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Old 01-05-2008, 04:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is it racist, or simply reality?

To preface: I don't agree with using any particular label or blanket description for anyone or any behavior, no matter how strong the stereotype seems to be.

Here's the beef, and I'm staying as broad and generic as humanly possible, specifically because it's not about which race it is, or even the term being used- which itself is not racist, but seems vaguely so, based on usage.

Say there is one particular race of people- be it white, black, asian, hispanic, indian, native american, eskimo, whatever... and that one particular race of people is notorious for one specific medical presentation. Now, I'm not talking about a disease that preys on certain ethnicities, like sickle cell or something. I'm talking about a behavioral pattern... a very specific behavior/medical issue (which is not a true condition, problem, disease, or other ailment, but purely in their mind) that ONLY one particular race exhibits. Literally only one. Ever. And it's very, very common in that one race.

If there was a sort of colloquial term coined to describe this one behavior by this one specific group of people, the term itself being a play on words of the race... would that be racist? Or would it simply be an observation of reality?

I wrestle with this a little because there's a very common term used to describe one particular type of behavior by one specific group of people- even more pointedly, of one gender. And these people are the ONLY people who exhibit this behavior, period.

And I wonder if it's a little racist to have adopted a term which so clearly labels them based on their ethnicity and their habitual issue, or if it's simply a matter of being realistic. I mean... they ARE the only ones who do it.

I'm sorry I won't be less vague, but I have no desire to spread this term... and this question is more of a broad question anyway. If it's actually, really true... not stereotype or hyperbole, but actually TRUE... is it racist, or just reality?
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So, this isn't really a medical condition per se, but rather a behavioural/psychological complaint that only appears to manifest in one particular ethnicity?

If you are asking whether it is "OK" to use a term based on ethnicity to describe the condition, I would say the answer is "no". Even if somewhat accurate, I do not see a point to using a term like "Jew Flu" or similar to describe it when there are better, more accurate scientific means to describe something.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd say observing the strong correlation is fine, and making up a cute nickname about it isn't.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I thought everyone used the term jungle fever.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
So, this isn't really a medical condition per se, but rather a behavioural/psychological complaint that only appears to manifest in one particular ethnicity?
Right... it's a very specific type of behavior.

Like, for example...

If white males were notorious for flapping their arms when scared, and this behavior was both extremely common and totally exclusive to this one race, would it be racist or simply an observation of reality if someone called it the "white fright"?

Person 1: "what's wrong with that guy? Something wrong with his arms?"
Person 2: "No, white fright."

Should using such a colloquialism be characterized as racist? Or just, "the way it is"?
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A word isn't racist. The person using the word, and their attitude, is. Something like "jew flu" as highthief suggests is clearly intended to demean people based upon their ethnicity. What term do you have in mind here?
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robot_parade
A word isn't racist. The person using the word, and their attitude, is. Something like "jew flu" as highthief suggests is clearly intended to demean people based upon their ethnicity. What term do you have in mind here?
Well, the behavior itself is pointless and really annoying... so yeah, the name is negative in its connotation... but I don't believe that it's racially negative, so much as it's just negative by virtue of what it is, and happens to be specific to race. If it was just specific to sex, for example, it'd be a question of "is it sexist" or whatever. The negativity isn't being directed at the race, just the behavior.

EDIT: The term is as readily and widely used and embraced by people of the same particular race, as anyone else. And i'm not talking about when a group embraces a racial slur so that they can own it and lessen its effect, I mean they use it to complain in the exact same way as anyone else. So... from that standpoint, it doesn't seem that it could be racist... and yet, it just feels wrong.

Last edited by analog; 01-05-2008 at 07:00 AM..
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The main question is why does it bother you?
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
The main question is why does it bother you?
I don't honestly know. I think it's more that it strikes me as insensitive, even though it IS totally annoying.

My broader curiosity was with whether or not you all might think it seemed racist or not, based on the situation. Also, because racial stereotypes are just that- stereotypes... my other curiosity was what if it wasn't a stereotype... what if it was absolutely the case, just one group... would it be wrong, then, or just being realistic?
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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This one's a tough one.

Not medical, but behavioral. So not something like postpartum depression, which is experienced by a very specific demographic of one gender, ie: some women who have recently given birth.

But rather something like... like totally... like... uh... duh! speaking like a valley girl?! :chomp on gum: There's something that's behavioral and gender specific. But not so much ethnically based. It's not sexist to say someone talks like a valley girl, but it is rude.

On a personal, daily basis, saying what is most polite is going to be the easiest way to deal with this one.

