Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Trump Card Argument: “What, are you [fill in the blank]”


So, let us say that you are socializing with someone. This someone may be a friend or a relative. They might be a casual acquaintance. And that someone makes a racist, bigoted remark. And, since you find racist and bigoted statements to be offensive, you call them on it. You say, “Hey, that’s racist and that’s not cool,” or you say “Wow, what you said was kind of horrible.”


That person of course believes they have a trump card to your honest protest. This trump card which completely displaces your attempt to not have to put up with racist and bigoted remarks is any variation of “what, are you [fill in the blank?]” And if you are not fill in the blank, your sincere desire to not have to listen to racist bigoted baloney is immediately invalid and the person has apparently totally won and can go on to continue to make offensive statements.

And maybe, this trump card works. Maybe you’re feeling mysteriously embarrassed for being offended because you do not have a “valid” reason to object. Maybe you are speechless because you cannot believe the other person could possibly be that stupid. In any case, you do not have a good rebuttal.

(I wonder if this mysterious feeling of embarrassment may be somehow related to the “clueless liberal” character you sometimes see in certain comedies. You know the one I mean, they make stupid, privilege-based statements that are equally racist in comparison to general “baseline” racist or bigoted statements. If you think you are in any way acting like that person, it would be normal to feel “embarrassed.”)

Generally, I am the person who is struck utterly speechless by the stupidity. I would have to say that the best answer to the trump card is some variation of “I do not need to be [fill in the blank] to be offended by a racist or bigoted statement.” Of course, I have never been able to use this argument effectively. Either I do not think of it because I have been struck speechless, or the other person uses the “I have a right to an opinion,” “It’s a free country I can do what I want,” or “This is my house, I can say what I want,” arguments.

This post was brought to you by “Rena has been reading a lot of anti-racism blogs lately and is having really strong memories of arguments with bigoted and racist individuals in her quest to not have to put up with stupidity.”

A few Tumblr blogs I am following:

This is Not Native: Person reblogs white people who are wearing headdresses and stereotypical “Indian” costumes and explains why what they are doing is Wrong. Then they get yelled at by these people who can’t comprehend why a girl posing nakey while wearing a religious/cultural artifact might be kind of offensive.

STFUConfederates:  This person reblogs a lot of stuff and basically creates dialog discussing privilege, racism and sexism. This is more of a personal blog than a news/informative blog.

Yoisthisracist:  People ask if certain things are racist. The answer is often yes! This is a mostly humorous/sarcastic blog and it’s one of my favorites.

Racemash: A blog that mostly deals with topics concerning racism in the US but also in other countries.