Why are white people so easily intimidated?

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Why are white people so easily intimidated?
By Gracious95 (Gracious95) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 01:51 am: Edit

Another race thread...I'm sorry!
But this has been bothering me.

It seems that the "outer shell" I have which scared no one in high school is intimidating a hell of a lot of people in college?

I remember when my mother came back from visiting my teachers one time, telling me how my computer science teachers was all shaken up by her.

"Don't you hate it when white people act like they're scared of you?"

That's exactly what's been happening thoughtout college so far. For example, on the first day, I offered help to this girl who was dropping all her things, when she just looked at me and scurried away. Still to this day, when I come accross some people and speak, they just give me some frightened look. I'm tired of having to say "hi" two or three times to get the other person to open their mouth. They had no problem talking to the other girls?

In class today, the professor asked us if we wanted our "papers" back. I said, "You can keep them.." since nobody else spoke. Then at the very end of class, "Um...can I have my paper back?" Then, the professors asks "Who else wants their paper back?" Everyone's hand shot up.

It was frustrating, but flattering at the same time. I intimidated that entire class from saying what they really wanted (other than the girl who spoke up, of course).

It's a good feeling to realize that you have that power over people, but at the same time, you don't want everyone to be scared of you. Funny, I have no problems with the other black people! Even the foreign ones.

Now, I know it's not everyone, but far too many. But, maybe someone on this forum was just described and can give me some insight. What is going through their heads? I just don't understand it at all.

By Glowingamy (Glowingamy) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 02:17 am: Edit

I definitely wouldn't run away or anything if you were trying to talk to me, that's just weird, but like everyone's experiences have differed. My school is seriously whites, asians, and Metco (buses people into suburbs from Boston) students. Everyone seems to act out the stereotype. It's not the race that intimidates me (i do have black friends albeit outside of school!!) it's more demeanor and stuff. My friends all know me as the paranoid judgmental one since I do this with everyone. "Let's go sit over there amy!" "No it's too near that blonde with the glitter eyeshadow, she looks really mean." I was teased a lot as a girl and when you have been, while it's easy to accept individual people after a few minutes it's also VERY easy to judge within a few seconds, especially if you go to a school where 5% is minority and like 50% of the failing students are, and it's easy to forget that race doesn't mean anything and it's socioeconomic etc. I think that's the most important thing I've learned since I've been on CC, is that it doesn't and the two people I respect/relate to most (respectively) are black and I don't think about it except in a thread like this maybe. but i disgress, what I'm trying to say is that we're all bound by our own experiences. I guess I am an extreme case but I become extremely uncomfortable when I am around people whom I feel (er deep inside) might break out the chalk and stick gum in my hair. If people are afraid of you it's because someone made them afraid in elementary school imo , and they never had enough life experience to offset that, and that's life horrible as it is. I try not to act this way. Umm :(

By Irchik13 (Irchik13) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:18 am: Edit

I don't know. I guess it's the stereotype. I mean, if you look at any TV shows, movies, etc. i n a lot of them, you'll see the black people as the ghetto tough people, so "you don't wanna mess with them." I'm a little more intimidated by black girls (I'm a white girl) than white girls, because I can feel that I can stand up to a white girl, but I probably wouldn't be able to hold my own with a black girl. However, I treat all races the same when I meet them - whether they are black or white, I would be nice and respectful until the person proves that I shouldn't be that way toward them. I wish the stereotypes weren't there. Seriously. Don't you just get tired of them after a while?
A lot of people whom I meet outside of school are intimidated by me because I'm a pretty tall girl. I'm tired of it. It's not like I bite, seriously....hm...going off on tangent here, am I not...