On a community level, the question of assigning the term as racist does not need to be addressed. Rather, finding if people are negatively affected by the name. Does it have the same effects as a slur... questions like this.

Mostly, it is the attitude of the person using the word, as Robot_Parade said, that makes the difference. Words are just noises unless we assign them further meaning.


To the Op - I think you're being too vague for us to give a specific response. Laying out a practical scenario for us, and utilizing a different term might help us understand what you're getting at. Also, do you want to be able to say to these people: "Hey man, you're being racist." The way you're presenting the issue, it sounds more as though it's a philosophical question.
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:01 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Racism means you believe that one race is better than another. Noticing this occurance and even making up a name for it isn't racist until you start believing that your race is better than the other.
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hang on... So when the term is used, it's used to describe the behavior, and the description includes the racial identity that is commonly correlated with the behavior? So it's not an epithet for a person, but rather a term for the behavior?

I know you don't want to spread it, analog, and I respect that, but this discussion would be much clearer if you told us the term.
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Be more fun to play a guessing game.

Brown sugar, for a diabetic emergency?
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Shooting up schools and cannibalizing neighborhood teens seems to be almost exclusively a white guy kinda thang. Still, I wouldn't like it if serial killing became known as whiteboy psychosis.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aladdin Sane
Shooting up schools and cannibalizing neighborhood teens seems to be almost exclusively a white guy kinda thang. Still, I wouldn't like it if serial killing became known as whiteboy psychosis.
Crazy killer cracker is the medical term though on the street its KKK.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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This is quite a fun game. Let's guess what slur you are thinking of. I love GenuineGirly's Valley Girl guess. That is quite annoying. Also the Crazy killer cracker is awesome, haven't heard it, but will definitely use it whenever watching a B-horror flick.

I like ghetto mentality. The women have a definite stereotype and the men, if they aren't incarcerated have a habit of shooting dice in front of the liquor store and shouting out profanities followed by cracker or nigga depending on the color of the person passing by.

Also, fairy is another one that paints a picture. Those guys are my favorite type of people. I miss having my fairy friends. They're awesome drama queens and great to have around when getting dressed for a night out since they have style sense and are brutally honest while calling you darling and using words such as fabulous.

Accountants...now there is one that is the quiet, geeky type of guy. Very serious and not so much fun to hang around.

Ooo, then there are the suburban soccer moms. You know what I'm talking about. High waisted, taper legged jeans (aka mommy jeans), big poofy hair, and what is first on their priority list? The children of course. Usually seen in a huge SUV or a Town and Country van (aka Mom Taxi) driving her kids to a million extra-curricular events because their children are geniuses and need to be well-rounded. They have a happy exterior, but are bitter inside of all they have missed out on, although they will never admit that.

Those are my guesses. Am I racist? Meh, I think everyone has stereotypes because humans tend to think in terms of connections and groupings. To better understand the world around us, we make categories for everything to fit in. Are they true? Well, not everyone fits in a neat little category. Get to know the people and then decide.

Oh me? Well, I'm the teacher of course. I spend hours doing cutesy shit and love apples. Teddy bears make me melt. I wear denim jumpers and tend to be very frumpy. I would never use profanity, in fact I'm quite prim and proper. Kids are my business and gee aren't they precious. Yep, that's me...I'm a stereotypical, white teacher.
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Last edited by shesus; 01-05-2008 at 09:48 AM..
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Self-induced stereotypes help perpetuate racism.

"Only disgruntled white teenagers get mohawks."

"Only shady black drug dealers have dreadlocks."

"Only Republicans have McDuh comb-overs."

"Only Jewish girls have those '50s afros."

etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shesus
I wear denim jumpers and tend to be very frumpy.
HOT!

...

Yeah, you're starting to sound like a sardonic Micheal Douglas in Falling Down, Shesus.
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Last edited by Plan9; 01-05-2008 at 09:49 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Crompsin, what the hell kind of stereotypes are those?

"Only Crompsins have plastic crotches."

There, take that.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:17 AM   #20 (permalink)
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OK I did a bad, bad thing by derailing a serious thread.

Its a gift.

But back to analog's real question.

Yes I'm sure its racist if you are this uncomfortable with it.

But thats not all bad.

Sometimes you do need to dehumanize your job in medicine, otherwise you take everyones problems home with you. Its easy to SAY the patient is the one with the disease, but it can get to you.

So the issue is, does it hurt anyone calling it whatever it is, what you call it, whatever that is?

If not, let it go.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:01 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Is the term "white trash"?
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:37 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpinJesus
Crompsin, what the hell kind of stereotypes are those?

