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TV anchorwoman responds to a letter writer offended that she dares to be fat in public

By now you may have seen the pointed on-air response that Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor for WKTB in La Crosse Wisconsin, gave to a viewer who suggested that someone as fat as she is should not really be on TV, lest young girls get the idea that it’s ok to be fat.

Here’s the video. Some thoughts on it below.

Let’s go back, for a moment, to what the guy said in his email. (You can find a transcript of the whole video here.)

Hi Jennifer,

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

While couched as helpful advice from a concerned citizen, the email basically suggests that Jennifer is, in essence, committing a crime against young girls by being fat in public. While Livingston, as a TV anchor, presumably “assaults” thousands of young girls by appearing on TV fat, the letter writer’s logic would presumably apply to every fat woman who posts pictures of herself online, appears in a play, or even just goes outside where others can see her.

Indeed, one woman I know has gotten similar, er, complaints, from people who’ve attacked her for “celebrating obesity” by posting pictures of herself on her blog looking something other than miserable and ashamed of her body.

In addition to the fact that Livingston’s weight is none of this guy’s fucking business, it should also be noted that the he’s simply incorrect in assuming that a person’s weight has much to do with the healthiness of their lifestyle. There are plenty of skinny people living less than healthy lives, including many in the public eye. (Has he ever heard of eating disorders? Or Keith Richard?) And fatness in itself is not a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle, nor does it generally add to health risks. Indeed, as author and fat blogger Kate Harding has noted:

Weight itself is not a health problem, except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being underweight or so fat you’re immobilized). In fact, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events … obesity research is turning up surprising information all the time — much of which goes ignored by the media … Just because you’ve heard over and over and over that fat! kills! doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means that people in this culture really love saying it.

What you eat makes a difference to your health – not how much, or how many of the calories go directly to your waistline.

Meanwhile even those who actually want to lose a lot of weight don’t have many practical options besides gastric surgery, which carries its own health risks. Diets tend to be a mixture of quackery and false hope. They can be unhealthy and even dangerous – and the overwhelming majority of dieters eventually gain back what they lose. For most people, short of gastric surgery, the only way to lose a lot of weight and keep it off is to remain on a diet forever.

But the issue here isn’t really health. It’s body policing. As Livingston herself noted, fat people know that they’re fat. They don’t need it pointed out to them, even if the person pointing it out convinces themselves that they’re doing it for the fat person’s good. And frankly, most of those pointing it out don’t have good intentions. (It’s no coincidence that the favorite insult of the MRAs and other misogynists who hate this blog is to call me fat; I expect some will use this post an excuse for another round of fat-shaming.)

As Livingston noted in her reply to the letter-writer:

The truth is, I am overweight. You could call me fat and yes, even obese, on a doctor’s chart. But to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family and you have admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside and I am much more than a number on a scale.

And here is where I want all of us to learn something from this. If you didn’t already know, October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and this is a problem that is growing every day in our schools and on the internet. It is a major issue in the lives of young people today and as the mother of three young girls it scares me to death. Now I am a grown women and luckily for me I have a very thick skin, literally, as that email pointed out, and otherwise. And that man’s words mean nothing to me. But what really angers me is there are children who don’t know better. Who get emails, as critical as the one I received or in many cases even worse, each and every day. The internet has become a weapon. Our schools have become a battleground. And this behaviour is learned. It is passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email.

Since Livingston’s video went viral, the letter writer has come forward to double-down on his fat-shaming, saying in a statement that he hopes “she will finally take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the health and psychological well-being of Coulee Region by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year.”

I’m not quite sure why the letter writer thinks it’s Livingston’s job to “transform … herself” to meet his desired specifications. But I doubt there’s any point to arguing that with him unless he can first transform himself into something other than the real-world version of an internet “concern troll.”

