• Pinprick
    272
    I’m interested in the role of fashion in regards to racism. For example, several years ago I noticed that when I encountered black people I would sometimes react with what may be considered racist behaviors. Whether it’s making sure my car doors are locked when I find myself in a predominantly black neighborhood, or refraining from making eye contact with a black person I pass on the street. It seems that my default reaction to these encounters is fear. When I noticed this, I tried to analyze these reactions. And, regardless of how this sounds, I’m aware of my intentions, and they are not to discriminate in any way based solely on skin color. I haven’t had any particularly negative experiences with black people, and formed a very close friendship with a black person. I even had a black girlfriend at one time.

    And I’m not bringing up these facts to in any way excuse my behavior, or somehow diminish the wrongness of it. But it does seem to indicate that I don’t discriminate against, or feel fearful towards every black person. So, analyzing further, I saw that primarily, and perhaps exclusively, I had these reactions to black people who look and dress a certain way. For example, I don’t believe that if I passed Barack Obama in the street I would have this reaction, as opposed to, say, The Game (rapper). That said, perhaps my “racism” isn’t actually related to race. I mean, the reason why I react this way to a certain look can be attributed to any number of things; the portrayal of black people in media, rap music, etc. Or maybe it’s my fears are warranted in some way?

    I believe that black people do intentionally dress in a way to intentionally appear intimidating more often than white people. And the relatively few black people that I have good reason to be cautious around probably dress to appear intimidating. It seems obvious that certain fashion choices are strongly associated with gangs, or “thug” personality types; facial tattoos, bandannas, loud colored clothing, certain hairstyles, etc. After all, there are certainly very few gangsters/thugs who dress like Obama on a regular basis. But regardless, I don’t see any way to deny that my perspective on all of this is viewed through the lens of culture, and therefore biased. So I don’t exactly trust myself to come to a logical conclusion, hence this thread. So what do you all think? Am I a racist? Are my reactions justified? Should things like fashion even be considered a contributing factor to racism/discrimination? Do those discriminated against have any culpability due to their choice of fashion?
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    Do those discriminated against have any culpability due to their choice of fashion?Pinprick

    Do women who dress in "revealing" clothing have any culpability when men objectify them? oh shit wrong thread
  • fishfry
    1.5k
    I’m interested in the role of fashion in regards to racism.Pinprick

    I'm reporting this to the paragraph police.
  • StreetlightX
    5.9k
    I'm reporting this to the paragraph police.fishfry

    Wee woo wee woo *snip*
  • Baden
    10.6k


    Seems like a silly question. Are you intimidated by white people with bandannas and loud clothes? Do you wake up from sweaty nightmares where you're being chased by ethnically diverse baggy-pants wearing gangs? Does the very thought of tattoos and non-Obama hairstyles make you want to shit your pants? Or... is it mostly that they're black? You don't need Sigmund Freud or us for this, just a little self-reflection.
  • DingoJones
    1.8k


    He already said it was not the skin colour but the clothes. You are assuming its based on skin colour, with no real basis except being triggered by the topic. Your questions werent sincere questions but rather meant to mock. (Which is fair, if it seems silly to you I suppose). You are assuming that self reflection will show him the answer that you are just...assuming.
    A better question than any of yours is:
    “Pinprick, would you feel the same way about other ethnicities whose clothing you associated with violent/criminal people such as whites wearing biker gang colours or perhaps well dressed japanese men with chest/back tattoos and missing pinky fingers?”

    Pinprick, you do not sound racist to me. That would require you to be reacting to skin colour or race rather than the way someones dressed. You may be guilty of jumping to conclusions based on attire but thats not racist. I think that you may be conditioned to think that because of the race narrative being peddled about these days.
  • Baden
    10.6k
    you are assuming its based on skin colourDingoJones

    No, I'm not, actually. I'm assuming he's the only one who knows (or could know) what it's based on. And the idea of asking us is a waste of time. And all the not-dressed-like-Obama, bandanna, loud clothes stuff is funny to me.
  • DingoJones
    1.8k


    Oh, ok. It was the “or is it mostly cuz theyre black?” and invitation to self reflect that made me think you had an idea in mind already about his basis. My mistake...you triggered me
  • Baden
    10.6k


    Reading it again, it sounded a bit like that. But no, I think it's more likely he isn't racist as it happens.
  • DingoJones
    1.8k


