You are a decent and fair-minded person. You strive always to treat all people fairly and with dignity. In your heart of hearts, you know that you are not a racist, nor a sexist. But you also know that these are highly charged times. In spite of your pure heart and your very best efforts, you still fear that someone might unfairly accuse you of making a racist or sexist remark or slur. You want to avoid even the slightest appearance of engaging in racism or sexism.
And yet, it has become so complicated these days. Accusations fly everywhere, sometimes over words that to you seemed completely innocent. What to do? You need some guidance!
To help you, the Manhattan Contrarian has put together this weekend's Manhattan Contrarian Quiz. Take the Quiz. Study the answers. You will then know all there is to know about what is and is not racist and sexist in today's world.
The Quiz consists of ten questions, each of which is either an actual quotation or a hypothetical fact situation. For each question, you are to answer whether the posited fact situation or quotation does or does not demonstrate racism and/or sexism. Answers, and explanations, below the fold. One point for each correct answer!
Question 1: You say, "I believe the most qualified person should get the job."
Question 2: Teacher "polices the language" of students in class, and insists that they do not curse.
Question 3: "Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants. #CancelWhitePeople."
Question 4: You ask a new acquaintance, “Where are you from?” or “Where were you born?”
Question 5: Teacher disciplines student for sleeping in class.
Question 6: "I don't give a, I don't give a, I don't give a fuck. I'm willin' to die for this shit. I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit. Put the Bible down and go eye to eye for this shit . . . If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I'ma make it look sexy."
Question 7: "Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin'. Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin'. I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga."
Question 8: "Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin'. Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin'. I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga."
Question 9: "Son, when I appoint a n***er to the court, I want everyone to know he's a n***er."
Question 10: "Look at my African-American over there!"
Answer to Question 1: Obviously, this is racist, and probably sexist as well. (From "Examples of Racial Microaggressions," published by the University of Minnesota, and adapted from Wing, et al., "Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life," American Psychologist, 62, 4, 271-286.) This statement demonstrates the "myth of meritocracy" and "assert[s] that race does not play a role in life successes." It conveys the "message" that "[p]eople of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race."
Answer to Question 2: Obviously racist, at the very least. (From Aaron Baker, "3 racial microaggressions that teachers commit every day," January 11, 2018 at upworthy.com.) "If the student was raised in an environment where swearing wasn't viewed as a transgression, it can be difficult for them to find a way to communicate emotionally and intellectually in the classroom. Teachers should consider the intent behind each student phrase. An unengaged student may express frustration by saying, "I don’t give a shit about this class!" In this case, empathy is a more useful tool than strict discipline. The last thing this student needs is an infraction that would remove them from the classroom and further alienate them from their own learning."
Answer to Question 3: Neither racist nor sexist. You may recognize this quotation as coming from the tweets of one Sarah Jeong, new member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. From Inkoo Kang at slate.com, August 2, 2018: "Jeong’s tweets were clearly jokes, not policy proposals. When people of color rail against white people, that’s often shorthand for speaking out against the existing racial structure that serves to keep white people in power. The jokes that people of color make at the expense of whites are furthermore not supported by past and present state and corporate institutions. A white American telling an Asian American to “go back to where you came from,” for instance, isn’t the same as an Asian American saying the same to a white American, even if neither individual can claim ancestral roots as America’s first residents. To claim otherwise is to be blind to the history and social dynamics of this country."
Answer to Question 4: Clearly racist when addressed to any foreigner, particularly an Asian or Latino American. Your "theme" is that the subject of the question is an "alien in [her] own land," while your message is "You are not an American. You are a foreigner." Really, how could you? (From the UMN list of Racial Microaggressions linked in the Answer to Question 1.)
Answer to Question 5: Definitely racist. From Baker in upworthy, cited above in Answer to Question 2. "Again, this is an instance where empathy for the student is more useful than uncritically enforcing a school policy. White, middle class teachers may have a concept of what it means to get a good night’s rest that simply is not available to their students. A sleeping student indicates a need for rest, not a need for consequences."
Answer to Question 6: Racist? Are you kidding????? These are lyrics from the song "Element," from the album DAMN, by Kendrick Lamar, that won the Pulitzer Prize for music back in March. Obviously, if you had written this first, you would have won the Pulitzer Prize instead of Lamar.
Answer to Question 7: There is nothing racist or sexist about this. These are rap lyrics (from the song "I'm Trippin,'" by the artist Snap Dogg). Rap lyrics by black artists by definition cannot be racist or sexist. From Mikala Everett in the University Star, February 15, 2016: "Minorities cannot be racist. I’ll say it louder for the people in the back who did not hear me—minorities cannot be racist. . . . How would it look for us to take on the characteristics—the hate—of our oppressors? Although we may not have the power or privilege to be racist, we do have the power to stand up for what is right."
Answer to Question 8: Totally racist and sexist. In fact, this is a "hate crime." It seems that a young woman named Chelsea Russell, from Liverpool, England, posted the lyrics from Snap Dogg's song "I'm Trippin'" on her Instagram account. From louderwithcrowder.com, April 20, 2018: "[Ms. Russell] was charged after Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of her update. She was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and told to pay costs of £500 and an £85 victim surcharge. . . . Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order 'as it was a hate crime'."
Answer to Question 9: Nothing remotely racist here. This is a famous quote from President Lyndon Johnson, relating to his appointment of Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice, to the Supreme Court (quoted in Robert Caro's 2003 biography, "Master of the Senate"). As stated in Newsweek, January 12, 2018, immediately after citing the quotation, "Johnson is often credited as one of the most consequential presidents with respect to civil rights, having signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act."
Answer to Question 10: Definitely racist. This quote is from a statement made by President Trump at a rally during the 2016 campaign. It has been widely cited as prime evidence of President Trump's racism, including here at CNN, and here at Newsweek (in a list of Trump's "racist" comments).
So there you have it. Now you know the guiding principles. With the correct answers to this handy quiz at the ready, you will assuredly have no problem in staying securely within the bounds of civilized discourse. Go for it!