why are racist questions allowed on netatalk February 25, 2008 2:32 PM   Subscribe

So it's cool to post racist and stereotypical trolls to ask.me now? When did the rules change?
posted by Stynxno to Etiquette/Policy at 2:32 PM (296 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I think you're unclear on the definition of the word "racist".
posted by tristeza at 2:38 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe they did it for the lulz?
posted by atrazine at 2:40 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think it's pretty clearly represented in the post that people think the poster is off in their perceptions.
posted by agregoli at 2:40 PM on February 25, 2008


The premise of the question seems pretty flawed—I agree with the folks objecting that (a) confirmation bias is a pretty likely component as presented, especially since (b) it's a data set of one—and as jessamyn says early in the thread, it'd probably have made more sense given all that to just ask "why are some people afraid of dogs".

But the way you phrased this callout is itself really, really badly begging the question. It's a heck of a reach to categorically declare this racist troll, and doing it here only after having a couple of really bad non-answers deleted from AskMe just makes it that much more frustrating to see you take this angle.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:41 PM on February 25, 2008


Thanks for coming here after cortex and I both deleted comments of yours from that thread.

It's okay to ask about stereotypes, especially if you're not doing so in a jerkish way. Generally what happens is that people ask about stereotypes and someone will say "yeah that's just a stereotype/confirmation bias" or someone will mention "actually, that may be some sort of a cultural/class thing because of XYZ reason"

A good way to learn about things is by being able to talk about them. Having taboo or "out of bounds" topics in AskMe sort of defeats the purpose of having a place where people can ask relative strangers about things. Trollish, jerkish and racist questions and comments still get removed. If the guy doesn't know the answer, he doesn't know the answer. It could have been phrased better but wasn't against any existing guideline that we have. If you don't want to answer it, don't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:43 PM on February 25, 2008 [17 favorites]


I was just about to post a taboo askme myself, I'm glad someone jumped the gun. In case you're wondering, it was: why do white people dance like this, while black people dance like this???
posted by farishta at 2:45 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the answer to the question is in the book Why Do Black People Love Fried Chicken? by Nashieqa Washington (aka yourblackfriend.com).
posted by grouse at 2:46 PM on February 25, 2008


Well, the question could have been phrased more delicately, but calling it a "racist troll" is a bit over the top, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 2:46 PM on February 25, 2008


Can we please go one day without one of these excruciating AskMe callouts?

FLAG IT AND MOVE ON.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:46 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've known black people who thought black people were more typically afraid of dogs. Maybe its not true. Black people sometimes talk about Colored People Time when they are late, but Jews call it Running on Jewish Time and Indians also view themselves as culturally chronically late.

Come to think of it, Jews also think they are unusually afraid of dogs, as evidenced by this joke.

Yankel is in the Army, and he is sent out by his commanded to reconnoiter. He gets back and goes to give his report. "On the east flank, they have a dozen machine-gunners and five men with flamethrowers, but we can easily take them.

"On the West flank, there are Jeeps and a tank. It's going to be a hell of a fight, but I know we have them outgunned.

"But coming up the center ... coming up the center ... oy oy oy!"

Yankel cannot speak from horror. Finally, he gets up his nerve. In tones of the deepest horror, he says: "In the middle, they have ... such ... a ... big ... DOG."
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:47 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maybe the post wasn't phrased the best. But I don't see any judgment or statement of inferiority or superiority in the question. Perhaps it could have be phrased better and asked if there was a general cultural or social cause/trend. Maybe of the format: "I've noticed some people of group X do Y; Is this common within group X? If so, why?"
posted by jeblis at 2:48 PM on February 25, 2008


The flagging system must be down... wait, no...

Well, maybe if we just added a racism flag. . . errrr....
posted by absalom at 2:51 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw it as a troll because the poster has barely any history on the site, he provides details about the behavior of the dog and her callor but doesn't even mention the breed/color/etc of the dog, and I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.
posted by Stynxno at 2:53 PM on February 25, 2008


I live in the United States and was heretofore unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs. Confirmation bias swings both ways; not everything that you can convince yourself is a troll is necessarily, in fact, a troll.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:57 PM on February 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


Growing up in a black neighborhood I also questioned why the majority of black people would cross to the other side of the street to avoid our half Dachshund / half mutt behind a fence and my black friends wouid have to be convinced he wasn't going to bit them. While at the same time I never saw the reaction when I took our dog to white neighborhoods.

No one put that in my head. Later I contributed it to the fact that we had many strays in our neighborhood that scared me also. Hell, at one time there was a pack of dogs that pretty much ran wild. As someone else said, this is a common stereotype in the black community as well.

Maybe he's a troll, maybe he's racist, but you can't make that claim from what he wrote. And if he's genuinely curious, and you believe him to be wrong, here's your chance to set him right. Yelling troll / racist does nothing but stifle communication, which allows stereotypes to grow uncontested. If that's what you'd prefer keep on preaching.
posted by justgary at 2:59 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

I had to Google "black people" and "dogs" to figure out what you were talking about, so I guess you can count me as another example of a person living in the United States who is unfamiliar with that stereotype.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:00 PM on February 25, 2008


My dogs are totally racist. They don't like cats.

But that's ok, because my cats are pretty racist as well.

They hate Irish people.
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on February 25, 2008 [9 favorites]


I saw it as a troll because the poster has barely any history on the site, he provides details about the behavior of the dog and her callor but doesn't even mention the breed/color/etc of the dog, and I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.
posted by Stynxno at 2:53 PM on February 25 [+] [!]


Oh my.
posted by KAS at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


You know what? Every culture has its stereotypes-some are based in fact, some are not, but it's silly to say that it's wrong to ask about them. I detest racism, but I also detest knee-jerk assumption of racism. It's two sides of the same rotten coin.
posted by konolia at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2008


I saw it as a troll because...

ok. But you can see why they're leaving it up, yeah? To be honest, I've never heard of that stereotype either, and I've spent my entire life in the US.
posted by shmegegge at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2008


I too was unaware of this alleged stereotype.

Also, MetaTalk has been really weird lately.
posted by brain_drain at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2008


(Emphasis mine, sorry)
posted by KAS at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2008


Didn't know about the dog thing. Hell, just found out about the washcloth thing a couple years ago. I wish there was a master directory of stereotypes just so I wouldn't get confused and start thinking that Koreans always win at Battleship and Puerto Ricans can shoot lasers out of their palms.
posted by jtron at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm in Canada (with access to American television!) and have never heard of the stereotype about black people and dogs.

Also, what's netatalk?
posted by ODiV at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2008


Hell, just found out about the washcloth thing a couple years ago.

"Washcloth thing?" WTF is the "washcloth thing"?
posted by dersins at 3:09 PM on February 25, 2008


When did Larry David join Metafilter???
posted by dhammond at 3:10 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


My friend has a very fluffy black dog (about the size of an average lab.) We would take this dog on walks through downtown and on campus, and the only ethnic group that showed absolute and total fear was Asians. This is over years and probably hundreds of such walks and without fail, groups or individual Asians would freeze, slowly back up, and then cross the street to avoid this dog...

No other groups of any ethnicity showed fear of this dog, but I always thought that it must have been culturally motivated.

My first reaction to the post was, 'Hmm, this could have been worded more clearly...' Racist? I'm not so sure.
posted by schyler523 at 3:10 PM on February 25, 2008


I live in the United States and was heretofore unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

Well it's been a little learning experience for everyone here today. I didn't know about this either which I mentiond in my answer to the question thusly "In my experience, there is no racial component to fear of dogs, even in a stereotypical way." because, in my experience, there isn't. Qualifying generalizations is a good way to get some feedback without people just dipping into their stereotype closet to see what fits.

I only know about Daddy-O because he's organizing the Austin meetup which seemed like something almost completely impossible for a trollish person to do, so I think I gave him the bennefit of the doubt right up front. And also because I give people the benefit of the doubt generally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:13 PM on February 25, 2008


I aways love it when there is a huge askme thread of people stating "confirmation bias." It makes me wonder if they are not also suffering from this bias when they explain something with this label. I don't recall ever really seeing a thread with an overwhelming answer of any of the other biases.
posted by 517 at 3:15 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


jtron, that second one is totally true. I live in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, and it's like a dang planetarium Pink Floyd showaround here. Lights blasting everywhere, all like a George Lucas wet dream about the stigmata, the little kids pretending they're Iron Man, it's like a damn neighborhood full of Dazzler/Jubilee crossovers. Fuckin' Puerto Ricans and their goddamn laser-hands.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:15 PM on February 25, 2008 [11 favorites]


Black people don't hate dogs!!! Black people hate white people!

-Paraphrased from a Chris Rock bit.
posted by The Deej at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2008


It's kind of a dopey question that anyone who'd been here a while would realize couldn't end well, but he hasn't been here that long, and I don't get a bad faith sense here. A naive and kinda dunderheaded sense, yeah.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2008


I love black people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2008


This call-out right here?

Fundamental attribution bias.
posted by CKmtl at 3:17 PM on February 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Honestly, the blacks and dogs/fried chicken/watermelon/ whatever stereotypes - I've always known about them and seen them used interchangeably . I saw that question, instantly read it in that framework, noticed that there were several jokey comments and other comments and felt that it confirmed my suspicion. And I was pretty amazed that it was still up even after awhile which lead me to post this. But you all seriously did not know about this stereotype? Huh.
posted by Stynxno at 3:17 PM on February 25, 2008


Fuckin' Puerto Ricans and their goddamn laser-hands.

I don't have goddamn laser hands. I have goddamn reggaeton-blasting-boombox hands.

Get it right next time.

Sincerely,

A Fuckin' Puerto Rican
posted by DrGirlfriend at 3:21 PM on February 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


What washcloth thing? WTF?
posted by dobbs at 3:23 PM on February 25, 2008


But you all seriously did not know about this stereotype?

Hey, we only just learned about mayonnaise.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:23 PM on February 25, 2008


Is it really THAT hard to wonder why black people in American might be afraid of dogs?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:24 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hm. Now I'm trying to find that fake stereotype site that I thought was posted here at one point. It had hilarious fake racial stereotypes (like the Puerto Ricans and their laser beam emitting hands) along with funny pictures. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by ODiV at 3:24 PM on February 25, 2008


The "washcloth thing" interpreted by Dave Chappelle.
posted by cgc373 at 3:25 PM on February 25, 2008


More on washcloths.
posted by CKmtl at 3:26 PM on February 25, 2008


ODiV: was it this one?
posted by DrGirlfriend at 3:27 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hm. Bad html, BAD!. Here.
posted by CKmtl at 3:27 PM on February 25, 2008


Agree with Stynxno's assessment (although the dog-fear stereotype's a new one by me also).

WTF is the "washcloth thing"?

Ask Me from last December, which I missed since I was traveling:
Do you use a washcloth?
posted by Rash at 3:29 PM on February 25, 2008


I always thought this was more socioeconomic - the well-off keep dogs as pets, the poor have them for protection, guarding the home, attack-training, etc. Poor [black/white/hispanic] sees dog, gives it a wide berth, racism ensues. The poster was clumsy but not asking anything I haven't wondered about dozens of times as well. Calling him a racist makes you sound like shrill.
posted by docpops at 3:30 PM on February 25, 2008


Now I don't even want to ask why black people seem to prefer orange sodas.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:32 PM on February 25, 2008


I don't have goddamn laser hands. I have goddamn reggaeton-blasting-boombox hands.

Get it right next time.

Sincerely,

A Fuckin' Puerto Rican


DrGirlfriend is, of course, on the money. Honestly, Greg -- you gotta get your shit correct.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:33 PM on February 25, 2008


Another here who didn't know about this supposed nation-blanketing stereotype.
posted by Malor at 3:35 PM on February 25, 2008


I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

One more data point here - I was.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:37 PM on February 25, 2008


Yes! Thanks Doctor.
posted by ODiV at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2008


I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

I lived in the US until I was 24 and I had never heard that either.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2008


From CKmtl's link:
[Washcloths:] Black people use them. White people don't.

What the... I have never heard that before. I always assumed everyone used them. Why wouldn't... how would... what?

Am I still white?

::curls up in bed::
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:43 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Totally unrelated, but: can anyone point me towards a trainwreck image macro? TIA.
posted by boo_radley at 3:45 PM on February 25, 2008


I don't even want to ask why black people seem to prefer orange sodas

That's okay, papakwanz already did.
posted by Rash at 3:46 PM on February 25, 2008


I had never heard of the dog stereotype, either. I grew up in the south and have lived in several predominantly black neighborhoods (where people had dogs) and even lived with a black family for a few months and have never seen it.

Honestly, one of the only stereotypes involving black folks that I have a lot of experience with is BBQ, and I was immensely thankful for the BBQ truck that would drive around my neighborhood every Sunday in West Palm Beach. Mmm. Riiiibs. And orange soda, too.

Sincerely,

A Jew who isn't afraid of dogs and who has been known to weep gefilte flavored tears.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2008


Also, upon more carefully reading this thread - what the hell? Washcloths are supposedly used only by black people?

I feel like I did when I was first talking with a Dutch guy who became a good friend. We were getting ready to pay for dinner and we all started dividing up the check, and he was shamefaced and said "this is because you all think the Dutch are cheapskates -- I swear we really aren't, it's just a stereotype" and we all said "wha??"
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:48 PM on February 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


I always assumed everyone used them.

This white man only uses the washcloth as an optional, auxiliary towel -- for drying, not scrubbing. But then, I'm in that weird minority of Americans who bathes, instead of showering.
posted by Rash at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2008


Of all the recent call-outs, this is by far the lamest. For realz. Get a fucking hobby and stop abusing the use of the racism card.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:53 PM on February 25, 2008


Is it really THAT hard to wonder why black people in American might be afraid of dogs?

