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Is this Racist?

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User ID: 1209503
United States
03/12/2015 11:23 AM
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Is this Racist?
I've noticed what I think is a repeating trend regarding the use of certain racial epitaphs, both in threads here and elsewhere in the wild world of the interwebs, which is when people whom I would normally consider non-racist use ethnic slurs apparently just to enrage their opponents.

Call it "racial trolling", if that's what is really going on (and I'm not entirely certain).

Consider this situation: A poster (let's call him "OP" since in this scenario he would be) of known or unknown ethnicity refers to some other group (whites, blacks, arabs, jews, whatever) by either a "normal" ethnic slur, or one they obviously just made up. So far, so good (or bad), and it's an easy jump to saying "That jerk's a racist!"

But what if you've seen that person previously argue against racism? Do you assume that they were either lying then, or are lying now? Or maybe they've slipped a mental cog or had a stroke?

I guess the question I'm taking too long to get to is this: If YOU don't normally act like a racist, and you don't consider yourself racist because you don't evaluate people based on their ethnicity or skin color, but you recognize that OTHER people do, including many people who happen to be minorities themselves, and you go and use a slur to either shut someone down or shut them up or make them fly off into a rage-filled logic-free rant so that they'll look like an idiot, does the use of that "debate technique" make you a racist?

Surely you've seen this before... I've even seen it used in movies, so you know it isn't anything "new" as far as argumentative tactics are concerned.

I remember seeing one movie - and forgive me but I don't recall the name (it was a LONG time ago) - where some Sicilian mob boss had kidnapped one of the top lieutenants of a rival gang family (which was not Sicilian), and planned on torturing information out of him. Well, the prisoner knew his days (or minutes) were numbered, so he provoked his captor into killing him outright by saying that everyone knew Sicilians were "barely Italian", and were mostly a mix of black and Arab (he used much harsher terms). So the mob boss lost his temper and blew his head off, robbing his own side of their valuable information resource.

Again, when someone online does the verbal equivalent of the above, is that racist?