"Only Crompsins have plastic crotches."
Those are hair stereotypes! Jeez.

...

Leave my smooth spot out of this!
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:35 PM   #23 (permalink)
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is it an 'arab back'?

cos theres lots of bad arab backs back in oz, hoping to get compensation, or better yet the disability pension and a commision house.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:53 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I am uncertain precisely what you are trying to clarify. A key thing would be to separate what is a cultural trait though. If someone were to say most Somali's wash their feet before prayer that would be true, yet it is still a "behavior" now if someone said all Somalis are uneducated that would be a stereotype.

Disclaimer: Somali was the first item that popped into my head. I have no issues with any race, religion etc...
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Old 01-05-2008, 01:04 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I have no idea how to respond usefully to this thread without a concrete example of what you're talking about analog. If you're talking about the Haitian Tremble...and Haitians really do tremble when they're scared or something...I'm not sure I see the real problem. If you're talking about the Nigger Fart or the Wetback Whimper, I think it's probably going to be racist even if black people really do pass gas or Mexicans really do make low keening noises in difficult situations.
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Old 01-05-2008, 02:41 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shesus
Ooo, then there are the suburban soccer moms. You know what I'm talking about. High waisted, taper legged jeans (aka mommy jeans), big poofy hair, and what is first on their priority list? The children of course. Usually seen in a huge SUV or a Town and Country van (aka Mom Taxi) driving her kids to a million extra-curricular events because their children are geniuses and need to be well-rounded. They have a happy exterior, but are bitter inside of all they have missed out on, although they will never admit that.
Ew, gross-out! lol

Quote:
Oh me? Well, I'm the teacher of course. I spend hours doing cutesy shit and love apples. Teddy bears make me melt. I wear denim jumpers and tend to be very frumpy. I would never use profanity, in fact I'm quite prim and proper. Kids are my business and gee aren't they precious. Yep, that's me...I'm a stereotypical, white teacher.
Man, I laughed for like 10 minutes when I read this.

Also: note for pig, and others: the term itself does not contain any racial slurs or epithets.

I think I've decided it's more like it feels unnecessarily insensitive, even though the practice IS really annoying... and the whole race thing is just because it pertains to one race. Most of the reason I didn't mention the name of the thing is because my larger interest was in whether or not people would find it acceptable to label if a stereotype wasn't a stereotype, but actually true.

I like the responses.

Last edited by analog; 01-05-2008 at 02:44 PM..
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:08 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I have no clue to what you refer.

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Old 01-05-2008, 03:20 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shesus
Oh me? Well, I'm the teacher of course. I spend hours doing cutesy shit and love apples. Teddy bears make me melt. I wear denim jumpers and tend to be very frumpy. I would never use profanity, in fact I'm quite prim and proper. Kids are my business and gee aren't they precious. Yep, that's me...I'm a stereotypical, white teacher.
Mom???

(Mother's a teacher. Father's a Professor. 2 Aunts, 2 Uncles teachers, plus one aunt a teacher's aid.. One Grandmother, the other was a school lunch lady. Married a teacher. Mother in Law is a teacher.)
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:32 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog
To preface: I don't agree with using any particular label or blanket description for anyone or any behavior, no matter how strong the stereotype seems to be.

Here's the beef, and I'm staying as broad and generic as humanly possible, specifically because it's not about which race it is, or even the term being used- which itself is not racist, but seems vaguely so, based on usage.

Say there is one particular race of people- be it white, black, asian, hispanic, indian, native american, eskimo, whatever... and that one particular race of people is notorious for one specific medical presentation. Now, I'm not talking about a disease that preys on certain ethnicities, like sickle cell or something. I'm talking about a behavioral pattern... a very specific behavior/medical issue (which is not a true condition, problem, disease, or other ailment, but purely in their mind) that ONLY one particular race exhibits. Literally only one. Ever. And it's very, very common in that one race.

If there was a sort of colloquial term coined to describe this one behavior by this one specific group of people, the term itself being a play on words of the race... would that be racist? Or would it simply be an observation of reality?

I wrestle with this a little because there's a very common term used to describe one particular type of behavior by one specific group of people- even more pointedly, of one gender. And these people are the ONLY people who exhibit this behavior, period.

And I wonder if it's a little racist to have adopted a term which so clearly labels them based on their ethnicity and their habitual issue, or if it's simply a matter of being realistic. I mean... they ARE the only ones who do it.

