Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Don't park your car here. I don't like this neighborhood, it's full of Canadians."

Has anybody ever heard people in food service using "Canadian" as a code-word?

I would appreciate if anybody who has heard this could read this article and tell me what they think of it.

What we have here is an example of a phenomenon that I've noted before, that of "whispering the word 'black.'" In certain situations, some white people use "Canadians" to refer covertly to black people when they think they shouldn't use another word. That other word probably isn't "black people" or "African Americans," but instead, a "worse" word. A more overtly racist word.

So white people apparently use "Canadians" this way because they might be overheard by the black people they're referring to. However, I suspect that in some cases, they use it because they don't want to be seen or heard saying the "worse" words by not just by black people, but by anyone--maybe even themselves.

If white people sometimes resort to this euphemism instead of a more clearly racist term when no black people could actually overhear them, then they're demonstrating something about the common workings of white psychology. Sometimes, when white people have racist thoughts or feelings, and we know we would look bad openly expressing them, we still manage to find other ways to express them. These are ways that we think don't make us look bad, but also ways that nevertheless also allow us to communicate the racist thought or feeling.
I've heard plenty of times of people doing this, but I've never heard it done myself.

The logic I've heard from servers who've mentioned this to me is that waiting tables "makes" a person racist, in the most purely privileged sense of the word. Racism here--like with so many people in so many situations--fails to mean "unfairly shitting on people for being the wrong ethnicity," but gets mutated into something racist people are more comfortable with. "Racism" is their word for all those things that everybody knows really are true, but try not to say because if they're caught speaking these truths (truths like the common laziness of black people, or how poorly POC treat their wait staff) they'll get in trouble with the "PC police." In short, it'll upset other white people, which is somehow more of a problem than participating in a system that actually harms POC.

Here's my personal feeling on certain occupations "making" someone be racist. Waiters become racist because black people make them be racist. Cops become racist because black people make them be racist. It's not their fault, you see, and there's nothing they can do. If black people don't want to be treated like shit by white people, clearly the solution is for them to quit being so... *whisper* know. Black.

Then white people will finally be able to stop going through the pain of believing racist and hurtful things, finally be able to stop inventing codewords to express those racist things without getting caught using nasty words (that can't possibly be off-limits for a reason), and finally... finally... we'll all be able to get along. Once people stop "making" each other be racist. I mean, come on, POC. Personal responsibility, people! If I'm saying racist things, just accept that you are to blame, and we'll finally be able to move toward a solution after you change your behavior.

But y'know. Those fucking "Canadians" never were very good at personal responsibility, am I right? Am I right?

Goddamn it.

Seriously, guys. Victim-blaming. Please stop getting so enthused about it like it solves all social problems, because saying, "If black people weren't so cheap and rude, I wouldn't be racist," is like saying, "If women weren't so vapid and petty, I wouldn't be sexist."


Sam said...

This is somehow particularly disconcerting to me in light of the fact that a lot of people make jokingly prejudiced statements about Canadians in contexts where it seems they're actually talking about Canadians. Now whenever people make fun of Canadians, I'm going to start wondering if they're actually being racist.

Anonymous said...

Shut the fuck up you racist white piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe white people should stop being so.....white and annoying. People like you cause racism. Now kindly go die in a fire bitch.

Cobalt said...

Anonymous: Wow. Way to miss the point. Good work.

Also, your idiocy is the reason I am now disabling anonymous comments. Next time you want to be an idiot, you're going to have to do it with a name attached.