I’m Curious…

In comments, our esteemed colleague Norbizness reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to mention about what Todd has dubbed “the new Adam Sandler homophobic spectacle I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” First, here’s the trailer, for anyone who’s not yet seen it:

Norbizness noted that Sandler and James are “backed up with Rob Schneider doing a Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s impersonation.” Um, yeah:

Obviously this is a stereotype so tired it’s sawing logs, so old (as Spudsy would say) it farts dust, so done that a competent comedian wouldn’t even use it as irony.

What I’m really curious about is this: Because I remember seemingly endless amounts of useless nonsense, I recalled that Schneider, back in his pre-SNL stand-up days, used to do a bit about being half Filipino. Which I guess may provide him with some “poking fun at your own” cloaking, but if I didn’t have a brain chock full of utter shite, I wouldn’t have known/remembered that Schneider is half Filipino in the first place. Do most people even know that?

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90 Comments

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90 responses to “I’m Curious…

  1. I only wish that Rob Schneider and the casting people who continue to put him in films were 100% placed in a rocket aimed at the heart of the sun.

  2. What did the sun ever do to you?

  3. I would imagine most people don’t even know who Rob Schneider unless you say “You can do eet!” in a horrible Cajun accent.

  4. Yellowhammer

    Why is it that the two movies coming out with “Chuck” in the title are such complete and utter bullshit?

    Has anyone else noticed that?

  5. Rob Schneider must wake up every day and thank God for Adam Sandler’s continued benevolence. Or Satan, whatever.

  6. Jersey

    Jeez I can’t wait till this one is over and out of theaters. I am looking forward to the one with that Cavanaugh guy from Ed though. I do hope, and have heard, its to be much more realistic.

  7. everstar

    I had no idea Rob Schneider was half-Filipino. I just know he’s not funny.

  8. I just know he’s not funny.

    He mentioned that in his old stand-up act, too.

    Just not overtly, per se.

  9. What did the sun ever do to you?

    LOL!!

  10. (Damn my poor skills! that was also supposed to be italicized.)

  11. Angelos

    Rob Scheider is The Stapler!

  12. nightshift66

    I find Rob even more annoying than Sandler. Talk about a one-trick pony! But no, I had no clue about his ethnicity. The knowledge doesn’t make him any funnier, either.

    True story: I knew a Filipino national in the Navy (we enlisted 500 a year back then) whose last name was McFarland. Full ethnic Filipino with a Scottish name. THAT dude was funny. I guess he had an entire lifetime to contemplate the absurdities of the universe.

  13. Paul the Spud

    I do believe he has Filipino in him. I don’t think most people are aware of that.

    So, hopefully, a bunch of Filipinos will kick his ass after this movie.

    He’s doing a really standard “ah-so!” character, and yeah, it farts dust. 😉

  14. Arkades

    Why is it that the two movies coming out with “Chuck” in the title are such complete and utter bullshit?

    Someone should release a film called Up Chuck and we’d have a trifecta.

  15. I do believe he has Filipino in him.

    Yeah, he does for sure. I confirmed with IMDb before relying exclusively on my addled brain.

  16. katecontinued

    Yellowhammer, the Chuck reference caused something to burble out of my mouth unbidden.

    chuck, chuck, bo-buck, banana-fana, fo-Fuck, fee fie moe muck! CHUCK!

    But, this is obviously where the bar is set culturally for these movies.

  17. Well, Adam Sandler, waste of biological tissue that he so often is, is also Filipino according to Angry Asian Man.

  18. Well, Adam Sandler, waste of biological tissue that he so often is, is also Filipino according to Angry Asian Man.

    Where do you see that, Blue? I searched their archives for “Sandler” and can’t find it anywhere.

  19. Fritz

    Yes. Only because my brother’s kids are BOTH white and Filipino.

    Don’t tell them they’re HALF anything or they’ll let you have it. Seriously. They’ll tell you, “There’s no such thing as half a person. I am BOTH white and Filipino. Got a problem with that?!”

    The fact is, most people will tell biracial kids that they are HALF WHITE — meaning they are less than a person who is PURE white.

    So, let’s avoid calling people half white or half anything else — it isn’t quite as bad as mulatto, half breed, etc., but it still smarts.

  20. Liss, I may have to cry mea culpa because I can’t find it.

    My addled brain may have mixed up Sandler and Scheinder somehow.

  21. Brynn

    So, let’s avoid calling people half white or half anything else — it isn’t quite as bad as mulatto, half breed, etc., but it still smarts.

    Good point. I’m ashamed to say I never thought of it that way before.

  22. Angelos

    I see your point Fritz, if we’re talking racial divides (like Gary Sheffield saying Derek Jeter “ain’t all the way black” as if I could say “he ain’t all the way white”).

    But I’m half Greek/half German. Maybe because there isn’t any color in there it can’t be twisted by a bigot into some implied negative, but that’s just what my heritage is.

    As a funny aside, I didn’t know until college what an “octaroon” was. When I first heard the word, I guessed it was some kind of old coin.

  23. Fritz

    But I’m half Greek/half German. Maybe because there isn’t any color in there it can’t be twisted by a bigot into some implied negative, but that’s just what my heritage is.

    Good point. But, there’s no reason why you can’t consider yourself to be both Greek and German, especially if your parents have close ties to their ethnic groups.

    Imagine what it would be like if a Greek relative told you that you aren’t Greek because you’re not of pure Greek heritage (this happens of course).

    My nieces and nephew have been told that they aren’t white or half white. They don’t see it that way. Their dad is white and they are completely socialized into his culture. The same is true for their mom and her culture. They feel they belong equally to both groups.

  24. I had no idea he was Filipino. And why do I suspect that factoid will be busted out as a “gotcha” for anyone who makes the obvious Mickey Rooney comparison? ‘Cause obviously, this is just a loving homage to his Asian heritage.

    So, let’s avoid calling people half white or half anything else — it isn’t quite as bad as mulatto, half breed, etc., but it still smarts.

    Fritz, I haven’t dealt with this from the racial perspective, but as a dual citizen, I always thought of myself as both Canadian and American. Then I moved to Canada (after growing up in the States), and when someone would refer to me as “American,” someone else would inevitably say, “She’s half-Canadian.” And it totally got under my skin. (I wouldn’t go so far as to say it hurt, but it annoyed me mightily.)Especially since they always seemed to think I was 100% American, but only 50% Canadian. (In some ways, that’s arguably fair, but still…)

    By the same token, I’m with Angelos in terms of describing my ethnic heritage in terms of percentages; since it all comes from the Pasty European Group, I don’t gain or lose any social points according to how much of each is in there. And since practically every white person I know does that, it probably explains why most of us don’t think twice about referring to other people as “Half X, Half Y” — even those of us who have been personally annoyed by the same thing. Thanks for the reminder that that kind of breakdown can be loaded and hurtful.

  25. The fact is, most people will tell biracial kids that they are HALF WHITE — meaning they are less than a person who is PURE white.

    There are, however, many people who describe themselves that way, who I sincerely doubt consider themselves “less than.” I have two biracial (black and white) friends who describe themselves as “half-black” and/or “half-white,” depending on context. (One of whom, btw, loathes the term “biracial.”)