I'm sorry I won't be less vague, but I have no desire to spread this term... and this question is more of a broad question anyway. If it's actually, really true... not stereotype or hyperbole, but actually TRUE... is it racist, or just reality?
/me confronts the 900 lb gorilla in the room...


analog, what the hell are you talking about?
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:39 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog
Most of the reason I didn't mention the name of the thing is because my larger interest was in whether or not people would find it acceptable to label if a stereotype wasn't a stereotype, but actually true.
So if it is fact and everyone in that culture, gender, and/or race does it, I don't know what you are talking about. Is it a way of walking? Is it that French people speak French? That is quite annoying.

If it is generally true for a group and you are putting that standard on them, you are stereotyping them. For example: People at the gym wear sweats. Now, while many people or most people wear sweats to the gym, there is always going to be someone that doesn't. Some women wear skirts to the gym, like tennis skirts.

Is it a religious practice? Is it old people driving? Is it white trash drinking cheap beer, sitting on furniture in front of their trailer, and wearing over-sized cartoon t-shirts or wife-beaters while using the word ain't for any linking and helping verb?

While some people fit that (my cousin and her husband are the latter), it isn't absolute...nothing in life fits in a neat little category that's what makes it so interesting. There is always going to be at least one person to break the rule. Everyone has prejudice thoughts involving stereotypes. It's not a bad thing unless one is ignorant and actually believes that it is absolute instead of based on one's own experiences, which in most cases are very narrow segments of the world.

If you feel that calling it a name or referring to it is wrong, then don't. Just tell us already and we can call you a racist bastard or just tell you to get over it. Or are you scared?
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:23 PM   #31 (permalink)
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You're concerned enough that you won't post "it".

You won't post it because of the risk that it is offensive to post it specifically for discussion of the only subject of the thread.

So, there's nothing to discuss, unless we post guesses until you reply, that's it, you've got it.

Either that, or you've already answered your own question, you only have to accept your own answer, as being the right one for you.
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:27 PM   #32 (permalink)
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sometimes, actually quite frequently, i love me some host.
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:32 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:14 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Stereotypes are such because of a common link, albeit the lowest common denominator for any particular group. The stereotypical Jewish mother hovers and meddles, the stereotypical Italian mother overfeeds her kids, Asians can't drive, etc. Those are based on ignorance and gross over-generalizations.
If you are on call and a member of that particular race exhibits that behavior while being tended to, it is probably best to stick to off-the-books protocol and just go ahead and say "Mrs.O'Malley is exhibiting Irish Soda Bread behavior" than have to go into some unique description.
You know what you believe; there sometimes has to a compromise between personal belief and on the job behavior. If, on the other hand, comrades use the "Irish Soda Bread" call because they themselves are bigots, you have no reason to follow suit. Every culture has a uniqueness to it that becomes even more prominant in dire times and while the exact type of wording isn't apparent, time and experience will show what can be accepted and what just "isn't right".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shesus
Also, fairy is another one that paints a picture. Those guys are my favorite type of people. I miss having my fairy friends. They're awesome drama queens and great to have around when getting dressed for a night out since they have style sense and are brutally honest while calling you darling and using words such as fabulous.
Oh, I love having gay guys around! Even my interior design instructor (a woman), said if we ever want to hire a designer, get a gay guy! They are brutally honest, but with flair!
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:19 PM   #35 (permalink)
 
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Guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses..

Maybe the op was a veiled thread to get us to come up with our own
cross-eyed cultural nonsense...

hmmmmm...

Questions for the questioner in question...

A typical stereotype is a grain of truth, exaggerated and rigidly applied..

All mimsy were the borogoves...
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:44 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
Asians can't drive, etc. Those are based on ignorance and gross over-generalizations.
That last one seems to hold up pretty well in the greater DC area.
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:08 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tophat665
That last one seems to hold up pretty well in the greater DC area.
+1
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:25 PM   #38 (permalink)
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White trash is my guess.

And I'm fine with it, because.. well, white is a modifier of trash.

White trash, black trash, asian trash.
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:29 PM   #39 (permalink)
I Confess a Shiver
 
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White trash honky cracker mofos!

YEAH!

You know hatin' on paleface gets me riled up.
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:30 PM   #40 (permalink)
I'll ask when I'm ready....
 
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Location: Firmly in the middle....
If you read this thread closely, there seems to be a social studies lesson buried within.

Interesting to note, it *seems* that we're tap-dancing around the term in question. Only one person in this thread has posted the term I think the OP had in mind, and it hasn't been repeated yet.

But to the OP, I would say this.....Imagine using your "term" in a crowded room. Would you be embarrassed or feel the need to explain/apologize? If yes, then I'd probably let your freshly coined verbage die a quiet death.
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