Thursday, January 27, 2011
Is making fun of white people racist?
I present to you exhibit A - White People Rapping Poorly. It's instantly hilarious and cringeworthy - no talent chumps trying to rap. It also makes me very happy that I'm not a high school teacher, because apparently it's very popular now to do your science / social studies / history homework in rap form.
Like most people, I usually consider making fun of my fellow whites to be fair game and decidedly non-racist. So I was surprised when this topic was listed on BoingBoing, a left-leaning geek website, and many people were offended. The rationale is that racism shouldn't make exceptions for the majority, and it doesn't just belong to minorities.
Yes, usually the only people who talk about the "white race" are neo-Nazis, but I decided to take a closer look at this issue just out of curiosity / boredom. Certainly in theory, racism isn't about majority / minority status, but about making hurtful or negative generalizations about a race of people. So under this definition, making fun of white people is certainly racist.
For myself personally, I never get offended by white slurs, but I do get offended by some Jewish slurs. I'm not sure how this can be, but it is. Maybe racism is more about the extent of which a person's self-esteem or social standing is affected by comments than the comments themselves. I can't conceive of a white person being hurt by being told they can't jump / rap / dance, but certainly telling a person of minority status that they are stupid / lazy / a criminal because of their race would be hurtful and highly insulting.
So, to conclude, I don't know.