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Do black people scare you? - Page 30

Poll Results: Do Black People Scare You?

 
  • 5% (77)
    Yes they do
  • 7% (114)
    Only black men or big black people
  • 66% (1003)
    Of course not that's just racist
  • 21% (324)
    other
1518 Total Votes  
post #581 of 1220
Wow. Old thread.



One of the most disturbing threads ever on this board.




Disturbing but necessary.

post #582 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamicdoula View Post
Do it, do it!! If you don't, I will.
Heck no, it would probably be deemed OFFENSIVE! Did you miss the poll that showed how...um un-diverse MDC is?
post #583 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrodjm View Post
Heck no, it would probably be deemed OFFENSIVE! Did you miss the poll that showed how...um un-diverse MDC is?
And of course there'd never been any offensive postings on MDC......
post #584 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldadeedlit View Post
This is exactly how I feel. I grew up in a predominantly white area and I just feel weird interacting with most black people, like just really awkward and afraid I will say or do something wrong.

I am not picking on you but I guess I really don't understand this thought process. I have a Mama buddy IRL who says stuff like this and says she sometimes doesn't know what to say to be because I am Black : . Its crazy to me because I am a college educated Black woman who is middle class with 2 kids and for a white college educated middle class woman with a child to tell me she is scared to offend me just seems crazy.

I think its especially harder to grasp because as Black people we are forced to live in a world where most of us must interact with Whites on some level (work, school, etc) so must get used to whites but the fact that whites must never get used to Blacks is just crazy to me. Its like we must assimilate to your culture but it does not work in reverse.

Regarding the big Black women are not scary thought, wow that just totally plays into the Mammy mystique of Black women. : Its the kind of stuff that definitely factors into why seeing a Black woman NIP is a touchy issue.

Shay
post #585 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Its crazy to me because I am a college educated Black woman who is middle class with 2 kids and for a white college educated middle class woman with a child to tell me she is scared to offend me just seems crazy.
It is crazy, isn't it? I can't speak for everyone who posted that they feel this way, but I can tell you about my own personal craziness.
I know that in school, we were constantly being bombarded with how we should be tolerant of others who were different (and yes, they hit on race more often than any other difference). I don't know about everyone, but I internalized this as the idea that something I said could seriously hurt another person's feelings, and so that made me almost afraid to say anything. And not just for people who may happen to be of another race but for those who are handicapped, people who may be gay or lesbian (my pediatrician is a gay man, and I think he is one of the most wonderful people on the planet, and the greatest doctor we've ever had, but I still leave every visit wondering what, if anything, I may have said that was offensive).
Do I let this stop me from interacting- no. Do I realize that its totally crazy- absolutely. But I don't know how to stop it.
Call it a personality quirk, a product of our politically correct society, whatever. It drives me nuts, but its still there.
post #586 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by blsilva View Post
It is crazy, isn't it? I can't speak for everyone who posted that they feel this way, but I can tell you about my own personal craziness.
I know that in school, we were constantly being bombarded with how we should be tolerant of others who were different (and yes, they hit on race more often than any other difference). I don't know about everyone, but I internalized this as the idea that something I said could seriously hurt another person's feelings, and so that made me almost afraid to say anything. And not just for people who may happen to be of another race but for those who are handicapped, people who may be gay or lesbian (my pediatrician is a gay man, and I think he is one of the most wonderful people on the planet, and the greatest doctor we've ever had, but I still leave every visit wondering what, if anything, I may have said that was offensive).
Do I let this stop me from interacting- no. Do I realize that its totally crazy- absolutely. But I don't know how to stop it.
Call it a personality quirk, a product of our politically correct society, whatever. It drives me nuts, but its still there.
I never voted in the first poll, and would have voted no if I had. That being said, what blsilva said really resonated with me. Not because I am afraid of the person, but because I don't want to hurt any feelings. It seems the more I learn about institutionalized racism, the more I second guess myself. Wondering what I've absorbed that is racist that I don't even know. I think discussions like this are absolutely wonderful, because I've learned so much, but still feel I have a long way to go. So I have been sitting back listening a lot.
post #587 of 1220
Granted, I haven't read the whole thread, but ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrodjm View Post
I wonder what would happen if someone started a "are you afraid of white people?" thread...
The thing is, for me, being caught alone in parking lots or dark streets with otherwise normal-acting white men can make me nervous in a way that I wouldn't be with anyone else acting normally. So that's my own race/gender combo issue. And it makes it hard for me to come down on people for their own different issues. Some people might say (and I've heard many do so) that my issue comes from a more realistic threat of harrassment as someone generally deemed "ethnic" myself, but come on ... I've never had anyone come after me for anything in all my life. Irrational fear is irrational fear, but at the same time because I am capable of having an irrational fear I can see it from the perspective of saying that dismissing it as just sad or sickening and ignorant and not seriously addressing what remains culturally wrong to encourage such fears (pervasive senses of 'otherness') only serves to sustain them.
post #588 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post

