Don’t bring a watermelon to work: it’s racist.


yaxomoxay

macrumors 68040
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Mar 3, 2010
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WTH?!? I loved watermelon till I became allergic to it a decade back.
This is beyond stupid.
I feel the urgent need to sue the producers of the Sopranos for offensive Anti-Italianism and stereotyping. A good $3M will settle it. I do it for justice, not for money.
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I don't understand the watermelon/chicken stereotype.
There is probably some historical connection. My problem is that it was automatically assumed. On day 1.
 
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LordVic

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Sep 7, 2011
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There is a stereotype, that is quite racist that black people love watermelon in some irrational craving sense.

Gifting a watermelon to a a group of black people , is racist, whether by intent or not.


Let me ask any of you denying this a simple question.


If you were gifted a watermelon after savings someone life, would that gift seem logical or appropriate?

No, the answer is no.

So why did these folk feel like in this case it was appropriate to give a group of black people a watermelon


Likely because they know the stereotype and believe it. We’re they intentionally being crass? Possibly not. They may have legit thought that black peoples love watermelon that much! Doesn’t change the fact that they acted on a stereotype that is offensive.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Toronto, Ontario
There is a stereotype, that is quite racist that black people love watermelon in some irrational craving sense.

Gifting a watermelon to a a group of black people , is racist, whether by intent or not.


Let me ask any of you denying this a simple question.


If you were gifted a watermelon after savings someone life, would that gift seem logical or appropriate?

No, the answer is no.

So why did these folk feel like in this case it was appropriate to give a group of black people a watermelon


Likely because they know the stereotype and believe it. We’re they intentionally being crass? Possibly not. They may have legit thought that black peoples love watermelon that much! Doesn’t change the fact that they acted on a stereotype that is offensive.
What happens if you don't know about the stereotype? Still deserve to get fired? Is giving a watermelon to a black person really always racist? And doesn't this just perpetuate the problem? Shouldn't black people be able to decide if they like watermelon or not without being bothered by this ****?

It's a food item, not like he burned a cross in their yard. If this guy was doing something else racist and then brought it in, maybe I'd accept it as racist.
 

LordVic

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Sep 7, 2011
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What happens if you don't know about the stereotype? Still deserve to get fired?

It's a food item, not like he burned a cross in their yard.
There is no way that this makes any sense.

Watermelon is NOT A TYPICAL THANK YOU GIFT. In any culture


Picking watermelon specifically to a group of black men showed intent. Maybe not as an insult, showing ignorance of the meaning of the stereotype, but it was clearly acted on because of the stereotype


Clearly, you didn’t even try and think this comment through
 

oneMadRssn

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Sep 8, 2011
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Title is a bit misleading, no?
It should be "Don't be a while guy who brings a watermelon to work and gift it to your all-black co-workers; you should have paid attention in history class, otherwise you wouldn't have made this mistake. Kids, stay in school."

PS - these examples from US history are why it was a bad idea:










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What happens if you don't know about the stereotype? Still deserve to get fired? Is giving a watermelon to a black person really always racist? And doesn't this just perpetuate the problem? Shouldn't black people be able to decide if they like watermelon or not without being bothered by this ****?

It's a food item, not like he burned a cross in their yard.
Burning a cross is not too different than making a watermelon gesture. Both are symbolic of the slavery and jim crow era.
 

Ntombi

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There is definitely a historical connection. This article doesn’t go into the whole thing, but it’s a good starting place.

Also, when people use watermelons to insult President Obama, or Tiger Woods, it’s not a joke. It’s invoking old stereotypes that are pervasive to this day.

I know black people who actually refuse to eat watermelon in public, because of the stereotype. And they’re not alone.

I’m 43, raised in middle class New England, and I’ve had the watermelon thing used against me a few times. As a “joke.”

No.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Toronto, Ontario
Title is a bit misleading, no?
It should be "Don't be a while guy who brings a watermelon to work and gift it to your all-black co-workers; you should have paid attention in history class, otherwise you wouldn't have made this mistake. Kids, stay in school."

PS - these examples from US history are why it was a bad idea:










[doublepost=1507759921][/doublepost]

Burning a cross is not too different than making a watermelon gesture. Both are symbolic of the slavery and jim crow era.
So do black people not eat watermelon because of posters made decades ago? Wouldn't it be better to say that they'll decide if they like watermelon or not?

Personally I like watermelon.
 
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oneMadRssn

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What happens if you don't know about the stereotype? Still deserve to get fired?
I would argue he doesn't deserve to be fired unless there was actual malice intended. But sometimes rules have to be strict, and bureaucracy doesn't have time to go into in depth investigations of someone's motive.

The article doesn't say the guy was an immigrant, or otherwise new to our culture. Anyone that grew up in the US or paid attention for even a day in history class would know this was totally inappropriate. Either he was being intentionally mean, he's a complete idiot, or he's completely unaware of his situation. In any of those cases, the decision was made that he was unfit to be a firefighter.
 
