Monday, October 11, 2010

Yet Another Interesting Post by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I just noticed this interesting post over at Ta-Nehisi Coates blog over at The Atlantic.  I think that his question is an interesting one:  when there are no black people around to say one way or another, what would it take for a white person to call another white person a racist?  It is an interesting question.


Clancy said...

I'm not sure what Coates is asking is "what would it take for a white person to call another white person a racist?" but rather, "what it means among white people to be considered a racist"? The two are certainly related, but not the same thing.

For example, there are numerous actions/sentiments which I (as a white person) would consider racist, but which would rarely lead to me calling the offending (white) person a racist. Mostly this is because calling someone out on their racism is usually a conversation killer. Basically, white folks rightfully recognize that racist = bad and therefore don't much appreciate drawing attention to the fact that they just said/did something racist. They don't like thinking of themselves as a bad person.

Personally, I think white people are just a tad too touchy on the subject. It would probably help if most just saw their ingrained racism as something to learn from and overcome, rather than as a defining characteristic. But, that is asking a lot from people.

hscfree said...

When I ask the question, I am thinking about things I've heard Limbaugh say, for example, that just screams racist to me. But, I have a friend who listens to, and I assume likes, Limbaugh, who swears that Limbaugh has said nothing remotely racist to him. That applies to some of the things I saw in the signs at tea party Republican gatherings, but white conservatives, specifically, that I know think that people like me a chasing phantoms. I will hazard that that is a part of the basis for the question that Coates is raising.