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Thread: White Victim Card

  1. #1
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    White Victim Card

    Don't quite understand this one.

    Goes like this... Someone asks a question about PoCs. Gets one opposite response to the majority. Then goes into victim mode. "I'll always be called a racist no matter what I do."

    Is there ever a way to talk them down or is this another version of "white guilt" and position of superiority?

    For me, I don't understand this position at all.

    I'm in a position of superiority on several things, but I worked my butt off to make up my deficit and though I'm not trying to pat myself on the back per se, I've gotten compliments on what I've said before. I've seen dissenting opinions from the same community, and I've always turned around and asked questions carefully on why so I can understand how it works.

    So I'd like to understand this one. What's with the victim card? Is it really that big of a deal to find out what you said was racist?

  2. #2
    I was only joking! Honest! mirandashell's Avatar
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    Because sometimes people say things from ignorance. From a lack of imagination and empathy. It's not because they are racist in the sense that they consider people of other races to be less than they are. It's because they just don't stop and think before they open their mouths. Often because they have never stopped to consider the situation very deeply.

    Then they rightly get jumped all over. But if no-one stops to explain why they are getting jumped on, they just get hurt and defensive. And that's why they play the victim card.

    It hurts to get told what you said is racist if you've never considered yourself that way. And people react to hurt with anger.

    And I guess I'm going to get jumped all over now. Which is fair enough. I'm just giving my point of view. I'm not defending the use of the victim card. Just explaining how I see it.
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  3. #3
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    There's a HUGE difference between being called racist and being told something you said is racist. It's easy for someone to think a comment or joke is funny, but then be called on it from a perspective they've never considered.

    Also, outbursts like that are often "last straw" tantrums, not actually caused by the comment that sets them off. The person in question may have been facing criticism on several fronts, maybe even for things they never intended to be hurtful, and the comment they go off on was one past their tolerance. They get defensive because they start to think that everyone's calling them a racist, when what they really mean is that their comments are racist or insensitive, etc.

    Yes, you can talk them down, but you'll likely have to wait until after the tantrum when their feathers are less ruffled and they're willing to listen rather assume intent.

  4. #4
    here and there again fadeaccompli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Udin View Post
    Don't quite understand this one.

    Goes like this... Someone asks a question about PoCs. Gets one opposite response to the majority. Then goes into victim mode. "I'll always be called a racist no matter what I do."

    Is there ever a way to talk them down or is this another version of "white guilt" and position of superiority?
    If someone's upset because they've been called racist, it's one thing.

    If someone's upset because what they said or did was called racist, that's another thing.

    If someone goes straight into "FINE I CAN'T EVER PLEASE YOU" after an instance of either of the above, they're a self-absorbed twit--at least temporarily--and there's not really any way to "fix" it, any more than you can "fix" a tantruming toddler by explaining that, no, they really can't run into traffic, it's bad for them.

    A lot of people have emotional responses to being called on having done something wrong. Which is fair! It's very human to get defensive and upset when told "You are doing something bad," whether or not one intended to do a bad thing. But mature, sensible people have several routes to respond: "Wait, why is that bad?" or "Damn, you're right, I'll be more careful," or even, "I disagree, and will not stop."

    Note that I'm not saying any of these are necessary ethical, especially the last. But they're mature responses.

    Responding to "You have done something wrong" with "I CAN NEVER PLEASE YOU WHY SHOULD I TRY" is the adolescent response of someone who doesn't want to put any effort into social interaction, and demands that they only receive pleasant responses regardless. With luck, people grow out of it. But there's no real reasoning someone out of it, because it's not a reasonable response in the first place.

    If someone responds to "That's racist" with "Wait, really? I don't think so," there's room for a conversation. If someone responds to "That's racist," with "You're just going to call me racist no matter what I do! There's no way to win! You just hate white people!", then...well. No. There is no way to talk them down. You have to wait until they grow up enough to act sensibly, and try to contain their immaturity meanwhile.

