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Thread: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

  1. #91
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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    I was reading through this thread: http://www.debatepolitics.com/off-to...-intended.html and it occurred to me that many people are actually oblivious to some racial stereotypes which exist in this country and are often used to disparage others.

    I was then curious as to whether or not people feel that being oblivious to these racial stereotypes is a good thing or a bad thing.

    On one hand, a person who is truly oblivious to such stereotypes has probably not directly exposed to much racism in their lives. Which is good. On the other hand, they might be oblivious to the racism because they have not have been exposed to it because they have not had much exposure to people who belong to the stereotyped groups, which is a bad thing.

    There's also the possibility that they aren't really oblivious to the stereotypes, but are simply doing the poor victimized white person routine to pretend that the poor victimized white person cannot say anything anymore without being accused of racism".

    I'm leaning toward the idea that the obliviousness is feigned, because it is mind-boggling to me that someone can live and interact with other people in our society without ever being exposed to the most common racial stereotypes that exist in our society. I'd be just as shocked if a black person said "Wait, white people being bad dancers is a racial stereotype?!?!?!?!" Unless someone is living under a rock, in a cave, hidden beneath the unabombers shack, I would assume they've encountered some of the most common stereotypes that exist in our society.

    Examples: White people can't dance, black people eat fried chicken, asian women can't drive, Italian men are mama's boys, Irish people drink, Polish people are stupid, WASPS have old money, Mexicans mow lawns etc. etc.

    So the poll question is: Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be oblivious to the very real stereotypes which exist in the world?
    I picked "other" in the poll, because I don't think it's necessarily either good or bad to be oblivious to racial stereotypes. As you explored in the post I quoted, that could mean a lot of different things, some of which are bad, some of which are not. I'll add another wrinkle:

    I was watching a comedy special by a guy named Jim Jeffries recently. And as part of his routine, he was telling a story about being on a plane and getting into a contentious argument with this big black guy sitting next to him. The black guy, who had the aisle seat, was taking the inside armrest that under normal rules of plane etiquette typically belongs to the guy in the middle seat (in this case Jim Jeffries). Eventually the flight attendant comes over and decides to split these guys up. Since the big black guy was more in the wrong, she told him he needed to find another seat somewhere further back in the plane. At this point Jim - who is Australian - stands up and shouts triumphantly "get to the back of the plane!"
    To a black man. On a US flight.
    Now, most of the people on the plane hadn't really heard the altercation, but surely did hear a white dude loudly telling a black man to get to the back of the plane. This did not sit well with the other passengers. Jim, being Australian, didn't realize what he'd done initially. So was it better that Jim didn't really realize how racist that sounded? Personally I have no idea. But it was damn funny.

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aderleth View Post
    I picked "other" in the poll, because I don't think it's necessarily either good or bad to be oblivious to racial stereotypes. As you explored in the post I quoted, that could mean a lot of different things, some of which are bad, some of which are not. I'll add another wrinkle:

    I was watching a comedy special by a guy named Jim Jeffries recently. And as part of his routine, he was telling a story about being on a plane and getting into a contentious argument with this big black guy sitting next to him. The black guy, who had the aisle seat, was taking the inside armrest that under normal rules of plane etiquette typically belongs to the guy in the middle seat (in this case Jim Jeffries). Eventually the flight attendant comes over and decides to split these guys up. Since the big black guy was more in the wrong, she told him he needed to find another seat somewhere further back in the plane. At this point Jim - who is Australian - stands up and shouts triumphantly "get to the back of the plane!"
    To a black man. On a US flight.
    Now, most of the people on the plane hadn't really heard the altercation, but surely did hear a white dude loudly telling a black man to get to the back of the plane. This did not sit well with the other passengers. Jim, being Australian, didn't realize what he'd done initially. So was it better that Jim didn't really realize how racist that sounded? Personally I have no idea. But it was damn funny.
    That's really ****ing funny.

  3. #93
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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    On one hand, a person who is truly oblivious to such stereotypes has probably not directly exposed to much racism in their lives. Which is good. On the other hand, they might be oblivious to the racism because they have not have been exposed to it because they have not had much exposure to people who belong to the stereotyped groups, which is a bad thing.

