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View Full Version : Is this racist or am I just crazy?



JoNightshade
03-22-2011, 04:59 AM
This has really been bugging me. I live in a very racially diverse area. This is not a big deal. However, I recently joined an interest group in a nearby area that is predominantly one race. We'll call it RaceA. This group is maybe one or two hundred people large, so it's a big group. 80 or 90% are RaceA, while a minority are my race (say, RaceB) or something else (RaceC).

All but one of the leaders are RaceA, and on my first visit they introduced me to the group, how it works, the rules, etc. Everyone was very perfunctory, not particularly friendly, but I thought well maybe they are just very businesslike here, I can handle that, and also I'm just nervous so maybe that's making me overly sensitive.

My next visit, I got thrown in with everyone else. I was confused and kind of lost and since nobody offered to help my obviously confused self I had to beg for assistance to be told where to go, etc. I was feeling pretty left out, but then a couple of different people stepped up and introduced themselves and told me they were glad I had come, made chitchat, etc. You know, the kind of thing it's nice to do with new people.

It wasn't until later, thinking back on the experience, that I realized that every single person who nicely introduced themselves... was either RaceB or RaceC. Aside from the folks in charge who had to interact with me, RaceA totally ignored me, as if I didn't exist. This is especially weird, to me, because I came with my toddler, who is adorable and gets compliments from others every time we go out. He was one of the only kids there and nobody even said "Oh how cute!" When I took him into the nursery, he was taken by, once again, someone of RaceB.

So... am I just being ridiculously paranoid? Is this just a coincidence I should ignore? Or even if it's not a coincidence, should I just shrug it off and keep going? Is it natural for people of the same race to congregate together? I'm afraid of ending up in the "RaceB group," you know? Like, even if it's not my doing, I don't want to end up just making friends with the other RaceB folks. Honestly, even talking about this makes me feel weird and scared of being racist myself.

Wayne K
03-22-2011, 05:03 AM
I think you're being over sensitive. Go introduce yourself to some people from the other group and see where it goes

Wayne K
03-22-2011, 05:04 AM
Oh, and I think people gravitate to people that make them feel comfortable. Race is one of the things that do that in group settings

backslashbaby
03-22-2011, 05:21 AM
I don't know. It sounds odd to notice all of the race stuff (and where do mixed folks fit in ;) ). OTOH, if you aren't familiar with the town, it's not like it's impossible that they have race issues wherever you were. I've had my little naive self smacked down by that on more than one occasion!

It could be a race thing, yeah. Maybe. Dunno. It can be weird sometimes/some places. Unfortunately.

JoNightshade
03-22-2011, 05:23 AM
Well... yes, it is a little weird here. And a couple of weeks ago I tried out a different group and was run out in tears by someone of RaceA. Which could explain my current paranoia.

ETA: So currently my little insecure self is locked down in "OMG EVERYONE MUST HATE ME!" mode.

JoNightshade
03-22-2011, 05:31 AM
Okay so forgive me for rambling on but... I have lived in racially diverse places before, and I've been the minority on more than one occasion. What I have not experienced before, which is really bothering me, is living in a place where although everyone lives very densely, everyone is segregated racially. I literally live on a borderline between one race and another. There is also a huge financial divide between rich and poor. I am neither rich nor poor. I feel so out of place and I have no idea where I belong and the fact that everyone separates themselves like this really bothers me and I don't know how to deal with it. I understand WHY things are like this, but it is not the world I would like to live in.

backslashbaby
03-22-2011, 05:38 AM
I really hate that. Of course, try to treat everyone the same (as far as race goes) but it might not always go over well. Yep. It sucks.

Don't be nervous and worried about it, though. If you screw up, you screw up. If folks get to know you, they'll understand how you feel. Just try to completely forget about the race thing (except for things you could say to Race A that you can't to Race B because they are 'racially charged'. Don't suggest watermelon! Even if you love it :D As warped as all of that is...)

