shivver: (Carver)
[personal profile] shivver
On my Facebook feed yesterday, there was a discussion between two friends-of-friends (I don't know either person directly) about Donald Trump: one was pro and the other was anti. It was a civil discussion, but one bit bothered me a lot.

The anti person mentioned something about Trump being racist, and in the pro person's reply, she said this: "I don't think Trump is racist, though he has made some comments that have made me cringe. I don't think he made them in a racist mindset - he was just stating his beliefs."

Is that what people think? That you're only racist if you consciously think, "I'm going to be racist right now"? Because it sounds to me like that's what this woman thinks: that when Mr. Trump makes a comment denigrating a group of people based on their skin color or place of origin, he truly believes what he's saying, that these people are inferior, but because he's not thinking "I'm racist" at the time, it's okay, he's not racist.

Maybe that's the problem: people don't think they're racist because racism is rooted in their beliefs and is not just something you do when you decide to do it. Fixing it requires evaluating what you believe, recognizing that blackness in your soul, and working to change it, and all three steps are increasingly difficult. It's so much easier to just rationalize the problem away, to convince yourself that you're not that bad because you're not intending to be.

Date: 2016-10-24 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Mmmm, I think you absolutely nailed it. A lot of populist politicians (and people, regardless of their political orientation) are embracing views that are factually racist, yet think it's okay because they don't have anything about those people personally, they just want them to stay nicely put in their country, and besides they're not racists/have Black or Hispanic friends or what have you. As you said, there is a huge lot of internalized racism going around. It's basically the biggest thing now—I think that only a minority of people are really huge racists and will believe in and promote their own superiority now (thank God!), but it makes the more discreet, "innocuous" prejudices all the more difficult to fight. I worked on that brilliant but utterly frightening book for work, about the ingrained racism in the American justice system and mass incarceration policies, and it says a lot about the damage that the notion of colorblindness has done. Because so many people like to think they're colorblind, when in fact they are not. It'll take a very long way to get there, and it will take some consciously fighting the unconscious associations and prejudices lurking in the background in all of us.

And besides, as far as politics go—I think you have racism itself, but you also have the very natural, yet extremely dangerous traits of human nature that always come peeking out in a crisis: fear of the other, blaming others for one's problems, and shutting out the world to stay safely locked in one's own community. The mistrust may fall on one community at one point, merely because they happen to be a convenient target. That's kind of an awful thing to say :/ But it's happening to us a lot in Europe, for instance, with the migrant crisis: people are decent, humane beings who want the innocents fleeing a war to be protected, but hey, no Syrians on my doorstep pretty please. :(

Date: 2016-10-25 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
The worst part is that it's up to the individual to recognize it and change themselves. We can try to help the other person do so, but if that person refuses to try, there's nothing we can do - no amount of education, discussion, argument, or yelling is going change them.

I don't think it's possible to be completely unprejudiced. I know I am prejudiced, though I hate admitting it. But I try to recognize it when I am and try to not act on my preconceptions. It's a tough road.

Date: 2016-10-27 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Exactly… it's all about self-perspective, and that's not always the easiest thing :/

Yes, I think the same. There's an incredible amount of constant judgment about any and every situation going on in our subconscious without us being even aware of it, and it makes it difficult to improve ourselves sometimes. But that's only achieved by work and baby steps! And questioning ourselves, most of all…

Date: 2016-10-24 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
EXACTLY. This whole post. No one (even racists, unless they are proud of it *coughs*NEONAZIS-KKK*coughs*) thinks they are racist. ESPECIALLY when they are being racist! He is a racist, sexist xenophobe and it amazes me how people can just handwave it with 'ohh, that's just what he is SAYING, he doesn't mean it - he's just trying to get attention'. But that means he PANDERS to racism. That it is okay in his book (and okay by his followers) which means...they're racists! Who comes up with racist stuff to 'whip up the crowds' unless they expect said crowds to be as racist as they are? Boggling...

*HUGS*

Date: 2016-10-25 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
It amazes me that this woman admitted that what Trump has said "makes her cringe" - so she's admitting that she considers what he said to be wrong. If she doesn't consider them to indicate racism, why did it make her cringe? Or does she believe that Trump was lying when he said them?

Date: 2016-10-25 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
If you cringe because A) your candidate it a liar who 'will say anything to get you to vote for him' or B) a flagrant racist or C) BOTH...WHY would you vote for them? What about this says 'exceptable presidental material'? Ye gods...

Date: 2016-10-25 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
It still boggles me... I get the whole not liking Hillary thing. Fine, you don't like her and don't want to vote for her. That doesn't mean you have to support Trump. There are other candidates, or you can choose to not vote. (Is there an official abstention choice on the ballot? There really should be.) But why would a person choose to actively support a candidate that makes her cringe? I just don't get it.

Date: 2016-10-25 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Right?? I know a Republican that went and voted early, skipped the presidental noms and just voted for down ballot. But actively willing yourself to be 'patriotic' and 'party-adherent' to the point of voting for a guy that might make you want to vomit is lunacy...

Date: 2016-10-26 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dm12.livejournal.com
All I will say about not voting is that, although the choice is yours to make, if you do not vote, don't complain about the results if you don't like them!

As for the not liking Hillary thing... it's not just a matter of "not liking" her; there is a trail of corruption that follows her, and even Bernie voters were complaining that the primaries were rigged in her favor. How many states were won by coin toss? What I also don't get is those who are only voting for her because she's a woman, not because of any policy that they like. I'll throw this one out there for giggles: If people are voting for her only because she's a woman (and if she were a man they wouldn't bother), isn't that a bit sexist? Just because a woman gains from it doesn't eliminate the idea of selection merely because of gender.....

None of the candidates are likable at all, and enough has been said about Trump here that I'm not going to add to it. But make no mistake, I will evaluate policies and accomplishments (or lack thereof) and I WILL vote; it is my civic duty to do the best I can. People died for us to have this right and responsibility.

Date: 2016-10-24 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alumfelga.livejournal.com
Maybe that's the problem: people don't think they're racist because racism is rooted in their beliefs and is not just something you do when you decide to do it. Fixing it requires evaluating what you believe, recognizing that blackness in your soul, and working to change it, and all three steps are increasingly difficult. It's so much easier to just rationalize the problem away, to convince yourself that you're not that bad because you're not intending to be.
I'd say, if you agree with the sentences: "racism is bad" and "I'm a racist", then you have to accept the conclusion: "I'm bad". You can't change the first one because of the society, so, to be able to think well of yourself you change the definition of the word "racist" so it no longer describes you. Because it's easier to do than change your way of thinking, like you said. I believe it's and example of something called "cognitive disorder"...

Date: 2016-10-25 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
It's amazing what your brain will do to keep your worldview intact. It only makes me think that I need to try harder to fight my own inconsistencies. I know I have them.

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