Wow. This must be the week for it. In having a discussion with a random person about whether Texas should have executed a Mexican citizen who had not been given access to the Mexican consulate, he said, "The only good Mexican is a dead Mexican."
How does one respond to that calmly, given that probably 30% of the kids I have taught and love are Mexicans?
I said, "What a scummy thing to say. Racist."
Obviously that set off a storm of nastiness.
I gotta call 'em like I see 'em, I'm afraid.
One of the reasons I don't like being around my in-laws and their friends is that sooner or later someone is bound to say something racist.
My parents are racists. My mother used to at least pretend to be socially acceptable, but since the scary black Kenyan Muslim socialist stole her White House, she does not even pretend. Add to that the effects of Fox News Channel's constant drumbeat of racially-tinged resentment politics and I spend as little time in their presence as I possibly can.
That's a shame. Racism is so stupid.
Golden rule is that when someone has reached middle age they are not receptive to new ideas. In my personal experience I'd try initially something like "Not all Asians are bad"...if the torrent of shite continues, smile, talk about the weather, football. Then avoid and file person under "racist fuckwit".
I need to learn to take a deep breath before engaging with RFs
Golden rule is that when someone has reached middle age they are not receptive to new ideas.
That's quite a sweeping statement in itself, and not one I've found to be true.
It is a quote from my Dad who is rarely wrong. If you have been a racist for 45 years what searing insight will you have that the person has not already heard?
I suspect that minds (young or old) are more likely to be changed by experience than by arguments - for example by getting to know people from a group that one has only previously heard about at second hand.
I do accept that many middle-aged and older people have a strong emotional and material investment in the way of life that they've built up - and that people in general aren't usually keen to have their worldview turned upside down. But plenty of older people change their minds about important things. I've known people lose their faith in God (or find it), do 180 degree political turnabouts, work productively with sworn enemies, etc etc. It may not be common, but then it's not common at any age.
I do find it ironic that an argument against one sort of prejudice should be expressed in terms of prejudice of another sort.
I see your point. I do not agree with it however...
Usually, personal contact with a person in the despised category. I've seen a number of cases where middle-aged or elderly people HAVE changed their views to be more inclusive and accepting.
I've seen many more cases of elderly people who actually were nowhere near as bigoted as people assumed they would be -- I know of more than one person of my generation who came out to their grandparents, only to have them respond with something like, "I served with a couple gay people in WWII; they were fine soldiers, and I always thought it was unfair that they couldn't get married. . . "
Not one I've found to be true either.
In fact, I find this Golden Rule's absolutist nature laughable.
That's good advice. I need to bear it in mind.
2011-07-10 06:15 pm (UTC)
I think you are right to challenge it. And if they hear how angry you are, maybe it will make them re-examine their opinions. To say nothing is to condone the racist remark.
I need to be calmer, though. I turn it into an argument when it would be better to have a debate.
Good for you for speaking up. Not everyone would.
Thanks. I just wish I could be cooler and calmer. As it is I lose my rag and become incoherent.