    Still, my mistake.
    It is a bit depressing to me someone like Pinprick has to even question whether he himself is racist even when he knows in his own mind he is not. I wish I could blame the race peddlers and lefties (not all lefties) that push the narrative, and I do for their part, but it really comes down to actual racists (of course). They are the force behind it because actual racists draw the lines on race that the rest of us have to defend.
    Anyway, if someones actually worried they might be racist then im satisfied that they probably are not.
  • Pinprick
    272
    “Pinprick, would you feel the same way about other ethnicities whose clothing you associated with violent/criminal people such as whites wearing biker gang colours or perhaps well dressed japanese men with chest/back tattoos and missing pinky fingers?”DingoJones

    Funny examples, but yeah I’ve noticed this reaction with white people as well. Have basically no exposure to other ethnicities or races though. Which undoubtedly is also part of the issue, my issue. I guess I was kind of triggered by the comments I was seeing recently that referred to people that behaved as I do as somehow complicit or part of the problem. Which may or may not be true, but if they’re going to make statements like that, then I expect the same level of criticism to be directed at those black people who intentionally dress a certain way in order to appear intimidating or thug-like. That seems fair to me, but I’m not making up the rules. I’d just like some clarity on what those rules are exactly.

    No, I'm not, actually. I'm assuming he's the only one who knows (or could know) what it's based on. And the idea of asking us is a waste of time. And all the not-dressed-like-Obama, bandanna, loud clothes stuff is funny to me.Baden

    I would typically agree, but the way the racist label is tossed around I guess it had me second-guessing my actions. But anyway, to expand the topic, I was also wondering about how this could also apply to things like accusations of police profiling. For example, police may very well pull over black people at a higher rate than white people for simple infractions like speeding. Some people, upon seeing this data, will then jump to the conclusion that the police are racially profiling. But, what if a large portion of these people pulled over dress in the way I’ve described? Do police have the right to become literal fashion police? I guess the point I’m getting at is that the issue of racism is much more nuanced than it is portrayed to be. It isn’t as simple as “white person treats black person bad, therefore racism.”
  • Baden
    10.6k


    If someone is genuinely concerned about whether they're racist, they are not engaged with that aspect of themselves even if it does exist (and unconscious bias, for example, is something most of us are afflicted with). That to me is a better position morally to be in than someone who doesn't think they're a racist but just doesn't care about racism or any other social prejudices. So, I agree, I don't think self-flagellation is what's needed here, but positive resistance against that in our society and in ourselves that is unjustifiable.
  • Baden
    10.6k
    I expect the same level of criticism to be directed at those black people who intentionally dress a certain way in order to appear intimidating or thug-like.Pinprick

    But here, you're falling into talking about "black" people again. If you don't like certain types of clothes, fine, talk about that, but you can't infer from the fact that you find something intimidating that it is intended to be intimidating. And even if it is, so what? In some environments, you need to look intimidating to survive. Again, if white people wearing those clothes also intimidate you, you're not racist, but they are not to "blame" for anything either. They can wear what they like.

    But anyway, to expand the topic, I was also wondering about how this could also apply to things like accusations of police profiling. For example, police may very well pull over black people at a higher rate than white people for simple infractions like speeding. Some people, upon seeing this data, will then jump to the conclusion that the police are racially profiling. But, what if a large portion of these people pulled over dress in the way I’ve described? Do police have the right to become literal fashion police? I guess the point I’m getting at is that the issue of racism is much more nuanced than it is portrayed to be. It isn’t as simple as “white person treats black person bad, therefore racism.”Pinprick

    Maybe we should check if George Floyd was wearing a bandanna when he was publically lynched. All these protests for nought... No, this is just stupid.
  • DingoJones
    1.8k


    I agree, not even sure someone just not caring even has a place on a moral scale of any kind. They would be moral or immoral only by accident.
  • Pinprick
    272
    If you don't like certain types of clothes, fine, but you can't infer from the fact that you find something intimidating that it is intended to be intimidating.Baden

    Maybe in some circumstances, but I’d consider it to be common knowledge what type of appearance is associated with gang or thug mentality.

    And even if it is, so what?Baden

    Then one should not be chastised for being intimidated or displaying the natural behaviors that occur with this feeling.

    In some environments, you need to look intimidating to survive.Baden

    Very true, and a good point. I guess this illustrates the circular nature of it all. I can’t expect you to not dress intimidatingly if that means you’re less likely to survive. But at the same time you can’t expect me to not be intimidated m.

