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Author Topic: Harry Reid is racist
Seneca
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Remember all the outrage over Trent Lott's statements at Strom Thurmond's birthday party? Of course you do, the liberal mainstream media ensures you remember that.

But those comments weren't racist. At best they might be INDIRECTLY seen as supporting racism.

So how about DIRECT RACIST STATEMENTS? From a Democrat? Will he be held to the same standard? I doubt it. This story's been buried by most news outlets.

The Majority Leader of the US Senate is racist against Asians.

quote:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has apologized for making racially insensitive jokes at an event Thursday sponsored by the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, but perhaps too late for group members who later didn’t endorse Reid’s pick for Nevada lieutenant governor.

The chamber on Thursday endorsed Republican Mark Hutchison, not the Nevada Democratic senator’s pick, Lucy Flores, according to The Las Vegas Review Journal.

Reid said at the event: "I don't think you're smarter than anybody else, but you've convinced a lot of us you are."

And he concluded his remarks by saying: "One problem that I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight."

Reid reportedly left the luncheon after his speech and missed the formal endorsement announcements. The chamber said Flores said he would attend but failed to show.

"My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize," Reid told Politico on Friday. "Sometimes I say the wrong thing."

How many politicians have resigned for less? Think Reid will gracefully step down? As someone with Japanese heritage I am personally offended that the man running the US Senate thinks less of me and millions of other Americans simply because of the color of genetic makeup and our ethnic heritage. We have Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson running around the country trying to find racism wherever they can, meanwhile people like Reid open their mouths and spew it freely yet they seem to get a free pass from the liberal establishment. Why is that?

[ August 23, 2014, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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I just want to point out that jokes about Asian-Americans being more intelligent than "a lot of us" and being named Wong in surprising amounts are in fact not worse to many people than suggesting that the country would have been better off had segregation remained legal.

You may, I suppose, justly be offended by the fact that Reid says he doesn't think that Asians are as smart as a lot of people think they are. But Reid is not complaining that we didn't keep the internment camps around, which is basically what Lott did.

I'm certainly not going to argue that no politician in this century should be dumb enough to try to make a racial joke unless they're a member of the race in question -- and probably not even then. But the whole Trent Lott thing was about a comment made in seriousness, not jest, about how the country would be better off today if people had voted for Strom Thurmond on a segregationist ticket.

I don't know what you look like, but you've repeatedly claimed to be of black and Asian ancestry. Reid thinks that you're likely to be of average intelligence and named something Asian-sounding; Lott thought that you shouldn't be able to use public restrooms in Alabama.

[ August 23, 2014, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Seneca
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Reid might as well have taped his eyes back and done a Charlie Chan routine.

Trouble keeping his Wongs straight? As far as the "intelligence" stereotype I'm surprised he didn't throw in comments about driving skill.

My family had their property seized from them and were thrown into internment camps within the US despite being loyal citizens because of attitudes like this guy who looked down on us.
The "intelligence" and "convinced a lot of us" thing is in part referencing the myth that Asians are good at math and science, but also has roots in the idea that Japanese Americans had fooled other Americans into thinking they were loyal citizens and needed to be interned because they would betray the country at any given moment for nationalistic-religious reasons. So yes, it is far worse than someone talking about someone else's desires not to let them use the same bathrooms.

As far as the phonetic differences between Asian names and English words being slurred for comedy, we have horrifying examples of it recently:
http://www.thewire.com/national/2013/07/no-these-racist-asian-names-arent-really-pilots-asiana-flight-214/67140/

[ August 23, 2014, 01:06 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I just want to point out that jokes about Asian-Americans being more intelligent than "a lot of us" and being named Wong in surprising amounts are in fact not worse to many people than suggesting that the country would have been better off had segregation remained legal.

