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#121 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 01:06 AM
 
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From the book Cultural Etiquette: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned

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This guide is to help people avoid some of the obvious as well as not so obvious pitfalls of unwitting racism and anti-Semitism. This does not try to talk anyone out of being racist or anti-Semitic. Rather it seeks to help those with good and righteous intentions to refine behavior and attitudes bred in cultural ignorance.

Ethnocentrism, according to the Random House Dictionary of the English language, means "a tendency to view alien groups or cultures in terms of one's own" and "the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own group and culture, accompanied by a feeling of contempt for other groups and cultures."

The term "exotic," when applied to human beings, is ethnocentric and racist. It defines people of color only as we relate to white people. It implies a state of other-ness, or foreign origin, apart from the norm. It is not a compliment.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#122 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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Didn't answer my question but ok...

What about those white people who have been called exotic in their own white country?

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#123 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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I never knew there was so much to China Doll
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#124 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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What about those white people who have been called exotic in their own white country?
Musician Dad, I'm no longer posting resources in response to your questions (which I find increasingly difficult to relate to the subject at hand), but to share resources with other mothers and friends at MDC.

But is this what this frenzy of arguments is about? Your first post on this subject was that you, as white man, had once been called exotic. Are we taking away your special? Are you unsure if the compliment was really someone calling you strange, odd-looking, or out of place? Are you upset because you think we're trying to convince you that you should feel insulted rather than gifted when "exotic" was applied to your looks? Because that's not the case. You can be a beautiful, special person even if exotic is taken away. And if you want to, you can be complimented by someone calling you that. No one is trying to shame you for liking the term applied to yourself, though I could see why, after reading the history of the word and the racism often communicated through the term, you might be a little embarrassed at assuming it was always 100% positive in use.

If you'd like someone to argue with, please pick it up with someone else in the thread. I find this subject fascinating, but I'd like to discuss it with someone who discusses in a different way than you do.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#125 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Didn't answer my question but ok...

What about those white people who have been called exotic in their own white country?
What white people in their "own white country" are you referencing?

On second thought, that's a rhetorical question. I actually don't want to know.

I do think though that at this point you're actually trying to be offensive, I'm sure to a good intentioned end, but I think I've had enough too.
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#126 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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This might be veering off of the term "exotic"..but i've found as a mom parenting an AA son, that i've found myself really looking at the words i use, being more observant of the actions of those around me, etc. Take the word "monkey"...most moms refer to their kids as "little monkeys" at some point...its a totally normal thing. The climbing structure at the park is often called "the monkey bars"...no big deal. And yet, somehow, i feel weird referring to my child as "a monkey"...because i know the racist history associated with that word and how its been used to describe black people in the past (and present, unfortunately. ) I remember that years ago, the director of the local zoo got in all sorts of hot water for telling some black employees that they should "quit acting like monkeys and get to work" or some such thing. I believe the guy when he said he didnt mean anything racist by it. But there is no denying the hurt the employees felt.

I, personally, wouldnt be offended if someone made some innocent offhand comment and said my son was "acting like a monkey" but its still worthwhile IMO to kind of be sensitive to how words can offend people.

I also find the information posted, here and the other thread, about colonialism, about definitions of beauty, etc totally fascinating and helpful...i find it interesting how much attention my son got from other African-American people for his hair, and not nearly that kind of attention from white people (and i dont think "being afraid to say anything for fear of offending" can account for all of it, either)...and its also interesting how everyone seems to think he is biracial, not really because of his skin color i dont think, but because i guess he has less "typically" AA features? I dont know. But in some ways, it makes me uncomfortable, the insistence i got from family or even strangers that he is most definately biracial (when i have NO information at all to support that, his mother is AA and the impression i got from the relative we know is that it would have been unlikely that a lover of hers would not be AA, so i dont know...)

Ok, i've got a toddler trying to climb onto my laptop here, so i've lost my point, not even sure i had one to begin with?? I think i just mean that issues of race, of terminology, of history, of HAIR...LOL...its just all really deep and complicated.

Oh, and fwiw, i have never felt like i "couldnt say something" for fear of offending someone, because i did my best, with good intentions, and when i knew better, i did better, and think most people really appreciate that. No big deal.

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#127 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 02:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
What white people in their "own white country" are you referencing?

On second thought, that's a rhetorical question. I actually don't want to know.

I do think though that at this point you're actually trying to be offensive, I'm sure to a good intentioned end, but I think I've had enough too.
The white people in what is apperently a society so dominated by white view points and white ideas that anything different is rude and racist to point out.

I'm not the one saying that our society is so obsessed with being blonde and blue eyed and white.

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#128 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I choose the words I used based on the company I keep. If someone finds a term offensive then I don't use it around them.
Ahh, OK, I didn't feel like you were clear on that point, and I wasn't sure if you were making the argument that because some people of color don't have problems with it, you don't think it is offensive, period. Sorry I misunderstood.
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#129 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:12 AM
 
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I just don't think it's offensive to say something that marks someone as different in anyway.

I guess it comes from where I live. The city I live in is close to half visible minority. People here aren't afraid to be different, because everyone here is different.

