Is indiepop racist?

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tonieee
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by tonieee » Wed May 20, 2015 01:00

Jay, I agree with what you said but this is a thread about racism and how to make indiepop more welcoming to people of colour. It would be unfortunate if by discussing problems that relate to the population as a whole we gave the impression that concerns relating to race do not matter. It's not that I disagree with any of what you're saying but maybe the UK Politics thread would be a better place to discuss it.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by humblebee » Wed May 20, 2015 09:29

That's fair enough. I think you're probably both right.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by ShaunBrilldream » Wed May 20, 2015 11:41

I think the main problem with indiepop dealing with racism is that any discussion seems to involve a dozen white people wondering what they can do and little or no input from POC. I think the reason for this is whenever POC speak up they are often shot down or totally misunderstood. The two most damning examples of this are the discussion on the 'Shop talk' facebook group. Whether a forum for people who like to discuss guitar peddles and drum patterns was the ideal place discuss such matter is something of a mute point. When someone was brave enough to say 'I'm POC and this is how I feel at pop shows...' the person was derided by a certain section of the group and made to feel, at best, that their opinions were worthless and and worst that they were simply making them up.

The second example (by far the most recent and most damning) was Stuart Murdoch reaction of telling Sarah Sahim (the author of a well written and brave piece about being a POC indiepop fan) to fuck off. Is it any wonder people stay quiet if that's the reaction when they speak up? Where was the backlash to this? The disgust? If we sit back and let this kind of thing slip under the carpet then all the 'is indiepop racist?' discussion in the world ain't worth a bean.

Discussions like this are important and necessary, but so is having input from POC.
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by MaxS » Wed May 20, 2015 16:42

If I'm completely honest to myself, I do find it hard to imagine black people making indie pop about tea and heartbreaks and stuff.
I guess I'm more racist than I thought, but for some reason music is the one area where I feel race somehow does a role in your taste. We have the whole "white men can't dance" stereotype
Is there necessarily something wrong with that? As with gender equality you can go overboard and start denying any differences between (average) man and woman, same with race (ok not quite same thing but you know..)

I mean, go to Spotify or something and look at any popular band that's not jazz or reggae and it's mostly white. Where are the black rock bands? Why are there so many more hiphop/R&B artists who are black? Sure, middleclass is mostly white. But I don't know, jazz instruments cost even more than normal band ones so it's not money issue at least. We live in age where you can escape all prejudices by making any type of music you want in your home, release it online, and no one needs to know your race until you reveal yourself, so surely we'd have bedroom projects and indie stuff from black people if they'd have interest in making it?

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by RITH » Wed May 20, 2015 20:26

MaxS, even though I can follow your line of reasoning your above post feels like a true minefield of assumptions, generalisations and too quickly drawn conclusions to me. No offense intended, and thank you for sharing your opinion, of course. But instead of trying to defuse the bombs in that minefield and come out unharmed, let me try to offer that perhaps it's not so much about the question why a substantial part of indiepop bands and listeners aren't black but whether the nonwhite people who would actually be interested in being part of this community feel safe and welcome in doing so. That's where it all starts, I'd say. When this doesn't feel so to them, a discussion about the why (experienced and/or intended racism) and what to do about it is justified.

As a less relevant aside: are there really that many indiepop songs about drinking tea? This is a rhetorical question that doesn't need an answer in this thread, but I for one have thousands of songs in my collection that I would be inclined to label 'indiepop', and if 1% of them is about drinking tea I'd be surprised. Heartbreaks happen to everyone and are the main theme in every genre, of course. I assume you were intentionally using an often used stereotype, but I'm not sure if that's helping your point here.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Jay » Wed May 20, 2015 21:14

tonieee wrote:Jay, I agree with what you said but this is a thread about racism and how to make indiepop more welcoming to people of colour. It would be unfortunate if by discussing problems that relate to the population as a whole we gave the impression that concerns relating to race do not matter. It's not that I disagree with any of what you're saying but maybe the UK Politics thread would be a better place to discuss it.
Apologies. No other forum I use has such a rigid format, where threads tend to flow like conversations.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by linus » Thu May 21, 2015 07:48

I don't think the post you made shouldn't have been posted in this thread, I presume all Tonieee meant was (you or anyone else) expanding on what you said in your post might be better suited to the 'UK Politics' thread... in a thread titled 'Is indiepop racist?' to change the discussion to a discussion on pay, exploitation of workers, being screwed over by the Tories doesnt seem appropriate and feeds a lot of criticism the board's had that when racism or sexism, for example, are discussed the threads get sidetracked/derailed and any discussion (or the opportunity for discussion) is lost... I think Tonieee is probably mindful of that, so, yeh, maybe there is a degree of rigidity to the forum but there's a reason

