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Silent Group Racism

Conspiracy to Alienate
Your input is greeted with ridicule, distaste or disdain.

     This strategy is initiated by a politely incredulous ("You're not serious, I hope?") or humorous reaction (laughter) to one of your statements or actions. The subtext is that your sensibilities or values are out of sync with that of the group. It gathers momentum when another in the group echoes the sentiment. It has taken root when most or all your input is greeted with open ridicule or distaste.

     This strategy is most common among lower professional levels or among younger professionals without responsbility for the group's performance or well-being. In social settings, it is more common among the lower-classes or the very young.

     The difficulty in these situations is knowing when to fight back with banter and when to write off the group as racist. Sometimes a group's crude or rough social style can be mistaken for racism.

Conspiracy to Condescend
Your input is treated as coming from someone of inferior capacity, knowledge or experience.

     This strategy is typically initiated when someone makes an elaborate show of paying close attention to everything you say, in the way that an adult does to a child. Sometimes it is initiated with exaggerated but obviously insincere praise for your input ("Those are some excellent points to keep in mind!") not accompanied by a substantive response. The conspiracy becomes manifest when others in the group treat you with exaggerated solicitude without acting on your input.

     This form is most common among mid-level professionals with some responsibility for the performance and well-being or young subordinates. In social settings, this is common among upper-class or upper-middle-class women and youth coming into contact with minority persons to whom they have had little exposure.

     The difficulty with this form of nouvelle racism is in trying to distinguish those with sincere goodwill but with no comfort level from confirmed bigots who see you as being racially inferior.

Conspiracy to Slander
You are undermined through the malicious spreading of untrue rumors.

     This strategy is set in motion when someone spreads a false rumor about you outside of your presence. If it finds an interested audience, it is embellished and exaggerated with each retelling. The object is to make you look ridiculous or contemptible. Once these slanders start being repeated by others, the nouvelle racists in the group feel empowered to fabricate more rumors about you. The conspiracy has succeeded when you come to be judged by false rumors rather than by your actions.


     This strategy is most popularly employed by low- and mid-level professionals against an Asian perceived to be a professional threat, especially if he is seen as lacking a base of peer support. In social situations it is used most often by lower- and middle-class people against an Asian seen as physically, intellectually or economically threatening. While the same strategies are used in non-racial situations, it is employed most commonly against Asians because of our relatively small numbers in the general population.

     The danger of this type of nouvelle racism is being drawn down to the level of the racists. The only effective counter-strategy is to succeed above the level of the slanderers, thereby putting their motivation into proper focus.

Conspiracy to Isolate
Other Asians in the group are converted into honorary Whites.

     Obviously silent racist conspiracies don't work in groups containing more than one Asian. But the more cunning and determined nouvelle racists have a strategy for dealing with that contingency. Once they settle on a victim, they confer special status on the other Asian in the group with words like, "You're not like the other Asians." This strategy has succeeded when the second Asian is flattered to have been accepted as an "honorary White".

     This tactic is found among lower or mid-level professionals. In a social context, it is used mostly in the lower and middle-classes.

     This tactic rarely succeeds with Asians who have an awareness of how nouvelle racism functions. It succeeds most often when the "other" Asian has low self-esteem. Nouvelle racists have no trouble picking out the one who is more vulnerable to this ruse. As soon as the victim has been squeezed out, the "honorary White" is easily disposed of.

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"This strategy has succeeded when the second Asian is flattered to have been accepted as an "honorary White."