  5. #5
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Udin View Post
    Is there ever a way to talk them down or is this another version of "white guilt" and position of superiority?

    For me, I don't understand this position at all.
    Really? You don't? There's nothing to understand.

    Rachel this is a racism 101 thing.

    When you go on to add this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Udin View Post
    I'm in a position of superiority on several things, but I worked my butt off to make up my deficit and though I'm not trying to pat myself on the back per se, I've gotten compliments on what I've said before. I've seen dissenting opinions from the same community, and I've always turned around and asked questions carefully on why so I can understand how it works.
    You really do sound like you're engaging in the rhetorical practice known as apophasis, or more colloquially, self-praise in search of a cookie.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Udin View Post
    So I'd like to understand this one. What's with the victim card? Is it really that big of a deal to find out what you said was racist?
    Yes, of course, given the emotion reactions of people being told that they've been offensive or used racist language, there's obviously a logical disjunct, so much so that pretty much all 16 of the numbered points of Racism 101 linked in the stickies for this very forum, deal with this kind of knee-jerk defensive reaction.

    Fadeaccompli pretty much nailed it.

    People get defensive when called on their shit, especially when it involves a group of people, are accusations that are interpreted as calling them racist, rather then identifying offensive language and assumptions.

    What's your motivation in even asking?

    Because quite frankly, posting that question here out of context, looks a lot like baiting.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadeaccompli View Post
    If someone's upset because they've been called racist, it's one thing.

    If someone's upset because what they said or did was called racist, that's another thing.

    If someone goes straight into "FINE I CAN'T EVER PLEASE YOU" after an instance of either of the above, they're a self-absorbed twit--at least temporarily--and there's not really any way to "fix" it, any more than you can "fix" a tantruming toddler by explaining that, no, they really can't run into traffic, it's bad for them.

    A lot of people have emotional responses to being called on having done something wrong. Which is fair! It's very human to get defensive and upset when told "You are doing something bad," whether or not one intended to do a bad thing. But mature, sensible people have several routes to respond: "Wait, why is that bad?" or "Damn, you're right, I'll be more careful," or even, "I disagree, and will not stop."

    Note that I'm not saying any of these are necessary ethical, especially the last. But they're mature responses.

    Responding to "You have done something wrong" with "I CAN NEVER PLEASE YOU WHY SHOULD I TRY" is the adolescent response of someone who doesn't want to put any effort into social interaction, and demands that they only receive pleasant responses regardless. With luck, people grow out of it. But there's no real reasoning someone out of it, because it's not a reasonable response in the first place.

    If someone responds to "That's racist" with "Wait, really? I don't think so," there's room for a conversation. If someone responds to "That's racist," with "You're just going to call me racist no matter what I do! There's no way to win! You just hate white people!", then...well. No. There is no way to talk them down. You have to wait until they grow up enough to act sensibly, and try to contain their immaturity meanwhile.
    Ah, it's probably because I don't understand the tantruming behavior as you put it then. I put understanding others above my own ego. I would think understanding your fellow human being would be more important...

    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    Really? You don't? There's nothing to understand.

    Rachel this is a racism 101 thing.

    When you go on to add this:

    You really do sound like you're engaging in the rhetorical practice known as apophasis, or more colloquially, self-praise in search of a cookie.
    More of the above. It's the disconnect between wanting to *fix* it and just getting emotional about being called out for it that I didn't get. It's not the pat on the back. It's the I'm not quite sure why there is a jump like that when I would think fixing it would be more important at that point...

    But I think it's because people have more emotional responses than I do to something like that. I'm more of a "Really? Where's the info?" type.

    If it was baiting, I'd do it to the person's face. I've always been the blunt type. I'm also not into ego-stroking. I really do badly with complements.

    Dah. Probably a different personality at play from my end and I'm failing to understand the other personalities. And I'll be the first to admit I can be a bit dense.

    http://www.edchange.org/multicultura...of_racism.html <-- this filled in the remainder of the "I don't get it." Wow. So didn't know that.
    Last edited by Rachel Udin; 12-16-2012 at 03:37 AM.