Agreed. Did a Republican senate leader recently say anything so horrid? Or are you saying that a Senate party leader should have no more credibility than some freaking gun-happy nevada rancher?
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I just want to point out that jokes about Asian-Americans being more intelligent than "a lot of us" and being named Wong in surprising amounts are in fact not worse to many people than suggesting that the country would have been better off had segregation remained legal.

Agreed. Did a Republican senate leader recently say anything so horrid? Or are you saying that a Senate party leader should have no more credibility than some freaking gun-happy nevada rancher?
No Pete, the reference was about someone referencing another person who was racist. There is a big difference between that and Harry Reid essentially saying: 'I am racist, here's what I think of you!'
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Reid might as well have taped his eyes back and done a Charlie Chan routine.
Except that he didn't. I think we can all agree that, yes, taping your eyes back and doing a Charlie Chan routine is objectively worse than what he actually said.

quote:
So yes, it is far worse than someone talking about someone else's desires not to let them use the same bathrooms.
First off: bull. Reid was not, in joking about the number of "Wongs" in attendance, making an "Asians are disloyal Americans" slur. Secondly, Lott was not speaking of Thurmond's desires to keep segregation legal when he praised Thurmond; he was speaking of his own preferences. He didn't say "had we elected Strom, Strom would have been happier;" he said, "had we elected Strom, the country would be better today." That was seen as significant to people because the major difference between Thurmond and his opposition was his support for segregation, so it was a little hard to come up with an interpretation of that quote that didn't mean "I, Trent Lott, think the country would be better off if segregation were legal."
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Pete at Home
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"so it was a little hard to come up with an interpretation of that quote that didn't mean "I, Trent Lott, think the country would be better off if segregation were legal."

Assuming for sake of argument that Tom's construction of the Lott quote is fair and/or accurate, let's look at Trent Lott's info:
Trent Lott Wiki

quote:
Chester Trent Lott, Sr. (born October 9, 1941) is a former United States Senator from Mississippi, who served in numerous leadership positions in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. He entered Congress as one of the first of a wave of Republicans winning seats in Southern states that had been solidly Democratic. He became Senate Majority Leader, then fell from power after praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist Dixiecrat presidential bid.

...
In the wake of controversy, Lott resigned as Senate Republican Leader on December 20, 2002, effective at the start of the next session, January 3, 2003.


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Seneca
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Exactly Pete. Lott's statements were indirectly racist, at worst, and they cost him his leadership position.

Reid's statements were directly stating several racist stereotypes as his own personal opinion, as well as playing word games with common Asian names comparing them to penises and erections. Absolutely disgusting. He should immediately resign as Senate Majority leader. Our Senate should not be led by someone as openly racist as Harry Reid.

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DJQuag
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In a vacuum, the airline crew name joke wasn't funny. What made it hilarious to me was that it managed to slip by quality control at the news station and be read on air by an anchor with nobody noticing what was up.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Exactly Pete. Lott's statements were indirectly racist, at worst, and they cost him his leadership position.

Reid's statements were directly stating several racist stereotypes as his own personal opinion, as well as playing word games with common Asian names comparing them to penises and erections. Absolutely disgusting. He should immediately resign as Senate Majority leader. Our Senate should not be led by someone as openly racist as Harry Reid.

I'm curious - do you really believe that Reid is a racist and further, that his comments merit his resignation? Or is this simply a form of payback - they did it to our guy so we should hoist them by their own petard?

And yes, it's pretty obvious why Lott's comment was more offensive than Reid's. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume, charitably, that your comments are disingenuous, rather than sincere.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
Exactly Pete. Lott's statements were indirectly racist, at worst, and they cost him his leadership position.

Reid's statements were directly stating several racist stereotypes as his own personal opinion, as well as playing word games with common Asian names comparing them to penises and erections. Absolutely disgusting. He should immediately resign as Senate Majority leader. Our Senate should not be led by someone as openly racist as Harry Reid.

