Maxiavelli: I am Not a Racist. Are You sure?

Sulky woman or the Silence by Paul Gauguin

How many times have you heard "I am not a racist; I have [insert ethnicity] friends!"?

Nowadays, it is not acceptable to be racist (at least openly) as it once was; therefore racists have found new ways of expressing their prejudice. In other words, racism has evolved.
Since racists can be sued for expressing their bigotry; they now say they're not racist simply because they commit their hate crime with subtlety and word-play; that is, they make use of what I call Racial-Correctness, to avoid being prosecuted.
Racial-Correctness (RC) is a form of exercising racism without using obvious racist wording, while practising covert aggression and creating social tension.
You have probably seen this phenomenon at play many times; and although the covert racist seems polite, rational in his/her arguments, there is always a hint that something is not quite right.

Allow me, please, to expose some examples of RC:
Example A - a white man is married to a black woman who bears his children. Later on, their kids fall in love with black people. The father strongly opposes the relationships. When his offspring indicate the obvious "But you are married to a black woman yourself!" he will reply "It's different; besides your mother is not black!"...
Example B - a black woman marries a white man and has children. In family gatherings, she comments that her black relatives who "marry black" are not making an effort to improve the quality of their offspring's hair.
Example C - the classification of all fair-skinned people as white for political purposes.
Example D - the request to include photos in curricula vitae, to render the racial triage easier.
Example E - skin whitening creams and their "White is Perfect" adds.
Example F - "pro-Palestinian" activists saying they object the politics of the Israeli government, but when doing so they obsessively refer to "the Zionists" (who, according to such activists, outside Israel control "the media, the banking and political systems"), and accuse religious Jews of being irrational and insensitive. The best example of racial-correctness is Roger Waters' words "You know, assuming you’re not an ultra-right-wing religious sort of fanatic who thinks that Israel should extend from Turkey to Mali (...) the goal, strategically, should be a solution of the Palestinian refugee problem, an end to the occupation, security and the right to lead a decent life for all the citizens of Israel – both the Jewish citizens and the Palestinian citizens – which are 20 percent [of the population]" - take a closer look at these apparently rational argument...what do you see?

The want of racial disparaging remarks does not render the racist act null, for the aggression (as covert as it may be) is still felt.

Before leaving, here's a small formula to identify Racial-Correctness (in case you do not trust your instinct):

1- The Racial-correct individual will never articulate racial slurs.
2- The RC individual will either exclude other ethnicities from social activities all together or invite only one or two members of a different ethnicity (and make them feel uncomfortable).
3- The RC person will damage the target's reputation with others by spreading lies and gossiping about its victim.
4- The RC practitioner will cause others to withdraw support and friendship from its target.
5- The RC coward will exercise Cyber-bullying.

People who say "I am not a racist, I have [insert ethnicity] friends!" are usually racist; because those who are not, do not have the need to say such things: their stance in life proves it.


  1. At least in my experience in the Philippines, the skin-whitening creams were never based on racism. The Filipinos didn't want to be white so they would be more like Caucasians; lighter skin is seen as more attractive because richer people don't have to work out in the sun, so their skin is lighter. They wanted white skin to appear rich, not European.

    It's the same with tanning beds. White people don't tan so they can appear to be black or Mexican or any other race; a tan is just seen as healthy in their culture. Skin-whitening products are just the opposite of that, where white skin is seen as healthy.

    1. Vid, that is a sorry ass excuse (if you're up to it, pardon my manners)! Of course Filipinos don't want to be Europeans, they couldn't even if they tried; there's so much a cream can do, right? But the dangerous message is still there: have a lighter skin and you will have plenty of opportunities; have a lighter skin and you will look rich; have a lighter skin, cause you know that being dark equals being poor, illiterate and society's dung!
      Tanning beds and skin whiteners are not the opposite. Tannings beds and going to the beach to get a tan are an opposite. Hey, welcome back we missed your wisdom, dude!

    2. Vid, whatever they told you in Philippines doesn't change the fact that it is based on racism! They convince darker people that being whiter is good, is healthier, is prettier, is looking rich and that is outright racism!
      I must be sick today but I actually agree with Ana: tanning beds and skin whitening creams are not opposites at all! Your comment is actually disturbing, Vid!

    3. Vid, I agree with you that skin whiteners are not about racism; but we must admit that it is about cashing in on people's bigotry towards themselves! They have problems with the color of their own skin and somehow believe that society will accept them better if they look lighter.

    4. "But the dangerous message is still there: have a lighter skin and you will have plenty of opportunities; have a lighter skin and you will look rich; have a lighter skin, cause you know that being dark equals being poor, illiterate and society's dung!"

      Of course the message that lighter skin is healthier isn't a good thing exactly; I never claimed that. But it's not racist either. People of the same race can have different skin tones; lighter skin, in this case, isn't associated with being in a different race, but being in a different social class.

      "Vid, whatever they told you in Philippines doesn't change the fact that it is based on racism!"

      It's not so much what they told me as it is what I noticed based on real-life experience.

      "...tanning beds and skin whitening creams are not opposites at all!"

