Friday, July 1, 2011

It's not the same........... and it's not ok

It's really not.  And no matter how you slice it, it's not going to change.  And yes, I'm pissed. Or offended. Or both.

Yesterdayday, I was perusing one of my fave blogs, and the author was writing about a person who remarked on her appearance.  Here is what she said:

I was walking into school today wearing this very outfit when I was stopped by a rather large Tongan guy handing out fliers for the school's dance this weekend. He said, "Ooooh girl I like your style (insert the hand gesture of an hourglass figure here), what's your name? Where are you from? Please say you are coming to the dance to dance with me.'

She identifies the man's nationality - and apparently, that's racism.  A commenter says:

First let me say that I really like your blog and I read it everyday in my Google Reader. However, when you tell this story and you use a racial identifier it seems prejudicial especially since it didn't or shouldn't have had anything to do with the point of the story. Now, if you were talking to someone on campus who might have known said guy and needed an identifier to pick out which guy it was that thought you were hot, it would have been appropriate, but in this forum it's not.

I'm not writing this to say that you are a bad person in anyway, just letting you know that as a minority it's things like this that get you a little miffed. Had the guy been white, I doubt you would have said "this white guy". I'm telling you just to "drop some knowledge", JIC you don't accidentally offend anyone. I know I cringe when someone tells me a story and says, "this black girl" or "this black guy", if there is no need for it in the story.

Now, I am all about stamping out racism and racial vilification.  But it works both ways here people.  She didn't say 'black, purple, or green guy'.  She said Tongan - she identified his country of origin.  If she had said English, Canadian or French, would she have been told off in the same way?

Of course not.  Because then it wouldn't have been about race - because his skin colour would not have been an obvious thing for someone to pick on as a means of being vindictive.  The commenter says that as a member of a minority, these things leave you miffed - what things? The author didn't racially vilify or even identify the guy - there are people of Caucasian descent in the South Pacific - who is to say he wasn't of European appearance, and a resident of the island of Tonga?

The commenter advises the author to 'drop some knowledge', so as not to offend anyone.  I would say to this person, 'Take your own advice!'  Nationality is one thing, race is another, and you need to learn the difference, before you go around attacking people with your ignorance.

Read the whole thing here.

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