Reverse Racism Is Not Real MAG

January 15, 2018
By Elizabeth Otero BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Elizabeth Otero BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

White fragility is “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves … [including] the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation,” according to Dr. Robin DiAngelo, a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice. While in conversation about race, white people often unknowingly display white fragility when they act defensively or aggressively, despite being aware that racism is immoral. White fragility prevents many people from understanding an important concept: reverse racism is not real. Reverse racism is the idea that people of color can be racist toward white people. However, that is simply impossible in today’s society. Certainly, people of color may have prejudices against white people, but racism and prejudice are not interchangeable terms.
Racism is much deeper and more complex than prejudice; it is the systematic oppression of an entire race because of the belief that that race is inferior, whereas prejudice is when you make an assumption about a person because of a certain characteristic. Racism emerged from the notion that the white race is superior to all other races; therefore, people of color may express anger toward white people because of the oppression and discrimination whites have systematically imposed upon their race throughout history and even today. Thus, the resentment that people of color may exhibit toward white people is based on the prejudice that white people are racist, rather than the idea that people of color are superior.
Historically, racism has manifested itself in the forms of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and persecution. Racism is embedded in the very institution of society, preventing people of color from having the ability to oppress white people on the grounds of white privilege. People of color have been treated as subhuman for centuries, which is evidenced through the fact that they were not given – and still do not have – the same rights as white people in regards to voting, education, pay, job opportunity, etc. Until 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed, black people were not even viewed or treated as human beings, but rather as property that did not have any rights. And yet this amendment is celebrated by white people as an act of benevolence and acceptance toward the African American race in history, as it technically freed black slaves and outlawed slavery, even though they were denied the status of human beings. Because white people established themselves as the superior race beginning as long ago as the Middle Ages, they have held the most power in society, making it utterly impossible for any other race to oppress them.
Society is ultimately controlled by white culture – this forces other cultures to adapt and conform in turn. People of color do not have the same upper hand in society that white people do, and it is because of this that they cannot be racist to white people. As stated in the 2014 satirical film “Dear White People,” “black people can’t be racist. Prejudiced yes, but not racist. Racism describes a system of disadvantage based on race. Black people can’t be racists since [they] don’t benefit from such a system.”

The argument that reverse racism is real in itself demonstrates the unwavering determination of white people to deny their own privilege – the fact that many believe the U.S. to be “post-racial,” meaning that racism is no longer a problem in society, proves this. Without the acknowledgment of privilege, racism will remain rooted in the foundation of society. Examples of this privilege can be found everywhere. As a whole, white people do not experience things such as “housing or job discrimination, police brutality, poverty, or incarceration at the level that black people do,” writes Zeba Blay in a Huffington Post article “4 ‘Reverse Racism’ Myths That Need to Stop.” Even within the justice system, “white people benefit from privilege and power when they aren’t arrested for drug crimes at disproportionate rates, while black people experience racism when they’re arrested, and sentenced, for the same crimes,” writes S.E. Smith in the article “7 Reasons Why Reverse Racism Doesn’t Exist.” According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, “African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.” Furthermore, the NAACP states that “if African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%.”
It has been said that privilege is analogous to a classroom with three rows of desks in which the teacher places a wastebasket at the front of the room and promises to reward students who can throw a crumpled piece of paper into it while remaining in their seats. The students in the front row have an obvious advantage since they are much closer to the wastebasket. Those in the back rows have to overcome the obstacle of people in the front row. Their vision is obstructed, and their chances of being successful are decreased. The students in the front row represent white people in society, while the students in the rows behind them are representative of people of color.

In order for one to be racist, privilege and power are key. These are primarily possessed by white people in twenty-first century society. White people have notoriously enslaved, exploited, oppressed, and discriminated against people of color. For centuries, the countries of Africa were imperialized and plundered of their resources, people, and cultures, all in the name of white supremacy. This very institution and cycle of abuse based on a demented delusion of superiority remains prominent today. White people as a whole are not oppressed. All white people possess significant privilege that puts them at an advantage in society, and it is because of this that is it impossible for white people to ever experience racism.