Oh no you di'int!
posted by The Deej at 3:54 PM on February 25, 2008


Now I don't even want to ask why black people seem to prefer orange sodas.
Fortunately, someone already asked.

I was also unaware of the black people and dogs stereotype, although blacks make up less than 5% of the population here.
posted by pravit at 3:55 PM on February 25, 2008


Of all the recent call-outs, this is by far the lamest. For realz. Get a fucking hobby and stop abusing the use of the racism card.

Oh, this from the woman who's eating a BLACK cat. I think we ALL know what YOUR agenda is here, lady!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:57 PM on February 25, 2008


I think maybe the hugs aren't working.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

I hadn't. The first I knew of it was when I was living in a mixed neighborhood with my dog. And even then I didn't know it was a general stereotype until now, I had thought maybe it was something about that city in particular.
posted by dilettante at 4:00 PM on February 25, 2008


Ok, having read that washcloth thread, there's a whole world of bathroom practices that I haven't examined. /bemused washcloth reverie/
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:01 PM on February 25, 2008


For all the people who have never heard of black people and dogs stereotype, you need to watch more King of the Hill.
posted by Sailormom at 4:03 PM on February 25, 2008


Do black people swim?

-or-

Regular or Riverboat style?
posted by edgeways at 4:10 PM on February 25, 2008


I've never used a washcloth facecloth to wash anything other than my face. And that's only when washing my face at the sink, in the shower I just use my hands.

For non-face showering, it's all about shower gel and one of those plastic netting faux-loofas.
posted by CKmtl at 4:13 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think maybe the hugs aren't working.

New note: Everyone needs some drugs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


I think maybe the hugs aren't working.

Then we must hug harder! Also if people could stop casting their lazy racial stereotypes around in this thread it would be great. Also, I use a washcloth.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2008


Why do British people love dogs so much? I like dogs a whole lot myself (all animals really), but you can't go anywhere in the UK without seeing a ton of people walking dogs. Why is that? Here in my American neighborhood you see the occasioal dog out for a walk, but it's not like we're obsessed like those people.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2008


Some lazy stereotypes are better than others.
posted by dios at 4:17 PM on February 25, 2008


Black people are afraid of dogs because many dogs love to swim so much, but you should never feed fried chicken to a dog, because the chicken bones can splinter hurting the dog.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:29 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


If someone would like to give me some constructive criticism why my question is racist, inflammatory, or insensitive, I would be genuinely appreciative. How was it insulting? How does it say anything bad about other people? How could I have worded it better? Point it out to me please, don't just respond with "If you don't know by now..." I in no way meant to troll and I don't see any racism in asking. As I say in my profile, I have been lurking around Metafilter for about 5 years, so I don't think I am clueless. It seems to me that understanding other peoples thought processes and cultural experiences would be helpful. I will ask my nephew Jarod if he has noticed this fear of dogs when I call him later tonight. For the record, neither Matilda or I were insulted by the fear expressed, it just made us curious.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:30 PM on February 25, 2008


The question was fine, Daddy-O. Ignore the Mefites overcome with the vapors.
posted by mediareport at 4:35 PM on February 25, 2008


I've lived in the U.S., in the South, all of my life, and I never knew about either the dog or the washcloth stereotype. Obviously I need to subscribe to the newsletter.

I, myself, was afraid of dogs for a long time because I was unfamiliar with them (we always had cats). Now that I've been around them more, I like dogs a lot, as much for their differences from cats (eagerness to please, goofy tail-wagging*) as for their similarities.

[*NOT DOGIST]
posted by misha at 4:35 PM on February 25, 2008


Daddy-O,
Speaking as a real live black person, I didn't think the question was insulting. What was disheartening was watching people scurry around saying WTF, calling it racist and what not. I don't know you from Adam, but it's pretty easy to see your question was probably from a place of curiosity as opposed to racism.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 PM on February 25, 2008


Daddy-O --

When I said that the question was kinda naive, what I meant was that there are some subjects that will inevitably lead to drama on MetaTalk, and asking "Why are black people like this?" is one of them. As seen the other week, "Why are white people like that?" doesn't really fare too much better. And I figure that, if you'd been here longer, you would have said to yourself, "Huh...this is probably gonna start some shit...do I really wanna go there?" and you probably would have concluded that no, you really did not.

As to the question itself, I can tell you that as a wee cracka ass cracka I lived in mortal fucking terror of dogs, probably because we didn't have one and because most of the ones I met were as big as me or bigger, and had big ass wolf teeth and shit. I probably would have been scared of your dog, too. I'm not sure when that changed, and when I developed my current affection for and complete fearlessness toward huge, awesome dogs, but I did, eventually. So anyway, it's not just black people, and even amongst black people who would be scared of your dog it's not a given that they'd all be scared for a common reason; and while I don't think you meant any harm by singling black people out, or attributing a single motivation to a large group of people, the faulty premise(s) coupled with the racial focus is the kind of thing that's bound to rub some MeFites the wrong way. And like I said, I think you would have seen that and just deigned it best to, well, not ask the question, had you been here longer.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:56 PM on February 25, 2008


If someone would like to give me some constructive criticism why my question is [...] inflammatory . . .

Associating pretty much any race with any behavior is a potentially inflammatory issue, and the casual wording of your question betrayed a lack of knowledge of and/or respect for that fact.

Basically, if you're going to claim that a particular behavior is "black", then you'd best have more evidence than 4 teenagers and things "you've noticed" about other blacks to back you up. Not because you're racist if you don't, but because there are some very loud and quick to judge voices on the internet who are absolutely aching to not give you the benefit of the doubt.
posted by tkolar at 5:02 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel like I did when I was first talking with a Dutch guy who became a good friend. We were getting ready to pay for dinner and we all started dividing up the check, and he was shamefaced and said "this is because you all think the Dutch are cheapskates -- I swear we really aren't, it's just a stereotype"

I guess there is "going dutch" or "dutch treat" on a date. But it hadn't (until just now I guess) even occured to me that those were intended to imply that Dutch people as a whole are cheap. Interesting.
posted by blenderfish at 5:03 PM on February 25, 2008


    It has now been
      __
    / _ \  
   | | | |
   | | | |
   | |_| |
    \___/
   days since the last 
   stupid MeFi callout
Think Safety!
posted by chrisamiller at 5:06 PM on February 25, 2008 [26 favorites]


blenderfish - that was exactly what he was thinking of. He thought of it as a major stereotype that he would have to overcome. We were all like "wth? oh, going Dutch, yeah, hmmm.... nope"
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:09 PM on February 25, 2008


I still think this thread is better than the SLICE MY PENIS WITH A KNIFE video that he posted to an ASK.ME thread last week.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 5:17 PM on February 25, 2008


I never thought netatalk was rascist. I mean, its a nifty little system for getting macs to talk to a linux file server, and I have never seen it discriminate against users. Maybe malformed or illegal filenames, but at some point we do have to drawn a line.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:19 PM on February 25, 2008


Only white dogs can be racist.
posted by tkchrist at 5:26 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still think this thread is better than the SLICE MY PENIS WITH A KNIFE video that he posted to an ASK.ME thread last week.

Oh god. I had to watch that to figure out whether it was an answer to the question or not. I can easily say it's the worst thing I've ever seena YouTube style video of.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:31 PM on February 25, 2008


It's fascinating how stereotypes differ from place to place. Never heard of the dog thing. 'Washcloths' (we call them flannels) are largely the preserve of the middle-aged and elderly here, I suspect, but there's no racial component whatsoever. Americans, at least those on MetaFilter, also seem to think that black people don't like swimming and that Asian people like driving cars souped up with spoilers and such (at least I think that's what 'ricer' means?), both of which would sound bizarre to someone from the UK, even the racists.

They're regional too, I suppose - I was on the Isle of Man recently, and more than one person mentioned that the Polish food shops were secretly brothels.
posted by jack_mo at 5:33 PM on February 25, 2008


Nah, ricers are any people who modify cars, ostensibly for street racing purposes, usually they're just posers. They just tend towards car companies from Japan or Korea.
posted by Snyder at 5:38 PM on February 25, 2008


We were all like "wth? oh, going Dutch, yeah, hmmm.... nope"

I'd always associated it with Dutch doors being split down the middle, but Wikipedia doesn't agree. Interesting that "some South American countries use the Spanish phrase pagar a la americana (literally "To pay American style") which refers to a trait attributed to people from the U.S.A. or Canada."

And yes, most importantly Stynxno, what does this have to do with netatalk?
posted by mumkin at 5:42 PM on February 25, 2008


Oh god. I had to watch that to figure out whether it was an answer to the question or not. I can easily say it's the worst thing I've ever seena YouTube style video of.

Link?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:47 PM on February 25, 2008


I saw it as a troll because the poster has barely any history on the site, he provides details about the behavior of the dog and her callor but doesn't even mention the breed/color/etc of the dog, and I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

A somewhat naive question with incomplete information provided by the asker?! OMG that never happens on AskMe unless it's a TROLL. Or, y'know, like a quarter of the questions overall.
posted by desuetude at 5:51 PM on February 25, 2008


LOL. Thank you for owning that jessamyn. Wasn't going to say you were the one to mod that, but it is out now... we have both been exposed.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 5:53 PM on February 25, 2008


No Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America... you don't want to go down that road.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 5:54 PM on February 25, 2008


No Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America... you don't want to go down that road.

Yes, I really do!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:55 PM on February 25, 2008


I don't even want to ask why black people seem to prefer orange sodas

You goddamn crackers. It's grape. Orange is 2nd place.
posted by yerfatma at 5:59 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Checking my history... If I find it, I'll MefiMail you.. I am not posting that damn thing here. I will not be responsible for that.

Honestly.. I don't tell anyone this, but I watched one of those soldier beheading a few years back. I found this video more disturbing and I only watched 4 seconds of this.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 6:01 PM on February 25, 2008


Yes, I really do!

Check your MeMail, then.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:02 PM on February 25, 2008


Oh fuck... I found it. Alright, MeMail.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2008


"and I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs."

Huh with the what now? Do I just know too many actual black people to know about the stereotype?

"I only know about Daddy-O because he's organizing the Austin meetup which seemed like something almost completely impossible for a trollish person to do"

Unless he totally doesn't show up, or gives the address for an abandoned barn or something.

It's Asian people who freak out about dogs. Jeez.
posted by klangklangston at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2008


Rick Astley has a nice place in Austin, and you're all going to show up at the locked gate and wonder what the fuck is up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:06 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Only white dogs can be racist.

White Dog (imdb).

Speaking as real live black person #x, I saw that movie and was terrified. I don't think the question was racist or really problematic. I think the "some" made it okay.
posted by cashman at 6:06 PM on February 25, 2008


I feel like I did when I was first talking with a Dutch guy who became a good friend. We were getting ready to pay for dinner and we all started dividing up the check, and he was shamefaced and said "this is because you all think the Dutch are cheapskates -- I swear we really aren't, it's just a stereotype" and we all said "wha??"

I have always thought that this was because the Dutch had progressive sexual politics. Huh.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:06 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I too live in the United States and was heretofore unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs. I am a white person and have known black persons who, if they had any special feelings about dogs, did not share them with me. I have a black cat who probably does not like dogs but I have no actual evidence of this.

[NOT CANINIST]
posted by languagehat at 6:11 PM on February 25, 2008


I am familiar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs, but only because there was a sociology class I took where we had a number of discussions about stereotypes, and that was one of them. Haven't had a dog in years, and thus spend very little time paying attention to who's scared of them.
posted by rtha at 6:15 PM on February 25, 2008


King of the Hill did this. Turns out the guy was made of bacon or something.
posted by tehloki at 6:16 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still think this thread is better than the SLICE MY PENIS WITH A KNIFE video that he posted to an ASK.ME thread last week.

I posted it first.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:28 PM on February 25, 2008


the SLICE MY PENIS WITH A KNIFE video

Oh hey cortex, speaking of... a little bird told me it's a special metatalk milestone for you. Is that true?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:30 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why yes, jessamyn. This is my ten-thousandth Metatalk comment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:30 PM on February 25, 2008 [9 favorites]


1. I don't recall ever hearing the "black people are afraid of dogs" stereotype, I noticed it on my own.

2. I hate it when a dog tries to lick me on the leg, much less the face.

3. I think Matilda does have some pit bull DNA, we got her as a 7 week old pup at a shelter and never saw her parents, so I'm not sure how much.

4. My nephew Jarod, who is black, says he also has noticed that black people are more likely to be afraid of dogs. He attributed it to Bull Connor types, but he also thinks the socio-economic explanation has some creedence.

5. Jarod doesn't think I am a racist, and that the question wasn't racist. But he knows me.

6. Thank you MaryDellamorte for pointing that out. I think my comment linking your comment has been erased. I would also like to mention that I labeled it as EXTREMELY NSFW AND DISTURBING in my reference to it.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:36 PM on February 25, 2008


Why, look, it's another retarded MeTa whinge!

Christ on a popsicle stick, it's time for mods to start deleting MeTa FPPs.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:37 PM on February 25, 2008


I posted it first.

I literally (yes, literally) threw up in my mouth just now, and I never get grossed out by shock sites on the internet. Serves me right for clicking.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:38 PM on February 25, 2008


I sort of agree with this call out, but Stynxno might not be the best person to complain about trolling.
posted by LarryC at 6:40 PM on February 25, 2008


If you know what I mean.
posted by LarryC at 6:40 PM on February 25, 2008


I posted it first.