After reading all this, I thought I’d take a look at MGTOWforums.com – where the regulars are not exactly shy about expressing their opinions about the appearance of women —  to see if the regulars had responded with their customary compassion and respect. By which I mean self-righteousness and fat jokes. I was not disappointed.

Bubbagumpshrimp, while himself fat, decided it was perfectly fair to attack the weight of a fat women who – gasp! – puts herself on TV.

The writer stated the truth without resorting to being mean about it. He didn’t call her fat or anything mean. He just referred to her as what she obviously is…obese. This coming from someone that’s a good sized guy. You can’t go into a career that has you on camera, be her size, and be shocked when people call you on it. You VOLUNTARILY put yourself out there to be judged. If you don’t want to be picked apart on your weight, go be an IT person or something.

The problem in this country is that obese people are viewed as victims of a medical condition. The reality of it is that they are in a self-induced state. They have no one to blame but themselves. Putting someone like that out there to be a whiner when it’s obvious that she partakes in the all you can eat buffet line makes her exactly what the writer said…not a good role model for children.

Stewie displayed his rapier wit:

You shouldn’t be reporting on climate changes when you are so fat you are causing them.

Simple conflict of interest.

I don’t think she should be allowed to talk about earth quakes or talk shit about the gravitational pull of the moon either.

You know, because she’s FAT. (The climate and weather references are there because the MGTOWforum regulars seem to think she’s a weather person.)

DruidV, meanwhile, waxed indignant that a woman who doesn’t appeal to his boner is even allowed on TV:

This kind of shit is exactly why I killed my TV years ago.

Look, bitch, you’re FAT!

Listen, bitch, it’s perfectly a okay for anyone to tell you so publicly or otherwise. You don’t have the right to not be offended.

Let me say it again, bitch, YOU ARE FAT! and also very ugly, so I guess what you really are is FUGLY, bitch!

No, it’s NOT to be celebrated either, you nasty slob! It’s disgusting and pathetic. You should at least be ashamed of yourself, since laying off the buffet and hitting the gym is apparently out of the question, but then you are also female, which means you can’t even shut up about yourself long enough to see what a laughing stock you are. Three strikes and you are out, Bertha.

That said, couldn’t we pony up some $$$ to get this hideous broad (pun intended) replaced by a hot bikini blonde weather slut? It’s bad enough to have to watch our shitty weather play out, but do we really have to look at an indignant fat pig telling us how great and special she and her husband thinks she is at the same time?

Blah!

Blah indeed — because the letter writer’s missive to Livingston was really only a more politely worded, passive-aggressive version of this sort of hateful shit.

357 replies on “TV anchorwoman responds to a letter writer offended that she dares to be fat in public”

Timetravellingfool, it still comes across as “your sexual preferences are probably influenced by racism” leads to “therefore you must change your sexual preferences” – and as an attack on anyone who doesn’t get turned on by people of any and all backgrounds. What does it matter if people aren’t sexually attracted to X, Y or Z as long as they’re not basing their treatment of people in general on that? This makes it sound like all social interaction is dependent on sexual arousal, and that sounds like the sort of stupidity the MRM comes out with.

@ Katz- Seriously? ‘You have been influenced by a racist ideology and have racist ideals’ is a big shark jump moment for you? And, yeah, having a blanket opinion about a minority is racist. It may be an intimate and (before you announced it online) private opinion, but that doesn’t change it. Not exactly revolutionary thinking here, katz.

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page here: ttf, you are saying that anyone who isn’t attracted to all races (or all non-white races?) is “transparently racist,” correct?

@ Kittenz- again, change or stfu about it. i was very clear on the stfu option. And yeah, that is not a lot to ask- if you are hell bent on maintaining racist feelings and you absolutely do not want to change then, for the love of god, keep it between yourself (and possibly a support group). It is not ok. And there is a difference between acting or not acting on a sexual attraction and announcing your attraction or lack thereof to an entire minority population- one is just you getting along with life, and the other is you saying racist shit and expecting others to accept it because I guess you’re a good person? Don’t care. That shit is racist. Overcome or keep it to yourself. People who can be hurt by that racist shit are reading.