    When I heard Schneider describe himself, he described himself as “half Filipino.” Considering I don’t know what his “other half” is, and wouldn’t presume to guess, I don’t think it’s remotely disrespectful to use exactly the term he used to describe himself.

    Often, respect is about listening to individuals. What might not be considered appropriate by your nieces and nephew might be someone else’s preferred nomenclature, so I make no presumptions and respect people’s individuality, particularly as it’s something with which I have no personal experience.

  26. Fritz

    There are, however, many people who describe themselves that way, who I sincerely doubt consider themselves “less than.”

    Why would you assume that they don’t consider themselves less than?

    We live in a society that fosters ethnic self-loathing.

    It could very well be that Schneider knows nothing about Filipino culture. I know lots of biracial folks who are completely ignorant of one parent’s culture and may even be ashamed of the fact that they aren’t 100% white.

    I don’t think you should doubt for a second that people can feel shame and even hatred toward those with whom they share an ethnic or racial heritage.

    Read The Human Stain by Philip Roth. It explores many of these concepts in a way that may impress you.

  27. Hogan

    Old New Yorker cartoon: “Yes, son, you’re full-blooded management, except for a great-grandfather on your mother’s side who was labor.”

  28. Fritz

    Considering I don’t know what his “other half” is, and wouldn’t presume to guess, I don’t think it’s remotely disrespectful to use exactly the term he used to describe himself.

    Schneider’s father is Jewish.

    Most Jews would not consider him to be Jewish because his mother is not a Jew.

  29. Paul the Spud

    Jesus. Here we go again.

  30. EAAW

    Fritz, it seems like from what you are saying the feeling of “less than a person” would only make sense if you are half-white half-whatever( or as you prefer both white and whatever darker shade). What if I say I am half-african half-latino? Does it mean that I feel less than an african or less than a latina and my life would be much easier and free from descrimination if only I could be a full blooded latina or a full blooded african? I agree with Melissa, it´s a personal preference of how people describe themselves. In most case it doesn´t mean they feel ashamed of their heritage.

  31. Fritz

    Jesus. Here we go again.

    I think it is pretty much the same issue, Paul.

    The assumption that because someone is “half” Filipino he or she must feel they have a connection or allegiance to Asians in basically flawed. In fact, it is just as likely that someone raised in this country will have difficulties related self-hatred. This is a societal issue.

    Unfortunately, the term “self-loathing” is often used as an ad hominem attack and people bristle at its mere mention. But, it is a very real component of our social dynamic. In spite of what Tony Snow says, racism is very much alive in America.

    If you don’t want to debate these issues, that’s your prerogative. But, please don’t roll your eyes and dismiss my points as invalid or tiresome. I’ve never treated you that way.

    I’m not holding a gun to your head and demanding that you see things my way. Just think about what I have to say in a respectful manner.

  32. Why would you assume that they don’t consider themselves less than?

    I don’t assume that none of them do, but I don’t assume that all of them do, either. It’s patently silly to say that all people of multiple ethnicities prefer to be spoken about this way or that way, and if their preference is one thing or another it definitely signifies internalized self-hatred or profound racial pride. People are just more complicated than that, which is why I noted that, in my experience, the best practice is to not make assumptions about entire groups, but respect how individuals speak about themselves.

    Frankly, I can’t imagine anything more rude or condescending than saying to a person of color: “I’m sorry, I know you describe yourself as ‘half-Korean,’ but that’s obviously because you’re just self-loathing, so I’m going to go ahead and call you what I think you should be called.” I don’t make it a habit of telling people that the way they self-identify is inappropriate.

    I also don’t make it a habit to determine on behalf of people of color that they’re self-loathing. That’s so not my place, it’s not even funny. I don’t think a POC needs a white girl waxing judgmental on his/her self-esteem. I’ll let him/her figure that out without my input, and, in the meantime, will use the language they request.

    Among my bi- or multiracial friends and acquaintances, I know which prefer what terms, including who prefers African-American and who prefers black, and who prefers Native American and who prefers American Indian, etc. It’s not that hard. I just listen. Some of them are “half-Native American,” and some of them are “biracial Asian” and some are “black” full-stop. None of them are self-loathing.

    But if you’d like to tell me that you know with certainty that my friends who describe themselves using “half” or “quarter” or “part” are self-loathing, by all means, have at it.

  33. Paul the Spud

    If you don’t want to debate these issues, that’s your prerogative. But, please don’t roll your eyes and dismiss my points as invalid or tiresome. I’ve never treated you that way.

    No, you’d rather condescend to me, repeating to me almost exactly the same line about Tony Snow I just posted about a couple of weeks ago as if I thought differently.

    I’m not holding a gun to your head and demanding that you see things my way. Just think about what I have to say in a respectful manner.

    Pay me the same respect, and I’ll be more than willing to respond in kind. Your veiled insults are getting tiresome.

  34. Dan

    Imagine what it would be like if a Greek relative told you that you aren’t Greek because you’re not of pure Greek heritage (this happens of course).

    Well hell yeah this happens. I’m Italian and Irish. When I’m with the Italians, I’m “half a mic”, and when I’m with the Irish I’m the “I-tie” It doesn’t bother me, I actually think it’s funny, if only in a laughing at them way.

    Melissa:Often, respect is about listening to individuals. What might not be considered appropriate by your nieces and nephew might be someone else’s preferred nomenclature, so I make no presumptions and respect people’s individuality, particularly as it’s something with which I have no personal experience.

    Yeah, that’s very astute.

    I lived in the deep south for a about 6 years. A woman I knew preferred the term African American when describing herself. Her mom, on the other hand, preferred the term negro. The mom fought in the civil rights movement of the 50’s and early 60’s in Mississippi and she broke her back(literally) to get this word used as opposed to the others we all know. It drove her daughter crazy, and no one would repeat it but she figured the fractured skull and crushed vertebrae entitled her to call herself whatever she pleased.

  35. Fritz

    But if you’d like to tell me that you know with certainty that my friends who describe themselves using “half” or “quarter” or “part” are self-loathing, by all means, have at it.

    You are expanding my argument.

    I don’t think we should make ANY assumptions. You wrote that you doubt your friends feel that they are less than. I believe that it is more likely than not that they would be influenced by the pervasive racism that exists in our society.

    None of them are self-loathing.

    I find that difficult to believe. I suggest that you talk to Pam about this if my being white makes me less than credible.

    I lived with a black man for several years. He was my best friend and we had long discussions about these issues.

    From my PERSONAL experience, ethnic self-loathing has a negative impact on even the most proud and self-confident African-Americans. It is easily observable in conversation and social interaction.

    People of color have been denied their “whiteness” for hundreds of years. One drop of “non-white” blood has historically meant that the person IS NOT white, or is just PART white. It all means the same thing — less than white.

    If I’m going to err, I want to do so on the POSITIVE side. I would state that someone like Rob Schneider is simply Filipino rather than half Filipino — because that also means he’s HALF WHITE.

    How he identifies himself is completely up to him. But, I’m not going to assume that he considers himself to be half white or half Filipino. My PERSONAL experience will prevent me from making that faux pas.

