Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

The Overuse of the Word "Racist"

Friday, June 21, 2013

this entry brought wildflag, "racehorse"

You know what one of my pet peeves is? The overuse of the word "racist".

I'll give you an example. I was listening to a discussion about Super Mario, and how nobody considers his manner of speech racist. Except it's not racist. Sometimes you'll hear that something is racist against the French. That's not racism either. Italy is not a race. Nor is France. Or Germany for that manner. If you want to get real deep, race is a construct that we've made up and essentially makes no sense, but I'm not talking about race in that sense, either. I'm saying that whenever you fill out a form that says "Race", you'll never see "Italy" there, because that's a nation, and not a race.

The French tend to be ethnically Caucasian, as do Italians. And unless you're racist against white people, discriminating against a French person does not count as racism. We already have word a word for hating someone based on their foreignness: "xenophobic". You could, depending on where the person is from, also use "ethnocentrism". Even in the case of Jews, one cannot be racist against Jews, because there are Ashkenazi Jews (Russia, Germany), Sephardic Jews (Spain) and Mizrahi Jews (The Middle East). Someone who hates Jews is an "anti-Semite", not a racist.

But those words are complicated and, well, collegiate. I wouldn't expect people to drop those words in casual conversation. But we do have such commonly used terms as "prejudiced" and "bigoted". In fact, I would say the word "bigot" sounds much more harsh than "racist", and it's usually more accurate than the misused "racist".

Super Mario isn't "racist". He's awesome. But if one had a problem with his cartoonish manner of speaking, then the problem he would have is that he is a bigoted stereotype, not a racist one.

with love from CRS @ 11:13 AM 


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