LaceWing
03-22-2011, 05:40 AM
One group I was briefly involved with concerned itself with community development, which historically had racial divisions. Another group was recreational, and it had some of the same kind of history. Both were mixed in about the same proportions.

The second group (Harley Owners Group, or HOGS), played games pitting men against women -- spitting watermelon seeds at a barbecue, etc -- and that focus put other divisions in the background. The community development group missed its chance to pit older against younger; there was potential there.

ConChron
03-22-2011, 04:33 PM
So... am I just being ridiculously paranoid? Is this just a coincidence I should ignore? Or even if it's not a coincidence, should I just shrug it off and keep going? Is it natural for people of the same race to congregate together?

You've noticed a pattern, it's something we humans do all the time. If you keep noticing the same pattern then it's not a coincidence. If not, then ... you know.

People often gravitate towards people they think they have something in common with. Men together with men, youth together with youth, goths together with goths. It's a "safety" thing, a comforter. From there they explore people outside of the comfort group.

You're new to the group and it might be as simple as them staying "safe" while learning more about you.

However, if you keep seeing the same pattern then you'll know that there is something to your worries.

Cella
03-22-2011, 04:42 PM
There is also a huge financial divide between rich and poor. I am neither rich nor poor. I feel so out of place and I have no idea where I belong and the fact that everyone separates themselves like this really bothers me and I don't know how to deal with it.I would just suggest to live your life regardless of their acceptance or lack thereof. Still be friendly, polite and when you feel like it, go out of your way to show extra kindness. In the end you have no control over how they treat you anyway. Not fitting in can make a person lament that they are neither one way or another--not that you're suggesting this is the case with you--but you have nothing to apologize for in this regard.

RobJ
03-22-2011, 04:44 PM
You may be onto something, but keep an open mind for now. Try mixing and see what response you get. There will probably be all kinds of different personalities within each racial group. Sometimes all it needs is someone to break the ice. (Sometimes not).

Good luck, and I'm sure many of us here would be interested to hear how you get on.

Vito
03-22-2011, 05:45 PM
I've recently come to the conclusion that race has absolutely nothing to do with anything at all. Who we are, what we want, where we start and where we finish, our hopes, our dreams...race doesn't explain any of it.

Race, gender, class...nope. Belly buttons, that's what it's all about! Deep down, we're all just innies or outies, perfectly complementary in the grand cosmic scheme of things.:Hug2:

cray
03-22-2011, 05:48 PM
Race, gender, class...nope. Belly buttons, that's what it's all about! Deep down, we're all just innies or outies, perfectly complementary in the grand cosmic scheme of things.:Hug2:


what about those snooty star belly sneetches?

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 05:54 PM
My belly button has a smilie face :D (A scar from an op makes it look like it's smiling)

Also, did you know that if you unscrew your belly button, your bum falls off?


/end derail.

It sounds odd - but not odd. When I first started taking my kids to playgroups etc, it took a lot of effort to get chummy. Same at the school gates. Not because of race. Almost certainly because of, well the way I dress and stuff and it's quite a conservative area. I don't think they quite knew what to do with me! Many still don't or will ignore me when I pick up my kids. But I've made friends with the ones that were open to it, and most of them came round in the end when they realised that actually I was just a mum like them. The rest can go...fill in your own blank.

PorterStarrByrd
03-22-2011, 06:11 PM
Hmmm ... why the interest in what race A, B , or C is doing to relate to you?
You joined for a reason (hopefully not just to see how races relate to each other).
Aside from tendancies to group up as mentioned already in the thread :

Is the group fulfilling that need without a race based agenda?

If it is, then it is not a racially based group. If it has a bias or agenda flavored by a racial issue then it is.

