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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Racist Friends

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Author Topic: Racist Friends
Santino
Neophyte
Member # 39140

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I am, just to point out, a white male, as are most of the friends who "take the micky" out of me for who I'm dating.

At the moment, I'm dating, and sleeping with, a black girl of the same age as me, and I'm getting a lot of grief from my "mates" about it. I live in a community with lots of races present, whereas most of the friends I'm talking about live in more rural areas, where there is a much smaller percentage of non-white people.

I don't really know if I like the girl beyond a "physical" love, as this is my first relationship that includes sex, and I am therefore quite inexperienced with serious relationships as a whole. When I was just dating the girl, none of my friends really cared, but when they found out that I was sleeping with her, I started to get a lot of really racist comments, mainly about HIV and "monkeys". Although I'm not sure whether or not I "love" this girl, I really like her, and I'm getting really annoyed at my friends, to the extent where I almost punched one for calling names.

I've talked to my tutor and other people about what's happening, and they've had no advice other than to "ignore them", which I don't think is working; I'm still getting angry. So, I was just wondering if anybody on here had any other advice for me?...

Posts: 1 | From: Gloucester, England | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
XArexYouxGothlicX
Activist
Member # 34055

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Maybe you should talk to your friends about it. Because, hunney. They don't really seem like very good friends if they are being racist about the girl you are sleeping with. And if talking to them doesn't help, then maybe you should make new friends. Because.. well, because now you know and you've seen their true colors.

And I still can't believe racism is still going on is today society. It's rather sad, and stupid.

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"It's just me and Da Kurlzz, we're taking over the world."

Posts: 75 | From: Belen, New Mexico | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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It's valid to feel angry at other people's inhumanity. Even if you don't love this girl, one presumes you see her as a person entitled to the same respect and dignity as everyone else.

Have you been able to have any kind of productive conversation with your friends about their racism, such as debunking things like HIV myths, and addressing the places where things like calling people of color "monkeys" come from?

I agree with the previous poster: if you can't have those conversations and your friends aren't able to recognize their racism and a strong need for them to unlearn it, then no matter who you're dating, these aren't people you probably want to remain close to. Even if you were not dating this girl, would you want to have racist friends?

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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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimmy
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Member # 21436

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I was in exactly the same situation when I was at school/college, as I'm guessing you still are. I'm an indian guy who had a pakistani girlfriend at one point, and a black girlfriend at another point.

There's a few things you can do about it, and whilst I can't guarantee they will be successful, I can tell you that they are better than violent confrontation.

The most obvious is to talk to your friends seriously about it, and make them understand it really is getting to you.
At that age, it's very easy to get carried away with a joke which you think is harmless, and if they don't realise it's actually hurting you, then they won't stop.

Unfortunately, I'm more pragmatic than that having gone through this myself. This will likely only work with your close friends, not with the rest of them. It will probably either only fix the problem temporarily until they feel comfortable enough to let the jokes creep back in, or have the exact opposite effect to that intended and make them do it more since they know it's getting to you.

The sad fact is, that at that age there's little you can do about it.
What I found helped the most was not letting my friends know that it affected me. Whilst this can be very difficult, once they stopped getting a reaction, they stopped making the jokes since it wasn't as fun, and just went elsewhere for their kicks.
After a while, I just got used to the jokes, especially once I came up with my ultmate comeback: "At least I'm getting some."

Good luck buddy. Just remember not to hit anyone, it makes things a lot worse, trust me.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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quote:
"At least I'm getting some."
Just a quickie?

While I can see how a comeback like that might make you feel more comfortable or secure, I think it is also something which can enable racism rather than help to improve/heal it. It basically can send a message that the person you're sleeping with only has value because they are providing sex, or that it's okay for you to be with a person of another race BECAUSE sex is involved and acquired.

In other words, it still effectively reduces that other person to something less than a whole person, which is a big part of the kind of thinking that drives -isms in the first place.

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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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimmy
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Member # 21436

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That's a good point, Heather, and it very well may be true.

However when dealing with immature teenage boys, idealism is unfortunately a long lost concept, and you have to do what you have to do to get the heat off you.

You can't really take the moral highground without taking the flak, in this case. Sad, but true. I tried the whole "stop being racist prats" thing but it just ended up bringing more jokes since showing yourself to be affected is exactly what drives this behaviour.

[ 07-04-2008, 04:27 AM: Message edited by: Nimmy ]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, that's a choice any given person gets to make. In other words, we can all choose to take extra flak (or not) so that some other person or group might get the opportunity to get less of it. And in anything where we have privilege another person or group does not, it's certainly always worth considering or doing. No one has to do whatever just to get the heat off of themselves: that's a choice.

And in this case, the heat actually isn't in the OP, really: all the insults and racist comments aren't about him, but his girlfriend.

We actually don't have data or evidence I know of to show that people being impacted by racism drives racism: we do, however, have plenty that shows us that the opposite is a factor in enabling it. But I wonder if you're actually talking about bullying rather than racism?

All the same, there isn't only one way of dealing with this. Growing up female, growing up queer and growing up poor, amongst other things, I certainly dealt with more than my fair share of bullying, verbal and otherwise, and one can take a direct approach that doesn't enable the same -isms and have it be effective, no matter the age or gender of who is doling it out.

--------------------
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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