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Ntombi

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So do black people not eat watermelon because of posters made decades ago? Wouldn't it be better to say that they'll decide if they like watermelon or not?

Personally I like watermelon.
See my post above. This isn’t only in the past.

And you don’t get to tell us when we’re being too sensitive. You just don’t.
 

Zombie Acorn

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I would argue he doesn't deserve to be fired unless there was actual malice intended. But sometimes rules have to be strict, and bureaucracy doesn't have time to go into in depth investigations of someone's motive.

The article doesn't say the guy was an immigrant, or otherwise new to our culture. Anyone that grew up in the US or paid attention for even a day in history class would know this was totally inappropriate. Either he was being intentionally mean, he's a complete idiot, or he's completely unaware of his situation. In any of those cases, the decision was made that he was unfit to be a firefighter.
Must have missed watermelon is racist day in history class.
 
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Ntombi

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Must have missed watermelon is racist day in history class.
Taking many of your other posts into account, you must have missed a lot of ______ is racist” days. You seem resistant to the idea that America can be a different place when you don’t look like the majority.
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You don't get to fire someone just because you perceive something as racist when there may not be any intent.
“There may not be any intent” is pretty much the fallback position of every racist/sexist/homophobe around. As long as they’re not saying the “n-word” or calling for a lynching, there will aalways be people ready to say “we don’t know if they really meant to be racist.”

Meanwhile, black and brown folks just have to suck it up.
 

citizenzen

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Mar 22, 2010
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You don't get to fire someone just because you perceive something as racist when there may not be any intent.
He was a probationary firefighter. If he had just waited until his probationary period had ended, he would have been a little more at liberty to engage in a little off-color humor.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Taking many of your other posts into account, you must have missed a lot of ______ is racist” days. You seem resistant to the idea that America can be a different place when you don’t look like the majority.
[doublepost=1507760649][/doublepost]
“There may not be any intent” is pretty much the fallback position of every racist/sexist/homophobe around. As long as they’re not saying the “n-word” or calling for a lynching, there will aalways be people ready to say “we don’t know if they really meant to be racist.”

Meanwhile, black and brown folks just have to suck it up.
It's a fruit, if there's no intent it's probably just a fruit. Cut it up and eat it. It tastes good.
 
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Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
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He was a probationary firefighter. If he had just waited until his probationary period had ended, he would have been a little more at liberty to engage in a little off-color humor.
He said it wasn't meant to be humorous:

FOX 2 spoke to Pattison by phone, who claims it was not a joke - and he did not mean to offend his fellow firefighters.
instead of being adults and bringing it to his attention they whined to their HR department. Cowards.
 

LordVic

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Sep 7, 2011
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Taking many of your other posts into account, you must have missed a lot of ______ is racist” days. You seem resistant to the idea that America can be a different place when you don’t look like the majority.
funny, because his location is the same as mine. I actually specifically DO remember learning this in grade school

but then again, I also have/had friends of so many different walks of life, because Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural communities on the planet. And one thing I learned, you don't act on stereotypes until you understand how those stereotypes came to be (and once you learn that, you generally don't want to). What this evidences is a very narrow community group that he may have grown up in, probably in one of the more affluent areas of the city that tend to keep to themselves (either that or his location is full of it and he's a more recent immigrant himself, because many of the things he repeats are closer to US style conservative ideals than Canadian ideals).

EIther way. It was grade 5 and we did units on different countries, peoples and places, and we absolutely learned about the pros and cons of stereotypes.

I also liked to talk to my friends about their cultural backgrounds because it's damn interesting to hear all the amazing (and sometimes horrifying) stories from their backgrounds.

I just don't get this disconnect. there's absolute clear evidence that the behaviour of gifting watermellon as a thank you is NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOUR. PEOPLE GENERALLY DO NOT GIVE EACHOTHER GIFTS OF WATERMELLON.

this implicit intent to act upon a stereotype. did the guy know it was a negative stereotype? irrelevant. He acted on it. This also happened in Detroit. You cannot claim to not know about this stereotype when you're in a region with a large black population. (est 83%)

it would be no different if you decided to gift a jewish group some fake painted gold and said "well, we heard jews like gold so..."

and I guarantee you, these people who are defending this behaviour are also the same people who claim that there's no such thing as systematic racism. I'm white as a sheet with european ancestry. But when people find out i'm of jewish ancestry, the amount of prejudiced comments I get are absolutely insane. And i'm not even a visible minority! I couldn't even fathom / imagine what being visible minority gets. And it disgusts me.

People who deny that this sort of racism is real or occurs, just because it doesn't / can't happen to you, doesn't mean you have the rights to say it doesn't happen to others, or that it's not real. that right there is RACIST. those who want to keep denying racism.... well. if it looks like a duck..