Stuff White People Say

October 31, 2008

“We don’t intend to be racist”

Filed under: Stuff White People Do — nquest2xl @ 12:50 pm

Talking about the way Whites try to dismiss or deny allegations that certain racialized behavior or practices are racist, Macon D said:

“…they don’t intend to be racist, and therefore, they’re not.

Never mind any actual effects of their actions.”

Funny how that works.

The quote is taken from Macon’s recent Halloween thread (discussing what kind of racially themed Halloween parties, from Blackface to Obama-pumpkins, are “racist”) where he wrote the following:

It’s been my experience that when white folks are questioned about such Halloween [party] choices, they usually brush off any allegations of racism with the claim that it’s all just good, harmless fun. The implication is that they don’t intend to be racist, and therefore, they’re not. Never mind any actual effects of their actions.

The funny thing is Macon primary argument for his racial excesses consists of him brushing off questions/critiques because he didn’t intend on being jumping to racist or untenable racist conclusions himself.  We’ve talked about a lot of those things here and Macon has a well established pattern-practice of trying to deflect specific criticism about specific statements he has made by referring to the self-proclaimed goodness of his intent and/or the goodness of a different instance where he perceived his intent and effect to be good.  An example of both, here:

“I’m wondering what you think of my handling of black experience in that post that I mentioned, the one about how white people often “pet black people.” …I wrote that post after reading and hearing black people complain about this common and nasty form of white behavior. I then generalized those complaints into a “common complaint that black people make about white people,” and wrote a post about how white people often do that, in the hopes that some white people would wake the hell up and stop doing that shit.”

The following example shows Macon’s intent~effect problems.  It’s the classic case of his still unsubstantiated racial claim about POC/Black people and how they treat Whites in terms of trust:

Offending Statement #1:

If you’re a white person, you’re unlikely to list his whiteness as one of the characteristics that would keep you from trusting him. You might cite the “white power” sympathies suggested by his tattooed swastika, but not the simple fact of his whiteness itself. However, if you’re a non-white person, there’s a better chance that you would list the mere fact of his racial whiteness as a suspicious characteristic.

Offending Statement #2:

Just as white folks tend to size up new black individuals in racial terms, waiting for the black person to prove herself better than “other black people” (and I believe that most whites do this, whether they realize it or not), black people often do the same thing to white people.

Offending Statement #3:

I’ve written before about the common white American failure to see that for many non-white people, whiteness itself often makes a person less than trustworthy. White individuals should realize that since so many of their fellow whites still perceive non-whites in terms of stereotypes, white individuals can only begin to gain the trust of many non-white people after they’ve proven themselves unlikely to think and act on the basis of commonly held stereotypes about non-whites.

Intent Declaration Statement #1:

Would it have made more sense if I had written that slightly differently, as in, “the fact itself that one is categorized as white often makes a person less trustworthy”? Then would my claims that because one is seen as “white,” and therefore likely to enact certain stereotypes, and therefore as, in this sense, untrustworthy, make more sense to you? That might distinguish more clearly that I don’t mean that there’s something simply, intrinsically untrustworthy about, merely, whiteness itself. That I mean, instead, that it’s more that whiteness signals the probability that one will harbor and enact racist stereotypes, and that that is what makes many POC distrust new white folks.

Intent Declaration Statement #2:

So the claim I meant to make is NOT that POC distrust white people just because of their whiteness, nor that they do so because they’re stereotyping whites. Instead, it’s that many POC know that whites commonly, and often unconsciously, hold and enact stereotypes.

Intent Declaration Statement #3:

I don’t think [POC] they’re prejudiced in the usual sense of that term, which means an unfair presumption that all members of a group are the same. I mean that they’re REALISTIC.


  1. You wrote “Offending Statement #2” twice.

    Comment by Restructure! — October 31, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  2. <I then generalized those complaints into a “common complaint that black people make about white people,” and wrote a post about how white people often do that, in the hopes that some white people would wake the hell up and stop doing that shit

    the disturbing thing with Macon’s “generalization” is that he doesn’t think that this kind of white behavior is in any way wrong, insensitive and disrespectful. It is only wrong, because Black people complain. Wouldn’t Black people say something, there would be no reason for the Macons to change and to question the discriminatory behavior.
    He doesn’t think about the mind-set behind such actions, which is necessary to even come to that idea to touch somebody you don’t know. But probably, it isn’t disrespectful because this isn’t the intent, I guess. *rollmyeyes*

    Comment by jwbe — November 1, 2008 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  3. There’s also this one:

    Restructure, I didn’t mean for that response to 911 to be dismissive, and 911, if you’re still reading, I apologize for wording my response in such a way that it could be interpreted as a dismissal. My point there was just to underline what I deal with more fully in this post–that nothing in the first post says anything at all about non-white people.

    (emphasis mine)

    I’m sure there are many more, as I too see this as a general trend in stuff Macon D says.

    Comment by Restructure! — November 2, 2008 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

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