“I’m Not Racist!”

I just saw this clip from Bad Girls Club that left my mouth hanging open. This girl, Kate, doesn’t put her foot in her mouth once, doesn’t do it twice, does it THREE times. And that doesn’t even count the backhanded stereotypes she manages to slip in that aren’t as blatant. Please, watch this whole clip.

Let’s examine this, shall we?

  • She’s not racist, she just doesn’t want to go to a “sweaty black club.” She uses this as her DEFENSE against being racist twice. As one of her roommates points out, white people sweat, too. What the fuck is this “sweaty black club” bullshit?
  • So then, she says that she just doesn’t want to get hit on, because “black guys are, like, aggressive,” and she “has a big ass; like the biggest one in the house! And you know…” She trails off before completing this thought, but I think you see where she was going with this.
  • She asks why people are taking this so personally. But of course, it’s only the black women in the house that are taking it personally. I WONDER WHY THEY WOULD TAKE THIS STATEMENT PERSONALLY. She doesn’t know why this is such a big deal, and why people are yelling at her about this!
  • She’s baffled at being called “ignorant,” and then tells one of the girls that’s rightfully offended by her ignorance that she “feels sorry” for her.
  • She’s not racist! She’s dated black men! Yeah, this is like the “my best friend is black” defense. Not gonna fly. Knowing black people does not excuse you when you say blatantly racist things.
  • The only people to come to her defense at all and say that they “know she didn’t mean it like that” were the non-black roommates. One girl claims to have first-hand knowledge of the situation because she’s “in an interracial relationship with [her black] boyfriend,” so she “hears about the black/white situation all the time,” natch. Yet… she still listens to Kate bitch and takes her side, so she clearly isn’t absorbing what she’s “learning” from her boyfriend!

So, to summarize: Kate is NOT racist, it’s just that she doesn’t want to go to a club with all black people, especially those SWEATY, AGGRESSIVE black guys that might hit on her, and you REALLY SHOULDN’T BE SO OFFENDED ABOUT THAT YOU GUYS, BECAUSE SHE REALLY DIDN’T MEAN IT LIKE “THAT” BECAUSE SHE’S TOTES NOT RACIST. SO CHILL.

This was a clear case of ignorance, racism, and ignorance about racism. The women of color in the house had every right to be upset and offended. One of the girls tries to helpfully explain to Kate that “you’re not black, so you’ll never understand.” However, the rest of the clip is of people telling Kate that what she said was racist and wrong, but no one explains to her WHY it was racist and wrong. Granted, I’ll never know if Kate would have listened, but this was a clear opportunity to provide education to someone about why you just can’t say things like that, and why they are, in fact, racist, even if you “didn’t mean it that way.”

By yelling at her and repeatedly telling her she’s wrong and an awful person, Kate becomes defensive and feels attacked. Without truly understanding the reasons behind why her statement was offensive, she sees the other women as overreacting to something, even though they had every right to be upset about it. While Kate is clearly in the wrong here, I think watching how the other women handled the situation also shows why these dialogues are so hard to get started and why it’s so hard to change peoples’ minds about things. Instead of *just* yelling and getting angry, we need to take the opportunity to explain why that’s not okay. Of course, there’s no guarantee that they’ll agree or understand, but you have a lot more of a chance to change their mind with an explanation than with just yelling and screaming without providing the reason why you’re yelling and screaming.

Watching this clip made me really sad, because I can only imagine how often scenes like this play out. A white person says something offensive and racist without realizing that it’s offensive and racist, and the people that know it’s offensive and are offended by what was said react with anger instead of by providing education. We’re never going to combat racism or sexism or any other ism unless we do more than get angry about it. We need to rise above our anger, and let that anger motivate us to educate others if we ever really want things to change.

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  1. SarahbearNo Gravatar
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I saw something similarly racist and annoying on Bridal Bootcamp. The black girl called the Korean girl ‘Lucy Liu on steroids’ and when she got called racist she said ‘I wasn’t calling you that because I’m racist, I just don’t know your name.’ So, because she was too lazy/uncaring to learn the girls name it was suppose to be okay to choose a random actor (who isn’t even necessarily the same ethnicity as the Korean girl) and add a negative adjective to it.

    Totally not racist.

  2. dmfNo Gravatar
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    what the fuck kind of trash tv is this? “bad girls club”? i just looked it up on the wikipedias. and now i feel dirty.

    i mean, the show is set up for stupid shit like this to happen. so. yeah, she’s a fucking retarded latent racist. but. what else did you expect…? ya know?

    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Oh man. You’ve never heard of it?? Joel Mchale mocks it endlessly on The Soup.


      And the BEST CAST MEMBER EVER: TANISHA– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvL5LK-Y9eA

  3. soapyNo Gravatar
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    The stupidest thing to me is that if she had just said “I don’t want to go to a club and get hit on by guys” none of that bs would have happened.

  4. EpiphoraNo Gravatar
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    The comment about all people sweating was awesome. YOU JUST GOT OWNED.

  5. BroccoliNo Gravatar
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    That left me appalled, but honestly… it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Especially the whole part where she tries to make it write by calling her ignorance ‘narrow-mindedness’ No bitch, that’s ignorance. The fact that you acknowledge your ignorance does not justify that you have horrible worldview.

    “Acknowledged Racism” as I like to call it, is the worst kind. People who are blatantly racist and attempt to break down their bigotry through logic and reason, instead of the Bible, like how it was in the good ‘ol days.

  6. EJNo Gravatar
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    When someone actually says something horrifically racist to your face, the first instinct is to yell at the person to go fuck themselves, not to rationally explain exactly how they are furthering derogatory stereotypes and increasing the already disturbingly large divide between the various ethnicity and races in the US. Yes, it would be absolutely wonderful if minorities were somehow all wonderful, saintlike human beings who could avoid pesky things like human emotion and use personal attacks that seem to flow so easily from so many people as nothing more than a wonderful opportunity to educate, but that is just not how the human psyche works. I have a lot of respect for both you and your blog, but your judgment of the women in this video for their natural, human reaction to such horribly offensive statements is a pretty strong indicator that you have absolutely no idea how much your own white privilege shields you from the types of offensive attacks that minorities get nearly every day. Seriously, I have had total strangers come up to me and ask me if I’ve undergone female genital mutilation because I wear an Islamic headscarf. You dont respond to that nicely. You go into shock and ask them how dare they ask a stranger about her vagina, tell them that where I come from we start a conversation with “hello,” and then suggest that they do us all a favor and kill themselves and stop using oxygen that decent living beings could be using instead. I’ve been asked SO many times by strangers if my husband beats me that for that one I finally came up with a conversation stopping reply that neither educates nor provokes (only in bed. somehow the idea that I might actually have sex -let alone joke about it-seems to floor the kind of people who feel entitled to ask me such a thing) The point is, I dont feel obligated to educate the ignorant. There are a million resources out there that people can use if they want to actually expand their minds, and if not, well, those people are out there-usually breeding- and that’s just not my fucking problem. I have better things to do with my life than waste it trying to get some ignorant waste of a cum shot to understand why she or he is racists. That is NOT my responsibility and it is absolutely unacceptable that you would attempt to put it on me and the other minorities in the US. Honestly, I’m as offended by your comments here as I have been in the past by statements you’ve posted blaming victims of sexual assault for their attacks. An attacker is an attacker, no matter how they’re attacking, and it is NOT up to the victim to try to “fix” the attacker, and I absolutely can NOT tolerate a white woman telling minorities how they should be responding to an attack that you will NEVER have to deal with.

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