I'm curious - do you really believe that Reid is a racist and further, that his comments merit his resignation? Or is this simply a form of payback - they did it to our guy so we should hoist them by their own petard?

And yes, it's pretty obvious why Lott's comment was more offensive than Reid's. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume, charitably, that your comments are disingenuous, rather than sincere.

That would be motive speculation. I was quite sincere. I think it's pretty logical that between internment and all property forfeiture vs segregation that the former is worse. And the attitudes that allowed the democrats to arrest, intern and seize all the property of Japanese Americans were exactly what Reid was echoing and repeating.

And regardless of which is "worse" it is fairly nauseating to see people defending this open racism. I guess liberals are held to a different standard.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think it's pretty logical that between internment and all property forfeiture vs segregation that the former is worse.
I dunno. I don't think that's obvious at all. But let's temporarily grant, for the sake of argument, that the internment of Asians during WWII was indeed worse than legal segregation. In what way are Reid's "a lot of Asians are named Wong and aren't actually as intelligent as racists think they are" exactly the attitudes that led to the internment? It seems to me that the attitudes which led to the internment were "Asians are close-knit to the point of being insular, weird, talk funny, and from the general area that we're at war with;" which of those are evidenced in Reid's speech?

quote:
And regardless of which is "worse" it is fairly nauseating to see people defending this open racism.
Who here has defended Reid's attempts at humor?
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seagull
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quote:
the attitudes that allowed the democrats to arrest, intern and seize all the property of Japanese Americans
I was under the impression that when this was happening Strom Thurman was still a Democrat.

In a fee decades, after Reid switches allegiance and becomes a republican, and some hapless Republican leader gives him a compliment on something good he did that is completely unrelated to his racist jokes, we can expect that future hapless Republican to "gracefully step down".

Until then, what's the big deal?

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AI Wessex
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The big deal is that it portrays a powerful Democrat in a negative light, not that it means anything.
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Gaoics79
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To be clear and not to beat a dead horse, saying that the country would be a better place if an overtly segregationist candidate (whose segregationism was central to his campaign) is practically indistinguishable from endorsing segregation.

It's like saying the country would be better off if the South won the civil war.

Whereas Reid's comments are, at worst, insensitive. I say insensitive, not racist, because rationally, there is literally zero about Reid's comments that are racist. Nothing. Sorry.

Your allusion to internment is preposterous and has no rational connection to anything Reid said.

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Seneca
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Wow, the ignorant and defensive statements I've seen here are shocking. Anti-Asian racism is fairly unique in American history, and what's left of it today still bears those singular attributes.

Even before World War 2, American prejudice towards "oriental" Asian cultures was based on ignorance and fear leading to a general attitude of untrustworthiness.
After Pearl Harbor even the few sane logical voices in our government were silenced by the zealous anti-Asian paranoids there who thought the Japanese could not be trusted and that even those who had been born here and worked their whole lives to integrate (nisei) were seized and locked up. Even more shocking was the internment of the sansei, third generation Americans, many of whom didn't even speak Japanese at all! Telling was that no other ethnic group suffered this way during WW2 because of their ethnic country of origin's alliances.

So when a politician addresses a crowd of Asian-Americans and tells them 'You aren't as smart as people think you are but you sure got them fooled,' that is a racist statement on several different levels. It plays to an absurd and offensive modern stereotype that Asians are good at school (which also leads to incredible pressure on Asian-American students and has caused suicide attempts for low grades in many of them), as well as to an older and still ongoing stereotype that Asians are 'furtive,' 'secretive' and generally 'untrustworthy.'

The second penis joke is also offensive and disgusting as Wong is a common Chinese surname.