  7. #7
    Attack me with everything you have. Kim Fierce's Avatar
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    No, I think I understand what you mean, and I'm white. Some people who go into white victim mode, in my experience, honestly don't get it. Others are being defensive because they do have their own personal prejudices. I talk to several white people who act one way in front of diverse company and another way when only whites are around; it happens here in good ole Indiana. But then they find out that just because I'm white doesn't mean I think it's acceptable. And some people I wouldn't associate with at all except I have to to earn a paycheck, and like Bernie Mac tells Ashton Kutcher, you can't just quit every job with a racist person. I like my job because there are actually a wide variety of people here: white, black, Mexican (I work at a trucking company, so some are Mexican citizens, others US citizens with Mexican parentage), Japanese, various Canadian cultures, Puerto Ricans . . . pretty cool. But not a utopia.

    Some white people do have white guilt. Some honestly want to get past the racial barriers so badly that they want to pretend none exist anymore. It's like "the whole family secret thing, can't we just get over it and move on, why do we have to talk about it?" And some are still just racist. But I guess it depends on the context and who you're talking to.

    My wife for example is not racist at all. Which is good, because I have black family and would never be able to be with someone who is racist in any way. But we were watching a GLBT show about the presidential election and they were making gay jokes, and then a black joke got added to the mix and she said "Why do they have to make it a black thing?" and I laughed and said "they're not MAKING it a black thing, you didn't care when they were making gay jokes because they are gay . . . they are also black! It's okay to talk about it!"

    I've realized recently that I think some white people have seriously just been brainwashed, though. Even the word "black" is just considered a bad word. Some people are like "Don't make a joke about Oprah's weight in front of Kim, because Oprah's black and Kim won't like it!" They just don't get it...either that or they are really making a joke about more than just her weight, too. Some will say "I saw this black girl . . .now I don't mean anything offensive by it, she was just black." And I'm like "It's okay to describe someone's freaking skin color of you want!" What I don't like is "All people of this color/race/sexual orientation are (insert hideous stereotype)." Some white people seem to believe the only way to get over the black prejudices they were taught is to actually pretend the person they are talking to is not black. I had a friend say to me once that a white guy he worked with and was cool with once told him, "You're not even black to me, man." And the friend said, "What? I'm still black!" That word is just brainwashed in some people's minds to mean something much deeper than just skin color . . . at least in the Midwest where I'm unfortunately from.
    Last edited by Kim Fierce; 12-29-2012 at 08:20 AM.
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    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    I'm constantly terrified of offending someone. I only want to offend people who (IMO) deserve it and even then, I want to offend them in a way I hope will create dialogue. The result is that I delete a lot of stuff that I almost post. :-) Most of my thoughts just don't pass muster.

    I think about racism and racist issues a lot. I'm never entirely sure how to talk about it, or even if I should. US Supreme Court Judge Scalia pissed me off this week, partly because I used to have opinions like the one he so callously tossed onto the floor of the Supreme Court. But as for creating some meaningful statement about this? I don't think I'm a skilled enough logician or writer.

    I object to what Scalia said for reasons I've internalized so intimately that I have trouble expressing them, and my internalizations will never match those of the people who're victims to this sort of abuse. It doesn't invalidate anything I feel, but at the same time, I doubt that the people who're actually in the civil rights trenches, and who're there because circumstance has thrust this situation upon them, really want or need to hear what made me decide to dislike racism. They'd ask, I suspect.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Fierce View Post
    Some white people do have white guilt.
    Whatever for? I'm white and I've never felt any guilt at all on account of my race. I happen to be very proud of it.

  10. #10
    Great chieftain o the puddin'-race SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavalcade View Post
    Whatever for? I'm white and I've never felt any guilt at all on account of my race. I happen to be very proud of it.
    Seriously? You're proud of an accident of birth?
    Quote Originally Posted by swachski View Post
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