Nope. My hatchet vs. genitals post predates yours, but unfortunately my link seems to be broken. Plus, fascists deleted the thread. So, good repost.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:41 PM on February 25, 2008


Or am I off-base here?
posted by LarryC at 6:41 PM on February 25, 2008


Plus, fascists deleted the thread.

I'm never sending you another guy chopping his dick off in email again.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:44 PM on February 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


I literally (yes, literally) threw up in my mouth just now, and I never get grossed out by shock sites on the internet. Serves me right for clicking.

When I show that video to people, they get a little creeped out that I laugh the entire time while watching it. It's just so over the top that I can't help but laugh.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:45 PM on February 25, 2008


I'm never sending you another guy chopping his dick off in email again.

Don't be that way! I know that there's only so much you can do when you're outvoted 2 to 1 by fascists.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:47 PM on February 25, 2008


oh, and

7. We had a chow dog put to sleep the first time he jumped the fence, chased a jogger, and nipped at his heels. I wouldn't own a dog that was a threat to people. We take Matilda to the hike and bike trail, all over the neighborhood, parks, PetsMart, and even Home Depot. She loves it.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:54 PM on February 25, 2008


Daddy-O, stop defending your dog.

I'm sure she's marvellous. But you asked why $people might be afraid of your pooch, and mefites are simply answering your question: because she looks scary. Not to you, because you know and love her, but to other people who do not.

Nobody is actually criticising your dog, your parenting or ownership of said dog, or anything about the dog.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:05 PM on February 25, 2008


I still think this thread is better than the SLICE MY PENIS WITH A KNIFE video that he posted to an ASK.ME thread last week.

The most recent comment in response to that video:

"I CAINT FADE DAT SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DIS MOTHA-FUCKA IS FUCK CRAZY!!!!!! SOMETHIN IS SERIOUSLY WRONG WIT HIM!!!! I LOVE MY DICK AND BALLS WWWAAAYYYYY TOO MUCH!!!!! DAT IS DAT WHITE BOI SHIT!!!!!!"

So what is it about black people that makes them reluctant to slice their penises with knives?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:10 PM on February 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Hahaha.
posted by The Straightener at 7:12 PM on February 25, 2008


netatalk -> spoof of the mispelling in the ask.me question. sog instead of dog. netatalk instead of metatalk.
posted by Stynxno at 7:17 PM on February 25, 2008


Also, I use a washcloth.

Yes, but you use it like this, and black people use it like this.
posted by davejay at 7:23 PM on February 25, 2008


Jarod doesn't think I am a racist, and that the question wasn't racist. But he knows me.

Daddy-O I've often wished there was another widely understood word besides "racist" to discuss these sorts of things. I would never call you or the question you called racist. I would however wonder if you were aware that the exact same question could have been asked from an entirely different viewpoint.

Why are white people so comfortable with dogs?

Does this question make different assumptions? Or would it be read as the exact same question? Or does it seem like a really silly question to ask?

Regardless of your intent, you can look at how many of the answers pointed to a socioeconomic explanation, and then made the leap to Black=poor or from bad neighborhood, and see how there is inherent bias that's bound to arise from the question as asked.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:24 PM on February 25, 2008


Oh, and yeah, Ricers == Racers who run cars and bikes designed in Japan, now altered to mean wannabe-racers without a clue who decorate slow econoboxes from any nation with performance components of little/no use (big wings on cars that max out at 95mph, for instance.)
posted by davejay at 7:25 PM on February 25, 2008


I can see where I defended myself, answered peoples questions, and supplied more info as people requested, but I don't see where I went on and on defending the dog DarlingBri. What did I say that makes you think I don't know people are answering the questions I had? Who said anything about people criticising my dog, my parenting or ownership of said dog, or anything about the dog besides you?
posted by Daddy-O at 7:25 PM on February 25, 2008


PeterMcDermott's comment reminded me of this John Waters interview:
Later, when I showed them in a class I taught at prison during the '80s, the reaction was racially divided. Oddly enough, when I showed Pink Flamingos to my class—and I had a good class, because the warden gave me the smartest and the worst, the smartest people who had done the worst crimes—and every black person left when Divine ate dog shit. They never came back, dropped the course. And every white person stayed. It was so weird.

O: Do you have any theories about that?

JW: I don't know to this day. "Fuckin' white people are crazy," that's all I can think of. [Laughs.]
Oh, and this callout is totally retarded. And gay.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:27 PM on February 25, 2008


Dogs are known to be calmed by photons, elementary particles naturally emitted by white people. Black people absorb photons and so do not have this natural barrier to canine aggression.

No wait, confirmation bias.

/deleted askme wisecrack that doesn't help people find answers
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:33 PM on February 25, 2008


deleted askme wisecrack that doesn't help people find answers

So you can see what we're dealing with here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:38 PM on February 25, 2008


BillyFleetwood, I would like for you to explain a bit more thoroughly and clearly what you are thinking. It seems to me that almost any question and almost every answer on AskMe is going to be contaminated with people's assumptions and biases. Perhaps we are all just trying extremely hard not to be offensive and we are treading extra cautiously? Thanks for your input.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:38 PM on February 25, 2008


BillyFleetwood wrote...
Why are white people so comfortable with dogs?

That isn't even close to the original question. It would have to be

"Why are some white people so comfortable with this particular dog?"

... and it would have the same range of answers available as Daddy-O's question.


The fact that people on the internet are very quick to read

"Why are some black people afraid of my dog"

as

"Why are all black people afraid of all dogs"

is what makes questions like this so problematic.
posted by tkolar at 7:58 PM on February 25, 2008


tkolar, as jessamyn and many others have said, the problem is that people in real life think

"Why are some black people afraid of my dog"

rather than

"Why are some black people afraid of my dog"

That's why generalizations such is this, (and it is one) make life problematic for black people.
posted by anomie at 8:06 PM on February 25, 2008


This thread is closed to new comments.
posted by popechunk at 8:07 PM on February 25, 2008


the asker is trying to BETTER UNDERSTAND PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT RACES, and you're calling him racist? At worst, you could say it was "racially insensitive," which it's not. At All.

This is some stupid-ass "1990s-at-a-Seven-Sisters-college" level shit. This is what turned "PC" into a slur.

"Why are some white people so comfortable with this particular dog?"
Are you intentionally writing as parody? Someone being comfortable with a dog is not a PROBLEM! it is a GOOD THING. Why on earth would anyone ever consider writing a question on the internet phrased like that?
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:08 PM on February 25, 2008


How about:

Why are you people afraid of my dog?
posted by ODiV at 8:12 PM on February 25, 2008


This is some stupid-ass "1990s-at-a-Seven-Sisters-college" level shit. This is what turned "PC" into a slur.

Nah, not really. Stynxno saw that Daddy-O was a recent join-up, saw that he'd posted what could be construed as a deliberately shit-stirring question, and too quickly (IMO) jumped to the conclusion that Daddy-O was here to troll. This is pretty far removed from concluding that the phrase "my blackest day" is racist, that male heterosexuality = sexism, etc., which are things I recall pretty vividly from the heyday of PC bullshit. This is not PC bullshit. Not even close. Daddy-O wandered into a minefield with a clumsy question that, frankly, no one was going to be able to answer in any kind of authoritative way even if its premise had been sound, and probably should have known better, but didn't, and maybe should have gotten the benefit of the doubt, but didn't, and here we all are. Try the decaf.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:32 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


tkolar, as jessamyn and many others have said, the problem is that people

I'll go out on a limb and assume you meant "some people" here.

in real life think

"Why are some black people afraid of my dog"

rather than

"Why are some people afraid of my dog"


There are many reasons a person might ask a question that specifies "black people" as opposed to "people". One of those reasons is that the person in question is either unknowing or knowingly an institutional racist, completely unable to view people simply as people instead of as representatives of their race.

Despite the fact that it is only one of many possible reasons, it is quite predictable on the internet that someone will appear and with total certainty proclaim that it is the only possible reason that this particular person asked this question this way.

In short for some internet posters, racial prejudice is assumed as a baseline behavior for everyone. And then we get to have these lovely threads.
posted by tkolar at 8:38 PM on February 25, 2008


Whew, had a moment of insanity there and actually attempted to discuss racism on an internet discussion board. Time to check my meds.
posted by tkolar at 8:50 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why are white people so comfortable with dogs?

Not this white boy. I don't trust and, frankly, despise small punt-dogs; and I don't trust and, frankly, don't like big dogs. Awful creatures.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:54 PM on February 25, 2008


Metafilter: I'm never sending you another guy chopping his dick off in email again.
posted by netbros at 8:56 PM on February 25, 2008


So lemme get this straight: on Metafilter/AskMe, Stuff White People Like = Not OK; Stuff Black People Don't Like = OK. Got it.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:06 PM on February 25, 2008


Your post is concern trolling and a bad call-out, to boot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 PM on February 25, 2008


tkolar: I was only echoing your previous statement: "The fact that people on the internet are very quick to read..."

I'll go out on a limb and assume you meant "some people" there as well.

Please, do check those meds.
posted by anomie at 9:20 PM on February 25, 2008


See also: I Can't Believe You Asked That!
posted by IndigoRain at 9:21 PM on February 25, 2008


heh

I'm in Canada (with access to American television!)

Well I'm in Australia with access to American television. You have to go the a small village in Chechnya NOT to have access to American television.
posted by mattoxic at 9:26 PM on February 25, 2008


tkolar: I was only echoing your previous statement: "The fact that people on the internet are very quick to read..."

I'll go out on a limb and assume you meant "some people" there as well.


Touche, anomie.
posted by tkolar at 9:39 PM on February 25, 2008


Why is it a taboo to make observations based on race/culture/sex/location?
Seems disingenuous at best.

Nobody posted anything like "Why are black people more afraid of dogs than white people? Black people suck because they are afraid or my dog."
posted by vapidave at 9:39 PM on February 25, 2008


so what's this washcloth thing all about? - all i ever had when i was growing up was warshcloths
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 PM on February 25, 2008


Time to check my meds.

Oh, right. Because white people are crazy?
posted by ODiV at 9:50 PM on February 25, 2008


I stand Corrected. The word "some" Is important.

Why are some White people comfortable with my dog?

looking at that question without an additional value judgement as to whether being comfortable/afraid of dogs is a good or bad thing, I repeat my initial inquiry.

Is it the same question, is it a different question, or is it a ridiculous question?

How about Why are some Black people comfortable with my dog?

does that question stand up?

How about the answers. How many of the answers would be the exact same answer if applied to another race? To all people in general?

I think what I'm getting at (and restating the question clears it up in my head, so thanks for asking for a clarification) is that subjects like this are the perfect test cases for questioning our biases and assumptions. It's hard to ask these questions, because so often it's assumed that there's a right answer and a wrong answer. That someone is either going to be labeled "racist" or "PC/oversensitive"

I don't think there's a right or wrong. I don't think your level of cultural sensitivity is on the line. I agree that we're all going to come at things with assumptions and biases. I just think that this is a case where the real answer to your question lies in either removing the bias, or applying it equally across the board. Like I said, I disagree with the acusation of racism, but I agree that the topic bears examination in this forum. I think it's awesome that you asked your original question as opposed to just assuming the stereotype. I bet your nephew is glad that you asked as well.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:57 PM on February 25, 2008


Jalapeno peppers and hot sauce. Every fast-food outlet within the Detroit city limits offers jalapenos as a side item for a dime or so each. The McDonalds and Wendys and KFCs in the suburbs don't. Sit-down restaurants in the city always have either Tabasco or Red Devil Hot Sauce on each table along with the mustard and ketchup. Again, the 'burbs, not so much. Do black people like spicy food? Discuss.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:58 PM on February 25, 2008


It's nice to see metafilter branching out from dumbass boyzone to dumbass whitezone. Perhaps next week AskMe will bring answers to the long-pondered questions of "why do Chinese people smell so bad?" and "why are women such bitches?"

We are truly building quite the knowledge-base!
posted by 1 at 10:02 PM on February 25, 2008


Reminds me of that King of the Hill episode when the furnace repairman, who happens to be black, feels that Hank's dog doesn't like him.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:05 PM on February 25, 2008


Reminds me of this.
posted by tkolar at 10:12 PM on February 25, 2008


It's an interesting topic. There's a whole lot of sociology/psychology questions that could be asked: not just black or white people in urban Texas, and not just dogs. It's a subset of cultural variation in attitudes to animals.

A quick story. A few years ago in early spring I was walking to a cafe at uni to get some breakfast. At one of the tables outside were a couple of young female Asian students. (I'm not sure which Asian ethnicity they were, or even if they were the same.) Anyway, I noticed a possum climbing up a vacant chair, onto the table. This kind of possum, or maybe it was a ring-tail, I forget. In any case, a healthy adult member of the cutest animal species native to Brisbane. They don't like being patted without being plied with fruit first, and they are known to nip people who take liberties, but they're hardly the sort of animal I would consider cause for even moderate concern, let alone dangerous.

The girls freaked. One shrieked, not loudly, and one tried to wave it away with a sandwich. The possum, of course, made a grab for the sandwich. The girl flung the sandwich at it with an expression of terror on her face, and she and her friend stepped away from the table. They watched in horror as the possum sat up, picked up the sliced tomato from the sandwich in its cute little hands, devoured it, climbed back down the chair and went about its possumy business.

The girls watched it leave, and gingerly returned to their seats. They watched it climb a tree. One girl picked up the rest of the sandwich between finger and thumb, and dropped it with evident disgust into the bin. I went on my way, grinning. I'd seen an adorable possum do something amusing and cute. The girls, on the other hand, saw an ENORMOUS RAT come into an eating area, climb up on a table bold as brass, scoff a person's food, and saunter away.