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by tonieee » Thu May 21, 2015 08:31

a fog of ideas wrote:I don't think the post you made shouldn't have been posted in this thread, I presume all Tonieee meant was (you or anyone else) expanding on what you said in your post might be better suited to the 'UK Politics' thread... in a thread titled 'Is indiepop racist?' to change the discussion to a discussion on pay, exploitation of workers, being screwed over by the Tories doesnt seem appropriate and feeds a lot of criticism the board's had that when racism or sexism, for example, are discussed the threads get sidetracked/derailed and any discussion (or the opportunity for discussion) is lost... I think Tonieee is probably mindful of that, so, yeh, maybe there is a degree of rigidity to the forum but there's a reason
Thanks Andy, that's exactly what I meant. Generally I wouldn't mind going off topic on most threads (I probably do that myself a lot :)) but in this case I think we should be a bit more sensitive about it.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Jay » Thu May 21, 2015 18:34

a fog of ideas wrote:I don't think the post you made shouldn't have been posted in this thread, I presume all Tonieee meant was (you or anyone else) expanding on what you said in your post might be better suited to the 'UK Politics' thread... in a thread titled 'Is indiepop racist?' to change the discussion to a discussion on pay, exploitation of workers, being screwed over by the Tories doesnt seem appropriate and feeds a lot of criticism the board's had that when racism or sexism, for example, are discussed the threads get sidetracked/derailed and any discussion (or the opportunity for discussion) is lost... I think Tonieee is probably mindful of that, so, yeh, maybe there is a degree of rigidity to the forum but there's a reason
I wasn't being arsey. My apology was genuine (and still is). I was simply attempting to explain my mistake. I accept both your and Tonieee's explanation and advice.

Back on topic...

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Silver Girl » Fri May 22, 2015 09:33

ShaunBrilldream wrote:
Discussions like this are important and necessary, but so is having input from POC.
True, true. I'm not sure how to put this (and I really don't want to shoot anyone down), but as someone who is dual-heritage BAME, I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the 'POC' terminology. Sorry.
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by noLooking » Fri May 22, 2015 09:43

Silver Girl wrote:True, true. I'm not sure how to put this (and I really don't want to shoot anyone down), but as someone who is dual-heritage BAME, I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the 'POC' terminology. Sorry.
Well, yeah, I've always thought 'colour' was uncomfortably close to other phrases I'd feel less happy using, though I'm certain no offence is intended. Probably best to agree on what everyone's comfortable with.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Trev » Fri May 22, 2015 10:31

I'm not sure what term to use. Using POC in this post because I am not sure what other term to use when discussing the issue.

I've seen people who are POC use POC and I've seen people who are POC who are not okay with the term.

Terminology does change and evolve over time (hopefully for the better). If not POC - As a middle aged white man I am curious as to what language is acceptable? (Genuine question, genuinely keen to know what people think).
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by noLooking » Fri May 22, 2015 10:43

If Silver Girl is happy with BAME I'd go with that. In terms of evolution, I pretty much didn't talk to anyone about anything for about a decade so I kinda missed POC and when I heard it, the use of the word 'colour' sounded a bit uncomfortable to me. I can understand why others have gotten used to it but I found myself purposely trying to avoid it when I was busy making a fool of myself yesterday.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by ShaunBrilldream » Fri May 22, 2015 10:49

Silver Girl wrote:
True, true. I'm not sure how to put this (and I really don't want to shoot anyone down), but as someone who is dual-heritage BAME, I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the 'POC' terminology. Sorry.
I hope no-one thinks my clumsiness in terminology is anyway meant to cause offence. I'm not 100% happy using the term either but was (am) unsure about which term to use. Either way, I'm sorry for making you feel uncomfortable. Is there a term we can find that doesn't cause offence? That is kind of the point of the thread.

Again, apologies for my clumsiness.
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Jay » Fri May 22, 2015 10:51

Silver Girl wrote:
ShaunBrilldream wrote:
Discussions like this are important and necessary, but so is having input from POC.
True, true. I'm not sure how to put this (and I really don't want to shoot anyone down), but as someone who is dual-heritage BAME, I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the 'POC' terminology. Sorry.