    You should also understand that Filipinos are ethnically diverse. My brother’s former father-in-law claims German, Spanish, and Filipino heritage. Just because Schneider’s mom is Filipino, that doesn’t mean she’s of “full-blooded” Filipino heritage (for lack of a better term). She could have curly hair and freckles — like my brother’s former father-in-law — rather than the Asian stereotype that pops into most people’s minds.

    My niece has sandy blonde hair and fair skin. Recessive genes have made her appear more German than Filipino. She grew up hearing, “THAT’S YOUR MOM?” from people who couldn’t believe they were actually related (an Asian woman isn’t supposed to have a blonde baby!)

  36. Fritz

    No, you’d rather condescend to me, repeating to me almost exactly the same line about Tony Snow I just posted about a couple of weeks ago as if I thought differently.

    That’s a false assumption on your part. I rarely read your posts and I certainly didn’t see that one.

    If “Jesus. Here we go again” isn’t condescension, I don’t know what is.

    Your veiled insults are getting tiresome.

    Veiled insults? I think you’re letting your ego get away with you. Trust me, I’m not constructing veiled insults (tiresome or otherwise).

    If I want to call someone a jackass, I just come straight out and say it.

  37. Fritz

    What if I say I am half-african half-latino? Does it mean that I feel less than an african or less than a latina and my life would be much easier and free from descrimination if only I could be a full blooded latina or a full blooded african?

    I think how society in general views you is as important as how you view yourself.

    Others obviously don’t agree with that point of view.

    If you do a Google search on Vin Diesel, you will see that there is quite a bit of talk about his racial background — “What is he?”

    Is he black? Is he Latino? Is he white?

    Diesel refuses to answer these questions. Perhaps he fears that if he identifies as black, he will only be offered black roles. That’s a very real possibility.

    There was some controversy over Angelina Jolie playing the wife of Daniel Pearl because Jolie is white.

    People DO care about these issues. They like to catagorize people as being half Filipino, or half white, etc.

    I prefer to ignore the that tendancy to analyze a person’s bloodline.

    Melissa asked a simple question. Do most people know that Rob Schneider is “half Filipino”?

    To me, that’s very close to asking, “Do most people know that he’s half white?”

    My nieces and nephew would feel the same way. They are real people who are living with this issue. I’m not saying that everyone should share their feelings. Just consider them — that’s all.

  38. I don’t think we should make ANY assumptions.

    If you didn’t think we should make any assumptions, you wouldn’t be arguing with me, Fritz. You would have agreed that using the language individuals choose to describe themselves is appropriate.

    It’s really great that you want to “err on the POSITIVE side” by stating “that someone like Rob Schneider is simply Filipino rather than half Filipino,” but, like I said, I was using the term he used to describe himself–and maybe he considers it positive to describe himself as half Filipino, because he’s proud of his (not very obvious) heritage. Or maybe he’s lazy. Or maybe he’s self-loathing. And maybe he doesn’t want to identify as just “Filipino,” as you would call him, because half his family isn’t. Whatever. The point is, it’s not for anyone else to determine.

    And referencing EAAW’s comment above, how do you propose to “err on the POSITIVE side” when someone isn’t half white? This is pure folly.

    As to the rest of your comment, I’m not unfamiliar with any of the issues you raise. I just happen to profoundly disagree that they translate into it being the job of white people to determine for people of color whether they’re self-loathing and what they should be calling themselves.

    And, btw, using the “my best friend is black” thing? Really?

  39. Paul the Spud

    Veiled insults? I think you’re letting your ego get away with you.

    The guy that compared himself to MLK is telling me to check my ego? Wow.

    Trust me, I’m not constructing veiled insults (tiresome or otherwise).

    Okay, then.

    This appears to me to be rather sophomoric humor — similar to the scribblings one would find inside the average Pee Chee folder. Perhaps that’s the joke — but it is not ironic. If it were written by a Rhodes Scholar THAT would be ironic. I doubt that is the case.

    So, because I find this funny, that makes me sophomoric. Thanks. Also, I never said this was an example of irony.

    I also don’t think using anti-gay slurs is “meaningless” — it has obvious and easily recognizable meaning. It would be ironic if there was some suspicion that the “pirate” character had a contrasting motive. There doesn’t appear to be one here.

    Again, I never said that using anti-gay slurs was meaningless, but, you know, thanks for making it look as if I did. And thank you for insinuating that I’m too stupid to recognize something that’s “easily recognizable.” And again, I never said this was ironic humor. Crass, bawdy humor, sure. And it is perfectly legitimate to not find it funny. However, finding it funny is apparently not legitimate.

    Maddox may not be “taking himself or what he says too seriously.” I would like to point out that the school bully would use that same defense after calling a weaker boy a “cock sucker” and dunking his head in a toilet. “What? Can’t you take a joke?”

    We’ve discussed this topic before, many times, usually when talking about Ann Coulter. I don’t think Maddox and your school bully are in the same boat, but you do. This is still a legitimate opinion. But you are not willing to give my opinion any leeway, are you? It’s much more gratifying to brush me off as “self-loathing” or naïve. But, you know, thanks for lumping me in with the bully… I’m sure I’m the kind of guy that would be helping hold the other boy’s head in the toilet.

    I’m not surprised that many gay men have been inoculated to this kind of hate speech. It is pervasive, often regarded as simple humor, and goes unchallenged by even the most enlightened progressives.

    Here we go. I’m innoculated to hate speech, and can’t recognize hate speech when I see it. I’m also “simple” because I find it funny. Oh, and I’m also apparently not a very good progressive, either. I’m wondering if you even consider me to be gay.

    Understand that I’m not being sanctimonious.

    Oh, really?

    When you can admit that this kind of humor is harmful and damaging to gay people, you will have come to a similar realization.

    Sounds pretty sanctimonious to me. I guess I’m just not enlightened, huh? And how about a little bonus veiled insult, directed at Melissa and any of the rest of us that might dare laugh at the Maddox post?

    But, that won’t happen as long as bright, educated people still think they’re funny.

    Ah, so we’re the cause of homophobia and hate crimes. Thanks. Apparently all of the work Melissa, myself, and others have done for gay rights is easily brushed away when we happen to laugh at something you don’t like.

    Or how about this?

    I’m not surprised you would be annoyed at my taking offense. Why should you have any sympathy for those of us who are called “cock sucker,” “faggot,” and worse while we’re beaten to death by an angry group of drunken frat boys?

    So you demand sensitivity from Angelos, while completely ignoring the fact that Angelos was in a fraternity and might find this kind of stereotype hurtful and offensive?

    A comment was made that deeky was expecting every gay man to be just like him, which if you ask me, is exactly what you were doing in that thread last night. I chose not to respond to you anymore because, frankly, you were getting shrill. It’s fine to be offended about something, to be passionate about it, and to defend your beliefs. But you were throwing a tantrum.

    If “Jesus. Here we go again” isn’t condescension, I don’t know what is.

    Of course it is. Why shouldn’t I respond to yours in kind?

    That’s a false assumption on your part. I rarely read your posts and I certainly didn’t see that one.