Had our positions been reversed, I'd have offered it a slice of tomato; they, watching from a little way away, would have been disgusted and disturbed. Who is right? I don't know. I don't think it's even a valid question. But I'm sure I enjoyed the experience a lot more.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:25 PM on February 25, 2008 [8 favorites]


Between the dogs and the genital mutilation this MeTa puts me in mind of the time when we were nutting calves on the farm and suddenly the crazy dog got a hankerin' (Darned if I can remember if he favored the gonads of any particular colour of newly minted steer, though) for some testes, and before you knew it the pail was upended and foul balls were scattered every which way.

So at least it has that going for it, I guess.

My suggestion is to close AskMe down until people decide to stop being little whiners about every tiny thing that they find offense with.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:50 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


.. until people decide to stop being little whiners about every tiny thing that they find offense with.

But after the heat death of the universe, all our questions will be moot anyway.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:03 PM on February 25, 2008


"How about Why are some Black people comfortable with my dog?"

Except that it's like "This one group of black folks was uncomfortable with my dog. Why are black people uncomfortable with dogs?" The leap from specific to general there is what made the question goofy for me, and past that it's pretty unanswerable (unless you happen to know all black people).
posted by klangklangston at 11:03 PM on February 25, 2008


I am offended by your certainty that maximum entropy as being the end of everything, and will call you out because of it, hopefully adding some sort of racial angle to it in the process.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:05 PM on February 25, 2008


At the end of time, all will be blackness?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


There goes the universe!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


so in less than 24 hours on the site I have seen a 'suggested' video of a chick killing a bear and taking it doggy style from another hunter on top of said bear and then two 'things' who should have been tied in a sack and tossed into a creek at birth mutilate themselves.
Of course no one forced me to watch these, and I couldn't finish both. It's just that I think I'll now retire to a swamp somewhere and become a monk.
But first I'll have to watch 2 girls 1 cup just to clear my head.

Remember the good old days when Goatsee or Tubgirl were on the fringes of the shock puke-o-meter?
posted by dawson at 11:22 PM on February 25, 2008


A quick story. A few years ago in early spring I was walking to a cafe at uni to get some breakfast. At one of the tables outside were a couple of young female Asian students. (I'm not sure which Asian ethnicity they were, or even if they were the same.) Anyway, I noticed a possum climbing up a vacant chair, onto the table. This kind of possum, or maybe it was a ring-tail, I forget. In any case, a healthy adult member of the cutest animal species native to Brisbane. They don't like being patted without being plied with fruit first, and they are known to nip people who take liberties, but they're hardly the sort of animal I would consider cause for even moderate concern, let alone dangerous.

I see what you did there.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:07 AM on February 26, 2008


The leap from specific to general there is what made the question goofy for me, and past that it's pretty unanswerable (unless you happen to know all black people).

I agree with your point klangklangston, but don't agree that it makes the question unanswerable.

Here's my logic. if you ask "why are some black people afraid of dogs?" then you're making the assumption that some Black people are not afraid of dogs. Why?

I'm just wondering if you don't immediately answer that question in your head as you type it.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:07 AM on February 26, 2008


five fresh fish: "Christ on a popsicle stick, it's time for mods to start deleting MeTa FPPs."

Oh god, yes please.
posted by dg at 12:37 AM on February 26, 2008


If someone would like to give me some constructive criticism why my question is racist, inflammatory, or insensitive, I would be genuinely appreciative. How was it insulting? How does it say anything bad about other people?

You could have phrased it better, like "I've noticed that African Americans tend to be more afraid of my dog then other ethnic groups, are my perceptions correct? Is this something that's commonly noted?" It never hurts to be extra polite when talking about these kinds of things, because you want to try to avoid any improper interpretations. There is a big Difference between Texas and the rest of the country when it comes to race relations, in my experience [NOT TEXASIST]
posted by delmoi at 12:52 AM on February 26, 2008


five fresh fish: "Christ on a popsicle stick, it's time for mods to start deleting MeTa FPPs."

Oh god, yes please.


They can do it now.
posted by delmoi at 12:53 AM on February 26, 2008


Remember the good old days when Goatsee or Tubgirl were on the fringes of the shock puke-o-meter?

For some of us, they still are. I know this is, like, totally crazy to suggest... but you could always not watch a video of a guy mutilating his own dick or doing a girl on top of a dead bear.

I like retaining some sense of innocence, myself.
posted by pineapple at 1:05 AM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


w.r.t the genital destruction derail, well that stuff is out there but it's really in a different class of shock. Looking at something like tubgirl or 2 girls 1 cup is "traumatic" in a manageable way, it doesn't really cause any damage. It's like watching a scary movie and like mental S&M play. It's shocking but the shock is more of a visceral thrill then anything else.

But that violent stuff is different. Only a few people would look at that and find it funny or find the shock enjoyable. It's reprehensible on every level, and it's just not the kind of thing most people would get a kick out of showing to their friends. Some people would, of course, and so there are probably sites that traffic in that thing (like the stileproject, if that site is still around) but it will never be 'mainstreamed' like 2 girls 1 cup.

(Of course, if you told me 10 years ago that a video of two girls eating poop or whatever they do in the video (I didn't make it all the way through) would become a mainstream cultural phenomenon I would have thought you were totally insane)
posted by delmoi at 1:08 AM on February 26, 2008


Data point: my yellow lab hates dark things of all descriptions: black labradors, "black" people, black cats, night time, dark blue jeans...
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:38 AM on February 26, 2008


WHITE DOG
posted by rmd1023 at 4:07 AM on February 26, 2008


Delmoi, the way you rephrased my question was an improvement, I'll give you that. But you destroyed your credibility for "avoiding improper interpretations" with "There is a big Difference between Texas and the rest of the country when it comes to race relations, in my experience" Saying "[NOT TEXASIST]" doesn't save you. Don't tell me: Some of your best friends are from Texas? How does it sound to say "There is a big Difference between African Americans and the rest of the country when it comes to race relations, in my experience" or "There is a big Difference between Jews and the rest of the country when it comes to race relations, in my experience" or "There is a big Difference between Muslims and the rest of the country when it comes to race relations, in my experience" Talk about stereotypes and generalizations. [NOT DELMOI-IST]
posted by Daddy-O at 5:00 AM on February 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Come to think of it my regular UPS guy is terrified of my dog and he wears dark brown.
posted by Skorgu at 5:41 AM on February 26, 2008


And... SCENE.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:50 AM on February 26, 2008


Don't tell me: Some of your best friends are from Texas? How does it sound to say "There is a big Difference between African Americans and the rest of the country when it comes to race relations, in my experience"

Uh, being from Texas, contrary to what you may have heard, is not an ethnicity. There isn't much of a comparison. And I don't even think Delmoi was right to go there. But come on. He messed with Texas; we get it. You can address what he said or not, whether it has any merit (you haven't), but please let's try not to make you out to be an embattled minority here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:55 AM on February 26, 2008


I'm a racist and I didn't see anything wrong with the question.

I kid, I kid.
posted by horsewithnoname at 6:30 AM on February 26, 2008


Damn people, let's not do the whole Texas thing again.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:53 AM on February 26, 2008


Christ on a popsicle stick, it's time for mods to start deleting MeTa FPPs.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM


Blessed Mary on a taco shell, can't you just stop reading them?
posted by brain_drain at 6:58 AM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Saying "[NOT TEXASIST]" doesn't save you.

That was a joke.

And the fact is, yeah I have spent a lot of time in Texas and it really is very different then the rest of the country. Specifically my dad lives there and I spent the summer down there several years while growing up. In fact, I had a "best friend" who was the same age as me and I would hang out with other neighborhood kids.

I'm not saying that all Texans are racist or anything like that, but what I am saying is that there really is a cultural difference between Texas and the rest of the country when it comes to the way people of different races refer to each other, how they interact, etc. in my experience. But who knows maybe Austin really is a wonderful utopia or maybe DFW was just way worse then the rest of Texas. But you're the one who came up with the wording of the question, you're the one who didn't have a second thought about how to phrase it. It's hard to imagine someone asking a question with that wording in 'mixed company' up here.

And finally, I was talking about the overall culture of the place, not individuals. It would be absurd to say that places don't have cultures, and that those cultures can have good or bad qualities. It would also be absurd to say that the culture of Texas is just like the rest of the country on average. And it's been my experience, living in the place, that one difference is the way people of different races interact and talk about each other.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 AM on February 26, 2008


Damn people, let's not do the whole Texas thing again.

Ah, sorry.
posted by delmoi at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2008


Nonono, I said NOT do the whole Texas thing again.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:03 AM on February 26, 2008


You nontexans are FAST, yo.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:03 AM on February 26, 2008


23skidoo: I started typing that before your comment. If I'd seen it before posting I seriously wouldn't have posted it. Your right, we don't need a Texas-sized derail (er, sorry).

Anyway, sorry. I don't want to bash Texas. I had fun there during the summer as a kid. It was a nice place. My only point was that someone from Texas might not be as sensitive about these issues!
posted by delmoi at 7:13 AM on February 26, 2008


As another data point, I have actually encountered the "black people don't like dogs" stereotype in the wild, but it was a long time ago (1980s). It was in Baltimore, that unfortunate border town where Yankee trash meets Southern cracker, and I haven't heard it since I left Mobtown. Whether that's because it's a regional thing, or because it simply died out over time, I don't know.

and they used warshcloths there, too
posted by Quietgal at 7:46 AM on February 26, 2008


For the sake of argument, moving forward in this thread, I think it would also be a decent idea to assume that not everyone has the same finely tuned sense of irony or understanding of your personal mental process as everyone else.

So, if you have to explain that your comment was a joke or you just assume that people are going to get that YOUR racist stereotype tossed into this discussion is a self-aware barb meant to edgily poke at the meta-nature of race discussions generally on this site and elsewhere, then maybe you should save it.

The whole nature of the perniciousness of this stuff is that what is a casual unsexist "LOL BITCHEZANDHOS" comment to one person (using a sexist example because it's one of the things we're mostly NOT talking about in this thread today) is a shot over the bow to someone else and just stirs shit up over again. If you're not trying to make people feel bad and you're trying to contribute in good faith to this discussion and others, a good way to get that across is not using complicated irony to make your point and then say you were just joking when some shitstorm starts over your not-totally-funny comment.

MetaFilter is more like a small city now, not a little burb where everyone knows each other and there's a little bit of adjustment to be made there in terms of how MetaTalk goes and how we talk about complicated topics.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:49 AM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


My dog is black, and I have observed him yelp with horror when he walks past a mirror.

Among my neighbors, however, adoration of my dog transcends race. He is the great uniter of my block. When no one is around I call him Bark Obama.
posted by gordie at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2008 [6 favorites]



MetaFilter is more like a small city now,


We don't like librarians 'round here. You best take your books and move along, 'fore it get dark.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:07 AM on February 26, 2008


He is the great uniter of my block.

Ha, I wish that were the case for my black dog (smiley nonstop-tail-wagging lab). Sadly, I've noticed more people are initially frightened of him—based on the number of oncoming pedestrians I've observed who will give him a wide berth—than my previous yellow and red coated dogs of equal or greater size. It may be time for a red bandanna.

But on topic, the question could have been phrased better and I suspect the issue is the color of the dog, not the people: brindle coats are seen most commonly on jowly, bully-type dogs. That coat color does appear on other breeds (notably greyhounds and whippets) but for the average person unfamiliar with dogs, brindle + certain size = the sort of dog a cautious person associates with a guard dog.
posted by jamaro at 9:16 AM on February 26, 2008


"I agree with your point klangklangston, but don't agree that it makes the question unanswerable.

Here's my logic. if you ask "why are some black people afraid of dogs?" then you're making the assumption that some Black people are not afraid of dogs. Why?

I'm just wondering if you don't immediately answer that question in your head as you type it."

I guess where I disagree there is that I think that "some people are afraid of dogs for a variety of reasons" is the default, and I don't think there's evidence presented that blacks are any more or less likely to be afraid of dogs. It's like asking why some Hispanics don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. Sure, there are some Hispanics that don't wash their hands, just like there are people of all races who don't wash their hands, but I haven't noticed a disproportionate preponderance of Hispanics, and it just invites bizarre speculation from a bunch of people who have a really limited data set.
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 AM on February 26, 2008


I used to live in Memphis. One day I ran into our (white) apartment maintenance man and his very large dog in the parking lot. When I didn't rush to make friends with the canine, the guy reassured me with "don't worry, he only hates black people".
posted by a young man in spats at 9:25 AM on February 26, 2008


Black people use them. White people don't.

What the... I have never heard that before. I always assumed everyone used them. Why wouldn't... how would... what?

Am I still white?


Possibly not. You may have washed it all off!

Datapoint: I live on the Isle of Dogs, which has both dogs and black people, as well as crusty old white guys with cirrhosis of the liver who call me Farmer as my real name rhymes with both that of a famous farmer and a disease of the bottom. Often we are all in the same pub, without fear, like keys on a piano keyboard that also has furry keys and is a bit sticky in places. I did hear what I thought was someone talking about keeping his bitch on freeze, which I assumed was some local sexist dialectical term for social subjugation of a female personage; wrongly as it turned out - they meant Bichon Frese.

Ah, Isle of Dogs: If I say it fast enough, I'm lying. Horrible, yappy things.
posted by Sparx at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2008


I guess where I disagree there is that I think that "some people are afraid of dogs for a variety of reasons" is the default, and I don't think there's evidence presented that blacks are any more or less likely to be afraid of dogs. It's like asking why some Hispanics don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. Sure, there are some Hispanics that don't wash their hands, just like there are people of all races who don't wash their hands, but I haven't noticed a disproportionate preponderance of Hispanics, and it just invites bizarre speculation from a bunch of people who have a really limited data set.