    Maybe we should check if George Floyd was wearing a bandanna when he was publically lynched. All these protests for nought... No, this is just stupid.Baden

    You’re misreading me. Lynching someone is bad regardless of color, clothing, or anything else. I’m just wondering if there are situations that are labeled racist, but that the skin color is just circumstantial, and that maybe their appearance in general aside from their skin color is a contributing factor. That type of situation doesn’t seem all that unlikely to me. But that isn’t to excuse any sort of unprovoked aggression. Again, that is wrong regardless of color, clothing, or anything else.
  • Baden
    10.6k
    Maybe in some circumstances, but I’d consider it to be common knowledge what type of appearance is associated with gang or thug mentality.Pinprick

    None of what you mentioned would I associate with anything other than being young and wanting to fit in. Maybe shake off your Obama suit and loosen up, fella.
  • DingoJones
    1.8k
    You’re misreading me. Lynching someone is bad regardless of color, clothing, or anything else. I’m just wondering if there are situations that are labeled racist, but that the skin color is just circumstantial, and that maybe their appearance in general aside from their skin color is a contributing factor. That type of situation doesn’t seem all that unlikely to me. But that isn’t to excuse any sort of unprovoked aggression. Again, that is wrong regardless of color, clothing, or anything else.Pinprick

    I think thats correct, that racism is often misapplied to interactions between races. The term racism has been pretty well diluted and I think many things considered racist are not racist at all. One of them is what you are describing, that a black guy going for that gangster look provoking an image of danger that a white person reacts too is racist. Its not.
    Hate and a particular ignorance about race is required for racism imo.
  • Pinprick
    272
    None of what you mentioned would I associate with anything other than being young and wanting to fit in.Baden

    Sure, that’s a possibility, but isn’t part of “being young and wanting to fit in” about learning what your ascribing to by “fitting in?” And you only learn by having to experience the consequences of your decision. So if fitting in means that you appear intimidating to the point that other people are afraid to approach you or interact with you, shouldn’t the lesson learned be that “fitting in” isn’t worth it? Shouldn’t you learn that by choosing this appearance you are going to become associated with a negative stereotype of your race, which in turn reinforces racism? Stated more bluntly, if you don’t want to be judged as a negative stereotype, don’t appear to be that stereotype.
  • Judaka
    602

    I think that at the heart of modern-day racism isn't views on genetics but essentially associating personality characteristics with races. I don't think it requires any emotional attachment to those associations either. If you think that "x race" are "lazy people" and that's just an opinion and not an effort on your part to be hateful, I'd still call that racism. Any biases based on race can be called racism but what about biases on culture?

    I think that's the trickiest part about the race issue because culture exists and you don't have to like it.

    The solution to my mind is that you need to be very specific with your language and have terms that make your position clear. If you meet a particular kind of person that is somehow offputting and you describe that kind of person racially then, of course, you're going to get called a racist. You need to use language that doesn't associate the race with the behaviour.

    I would say your OP is rather unambiguously racist.

    You can say someone looks like a gangster or a hooligan and treat them with suspicion and it's not racist. Once you associate those characteristics to a race and then prejudice against that race because of that association then that's racist.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I believe that black people do intentionally dress in a way to intentionally appear intimidating more often than white people.Pinprick

    Vestis virum reddit. Clothes make the man.

    Men, women, blacks, whites--all of us, dress to express self, culture, aspiration, politics, class, and so on. There is nothing new about this, though the actual clothes change from time to time. Many people aim for an intimidating edge in their clothing. Upper class women in Manhattan have been observed deploying aggressive maneuvers with accessories for the purpose of intimidation. The business suit, the power tie, the black leather jacket, beards, long hair, short hair, no hair, tattoos, piercings, et al.

    There are likely distinct features of black public presentation. Why wouldn't there be? Black culture has features distinct from white culture or any other culture. The way a black man might choose to project the image of power will depend on his particular milieu. To some, the "thug look" is intimidating; to others it makes for an easy dismissal of the subject.

    To draw a comparison: Gay white men have deployed distinct features of public presentation. 50 years ago, working class clothing and mustaches were de rigueur among gay men. Some gay men preferred a heavy motorcycle gang vibe. At other times, other places, gay men chose radically different types of clothing.

    Clothing is a form of communication to which some attention should be paid. Be prepared for relativism. An outfit that I might consider the height of stupidity, you might consider very subtle.
  • Pinprick
    272
    If you think that "x race" are "lazy people" and that's just an opinion and not an effort on your part to be hateful, I'd still call that racism.Judaka

    Me too.

    Any biases based on race can be called racism but what about biases on culture?Judaka

    Especially if it’s specifically a culture that primarily only belongs to one group (I.e. black culture) that you’re biased about. I think that discriminating against black culture could be used as an excuse to be racist, for example. “I’m not racist, I just don’t like black culture” becomes indistinguishable from “I don’t like black people.” However, if the former statement is sincere, is it still racist?

    You need to use language that doesn't associate the race with the behaviour.Judaka

    The issue is that there are behaviors that are *almost* only associated with a certain race, like a particular style of dress or appearance.