[ August 24, 2014, 01:07 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
So when a politician addresses a crowd of Asian-Americans and tells them 'You aren't as smart as people think you are but you sure got them fooled,' that is a racist statement on several different levels. It plays to an absurd and offensive modern stereotype that Asians are good at school
Actually, quite literally it plays against this stereotype. He is acknowledging the stereotype implicitly and stating that it is wrong.

quote:
as well as to an older and still ongoing stereotype that Asians are 'furtive,' 'secretive' and generally 'untrustworthy.'
Please point to the part where Reid stated or even implied that Asians are "furtive", "secretive" or "untrustworthy" - I must have missed that part.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Exactly Pete. Lott's statements were indirectly racist, at worst, and they cost him his leadership position.

Reid's statements were directly stating several racist stereotypes as his own personal opinion, as well as playing word games with common Asian names comparing them to penises and erections. Absolutely disgusting. He should immediately resign as Senate Majority leader. Our Senate should not be led by someone as openly racist as Harry Reid.

I'm not sure that poking fun of how a name traslates from one language to another constitutes "racism," Seneca. Would you be offended as a Japanese origin person if I pointed out that corporations names such as Hitachi and Toshiba sound like someone sneezing? Tacky, maybe, but racist?
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
So when a politician addresses a crowd of Asian-Americans and tells them 'You aren't as smart as people think you are but you sure got them fooled,' that is a racist statement on several different levels. It plays to an absurd and offensive modern stereotype that Asians are good at school
Actually, quite literally it plays against this stereotype. He is acknowledging the stereotype implicitly and stating that it is wrong.

quote:
as well as to an older and still ongoing stereotype that Asians are 'furtive,' 'secretive' and generally 'untrustworthy.'
Please point to the part where Reid stated or even implied that Asians are "furtive", "secretive" or "untrustworthy" - I must have missed that part.

No. It doesn't play against the stereotype because of what he said. It's the same reason it's also the accusation of furtive deviousness.

quote:
 "I don't think you're smarter than anybody else, but you've convinced a lot of us you are."
He is saying that Asians are not as smart as what they've managed to fool people into thinking they are.

[ August 24, 2014, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:

The second penis joke is also offensive and disgusting as Wong is a common Chinese surname.

I just got that joke, thanks. Calling his Johnson a Wong. When referring to my John Thomas, I always say, "the octagon". I bet Anthony Wiener and Dick Nixon had a really hard time growing up with all the references to mr. Winky their names must have solicited. No doubt every Peter and Willie in western culture has dealt with this to some degree or another.
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Pete at Home
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I had an um, hard time of it, since my first name.is Peter and my last name has the word "nut" in it. Never realized i was a victim of racism [Smile]

Didnt know wong meant penis. Dong i know.

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AI Wessex
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Any name works. My full appellation is Alfred the Great, King of Wessex. Why, a Brit would be well pleased to get his Wessex waxed, as I'm sure he did after his great battles.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I just got that joke, thanks.
That wasn't the joke. If that had been the joke, he would almost certainly have used "Wang," not "Wong." No one calls their penis a "wong."

He was joking quite literally about there being a lot of Wongs in attendance, not that he has a bendy penis.

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Rafi
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I've heard it both wang and Wong.

I interpreted initially as you do in trying to defend Reid but there is no laugh in pointing out there are a lot of people with the same last names, nothing even remotely resembling one. Did anyone hear read it and laugh?

Reid was making a double entendre. That is the joke.

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TomDavidson
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Um....What is the joke in "keeping my Wongs straight?" I mean, let's take the entendre out of it; it becomes "one problem I've had today is keeping my penises straight."

Is that really more likely to be the intended joke? If so, why is it funny? Is Reid suggesting that he's seen a number of curvy penises? Or that he has multiple curvy penises, and keeping them straight is a problem? Perhaps there are multiple men with penises in attendance, and most of them are homosexual? Or perhaps Reid has encountered so many penises that he's simply losing track, and he considers this to be problematic?

And he'd use "wong" for this instead of "wang?" Maybe for plausible deniability?

No. Even by Congressional standards, that'd be just a truly terribly-written penis joke. On the other hand, "heck, every other person here is named Wong" is exactly the sort of mild but clueless humor that I'd expect of a Congressperson.

