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Ask a Homosexual

trogdor

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #330 on: May 26, 2006, 08:05:40 AM »
should just have a thread about unspoken assumptions about other posters.  i'm not sure why everyone thought miss p was black.  i always assumed she was as white as they come.   ;)

Hybrid Vigor

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #331 on: May 26, 2006, 08:06:30 AM »
It'd be cool to start a thread about what race people think other posters (who haven't disclosed their race) are. I thought Miss P was biracial black then biracial asian and then I was like ??? I knew Dbgirl was black but I didn't know she was biracial. There are some others that confuse me.

What's weird is that internet personalities are even assigned a "race". Does everyone need some kind of racial context to place someone's comments? It sucks that just because Miss P seems to care about African American issues, people assumed she was Black. (I didn't make the assumption at all, I knew she wasn't) Just goes to show why people have to assign a race to you IRL - and if they can't make a good guess, then they'll ask you - wtf? why do total strangers feel that it's okay to ask someone their race?


/rant.

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #332 on: May 26, 2006, 08:24:39 AM »
It'd be cool to start a thread about what race people think other posters (who haven't disclosed their race) are. I thought Miss P was biracial black then biracial asian and then I was like ??? I knew Dbgirl was black but I didn't know she was biracial. There are some others that confuse me.

What's weird is that internet personalities are even assigned a "race". Does everyone need some kind of racial context to place someone's comments? It sucks that just because Miss P seems to care about African American issues, people assumed she was Black. (I didn't make the assumption at all, I knew she wasn't) Just goes to show why people have to assign a race to you IRL - and if they can't make a good guess, then they'll ask you - wtf? why do total strangers feel that it's okay to ask someone their race?


/rant.

I think you have the wrong impression. For me, I don't have to assign a race to people. But when people make posts that indicate they're part of a certain race, then I assume they are--until further notice.

Ideally anyone could care about black issues even if they weren't black but IRL, it tends to be that people are insensitive or only mildly curious about issues that don't affect them personally. It's a rare person who understands enough to post insightfully about minority issues when they're visually white. Heck, it's a rare person who cares enough to engage themselves with the issues affecting groups they're not part of. So most often, when I see someone actively discussing (not just trolling or saying stupid things) minority issues, I assume they're a minority...and I'm almost always right.


I wasn't singling you out. However, my point still stands that it's odd that people feel compelled make unwarranted assumptions about the race of internet posters, and how this plays right into the real life phenomena of people being asked what race they are if it's not readily apparent to the viewer. It's sorta odd that people make any assumptions at all (I've been PMed several times and asked if I am a lesbian). The fact of the matter is that people think these identities give form to a particular viewpoint. And often they do, but just as often, they don't.

trogdor

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #333 on: May 26, 2006, 08:33:36 AM »
I wasn't singling you out. However, my point still stands that it's odd that people feel compelled make unwarranted assumptions about the race of internet posters, and how this plays right into the real life phenomena of people being asked what race they are if it's not readily apparent to the viewer. It's sorta odd that people make any assumptions at all (I've been PMed several times and asked if I am a lesbian). The fact of the matter is that people think these identities give form to a particular viewpoint. And often they do, but just as often, they don't.

like it or not, people make assumptions and always will.  obviously these assumptions are often flawed in their development and in the conclusion.  however, we make them all the time, often unconsciously.  i think it's very important for people to express those assumptions and ask questions, even if it exposes very flawed justifications/conclusions, because it offers an important opportunity to expose the fallacies in people's lines of thinking and the stereotypes that ground their assumptions.  being in a heteronormative society, people often assume i'm straight when they first meet me because it's considered to be the norm.  people will ask me if i have a girlfriend or ask me if i think some girl is "hot".  it's annoying in that it exposes a societal ignorance and lack of sensitivity, but the exposition of that ignorance plays a critical role in dismantling it when people learn the truth and realize that they made unwarranted leaps to reach a conclusion. 

