Saturday, April 28, 2012

Did You Know Racism Is Funny? It Is! Just Ask This Young White Lady Who Calls Her Boyfriend A Spic As A Joke!

This is Kyria Abrahams.
She has a GREAT sense of humor
Recently, a writer for the blog Jezebel, Lindy West, penned an article entitled "A Complete Guide to Hipster Racism." The article addresses the trend of young, seemingly intelligent people making racist comments and jokes in an "ironic" way, thought of as "making fun" of racism, therefore it's considered among those that do it, not to be racist.  Lindy West proceeds to tear this ignorant idiocy a new asshole.   It's brilliant.  You should read it.

Not surprisingly, but still sadly, Lindy is receiving a lot of criticism from racists, wanna-bes and that group of people whining they should be able to call their black friends 'n*****' as a joke if they want to without anyone thinking they're assholes.  All that stupidity aside, one blogger took her distaste for Lindy's logic to an even more distasteful level.  Kyria Abrahams, writer of a book and other blog entries at some point, wrote a response to Lindy West's article on the blog Street Carnage she entitled, "The Myth of Hipster Racism."  In it, she not only proves she's a complete clueless idiot, but also takes the "my black friend says it's okay" argument to new extremes, managing to do nothing but prove Lindy's point that 'hipster racism' is alive and well and very, very fucking stupid.  

I wrote a long, impassioned response to Kyria's article that I attempted to post via it's comment thread.  It was rejected three times.  Meanwhile, long responses in which internet trolls call Lindy 'fat' and make such eloquent points as 'get rid of the n*****s," remain to keep the discourse fair and balanced.  From there I decided to send my response to Kyria via e-mail.  I haven't heard back.  Continuing the tradition of posting open letters to people on this blog they will never read, here is my response to this shitty article in full.

Dear Kyria Abrahams,

Thanks for posting the picture of your either Spanish or Puerto Rican (you seemed confused) boyfriend to in fact prove to your readers that you are being like, totally honest when you say you are totally willing to fuck a colored person whose ethnicity apparently constantly preoccupies your mind.  This article is incredibly sad to me.  It was such a breath of fresh air to have someone finally mention how shitty it is to think you can get away with making racist jokes under the guise of you don't mean it to actually be racist.  Then, of course, heroes like you hear the term 'white privilege' and words like 'you shouldn't' and flip out because you can't stop being told that the hateful shit you say meaning to be edgy, but don't intend to be hateful shit is indeed hateful shit.  I get it.  You don't want to think you're a shitty hateful person.  No one wants to think that about themselves.  When white people hear the word "racist" they think, I can't be racist because I don't hate people for who they are.  Maybe you don't, but also, maybe you should stop to think when publishing things like: 

"Why? Because he’s not a pathetic, overly sensitive minority who is nothing more than a victim to the white hipsters in his immediate environment. He’s a self-actualized man who can tell the difference between real racism (like when he was falsely accused of shoplifting as a teenager) and joke racism (like gifted soap)."

What is this?  The 'if I accept I'm a victim, I'm saying I'm weak' scenario?  If I'm proud of my ethnicity, therefore I don't stand for people to shit on it for no reason and especially for a cheap laugh, than I'm not "self-actualized"?  So because I don't appreciate when I show up to something a few minutes late and a white person says, "Someone is on colored people time" as a joke, than I'm "pathetic"?  Because I don't like comments made to remind me that I'm part of a racial minority that is stereotyped, underrepresented, mistreated and oppressed (actions I don't wish to enable or allow) than I'm "overly sensitive"?

The act of speaking out against racism in any fashion as a minority is the MOST 'self-actualized' thing you can do.  To confront white friends (at the risk of being told you're 'over sensitive' or 'uppity') that their constant jokes regarding your ethnicity are showing clear signs they are weirdly preoccupied with it and that the shit they say is racist whether they mean it hatefully or not, is anything but victimizing yourself.  Especially when this new 'hip' idea of making fun of racism by making racist comments to friends or in your case, the person you date, is so prevalent.   

