Reverse Racism Is Not a Thing
So, if Racism = Prejudice + Power, and white people control all the systems and institutions in our country, can white people be victims of racism?
No, not really.
Like we mentioned earlier, an individual white person can be a victim of prejudice. Which might be really hurtful. But a white person isn’t going to suffer a loss of status or access to a good education or a bank loan or anything remotely like that, because people of color cannot enforce their prejudice with systemic oppression.
So if your friend tells you she is against something like affirmative action because, It’s just reverse racism, you can explain to her that No, what affirmative action does is acknowledge that white people in our country have benefited from white privilege and have oppressed people of color for centuries, and simply aims to rectify that somewhat by making sure colleges accept a proportional number of students of color, as they would do if everything else had been equal all this time.
FYI, people of color can also be racist, if their racial group can exert power over another even-more-oppressed racial group. People of color can also be racist toward their own race, because they’ve adopted white supremacist ideology. This is called internalized racism.
We’ll delve more into that topic in future weeks. But for today, I’ll leave you with this short clip from comedian Aamer Rahman in which he explains why reverse racism is not a thing.
(Click here to watch the video if it doesn’t show up in your browser.)