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #334 on: May 26, 2006, 08:40:53 AM »
I wasn't singling you out. However, my point still stands that it's odd that people feel compelled make unwarranted assumptions about the race of internet posters, and how this plays right into the real life phenomena of people being asked what race they are if it's not readily apparent to the viewer. It's sorta odd that people make any assumptions at all (I've been PMed several times and asked if I am a lesbian). The fact of the matter is that people think these identities give form to a particular viewpoint. And often they do, but just as often, they don't.

like it or not, people make assumptions and always will.  obviously these assumptions are often flawed in their development and in the conclusion.  however, we make them all the time, often unconsciously.  i think it's very important for people to express those assumptions and ask questions, even if it exposes very flawed justifications/conclusions, because it offers an important opportunity to expose the fallacies in people's lines of thinking and the stereotypes that ground their assumptions.  being in a heteronormative society, people often assume i'm straight when they first meet me because it's considered to be the norm.  people will ask me if i have a girlfriend or ask me if i think some girl is "hot".  it's annoying in that it exposes a societal ignorance and lack of sensitivity, but the exposition of that ignorance plays a critical role in dismantling it when people learn the truth and realize that they made unwarranted leaps to reach a conclusion. 

I just think it's interesting that sexuality and race are thought of as characteristics that are informative as to how a person thinks about things.  When you're thinking about something and you make an assumption, you're only making an assumption because you need that information to draw a conclusion. Otherwise, you'd leave it out. No one made any assumptions about MissP's favorite flavor of ice cream. I am speaking more to the apparent need to make assumptions, rather than making definitive value judgments on why people do it. Obviously, I make my own assumptions like everyone else.

It's just interesting to me b/c I'm used to the concept that people will just ask what race you are. In the absence of physical evidence (here on this message board), we just make our best guess based on what they say. Fascinating. But don't mind me, I was a psychology major.

->Soon

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #335 on: May 26, 2006, 08:49:13 AM »
I wasn't singling you out. However, my point still stands that it's odd that people feel compelled make unwarranted assumptions about the race of internet posters, and how this plays right into the real life phenomena of people being asked what race they are if it's not readily apparent to the viewer. It's sorta odd that people make any assumptions at all (I've been PMed several times and asked if I am a lesbian). The fact of the matter is that people think these identities give form to a particular viewpoint. And often they do, but just as often, they don't.

like it or not, people make assumptions and always will.  obviously these assumptions are often flawed in their development and in the conclusion.  however, we make them all the time, often unconsciously.  i think it's very important for people to express those assumptions and ask questions, even if it exposes very flawed justifications/conclusions, because it offers an important opportunity to expose the fallacies in people's lines of thinking and the stereotypes that ground their assumptions.  being in a heteronormative society, people often assume i'm straight when they first meet me because it's considered to be the norm.  people will ask me if i have a girlfriend or ask me if i think some girl is "hot".  it's annoying in that it exposes a societal ignorance and lack of sensitivity, but the exposition of that ignorance plays a critical role in dismantling it when people learn the truth and realize that they made unwarranted leaps to reach a conclusion. 

I just think it's interesting that sexuality and race are thought of as characteristics that are informative as to how a person thinks about things.  When you're thinking about something and you make an assumption, you're only making an assumption because you need that information to draw a conclusion. Otherwise, you'd leave it out. No one made any assumptions about MissP's favorite flavor of ice cream. I am speaking more to the apparent need to make assumptions, rather than making definitive value judgments on why people do it. Obviously, I make my own assumptions like everyone else.

It's just interesting to me b/c I'm used to the concept that people will just ask what race you are. In the absence of physical evidence (here on this message board), we just make our best guess based on what they say. Fascinating. But don't mind me, I was a psychology major.

im going to guess, tooty fruity!