    My heart bleeds. Really. If that isn’t a veiled insult, than what is? Jesus.

    The majority of my life has been spent in LGBTQ activism and self-assessment. (And I am not saying that you haven’t done the same.) But I’m not going to sit here and get in a “I’m more progressive than you” pissing contest or throw out a laundry list of my history to justify my sense of humor. I thought you were totally out of line with your condescending “when you can admit that” comment. As if you know anything about me personally. You demanded freedom from insult, then proceeded with the veiled insults. So, I got angry and I called you on it.

    And you ignored me.

    So, I ignored you. I think ignoring you is a good policy from now on. You aren’t debating, Fritz. You’re lecturing.

  40. Dan

    Fritz:Melissa asked a simple question. Do most people know that Rob Schneider is “half Filipino”?

    To me, that’s very close to asking, “Do most people know that he’s half white?”

    Also Fritz: “If I’m going to err, I want to do so on the POSITIVE side. I would state that someone like Rob Schneider is simply Filipino rather than half Filipino.

    Wow! are you taking her out of context and completely putting words in her mouth and wildly making assumptions. What you’ve said, that doesn’t sound arrogant to you?

  41. Fritz

    If you didn’t think we should make any assumptions, you wouldn’t be arguing with me, Fritz. You would have agreed that using the language individuals choose to describe themselves is appropriate.

    No. I do NOT agree with that.

    I have black friends — whether or not you consider that claim to be some kind of ploy — who refer to themselves using the n-word.

    I would NOT use that language to describe them. It would not be appropriate under any circumstances.

    Why are you unwilling to entertain the idea that you could have made better language choices in this particular case?

    Instead of saying that Schneider is “half Filipino”, why not say he is of Filipino heritage? Or, that his mother is Filipino?

    I can tell you FOR A FACT that your calling Schneider “half Filipino” is offensive to some people. I believe that some people may call themselves “half whatever” purely due to societal influence and NOT from a reasoned or enlightened choice.

    My brother’s kids are very bright and they’ve thought long and hard about what they want to be called. Do you think that it is possible that others just go with the flow and accept the labels thrust upon them by society?

    And, btw, using the “my best friend is black” thing? Really?

    His name was Kent. He died 10 years ago. He WAS my best friend.

    Thanks for shaming me for sharing that. I’ll never bring up the fact that Kent was my best friend ever again. Otherwise, people may think that I had an ulterior motive — using his memory as a rhetorical device.

  42. Fritz

    So, because I find this funny, that makes me sophomoric. Thanks. Also, I never said this was an example of irony.

    Did I write that YOU were sophomoric? No. I wrote that the humor was sophomoric.

    I like Robot Chicken. That’s pretty sophomoric.

    I didn’t write that you wrote anything about irony. Melissa did that in her article.

    Again, I never said that using anti-gay slurs was meaningless,

    Well, in essence you did. You stated that Maddox’s work is generally meaningless — and his work includes numerous anti-gay slurs.

    So you demand sensitivity from Angelos, while completely ignoring the fact that Angelos was in a fraternity and might find this kind of stereotype hurtful and offensive?

    I don’t think Angelos took offense. He and I have learned to get along — perhaps you didn’t notice.

    We’ve discussed this topic before, many times, usually when talking about Ann Coulter. I don’t think Maddox and your school bully are in the same boat, but you do. This is still a legitimate opinion. But you are not willing to give my opinion any leeway, are you? It’s much more gratifying to brush me off as “self-loathing” or naïve. But, you know, thanks for lumping me in with the bully… I’m sure I’m the kind of guy that would be helping hold the other boy’s head in the toilet.

    I didn’t write that you are self-loathing. I am simply pointing out that it is something that should be considered. I can admit that I occassionally have feelings of guilt and shame over my being gay. How can any gay person escape that?

    I don’t see how that lumps you in with the bully.

    Here we go. I’m innoculated to hate speech, and can’t recognize hate speech when I see it. I’m also “simple” because I find it funny. Oh, and I’m also apparently not a very good progressive, either. I’m wondering if you even consider me to be gay.

    We all are innoculated to hate speech. You, me, and every other LGBT person on the planet. It is unavoidable.

    If you find the term “cock sucker” to be funny, that’s your own thing. I see it as a damaging term that should be eliminated from popular usage.

    Sounds pretty sanctimonious to me. I guess I’m just not enlightened, huh? And how about a little bonus veiled insult, directed at Melissa and any of the rest of us that might dare laugh at the Maddox post?

    Perhaps you’re not as enlightened as you’d like to believe. That doesn’t make you a bad person. Your ego doesn’t allow you to consider that perhaps there is someone who is more enlightened than you — in that particular area. Do you believe that you’re perfect? The most enlightened person on earth?

    I think I am. I can admit my flaws.

    Ah, so we’re the cause of homophobia and hate crimes. Thanks. Apparently all of the work Melissa, myself, and others have done for gay rights is easily brushed away when we happen to laugh at something you don’t like.

    I didn’t write anything close to that either.

    All I ask is that you RESPECTFULLY consider the possibility that I have a point.

    I don’t see much difference between your attitude and those of the people who suppost the drag queen minstrel show of Shirley Q. Liquor. They just won’t admit that what they find funny is seriously offensive to many people.

    The majority of my life has been spent in LGBTQ activism and self-assessment. (And I am not saying that you haven’t done the same.) But I’m not going to sit here and get in a “I’m more progressive than you” pissing contest or throw out a laundry list of my history to justify my sense of humor. I thought you were totally out of line with your condescending “when you can admit that” comment. As if you know anything about me personally. You demanded freedom from insult, then proceeded with the veiled insults. So, I got angry and I called you on it.

    And you ignored me.

    I didn’t ignore you. I just didn’t follow up with the thread.

    Perhaps I am more progressive than you. Perhaps not.

    I think the reality is that we’re both more progressive concerning certain things and less concerning others. Neither of us is Jesus Christ, or Buddah, or any other incarnation of the most enlightened one.

    Don’t get angry. Just think about what I have to say.

    The guy that compared himself to MLK is telling me to check my ego? Wow.

    I would like to think that we can ALL be compared to Dr. King in some way — however small.

    I can’t imagine anyone taking offense to that aspiration.

    Perhaps I should have compared myself to Hilter instead.

  43. Why are you unwilling to entertain the idea that you could have made better language choices in this particular case?

    Because I was using the language Schneider used to refer to himself. I don’t believe it is my place, or your place, to tell anyone one how they should self-identify. That’s the last time I’m saying that.

    I can tell you FOR A FACT that your calling Schneider “half Filipino” is offensive to some people.

    And it isn’t offensive to others. See–that’s kind of my whole point. There are no universals. So when I’m referring to a specific person, I use the language they use to describe themselves. And that’s the last time I’m saying that.

    My brother’s kids are very bright and they’ve thought long and hard about what they want to be called. Do you think that it is possible that others just go with the flow and accept the labels thrust upon them by society?

    Yes, of course I do. But some people may think long and hard about what they want to be called and nonetheless come to a different conclusion than your kin. And you insist on suggesting that I’m closed-minded because I acknowledge that different people can legitimately come to different conclusions. Which is getting really tiring.

