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Language Log

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 - 7:33 a.m.

My cousin posted a racist "humorous" meme on her FB and I don't know what to do. Should I point out that it's racist? Probably. It's when people don't that people perpetuate this stuff. And I said I wouldn't let that kind of thing slide any more.

What was it? A picture of a Hispanic man (possibly a famous comedian, I don't know) in a Superman outfit captioned "call nine-Juan-Juan". I see why it's kinda funny. But I also see why it's kinda...not. It's in that slippery area where it's so hard to explain to people who don't get it What it is that's racist about it. (Like when my mom referred to my kids as "little Indians" the other day when they were playing. And then sang 10 Little Indians.). And then accusations of where I get off being offended by racism, when I'm white. White people aren't supposed care when other white people are racist! (My mom hasn't thought of that one, but you see conservatives pull that move all the time).

But then, if I say anything it should be done to educate, and very kindly and constructively. Else it'll just piss her off and by extension that entire branch of my family. They're already mad because I was nice to my cousin when he came out. And then my mom will come and tell me I should apologize, and I'll probably snap at her.

Not sure I have the time and energy for compassionate education on race issues today. And it would have to be today. You can't comment on a meme a day or two after it was posted.

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