When anti-racism hinders compliments...


I guess we can all agree, that racism is a thing from hell. How anyone can truly judge people on their skin color remains a mystery to me. But so does how some people can read negative racism into everything, and that anti-racism trend I somehow find even worse than real racism. As I've written before, Racism is an anti-racist's term..

The reason I say that is because I believe that racism wouldn't at all be such a big problem today, if not white, extreme anti-racists and colored negative heads saw racism everywhere. I think that the fact that I, as a white person, have to watch my every word around colored persons, is the true essence of racism - and it sucks.

An example is this little video from "What your mother never told you" on Upworthy: A White Woman Reads Letters From Women Of Color Who Want You To Stop Calling Them Exotic / What Not to Call Beautiful Women. I saw the headline and honestly got curious about what it had to say about the word "exotic", which is mentioned in the headline, so I tried to watch it - and at the end, I wasn't less than furious about some of the things said in it.

First off, I must admit, that I really do see how "exotic" can be interpreted as far from a compliment. Calling someone exotic is really like saying "You're not normal, you're like of a whole other species than me" - and that's not really cool. At that point, I agree, and I think it's fine that this girl and Upworthy want to share this message (though people should really just take an intend-to-be compliment as a compliment!). How this girl can put an 'equals sign' between 'exoticize' and 'fetishize' is nevertheless a mystery to me. Exotic is just an adjective like many others, when did it become a fetish in general?

Where this girl totally looses it (the first time), though, is when she says, that "your intentions don't matter" if you try to use exotic as a compliment. I'm sorry about my language, but the word "bullshit" is really what comes closest to how I feel about that comment. It's pure bullshit.

That comment is one of the things that are extremely wrong between whites and colored, and it is the kind of mindset that keeps racism having a too good grip on this world. If you - black or white, man or woman - can honestly get upset about and not care of the good intentions of a compliment gone a little wrong... I don't even know what to say. Really, just don't. It must be easy to see how some people think that 'exotic' is a compliment. I actually talked with a black friend about this topic earlier today, and she has been called exotic - and has only taken it as a compliment. So it really can't be that bad, can it? But yeah, to anti-racists, it is.

This is not much different from the other case of anti-racism I've written about; in this, a white girl dressed up as a black girl from a TV-series for Halloween, and colored her skin darker for the occasion. To me, this was the exact opposite of racism, since she shows such adoration of a black character and feels no shame of even imitating her skin color, stressing the fact that she is an amazing black character. To the critics, it was unnecessary for her to paint herself black. Because... black is a bad thing, or? I really don't know.

This "message" that extreme anti-racists try to send really only adds to the "taboo-ization" of the differences between people - but honestly, we ARE different. And how can intentions of what we say not matter? Is it the same thing, if I tell a black woman "You look so beautiful and exotic" and if I say "You're exotic, can I put you in a cage with my South American parrot?"? No, right? 'Cause the intentions are different, and the comments should thereby be taken differently. If somebody means something as a compliment, just take it like a compliment - or at least don't get mad.

These two examples, I just made up myself - but in the video, there's actually also different examples of women, who are tired of getting racist "compliments". But the ones compared just really aren't comparable:

You guys are way too pretty to be 'just black'.

You're really pretty for a black girl.

You're really nice, for a black girl.

Now.......... How can you in any way compare those comments with saying one's 'exotic'? These three are, without a doubt, just plain stupid and racist. To say "you're pretty" or "you're nice" really is enough - and to me, these comments can't at all be described as compliments, just racist comments, which the speaker for sure should know. If you say one of these things, you are, excuse me, just dumb for thinking the person will take it well. But if you say someone's exotic, and mean it as a compliment - well, you're just sweet for giving a compliment.

Together with these, there are also the ones who insist that they're not at all different from others in any way. A lot of the women seem to be irritated when people discuss- or want to know about their heritage. I understand how this is irritating, if you almost cannot go anywhere without people wondering about your race instead of your personality - but honestly, don't let that irritation out on others. Wondering about your skin color doesn't make them racist - it makes them interested in you! Say that it irritates you, that's fine - but don't go to the press with it...

In general, both white and colored people need to understand this: We are all different, but most countries have a "normal/typical" kind of person - and differing from this kind really makes you interesting to others. Maybe they want to know about your heritage, maybe they want to compliment you for being 'exotic', but often, they don't at all mean it badly - so don't mark them as racists. The fact that too many people do label others as racist without any good reason only results in whites being afraid of even talking to colored people. As I said earlier, white people having to go on tip-toes around blacks and other 'races'... that's the result and very essence of racism. I can call someone a blonde, then why can't I call someone black? Because society says, that races are not to be commented. But they are, 'cause they're real. Let's please stop denying the difference between human races, and let's please, please (I am begging you!) stop reading negative racism into everything, especially the things where there are only good intentions. Seeing racism everywhere only creates racism, and it's a darn shame.