    His name was Kent. He died 10 years ago. He WAS my best friend.

    I’m sure he was. But it doesn’t change the fact that invoking a best friend of color (or a gay best friend, or a female best friend, or a disabled friend, etc.) is a classic technique used by people who are trying to speak on behalf of a minority group to cloak themselves from criticism.

    Thanks for shaming me for sharing that.

    I wasn’t shaming you “for sharing that.” I was calling you on the bullshit of saying “I lived with a black man for several years. He was my best friend and we had long discussions about these issues,” firstly because it’s bigotry to substitute the opinions of one member of a group for the whole (even favorably), and secondly because you said it specifically to try to convey moral authority upon your whisking aside of my assertion that not all POC who refer to themselves in “halves” are self-loathing. You referenced your own credibility in the same breath, so do me the favor of not treating me like I’m an idiot, okay?

    I’ll never bring up the fact that Kent was my best friend ever again.

    If you had plans to bring it up in the same way you did here, that’s a good decision.

  44. Paul the Spud

    What part of veiled insults do you not understand, Fritz?

  45. Fritz

    I wasn’t shaming you “for sharing that.” I was calling you on the bullshit of saying “I lived with a black man for several years. He was my best friend and we had long discussions about these issues,” firstly because it’s bigotry to substitute the opinions of one member of a group for the whole (even favorably), and secondly because you said it specifically to try to convey moral authority upon your whisking aside of my assertion that not all POC who refer to themselves in “halves” are self-loathing. You referenced your own credibility in the same breath, so do me the favor of not treating me like I’m an idiot, okay?

    It isn’t bullshit. It is a PART OF MY LIFE.

    It is sad that you have such a negative opinion of my character.

    I brought it up because it is something that has shaped my opinions. I shouldn’t have to tiptoe around an important relationship in my life because you — of all people — will counter that I’m using a cheap and obvious argument.

    You wrote that your being white somehow lessens your ability to opine on this issue. If your husband were black, don’t you think you would be more enlightened?

    Have you developed any insights into what it is to be a Scot?

    You simply won’t consider my point.

    If Schneider referred to himself as a “half flip” would you have parroted that as well?

    I am flat out saying that if know a group of people will be offended by a term, it is better to avoid using it.

    I would never use the term “half Filipino” and if I were editing an article that used such a term, I would change it.

  46. Arkades

    I didn’t write that you are self-loathing. I am simply pointing out that it is something that should be considered.

    Whoo boy. Now we’re back onto one of *my* pet peeves… the “self-loathing” charge that gets thrown out whenever someone wants to play the Gayer Than Thou card. Or perhaps it’s the More Enlightened and In Touch With My Gayness Than Thou card. Either way, I find that judgmental and offensive. The very *best* way it can be intended – as a plea for introspection – is condescending because it implies the other person *hasn’t* already introspected on the topic, or that they’re insufficiently self-aware to know their own mind.

  47. Just to sort of illustrate something, a gay friend from college calls himself a “faggot” all the time, but I would never use the term to describe him, refer to him, or make any statement describing him, which is the main point I get from Fritz’s argument. I wouldn’t say that the two phrases are equivalent, but they do have equivalent ethical problems.

    Either way, I think we’re all a little too heated right now, and I’m really sorry if I inflame anything else with this post.

  48. Fritz

    What part of veiled insults do you not understand, Fritz?

    You know, the problem with reading between the lines is that what we see printed there is more often than not a reflection of ourselves.

    It is likely that some people see veiled insults in the Bible, or in Dr. Seuss.

    Now, I’m fairly sure at this point that you will see a veiled insult in what I just wrote.

    If I had a fragile ego, I would probably think, “He’s saying that I’m so stupid that I imagine things.”

    Oops! “He’s saying that I have a fragile ego!”

    Bastard! He’s trying to make a fool of me.

    Try reading a veiled insult into this:

    I love you, Paul.

  49. Paul the Spud

    You simply won’t consider my point.

    Actually, she is, if you’ll go back and read. You are ignoring her point.

    “Flip” and “nigger” which are slurs, are not comparable to “Filipino,” which is an accurate and nonoffensive term describing someone that comes from the Philippines.

    I would never use the term “half Filipino” and if I were editing an article that used such a term, I would change it.

    So, if the person in that article self-identified as half Filipino, and you changed it, you would be doing what white people have been doing for centuries; imposing your definitions of People of Color upon them.

    You may now type “I never said that.”

    And thank you, Arkades.

  50. Fritz

    The very *best* way it can be intended – as a plea for introspection – is condescending because it implies the other person *hasn’t* already introspected on the topic, or that they’re insufficiently self-aware to know their own mind.

    Not necessarily.

    I believe that it is a very real and constant part of our lives.

    No amount of introspection will result in a person being completely aware of the subconscious influences in our lives.

    That twinge of self-doubt is in most of us. It is reinforced in countless ways — a stupid movie that uses the term “butt pirate” or a party invitation that doesn’t include your partner.

    It isn’t condescending to bring this up as a possible reason why someone would be amused by hate speech directed at their sexual orientation. It may not be a factor. But, I can’t come up with another explanation. Can you?

  51. Paul the Spud

    Now, I’m fairly sure at this point that you will see a veiled insult in what I just wrote.

    If I had a fragile ego, I would probably think, “He’s saying that I’m so stupid that I imagine things.”

    Oops! “He’s saying that I have a fragile ego!”

    Bastard! He’s trying to make a fool of me.

    Try reading a veiled insult into this:

    I love you, Paul.

    🙄

  52. Fritz

    “Flip” and “nigger” which are slurs, are not comparable to “Filipino,” which is an accurate and nonoffensive term describing someone that comes from the Philippines.

    HALF FILIPINO can be considered a slur.

    It is absolutely comparable to “Flip” and “nigger.”

    I am RELATED to people who find it offensive.

    So, if the person in that article self-identified as half Filipino, and you changed it, you would be doing what white people have been doing for centuries; imposing your definitions of People of Color upon them.

    No one identifies as “half Filipino” — go find someone who does.

    The only reason why someone would say that would be to explain why he or she isn’t 100% white. That’s what Schneider appears to have done.

    Does that mean he looks for the “half Filipino” check box on government forms? No. He is forced to choose one or the other — or “other.”

    I know people who check both White and Asian even though they’re asked to choose one.

    In this society, you’re either 100% white or you are the other.

    Why is that so hard to understand?

    There are many people today who are claiming their whiteness. They refuse to be categorized as “half white” and therefore less than other people of white heritage.

  53. It isn’t bullshit. It is a PART OF MY LIFE.

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s a part of your life that you invoked in a bullshit way. The hilarious thing is that you’d be first in line to (rightfully) call out a straight person who used “my best friend is gay” as a justification for making a blanket statement about gays, but you refuse to hold yourself to the same standard.

    Wev.

  54. amish451

    My beautiful Grandaughter recently described her Mother, my Daughter, as, “The darkest White Lady at the pool”; there is a reason for that. Probably not one among us could claim ethnic purity, and why should we ? We are left then with imperfect language to describe our selves.

  55. Paul the Spud

    HALF FILIPINO can be considered a slur.