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 08:02 am: Edit

well since we are using race in a heading I have a serious question. Why do many( american) blacks in my area use their physical presence so much more forcefully than say whites from england. They call to each other from across the street, they are very loud in conversation when you are less than two feet away, and they stand very close when speaking.
I am not comfortable when standing so close, but that is because I like to see the person I am talking to, not because I am intimidated. However I also like to be lost in my own thoughts when walking and unless I was really looking for someone and had no chance of tracking them down later, I wouldn't call out to someone across the street let alone have a whole converstaion that way ( yes I know that is contradictory to my statement about personal space)

By Chavi (Chavi) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 02:08 pm: Edit

I think it is because race is so frequently discussed in our society that it is constantly on people's minds I think our society has a preoccupation with prejudice, and many black leaders throw the word around far too loosely. It makes for a lot of self-consciousness, and some people would just rather not deal with it. There is a fear that you're going to say something that either sounds stupid or that might offend the other person.

By Gfjigi (Gfjigi) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:51 pm: Edit

Racism is so 60's

By Irchik13 (Irchik13) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 05:13 pm: Edit

I agree with Chavi.

By Goodchocolate (Goodchocolate) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 08:51 pm: Edit

If I made this thread about blacks I would be called racist, yet since it's about Whites it's fine to most people. (I'm sure if a thread "Why are White People Such Idiots?" was made, nobody would care.)

By Davidrune (Davidrune) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 09:11 pm: Edit

On a different note...

Today was the first day of my school, which is private and all guys. Anyways, I was playing ultimate frisbee outside. Not in my uniform.

And a gr 9 comes up to me and says:

"What are you doing here? Do you even go to this school?"

Take that anyway you want to.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:32 pm: Edit

I think it is good to discuss issues concerning cultural and racial differences honestly.
How else are we going to understand each other if we tiptoe around the topic?
While I understand the original posters bemusement at class mates who were too timid to speak up until she initiated a response to the prof I also feel that some of the black community that I am familar with, use intimidation either unconciously or conciously in what I considered to be inappropriate situations.
this morning as I arrived at a high school where I was volunteering ( 9th grade only day), a group of boys interacted with every girl they saw ( about 3) by calling her "bitch" this was loud, as they were a few yards away , and I don't know the kids so I couldn't tell if this was a term of endearment or not, but it didn't really seem to be a friendly situation. I was only out there for a few minutes so I am assuming they used "inside language" inside the school
Same school
Pep rally in the gym, all the 9th graders were inside except for about 30 who were hanging outside playing rap on their boom box and raising their voices even louder when I walked by to insure that I heard their conversation about viagra and the effects thereof ( I am sure you can imagine)
I was unsure whether I was supposed to usher them in teh gym or not, but when a teacher walked by ignoring them, I did the same even though I am old school and think that if everybody is supposed to be at the rally , then everyone is supposed to be at the rally no matter how uncool you think it is.
Of course not all black kids are thugs, or thug wannabes, it could be posturing whatever, I don't really care. But this kind of behaviour does not prepare them to fit into life beyond high school if they are going to interact with anyone beside their friends.
I know kids who behave much differently when not with the alpha male, but I also know kids who are more independent and don't choose to hang out with alpha male types bcause they appear ignorant no matter how intelligent they may actually be.
So please explain what is attraction of this ridiculous behavior? I mean 9th graders bragging about using viagra? what the •••• would they need that for?

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit

I was once made to take the service elevator on my job by a white female. I told my employer (ethnically Jewish, though is Christian by faith) and she personally traveled with me down and up the elevator to make sure no one would ever make me take the service elevator again. I don't think I was ever so ashamed in my life.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit

(Reading Emeraldkity's post.)

The "bitch" comments caught me off guard in the context it was put forth. I went to a heavily-minority high school, and I don't know a guy that would live until the end of the school day if he called random girls "bitches". Unless, there's something about the situation that I'm not getting...?

By Valpal (Valpal) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 11:42 pm: Edit

"I also feel that some of the black community that I am familar with, use intimidation either unconciously or conciously in what I considered to be inappropriate situations."

Sure their behavior is meant to intimidate, and it's meant to offend. But black boys like the one's you've mentioned are not the norm. They are rebellious delinquents, prideful of their ability to offend and instill fear. Do you think this type of behavior is particular to black males? Would the same behavior be any less offensive coming from white boys? Would their behavior be seen as a reflection of their race?