I think its especially harder to grasp because as Black people we are forced to live in a world where most of us must interact with Whites on some level (work, school, etc) so must get used to whites but the fact that whites must never get used to Blacks is just crazy to me. Its like we must assimilate to your culture but it does not work in reverse.
Thanks for saying that, Shay. That's an element of my white privilege I had never seen spelled out so clearly. :

White people can choose to deal with their racism, and if they feel unfamiliar with "the other", they can choose to stick their fingers in their ears and go LA LA LA! Black people can't. They don't have the choice to pretend that white people don't exist or don't have to be communicated with. And if they do anyway, it suddenly is "reverse racism."
post #589 of 1220
I will admit...and this is pathetic, but I will say it anyway - that when I'm around people of color, I have a bad tendency to try to act - I don't know, cooler? More aware? Or something? Like "HEY LOOK AT ME! I'M WHITE BUT I SURE DO LOVE DIVERSITY!" I think I try harder to impress people of color. Which is not cool - I should just treat everyone the same way, but having been raised in such a white area, surrounded by bigots, and spending most of my life getting in fights about it, it's like I want to wear a shirt that says "I'M NOT LIKE THEM." Sigh.
post #590 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by simonee View Post
Thanks for saying that, Shay. That's an element of my white privilege I had never seen spelled out so clearly. :

White people can choose to deal with their racism, and if they feel unfamiliar with "the other", they can choose to stick their fingers in their ears and go LA LA LA! Black people can't. They don't have the choice to pretend that white people don't exist or don't have to be communicated with. And if they do anyway, it suddenly is "reverse racism."
Yes, exactly...thank you Shay. I hope this clarity rings soundly out to the rest of the posters on this thread.
post #591 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
I think its especially harder to grasp because as Black people we are forced to live in a world where most of us must interact with Whites on some level (work, school, etc) so must get used to whites but the fact that whites must never get used to Blacks is just crazy to me. Its like we must assimilate to your culture but it does not work in reverse.
But there's another side of that - as white people, we don't GET to assimilate into black culture even if we want to. Not if you live in a place like I do (and if I'm not mixing you up with someone else, you live in Maine, so you know exactly what I'm talking about). Wanting to be comfortable around black people is not the same thing as being able to, not when I work in a building with about 300 other white people, 3 or 4 Native Americans, and maybe, every once in a while, one black guy in another department. When my husband's circle of friends, several dozen people, is 100% white, and my in-laws' circle, even larger, is also 100% white.

I compare this, and my school experience (where there was a higher percentage of black students, but it was one of those voluntary segregation situations, where the black kids only had black friends and the white kids only had white friends), to my experience in college with friends in the Chinese community. It happened that the music school at my university was dominated by several teachers from China, who also attracted a number of students from China, and so there was a sizable Chinese population in the music school. Half my brother's friends were Chinese. Maybe 30% of the orchestra was Chinese. I hung out with Chinese people all day. I learned things about their experiences immigrating to the US as children, or about coming here as foreign students, and the culture clashes they faced. I learned to tell the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese by the sound of the language. I learned about Chinese culture and cuisine and family traditions.