    Yes, it can.

    I am RELATED to people who find it offensive.

    Ah. Therefore, it’s offensive to everyone.

    No one identifies as “half Filipino” — go find someone who does.

    Uh, Rob Schneider?

  56. Paul the Spud

    The only reason why someone would say that would be to explain why he or she isn’t 100% white. That’s what Schneider appears to have done.

    Yep, just keep imposing your ideals on him.

  57. Fritz

    The hilarious thing is that you’d be first in line to (rightfully) call out a straight person who used “my best friend is gay” as a justification for making a blanket statement about gays, but you refuse to hold yourself to the same standard.

    When someone tells by brother a fag joke, he says, “My twin brother is gay and I find that offensive.”

    Is that invoking me in a bullshit way?

    Could it be that his having a gay twin has enlightened him?

    The fact is, there are people with gay best friends.

    The bullshit would be if a fucking racist wrote that his best friend is black.

    I’m not a racist. So, were’s the bullshit?

    If my stepmother had been black, would it be bullshit for me to bring that up?

    How about an ex-lover?

    An adopted child?

    Do you feel that having gay friends has enlightened you about the issues that concern them?

  58. “From my PERSONAL experience, ethnic self-loathing has a negative impact on even the most proud and self-confident African-Americans. It is easily observable in conversation and social interaction.”

    Fritz, I’d like to point out something. I’m a dyke — a really obvious and out dyke. I will not deny that I am still affected by internalized homo-phobia, but I do not believe that I am afflicted with “self-loathing” about my lesbianism. There was a time in my life when that was true, and I think that I do still experience self-loathing around being fat, which is, comparative to my dyke-ness, a more recent development.

    But I can sense the difference between experiencing the effects of internalized homophobia and experiencing self-loathing about being a lesbian.

    I think these are two different things. When I got to the place where I just said “I’m a dyke, get over it,” I think my self-loathing was coming to a close, though it took years to heal it entirely. Sure, there are still times when I wish I didn’t look quite so butch when I’m walking down a street with a couple of young toughs behind me — but IMO that’s not self-loathing — although it may be internalized homophobia.

    Personally, I agree with Melissa that it is the height of arrogance for me to assess, for another person, their degree of self-loathing (which, BTW, I think everyone has over some aspect of themselves), or how they want to define their ethnicity, orientation, gender, etc.. I hate it when I hear gay people snort when someone identifies themselves as “bi”, and make noises like “Yeah, sure you are!, or insist that people who identify as bi “make a choice”.

    My father is of jewish heritage (although his family converted to xtianity several generations ago) — a heinz-57 of swiss, german, and french nationalities. My mother is full-blooded swede. I speak and read Hebrew, but if I wanted to join most synagogues, I would have to formally convert (aside from the dyke thing with many congregations). Still, I’ve had no doubt that, if, god-forbid, a pogram were begun, my ass would probably be hauled off to the camps, even if I had my Lutheran confirmation certificate in hand. I respect the right of other Jews to define “who is a jew” for themselves, whether or not I agree with them about that definition.

    Which brings up a big question for me. Is my ethnicity tied to my blood and genes, or to my culture and upbringing? If I’m jewish by blood, but I’m not raised as a jew, and if I did not experience the anti-semitism of this and other cultures, would there be any basis for self-loathing?

    I believe that this is why it is imperative that we allow minorities to claim identity as they want to. They are the people who experience what they experience.

  59. Fritz

    Ah. Therefore, it’s offensive to everyone.

    Let’s suppose that 50% of African Americans and offended by the n-word and 50% are not.

    Would you use that as a defense for using the n-word?

    “Ah, the n-word isn’t offensive to everyone, so I feel just fine using it.”

    No one identifies as “half Filipino” — go find someone who does.

    Uh, Rob Schneider?

    I bet he doesn’t. Walk up to him and tell him that he’s not white. He’ll probably tell you that he is white — but half Filipino.

    This is likely because he easily passes for white. So, he may tell people that he’s half Filipino, but still identify himself as white.

    Someone who looks Filipino is likely to tell people he or she is Filipino — but half white.

    Many people reject this completely. They claim both races equally.

    “I’m Filipino and white.” They won’t use percentages.

    I know what I’m talking about. Please believe me.

  60. Paul the Spud

    Done.

  61. “When someone tells by brother a fag joke, he says, “My twin brother is gay and I find that offensive.”

    The difference here, for me, is in the responsibility of his language. He said “I’m offended.” Not “That’s offensive.

    Big difference for me, and I think that’s the difference people are trying to point out to you here.

  62. Fritz

    Big difference for me, and I think that’s the difference people are trying to point out to you here.

    I’m saying that people who are near and dear to me find it offensive.

    I feel comfortable speaking for them.

  63. “I’m saying that people who are near and dear to me find it offensive.

    I feel comfortable speaking for them.”

    I hear that’s how it is for you. BTW, have you asked them directly: “Does it bother you if other people of mixed race refer to themselves as ‘half-whatever’?”

    Personally, I know lots of people of color, mixed-race, lots of trannies, lots of gay men, lots of bi-sexuals, and lots and lots and lots of dykes.

    I’m not comfortable speaking for them. I can say what sets me off, but I don’t think I can speak for their experience, which is why you’ll read a lot of “IMO”, and “I can imagine that” and “jump in here if you think I’m off the mark” in my comments, when I’m speaking about things that I don’t embody.

    You say: Many people reject this completely. They claim both races equally.

    “I’m Filipino and white.” They won’t use percentages.

    I’m sure many people do reject this. However, many native americans I know list their lineage by tribe (and even by percentage of blood from of each tribe) very proudly. I don’t think they’re doing this because they are self-loathing. For some first nations people, the percentage of tribal blood is critically important, so that their kids can remain on the tribal registry. Are they “wrong” to identify as a series of percentages, in your opinion?

    IMO, your whole “if 50% of black people thought the n-word was OK, would you use it?” thing was completely off base. The whole point that ‘Liss and Spud were trying to get across is that it’s OK for individuals to decide what THEY are going to call themselves, and if they speak that way about themselves, and YOU’RE comfortable speaking that way (personally, I wouldn’t use the n-word, even if a black friend was OK with it, because it brings up too much garbage for ME), then it can’t be named as “globally offensive”.

    Do you get that yet?

  64. Fritz

    I hear that’s how it is for you. BTW, have you asked them directly: “Does it bother you if other people of mixed race refer to themselves as ‘half-whatever’?”

    I have been sternly lectured.

    IMO, your whole “if 50% of black people thought the n-word was OK, would you use it?” thing was completely off base. The whole point that ‘Liss and Spud were trying to get across is that it’s OK for individuals to decide what THEY are going to call themselves, and if they speak that way about themselves, and YOU’RE comfortable speaking that way (personally, I wouldn’t use the n-word, even if a black friend was OK with it, because it brings up too much garbage for ME), then it can’t be named as “globally offensive”.

    Do you get that yet?

    I don’t think it has to be globally offensive in order to be avoided.

