Is This Racist… Against Whites?

by Racialicious guest contributor Jennifer Fang, originally published at Reappropriate

Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown is causing a stir. A constituent of his saw this diversity video and thought it was racist – against Whites — and Councilman Brown agrees.

(The full video is 8 minutes long and available for download here)

Brown thinks that the video attacks blue-collar workers in Denver, because it “implies that it is only White, blue-collar workers who commit these kinds of statements”.

On a segment aired on CNN during Primetime with Erica Hill (linked above), Councilman Brown and Stephen Viscusi, a radio host of a show called “On the Job” discuss the video. Both Brown and Viscusi argue that the segment perpetuates an antiquated interpretation of racism by not showing joksters of different colours and creeds. However, Brown further argues that even showing the kinds of jokes highlighted in this video is embarassing and anachronistic, and that nobody even talks like that anymore — which is so out-of-touch with reality that it’s hard to imagine that this guy ever got elected to anything.

The message seems to be from the discussion that diversity training will embarass Whites unless they see that minorities can be racist, too.

I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. While it’s true that the video is kind of kitschy, it shows one White person — in an office where the only person of colour is the Black narrator whom no one else can see — making offensive jokes while the other White co-workers look on disapprovingly. So to argue that the video sends the message that all White blue-collar workers are racist is, I think, not looking at the video in its entirety.

Second, I’m strongly against the idea that racist jokes perpetuated by Whites against people of colour (or other minorities) is the same — and should be treated the same — as jokes spoken by a person of colour against someone else. They are all racist (and probably un-funny) and should not be tolerated, but let’s not forget the whole concept of oppression and power.

But, hey, this is a post dashed off in ten minutes, so my thoughts might still not be fully formed (or at least not well articulated). What do you all think?