Until this thread, I'd never before heard or seen the abbreviation/acronym/initialism. Maybe it is in common usage, but it has completely passed me by. To be honest, I'm struggling with it and not keen on using it. Firstly, I'm not absolutely certain what it means (Google hasn't helped as I'm pretty sure it's not the Porsche Owners Club). Secondly, if it means what I think it means then I'm still struggling with it, particularly the 'c' part, for what should be obvious historical reasons.

If it is to become the new politically correct term of address then I'm not looking forward to the conversation I'll be having with my granddad when I try to explain why the absence of the suffix 'ed' transforms an unacceptable adjective in to one we should now all be using. To be honest, I'm not sure I understand why either, and as it took me so long to get him to change his choice of words from what he was told to use when he was younger to what is acceptable now, I think he'll probably punch me if I bring this up. I wouldn't blame him. I would imagine Alan Hansen will raise an eyebrow too.

I understand perfectly why 'coloured' was deemed unacceptable, and my generation rarely used it (I never did), but I'm struggling to understand why POC is OK. But it doesn't matter what I think, or my granddad, or Alan Hansen, or the majority of us on here. What matters is how the people who the term is used to describe view and react to it. If it's the terminology of choice then I'll use it and get used to it, but so far, from a sample of one, it has a zero percent approval rating.

Can I ask, is BAME a term you're happy with? I must confess, I've never heard that before either, but after looking it up I'd personally be more comfortable using it as it doesn't appear to have any historically offensive connotations.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Trev » Fri May 22, 2015 10:57

Jay wrote:I understand perfectly why 'coloured' was deemed unacceptable, and my generation rarely used it (I never did), but I'm struggling to understand why POC is OK. But it doesn't matter what I think, or my granddad, or Alan Hansen, or the majority of us on here. What matters is how the people who the term is used to describe view and react to it. If it's the terminology of choice then I'll use it and get used to it, but so far, from a sample of one, it has a zero percent approval rating.

Can I ask, is BAME a term you're happy with? I must confess, I've never heard that before either, but after looking it up I'd personally be more comfortable using it as it doesn't appear to have any historically offensive connotations.
BAME would be understood in the UK - not sure about wider use in say the USA or beyond.

I've never been overly comfortable with POC but seeing people who could be described as such using it, I was prepared to be convinced. But seeing others less happy with it confirms my initial thoughts.
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by RITH » Fri May 22, 2015 11:43

I've been mixing 'POC' (person of colour) with 'nonwhite people'. Not sure if either of those is great. I've seen multiple people use POC to describe themselves, but Silver Girl's post is also not the first time I've seen someone frown at the term. I had never heard of 'BAME' (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) before, so it looks a bit strange/new to me, which doesn't mean that's a bad thing.

Silver Girl, do you have a personal preference? Ideally we would all just be 'people' of course, but for the sake of addressing the problem a distinction has its function.

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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by Trev » Fri May 22, 2015 11:47

RITH wrote: I had never heard of 'BAME' (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) before, so it looks a bit strange/new to me, which doesn't mean that's a bad thing.
As I suspected because this is a UK centric term.

That's not say it can't be used if people are most comfortable with it.

Like Dennis said we're all people but when discussing something you need to know what terms to use.
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Re: Is indiepop racist?

Post by noLooking » Fri May 22, 2015 15:18

Just as we thought we'd nailed it...
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... minorities

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Is indiepop racist?

Post by Carys » Fri May 22, 2015 23:11

BAME is the preferred terminology where I work (and in old jobs too), so it's what I'm used to using in professional UK contexts.

I believe POC is used much more widely in the U.S. However, I reckon because a lot of people tune into trans-Atlantic political discussions through social media, the term is being used more frequently in the UK. I naturally gravitate to POC in social media discussions - I guess U.S. terminology carries a lot of weight.

Both are problematic in their own way, of course. The "minority" in BAME may be seen to disenfranchise people who feel minority implies subordination somehow. In the UK, we largely recoil from POC because "of colo(u)r" sounds a bit too much like "coloured" and all its negative connotations.

Obviously POC aren't a homogenous group, and different peeps have different takes on it all. Similar debates rage on in the disability community about Persons With Disabilities (PWD, U.S. terminology) vs Disabled Person. (I won't explain the distinction/intricacies here for fear of derailing). Ultimately, for me the problem seems to stem from any definition that is non-normative, as it can't really help but position white (or non-disabled) as the "normal" state. There's a whole linguistic relativity thing going on with it all, too: our language is influenced by our ideas, but our language also influences our ideas.

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