work at a K-12 that specializes in mental health and learning disabilities with... 20%? black students, and many of them DO make it racial when they get punished by a teacher... "it's because I'm black, isn't it?" No, the white kid next to you got the same damn punishment. I find it really funny when a black kid tries to pull the race card on a black teacher, though... )
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  16. #16
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    I tear their skin off. Problem solved!

  17. #17
    Bossy Bunny mirage1's Avatar
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    I bring it up in a non-"You're an *******!" way. Like, my boss was having some landscaping work done and the workers didn't speak English at all--the co. owner did, some, but the guys there at his house every day didn't. He kept running into problems over miscommunication, where he thought he'd been clear he wanted X done and they were out there doing Y. He didn't use any racial slurs, but kept saying things like "You know how those Mexicans are." "Um, like other people, some good, some bad, some stupid, some smart...?" What is that supposed to mean?!

    I know a lot of people think PC is some dirty word, but I just think it's a way to highlight dumb-ass things people say so maybe they'll stop saying things that make other people feel bad. (I'm all about the not-making-people-feel-bad.) Kids joking that a friend is "********" or that something weird is "gay," using phrases like "jewed down," "gypped," or "indian giver"... when people spout comments like that I'll just mention that there are other ways to make the same point without perpetuating a stereotype, and make suggestions if they don't know. It's not critical, more like (with a wrinkled nose) "Hey, did you know where that phrase comes from? I try not to say things that could hurt someone's feelings..."
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Thomas4321's Avatar
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    <snark> Why of course I invite them to the next klan meeting. Growing up in shiny white northern Arkansas, you know those good ol' boys are just out there having a few beers and singing songs around the campfire. </snark>
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  19. #19
    Banned. red house's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savage24

    2. Yesterday I was talking with a man who said the schools in his small community outside the city are better because "the kids are all white".


    Are you sure they didn't say the schools were better because "the kids are alright" ? Honestly, I've made that mistake on a few occasions - somebody will say some ppl or some place is 'alright' and I mistakenly think they said ''all white'' .. it happens all the time. So, before you break out the back hand - or open a can of ass whup, be sure to ask twice - and make sure, especially if they are your boss, co-workers or the father of your girlfriend/date.

  20. #20
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    I usually try to let them know in a comical way. In the situation you explained, I'd probably have said something like (trying to attempt a old black slave man accent):

    "Golly geez, sir, youz right. Youz whities are always so smart. It's so great to have a place you can go without all us black, massir".
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    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  21. #21
    Giving you the business. Cypress's Avatar
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    "My upper-middle class high school was shot up by upper-middle class students. We HAD one black kid. HAD."


    That usually shuts them up.
    Last edited by Cypress; 07-13-07 at 09:32 AM.
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  22. #22
    toothless
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    Quote Originally Posted by red house
    Are you sure they didn't say the schools were better because "the kids are alright" ?
    I was thinking that, or maybe a speech impediment.

  23. #23
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    I don't feel like it's my job to change people's attitudes. If someone is talking like that and there's
    some worthwhile reason for me to interact with them (i.e. a high paying customer I'm working with)
    then I'll cope without comment. If not, Ill avoid future conversation with them.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  24. #24
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirage1
    Kids joking that a friend is "********" or that something weird is "gay," using phrases like "jewed down," "gypped," or "indian giver"... when people spout comments like that I'll just mention that there are other ways to make the same point without perpetuating a stereotype, and make suggestions if they don't know.
    It's good that you don't automatically flip into anger mode when someone says such things (unless they're obviously saying such a thing from a position of bigotry). I've never heard the term "jewing down," and don't even know to what such a term would refer (aside from the obvious reference to people of the Jewish faith), but I didn't know that "gypped" was a racial slur until I looked it up a minute ago. On top of that, I didn't realize that Gypsy referred specifically to Romanian people, but that's beside the point. It's not a term I use often anyway, being that, not knowing its origins, I didn't know how to properly spell it, and that bugged me enough to not use it. Consider me enlightened.

  25. #25
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress
    "My upper-middle class high school was shot up by upper-middle class students. We HAD one black kid. HAD."


    That usually shuts them up.
    Ouch.

    I seem to recall you saying you went to Columbine high school. Were you there when that happened?

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