STOP RIGHT THERE. Don’t pass GO, don’t collect $200.
Despite what you may have heard on 24-hour news channels, from your friend that talks too much about politics, or from your family member that spews bullshit whenever they speak, racism still exists. It may not be as evident as lynchings in trees or water hoses being turned on people, but it’s still around.
And comments like “I’m not racist, but…” are proof that racism is alive and well. Why, you ask? Seems like the person saying that innocuous quote is going to say something NON-racist. Oh, my gullible friend. OH.
It’s funny and sad that such statements are always–ALWAYS–followed by racist bile that your cranky grandpa reserves for Thanksgiving and Black History Month. I find it interesting that people start off such dickishness with “I’m not racist, but.” It speaks to many aspects of maneuvering in modern society. Most sane people know that racism is wrong, and they know that they shouldn’t admit such things in public. Yet their struggle with hateful thoughts and feelings come out in bizarre social media posts.
The use of “I’m not racist, but” is their way of trying to excuse their unenlightened words that will follow. Above all else, people seek acceptance from their peers, and the desire to be liked is evident even as they tear down a whole race, color or nationality. It would be like saying I’m not a chauvinist but where’s my dinner, bitch! or I’m not a homophone, but gay people are yucky! YOU’RE STILL SAYING SOMETHING HATEFUL.
You can find all of this and more on social media where people feel empowered by relative anonymity to spout off hateful nonsense to questions that no one asked.
Hey, @pokefan1994, what are your thoughts on the smells in Indian restaurants? — NO ONE EVER
Im not racist, but Turbin heads like Apu be stinky always like curry! — @pokefan1994
And so on.
Thankfully, people with common sense and wit have come forward to hold up the magnifying lens on these not-so-covert bigots. Twitter accounts like Yes, You’re Racist (@YesYoureRacist) comb the social media site for posters that preface assholish comments with “I’m not racist, but…” (or similar) and call them out on their BS.
Here are some examples!
It’s a humorous yet sobering reminder that idiots don’t have filters. The best/worst thing about it is seeing their stuff put on front street, making them accountable for their horrible words.
I guess I won’t be dating Douchetin Bieber’s little sisters!
Being considered racist today is like advocating spanking or domestic abuse: you know some people are, but damn it they are going to hide it as much as possible. And yet much of the racist mess on social media stems from immature, moronic minds–mostly young. They know what they should not do, but they are not sophisticated enough to let their racism speak in other ways–like workplace hiring decisions or political discussions. And the worst punishment for their actions is having attention drawn to their hate, like when teens were disciplined after their race-baiting tweets about President Obama’s re-election were outed online. They have to LEARN to HIDE that shit!
But it also leads to an interesting question: should they have the power to say what they want on social media, even if it’s disgusting and hurtful to groups of people? Aside from the social media guidelines (that hardly anyone read) from educational institutions that hold students accountable for their actions, there are also terms of service (that hardly anyone read) that you agree to when creating your social media account.
Here’s the first item of Twitter’s terms of service:
Making people be responsible for their words? How DARE THEY.
The shield of the First Amendment’s freedom of speech that people hide behind does not always extend to private websites. And even if you can say what you want (within reason) online, you are not guaranteed to not face criticism for it. Conversing with people in the real world follows norms and rules, and shouting the damnation of a billion people would draw more than a few raised eyebrows if uttered in public.
On the same racist tip, people that claim to be racist against everyone–usually after saying something horribly racist–are equally scummy and worthy of derision. Saying you’re willfully ignorant against all people is as much of a cowardly blanket statement of “I’m not racist, but” because you’re excusing your stupid behavior and trying to shy away from responsibility. You’re just as worthless to humanity as those that are scared as being seen as racist.
So I’m all in favor for people to be held accountable for their words–online or offline. If you have the balls to say them, have the balls to not be a chickenshit by issuing the false disclaimer of “I’m not racist, but.” And don’t be surprised when that stupid thing you say is countered by a dose of societal reality. Freedom of speech, right?