    A common term used by Pacific Islanders is “hapa” — it literally means “half” in Hawaiian. It comes from “hapa haole” which means half white. Many people of Filipino/white heritage have adopted this term to describe themselves. Others find it very offensive. “Haole” is pretty much always a slur for white people.

    Below are some interesting links I came across as food for thought:

    Both, half and none
    Reflections on being biracial

    http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2006/11/16/arts/16608.shtml

  65. Fritz

    YouTube – Prank Call “I AM HALF WHITE”

  66. How did I know with Jessica Biel’s first scene in that trailer that she was going to end up naked in Adam Sandler’s bedroom? I mean it. I had never seen that trailer before. I’ve never heard of the movie before now (and I wish I hadn’t still). But the instant that scene came up with Biel playing Sandler’s lawyer, I knew it.

    I guess that’s why they call them formula movies.

    And I just want to say, this film, if the trailer is any indication, is misogynistic as well as homophobic. I know that I should be whipped for even thinking this, much less writing it, but when Jessica Biel took off her clothes I felt this wave of shame, like I wasn’t a real woman because I don’t look like that.

  67. Fritz

    How did I know with Jessica Biel’s first scene in that trailer that she was going to end up naked in Adam Sandler’s bedroom?

    I’ve seen no less than four different versions of the ad for this stinker on TV today.

    There is one scene in which the two firefighters enter a burning building and come upon a fat person. Of course, there is a crude joke — something about not being able to tell the person is on a matress.

    Ha, ha…not!

  68. Fritz

    I know that I should be whipped for even thinking this, much less writing it, but when Jessica Biel took off her clothes I felt this wave of shame, like I wasn’t a real woman because I don’t look like that.

    I don’t know ANYONE who looks like Jessica Biel. Well, maybe my teenage niece comes close. But, she’s only 17!

  69. I hear that’s how it is for you. BTW, have you asked them directly: “Does it bother you if other people of mixed race refer to themselves as ‘half-whatever’?”

    I have been sternly lectured.

    That wasn’t a lecture, blockhead, it was a question. But now I think I know about who you are.

    Done, too.

  70. PD, I think Fritz means that he’s been sternly lectured by other people who are offended by people using the term.

  71. That wasn’t a lecture, blockhead, it was a question. But now I think I know about who you are.

    This has been quite a day!

    Yes, Jack. That is exactly what I meant. And, if you’ve ever been lectured by a teenager, you know it is a humbling experience.

    JEEEEZ!

    Dare I? I know I’m a whitey, but I love MKL. Oh, what the hell.

    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

    — Martin Luther King Jr.

    I won’t be a silent friend. Sorry to have offended so many in defense of my family. Goodnight.

  72. One last thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapa

    Here is a good breakdown of how the word “hapa” is used.

    I think this is probably why a lot of Asians/Pacific Islanders consider the word “half” to be an ethnic slur — ‘cuz the Hawaiian version “hapa” can be used that way.

    Hapa haole and hapa pilipino can be used as a slur — these terms translate as “half white” and “half Filipino” — and I can understand why many people would be offended by the English, too.

    It isn’t difficult to imagine hapa haole being used as a playground taunt.

    Many people don’t know about the strong connection between the Filipino and Hawaiian cultures. Almost 1/4 of Hawaii’s population is of Filipino heritage. Filipinos began migrating to Hawaii over 100 years ago to work on the sugar plantations. Many married native Hawaiians. My brother’s kids have family in Hawaii — one was an American Idol finalist.

  73. Interestingly, many Japanese Americans (also a large part of the Hawaiian population along with the Chinese) use hapa in a non-derogatory way.

    I don’t think it is used universally as a slur, but instead a description. There is a whole book I thumbed through once that was nothing but photos of hapa people -it was a beautiful book filled with people of all colors and sizes. Here is a link to The Hapa Project.

    One of the interesting things in Japanese American culture is that the generation designations, issei, nisei, sonsei and yonsei – don’t apply to mixed race children, which is why there are so few yonsei. Most sonsei married Anglos or other races and had mixed race children as a result who aren’t considered yonsei thought they are the fourth generation.

    I recommend reading Lois Ann Yamanaka for novels about growing up in Hawaii from the perspective of a person of color.

  74. drama queen

    Jackass.

  75. “PD, I think Fritz means that he’s been sternly lectured by other people who are offended by people using the term.”

    I apologize Fritz — I did misunderstand what you were saying when you said sternly lectured. I thought you were referring to my comment. Thanks, Jack, for helping me out.

  76. Fritz

    I don’t think it [hapa] is used universally as a slur, but instead a description.

    Mostly it is younger folks who have embraced the term — similar to “queer” being used by gay folks in recent years.

    Another controversy of which I am aware is that many native Hawaiians resent that Asians and other Pacific Islanders have “stolen” their word. That hapa is now a descriptor used by those who they believe raped their land and destroyed their culture is a point of contention.

    I learned this almost 30 years ago (I met my former sister-in-law in 1978). She had recently lived in Hawaii and explain that some native Hawaiians feel that Asians have stolen their culture.

    Her family often used the Hawaiian term haole as a slur for white people — yes, they called ME a haole.

    I just want you all to understand that I don’t simply have a passing knowledge about these matters. It has been part of my life for 30 years.

  77. Fritz

    PD, Don’t sweat it. I apologize for not being more clear.

  78. My addled brain may have mixed up Sandler and Scheinder somehow.

    Adam Sandler is Jewish. And I apologize if someone already said this. It’s very daunting to read 79 comments at 12:49 am. 😐

  79. I just did read through this whole thread, and I had to laugh when I reached my comment about Jessica Biel. It was such a non sequitur coming after that long, long angry discussion about the language people use to describe themselves.

    Can I be a total pollyanna and say that I think a space where people can get this angry with each other and still unquestionably love and respect each other is not only a safe space, but a pretty damn cool place?

  80. bluestockingsrs

    I guess my point was along the lines of what others were saying, that there is no “right” way of expressing these things that “fits” everybody.

    I hate it when gay people use the word “lifestyle” (I hate it when str8 people do it even more) — I don’t have a lifestyle, I have a life. But, for some people it is an accurate description and they feel like it fits their experience.

    I don’t think only Asians have stolen natve Hawaiian culture, I think that white folks are the most guilty of that and I think haole fits most white people who visit Hawaii. But the people I know who have written or talked about this experience of being hapa (people who are white, Asian and Native Hawaiian) and from Hawaii it is more complex and many layered for them then the simple stealing of culture.

    I believe the appropriation of culture is wrong when it makes the people of that culture invisible –like surf culture is largely a white sport, with few people of color participating, which makes the origins of surfing invisible.

    I provided the links in my post for people to get other perspectives, Fritz, because I don’t believe you qualify as an expert on this experience even though you clearly think your second hand knowledge of the experience does make you an expert.

    In this world, the most important piece of abandoning privilege is recognizing that you are an expert with regard to your own lived experience, and that is it. No matter how much empathy you have for people you love, that does not qualify as experience, nor does it qualify you to speak for them or any other person of color.

  81. Fritz

    In this world, the most important piece of abandoning privilege is recognizing that you are an expert with regard to your own lived experience, and that is it. No matter how much empathy you have for people you love, that does not qualify as experience, nor does it qualify you to speak for them or any other person of color.