      Tanning beds make light-skinned people darker because they consider it healthier-looking; whitening creams make dark-skinned people lighter because they consider that healthier-looking. That's pretty much just straight-up as opposite as two things can get.

      "Vid, I agree with you that skin whiteners are not about racism; but we must admit that it is about cashing in on people's bigotry towards themselves! They have problems with the color of their own skin and somehow believe that society will accept them better if they look lighter."

      I agree with this. I found it really odd and sad that Filipinos can't be satisfied looking like themselves. I think that not having this kind of self-esteem is a problem world-over, not one caused by race.

    5. Hi Vid :D!

      Yeah, I remember the post you wrote about this issue.
      However, the marketing process (in order to sell these products) is based on racism because in countries where the majority of the population is non-white, they send subliminal messages in products like "White Perfect" (L'Óreal). In countries where the majority is white, they will call the same product "Dark Spot Corrector" (same company, under their Garnier brand) - see what I mean?

      Many white people do tan in order to appear exotic - I have met quite a few and they will say it on your face.

      Vid, thank you so much for your contribution to this debate :D. You were missed.


    6. Dunno, Vid. I will have to think about it...

    7. Ana, thanks :-). Still, my opinion is the same.
      Vid, agreed.

  2. I've heard that sentence way too many times, Max "I'm not a racist; I have white/black/Arab/Jew friends!" yet their behaviour and words show exactly the opposite! One good example of this is how certain Americans react to Obama: nothing the man does is acceptable or right and then they repeat "Barack HUSSEIN Obama" as if they were a bunch of schizos, come on! Just come out and say it once and for all: I don't like Obama cause he's black and I am mad because a black president does such a good job!!

    1. Hi Ana :D!

      LOL LOL *no comments*...

      Ana, thank you ever so much for spicing things up around here :D. It is always a pleasure, girl!


  3. Roger Waters is a schmuck who doesn't know what he is talking about:
    1- He needs to read more about the Greater Israel. He tried to be hyperbolic but even a hyperbole has to be intimately connected to the object of exaggeration.
    2- The only solution to the refugee problem is a Palestinian state, so insisting on a invalid right of return for Arabs to Israel is a redundancy. They can start by going to the State of Gaza.
    3- If you are a Palestinian citizen who wants the creation of his own stadt why does he want to be an Israeli citizen "the right to lead a decent life all the citizens of Israel - both Jewish and Palestinian" what does this mean? It means Waters has a drug and booze problem and is not thinking straight.
    4- 20% of the Israeli population is Arab descent, meaniing they are Israeli-Arabs not Palestinian citizens (there's a difference9.

    BTW, this guy ended his stupid rationale with "I am not anti-Semitic, I have Jewish friends!"...yeah, right!

    1. Hip hip, hurray! Hip hip, hurray! Oh dude, you are so right I just feel like kissing you (if I knew you, of course)!

    2. Hi Anonymous :D!

      Thank YOU! That was exactly what I meant (except for the drug and booze thing; I had other classification in mind for that individual).

      True, he did say it (and those words of his were exactly what inspired this post).

      Anonymous, thank you ever so much for your wit. High five, man! :D


  4. Max, this time I agree with you: racism did evolved. Many are subtle racists but in spite of their subtlety they still hurt others and that is unacceptable!!! Yeah, cyber-bullying is done by cowards, just like bullying, and we must fight it!!
    I usually agree with Roger Waters obviously, but this arguments of his is a bit off even to me! Where did you get these words from?

    1. Hi Celia :D!

      You agree with me? Are you feeling well? ;)
      I got his words from this article:

      Celia, thank you so much for your comment :D.


  5. I am married to a black woman whom I love deeply, we have children and I really don't want them to marry black people because it is not easy for black people to succeed out there. Am I racist because of that? Maybe but it is for a good cause!

    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      Why, a racist for a good cause? That's the first time I have ever heard that in my life. Hmmm, I think I need a bit of time to digest this one...seriously.

      Anonymous, thank you so so much for your honesty and for bringing something new to the debate :D.


  6. I don't think that I'm prejudiced against any race, but I admit that I don't like certain cultures. I do carry some prejudice towards the American "Ghetto" culture, no matter which color of skin is represented. I don't like the criminal mentality of the majority of the people. I have met people from those cultures who do not have "ghetto mentality", and I am fine with them. And maybe even calling it "Ghetto" makes me racist. I don't care the color of someone's skin, but I am very unhappy when people move in to my city from the ghetto and bring crime and gang activity with them. Good people are good, no matter their skin color. But bad goes clear to the bone.

    1. Hi D! :D

      Darling, I understand you...perfectly well. I don't like many aspects of the "rap" culture either - regardless of the individuals' skin colour (and God knows that I love my rap; but certain types of behaviour that are connected to that "world" are appalling).

      Good and bad character or behaviour has nothing to do with race; you're right.

      D, thank you so much for your contribution to the debate :D.