How is someone supposed to know before they ask a question whether or not data will exist to make their question worth asking? I mean, there *are* things that people in Group A do more (to a statistically significant degree) compared to Group B.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2008


WHITE DOG

BLACK DOG
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on February 26, 2008


Now I don't even want to ask why black people seem to prefer orange sodas.

Fortunately, someone already asked.


And an even earlier AskMe thread: Why do black folks seem to always order red or orange soft drinks?
posted by ericb at 9:59 AM on February 26, 2008


bizarre speculation from a bunch of people who have a really limited data set

Isn't that what life's all about?
posted by owtytrof at 9:59 AM on February 26, 2008


I guess where I disagree there is that I think that "some people are afraid of dogs for a variety of reasons" is the default,

No we're exactly in agreement. I also think thats the only acceptable answer. I just think that if you think the initial question was valid, it's harder to get to that answer. Thinking about the way we immediately jump to exclusionary questions is a big step towards developing inclusionary answers.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:10 AM on February 26, 2008


This call-out right here?

Fundamental attribution bias.


It's fundamental attribution error, and I don't think this is a good example.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:54 AM on February 26, 2008


It's a shitty question. The only way to answer it is either:

Why don't you ask them yourself?

Or:

Because their maternal grandfather has a grouchy old shar-pei who barks constantly and bit them when they were little babies. The kid in the middle, the squirmy one, remember? He's really not afraid of dogs at all, but he's afraid to differ with the rest of the group, since he doesn't have many other friends.

Specifying black either makes it about black people in general or about these black kids in specific. If it's just used as a helpful identifier ("these black kids" as opposed to "these asian kids") then it must be assumed that we're talking about the specific kids the OP mentioned and no one else (to extend the black kids' behavior beyond the immediate is to truck in stereotyping); this makes it a poor AskMe question, along the lines of "Why did my Aunt Gertrude love blue scarves?"

Whether or not the stereotype of blacks not liking dogs is one with which you are familiar, the attempt to extrapolate generalized black behavior (that "some" in the question is scant cover if "some" is meant to mean more than just the kids in question) from this specific instance is stereotyping.

There's nothing wrong with appearing racist, if you have no problem with appearing racist. Try taking this MeTa thread as someone saying, "Hey, you appear racist when you ask questions like that about the behavior of black people." You don't need a consensus or a majority of users or mods to agree for it to be so: your question makes you appear racist.

Either that or it's a shittily phrased question about a specific incident that nobody but the OP witnessed.

I think it's more, and was intended as more, and that a lot of the dismissers in this thread didn't put their thinking caps on this morning. But mouths being as mealy as they are, we'll never know.

Seriously, why mention race at all if you don't want a discussion about race? It's a loaded question or an unanswerable one, you pick. If it's the former, this callout is not unwarranted. If it's the latter, it should be deleted.
posted by breezeway at 10:54 AM on February 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Also (forgive me for just skimming this thread), I noticed a reference to Larry David, but has no one suggested that it's the dog that's racist?
posted by ludwig_van at 10:57 AM on February 26, 2008


Is this where we brag about Hatchet vs. Genitals being oldmeme?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:01 AM on February 26, 2008


Delmoi:

It did feel to me like you were insinuating that Texas is a place where race relations are worse than anywhere else in the country, I'm not sure how your comment could be interpreted any other way. I'm genuinely curious, are there enough non-whites in Iowa for different races to even have much in the way of relations? As far as I know, the most infamous race riots that have occurred in the US have all been in other parts of the country.

Of course Austin is not a Utopia. On the one hand, Utopia is literally Greek for No Place. On the other hand, there is a Utopia in Texas. Recently there been charges that APD have been too quick to shoot or tase African Americans in several cases. Interestingly, the interim police chief at the time was an African American female and the current chief is Mexican American. Recently, the local NAACP headquarters burned due to arson. A few years back, the MLK Jr statue on the UT campus was splattered with paint. These things happen everywhere. Like any where else the vast majority of Texans find these acts to be reprehensible and inexcusable. Perpetrators are routinely prosecuted in Texas.

Austin IS very different from DFW. Houston, Midland/Odessa, San Antonio, Lubbock, Brownsville; all very different. Did you know that El Paso is closer to Los Angeles than it is to Beaumont? For that matter Ames, Iowa is closer to DFW than El Paso is to Beaumont.

I can see how the way you rephrased my original question made what I was trying to ask more clear , but the only possible difference in politeness I could see was substituting African American for black. Was I unknowingly being insensitive by using a word that has gone out of favor? If so, I appreciate being brought up to date, I don't want to be offensive or hurtful.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:17 AM on February 26, 2008


It's fundamental attribution error

True enough, I was typing quickly.

and I don't think this is a good example.

I think it is. The AskMe question / question-asker was originally called out as both trollish and racist, without much consideration of the external factors that could make the innocent question / asker seem trollish and racist.

Instead of giving the asker the benefit of the doubt, there's a knee-jerk internal attribution of "troll!". It happens a lot online, and it's not all that different from the more classic fundamental attribution error example of, say, "that dude just bumped into me, he's a jerk" vs. "that dude just bumped into me, he must be in a hurry to get somewhere".
posted by CKmtl at 11:34 AM on February 26, 2008


MetaFilter is more like a small city now

But is it Abilene or Corpus Christi?
posted by languagehat at 11:42 AM on February 26, 2008


Daddy-O: I don't think the problem is that black has 'gone out of favor', it's just that it's "African American" is more polite and if you want to ask a question about that it's best to be as polite as you can.

Think about it this way, say you ran into an old female acquaintance who was obviously pregnant. It would be kind of rude to say "Who got you pregnant?" but it would be less rude to say "So who's the father?". That's not because the word 'pregnant' is bad. The other problem is that you lept to generalizing to all black people, based on a few data points. You could, or should, have asked if it was true before assuming it was.

I didn't personally think the question was offensive, but like I said I just thought it was phrased in a way that people could see as offensive or insensitive (and obviously some people did).

Maybe I should have left out the Texas crack. I doubt Texas is worse then, say, the deep south, but I've never been there. And it's not like I think race relations are terrible, just that people (or at least the people I've been around) tended to speak a lot more, erm, brusquely about it.

Anyway, it's not my goal to be some kind of PC police where I tell you how to talk. I feel a little uncomfortable doing that :P
posted by delmoi at 11:46 AM on February 26, 2008


Kittens for Breakfast, some things you seem to have missed:

1. Prejudice - "unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group." The point is that it is wrong to insinuate that an entire group of people share an unsavory characteristic because some in the group do. So, the examples I gave DID address what he said and showed that the comment does not have merit. It is obvious to the casual observer that Texans have not been persecuted as a group like Jews or African Americans have. No one said that.
2. There have been several instances in the past on MeFi where A FEW people have expressed an intense and visceral hatred for anything Texas. Things like that need to be nipped in the bud. Like any other group, we ask that we all not be put into a category of miscreants because someone had a a few bad experiences in Texas or with a Texan.
3. As has been pointed out multiple times in the past, Don't mess with Texas is an anti-littering campaign slogan. Yes, it is unclear to people who do know the background, but it is primarily aimed at Texans who litter. We get tired of people repeatedly and inappropriately throwing it in our faces as some kind of evidence of Chauvinism.
posted by Daddy-O at 12:06 PM on February 26, 2008


So why are some Texans afraid of dogs again?
posted by breezeway at 12:35 PM on February 26, 2008


Dude, I think you guys just need to get over yourselves. You're from Texas. So what. Moving on.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:36 PM on February 26, 2008


breezeway, thanks for saying what I should have said earlier.
posted by Stynxno at 12:38 PM on February 26, 2008


"There have been several instances in the past on MeFi where A FEW people have expressed an intense and visceral hatred for anything Texas. Things like that need to be nipped in the bud. "

Oh, bullshit. That's the same logic that got you called out as racist.
posted by klangklangston at 12:39 PM on February 26, 2008


And also:

It is obvious to the casual observer that Texans have not been persecuted as a group like Jews or African Americans have. No one said that.

Well, that's some bullshit -- you pretty clearly equated yourself with those groups. Which, possibly, may be part and parcel of why you can't seem to piece together why this callout happened. I don't think the problem is that you're from Texas; I think the problem is you're thick as a brick.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:40 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think this call out is so stupid or trollish as people are saying it is. Some people seem to point that the answers in the question are a learning experience whether it agrees with the OP or not, in the same way is also OK in my book because I'm about to say, dun, dun, DUN, the question jarred me too when I first read it. Wait, first let me pull out my race card and hold it up for y'all to show I'm half-black and half-Korean.

Now I didn't think it was racist but it did sound "off-key." I'll be honest. My first thought was, "That's weird, if I was in that situation my conclusion would've been 'These kids must've been bitten by dogs, or have a dog phobia or didn't grow up with a pet or something.' not, 'Why are some black people like that?'"

I'm not saying the OP is racist or that the question itself is racist, but it seemed weird like the OP didn't know how the question would sound to some people. And I think that's sort of where the line is, what a lot of people call racist I tend to call cultural insensitive, or ignorant because the person just doesn't know better. Not stupid mind you, there's a difference between stupid and ignorant. Hell, I was ignorant myself considering I never heard of this stereotype. So now I know, and now the OP knows his/her question reads all kinds of weird and hits nerves with people. Hey! It's a wonderful learning experience for everyone. We've talked so much in MetaTalk on past issues about how these threads where people come out and explain why certain things discomfort them and how we want the community to better help understand its members, well let's have another round of one of those so here's my take on why I had the mildly shocked reaction I did to this particular AskMe.

Why did this question bother me when I first read it? My initial reaction wasn't "This question opresses me!!!!" or I was offended because I felt it was some kind of expression of racial inferiority? No, I wasn't even offended, it made me laugh in disbelief and say, "Wait, what. Really? Someone is asking this?"

It's the same reaction I have when random strangers I don't know at all decide to stroll up to me and say "Wow, you're really exotic looking? What are you?" or like to play the, "Wait, wait, don't tell me, let me guess what you are" game. When they finally find out they always have generic compliments like, "Oh, so that's why you look like such and such." Or "No wonder you have such great cheekbones."

Now these may all sound like petty gripes about minor things that seem normal or who knows maybe not, but I mean, come on. I have great cheekbones because I'm part Asian? What? It just grates on you and does make you a bit sensitive to how things sound. It's not a reaction from me saying that these people are racist, it's more of my reaction to the presumption that's sometimes shown. None of the people above meant what they were saying maliciously, they're just curious and are trying to somehow connect the curiosity to what they know of. Nothing wrong with being curious, but it did get to be much and there was actually a time in my life where I started getting really tired of the whole thing. Maybe I was unfairly inferring due to my sensitivity, but when it's not uncommon to have absolute strangers to physically stop me and ask me what I am? Or how about when I'd answer, "...American." only to have them insist with some variation of, "no no...I mean *what* are you, because you're obviously not from around here" in all shades from genuinely curious and tactful to downright rude it gets to be a bit much. Sometimes it just felt like people were sizing me up because they knew I was different but couldn't comfortably label me as such. I'm over that now, thankfully, but it was definitely a weird disheartening dip in my life.

I'm not even super sensitive about my racial/cultural/ethnic/whatever makeup or any perceived sleight towards it. I'm pretty upfront about it actually, and I do like sharing about my background or even joking about it. But trust me, if someone asks a "funny" sounding question I will say, "Well, that seems like a bit of an unfounded stereotype and you might not want to go around asking people X, but here's what I'll say on the subject." And it's hard to explain that in any demonstrative way because it is something so subjective. And this is just one person's opinion on the subject describing their experiences. I'm not hear to speak for other people because based on an imperfect sampling of anecdotal observation instead of just, I don't know, asking the people myself.

Which is why this question just plain reads wrong. Like delmoi and breezeway have said above it's oddly presumptuous, and as I've lengthily stated above, I feel weird about oddly presumptuous questions.

Jesus, it's not even like stynxno is asking for it to be deleted, he's asking for a discussion on whether or not something like this is OK.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:59 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Daddy-O: Just out of curiosity, do you see the parallels between saying something like "Why are Texans so racist?" and saying "why are blacks afraid of dogs?"

It's not necessarily a bad thing to be afraid of dogs, but at the same time there could be some black people who really love dogs and would take offense to being considered afraid of dogs just because of their race.

There is clearly a difference between saying "All Texans are racist" and "All Blacks are Cynophobes", but the difference is in magnitude rather then kind.
posted by delmoi at 1:02 PM on February 26, 2008


I don't think the problem is that black has 'gone out of favor', it's just that it's "African American" is more polite.

Yeah, except that's sort of bogus outside the US. Since the internet is outside the US, and MeFi in particular has a sizeable contingent of people from outside the US, the best argument to have on MetaTalk is not "African American or Black?" but "black or Black?"
posted by DarlingBri at 1:04 PM on February 26, 2008


I just broke up with a guy who didn't like dogs. Personally, I think of it as more of a character flaw than a racial issue.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:18 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


the best argument to have on MetaTalk is not "African American or Black?" but "black or Black?

No, the best argument is to realize that the African American/black distinction is meaningless in this debate and that "Why are African Americans afraid of dogs?" is still just as negative as "Why are blacks afraid of dogs?".
posted by Stynxno at 1:25 PM on February 26, 2008


Delmoi: Thanks for your input on the black vs. African American terminology question. In my formative years (not THAT long ago) black was the preferred and self described term to use. Think Black is Beautiful and the Black Panthers. I'm not sure why it has happened, but the previously acceptable terms Negro and Colored are now frowned upon. Notice the NAACP and the United Negro college fund.