@ Katz- I am saying if you are dismissing entire minority groups as unattracted and you have grown up under the influence of racist ideology then you have either internalized that attitude or some other highly unlikely circumstance has occurred (you are genetically predisposed to be un-bonered at the sight of beige people). My answer to your question is yes, BUT I give you a full blessing to not repeat your racist learnings in any public place other than a support group for unlearning racist attitudes. It’s when you start talking about that shit like it’s ok that you cause more harm than you walkied into the conversation with. Seriously, if you have internalized some racist attitudes people are going to understand. It’s not ok, you have to work against that shit, but we understand because we all have the same ideological influences. if you start talking about your racist attitudes like they are somehow ok, or even comparable to the struggles of homosexual couples (omfg, seriously?) then you are in serious need of stfu time.

For crying out aloud – if it’ll make you feel any better, I’m only sexually attracted to ONE person in the entire world. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat other human beings as less worthy, regardless of their race! Why keep talking as if people are required to be sexually attracted here, there and everywhere? And why the implication that only white people are attracted to their own race? Do you have a problem with people of other ethnicities preferring those ethnicities? And please don’t tell me I’m doing the reverse racism thing here, because I’m not.

@ |Kittend and probably Dvarg- No, who you or dvarg are sexually attracted to makes absolutely zero difference to me if you are both hellbent on defending the position of people who think it’s alright to dismiss entire minority groups as unattractive and announce so in a public forum. Who you are boning or will bone is so not the point- the ideology you perpetuate and the attitudes you apologize for absolutely is.

Who the hell is defending anyone as saying ‘entire minority groups are unattractive’? (Nice US/Eurocentric attitude there, btw.) Nobody here is doing that. Saying “I am not attracted” is not the same as saying “That group is objectively unattractive”. And telling people their sexual preferences are illegitimate and that they SHOULD be finding people attractive just anyways, with no choice in the matter, is exactly what MRAs are always telling women.

@ Kitten- No, saying ‘I am not attracted to … ‘ is pretty much the same as saying ‘they are unattractive’. Kind of the same way saying ” am scared of…’ is the same as saying ‘they are scary’. And no, saying we’ve got a racist sexual ideology and it is ethical to try and work against it is not the same as saying women owe men sex. I know I have been extremely clear on the being quiet about your racist sexual preferences and not actually giving a fuck who you bone. This is not the MRA line, as you well know. Telling people not to be so fucking racist or at the very least not apologize for racist attitudes does not equal insisting everyone be at minorities sexual disposal. Don’t be intellectually dishonest- intellectual dishonesty makes kittens sad.

if you are both hellbent on defending the position of people who think it’s alright to dismiss entire minority groups as unattractive and announce so in a public forum

For the benefit of everyone else in this thread, observe that ttf is making a mistake that was actually addressed earlier (by me and others): conflation of one’s opinions about beauty and one’s sexual attractions. The distinction should be pretty straightforward: I’m not attracted to women, for example, but there are still women I consider to be beautiful, and in the sense that I, personally, like their appearance rather than in the sense that I know on an academic level that (our) society as a whole considers them to be attractive.

Cutting entire races out of the latter (eg, “black people just aren’t pretty”) is, obviously, extremely racist, and since that’s an opinion, it can change and be swayed by discussion and evidence, just like any other opinion. But the latter, even though it is influenced by cultural narratives, including racist ones, is nevertheless a physiological response, not an opinion, and how/whether it can be changed is an open question. It certainly can’t be changed by simple force of will, though.

Also for the benefit of everyone else in this thread, but especially Ozy and Cassandra, I would like to apologize for the existence of this entire conversation.