Your thought process here is so incredibly hurtful and disheartening.  I honestly don't want to say anything to belittle or attack you personally.  I wish you could just wake up and see how devastatingly wrong you are.  You obviously seem to have some intelligence and have the ability to write and spread your opinions, yet you've chosen to use that ability to defend the use of the word 'spic,' to tell minorities to stop being sensitive and complaining about racism and to copy and paste someone's quote on their right as a non-black person to use the n-word.  

Please be aware that you can't possibly know what it feels like to be called a 'spic' or the 'n-word.'  Those words will never carry the weight with you that they do for Hispanic and Black people in this country.  There is a hurtful and hateful history behind those words.  It's similar to when a man is angry with a woman and calls her a 'bitch.'  It's not just a word.  It's a reminder of your place in society.  It's being told that you're nothing.  You're less than nothing.  You're second-class.  So no, I don't think it's oversensitive to not want to see it in a card from someone I love.  

The really sad part of your article was that you wrote it to prove that you are not racist and ironic racism is totally okay when if fact, all you've really proven here is that Lindy West is right.  This new form of 'naive' racism is just as fucking hurtful, except now as a minority experiencing it, you're not allowed to confront these hateful words because the speaker can cover their comments with "it's just a joke."  In your great new form of racial humor, as minorities, we are meant to feel badly about feeling badly. Thanks to the false idea of 'ironic racism' you don't only hear 'spic' from the random old racist you encounter, but from a friend or loved one your age who is supposed to care about you.  What a great cause to so enthusiastically put all your white privilege behind in order to defend.  


Elicia Sanchez


  1. I disagree with your point. The fact of the matter-- whether or not someone is ACTUALLY racist-- is something in their intentions (heart). If someone can use language in a way that is humorous, then it is their attempt at humor.

    All people should use a sort of principle of charity in interpreting other peoples' words. If within a relationship the people know each other and are comfortable with their language, then so be it. Onlookers (and listening bystanders) can move to a moral ascription about those people, but if it is not an accurate assessment of their hearts and minds, then they are doing nothing other than some weird social coercion. That they are uncomfortable with certain words when they were not used pejoratively is a problem with their listening.

    There are exceptions to this rule, but they are not hard and fast exception. Language is organic and changes through use. The use is determined by the larger social group.

    Blah blah blah.

    Just my two cent,

    1. Paul, I feel like individuals that are harmed/offended by certain language should get to choose when it is acceptable to use said language. I feel it is truly unfair and cruel to tell those that have been hurt and offended that they have a "problem with their listening". When someone says something needlessly offensive, regardless of context, if I ask them not to do it again around me I should be able to have my human right to happiness and security acknowledged. If someone says something offensive, why am I not allowed to be offended?? If someone hurts me, why can't I express that I am hurt? You are blaming the victim for their oppressors insensitivity. Why is someone else's arbitrary desire to say hurtful things worth more than my emotional wellbeing?

      Also, saying that you are only racist if you mean to be racist is silly, because I hear many people say unintentionally racist things all the time out of ignorance, and although they didn't mean to be harmful they were still perpetuating hateful things. They might not be racist at heart, but their behaviour was undeniably racist. It doesn't mean they are bad people for making a mistake, it just means that they should acknowledge what they did and try to make themselves more aware of themselves.

  2. Paul, did anyone ever call you names that were derogatory epithets? Were you ever gay bashed for no reason except you were gay? Then maybe you would feel bad when you heard words that burn. Friends don't make you feel bad. Friends make you feel good. Other gay men using evil words bothers me, even though I know they intend only fun & laughter. Well, it hurts. Some homophobic epithets I don't ever want to hear again, not even in the spirit of "good hearted fun."

  3. Very well-said, Elicia. Thank you for using your voice so eloquently and with such conviction.