So when I meet a new person who is Chinese, I am not at all nervous. I'm not nervous that I'll offend them by mistaking them for a different ethnicity, for instance (because I can *tell* they're not Japanese, or Korean, or whatever). I know not to use the term "Oriental" or make comments stereotyping submissive Asian women or Chinese math geniuses, or whatever. I'm not afraid of saying the wrong thing, because I'm on familiar ground.

With black people, I'm not on familiar ground. I'm running through hundreds of years of unpleasant history in my head. I'm thinking, "my ancestors *owned* people like your ancestors - are you thinking about that too?" I'm thinking about books I've read by Richard Wright and James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison, wondering how I can ever behave appropriately toward someone whose cultural history is so different from mine, and so tied up in oppression by the people in *my* cultural history. I'm thinking about threads like this one, and wondering, "am I behaving like one of those ignorant white people I keep reading complaints about on MDC?"

I don't think it's any accident that the one black friend I've had grew up in a small rural town in Oklahoma, where they were the only black family in town. She was used to putting white people at ease, and it was easy for her to laugh off my neuroses about race relations. I don't mean to imply that this is a burden that *should* fall on the black friend in a relationship - only that I was lucky enough to meet a friend who could put up with my issues in that department.

Incidentally, I saw this same kind of situation from the other side when I dated a German guy (my family is Jewish and lost members to the Holocaust). His family didn't know how to react to me. I could tell they were trying to be friendly, and scared to death of saying something offensive, at the same time. I could practically hear them thinking, "what do I say to a Jew?! does she hate us? does she still blame us for Hitler?"

It's hard, on either side. I don't know how to get past it. I wish I did, but I don't. Sometimes I think all I can do is try to raise my children to have healthier views than I do.
post #592 of 1220
Seeing as I am married to a black man I would hope not :
post #593 of 1220
Haven't been here for months, somthing made me wander over today and, boy, am I glad to see this thread alive again.

Thanks, kama, for bumping it.
post #594 of 1220
Black men have been overwhelmingly the people who will hit on me out in public (something that has happened extreemly rarely in my life), so who am I to get scared? more likely flattered

Seriously, I have been scared more times by a creepy white person, so I guess that sticks in my head more... just someone's race doesn't scare me.
post #595 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
I am not picking on you but I guess I really don't understand this thought process. I have a Mama buddy IRL who says stuff like this and says she sometimes doesn't know what to say to be because I am Black : . Its crazy to me because I am a college educated Black woman who is middle class with 2 kids and for a white college educated middle class woman with a child to tell me she is scared to offend me just seems crazy.


Shay
It may seem crazy to you, but I totally get it.
Here is my earliest "race" story:
I was in elementary school in the early 70's in a fairly progressive Los Angeles school. In first grade I sat by a boy who had the coolest puffy hair. Being a rather impulsive 6 year old, I couldn't resist touching it (remember Ramona the Pest and Susan with the "boing boing curls?") He didn't want me touching his hair because I was a girl and girls had cooties. It became a silly game for a while, me trying to touch his hair, him yelling at me to leave him alone. The game ended rather abruptly when the assistant teacher called me aside and lectured me sternly on respecting people and respecting differences and how just because he was black and had different hair than I did, it didn't give me the right to make fun of him. I was baffled and mortified. He certainly didn't look "black" to me, he was light brown. I liked his hair, and I liked our games, just as I liked being silly with lots of kids in the class. But suddenly I had to figure out what was different about him and the assistant teacher that made her get mad at me. I hate to say it, but I became a little "afraid" of him after that, and other kids that looked different than me - because suddenly I started wondering if there were other rules I didn't know about that would make someone mad at me.
post #596 of 1220
queenbee, "Impulsive" or not, keeping on doing something when someone tells you not to is, in my books, bullying. It isn't "being silly", especially when the recipient of the unwanted attention isn't one of one's friends. In addition, your confusion and your assumption that you'd have done this to a white person with curly hair notwithstanding, you weren't respecting differences. When white people tell me that they are fascinated by black hair, I often direct them to this site And from her home site, one can access the shop which has a number of apt t-shirts, etc.