@ Katz- What strange objectivism is this, that you assume your attitude only influences others if you are making statements in the third person? Yes, your very intimate, personal beliefs can be racist. Sort of like how saying ‘well, I have no problem with homosexuals, it’s just two dudes going at it creeps me out’ is homophobic. This should not be new to you. Seriously.

I’ve got a casual interest in lit crit, and something very analogous to ttf’s mistake is also common when people talk about their media preferences: The inability to distinguish between what they personally like and what is actually good. Who’s Next is The Who’s best album; Tommy is my favorite of their albums. M is Fritz Lang’s best film; Metropolis is my favorite Fritz Lang film. I don’t like A Clockwork Orange (the film); I just don’t. Nevertheless, I can acknowledge it as a classic and appreciate the masterful cinematography, acting, set and costume design, and screenwriting…without liking it.

And yet I’ll get people insisting that there is no difference between what one likes and what one thinks is good, right in the face of me providing counterexamples. I see this so much in young people that It seems rather like a developmental issue: You have to reach a certain point before you can see the difference between quality and your own preferences, just as you have to reach a certain point before you can understand the difference between what’s morally right and what benefits you personally. Just a hypothesis; not like I’ve done a study on this.

(There are two big differences between this and the sexual-attraction issue, btw: First, one’s media preferences, unlike one’s sexual attraction, are still opinions and they can still be swayed by discussion and such, and second, there are differences in scope between one’s opinions about attractive people and one’s opinions about good media. Also, duh, beautiful people aren’t “better.”)

@ Polliwog- Ah, I see your problem- you don’t see how racist ideology influences your sexual preferences.

Hahaha. Thanks for the patronizing bullshit, but no. I absolutely see how internalized racism could be a major factor in an individual’s sexual preferences, and agree that someone who doesn’t get turned on by traits associated with a particular race may very well have internalized racism to blame for that. I just continue not to think that that means someone who isn’t into a particular physical type must go pity-fuck a person of that physical type for great justice.

The formula is pretty simple. Society and the media portrays a certain group in a specific way- black people as criminals, asian people as bad drivers, skinny white girls as sexy, etc. We internalize it. What you do with those messages (try to change it, deny that there is a problem, etc) is your participation in perpetuating a sexist ideology.

No. Participating in a sexist ideology is participating in a sexist ideology. Not having sex with black people, or white people, or skinny people, or fat people, or men, or women, or whomever, is just not having sex with someone, and no one is under any obligation to change the people they do and do not have sex with – or want to have sex with – for anyone else. As Cassandra argued before, someone thinking that others should have to change their preferences to accommodate them is itself a much better example of a sexist ideology, given how often it’s leveled at women as an attack, as in one of the very next posts on this blog. For the nth time, going around proclaiming that X group of people is inherently icky is bigoted. (Duh.) Simply not wanting to fuck members of X group is a personal preference, which may or may not be influenced by bigoted attitudes, but is not even remotely the same thing as institutionalized bigotry. (Again, if someone treats others with less respect or affords them fewer rights because zie doesn’t find them sexy, that is a problem regardless of precisely who those non-sexy-to-zir people are.)

Not going to lie, I kind of stopped reading after you said you didn’t think your sexual preferences were kinda racist- a bit of a lost cause.

Apparently you stopped reading rather sooner than you’re claiming, unless you can quote the passage where I said anything about my own sexual preferences. Please stop making shit up. It’s not cool, and it’s a pretty lousy way to support an argument.

But if you’re ever wondering what people are talking about when they refer to privilege, this would be a great example- feeling free to say racist shit and expecting to define it as not racist because you don’t hate minorities, you just wouldn’t ever want to bone one. Yeah, it is that bad.

I’m starting to believe you actually stopped reading before you read anyone’s posts in this conversation at all, let alone mine. I didn’t say anything resembling that. No one said anything resembling that. The closest we’ve had is Ozy saying that zie is somewhat less likely to be sexually attracted to people of color, while also mentioning a specific person of color zie finds super-hot. Going from “I am more often attracted to one particular look than another” to “Gosh, I don’t HATE all minorities, I just would never have sex with one!” is a wee bit of a jump, don’t you think?

