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Treasured Social Butterfly
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Re: The polite way to call someone a racist

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Message 41 of 46

It’s a classic misuse of the term “race-baiting,” a phrase used against those who dare to speak candidly about racism in America. In the Obama era, the right has embraced the term as a way of discrediting black people.

 

Right-wing outlets like the Drudge Report, Fox News and the National Review use the term “race-baiting” frequently and liberally. Drudge conveniently catalogs its use of the term for its readers.

 

Even when media outlets aren’t using the term “race-baiting” they find ways to allude to it and distract from what’s really being said

 

If you're confused about what race-baiting is, here's a bit of context

 

 


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
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Valued Social Butterfly
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Re: The polite way to call someone a racist

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Message 42 of 46

Strange anyone would object to one more little barb, having already swallowed hook, line and sinker from Fox et al. Do they really think exposing racism is "baiting"? (or is that just what the GOPerLords told them to think?)

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Re: The polite way to call someone a racist

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Message 43 of 46

Have you been "baited"?  How?


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
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Respected Social Butterfly
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Re: The polite way to call someone a racist

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Message 44 of 46
Y'all are race baiters... this fish ain't taking it.

"My AR self identifies as a Musket
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Re: The polite way to call someone a racist

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Message 45 of 46

If a racist has their racism on display or is trying to rationalize it to others, why would there be a need to be polite...they are certainly not being polite...and their message is intentional. 

Or is there polite racism that should admired or respected?

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The polite way to call someone a racist

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Message 46 of 46

The polite way to call someone a racist

 

(CNN)In a classic Monty Python skit, an angry man walks into a pet shop carrying the stiffened corpse of a parrot nailed to its perch.

 
The man complains that the bird he purchased is dead, but the shop owner keeps insisting the parrot may be exhausted or prefers reclining on its back.
 
A surreal argument ensues as the shop owner keeps responding with a line that has now become synonymous with refusing to see the obvious:
 
"No, no, he's not dead, he's resting."
 
Could a similar refusal to name the obvious be at work in the way people talk about race virtually every day?
 
A new language of racial tiptoeing has emerged in recent years, and some say it may be edging close to the linguistic absurdity of the dead parrot skit. It's a racial doublespeak that sometimes evades more than explains.
 
It's a tendency to call out someone or something as racist but to avoid mentioning the actual words "racist" or "racism" while doing so.
 
This doublespeak seems to have spread everywhere.
 
People don't say racism put President Donald Trump in office; they use a term like "racial anxiety" or "racial resentment." If a white politician running for governor warns voters that they may "monkey this up" by electing his black opponent, that's not racist; that's "racially charged." White Americans who are uncomfortable with a changing culture or who believe they're left behind while minority groups get ahead aren't exhibiting racism; that's "racialized economics."
 
There's a buffet of racial euphemisms that awaits anyone shopping for a more polite word for racism. There's "racially freighted" for venomous anti-immigrant remarks. And white voters who resent demographic changes aren't motivated by racism; they're driven by "ethno-nationalism" or "white nativism."
 
Why are these racial euphemisms spreading?
 
Do we need them to avoid offending people and to give nuance to a complex topic? Or do they sometimes reinforce racism instead of calling it out?
 
That's the question I posed to people who fall on different sides of this trend. Some say we don't call out racism by name enough, while others say we do it too much.
 
This language may be new, but it reflects an old social taboo that discourages many Americans from talking directly about race, especially many white progressives, says Robin DiAngelo, author of "White Fragility."
 
The result is that many end up "talking in ridiculous circles" to avoid actually using the words
"racist" or "racism."
 
"You get this dynamic where nobody wants to come out and call it what it is," DiAngelo says. "White progressives are the worst. Our identity is very much rooted in being a nonracist. We really dance around it and avoid ever connecting ourselves to it."
 
The irony is that people who refuse to use plain language while calling out racism are inadvertently reinforcing it, DiAngelo says.
 
"You actually end up protecting it when you don't name it," she says. "That's one of its means of operation -- to remain unnamed and unmarked."
 
He's not a 'racist,' he's a 'racialist'

 

I first became aware of this racial doublespeak when I heard someone describe another person not as a racist but as a "racialist."
 
I'd never heard the word before. I looked it up and it is an actual word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It's a person who believes that "race determines human traits and capacities." That was my first of many forays into the world of racial doublespeak.
 
Now, using euphemisms is not inherently wrong; sometimes it's the right thing to do. People might say someone "passed away" instead of "died" to soften the pain when talking to relatives.
 
But there's something about race that brings out the need to reach for the euphemisms. Consider
anti-Semitism as a comparison.
 
How many different words are there to describe anti-Semitism? Whether someone paints a swastika on a synagogue wall or a nation murders millions of Jews, people normally describe these events as driven by anti-Semitism. People see anti-Semitism in events big and small -- it all springs from the same poisonous well.
 
Why isn't racism perceived the same way? Why so many different terms for a sentiment that springs from the same place?
 
Perhaps it's because people are still negotiating what racism means.
 
Using "racism" is the verbal equivalent of the nuclear option, says George Lakoff, author of "Don't Think of an Elephant!" a book that explains how language frames political debates.
 
Lakoff says it's appropriate to use phrases like "racial resentment" because "racism has many manifestations." But using a blunt word like "racism" or "racist" can inflame rather than explain.
 
"They're fighting words," he says. "If you're going to get away from these fighting words and say that there's a particular aspect of race involved here, you don't want to say racist."
 
She won't play the racist guessing game
 
But some scholars who study language and race say there's another reason to avoid using those
words:
 
Most people use them in the wrong way.
 
They think racism is about bad people who are intentionally mean to people of other races. That's all.
 
But some who study racism say it's more like an iceberg -- 90% of it is submerged.
 
They say it's not just about white hoods and racial slurs. Racism is a system of advantage that's based on race. It does most of its damage below the waterline: a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets people of color; students of color who are punished at a higher rate than their white peers; mortgage lenders that discriminate against Latino and black borrowers; job-seekers with "white-sounding" names who get more callbacks than those with "black-sounding" names.
 
The iceberg metaphor is what Jennifer Roth-Gordon invokes when talking about racism. She's a linguistic and cultural anthropologist at the University of Arizona who teaches students about race. She tries to avoid using terms like "racist" or "racism."
 
She says they shift the conversation back to people obsessing over individual behavior -- whether some person said or did something racist.
 
"When people are protesting racism with signs about love, they're playing into the game of people who want to define racism as hate," she says. "It sets this incredibly high bar for what it means to be racist: It has to be intentional. That's the top of the iceberg."

 

When people are protesting racism with signs about love, they're playing into the game of people who want to define racism as hate. It sets this incredibly high bar for what it means to be racist: It has to be intentional.

 

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, a linguistic anthropologist at the University of Arizona

 
Roth-Gordon prefers using more nuanced terms, like "racial anxiety" or "racial bias." It makes people less defensive and broadens the meaning of racism.
 
It also avoids what she calls the racist "guessing game," says Roth-Gordon, who explores racism and language in her book, "Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro."
 
That's the game where the public obsesses over some individual getting caught committing some crude racial offense. Focus on that type of racism and you don't have to talk about the racism below the surface that many whites benefit from, she says.
 
"It's safe for white people to play this racist guessing game," she says. "They like the idea that
there is some kind of meter or test and some kind of measure that once they start pulling up some of these other examples, they can safely say, 'I would never do that.'"
 

"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
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