September 30, 2016 by David Sutton
Reverse Racism Is Not A Thing
Reverse racism could be described as racial discrimination against a majority race, that is, if we chose to legitimize a term that isn’t really a thing. After all, why wouldn’t we just call it racism? Why do some insist on calling it reverse racism?
‘White Culture’ Is Baked In
Racism is not simply hate or malice directed at skin color, racism is also a systematically sanctioned oppression baked into society, where the default race is white. Some say reverse racism exists, citing Black History Month, or Black Entertainment Television (BET), arguing white people cannot get away with having a “White History Month” or “White Entertainment Television.” No, white people cannot get away with this, and the reason is simple: White people already have these things, we know them as “history” and “television,” so to celebrate “white culture,” whatever that is, is to mock minority culture. It’s a ridicule that satiates a hunger for a white dominance, explicitly righteous, from the classroom to the boardroom.
Yes, a black person can have prejudice toward a white person. Yes, we could call this racism — although I’ll explain why even this is fraught — but its folly to call it “reverse” racism. The desire for a member of the majority to use the term reverse racism stems from a belief that a minority group has gained some advantage in society. This impulse is fueled further by the majority’s appetite to obfuscate the structures and institutions of minority discrimination they would like us to believe no longer exist.
Racism Is About Power
Racism in America is more than race discrimination, it is also power of privilege over mind and body, mined through centuries of economic injustice and political oppression, and reinforced by apathy and character assassination.
But the price of error is higher for you than it is for your countrymen, and so that America might justify itself, the story of a black body’s destruction must always begin with his or her error, real or imagined. –Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Because of this racial hierarchy, it is probably more befitting to call it “racial bias” or “racial prejudice” when committed by a member of the minority against a member of the majority. Of course all racism is wrong, but the kind of racism a black person could show for a white person is not operating on the same level. Its lack of structural influence means it does not have dominion beyond each transaction.
The charge of reverse racism is also used by the majority as means to discredit minority social movements like Black Lives Matter. This is nothing new, civil rights leaders half a century ago faced the same smears. Just by pointing out white oppression a minority social movement faces malign, accused of fanning the flames of racial discord. It seems when you are in the majority, only the minority is capable of racial divisiveness, even when the majority is the catalyst.
Reverse Racism Fail
For reverse racism to exist, the burden of racial hierarchy must inhabit a cognitive void within the white mind. For reverse racism to be a thing, an understanding of the economic and social hardships this hierarchy places upon minorities cannot — must not — be harvested.
A refusal to see that centuries of institutionalized discrimination endures to this day, makes no less real the injustice levied to the minds and bodies it consumes.