But, you know, that imaginary strawman in your head who says things like that? I still defend his right not to have sex with people he’s not attracted to, too. I’d think he’s kind of a racist douche if he expressed it that way, but if he stuck with something like, “I’m really only attracted to pale women, that’s just my thing,” didn’t suggest his preferences were or should be universal, and didn’t treat non-pale women with any less respect for not being pleasing to his boner, I still don’t see why anyone other than he and his potential partners should give a damn. If you’d like, we can make this about my own personal axis of oppression, so maybe you’ll stop making shit up about my imaginary personal racism for a minute: I’m disabled. I need a cane or wheelchair to get around. And I don’t think a guy who is only sexually attracted to women who dance with him is a terrible ableist person. I think he’s just a guy who likes dancing, and unless he treats me as inferior to dancing women, I don’t give a flying fuck about the fact that I don’t give him a boner. I have vastly more important things to worry about than giving random dudes boners, and while I’m privileged enough not to know firsthand, I strongly suspect the average woman of color being told that some random person isn’t all that turned on by her skin tone feels much the same way.

Ok, if you are speaking to Katz, could you tell her I said it is absurd to pretend expressing you individual preferences doesn’t have an influence on people, and isn’t an expression of our internalized prejudices. Further, that when we express our personal preferences, even when we don’t mean them to represent some aloof ideal of ‘good’ or ‘evil’ they can still be fucking racist? I mean, if you hear from her. Because, like, we are totally not speaking right now.

I’ve been watching this trainwreck and trying to stay out of it, but @ Kitten- No, saying ‘I am not attracted to … ‘ is pretty much the same as saying ‘they are unattractive’. is not true.

I am not attracted to Selma Hayek, Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg, George Clooney, David Niven, Danny Kaye, Carrotop, etc.

My partner doesn’t think Michelangelo’s David is “attractive”. She admits it’s a great piece of art, but it doesn’t move her.

That doesn’t mean they are unattractive. It means I’m not attracted to them.

If I say “I am not attracted to “X” group, it’s not about them, it’s about what I like.

If I said, “X” group is unattractive, that is racist. The simple fact of the matter is we don’t know what makes people attracted to other people. I recall, some twenty years ago, reading a paper which said that one’s general preferences were established by the adults one saw before the age of eight. If that’s true it’s completely possible for a racist culture to create preferences which are limited, but not, inherently, racist.

@ Kitten- No, saying ‘I am not attracted to … ‘ is pretty much the same as saying ‘they are unattractive’.

…um, yeah, no, that’s ridiculous. I am a heterosexual woman. I am not sexually attracted to any woman. That does not mean I think all women are objectively unattractive, because that’s freaking stupid. I also am not sexually attracted to people who I perceive as “too old” or “too young” for me. That does not mean I think Harrison Ford and Zac Efron are ugly, ugly men – far from it. It just means I don’t personally want to bang them. There are, in fact, billions of people I don’t want to bang – in fact, I’d say roughly 99.99999% of the people I’ve encountered in my life are people I do not want to bang. That does not mean I think they are unattractive people. It does not mean I think they don’t deserve respect, or happiness, or awesome sexy times with someone who does want to bang them. It just means they didn’t do it for me personally, and I would have to be staggeringly arrogant to think that my personal lack of desire to bang them says anything whatsoever about their objective level of attractiveness.