I doubt if Texas and the South is ALWAYS worse than some parts of the North, East, or West have been at times. Ever heard of the Detroit riots, the Boston school busing conflicts, or the LA and Watts riots to name just a very few? These incidents didn't occur out of intense racial harmony. I think it is important to note that prejudice is not just a Texas problem, a southern problem, a US problem, or even only a unidirectional white against black problem. We all need to be on guard against it, starting with ourselves as individuals. Speaking brusquely and frankly can be better than avoiding the topic entirely and never addressing problems that need to be remedied.

I find it interesting that you once again mentioned Texas and the deep South when discussing race relations. Anecdotally, I had a friend who grew up in Iowa and, as a child in the early 1970's, was forbidden by his family to play with "that n****r boy." How many of his ancestors died fighting for abolition a hundred years before? I think that Texas and the South (two different things) have in many ways advanced to a higher state of race relations, mostly because of having more to overcome and apologize for. On the other side of the same coin, I also think other parts of the country haven't been forced as much to confront their prejudices. Slave states that didn't secede from the union (like Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri for example), haven't been been stigmatized as bastions of racism to the same degree in my opinion. When will the albatross of the "War of Northern Aggression" (IT'S ONLY A JOKE!) be removed from our Southern necks? When will the sins of the fathers no longer be visited upon the sons? Slavery was not unknown in the antebellum northeast, and racial prejudice is not unknown there to this day and age.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:55 PM on February 26, 2008


This is a lot like the FPP awhile back about the math problem that started with "Little Condoleeza throws a watermelon off a building..." and most posters said things like "How is that racist? What, is it the name? I don't get it!"

I'm happy that these things appear to be fading out of popular consciousness, but it's liberal-honky-foolish to pretend they never existed in the first place ("I've never heard of it, so it has to be confirmation bias!"). The black people vs dogs issue does have basis in truth (particular to US history and oppression toward black Americans) and has been referenced in popular culture quite often. There was some commentary at the time regarding the Michael Vick story and the background of its culture, for example, that pointed to pitbull ownership by young black men as being a kind of empowerment thing.

When I was a social worker, there was one woman who had trained her dog specificallyto bark at white people and attack them when they came into the yard. Usually dogs don't have a problem with me, but this one did indeed go apeshit and come at me every time I went there. She said she was "just flipping the script"...hehe, fair enough. I guess I could go back on behalf of those who don't believe any of this and ask her if there was really any sort of history of tension between dogs and black people, but I'd rather you go first :)
posted by First Post at 1:56 PM on February 26, 2008


"Black" is beautiful. "African American" is largely inaccurate.

Anybody remember the discussion we had about dogs in bars and somebody said that "no they shouldn't be allowed in bars because black people were afraid of dogs" or something like that.

Anyway. We really missed an opportunity to burn through some outraged electrons there.
posted by tkchrist at 2:01 PM on February 26, 2008


I feel weird about oddly presumptuous questions

But by the same token (ha), so many answers to these questions are presumptuous as well, just in the other way. So many people will answer a question like "Why do some people of [Group A] behave like [this]?" and people will answer with some variant of "People in [Group A] are no more likely to behave like [this] than people who are not in [Group A]."
posted by 23skidoo at 2:02 PM on February 26, 2008


Yeah, it's cool. Rules? Rules are for Xbox Live.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:09 PM on February 26, 2008


it's just that it's "African American" is more polite and if you want to ask a question about that it's best to be as polite as you can.

To quote Maddox, who has always best summed up my feelings on the term "African American":
African American" is the dumbest, most persistently used phrase in our vernacular. Every time you call someone an "African American," you're making at least two assumptions about the person:
1. That the person is an American. For example, if you saw this guy walking along on a street, you would probably think ["he's African American!"] ...which is fine, except for one small detail: this man is British, which makes you a presumptuous cock.

2. That the person is African (because it's inconceivable that black people could come from Haiti, India, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Australia, or Jamaica). Nevermind that; BLACK PEOPLE ONLY COME FROM AFRICA.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:28 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


When will the albatross of the "War of Northern Aggression" (IT'S ONLY A JOKE!) be removed from our Southern necks? When will the sins of the fathers no longer be visited upon the sons? Slavery was not unknown in the antebellum northeast, and racial prejudice is not unknown there to this day and age.

Are you for real? It doesn't get removed. It's not removed from northern necks, either. For christ's sake, you don't get to act like Texas is all unjustly accused of racism just because you've never personally burned a cross. So long as racism exists, everyone gets reminded of it, and that's how it should be. You guys will be reminded of it so long as your sheriffs keep failing to report hate crimes to national agencies. New Yorkers will be reminded of it every time Al Sharpton stages a protest over yet another police brutality case. Californians, shit californians get it every day. This is how it goes, fuck your sanctimonious victim routine. If you want to pretend like Texas has somehow shed itself of its responsibility for racism and that the rest of the world just keeps mistakenly thinking it's full of racist pricks, then you're a fucking liar and no one should listen to a thing you have to say about anything. And I didn't even think your god damn question was all that bad, just poorly thought out.
posted by shmegegge at 2:44 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


krautland's AskMe from November pretty much resolved it as "Black FTW."
posted by mumkin at 2:47 PM on February 26, 2008


I was curious if there's been any previous discussion of the whole "black people are afraid of dogs" thing on the site. I couldn't really find any direct reference, trying a few different sets of keywords. I did turn up some discussion of dogs vs. black people:

- Re: Dolpho, the racist drug dog
- Anecdotal dog report (in another Dolpho thread!)
- Surprise at an anti-black dog in askme.

But that's about it.

The washcloths thing: there's the washcloth askme from last December, as mentioned above...and that's about it.

Adjusting for synonyms, there could be some references out there that I missed, but it seems like neither of these are things that have really come up in conversation around here. Which doesn't really tell us anything about who has and hasn't heard of it, of course.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:51 PM on February 26, 2008


23skidoo: I think I get what you're trying to say but I'm not sure why you're saying it.

I have no problem with the answers even if some of them are "oddly presumptuous," because I have no problem with the discussion. I also don't really think the question should be deleted. It sounds tone-deaf, but it's not hateful. Sorry if I'm being presumptuous myself (I'm getting tired of typing "presumptuous" =( ) as to why you made the comment you did, but it seems to be needlessly splitting hairs to say, "Oh ho ho! but isn't it *you* young grasshopper who is being presumptuous by answering that people are no more likely to behave in such away?" In fact, I don't think the answers are oddly presumptuous at all because the particular flavor of answer you cited doesn't exist in a vacuum. Sure if someone walked up to me and randomly stated "People in [Group A] are no more likely to behave like [this] than people who are not in [Group A]," apropos of nothing, yes THAT would be an oddly presumptuous thing to say. But the thread asked for answers and these are answers discussing the question whether I agree with any of them or not.

Just so that the argument doesn't get any murkier with side arguments about semantics that's sort of derailing the main discussion, let me just say that my use of "oddly presumptuous" is purely personal, which is why I included so much back story. I just couldn't figure out think of a shorthand way or single word to describe what I characterized as "unrequested input and commentary used to categorize with data from an imperfect sampling that leaves one feeling curioser and curioser" in regards specifically to my dealing with people's reaction to my ethnicity and race. Stress on the "unrequested." Some might call that flatout racism, but I don't, so I didn't want to say that. And I don't think the OP is racist, maybe a little thick on why somethings might be construed as being rude, but not racist. Not saying someone can't say something that can be described as "oddly presumptuous" in the original AskMe, and it's not like I can own a phrase, but just wanted to make it clear that I was using the phrase in a more specific way.
posted by kkokkodalk at 2:53 PM on February 26, 2008


Stynxno, I'm coming around to your initial troll assessment. The anecdotally verified stereotypes thread over in AskMe is pretty hot pudding. Combine that with the drifts of snowy misdirection over here and we've got a real winter wonderland, frightful, delightful, and insightful.

I, too, am unhappy about my choice of metaphor.
posted by breezeway at 3:04 PM on February 26, 2008


Has anyone here brought up that infamous 1982 Kristy McNichol vehicle, White Dog, yet?

Aaaaaah!
posted by miss lynnster at 3:11 PM on February 26, 2008


BTW, the "Aaaaah" link is the climax of that movie. FYI.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:13 PM on February 26, 2008


Is this a bad time/place to post a link to a story about black people...in Texas...marching for voting rights...a week ago?
posted by rtha at 3:17 PM on February 26, 2008


It is plainly obvious what is wrong with being racist. It is not at all obvious what is wrong with some people being afraid of dogs. I haven't seen where anyone anywhere was criticized by me or anyone else for being afraid of dogs. Is it necessary to point out that it's not a deficiency of character, culture, or ethnicity to be afraid of dogs? Dogs make some people nervous. So what? It's insulting or racist to notice that some people may be afraid of dogs? There can be good reasons to be afraid of dogs. Not so with racism.

Has anyone noticed that some of the answers on AskMe have been along the lines of "Yes, I too have noticed that African Americans are more likely to be afraid of dogs." Some of those comments were made by African Americans. Some people have put forth plausible theories as to why some Black people might be uncomfortable around dogs. It was personally confirmed to me by my nephew that he too has noticed that African Americans are more likely to be wary of dogs they are not familiar with. Incidentally, he told me that he does not find it offensive to be thought of or referred to as a Black person. Perhaps it's a regional difference. As an aside, should both Black and White be capitalized? Are they proper nouns or adjectives?

It is not at all analogous to ask "Why are Texans so racist?" and "Has anyone else noticed that members of a certain group have a higher propensity to be immediately and viscerally afraid of dogs?" Cynophobia (morbid fear of dogs) and racism are not even similar enough to be compared in this debate. Also, someone ASKED if Blacks are more likely to be afraid of dogs. No one STATED that ALL BLACKS are afraid of dogs. Big difference.

Some stereotypes are unfair and harmful. Some stereotypes are innocuous and have an element of truth. Different groups of people, as a rule of thumb, are likely to have some characteristics in common. If they didn't, they wouldn't be identifiable as the group and the very concept of that group wouldn't even exist. For example, it could be argued that white people are more likely to have straighter hair, lighter skin color, pets as indoor companions, and let their pets lick their faces. Is it racist to notice or state these observances? On. Is it racist to argue the exact opposite about Blacks? No.

I think it may be that sometimes we are so uncomfortable with the racial and cultural differences between us that we are overly sensitive and too quick to assume racist and nefarious motives. Racism is no less harmful than falsely accusing someone of being racist. It IS important to attack racism. It is HARMFUL to attack it were it doesn't exist. If we are so leery of offending one another that mere discussion is precluded, how can we progress?
posted by Daddy-O at 3:24 PM on February 26, 2008


I saw it as a troll because the poster has barely any history on the site, he provides details about the behavior of the dog and her callor but doesn't even mention the breed/color/etc of the dog, and I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.
posted by Stynxno at 4:53 PM on February 25 [+] [!]


I have never heard of that in all my fifty-two years.
posted by wafaa at 3:34 PM on February 26, 2008


I think I get what you're trying to say but I'm not sure why you're saying it.

I'm saying it because maybe someone will read it and stop giving reactionary, crappy answers to questions. No matter the reason behind saying it, pulling out the "People of Group A are no more likely to engage in behavior X than people not in Group A" card is presumptuous (by which I mean "presuming that your interpretation of a limited non-random sampling of Group A is any more valid than someone else's interpretation of a limited non-random sampling of Group A"). It makes people feel better, but it makes for a crappy answer. Sure, it's a data point, but even a collection of answers in a thread on Metafilter will be a nonperfect sample.

Is the probability higher that a random black American will be more likely to be afraid of dogs than a random white American? I don't know, but that question has an answer, and people saying that it doesn't, or that the answer to that and any similar question is "both are equally likely" are wrong.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:39 PM on February 26, 2008


Schmeggee: The point is, I fail to see the fairness in accusing all members of a certain group of racism. How is that any less prejudiced than being racist? Individuals can be and sometimes racist and prejudiced. They SHOULD be called out and criticized. Painting all members of a group with a racist brush is unfair and inaccurate. Some Texans are racist. Not ALL Texans are racist. I am not responsible the faults, shortcomings, and sins of others regardless of the geographical proximity or citizenship. I am not responsible for the fact that some people five generations ago owned slaves.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:51 PM on February 26, 2008


JESUS FUCK CAN WE PLEASE STOP HAVING THESE DISCUSSIONS WHERE PEOPLE FROM TEXAS ACT ALL FUCKING BOOHOO PLEASE DON'T SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT TEXAS IT MAKES ME SAD AND HURT. IT IS BORING AND, FRANKLY KIND OF PATHETIC.
posted by dersins at 4:01 PM on February 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I LEFT OUT A COMMA. FUCK. THAT'S SO LAME IT'S LIKE SOMETHING SOMEONE FROM TEXAS WOULD DO.
posted by dersins at 4:05 PM on February 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


The discussion is based on a false premise, that the people when they think of kids as Texans, or Americans, or just people. Basing our thinking on similarities as well as adjusting which similarities and differences we embrace, I think that's progress.