    I would say your OP is rather unambiguously racist.Judaka

    Ok.

    You can say someone looks like a gangster or a hooligan and treat them with suspicion and it's not racist. Once you associate those characteristics to a race and then prejudice against that race because of that association then that's racist.Judaka

    I don’t think I’m the one that associated that particular look with black people. Regardless, it seems to be true. Is my stating this truth what’s racist? Also, I don’t have this reaction towards all black people, does that make any difference in your opinion?
  • Baden
    10.6k


    You seem to be backpedalling from the position I thought you were taking and saying that it is about black people (and their "look") rather than about particular clothes on anyone. So, I agree with @Judaka now on a less charitable interpretation.

    I don’t have this reaction towards all black people,Pinprick

    Yes, but if you only have this reaction to black people then that's racism. You still haven't said you're equally frightened by whites wearing these clothes. Are you?
  • Pinprick
    272
    You seem to be backpedalling from the position I thought you were taking and saying that it is about black people (and their "look") rather than about particular clothes on anyone. So, I agree with Judaka now on a less charitable interpretation.Baden

    That’s my fault. I’m using “look” just as a generic term meaning clothing, accessories, and/or hairstyles.

    Yeah, but if you only have this reaction to black people then that's racism. You still haven't said you're equally frightened by whites wearing these clothes. Are you?Baden

    Yeah, or whatever particular fashion is equivalent for that particular culture. I thought I said as much here:

    yeah I’ve noticed this reaction with white people as well. Have basically no exposure to other ethnicities or races though. Which undoubtedly is also part of the issue, my issue.Pinprick
  • Baden
    10.6k


    Ok, I'm going to leave it there anyway. As I said before there's an important distinction for me between unconscious and unwanted biases and conscious derogatory attitudes.
  • Pinprick
    272
    Fair enough. Appreciate the feedback.
  • Judaka
    602

    I disagree with the idea that there is a "black culture" to begin with and I'd say the term is racist. The thing is that you don't know whether or not people subscribe to "black culture" in the first place. If you're just going to assume someone's characteristics by their culture and their culture by their race then you're assuming characteristics by race which you agreed was racist.

    You say that you're indifferent to race but that you have concerns about "rap music" or "gangster" culture that is disproportionately black and this overlap could make you seem racist. Theoretically, that could be true and you could be misjudged for it, to avoid that, it's not necessary to pretend like it's not disproportionately black. However, the where and why you are mentioning it is very important.

    I’m interested in the role of fashion in regards to racism. For example, several years ago I noticed that when I encountered black people I would sometimes react with what may be considered racist behaviors. Whether it’s making sure my car doors are locked when I find myself in a predominantly black neighborhood, or refraining from making eye contact with a black person I pass on the street.Pinprick

    I get what you're saying but as I said, you need to be careful with your language to invoke race as little as possible. Saying that you "refrain from making eye contact with a black person" is very different from saying "someone with tattoos, big muscles and a bandana". Or "I make sure to lock my car doors when I'm in high crime areas".

    Like others, I don't think you're a racist but I think that many of things you've said could be easily taken as racist and that you would have to explain further to convince people you're not. You could save yourself the trouble and be more careful with your language.
  • Pinprick
    272
    I disagree with the idea that there is a "black culture" to begin with and I'd say the term is racist.Judaka

    Interesting. Even though this term is used by black people? As an aside, what are your thoughts on things like cultural appropriation?

    If you're just going to assume someone's characteristics by their culture and their culture by their race then you're assuming characteristics by race which you agreed was racist.Judaka

    Perhaps gang/thug culture would be a better term? But then again, isn’t their variance between different types of gangs? So in order to use that term and be specific you would have to say something like “culture associated with [enter particular gang].”

    You could save yourself the trouble and be more careful with your language.Judaka

    That makes sense. Point taken.
  • Judaka
    602

    I don't care what some people say, they aren't spokespeople for their race, races can't even have spokespeople and even if they could I'd still say there's no black culture. Also, I don't acknowledge "cultural appropriation" stupid term.
  • Pinprick
    272
    Ok. I’m not arguing. Just think it’s an interesting viewpoint. I agree about cultural appropriation, just not sure about the rest.
  • Kenosha Kid
    519
    Funny. The first thing I think of when I read this:

    It seems obvious that certain fashion choices are strongly associated with gangs, or “thug” personality types; facial tattoos, bandannas, loud colored clothing, certain hairstyles, etc.Pinprick

    is not some guy whose trousers are falling down, more like ripped skinhead neo-Nazis, or Hell's Angels, or even punks. Oh, and American police officers.
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