@ Polliwog- yet a-fucking-gain, I care nothing for who you fuck, polliwog- If you think that comes from an emotionally healthy place, you are very mistaken, and if you think it’s alright to say that that attitude is ok on a public forum, then you are wrong. Plain and simple. If you think that racist attitude is unhealthy, that it would do a person very well to try to change it, then congratulations- that is a non-racist thing to think. If you aren’t interested in seeing that attitude perpetuated on a public forum, well good- that’s what non-racists do. The idea that it should be alright to express boner-shrinkage for minorities- that is racist and bad. I am not suggesting you should be forced to bone a minority(oh good god, at this point you boning anyone seems like a terrible idea) to end racism- that is really quite absurd and incredibly icky to boot. I really don’t understand why a group of what seems like fairly intelligent and critically minded people find it so god-damn mind blowing that saying you’re not attracted to black people/asian people/ indian people/ native americans/pretty much any minority is fucking racist. It would fit almost perfectly in a dictionary definition of racism. Jesus.

@ Kitten- context, christ, and stop conflating racism with sexual orientation- not the same goddamn thing- Saying ‘I am not attracted to black people’ is the same as saying ‘Black people are unattractive’. At least as far as litmus tests for racist shit goes.

(oh good god, at this point you boning anyone seems like a terrible idea)

I’m so glad that while you can’t respond to anyone’s points, and can’t be bothered – as you admitted yourself – to read people’s actual words, you can still helpfully offer such trenchant arguments as this. Boy, you sure showed me!

OK, I’ll go ahead and ask: Would ttf and Vitamin D like to offer an explanation of how people like me can have people who we explicitly think are attractive and yet are not sexually attracted to, including people compatible with our sexual orientations, if not being attracted to someone is exactly the same as saying they’re unattractive?

Ugh, pecunium, again, not meant as a hard fast rule of life, but in this particular circumstance- saying ‘I’m not attracted to minority x ‘ is the same (or maybe it would be clearer if I changed the original phrasing to say “just as bad”) as ‘minority x are not attractive’. Similar to “I am scared of minority x” is just as bad as “minority x is scary”.

Saying ‘I am not attracted to black people’ is the same as saying ‘Black people are unattractive’

There you go again, conflating personal sexual attraction with the general idea of beauty, or abstract attractiveness. I find people of all races beautiful, or not – that isn’t the same as finding anyone of any race sexually attractive, or not. And give over the notion that PoC are automatically “a minority” to everyone reading, hmm? That’s pretty damn condescending itself. This isn’t a US-only board.

@ Katz- So, what you are saying is the ideological influence on what race we may or may not be attracted to is the same as sexual orientation? By extension, sexual orientation is a result of ideological influence? And sexual orientation is as mailable as ideological influence? Neato. You just run with that then.

@ kitten- and there you go again, pretending personal preference cannot be racist, or expression of personal preference cannot be racist or harmful. Honestly, where the hell did that idea come from? It’s certainly not a popular idea- actually, I’m pretty sure no one outside of this thread would say something so blatantly wrong.

@Vitamin D – Are you saying that sexual attraction/fetishes aren’t hard wired? Or that no one could possibly have a fetish as broad as an entire race of people? Or something else?

I’ve been trying to follow this convo and the disagreement seems to be coming from differing premises, not poor logic after the premises.

Or do you accept that some people may have an unchangeable fetish as broad as an entire race, but they should keep it to themselves in public because stating their preference unashamedly is hurtful to the people who are excluded by it?

@ Kim- fetishes are special, and I am operating on the assumption we aren’t talking about a special beige people fetish, or anti-beige people fetish as it were. Like can you you say foot fetishes are a result of mass media influence? Only in an extremely questionable way. The same is not true for the sexualization of young white women to the exclusion of minorities.

Responding to your comment, but seriously, when I said it would be better represented as ‘as bad as’ are you going to get all huffy over phrasing? That will do for the purposed of this little chat, go with it. Oh wait, I mean if you hear from Katz, tell her the above.

I feel like we’re talking past each other. Is any of the following controversial here?