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#130 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
This might be veering off of the term "exotic"..but i've found as a mom parenting an AA son, that i've found myself really looking at the words i use, being more observant of the actions of those around me, etc. Take the word "monkey"...most moms refer to their kids as "little monkeys" at some point...its a totally normal thing. The climbing structure at the park is often called "the monkey bars"...no big deal. And yet, somehow, i feel weird referring to my child as "a monkey"...because i know the racist history associated with that word and how its been used to describe black people in the past (and present, unfortunately.
I have a hard time with that too. My children are white and I refer to them as monkeys, but I tended not to do that with my sister's children who are half Nigerian. When they referred to each other as monkeys, or specifically called one of their sisters a monkey because of her climbing, mischievous ways, I tried to caution them about the term, but then I wasn't sure how far to go into it. Especially as the white adult, I didn't want to be the one telling them they can't use these terms, and then lay all this stuff on them that they weren't aware of but now maybe are feeling upset and sad about because all they hear is me saying it.
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#131 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:42 AM
 
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I guess it comes from where I live.
No, it is not where you live, unless of course you are talking about living in a position of white privilege.

I am sorry, I haven't even read this whole thread, and I am not a fan of commenting on threads I haven't read, but I just can't live with your statement here hanging around like that.

Quote:
People here aren't afraid to be different, because everyone here is different.
I am not afraid of being "marked" as different in any way, shape or form. But I am certainly not going to be happy being painted as a "strange outsider" with all its historic, living, breathing connotations...connotations sexually, in terms of trustworthiness, in terms of worth (defined as an inherent thing or as more of a relational thing...such that I have worth only or at least moreso when compared against "the usual human being"), in terms...oh, the list goes on but I bet its been covered!

And just who defines "differentness," afterall? Isn't that the position of power, to be able to define differentness?

...Ah, so we're actually back to white privilege.

Not surprising since that is the "place" you were starting from.

Okay, see now I am begining to skim backward through this thread and realize I might regret posting at all because wiser folks have realized the value of disengagement.

Alright, outie!

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#132 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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It comes from where I live because there are no "strange outsiders" and I don't understand the concept of "strange outsiders". Hell it took my friend 4 years to realize that she's never been in a class with more then one or two other white people since high school and she realized it when she was surprised to see another white person in her class.

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#133 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:53 AM
 
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Perhaps I'm just ignorant, but I had no idea that "exotic" as applied to people ALWAYS has a sexual connotation. I think I've used the word a handful of times, not within the past couple of years, and rarely was it meant in a sexual manner.
I never really thought of "exotic" having a sexual connotation either (though i've almost always heard it in reference to adult women, not children or men)...until it hit me when a poster listed synonyms for "exotic" to prove that it really just meant beautiful, that some of the words were "alluring", "glamourous" "enticing"....which have a very definite sexual tone. I mean, i wouldnt want anyone thinking my child was "alluring"...ick. It was like all the words either meant "weird" and "different" or "alluring" and "enticing" or some variation on that theme. The more i read the more i think that the word should only be used for plants and birds or something.

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#134 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 03:55 AM
 
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Because we all know plants and birds can be... alluring?

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#135 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 04:22 AM
 
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I've been lurking on these 2 threads...I have used the word exotic to describe someone to another person and did NOT mean it in a sexual way. They are just very interesting looking and that is why i used the word. If someone told me they were offended by the word i'd stop using it around THEM but not altogether because i see nothing wrong with the word

Kelly,newly single mom of four wonderful children.

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#136 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am sorry, I haven't even read this whole thread

Alright, outie!
thanks for stopping by sierra! if you get a chance, you should read the whole thread, there were a lot of interesting thoughts and resources brought to the table... it wasn't all just feisty bickering!

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#137 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 05:29 AM
 
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I'm chinese hispanic. I live in Hawaii and i have lived on the east coast, Europe and Central America, I have been told that I have an exotic look a couple of times in the US and I don't see anything wrong with it. It was from white people who have lived in generally all white communities and I guess they meant different. The intention was positive, so that's how I took it.

I don't want to start anything, this is just me and my opinion, my way of looking at things. I understand what musician dad means, I have noticed that its white people who get bent up on stuff that might be offensive. I am not saying all white people, just that the people I have met that did get hung up on things like that where always white people.( with one exception)
The fact that people where hung up on stuff only bothered me because it just always feels like they are making a big deal out of nothing. (not a fact just how I feel, don't shoot me!) I like the don't worry be happy attitude.

A little OT but one exception is my relatives who have jamaican, my cousin in particular gets a little tired of being called African American. We are all born Panamanian but she has beautiful flawlessback skin. She doesn't care if they call her black though, she just says she's never even been to Africa.

My family back in Panama from my mom's side called me china as my nickname, pronounced Cheena, since my chinese comes from my dad.
I never heard of the term China Doll, maybe someone called me that once in one of those clubs/bars I went to when traveling cross country USA. I probably didn't know what they meant and just read what they meant, and let it go at that. I don't particularly like bars but when traveling it was an intersting pit stop. I noticed no matter how "white" people warned me a place was, you bought someone a beer and they tended to forget that stuff.
I also went to school up there and a few people seemed cautious of what they said when talking to me, not really speaking freely and being themselves.

That's just me though, based on my experiences!

I think through time and use the meaning of words and the way we use them changes, so I always do my best to focus in what the message and intention is.
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#138 of 138 Old 07-03-2009, 09:01 AM
 
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Hi all. Please remember to keep the conversation focused and 'Do not post to a thread to take direct issue with a member.'

I'm locking the thread for a short while to review and be sure all is UA-cool. Thanks for your patience.

 
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