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Thread started 04/15/17 2:31pm



My Friend and Racism + Sexism

I have a male friend from the same town whose racial and ethnic background is similar to mine (we're multi-ethnic Czechs - basically "white" in our country, "ethnic whites", "spicy whites", "something mixed with Europeans, Asians and Middle Easterners" in the West). We've been very close friends for a long time, but there's this thing that keeps me annoyed with him.

I think he has troubles to understand racism and sexism - not that he is rampantly sexist or racist, but there are moments when he doesn't acknowledge that some situations or actions make some people uncomfortable. For example, I have been explaining the concept of cultural appropriation to him for two years, but he still doesn't get it. He just says, "I don't believe it's harmful" or "I don't think it's an appropriation", even though we're not discussing our respective cultures (in such case, it would make sense to make such statements). He basically says he doesn't want to be left out of such conversations because that culture is not his. What's worse, he sometimes, our of whim, sends me random material with trigger warnings that it is sexist and appropriative. Like, unless it's something I should be interested in (for example, domething Prince-related), I'm not interested. Or he sends me material where people of colour imitate Western cultures and he claims it is also an appropriation. It doesn't help to tell him, "You wouldn't like Westerners doing the same to us, would you, so why do you tolerate this to other marginalised people?"

He does something similar with sexism. He argues with me, a woman, what is or isn't sexist, even though he's never been a woman. Then, when I engage in some debates with men and they throw sexist stuff at me, he doesn't back me up, he just says the very same thing I have said and receives all the cookies. It irritates me because I see people disrespect me purely because of my gender.

I unfriended and blocked him out of social media once, but changed my mind after a few days. The thing is that besides these annoying things, he has been with me when I was really down. And, after all, I used to make some mistakes he keeps doing, so I always remind myself I should be patient with him, because he might change one day. It also seems his Facebook wall is mostly occupied with privileged men and if I don't disrupt their social bubbles, they will never be confronted.

On the other hand, my boyfriend, who never passes as white, told me to give up arguing with these people, because they're not gonna change and he used to do the same with no chance. I guess he's right - these conversations just take my energy. On the other hand, I feel it's wrong to ignore people who perpetuate prejudice, especially if it's harmful.

What should I do?

full lips, freckles, and upturned nose
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Reply #1 posted 04/18/17 3:40pm


Get rid of him already, you have wasted much of your precious time with him.

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Reply #2 posted 04/18/17 6:26pm



You need to sit down and have a serious conversation with him. He knows he can work you up, guys do that. He may have s secret crush. It is like you are upsetting each other for a reason. If neither of you cared it would not be an issue. If he didn't like he would not perpetrate. You sound hot. Remember Dear Abby??
What are you outraged about today? CNN has not told you yet?
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Reply #3 posted 04/19/17 4:57am



You cannot change another person, they must evolve on their own... or not. If he does not seem influenced by you arguing your case or just serving as an example to him, then he might never agree. It's up to you to decide if there is room in your life for a person who holds racist or sexist beliefs.

Sounds like you may need a break from him, even tell him so if you'd like. Perhaps *that* will get him thinking... shrug

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