A. No one should ever be forced or pressured to have sex with someone against their will.

B. Most of us live in a world that is still pretty fucking racist, and those of us who oppose racism should be willing to take reasonable steps to avoid supporting racism. “Reasonable” does not equal pity fucking people you are not attracted to, because that would be a shitty thing to do.

C. It is probably a good idea to not express publicly sentiments that reinforce prevailing racist ideas that people of color are less attractive, because (a) your personal preferences are not relevant to anyone who isn’t interested in sleeping with you, and (b) your personal preferences may be hurtful to people who get that enough from the media, etc.

D. Repeat A.

“Saying ‘I am not attracted to black people’ is the same as saying ‘Black people are unattractive’”

No, it’s not.

Sure it’s not the same. But why would you say that in front of people who aren’t interested in who you are attracted to, in front of an online audience that probably includes black people who hear from multiple sources daily how inferior/unattractive/angry/etc. they are? What do you have to gain from sharing that? What do we all have to lose? Why risk causing pain?

Also, CassandraSays said:

I’m sorry if I’m coming across as super hostile here, btw.

And I’d like to say the same – sorry if I was being aggressive or policing or in any way asshole-ish. I think we probably actually mostly agree on this issue, but were coming at it from different directions.

But why would you say that in front of people who aren’t interested in who you are attracted to, in front of an online audience that probably includes black people who hear from multiple sources daily how inferior/unattractive/angry/etc. they are? What do you have to gain from sharing that? What do we all have to lose? Why risk causing pain?

Cloudiah: are you saying that being attracted or not attracted to whatever race is fine, but saying so (depending, perhaps, on the context) may be wrong or hurtful?

If so, a) sure, I agree with everything you said, and b) that’s very different from what ttf and Vitamin D were arguing, since they both said (or at least heavily implied and refused to disagree with) that not being attracted to a certain race automatically made you racist, whether you say so or not. Ttf was quite explicit that you’re either a racist who’s broadcasting your racism, or a racist who shuts up about it.

And c) this whole conversation is very odd since nobody ever did say they weren’t attracted to anyone of a certain race.

Sure it’s not the same. But why would you say that in front of people who aren’t interested in who you are attracted to, in front of an online audience that probably includes black people who hear from multiple sources daily how inferior/unattractive/angry/etc. they are? What do you have to gain from sharing that? What do we all have to lose? Why risk causing pain?

I also agree with everything Cloudiah said. Just want to add that no one in the thread said anywhere “I’m not attracted to black people” (or any other ethnicity). The boner reports have been kept to a minimum here, people have been speaking hypothetically about whether it’s okay to have certain preferences.

So, and this is a serious question – is the ONLY real area of disagreement here whether it’s okay or wrong to have a hypothetical discussion on colour preferences? Or is there ALSO disagreement on whether a person who doesn’t sexually fancy blacks/fat/disabled/whatever ought to try to change zir sexual preferences?

@ Katz- Ok, I signed up as vitamin d the first time, user name issues, renamed myself time traveling fool, it’s the same avatar, comeawn. Secondly, what cloudiah is saying is exactly the same as what I am saying, only nicer. Likely, she is a better human being than I am. Awesome. But being a better person means that sometimes you don’t call racists on their racist shit because it doesn’t change their behavior and it gets them all hostile. Personally, I’ve always found talking to people gently about their prejudices just means they like you more while they ignore you. Me, I like you to remember when I called you on it.

As to the serious question, I don’t give a shit about their sexual preferences, I do give a shit about their racism. And yes, they ought to make an effort to drop that. If, as a result, they become attracted to minorities, um, fine? I’m sure minorities everywhere will rejoice? But certainly not the point.

Sure it’s not the same. But why would you say that in front of people who aren’t interested in who you are attracted to, in front of an online audience that probably includes black people who hear from multiple sources daily how inferior/unattractive/angry/etc. they are? What do you have to gain from sharing that? What do we all have to lose? Why risk causing pain?