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AI Wessex
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Nothing is less funny than a joke explained, and explaining an unfunny joke to people who insist on being offended by it makes it even more unfunny.
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Seneca
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It's fairly sickening to see the racist dispensation being offered here, but also pretty predictable.

The amount of objection I've seen here for less offensive comments and more indirect comments from politicians is astounding.

But then, this isn't the first time Reid has been racist either.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/11/game-change-authors-call_n_418427.html
quote:
"(Harry Reid) was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." -- Harry Reid's comments reported by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

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TomDavidson
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You'll note that those remarks were controversial at the time, Reid apologized for them, etc. -- and Democrats did consider punishing him for them.

Again, comparisons to Lott are faulty, however, because the Lott flap was not about saying "Oh, black people have a certain way of talking and someone with a dark skin is harder to elect to national office," but instead saying that the country would be better off if it were racially segregated. Do you understand why that is more problematic?

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NobleHunter
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Forgive me, but I'm not sure what's so problematic with Reid's statement about Obama. Except for the "Negro dialect" bit, since it has a proper name.

He's not gushing over how 'articulate' Obama is or how the lightness of his skin accounts for his oratory. He's commenting on how the country would react to him. I don't think there's any disagreement that a lighter-skinned black man is going to be treated different than one with darker skin. Or that speaking 'standard' English is a requirement for mainstream accessibility.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
So when a politician addresses a crowd of Asian-Americans and tells them 'You aren't as smart as people think you are but you sure got them fooled,' that is a racist statement on several different levels. It plays to an absurd and offensive modern stereotype that Asians are good at school
Actually, quite literally it plays against this stereotype. He is acknowledging the stereotype implicitly and stating that it is wrong.
There are a wide variety of stereotypical statements, some of which are nothing but offensive, and some of which people may take a bit of secret pride in. But where they fit on the spectrum doesn't impact whether they're an appropriate ground for a joke at an event of this nature. I can't imagine how those got through Reid's speechwriters approval process. They should have been deleted for their potential to offend. And's it really odd that anyone could rise to the level he has a politician and make such a rookie gaffe. I mean honestly, how many times has he spoken in public during his career?

But on top of that, if you consider how he played on this stereotype, even that should have been caught as direcly offensive. He's literally telling a crown of people that they are dumber than a racist expectation of them would expect. On what earth does that make sense?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
He's literally telling a crown of people that they are dumber than a racist expectation of them would expect. On what earth does that make sense?
Well, to be fair, it's a pretty mild poke at the crowd, which is actually an old speechifying trick. The intent is "Hey, look at all of us flawed people, being just folks." It's not something I'd try to pull off if I anticipated any hostility or identity politics, though, so I would never do it in a political scenario.
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Mynnion
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Seneca raises a important point here and one I struggle with. Seneca and anyone else can take offense at Reid's poor excuse for a joke. But I have to ask was offence meant? Was Reid expressing a stupid joke not recognizing that it might be offensive? Or was it a reflection of a racist attitude that was presented in such a way that any racial slur could be easily denied? Does it matter?

I have opened my mouth many times without recognizing that what I say might be construed in a manner I never intended it to be. I think most of us have. If I say something and mean no offense am I in the wrong if someone chooses to take offense where none is intended?

Where do we draw the line? Do we base our judgement on an individual's histroy? If someone Seneca supported made these comments would he be as quick to take offense and would Al be as quick to justify if he opposed Reid? I am not claiming either but it is a question we should be asking of ourselves.

I would tend to believe that Reid was simply using poor judgement but I generally give people the benefit of the doubt. Should he apoligize? Yes and he did. Should he resign? If this issue caused enough of a stir that he was unable to carry out his responsibilities then yes. If not the voters he represents can make that decision.

