What to do when friend is revealed as racist?

mh21

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Nov 13, 2006
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Another dimension
btw who said that it was a guy?
You're right you never mentioned the gender in your opening post.

I don't think you should confront this person or tell your bosses. You don't know what happened between this person and the cabbie, and fortunately no one was physically injured. I know it seems like you're being told to bury your head in the sand over this incident but can else can you do? What will you achieve? What disciplinary action would you want to be taken against this person? You never know if you said something everything could backfire against you. This is tough, I think all you can do is to try and maintain a strictly professional relationship with them. If this person senses a change in your relationship and asks you what is wrong then tell them what you saw.

Now if someone had called the police over this incident or someone was injured then I would give a witness statement, but it never came to that.
 

bag-mania

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Apr 6, 2007
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I really don't think you should be reporting any of this to anyone at your company. The incident didn't occur at or near the business so this person's behavior doesn't reflect on the company at all. Your coworkers might see you as a gossip.

Try not to be judgemental. Your title states that your friend is revealed as a racist. That is one of the meanest things you can call someone and you are basing it only on observing one end of an argument. Ask the person about it and you might find he/she has a reason that might explain, though perhaps not justify, the behavior.
 

Rocky

♥
O.G.
You have two options:

1) Let it go

or

2) Distance yourself from this person.

You should NOT confront him/her and you definately should not bring this in to work. This person was not on the clock and has every right to live his or her life and say whatever he or she wants.

Now had this happened on the clock at work to a coworker or client...that would be a different story.
 

ShimmaPuff

Sentient IMBUSILE
Oct 12, 2006
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Well, as you can see from the replies to this thread, there is a very wide range of opinion and tolerance level where racism is concerned.

I would tend to agree with those who have suggested that you simply confine your interaction with this individual to the necessary, and that would include the upcoming event to which you had already invited him/her.

Beyond that, it is just a question of your own values. Whenever we see someone do something that is not included in our own personal set of behaviors we wish to be associated with or tolerate, we all have the option of limiting or discontinuing our association with the individual, or adjusting our values to accomodate the individual's behavior.

Another reason I would be inclined to keep things work-related with the person, and not mention having witnessed the incident, is that there is no guarantee that people with such tendencies will be successful in confiining their outbursts to arguments with cab drivers, and should workplace pressures at some point cause a similiar incident in the office, the merits of being known as a close pal of the outburster might be a consideration...
 

Charles

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Jan 5, 2007
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Also, there's a difference between making a racist comment, and being a racist...just as there's a difference between making a stereotypical comment and being a racist.
 

ShimmaPuff

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Oct 12, 2006
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Also, there's a difference between making a racist comment, and being a racist...just as there's a difference between making a stereotypical comment and being a racist.
Well, to you there may be, but to someone else the comment may be viewed as a reflection, an indication of the individual's racism.

Generally speaking, I think racism tends to be viewed as a "bad thing" to a greater extent by those who have been victims of it. :smile:
 

maedchen

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Nov 24, 2006
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Also, there's a difference between making a racist comment, and being a racist...just as there's a difference between making a stereotypical comment and being a racist.

How many racist comments do you have to make to be classified as a racist?


This is a really unfortunate situation, but I don't think there's anything you can do cause it didn't happen to someone at work, nor were you at work. Like the others have said, I'd distance yourself from the person.
 

caxe

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Mar 31, 2007
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Also, there's a difference between making a racist comment, and being a racist...just as there's a difference between making a stereotypical comment and being a racist.
Actually, making a racist comment would DEFINE one as a racist. Saying something racist makes a person racist by definition. How else would you define "racist" if not from that vantage point? "Oh, he calls people names, but he's not a racist." Gimme a break.
 

Charles

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I disagree. Racists make racist comments, but making a racist comment does not make one a racist. I would argue that if a Jewish person was arguing with you over money to where it got heated, yet you muttered "Typical Jew" in the heat of the moment you might not be a racist, rather someone who's upset and said something stupid.
I'm not condoning what the guy said, rather saying there might be more to it, and that it's not the best practice to make a judgment based on limited information about one thing someone said which might not be indicative of that person.
 

caitlin1214

tPF Bish
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Jul 7, 2006
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What people say can be rascist but that doesn't necessarily make them a rascist.