I don't care for community start with myself. Maybe a community comes later.
posted by breezeway at 4:12 PM on February 26, 2008


For those who haven't read all of the posts and comments, here is the Condensed Version:
Q: Some Black teenagers were frightened of my dog. Has anyone else besides me noticed that some Black people are more likely to be afraid of dogs? What's the deal?
A: I don't think this has any basis in fact.
A: News to me.
A: Yes, but I think it is more for socioeconomic reasons than ethnic reasons.
A: Sure I've noticed it and it makes perfect sense considering what has happened to some African Americans in the past.
A: MOTHER FUCKING RACISTS FROM TEXAS!!!
posted by Daddy-O at 4:43 PM on February 26, 2008


As I said above, apparently some lazy stereotypes are better than others. Unncessary lazy stereotypes of some are bad and will get deleted. Unnecessary lazy stereotypes of people based on the fact they in a particular state? Right on. No problems at all. You should just call all Texans nazis, and then you could end up on the sidebar.
posted by dios at 4:47 PM on February 26, 2008


Oh man, Daddy-O, you sure wear "some" like a fig leaf, you flushed grouse, you. Bang!
posted by breezeway at 4:53 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Breezeway, it's not because your comments are incontrovertible and your arguments unassailable that I haven't responded to any of your comments, it's because they all read like incomprehensible Babelfish mistranslations.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:59 PM on February 26, 2008


I'm happy that these things appear to be fading out of popular consciousness, but it's liberal-honky-foolish to pretend they never existed in the first place

I don't think anyone's saying they never existed in the first place, but the more people there are who have never heard of it, the less plausible it becomes to assume the poster knew about it and was flaunting his racism. Speaking of which, it seems to me Daddy-O is showing remarkable good humor and restraint in dealing with this overheated and unnecessary callout. Kudos; you represent your state well.
posted by languagehat at 5:14 PM on February 26, 2008


I agree that it is bigoted to say "Texans are racist". There is something wrong with being a racist. I don't think there's anything wrong with not liking/trusting dogs. I think assuming that saying someone is afraid of dogs is an insult against that person might belie one's own "ism" of some sort or another. I'm a black person and I like dogs. But I'm an animal-lover in general. However, I have observed that in my community, there are far, FAR fewer "dog lovers" than in "whiter" parts of town. Actually, I don't have to go to where the white people are to see the difference. Half of my neighborhood is Puerto Rican, and their attitudes towards dogs seem quite different from the black folks. Especially the small dogs. A lot of people around here own dogs, but very few people walk them. They keep them in the concrete backyard. Nobody wants to get that smell in the house. And they don't buy cute houses for them either. Cats are kept because they kill mice, and that is the primary reason. Otherwise, cats are a pestilence in the neighborhood. Where I see cute homeless kitties everywhere, a lot of other people see pests. I don't think they are wrong.

A few weeks ago there was an AskMe where the asker wanted help convincing their partner to allow the dog to sleep in the bed. There were a lot of people who insinuated that dogs need to sleep in the bedroom with the pack, and it's wrong not to let them sleep in the bedroom. Like you're a bad owner if you don't. I was astonished because I never grew up believing that (although I love animals and love having a sleeping dog at my feet, yet I feel like the minority) or being exposed to people who believe that, and here on Metafilter that's the assumed position.

I don't know if it's a black thing, a class thing or a cultural thing (I tend to believe a lot of this is cultural, like "why are black American women loud and asian women quiet?").

I appreciated Daddy-O's question. It could have been phrased better but some people could also have more self-control. I also like the Y-Forum and the Dare To Ask column. People are walking around thinking and wondering this stuff anyway. Sometimes they see differences as a negative, sometimes like Daddy-O they just wonder, but they notice them anyway. Would it be better if people remained ignorant? How else are we going to come together if we can't communicate about stuff like this? I love discussing perceived cultural differences. I know there is a dark history and things can go negative quickly, but it won't be overcome by pretending we're all the same. Equal yes. Same no.
posted by Danila at 5:16 PM on February 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


You should just call all Texans nazis, and then you could end up on the sidebar.

You know dios, you would be more likable if you were more likeable.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:28 PM on February 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


they all read like incomprehensible Babelfish mistranslations.

True, so true.

Texas: the Great Derailer.
posted by breezeway at 5:32 PM on February 26, 2008


Christ on a popsicle stick, it's time for mods to start deleting MeTa FPPs.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM
Blessed Mary on a taco shell, can't you just stop reading them?
posted by brain_drain at 6:58 AM on February 26


Ignoring these retarded whingefests does not, in any way, help to reduce the number of retarded whingefests being posted to MeTa.

Short of (a) going on a murderous rampage, an option significantly hindered by a lack of time and information regarding our retarded users' home addresses; or (b) praying the moderators start moderating MeTa, I'm pretty much stuck leaving little turds in the threads telling the FPPers that they are fucking whiny retards who should STFU and get over their pissant irritations.

Pot kettle black and all that, yes, but for fucks sake, when you have 60 000 citizens in a forum, you simply can not have every numbnuts posting their every whim to the front page.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on February 26, 2008


The point is, I fail to see the fairness in accusing all members of a certain group of racism.

No one did that. They pointed out a tendency among texans. It's an observation of culture, not a condemnation of all texans. And it's true.

Not ALL Texans are racist.

Sweet, tell that to someone who thinks they are.

I am not responsible for the fact that some people five generations ago owned slaves.

No one said you are or should be. This is, however, the extremely typical 150 year old "northern oppression" whine with a slightly newer face. No one is oppressing you, you are suffering under no prejudice. Your question was called out because someone thought it was racist instead of just thoughtless. Your location only came up later, and that was for someone to point out how he could see why you didn't understand the problem, since racial sensitivity isn't always the most discussed topic down there.

Again: that's not a condemnation of all texans, just an observation of a general trend in the state. If you want to pretend that all of texas is enlightened and pure, you'll have a hard time proving it. Stop acting wounded and oppressed, it's obnoxious. Yes, you're going to have to deal with people telling you that Texas is racist until Texas stops being racist. It hasn't, even though many of its citizens have. New York is also frequently accused of being racist, as is California and just about every other state. Not that you care.
posted by shmegegge at 6:14 PM on February 26, 2008


"A: MOTHER FUCKING RACISTS FROM TEXAS!!!"

Christ, no one said that Texans were racist. Delmoi said that he noticed an awkwardness in Texan race relations when he visited DFW.

Just like you said "some Blacks."

Not all Texans are retarded, but you're certainly acting like a retarded Texan.
posted by klangklangston at 6:47 PM on February 26, 2008


I'm late to this. I get it that Texians hate black dogs and grape sodas. Where are do they stand on cats? My negroid Irish-German college roomate needs to know this urgently.
posted by meehawl at 7:15 PM on February 26, 2008


Shmegeggee: Your arguments can't even agree with each other. So you say "Texas is racist" but is "suffering under no prejudice"? Try replacing "Texan" with "Korean" or "Italian" or "female" or "gay" in everything you have said and all of it sounds as bigoted as everything you say is unacceptable. So the 45% of Texans who are non-white will have to "deal with people telling" us "that Texas is racist until Texas stops being racist"? The whole point you are missing is that that making insulting generalizations about an entire group of people is exactly what makes racism so despicable, but that is is exactly what you are doing when feebly try to make your arguments. I shouldn't be insulted when someone falsely accuses me of being racist? Stop being obnioxious, it's obnoxious. If racial sensitivity is a topic discussed where you live, you should be Exhibit A of what the problem is. Your nick isn't as ironic as you think it is, it's pathetically fitting.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:17 PM on February 26, 2008


Yes, you're going to have to deal with people telling you that Texas is racist until Texas stops being racist. It hasn't, even though many of its citizens have.

Our state stopped being racist last week. There's a party on the 29th; we were just about to send out an e-vite. We're so proud!
posted by 23skidoo at 7:17 PM on February 26, 2008


Klangklangston: retarded people don't appreciate insulting epithets either.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:19 PM on February 26, 2008


I'm sorry, Daddy-O. Do you prefer to be called "developmentally disabled" or just "stupid"?
posted by klangklangston at 7:25 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, no, wait. I am sorry. That was harsher than you likely deserved. But do understand that you're getting all het up about something that's not actually there, while simultaneously acting like you're totally put upon by people jumping to the conclusion that there's more to your question than you stated. That, and my unfortunate tendency to be a dick to people I disagree with, led me to be more nasty than I probably should have, which would likely lead to you disregarding my point.

So here's where I pretend that I'm one of those people who gives me advice when I'm in some moronic pissing match on MetaTalk (it's happened, despite my genteel and creamy demeanor): Stop digging. People thought you were being racist for your clumsy handling of the the question and ensuing discussion. Shmegegge's orthogonal point is that since there is still a lot of actual racism, especially in the South, innocent folks are gonna get hit with accusations even when they're just bein' clumsy. Sorry about that, but you should be more pissed off at the racists than the folks who might jump to those conclusions (especially now that racism is so encrypted in our society—it means that there's more overlap between code words and unintentional gaffes). And that's got nothing to do with Delmoi's personal experiences.

So relax, and stop posting while you're pissed. Hopefully, you'll be around to give me that advice some day.
posted by klangklangston at 7:33 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it is. The AskMe question / question-asker was originally called out as both trollish and racist, without much consideration of the external factors that could make the innocent question / asker seem trollish and racist.

Instead of giving the asker the benefit of the doubt, there's a knee-jerk internal attribution of "troll!". It happens a lot online, and it's not all that different from the more classic fundamental attribution error example of, say, "that dude just bumped into me, he's a jerk" vs. "that dude just bumped into me, he must be in a hurry to get somewhere".


But for it to be fundamental attribution error, the "trollish" or "racist" qualities would have to be situational. I don't see what kind of situational factors led to the appearance of racism or trollishness.

Just because someone makes an incorrect attribution (i.e. calling something racist when it wasn't really racist) doesn't make it FAE.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:34 PM on February 26, 2008


Daddy-O: Dude. Relax for a second. Breathe in, breathe out. Can I say something without you jumping down my throat?

Neither delmoi nor schmegegge said that all Texans are racist or that being Texan automatically means being racist.

Taking "some Texans are racist / Texans are more likely to be racially insensitive" [I'm advancing neither position] and contorting it into "OMG you're saying all Texans are bigots, you bigot!!" is pretty much doing the same thing as what those who were calling *you* a racist did. Regardless of whether being-a-racist and not-liking-dogs are good or bad things, can you not see that the same construction?

Try replacing "Texan" with "Korean" or "Italian" or "female" or "gay" in everything you have said and all of it sounds as bigoted as everything you say is unacceptable.

Saying "Some gay guys are effeminate" or "compared to straight guys, it seems like a lot of gay guys are effeminate" wouldn't strike me as bigoted. In fact, there was an AskMe question on that very subject, constructed pretty much exactly like yours, and it didn't strike me as bigoted.
posted by CKmtl at 7:42 PM on February 26, 2008


Klangklangston: Check the original callout to get yourself back on track. Not only is it ironic that a callout falsely accusing someone of racism turned into making unsavory generalizations about an entire group of people, it is also ironic that someone has now insulted an entirely different group of people by using their disability as an epithet against someone you disagree with. I hope you can see how insensitive "so-and-so is retarded" would sound to a person who truly is retarded through no fault of their own. Once again, what I have repeatedly said is that insulting generalizations about an entire group of people is at the core of what makes racism so reprehensible.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:52 PM on February 26, 2008


I don't see what kind of situational factors led to the appearance of racism or trollishness.

What I had in mind as situational (external to the asker) factors:

- Lack of non-verbal cues in a text-based medium.
- The tendency of a certain subset of forum-dwellers to call Troll on anything they disagree with.
- Stynxno's own analysis of his determination of "racist troll": the poster has barely any history on the site ... I find it really hard to believe that a person living in the United States would be unfamiliar with the stereotype about blacks and dogs.

posted by CKmtl at 7:55 PM on February 26, 2008


Once again, what I have repeatedly been trying to point out is that is that insulting generalizations about an entire group of people is at the core of what makes racism so reprehensible. Looking back at my own comments, I think I have done a good job of trying to remain coherent, levelheaded, and logical. I have tried to avoid unhelpful ad hominem attacks. Please don't confuse my tenacity with anger. I am beginning to think that most of us are pretty much saying the same things to each other in different ways and misunderstanding each other anyway. Therefore, I am going to bail out of this thread. If anyone else wants to continue digging this hole, knock yourselves out. I'm going to take my non-racist, totally non-threatening people loving dog for a well deserved walk around the block. I'm sure that if we happen to meet anyone on the way they will walk right past us without giving her a second thought.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:11 PM on February 26, 2008


I hope you can see how insensitive "so-and-so is retarded" would sound to a person who truly is retarded through no fault of their own.

Just like calling someone "moronic" would be insensitive to someone who is truly developmentally disabled? Because, hey-ho, that was the term for retards before retarded came into use.

The word "retarded" is no longer used to refer to developmentally disabled people. Same with "moron", "idiot", and "cretin", all terms that are perfectly acceptable.

So get over it. That word no longer means what you think it means.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:30 PM on February 26, 2008


Actually, now that I've had a cigarette and had a chance to let it bounce around in my head a bit, let me add this.

Just because someone makes an incorrect attribution (i.e. calling something racist when it wasn't really racist) doesn't make it FAE.

Not always, no. But I think that FAEs come into play in a *lot* of heated online arguments and name-calling spats. Whether it be calling someone a troll, a member of the hipster-cred brigade, or just plain stupid.

What's at the core of the FAE is not the situational factor, but the act of the Person A (the one making the erroneous attribution) ignoring non-internal explanation for Person B's behaviour - or their perception of said behaviour.

Because, really, Person A has no way of knowing for sure what situational / non-internal factors are at play in Person B's behaviour. The guy who gets bumped on the street has no way of knowing the bumper's late for work. UserX has no way of knowing that UserY is being cantankerous, not because he's a degenerate asshole, but because he's had a bad day and has a headache - or that he's not actually being cantankerous, UserX is only reading cantankerousness into the exchange.

So, yeah, it's not really necessary that situational / non-internal factors are known or obvious, just that their possible existence is ignored in favour of an internal explanation: be it "troll", "mentally-defective cretin incapable of rational thought" or whatever.
posted by CKmtl at 8:41 PM on February 26, 2008


I'm going to take my non-racist, totally non-threatening people loving dog for a well deserved walk around the block. I'm sure that if we happen to meet anyone on the way they will walk right past us without giving her a second thought.