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NobleHunter
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According to my tumblr and twitter feeds, the difference between joke and slur is context and the narratives concerning the implicated identity group. That's what Seneca is trying to do by connecting "convinced" to stereotypes of Asians as furtive and deceptive.

An example that I found convincing is when The Onion called Quvenzhané a ****. It's obviously objectionable on its face, but it becomes especially problematic in light of the cultural context where black girls are frequently derided and judged where white girls are treated as precious innocents. So even if the Onion was just try be insulting to someone everyone cooing over, it was also exhibiting racist behavior.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Where do we draw the line? Do we base our judgement on an individual's histroy? If someone Seneca supported made these comments would he be as quick to take offense and would Al be as quick to justify if he opposed Reid? I am not claiming either but it is a question we should be asking of ourselves.
Perhaps I give myself too much credit, but I try to take context and intent into account. Reid gets a ding for political tone-deafness, which is the partisan version of knee-jerk political correctness. The rule is never say anything that can somehow be conflated with racism, anti-semitism or, as Palin alleged, anti-mental illness. Reid has been guilty more than once before (and may be again), but what surprises me is that I would expect freedom-lovers to attack his attackers for being over-sensitive.
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Pete at Home
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Agreed with Al wholeheartedly, which doesn't often happen.
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Seriati
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Well, I would agree with him, except I think the idea of who "freedom-lovers" should be attacking is an attempt at deflection. Now if the media did the same thing they would do if a Republican had said this - conflated it into an attempt to label all Republicans as racist - there may be a bit to that line of argument. But why would a "freedom-lover" be likely to go after the critics of a politician who should have known better?
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AI Wessex
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Hint: I was talking about real freedom-lovers, who don't care about political correctness, but "freedom-lover", as it is used most often these days, is a euphemism for "anti-liberal".
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Gaoics79
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quote:
But on top of that, if you consider how he played on this stereotype, even that should have been caught as direcly offensive. He's literally telling a crown of people that they are dumber than a racist expectation of them would expect. On what earth does that make sense?
The stereotype is that Asians have greater than normal intelligence. So telling them that they have less than the stereotyped level of intelligence is another way of saying they have normal intelligence. On what earth does that NOT make sense to you?

But even if he had said he agreed with the stereotype, or endorsed some other Asian stereotype like Asians being bad drivers - that's still not half as offensive as Lott's comment.

It's the difference between saying that you think Chinese are bad drivers versus saying you wish the Japanese won World War 2. If you can't appreciate the difference there - I just don't know what to tell you.

[ August 25, 2014, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
But on top of that, if you consider how he played on this stereotype, even that should have been caught as direcly offensive. He's literally telling a crown of people that they are dumber than a racist expectation of them would expect. On what earth does that make sense?
The stereotype is that Asians have greater than normal intelligence. So telling them that they have less than the stereotyped level of intelligence is another way of saying they have normal intelligence. On what earth does that NOT make sense to you?

But even if he had said he agreed with the stereotype, or endorsed some other Asian stereotype like Asians being bad drivers - that's still not half as offensive as Lott's comment.

It's the difference between saying that you think Chinese are bad drivers versus saying you wish the Japanese won World War 2. If you can't appreciate the difference there - I just don't know what to tell you.

You have it wrong. He was telling a crowd of Asians that their ethnic group was actively involved in trying to fool/deceive people.

And you don't see how that is offensive? Do you deny that that attitude directly helped lead to Japanese American internment?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
He was telling a crowd of Asians that their ethnic group was actively involved in trying to fool/deceive people.
*rolls eyes*
Dude, you're too thin-skinned to carry a gun everywhere.

I mean, seriously, do you seriously think that Reid was accusing Asians of having conspired to make people think they were super-smart? Seriously?

quote:
Do you deny that that attitude directly helped lead to Japanese American internment?
I do. I absolutely do. And honestly I feel like you cheapen the real issues that led to the internment with your sweaty, desperate attempts to be offended by this.

[ August 25, 2014, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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