Internet Crush: I'm Not Racist But...

Time for Internet Crush! A new series highlighting the latest thing on the interwebs that we love.

You can pick your friends, but you can't always pick what shows up in your news feed (no matter how much I've messed with my Facebook settings). I'm Not Racist But... is a website that's been gaining notoriety recently for its screenshots of publicly available Facebook posts featuring the "Post-Racial" Phrase of the Century, "I'm not a racist but...." As many of you know, these sentences tend to end with incredibly racist statements. (On that note, be forewarned, there are some really racist statements ahead.)

Some showcase laughable ignorance...
a screenshot of a Facebook status that reads

and others are far more disturbing...
a screenshot of a Facebook status that reads

This Tumblr (and its sister site, "I'm Not Sexist But...") is just one of the latest in a meta-online commentary commentary (see: Privilege Denying-Dude or Literally Unbelievable, a collection of people who take Onion headlines at face-value with alternately hilarious and horrifying results). While many people experience enough racism in real life to not want to willingly relive again it online, as Channing Kennedy on Colorlines points out, the site is a kind of social barometer, a way to bring what a lot of (privileged) folks consider to be "not real racism." (Cause, like, apartheid is real racism, I just happen to think Asian people are better at math!). In addition, Kennedy notes these sites make "use of publicly accessible resources to illustrate an inconvenient point about modern society. Knowing that racists are on Facebook means knowing that...racists went to your elementary school, and racists love your favorite Thursday night sitcom. And some unknown number of said racists are bosses, or parents, or future city council members."

While "I'm not a racist but..." is a recognizable (but poor) prelude to being completely racist, Plain Old Racism (and cissexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, and sexism) is alive and well IRL and on the internet--bad spelling, ignorant reasoning, and ridiculous disclaimers aside. (Microagressions documents this.) As Dumi wrote in "Reclaiming Racist" on Racialicious in 2006, "We live in a world without racists, but in a world full of racism." Hopefully the site will not only serve as a call-out space but as a reminder to people who feel the need to judge and extol on experiences that aren't their own to check their much as they're loath to admit it.

More reading:
I'm Not Racist But...
"Reclaiming Racist" [Racialicious]
"'Not Racist, But…': A Catalogue of Modern Facebook Racism" [Colorlines]

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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4 Comments Have Been Posted

I'm awash in a sea of racism

I'm awash in a sea of racism denial- can't count the opportunities of late to note simple threads of thinking and point them out!! My community is surrounded by a 90 percent white small suburb and an urban center 85 percent people of color....but its because they want to live near their own kind, not because of least 2 people today told me I'm seeing something that isn't there because "I'm not racist I just....."

Thank you.

Also what I think (I have

Also what I think (I have been thinking about this) this site should do is make people recognize not just what "other" "racist" people really are like, but to recognize the racism and prejudice we ALL have inside. It's ugly! It is. But I think it's very very easy to believe it is all other, ignorant folks with bad spelling and poor facebook privacy settings who are racist. We should recognize our OWN "I'm not racist but..."'s, accept them, and then work to change them.

If we had a "like" button on

If we had a "like" button on our blog, I'd press it for this comment, Kjerstin.

we agree!

We agree that the "I'm not a racist but..." is heard all too often and that racism lies somewhere in all of us. At Positive Impact Magazine we are about positive and healthy news that will inspire. We wanted to take the time out to thank you for encouraging people to be conscious about what prejudices they may hold. Stay positive :) And feel free to check us out if you are interested!

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