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 11:49 pm: Edit

I also caution that a lot of what can be viewed as "intimidation" is open to perception. Consider the schemata with which a particular person may be viewing a certain situation. Pre-conceptual mindsets, both conscious or unconscious, heavily influence the way we perceive our world.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

Do you think this type of behavior is particular to black males? Would the same behavior be any less offensive coming from white boys? Would their behavior be seen as a reflection of their race?

Personally I don't think a group of white boys who are supposed to be some where else, would be allowed to continue to be disruptive and flaunt their refusal to adhere to accepted behavior.

I don't think black students are often held to the same standard. Not in behavior, not in academics. It is often expected that a class will be too difficult and so they are shuttled into less challenging classes. They are bored to death and act out and it is the same old same old.
They are given high marks for doing mediocre work and they are usually capable of more.
While there are many instances that blacks including teens are assumed to be doing something illegal just because of their skin color, in schools at least in our area we bend over backwards to make everything about race, and to make every thing about what a nasty hand blacks are dealt.

I dont think it is representative of black males
WHile I worked closely with all middle school students at my daughters former school, I had not seen that type of behavior. Previous school was much smaller 250 in the whole high school and perhaps the jerks just didn't reach a critical mass as they do in this school of 1700.

The "bitch" comments caught me off guard in the context it was put forth. I went to a heavily-minority high school, and I don't know a guy that would live until the end of the school day if he called random girls "bitches"

Well like I noted, this was beginning of school day. ( I don't know if they survived to the end)
the first day for all 9th graders, who come from all over the city. I assumed that the girls knew the boys, but I really couldn't tell, I wasn't really paying attention to the interaction until I heard the language.

I would agree with preconception. that is why I think this message board is useful. Preconceptions of course work more than one way. Just look to the heading to see that.

By T2opine (T2opine) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:24 am: Edit

I would say that the way people react to people of different races depends on their individual experiences. I went to a small high school that was around 50% black, and I live across the river from Trenton, NJ, so when I came to Duquesne it wasn't a big shock to see a big group of black guys. I'll be completely honest, most of the black boys that I have known have been loud, rude, and very intimidating. It's only with the guys though, the girls never really gave me a problem. I also notice that very few individual people are intimidating. It's big groups that give off that impression in my opinion. I will also say that I see the same kind of behavior at college too. I am not saying that this is what the majority of black guys are like. It's what I have seen in my experiences, but I am not saying that that kind of behavior is the norm. After all, I don't know every black person in the world.

However, I can see how someone coming from a place where there were very few minorites would be intimidated by a group of black guys. There are a lot of stereotypes out there, and if people are not exposed to anything outside the stereotype, they probably will be intimidated.

By Songman (Songman) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

And I was told by a blue blood Bostonian excecutive officer at a bank not to use the same men's room that he used. I am white and he was also. It was not an officer only bathroom instead he was holding onto to some rascist beliefs he grew up with that anyone with a vowel at the end of their last name was a lower form of life. I reported the incident to HR and ultimately left the company. As I was walking out he apologized and said it "was a stupid comment and that he could not help it, I was raised that way"

Just about every race or subset of caucasian has been discriminated against sometime or another in the 1960's and 1970's. Hopefully all this liberalism has erased some of the rascism that existed when I grew up back in the 1960's. One night I told my kids all the slang words(actually by today's standards -rascist words) that I grew up. They both said they have never once heard those words! I guess we have made some progress!

By Virtue_Summer (Virtue_Summer) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 07:27 pm: Edit


I don't know. Are you sure this is all because of your race? Although the girl who ran away seems a little odd, I don't see how the incident in class would nessesarily be related to race. Maybe most of the people in class just aren't as outgoing/outspoken as you are. Or it's possible they're intimidated by the professor and not you. I mean I know I wasn't there so I can't actually judge the situation. But couldn't these be possibilities?

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