I understand that you were bewildered at the age of 6, however, long, long before the age of six, black children are starkly aware of how they can be targets for behaviour like this. It is a great shame that the adults around you didn't know to educate you on this at the same age as black children were learning the hard way.

Just for the record, I'm white.
post #597 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by sohj View Post
queenbee, "Impulsive" or not, keeping on doing something when someone tells you not to is, in my books, bullying. It isn't "being silly", especially when the recipient of the unwanted attention isn't one of one's friends. In addition, your confusion and your assumption that you'd have done this to a white person with curly hair notwithstanding, you weren't respecting differences. When white people tell me that they are fascinated by black hair, I often direct them to this site And from her home site, one can access the shop which has a number of apt t-shirts, etc.

I understand that you were bewildered at the age of 6, however, long, long before the age of six, black children are starkly aware of how they can be targets for behaviour like this. It is a great shame that the adults around you didn't know to educate you on this at the same age as black children were learning the hard way.

Just for the record, I'm white.
You're making some interesting assumptions here. We were friends - in that casual way that comes from being first grade table-mates. He teased me, I teased him. There was a lot of "eeek! girls have cooties!" "no - boys have cooties!" stuff, but we had fun together. "Unwanted attention?" "bullying?" Do you remember being six? (And for the record, I had blonde braids that got tugged at many many times.)

The teacher interpreted my touching his hair as an issue of race, but not vice-versa.

It wasn't "hey kids...we all need to remember to keep our hands to ourselves" or "lets save our sillies for the playground." It was "because he's black, your interaction with him is different than with another boy at your table."

The teacher had her own adult filter developed through her experiences as a black woman, and I won't say that it was right or wrong. It just was what it was. The irony is, that by trying to raise my awareness, she planted a fear where none existed before. NOT a fear of black people, to answer the original question, but a fear of offending - and a sense that of all our many many many differences as humans, the most pressing difference is race. I don't know what the answer is.

AND I'm not saying "poor me" at all. Hell, I know I lead a life of white privelege. I'm just explaining how when a previous poster says she can't understand why a white friend would feel "afraid of offending her" - that the fear of offending resonates with me. An ironic by-product of my education.
post #598 of 1220
I would have to say that I get afraid men in general when I am afraid of people. I am actually more afraid of wild animals in our area than I ever have been of people.

I grew up in an 99% white area and then moved to a 99% black area when I was 19 (I am white). I am glad I did because I grew up around racist people and this gave me a different (mostly positive) persepective.

I think people are afraid of
1. What they do not have experience with
2. What they have been told is bad and never questioned
post #599 of 1220
"When white people tell me that they are fascinated by black hair, I often direct them to this site And from her home site, one can access the shop which has a number of apt t-shirts, etc."


Interesting, but my point is that I *wasn't* "fascinated by black hair." I was fascinated by the hair of my table-mate. It was cool and puffy. (Really puffy - this was 1973) I was also fascinated by the girl with long red hair. It looked like Pippi Longstocking's hair. I was fascinated that my teacher (not the teaching assistant) had purple-ish hair. My mom explained that sometimes ladies with white hair use a blue rinse.

(Gee. Maybe these fascinations were early manifestations of my trichotillomania.)
post #600 of 1220
Quote:
Originally Posted by earthymama2b View Post
Hell, sometimes everybody who is (I REALLY need to learn the contractions of who) around me scares me so bad I don't NEED to EC with myself.
uhm.....kiya.... is that a typo or did you mean something else?
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