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Is this a racist remark.

Is this a racist remark.

Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:22 pm
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Default Is this a racist remark.

An English person was told by an American in quite an abusive way to "Go back where you come from". This was after they had made other abusive remarks to the person. They were told racist remarks would not be tolerated and to apologize or leave. This was at a community information booth, they then made abusive remarks to an American at the booth, and left

Now it seems very few Americans I have spoken to think that remark is racist. I cannot find a legal definition in the US of what is a racist remark. In England it is any remark which the subject of the remark or any person hearing it believes to be racist.

So opinions please.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

No idea on the legal status, but I believe it to be racist, however not all racist insults are as offensive as others, its a power thing, and the English in America generally are not at the wrong end of the stick in this regard.

UN definition:
the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life

Was this Englishman, you, by any chance?

Last edited by kimilseung; Jul 27th 2011 at 9:37 pm.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Apart from the offensive remark and the parting comment, it is unclear from the OP who said what to whom. Two wrongs don't make a right in that parting comment.

That said, if it's obvious the giver of "go back" knew that the receiver was from a different country then yes, I would believe it to be offensive, possibly racist but the latter is a little ambiguous in today's multi- and mixed-cultural world.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:43 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by GeoffM View Post
Apart from the offensive remark and the parting comment, it is unclear from the OP who said what to whom. Two wrongs don't make a right in that parting comment.

That said, if it's obvious the giver of "go back" knew that the receiver was from a different country then yes, I would believe it to be offensive, possibly racist but the latter is a little ambiguous in today's multi- and mixed-cultural world.
All the abusive remarks were directed at the English person, who speaks with a clear non American accent. All the English person did was to politely ask the American to apologize or leave.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:48 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
No idea on the legal status, but I believe it to be racist, however not all racist insults are as offensive as others, its a power thing, and the English in America generally are not at the wrong end of the stick in this regard.

UN definition:
the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life

Was this Englishman, you, by any chance?
I see the UN definition and as usual they have covered all the bases.
As far as the remark itself. Telling someone 'to go back to where they come from' is in itself not racist.. as far as the power thing I would tend to agree with you. Like all put downs, they are meant to gain an advantage. Either the one or two finger salute is normally enough to nip it in the bud.

If not ... Punch his/ her lights out
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post

Was this Englishman, you, by any chance?
Yes it was. It was the city's community booth at the Sunday Market. I was asked a question and as soon as I started speaking the abuse started. But that is by the by. Not making an issue of it and just put it down to the persons stupidity, but it is the fact that just about all the people I have spoken to (small town every one knows and keeps asking) believe there was nothing racist in being told to go back where I come from, prompted the question from me.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:56 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by lyonsden1193 View Post
As far as the remark itself. Telling someone 'to go back to where they come from' is in itself not racist..
Why not if they were not born American, and does that change if the person is Hispanic or African?
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Offensive, yes. Racist, no. The guy sounds like a d**k to me.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:08 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

No, I don't find that to be a racist remark. His admonishment to return to your country of birth is not racist but might be construed as racist or bigotry if he had included verbage vilifying your country of orgin, your religious preference, etc. His remark could be said to anyone he encounters, even a born in the US citizen, with a regional accent. For example, a New Yorker telling a Southern to go back to where he belongs.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:09 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

When I gave an answer I had no knowledge of the race of either party, just the nationality. I still do not know the race of the American. I wonder if my answer would be different if I had known the race. I think I made the assumption that both were white, but this information was not given.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:14 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Why not if they were not born American, and does that change if the person is Hispanic or African?

You are taking it as racist remark because you are a foreign born American which is obvious by your accent. The same remark to an African or Hispanic without an accent would be viewed by me in the same way -- non-racist.

Obviously this person was upset and quite possibly has an issue with immigration.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:18 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
When I gave an answer I had no knowledge of the race of either party, just the nationality. I still do not know the race of the American. I wonder if my answer would be different if I had known the race. I think I made the assumption that both were white, but this information was not given.
There are both white. Also to make it more complicated the other person working at the booth was a white American from southern California. They were given a mouthful of abuse, but NOT told to go back where they came from.

To me the remark was made because my accent identifies me as apparently not being American, hence it was racist.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
To me the remark was made because my accent identifies me as apparently not being American, hence it was racist.
Since you are all white, I doubt it qualifies as racist. Anti-British perhaps, but not racist... unless I seriously misunderstand the word. That you believe it was racist suggests that perhaps you're also not clear on the meaning of the word.

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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
The same remark to an African or Hispanic without an accent would be viewed by me in the same way -- non-racist.
I can not imagine a scenario were a white would say "go back where you came from" to an African/African-American/Hispanic and for it not to have racist overtones.
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Old Jul 27th 2011, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Is this a racist remark.

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
You are taking it as racist remark because you are a foreign born American which is obvious by your accent. The same remark to an African or Hispanic without an accent would be viewed by me in the same way -- non-racist.
That I think goes to what I'm trying to understand. In the UK that remark if the person thought it was racist would get you arrested and charged with a racially aggravated public order offense. To me if it was said to a non British person in the UK it would be racist. Just another culture difference I guess, some actions are more acceptable here then in the UK.
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