Decide if you want to be a part of it or not based on that.

veinglory
03-22-2011, 06:17 PM
It is all very well to ignore race, but hard to do if no one else is. If there is serious racial clumping there has to be a decision made about whether to go with those who welcome you, even if it means 'clumping' or whether to push to include some of the less welcoming but not hostile outgroup. Plan B can actually alienate your ingroup race sometimes if they are active clumpers rather than just clumping by default.

(Yes, I have played this game myself during my fun and not so fun world travels. Not always by race, sometimes by religion, nationality, class etc. It didn't always work out well.).

shadowwalker
03-22-2011, 07:06 PM
I was going to say, don't worry about it, enjoy the people you get to know - but then I remembered how I felt when I'd go to parent/child things through my son's (private) school. He was there on scholarship, and somehow people knew this. The kids were okay, but the parents (other than the other 'scholarship folks') practically locked the rest of us in the basement. I think about the basketball supper... I was the only scholarship parent there, and it was practically a race to see that all the seats were taken before I could sit. So I ended up eating at a table by myself. That stung - and still does.

So yeah... if you can get past the bias, enjoy what you get from the group, like the people who do act like you're human - stay with it. But if it's so obvious as to take away from the enjoyment - life's too short. Find a different group. You don't need jerks like that.

kdesanges
03-22-2011, 07:15 PM
To be honest, I cannot tell whether you're being overly-sensitive or whether what are describing is absolutely true. What I can tell you is despite any circumstance you find yourself in, you define how people are going to treat you. If you choose to go back, walk in with your head high, make eye contact and never let anyone put you in a box you don't choose to go in. If you don't want to associate with people that you think have questionable character, then find another group worthy of your time. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that either.

JoNightshade
03-22-2011, 07:19 PM
Thanks, guys. I feel a bit better about it now. :) I'm honestly not sure if I'm going to continue with the group or not because I don't know if it's worth the effort to try to "break in" as it were, but I'll give it a couple more goes.


I've recently come to the conclusion that race has absolutely nothing to do with anything at all. Who we are, what we want, where we start and where we finish, our hopes, our dreams...race doesn't explain any of it.

Race, gender, class...nope. Belly buttons, that's what it's all about! Deep down, we're all just innies or outies, perfectly complementary in the grand cosmic scheme of things.:Hug2:

This is how I have lived up until now. I think this whole area has just smacked me in the face big-time, though. There's literally a line you can cross, where you go from one race to another, and from extremely wealthy (some of you may remember my recent "OMG WTF everyone has nannies" thread) to very extreme poverty. I really do not know how people can live like this. Do they just IGNORE it? How come nobody does anything? I realize this is like a hugely entrenched social problem, but it still just boggles my mind.

mirandashell
03-23-2011, 01:47 AM
I know how you feel. I grew up in a racially diverse and mixed city. There is some racism but mostly everyone gets along and different races live in the same areas.

But then I moved somewhere else. Where everyone lived in their own areas. White areas, asian areas, black areas. And I found it very strange. I never got used to it.

Sweetleaf
03-23-2011, 02:28 AM
I know how you feel, and the previous posters are right, often it has nothing to do with race.

I recently moved from the suburbs to a small seaside town of about 1000 full-time residents (it's mostly holiday homes). At our old place I used to take my kids to Mainly Music every week, so they could interact with other kids, sing, dance, etc, etc.

I took my kids there for two years and until shortly before we left, NO ONE would talk to me. NO ONE. I tried making conversation with a mum next to me when I started going and she looked at me like I'd just dropped my pants and waved my bum in her face. Wouldn't say a word to me. Eventually I gave up trying. So after the session finished, everyone would be talking in their little clicks and I would have my coffee on my own. It was only shortly before we moved that a couple of other mums started to talk to me.

But here, in tourist-town, I had three mums come up to me in the first coiuple of weeks, at the playground, the shops, anywhere, and make conversation, and they all said 'Oh you should come to Mainly Music! You'll love it! We'll love to see you there!'

What a difference. I am so glad I moved.


EDIT: I forgot to point out that most people at my original group were the same race as me. :)