;D

Miss P

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #336 on: May 26, 2006, 08:52:45 AM »
However, my point still stands that it's odd that people feel compelled make unwarranted assumptions about the race of internet posters, and how this plays right into the real life phenomena of people being asked what race they are if it's not readily apparent to the viewer. It's sorta odd that people make any assumptions at all (I've been PMed several times and asked if I am a lesbian). The fact of the matter is that people think these identities give form to a particular viewpoint. And often they do, but just as often, they don't.

It had never once occurred to me that you might be a lesbian, CN, but now that it has, watch out!  :D

Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful discussion.  I pretty much agree with CN that it's funny that we have to put everyone -- even people who are ultimately fake to us -- in race boxes when they aren't putting their race forward as meaningful in the particular context.  But we all do it, make voices and faces for everyone (CN, you look a bit like Kimora Lee Simmons, even though she's Japanese, but your voice is like Susan Sarandon's; Bonkers is obviously Adam Brody through and through, as he mentioned; etc.).  To put a positive spin on it, maybe our assumptions are a reflection of a real consideration of people's stories alongside an acknowledgement that gender and race and all these other things crucially affect people's lives and opportunities.  (I also agree with trogdor that it may provide opportunities for us to think about the origins of our stereotypes, etc.)

Finally, I am, of course, flattered by the idea that I might be an exceptional non-black person (thanks, LT), but I resist these types of characterizations, for me and for others.  I try to fight racial inequality, including the way it shapes my own racism.  There shouldn't be anything particularly special about it.  My engagement may be unusual due to some of my interests, personal relationships, and experience, but that ends up giving me more opportunities for mistakes, too.

Miss P

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #337 on: May 26, 2006, 09:33:15 AM »
Finally, I am, of course, flattered by the idea that I might be an exceptional non-black person (thanks, LT),

This sounds bad to me in a way. I hope you didn't think I was being patronizing.

No, not at all!  You are always straight-up, respectful, cool.  Oh, jeez.  Sorry.

Quote
You're right--there shouldn't be anything special about it but I find that there is. IMO there just aren't enough people who take more than a cursory interest in issues that aren't seen as affecting them directly. So I find you unusual (which is why I'm slightly confused about why you would resist that 'characterization'--do you think people who engage themselves in issues that dont' necessarily directly affect them are common?)

No, maybe you're right, it's not terribly common.  CN's post above really hits it: it happens, but probably more in places like progressive colleges where everyone is relatively safe and comfortable, but these places are pretty rare.  My main instinct is simply to hold that everyone should share these commitments to justice and equality; they are universal and not minoritarian values.  I don't think you can imagine justice and equality in the US context without special attention to race, and particularly to African American history.

Of course, I also understand why do people focus on the things that affect them most personally and directly (and negatively, that is).  I don't mean to diminish this good work, and I think it lends social movements credibility to have people speak about their experiences and connect their intuitions about the way the world is functioning for them to public debates about allocation of resources and such. 

I guess what I meant most of all was that I think humility is important, especially for "allies."  I could never understand what it is like to be black, at least not any more than I could understand what it is like to enjoy vanilla ice cream or what it is like to be male. I think sometimes when people tell me they think I'm down or whatever that it privileges my position too much, and that seems really crummy.  I am not feeling very articulate about this, but I hope it makes some sense.

Miss P

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #338 on: May 26, 2006, 09:36:38 AM »
And funny that I look like Kimora Simmons  :D Actually, I've been told many, many times that I strongly favor Amerie (a newish pop&b singer).

Well, well, well... Lucky Harvard boys!

Hybrid Vigor

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Re: Ask a Homosexual
« Reply #339 on: May 26, 2006, 09:40:14 AM »
And funny that I look like Kimora Simmons  :D Actually, I've been told many, many times that I strongly favor Amerie (a newish pop&b singer).

Well, well, well... Lucky Harvard boys!

Thanks. I just wanted to give you a more accurate mental picture  :D :D Maybe I'll luck up and find some Harvard boy engaged in feminism. I always think I'll be just fine without a male around...and then I need a jar opened or a bug squashed  ;D