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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Could she be racist?

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Author Topic: Could she be racist?
smalltowngirl
Neophyte
Member # 46811

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My college roomie has been coming off a little racist. Like today, she was talking about something discussed in class that stated people of her ethnicity have more opportunities and success than minorities, preferably African-Americans. And consequently, her ethnicity is considered racist. She said she disagreed, and I don't see anything wrong with that. But while she was talking about it, she kept saying colored people. It irked me because I'm African-American, and I feel like if you're talking about all minorities you should say minorities. But she didn't; she kept saying colored. I don't know if she honestly doesn't really understand the connotation behind the word or what, but I found it disrespectful. I've never said or will say anything degrading toward her race because I know how it feels. I don't understand how she could say that while I'm in the room and think nothing of it. Like when the presidential election winner was decided, she stated her opinion about it, which came off racist. I never once stated how I felt about it or anything because there's a way to go about stating how you feel, and I would never want her to feel disrespected or uncomfortable. I feel like she's doesn't know how to filter what she says, or people usually let her get away with it. How do I approach this situation without being disrespectful?

[ 11-08-2012, 09:08 PM: Message edited by: smalltowngirl ]

Posts: 28 | From: mississippi | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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It sure sounds like racism has been talking here.

While I don't think that anyone has to go TOO far out of their way to call out discrimination or crappy attitudes from someone about a group they're a member of, if you want perhaps the best chance of being heard, I'd say that with the things you mentioned, you might think about saying things to her like:

• "Can you please bot say 'colored" people? I don't know if you are aware, but that's been an offensive way to talk about us for quite some time, if not always. If you want to know why, I'd be happy to explain it to you, but regardless, please don't use that phrase in my company, okay?"

• "You said <whatever she said> about the President," or "You said <what she said> about a group of people I'm a member of"..."and what you said makes me feel very uncomfortable because --" and then you say your whys. And, like with the idea above, you have every right to ask her to please share or not share things when you're there, and to not use language which is offensive to you.

Those are obviously just two very simple starts, but how dop those feel to you?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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smalltowngirl
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Member # 46811

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I'd like to do it. But if she continues to say stuff like this, what do I do? Her parents clearly thought it was ok when she said this because they didn't stop her, so I feel like they've allowed her to get away with stuff in her life. I don't want anyone to think because of the stuff going on with the election I'm being sensitive or trying to play "victim." I really feel uncomfortable and disrespected.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I think the hard truth is that if and when someone is racist, or has racist attitudes, they might very well think crappy things about someone who calls them out. I'm afraid there's just no avoiding that possibility. using "I" statements like I talked about, and being clear about what you're asking rather than just calling her racist, things like that usually help, but they still aren't guarantees, alas.

But, in terms of making your choices with this, do you think you'd feel better calling her out respectfully (as I'm sure you'd do even without anyone's help) or not calling her out?

There's not a right answer here, there's just what you feel up to and what you think you'd feel best about.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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smalltowngirl
Neophyte
Member # 46811

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I'm gonna call her out respectfully and make sure she sees the severity of what she said since she seemed to think nothing of what she said. I'm just hurt I guess because she put on this facade like she's not racist but her actions prove otherwise, and I'd really rather not talk to her more than I have to after this.But really means a lot to me that you helped me with this.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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It's really tough to have to deal with, period, but for sure, when it feels like someone just kind of gets away with being racist with it hidden, it obviously burns even more. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

Feel free to give a shout after you talk with her if you need more help.

And perhaps obviously, if you don't want to stay roommates with her -- which I think would be understandable if so -- might want to step up on that for next semester sooner instead of later.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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