  7. I am not sure what to make of all this. In my racially mixed family, there are all kinds of comments that would disqualify us from running for public office. Every time a car does something stupid, "Ah, another Asian driver". The kids come home with less than perfect grades and its "are you trying to be White?". But then the teasing is set aside for a mutual enjoyment of each others companionship.

    So I am wondering if the fact that race is staring us in the face us all the time leaves any plausibility to the notion that we can be colour blind. At the same time, I think there are proper ways and improper ways to react to the reality that is always in front of us.

    1. Hi Looney :D!

      Your family is like mine, huh? United Nations...
      LOL LOL the same happens in my family *nodding*. We are lucky that no one wants to run for office, otherwise it would be a mess lol.

      "are you trying to be White?" - seriously? LOL LOL LOL LOL I probably shouldn't laugh; but it's funny *nodding*.

      "But then the teasing is set aside for a mutual enjoyment of each others companionship."


      So, to you it is all a question of impropriety vs propriety?

      Looney, thank you ever so much for your super contribution to the debate. Loved your perspective :D.


    2. I think a lot of it has to do with being sensitive to the others. When people are in a bad mood, teasing is not the thing to do, no matter what the subject. Even when it does go over, it should be short, selective and then move on.

      Another item is the source of the tease. Sometimes it is just for fun, but other times it reflects some inward bitterness. The recipient of the tease can tell, so the latter sort should never be indulged in.

  8. If it is not race, it is class, religion, sect, caste, tribe, nationality, language and even gender besides a whole lot of other things that are in operation in all of us as us vs them. It is the rare, very rare individual who is totally free of such prejudices. This is a socio psychological phenomenon about which any number of writers have written about and the most impressive one that I have read is Erich Fromm. It would do all of us a world of good, if we simply accept that the world is full of different kinds of people and one is not superior or inferior, just different. But, it is very difficult.

    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      You have a point.
      What did Erich Fromm say about this?

      Ah, Rummy; I embrace diversity (but again, my family is a "United Colours of Benetton" with several religions in the mix; thus I might have a different behaviour than what is usually seen); and that is why I am trying to understand those who don't embrace it.

      Rummy, thank you ever so much for your perspective on this issue :D.


    2. “Our conscious motivations, ideas, and beliefs are a blend of false information, biases, irrational passions, rationalizations, prejudices, in which morsels of truth swim around and give the reassurance albeit false, that the whole mixture is real and true. The thinking processes attempt to organize this whole cesspool of illusions according to the laws of plausibility. This level of consciousness is supposed to reflect reality; it is the map we use for organizing our life.”

    3. Mr Fromm may be quite right...quite right indeed.
      Rummy, thank you for this delightful quote: food for thought :D.
      Have a great weekend, my friend.

  9. Olá Max,

    Example A: I actually know a man like that.
    Example B: I actually know a woman like that too.
    Example C: only in America!
    Example D: only in Europe!
    Example E: business making money on people's bigotry (it's not their fault, they just found a niche).
    Example F: Roger Waters is an ignorant boozer, who cares about what he says? But shame on Stevie Wonder for having listened to him! I hate Pink Floyd: a depressing little bunch of reds!

    Belonging to a racially diverse family exposed me to all sorts of RC comments, but no one has told me those comment offended him or her; at least not yet. They certainly do not bother me!

    Thanks for this article, Max: it is crucial to discuss these things! Bravo!


    1. Olá Celeste :D!

      So, you believe that the companies producing skin whitening creams are not racist but they are only playing with people's self-loathing?
      I could go with that if those companies wouldn't try to fool us: have you heard of L'Óreal's "White Perfect" in India? The same product in Europe is called "Dark Spot Corrector" (by L'Óreal's sub-Cº Garnier). Now, shouldn't this be considered an attempt to circumvent the non-discrimination (based on race or ethnicity) law?

      You are welcome, my darling *bowing*.

      Celeste, thank you so much for your generosity and for raising an extremely interesting point to the debate :D.


    2. Max,

      Yes, that's what I believe: they are cashing in on people's self-loath.
      No, I haven't heard of L'òreal's White Perfect. Are you sure it is the same product? If it is, then yes I have to agree to with you, it is a way to go around the non-discrimination law. I will do so research over the weekend.

      Thank you, my dear.

    3. Celeste, all right.
      It is the same product, unfortunately.

      You are most welcome but, in fact, I should be the one thanking you: it's a pleasure talking to you.

  10. I guess the words Racisim and Racists is used too excessively and liberally these days. Yhe more we go ahead, perhaps the more intolerant we are becoming or we are deliberately twisting it to serve narrow interest. Perhaps a decade back, the terms or sentences would have been treated as jokes, are being shown at present to be as insult. I guess people should take it a little easy at times rather than go hyper at what may be just uttered in a lighter vein.

    1. Hi Kalyan :D!

      We must agree though that there are terms and jokes that are unacceptable in a sense that they really hurt people and many of them seem to do it out of cruelty - it is a very odd behaviour.
      Nevertheless, I do agree that we may have become too sensitive (and it is not only about racism) - perhaps we should confer less value to words, but not all of us do it.

      K, thank you ever so much for your great contribution to the debate :D.



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