Friday, August 28, 2015

I have been a long-time victim of racism

I am a native Finn, ie. a native Nordic, and thus basically as white as you could probably get. And I have been a long-time victim of racism in my youth.

And I don't mean a victim of generic racist attitudes addressed to white people in general. I really mean racism addressed at me directly and personally.

You see, when I was 7 my family moved to the Canary Islands, and we lived there for 12 years. This was back in the 80's.

Obviously I got tanned pretty quickly, but as a Nordic parson, even at full tan I was significantly lighter-toned than the locals. And that was a constant subject of mockery, jokes, and in some cases even outright insults. This was, of course, more frequent at first than after a decade, but it never really fully stopped. There would always be some a-hole who would use it as a tool for mockery or insult.

But not only was I mocked because of being drastically lighter-skinned, I did also several times experienced outright prejudice, even xenophobia, for the sole reason that I was a foreigner.

Having gone to the local school for almost a decade, starting from childhood, I spoke Spanish completely fluently. (I'm not very fond of bragging, but if I'm being completely pragmatic, I arguably knew Spanish even better than most locals, especially in terms of written Spanish.) Yet there was this woman who owned a shop at the village where I was living who would always talk to me in a stereotypical overly simplistic manner (ie. never inflecting verbs but always using their basic forms, and so on. If you know Spanish, you'll understand how ridiculous, and condescending, that sounds.) I actually didn't find it offensive, just amusing and stupid; it was actually a source of amusement for my friends too, who thought that woman was a bit idiotic.

My mother would sometimes make some Finnish delicacies, and my friends just loved them, especially the baked goods. There was this one woman, however (not the same as the above) who refused to even taste it. Why? Because she did not eat foreign food, period. And I'm not interpreting or making that up. She said that directly and unambiguously. (This kind of xenophobia was in fact so obnoxious that even my friends thought it inappropriate.)

Why am I writing this? Because I find it really, really obnoxious the fact that there exists a portion (quite a big portion in fact) of social justice warriors who seriously postulate that white people cannot be the victims of racism. Some of them even state it outright, rather than simply implying it.

Yes, white people can be victims of racism. Not just imagined racism, or racism that's aimed generally at white people as a whole, but direct, personal racism, targeted at the individual. And I can say that from personal experience, not just hypotheticals or knowing a "friend of a friend" who has experienced it.

But of course to these social justice warriors my experiences don't matter. They only see people as groups divided into races. They don't see individuals. You are your race, and if your race at large doesn't experience something, then you don't experience that something (or even if you do, it's of lesser importance.)

This is one of the (many) reasons why I hate social justice warriors with a passion.

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