    Well, try explaining to a seven year old why Asian kids call him a “banana” (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) and you’ll realize it is more than just empathy. You’ll own the pain, too.

    It is wrong to state that my experience doesn’t qualify me to advocate for those I love.

    It does.

    I’ll quote MLK again:

    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

  82. bluestockingsrs

    Wev, Fritz.

    My last gf is Japanese American, her parents and her parents families were all interned. I know this pain too, I know it as much as I can without living it because a piece of why we aren’t together anymore is attributable to internment. I know racism’s legacy in the lives of Japanese Americans and other people of color in the US, I don’t need your sanctimony to help me understand.

    My greatest skill as an ally is to have empathy for oppression, not sympathy. To quote back at you, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time, if you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together.” –Lila Watson

    But no amount of my empathy is a substitute for the experience of another, and as an ally my place is to shut the fuck up and allow people of color space to speak for themselves, not to speak for them. You can empathize with being name called as a gay man, but you cannot substitute your experience for another, nor does that experience qualify you to be an expert on the experience of your nephew — expertise comes from experience, not study of others.

    I spoke of privilege and you answered me with the experience of another, this tactic, reeks of privilege to me. But, then again, not everyone is willing to work on their privilege is every area of their lives.

  83. /*applauding bluestockingsr*/

    Thank you. I just didn’t have the energy for a rejoinder yesterday.

    Fritz, I’m going to restate something I said earlier about the difference between your brother’s comment (indicating that homophobia offended him) and your comments.

    I’m repeating this, because of your use of the word “advocate” (which, by common definition = to speak on behalf of someone else).

    I’ve had straight friends “advocate” on my behalf when someone said something homophobic in their presence. I’ve noticed that they will usually come back and report their “advocacy” to me (“And then, I told him that my friend was a dyke, and what he was saying was wrong and hurtful, because that’s what you told me, when I said it.”) — like they wanted a “Defender of the Homos” medal, or something.

    My straight friends who have actually begun to deal with their inculturated homophobia would find the person’s comments offensive because THEY think the comment is homophobic, and they find homophobia offensive to THEM, not because they thought that they were “advocating” for me, because I’m so oppressed and need protecting and all.

  84. Dan

    PD:like they wanted a “Defender of the Homos” medal, or something.

    My straight friends who have actually begun to deal with their inculturated homophobia would find the person’s comments offensive because THEY think the comment is homophobic, and they find homophobia offensive to THEM

    Yeah, I agree with the sentiment and in a perfect world that is what one would hope for, a brotherhood of man for lack of a better term, but obviously your friends have put a human face on the affects of homophobia, namely you. If not for you, it would still be somewhat abstract, no? You are the vehicle for you’re friends to find offense, so I would rethink the idea of a “Defender of the Homos” medal.

    Take the advocacy where you can get it. I agree you don’t need to be patronized, but if it’s sincere, where’s the harm? The attitude shift has to start somewhere.

    In my experience if you turn away potential allies with the attitude of, ” you’ll never fully understand because…..”, those same people will eventually throw up there hands because they have no buy in.

  85. Dan — perhaps you misunderstood me — I don’t turn away potential allies — when friends come to me and tell me of their “advocacy on my behalf”, I usually thank them, and continue to discuss concepts of homophobia, privilege, etc..

    I usually don’t focus at all on the “you’ll never fully understand” meme as it applies to myself. Instead, I tend to attempt to find ways to create bridges of understanding with my straight allies.

    However, I also actively embrace that I probably can’t really fully understand the experience of a person of color. I can stay in the closet, if I choose. Skin color is a different aspect of the oppression equation altogether, IMO.

    I’ll take it to a more personal level. I think that when I, as a white person, speak up and out about my perception that there is racist behavior going on, I think that it’s important to me to claim that perception as my own, and protest the racism from the stance of “That bothers ME”, rather than “Well, I have friends who are people of color, and I think this would bother them”. I just think it’s more powerful, and has more integrity.

    I use the issue of racism here, but I think it’s applicable to all types of oppression of which I am not a direct recipient.

    In truth, I don’t think that I can claim that I would know, without asking them, what my friends of color would want, not want, or would be bothered by, or not bothered by. I can report what they’ve said to me, and I can respond to the actions they’ve requested of me, and I believe that, in order to deal with the issue of my own internalized racism, I need to do this on an individual basis, rather than simply say: “Well, this is what all POCs want, because this is what my friend wants” — I think that would be, in some sense, just another form of racism (see the comment above about the woman whose mother preferred the term “negro”, while she preferred “African American”).

    I say this from personal experience, and a hope that my point might be heard, not from any place of shaming or “Look how bad you’re being!”. I think that there was a time when I, myself, was looking for a “Defender of People of Color” medal, and that this was more about my ego than any real dedication on my part to ending racism — and I think this is a subtle way that I exercised my white privilege.

    In truth, I believe that, until I really absorbed the concept that “racism actually hurts ME, not just my friends of color”, I wasn’t really dealing with my own internalized racism at all — I was just grooming my image as a “good” person — a nice, politically correct dyke.

    This has been a thought-provoking discussion for me, and follows closely on a post I wrote last week.

  86. bluestockingsrs

    In my experience if you turn away potential allies with the attitude of, ” you’ll never fully understand because…..”, those same people will eventually throw up there hands because they have no buy in.

    The buy in is an end to their own oppression, no one is free so long as any human is oppressed.

    And “buy-in” is such an awful phrase… I don’t work for justice or equality because of some altruistic motive but because it is entirely self-interested of me to do so. So it should be for anyone vested with vast amounts of privilege.

    Finally, I was thinking about your nephew’s experience, Fritz and it occurred to me that you are in a unique position to both bring your empathy and experience to bear to help your nephew create some skills to cope with the racism he encounters. By presuming to speak for him, and others like him, you are squandering your own experience and ability to create a teaching moment to show the intersection of oppression -for you, heterosexism and for him, racism –and how those experiences connect up.

  87. Dan

    PD: Yeah, I did misunderstand you based on the explanation in the last post. I think you’re seconding what Melissa said so spot on in the beginning of this, which is again, don’t assume anything nor try to fit people in to some box. The story of the mom and daughter was actually mine. It was an eye opener to me, and without a lengthy explanation, showed me how ridiculous the term and action of politically oorrect can be. I’m pretty sure you understand what I mean there.

    bluestockingsrs: Yeah, “buy-in” was a bad term but I guess I was using it for brevity and lack of something better. I was trying to convey the sense of a touch stone, a human face, and identification on a personal level. I wasn’t trying to convey narcissism. I get your point as a ” end to there own oppresion” but I think people in general act first in their own backyard which leads onto a larger stage.

  88. Dan

    In truth, I believe that, until I really absorbed the concept that “racism actually hurts ME, not just my friends of color”, I wasn’t really dealing with my own internalized racism at all — I was just grooming my image as a “good” person — a nice, politically correct dyke.

    I meant to add this also because I think you are so right on. “Grooming my image” is easy to do and so honest and humble for you to admit. I’m right there with you. I think we’ve all done this until you wake up and become a bit more serious.

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