    ...

    So the poll question is: Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be oblivious to the very real stereotypes which exist in the world?
    I think that paragraph right there is the salient point.

    I was oblivious to racial stereotypes, or even race itself, for the first 12 or 13 years of my life. I grew up on the right side of the Minneapolis tracks: the side where there's still diversity, but less poverty, and thus less tension.

    The preschool I went to was half Sri Lanken kids. My elementary school had a lot of Asians, and a few black people.

    I didn't realize race was a thing until I was in middle school. I had a friend who was black. She was usually apprehensive to sit at the lunch table I normally sat at, so I sat at hers. And all the rest of her friends told me to go back and sit with "my own kind." At that moment, I realized most of them were black (and none were white except me), and almost everyone at my table was white. Hit me like a bucket of ice water.

    I never even noticed until that moment. And I miss that.

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    'Examples: White people can't dance, black people eat fried chicken, asian women can't drive, Italian men are mama's boys, Irish people drink, Polish people are stupid, WASPS have old money, Mexicans mow lawns etc. etc.'

    I see no potential improvement in my life for knowing these 'stereotypes'.

    Only massively ignorant/stupid people believe them - and why would I care what they think?

    The answer is, I don't.

    In fact, the less my life is polluted from the bile that spews forth from minds like that - the better.

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    I think that paragraph right there is the salient point.

    I was oblivious to racial stereotypes, or even race itself, for the first 12 or 13 years of my life. I grew up on the right side of the Minneapolis tracks: the side where there's still diversity, but less poverty, and thus less tension.

    The preschool I went to was half Sri Lanken kids. My elementary school had a lot of Asians, and a few black people.

    I didn't realize race was a thing until I was in middle school. I had a friend who was black. She was usually apprehensive to sit at the lunch table I normally sat at, so I sat at hers. And all the rest of her friends told me to go back and sit with "my own kind." At that moment, I realized most of them were black (and none were white except me), and almost everyone at my table was white. Hit me like a bucket of ice water.

    I never even noticed until that moment. And I miss that.
    There are black people in Minnesota? Are you sure?

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_recruit View Post
    There are black people in Minnesota? Are you sure?
    In Minneapolis? Lots of them. We have the biggest Somali immigrant population in the country. Lots of Hmong immigrants in some parts too. There's probably an "average" number African Americans.

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    MLK advocated a color-blind society, so I'd think he would be proud. The idea was for a person's race to cease to be a thing of any importance; therefore if society loses all notion of racial stereotypes then how could it not be a good thing?

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    MLK advocated a color-blind society, so I'd think he would be proud. The idea was for a person's race to cease to be a thing of any importance; therefore if society loses all notion of racial stereotypes then how could it not be a good thing?
    That was my first thought, but the OP does have a point.

    I knew a woman who was from a place that was still very racially segregated. She never saw someone who wasn't white until she moved here. It was quite an adjustment to her.

    She didn't have racial stereotypes because she never encountered other races. And her first impulse was to come up with stereotypes, because she just wasn't used to being around them.

    But she did have the personal insight to recognize that in herself, and she's a very well-adjusted person in most things, including, now, the way she deals with race. But that form of blindness can definitely lead someone ultimately to racism, when they inevitably encounter someone who looks different.

    Not everyone is blind for the lucky reasons I was: lots of exposure with no tension. I feel very fortunate to have had the kind of upbringing I did.

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    MLK advocated a color-blind society, so I'd think he would be proud.
    He actually didn't advocate a "colorblind" society; that is a common misinterpretation of his "content of their character" line. In fact, here's a quote from him that contradicts that interpretation, "A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis." That's very much the opposite of colorblindness.

    Given that he was also very much against ignorance and very much in favor of race consciousness, I very much doubt that he would support the former, particularly the kind that often benefits white people at the expense of blacks.

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    Re: Is it a good thing to be oblivious of racial stereotypes?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    In Minneapolis? Lots of them. We have the biggest Somali immigrant population in the country. Lots of Hmong immigrants in some parts too. There's probably an "average" number African Americans.
    Asians too?!!!!!

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