Unless 4 black teenagers come walking down the sidewalk.
posted by dogrose at 8:42 PM on February 26, 2008


I can't believe we're having this retarded discussion again.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:43 PM on February 26, 2008


You know, I don't think a retarded person would be all that upset if you called him retarded. Because. You know. Think about it. Okay.

Meowmeowmeowmeowmeowmoewmoewmoewmoewmoew

...So are we done here?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:52 PM on February 26, 2008


I absolutely love that, for a state whose residents who are supposed to be a pack of badass, ultrapatriotic, ultratough guys, a vocal minority of them on this site get inordinately whiny and bent out of shape when slogans of their own invention, which were chosen by their fellow Texans to refer to their unashamed braggadocio are used to criticize them. Their latest whining is just too hilarious for words.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:54 PM on February 26, 2008


The word "retarded" is no longer used to refer to developmentally disabled people. Same with "moron", "idiot", and "cretin", all terms that are perfectly acceptable.

You don't call a retarded person a retard. You call your friends retards when they're acting retarded.


Things I learned from The Office.
posted by The Deej at 8:57 PM on February 26, 2008


Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:00 PM on February 26, 2008


"Check the original callout to get yourself back on track. Not only is it ironic that a callout falsely accusing someone of racism turned into making unsavory generalizations about an entire group of people, it is also ironic that someone has now insulted an entirely different group of people by using their disability as an epithet against someone you disagree with. I hope you can see how insensitive "so-and-so is retarded" would sound to a person who truly is retarded through no fault of their own. Once again, what I have repeatedly said is that insulting generalizations about an entire group of people is at the core of what makes racism so reprehensible."

Oh, fuck that, retard. I tried to be conciliatory and instead you want to quibble about how you're the fucking victim here? The only thing that you're right about is that retards should feel vaguely uncomfortable about being compared to you—at least it's not their fault when they can't grasp a simple fucking point.

Blow this pop stand, Daddy-O, before you make the rest of the speds look worse.
posted by klangklangston at 9:06 PM on February 26, 2008


Oh, fuck that, retard.

it's an offensive word - i've called you out on it before, but i guess you'd rather keep committing the internet equivalent of pissing in your pants than admit you're wrong for calling people "retard"

hint - it's not daddy-o who's looking bad because you call him a retard, it's you
posted by pyramid termite at 9:21 PM on February 26, 2008


Wow, Daddy-O, you're taking this a lot better than I would if I were in your position.

Hey Klang, is this the part where someone responds with a "no, fuck YOU!" comment and they both get deleted? Because I think you need to chill the fuck out.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:25 PM on February 26, 2008


Stop with the "retard" nonsense. It's obnoxious and at least a small subsection of people here don't LIKE IT. We've been down this road before; if that's the best you have you should probably pack it in.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"'Black' has fallen out of favor" and "'African American' is more polite"? GMAFB. This is what happens when political correctness goes haywire and non-Black people try to decide what Black people should call themselves. "Black" is still widely used and among certain members of the diaspora, "African American" is considered pompous and presumptuous. My position is and will remain: unless you definitively know the genealogy of someone who "looks Black" you'd best not be assuming that they're either American or of African descent. In my opinion, "Black" is the safest option in the absence concrete knowledge of someone's roots or their personal preference on which term to use. CitrusFreak12 is on target.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:29 PM on February 26, 2008


"it's an offensive word - i've called you out on it before, but i guess you'd rather keep committing the internet equivalent of pissing in your pants than admit you're wrong for calling people "retard""

And I ignore you because I don't really care what you think is offensive. If I were Daddy-O, I'd flog some sympathy for the incontinent off of your riposte.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 PM on February 26, 2008


But time to take my own advice from upthread and stop posting while pissed.
posted by klangklangston at 9:42 PM on February 26, 2008


To : klangklangston
Date : Feb 26, 2008 11:37 PM
Subject : Posts that pass in the ether
Message : I made my post that began with "Klangklangston: Check the original callout to get yourself back on track. " before I refreshed my screen and saw your post that began with "Actually, no, wait. I am sorry. That was harsher than you likely deserved. " With the exception of my last comment directed at Schemegge, I made a conscious effort to avoid personal attacks on anyone. Feel free to review my relevant comments and let me know if you disagree. I would like to know if I have been overly provocative.


From : klangklangston
Date : Feb 26, 2008 11:42 PM
Subject : Re: Posts that pass in the ether
Message : Feel free to post this to the thread. I have to say that I felt like I tried to pull back and restate what I felt the disagreement was, only to get piled on directly afterwards, so I'm still feeling pissy.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:53 PM on February 26, 2008


"Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded."

Ha! Just watched that again last night.
posted by arse_hat at 9:53 PM on February 26, 2008


And I ignore you because I don't really care what you think is offensive.

as if you really needed to tell anyone that, mr too cool to care
posted by pyramid termite at 10:05 PM on February 26, 2008


Stop with the "retard" nonsense. It's obnoxious and at least a small subsection of people here don't LIKE IT.

Then I suggest that small subsection of people get over it. Language changes.

The use of "retard" is no more inappropriate than the use of "idiot", "cretin", and "moron" -- words that, in past centuries, had a specific meaning (differing IQ ranges) and, when they first moved into the general language, were considered just as offensive as "retard" was some forty years ago.

Times have changed and the language has moved on: now we have a number of professional-use terms that more precisely describe a deficit or cause of deficit, and the term "developmentally delayed" for layman use. "Retard" is not a word used in the education, doctoring, or psychological environments any more.

I use the word "retard" for two reasons: (a) it still offends some pinheads (yet another word that used to have a scientific use, then became a slur, and is now harmless); (b) the more it's used in lieu of softer insults, the more quickly it will become a soft insult — something that, IMO, is long overdue.

maybe i'll start using "pinhead" — it's a word that could use some resurrection, zippy's efforts notwithstanding
posted by five fresh fish at 10:11 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Then I suggest that small subsection of people get over it.

like the "small subsection" of people whose children are in special needs programs?

such as my daughter?

tell you what, when you have a member of your family who could be easily mistaken for a "retard", then you can glibly decide whether "retard" is offensive or not

until then, you don't have the standing, experience or knowledge to speak, and you're just coming off as a willfully ignorant jerk

like it would cost you your left hand or something to stop using a word other people consider offensive - because, after all, your egotistical surety of what words you like to insult others with overrules any feelings the rest of us might have about something as insignificant as our children - yes, five fresh fish's use of vocabulary is SO much more important than the issue of whether my daughter will ever be accepted in society as a human being, despite her limitations, without people bandying around insults such as "retard" - of course, she's autistic, but let's face it, most willfully insensitive people such as yourself, don't give a shit what they call people or whether it's accurate as long as they can trumpet their superiority over others by giving them dismissive labels such as "retard"

it must be nice to have a perfect family with perfectly abled people and never have to THINK about such issues as to whether your child will ever be able to live an independent life as an adult - it's even nicer to be able to slap labels such as "retard" on others, because, of course, being one of the INTERNET SNARK OVERLORDS, such a thing as having a child like that could NEVER happen to YOU

i bet you feel REALLY good about yourself right now, don't you?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:34 PM on February 26, 2008


Tell us how you feel about the use of "gay" to mean "stupid," FFF. I'd love to hear you defend that one as well.

Oy, this thread. Jesus wept.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:37 PM on February 26, 2008


Also, I have a personal interest in seeing the word "retard" gain traction as a generic slur: I have an uncle who has Down's Syndrome. Calling him a retard today is an insult because it depersonalizes/dehumanizes him.

Back in the day, the Binet scale classified people by their IQ: Borderline Deficient (IQ 70-80), Moron (IQ 50-69), Imbecile (IQ 20-49) and Idiot (below 20). Morons, imbeciles, and idiots were all in the "retarded" category.

The advice in the early 60s was that he should be locked up and forgotten. Having a retarded child was seen as a tragedy, embarassment, and burden. Sub-normal intelligent was almost sub-human. The retarded were not to be seen, heard, nor even thought about.

Those who would insist on maintaining the old definitions and baggage of the word "retarded" do the mentally handicapped a great disservice. These people are individuals with specific genetic code flaws or brain injuries. Their problems, challenges, behaviours, and need for care vary: a person with Down's has needs that are distinctly different from those of a person with Tay-Sachs, or CP, or who was injured in an automobile accident.

Thankfully, today's doctors, teachers, and specialists have recognized this. The word "retard" is no longer a clinical term. We no longer treat the handicapped as sub-human, and endeavour to use more exacting language when discussing the particulars of an individual's condition. And, thank goodness, we no longer treat these people as sub-human.

So in summary, those who get their knickers in a knot when they see the word "retard" are stuck in the pea-brained past. I'll say it again: language changes and in this case, it changes for the better. The sooner "retard" carries as little historical baggage as "imbecile", "moron", "idiot", and "pinhead", the better off we all are. Take back the language from the haters!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 PM on February 26, 2008


tell you what, when you have a member of your family who could be easily mistaken for a "retard", then you can glibly decide whether "retard" is offensive or not

Thanks. I do, and I'm glad we're in agreement!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 PM on February 26, 2008


What CitrusFreak12 said. It's something when a genital mutilation video is a high point of the conversation.

Five Fresh Fish, if you are so offended by these MeTas, take your own advice and get over them. Why should everyone have to stifle their concerns regarding the site to satisfy your fragile sense of propriety?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:50 PM on February 26, 2008


I too have a family member that, in the days of yore, could have been (and was) classed as "retarded" and I don't care if you call me that, but if I hear you describe her that way, I'll smack you upside the head. See, it's not the words that are used, it's the reason they are used that hurts. I too would like to see the word retarded relegated to the status of pinhead or, even better, dunderhead.

But, seriously people - for fuck's sake, go outside or something. Seriously.
posted by dg at 11:00 PM on February 26, 2008


So, yeah, it's not really necessary that situational / non-internal factors are known or obvious, just that their possible existence is ignored in favour of an internal explanation: be it "troll", "mentally-defective cretin incapable of rational thought" or whatever.

Yeah, I suppose I'm in agreement, but this callout actually calls the question a racist troll, not the questioner, which I think is where I was initially coming from.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:48 PM on February 26, 2008


I worked as a LIFEGUARD (not an Oz term) in the USA and noticed the same thing with water.

And bugs. All the creepy crawlies and bugs would land on the African Americans before Whitey.

Er. But we're all equal. And stuff.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:41 AM on February 27, 2008


Along with all the self-congratulations he's heaped on himself, I'd like to further congratulate Daddy-O for getting away with a tremendous job of overmoderating his AskMe and for twice derailing this thread while keeping the mods safely in his pocket. It's been a snow job extraordinaire; you young trolls out there, pay close attention, this guy's a real pro.

Daddy-O, you never addressed the meat of this post, yet you walk out of here with head high. Texas would be proud. You're a real winner.
posted by breezeway at 5:49 AM on February 27, 2008


Well, either he really IS a troll, or he's just kinda...dumb. And that he can construct a sentence and all doesn't necessarily preclude being dumb; I myself am pretty bright in some regards and a fucking dipshit in others. It's a cross I bear with dignity and, when necessary, a closed mouth, on account of I know when I'm out of my depth; either Daddy-O does not, or is gleefully crossposting shit to his blog or something, "lib-tard!"ing all the way. That he's tried to move the goalposts repeatedly, cast himself and the great state of Texas as the real victim here, etc., doesn't mean he's trolling, either; it could just mean he's trying too hard to win an argument on the internet, which for some people really is more important than actually being, you know, right. In the interest of not overthinking it -- and it is, I admit, a little late in the game for that, but even so -- I'm going to guess incompetence over malice, Until Proven Otherwise.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:37 AM on February 27, 2008


I have an uncle who has Down's Syndrome.

he has a nephew who has stone-cold jerk syndrome

the only thing you're really liberating here is your loose lips
posted by pyramid termite at 7:14 AM on February 27, 2008


Ignoring these retarded whingefests does not, in any way, help to reduce the number of retarded whingefests being posted to MeTa.

But it would greatly reduce the stomach upset those posts appear to be causing you.

Short of (a) going on a murderous rampage, an option significantly hindered by a lack of time and information regarding our retarded users' home addresses; or (b) praying the moderators start moderating MeTa, I'm pretty much stuck leaving little turds in the threads telling the FPPers that they are fucking whiny retards who should STFU and get over their pissant irritations.

If those are truly the only two options you see available, then your judgment and vocabulary are severely impaired.

Pot kettle black and all that, yes, but for fucks sake, when you have 60 000 citizens in a forum, you simply can not have every numbnuts posting their every whim to the front page.

True, that would result in more posts like this one.
posted by brain_drain at 7:42 AM on February 27, 2008


I wish this thread were closed.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:03 AM on February 27, 2008


I wish this thread would close because the person this thread was originally addressed managed to successfully sidestep and throw the argument into other directions completely and has decided to no longer participate. And now the discussion has moved on to something completely different. Congratulations indeed.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:17 AM on February 27, 2008


Er, or what breezeway said.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:19 AM on February 27, 2008


side stepping metatalk threads is your new bicycle.
posted by Stynxno at 8:30 AM on February 27, 2008


I wish this thread were closed.

Seconding CitrusFreak12. The victim of the pileon has sensibly withdrawn and others are gibbering in increasingly lunatic abandon; it's not even fun to watch any more.

THREAD, I EXORCISE THEE!
posted by languagehat at 8:34 AM on February 27, 2008


* poof *
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:41 AM on February 27, 2008


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