How to Tell People They Sound Racist

Just discovered “Ill Doctrine,” a video blog by hip hopper Jay Smooth, and I thought I’d share this video on “How To Tell People They Sound Racist.” Be sure to check out his other videos if you like this one, “If Bill O’Reilly was a rapper” is another good one. 

The trouble is that many people can’t distinguish between racist actions or racist people. Even when I try just to focus on the action, people don’t want to accept their actions as racist because to them, that means accepting they might be racists. And many people refuse to do that, even when their actions are harmful to other people.

7 thoughts on “How to Tell People They Sound Racist

  1. I”m struggling now with internecine Jewish racism, the prejudice which seems to exist in all groups except the Haredi against us “blacks” For example a pyschologist I've been seeing to help out one of my kids let it drop that Hareidim are more likely to be sexual deviants. yeah. say that again lady. Sexual deviants and they don't teach give their kids enough language skills. thats right I”m paying a lady with a Phd who in her bones believes that traditional orthodox Jews, you know the ones who wear the B color, on thier heads and bodies are sicko illiterate deviant. Well, hell in my book that is RACIST but if I challenge her she'll hit me back with pyschobabble so I wish I could send you rapper friend on her tail. But so much for that. This blog is a lot of fun and good catharsis for me. Better than throwing darts at this lady who charged me more money that I can think of without pain for her so called psychological help to fix my kid. Anyway….bEst


  2. Racism has the same stigma as Communism in the 50s, though all of us have various prejudices, but a lot of people are in denial about their prejudices, which may or may not be racial. There can also be religious prejudice, which can get very ugly within a religion, and even when someone leaves a faith, they may carry old prejudices. I once made a joke that Bono is incomprehensible because he is an Irish Protestant, which is a very unique crack as I am no longer Catholic, but I still have some old views due to my great grandmother emigrating from Belfast before Ellis Island even opened. I also think about how the Supreme Court could be WASP free when Stevens retires or croaks, which is also an Anti Anglo-Saxon bias, because I am Irish, Scottish, froggie, and Norman (Viking froggies), plus a descendant of William the Conqueror.


  3. I like the clear distinction between “what you did” and “who you are.” It offers, at least in my mind, a good entre to acknowledge unconscious bias as well–the hard part about calling unconcsious bias into the open is the fear of feeling/being seen as “a racist” (who you are). Whereas deep analysis through a lens of 'what you did' is a great way to explore unconscious bias, to understand where it comes from and be able to learn and grow for the future.


  4. thanks for posting this…it was a nice reminder on how to address these difficult issues.

    I just had this problem with my mom….old school white Irish…in her late 70's…she was commenting on the New Haven fire fighter decision…she lives there and my cousin is retired from the fire department. Although I beleive my mother will never change…it still was surprising to hear her say something that was hard core….she sayed she was glad for the ruling because they (the white firefighters) deserved the promotion…and that my cousin told her “they” (read black and latino) never work hard enough/study hard enough to pass the test.

    so I can feel that ol' feeling…there has been years of this…..I say “how do you know they didn't study hard enough?” she said “your cousin told me…”
    I said “did he live with each of them and shadow their every move?”
    I then said “you made an asumptiom based on a bias” and then made up a a situation about her and said that would be an asumption, but it would be wrong….

    she then did what the video said…you calling me a raceist?…and it went down hill from there….

    it can be difficult looking at one's roots…and being aware of the places in me where this stuff.. I beleive, unconciously, lives. I beleive it has to be talked about, the light of honest expresion must be experienced to help move change forward.



  5. Dunking Rachel, I feel your pain. My mother is a racist. I was homegrown on racist comments about blacks and Mexicans.

    By the way, most of those articles your Mom is reading, don't know if you want to go there with her, forget to note that it was white firefighters and some Hispanic firefighters that were affected in that case.


  6. Deanna, as I wrote in a previous post, everyone's a little bit racist but now, what are we going to do about it? How can we work at figuring out what our unconscious and conscious biases are so that we can make the world a safer, friendlier place for everyone?


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