Okay, at this point I may have lost track, but I feel like early in this whole conversation pretty much everyone agreed that randomly announcing your sexual preferences to the world is generally tacky, regardless of what those preferences are. I absolutely agree with that – if people are having a conversation about anything other than what you find attractive, stopping by to share what you find attractive seems vaguely annoying at best, and downright rude at worst. Was anyone actually arguing otherwise and I missed it? (Honest question, to be clear – I’m tired and this argument got ridiculous enough that I don’t especially want to go back and poke through it.)

That said, once a conversation IS on the topic of what various people find attractive, I cannot see sharing what particular tastes one might have as being inherently offensive or oppressive to anyone, unless it is done in a specifically offensive or oppressive way. Simply saying, “Personally, I think blonde hair is sexy!” or “I’ve never really gone for particularly skinny women, myself – I like curvy ladies!” or “I really like it when a guy is taller than I am!” is not, or should not be, a problem in that context. (Again, “in that context” is key – there is a pretty obvious difference between my friend saying, “Heh, I have another crush on a tall skinny guy with glasses – I do seem to have a type, don’t I?” to me when discussing her latest flame, as she did the other day, and someone wandering into an unrelated space to announce, “Hey, ladies, I just want you to know that I like big boobies!”) Now, the same preferences could absolutely be expressed in massively uncool ways, but I feel like that’s a problem with being a douchebag about one’s preferences, not with having or expressing them in the first place. Is that fair?

Nah, dude, announcing your sexual preferences when they come from a blatantly racist an obviously hurtful place is, um, ‘tacky’ ( if by tacky you mean perpetuating racist stereotypes). And no, it isn’t fair to express harmful shit. And yes, alienating a minority when it comes to sexual preferences is in a different category of harm when it comes to tall people, or people with glasses- find me a history book about the war against tall people and the systemic oppression of the beglassed and maybe we can talk.

Nah, dude, announcing your sexual preferences when they come from a blatantly racist an obviously hurtful place is, um, ‘tacky’ ( if by tacky you mean perpetuating racist stereotypes). And no, it isn’t fair to express harmful shit. And yes, alienating a minority when it comes to sexual preferences is in a different category of harm when it comes to tall people, or people with glasses- find me a history book about the war against tall people and the systemic oppression of the beglassed and maybe we can talk.

That’s nice, but I’m not sure why you think I’d have any interest in talking to you at this point, given that you explicitly stated that you weren’t bothering to read what I’d written and then proceeded to make up lies about what I had said. If you’d care to apologize for that and try addressing my actual arguments, that’d be great, but in the meantime, I’m really not interested in playing along with your little games.

Addressing someone who explicitly identified as female just a few comments back as “dude” is SUPER classy, by the way.

are you saying that being attracted or not attracted to whatever race is fine, but saying so (depending, perhaps, on the context) may be wrong or hurtful?

katz, I’m not willing to say that not being attracted to whatever race is fine, because if it is based on racist sensibilities that isn’t fine — that doesn’t in any way negate the proposition that people shouldn’t have sex with people they aren’t attracted to, but people who are opposed to racism shouldn’t be complacent about internalized racism.

@Vitamin D, Thanks for the condescension, I guess? If you think my goal is to be liked here, well I’m not going to change your mind but that’s pretty far off from my actual motivation.

My problem with what TTF/Vitamin D was that zie left out this:

“saying ‘I am not attracted to … ‘ is pretty much the same as saying ‘they are unattractive to me‘”

Because that is pretty important distinction if we are discussing individual preference. Otherwise you are taking a personal preference for having intimate relations with (of any kind) and claiming that it means that person thinks anyone or all persons of a particular race, personality, hair colour, eye colour, left handedness…is unattractive period, full stop.

@ elizabeth- that’s not the distinction I make- I finish the sentence as : ‘I am not attracted to minority x.’ Or ‘Minority x is not attractive.’ These two separate statements are equally offensive in nature.

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