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This article has 3 comments.

on Mar. 24 2018 at 7:43 am
Bruvton DIAMOND, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
54 articles 2 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"They don't think it is what it does, but it do." ~Oscar Gamble

I agree. Everyone must be respected as humans because racism is ingrained in all humans.

on Mar. 24 2018 at 7:41 am
Bruvton DIAMOND, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
54 articles 2 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"They don't think it is what it does, but it do." ~Oscar Gamble

This is a very well written article which shows an interesting opinion, yet I disagree with it wholeheartedly. Racism (prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior) is natural for human beings. No matter who you are, where you come from, what language you speak, humans have a common similarity: Narcissism. We think that we are superior to everyone else, which happens on a collective sale between races. While in conversations about race, everyone displays this creative imaginary term tokened “white fragility”. Race is a subject that makes everyone squirm in conversations, thinking everyone else is judging them. The term “white fragility” itself is prejudistically discriminating and antagonising white people, hinting that they are inferior. Nowhere in the true definition of “racism do you see “systematic oppression”. Prejudice is not racism, but it is a part of racism. The prejudice that people of colour have against white people leads to them belittling white people, calling them inferior for not being able to keep “basic human morals”, therefore calling themselves (people of colour) superior. Racism is still going on today. Harvard University has segregated whites away from blacks in their “all-black commencement ceremony” in May of 2017. That’s blacks segregating themselves from whites to show diversity. A bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you think? Legally and socially black people have the same rights. When their peers do things to get the rights taken away from them for commiting crimes, that is when the prejudistic, and as you said earlier not racist, people assume that all black people are as bad as the small amount of “rotten apples”, but do not call them inferior for their violent stereotype. The world is dominated by white culture now because it chooses to be. Americanization and globalization is what caused this, not British colonialism. The United States of America spread its influence through making its culture readily available worldwide. People noticed this change, and made the conscious decision to what they thought was popular at the time. American culture is just so easy to follow, as it is now everywhere, and comes so naturally. You don’t need to benefit from being racist to be racist. In the long run, no one benefited from slavery. All of their profit was lost in the Great Depression, all of their “free work” was gone, and they got a bit of a punishment. “Dear White People” was truly a satire of how hypocritical and ignorant human beings may be. You’re saying reverse racism doesn’t exist. Newsflash: The world does not revolve around the USA. Where I live, I am a white minority. Where I’ve travelled, I have been a white minority. I have been called out in the streets for being racist. I have been belittled, discriminated against, and called inferior for being a “racist white male”. Even in Canada, where I am a white majority, I get belittled and discriminated against for a racism they imagine me to have. Racism is part of society, there are people that we cannot change. This is not “white people” and “coloured people”, those are prejudistic generalizations. It’s “racist white people” and “racist coloured people”, leaving out the non-racists. White people have it easy in the law because, frankly, we don’t have a stereotype for being violent. Yes, that stereotype is terrible, yet it is there, and it’s not racist according to your terms. It’s prejudistic. It’s using a stereotype to judge a whole group. In order for one to be racist, basic humanity is key. Black people as a whole are not oppressed. You are getting more of a voice than I am. I will be called racist and shunned from Teen Ink for being a white male, you will be praised and published for talking about how inferior I am. Who is being oppressed now? But you are right. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. It’s just called racism, no matter who it’s against and who’s being racist. Feel free to reply to this with any other arguments.

on Feb. 13 2018 at 7:57 pm
ScienceSpirit GOLD, Newtown, Pennsylvania
14 articles 1 photo 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact." ~William James

This article really enlightened me. Previously I had conflated racism and prejudice, a mistake that many people make when they say "that's so racist" about prejudiced but relatively innocuous comments often unrelated to race. I do think, however, that the frustration and upset that some white people have attributed to "reverse racism" needs to be acknowledged and understood, especially if the emotions arise from fallacies and misconception, since it is part of our humanness to make such errors, and for individuals to grow and learn and correct mistakes, they must first be respected and accepted as humans.

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