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I would guess that the woman who stepped on the pendant land-mine had thought the pendant was some kind of Kenyan abacus. Or something. And phrased it very badly, because she sensed subconsciously that she was about to get her head bitten off for being a racist.

Naturally, she gets her head bitten off for being a racist...




Yo, based on the copious number of comments you've made addressing this I know you're super concerned about that single anecdote from within a larger context, but she didn't get her head bitten off, unless for some weird reason you're reading him as actually saying "Dumbwhite" out loud at her, despite it not being in quotes.

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No, he's right. The basic principle here is, do not talk to "progressive" black people, because you are likely to say something innocuous that they interpret as highly offensive. That is the message being sent here.

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Or maybe the basic principle is to try to understand the perspective of the person you're talking to. Don't speak defensively - be open and willing to acknowledge and apologize and correct yourself when a mistake you make is pointed out to you, rather than retreating into racial anxiety.

Progressive white people too frequently have a fear of saying the wrong thing because they're insecure with their racial views. Read more, gain perspective, learn how much you don't know about the experience of minorities, and then approach conversations with people of color with a deferential attitude.

Maybe that's too much work, but it's the price of tending to a multicultural society that is growing out of the ashes of a monocultural one and I think it's worth it.

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The statements made to this person seem innocuous to you?

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The calculator necklace thing is what I was referring to.

But I'm speaking from personal experience.

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But I'm speaking from personal experience.

Yeah, you've really got to watch out for "progressive blacks" like me, we're trouble.

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Way to make his point.

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Again, I'm just recounting my personal experience.

FYI, I grew up and still live in the southern US, where race relations are an acknowledged problem, and where social protocols and culture are still more distinct across races than they are within them. And I'm already somewhat bad in general with social protocols.

So I'm not saying white people shouldn't talk to black people. I'm saying that, unfortunately,white people do feel uncomfortable talking to them sometimes, or at least, the bar is higher for meaningful social interaction. I think that's a shame, and unfortunately I don't know what to do about it.

But I do know that accusing white people of racism for clearly non-racist behavior, as with the calculator-necklace incident, is counterproductive, and (for me) reinforces needlessly distressful things I've experienced. That's what I was trying to get at with my earlier comment.

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> The basic principle here is, do not talk to "progressive" black people

-- 6 hours later --

> So I'm not saying white people shouldn't talk to black people

Surely you can forgive _pius for assuming you meant what you said.

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You're taking what I said out of context. I said:

The basic principle here is, do not talk to "progressive" black people, because you are likely to say something innocuous that they interpret as highly offensive. That is the message being sent here.

As I clarified in my last post, my point was that it is regrettable that the blogger "sent the message" he did.

By the way, when you talk about me forgiving _pius, you are obfuscating who is blaming who. I am on the receiving end of blame, not the giving end.

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If you find yourself in the situation of the calculator-assuming woman, where you feel like you've made a comment that touches on cultural sensitivities, use the moment as a learning experience. Instead of leaving the awkward air, ask them what they are thinking. "oh sorry haha that was a weird assumption, what is it?" Asking to be educated is pretty much the opposite of the mansplaining / whitesplaining that is so painful to the author of qu33riosity, and is almost universally welcomed. A little humility goes a long way.

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So you're saying he's deliberately but perhaps covertly telegraphing the message "white people, don't talk to me"?

Because if not, "don't talk to progressive blacks" is the message you took away not the one he sent.

> I am on the receiving end of blame, not the giving end.

Oh, for real? Who blamed you for what?

Going back and re-reading your previous post:

> But I do know that accusing white people of racism for clearly non-racist behavior,

It may be non-racist, but it's still culturally tone-deaf.

> as with the calculator-necklace incident, is counterproductive, and (for me) reinforces needlessly distressful things I've experienced.

Oh, weird, because the "calculator-necklace incident" probably reinforced some needlessly distressful (racist, dehumanizing, othering, outgroup-reinforcing) things for the author. Why should he make your distress a priority when you care none for his?

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So you're saying he's deliberately but perhaps covertly telegraphing the message "white people, don't talk to me"?

No, I did not say that. I don't think he was sending that message deliberately. (As an aside, the message wasn't "don't talk to me.)

Oh, for real? Who blamed you for what?

You and _pius are clearly accusing me of racial insensitivity.

It may be non-racist, but it's still culturally tone-deaf.

I mean, I do think the "message" I claimed was being sent was stated overbroadly by me. But, for example, I definitely would not ever talk to a black person about their clothes if they were not wearing clothing I was familiar with, out of fear that they would be offended - even by a compliment. Even if I said something like, "That outfit looks really good on you," they'd like take my social awkwardness as a sign that I was somehow making fun of them (which I would never do). Or they'd consider me incapable of rendering a judgement about a style of fashion that I'm not familiar wth, and just be insulted.

Why should he make your distress a priority when you care none for his?

I never said that. In fact, if I didn't care about race relations and want them to be better, I wouldn't have commented in the first place. And I care about race relations because I care about people. I don't want anybody to be distressed.

needlessly distressful (racist, dehumanizing, othering, outgroup-reinforcing) things for the author

If you think the calculator incident was racist or dehumanizing, as described, then I can see why you would think I don't care about that guy's distress. But it was not racist or dehumanizing. It may have made the author feel like part of an "outgroup" as you say, but that was not intentional. At least as I recall the incident being described in the post. It was just some really naive person who made a mistake. I thought that was obvious from the description. And you may disagree with this, but if it was just a naive person who made a mistake about what the guy was wearing, it was not racism.

I'm not sure if I want to continue this discussion, but I will read any response and may or may not respond.

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She just got her head bitten off on the public Internet. Some HR dude is probably looking for her right now.

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I think you're seriously overestimating the amount of liquid in Kixeye's care cup for this guy's feelings.

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A one-line comment of 'dumbwhite' while not being named now constitutes "having your head bitten off on the public internet"? Calm down, get some perspective.

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