If someone says something once, out of anger, what they said was stupid and rascist but that doesn't mean they're going to join the Nazi party or the KKK anytime soon.


If that same person has the same nasty, hateful things every time a particular race is mentioned then, yes, they're a rascist.
 

ShimmaPuff

Sentient IMBUSILE
Oct 12, 2006
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I think it's important to remember that just a few decades ago, in the US, racial apartheid was the law of the land, and a bit over a century ago, so was ethnicity-based slavery.

Cultural change is the slowest kind, and so today, as I said before, and as reading through this thread will illustrate, there is a very wide range of views on the subject of racism.

We have people of the mainstream demographic in the US today who were brought up basically "racism-free," and we have some who were brought up by people who were working through their own process, with the result that more people, even though they may have some feelings, some beliefs, that are an essential part of who they are, and some don't like those feelings, and are now working through their own process, much as their parents either did or didn't do, and they are going to react to that in different ways.

Some may say that racism existed once but is no more, others may say that racist speech or actions does not indicate racism.

And frequently you can see other people, especially those who are not of the mainstream demographic, get upset by this.

I see it as a positive sign. When you consider that just those few decades ago, you would have more people saying yes, of course he, she, I am a racist, and that's a good thing! Today, I think that more of those mainstream folks are, as part of their own personal journey, beginning to see it as a "bad thing," on one level or another. Some may see it as more of a socially unacceptable trait, and others may be going a little deeper and working on understanding why these "remnants," if you will, are in their hearts, and slowly moving them out.

But I don't think that it is fair to expect that you will have an entire population segment do a complete 180 and wipe their hearts and minds clean of any traces of racism in the space of 40 years or so.

Nor is it realistic to expect that it will be a subject that is viewed in the same way by much of the mainstream demographic as it is by the rest of us. How we feel about things can be pretty heavily influenced by our own experiences, the experiences of our family members, our history.

From time to time I have heard people on TV, usually politicians, say something to the effect that Americans need to have a "dialogue" about racism. And I think that we can hope that one day, that might be something to consider.

But at this point in the history of the society, because there is such a wide divergence in the views, the realities, of the various population segments, and considering how recently the society has de-legalized racial apartheid, not to mention the very dramatic demographic shift that is taking place in several parts of the world, including the US, I believe it is those inner dialogues and processes that will need to complete themselves first.

And in the meantime, we can be glad to see those baby steps, recognize them as such, and recognize that in some cases, they do represent at least some degree of introspection, which is a key first step on that slow road to cultural change!
 

Blair Waldorf

Member
Aug 15, 2006
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Someone who hated racism (which, btw, I see as the ONLY appropriate stance in someone I'd want to be friends with) would NEVER say something so overtly hateful based on race. It's not like he/she was joking. I'd stay professional, but I would not be friends with this person.
 
Jan 28, 2007
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I would try to keep the relationship with that person professional and civil. As inappropriate as the comment was, not much can be done because it was outside of work. That person's respect is now out the window, but you still need to show professionalism. Just set the example yourself by showing kindness to others.
 

bagnshoofetish

resist.
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Feb 12, 2006
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agree with nerdie and kitten.

I'm a little shocked by some of the statements made in defense of "racist remarks" not defining one necessarily of being racist. WHAT?
That is the biggest copout I've ever read. Its either inside you or it isn't and the heat of an argument only brings out what is in your heart. There is a verse in scripture that says how your tongue will always reveal whats in your heart. If you don't have prejudice against a people, it won't come spilling out of your mouth, period. If someone offends you, you take it up with that individual, not the whole ethnic group.

and p.s. I would just stay professional with the person and try to set a good example of how a loving person should behave towards others.
 

caxe

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Mar 31, 2007
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What people say can be rascist but that doesn't necessarily make them a rascist.

If someone says something once, out of anger, what they said was stupid and rascist but that doesn't mean they're going to join the Nazi party or the KKK anytime soon.


If that same person has the same nasty, hateful things every time a particular race is mentioned then, yes, they're a rascist.
Um...all racist people don't join hate groups. One can be racist without being a member of a racist organization.