Reverse racism is often defined as “racism against white people” AKA “racism against the majority.” There are multitudes of issues associated with the idea of reverse racism, and I’d like to address them today. In this blog, I will bring to light reverse racism as a non-legitimate problem and discuss the difference between racism and prejudice.
For thousands of years, in many of the world’s leading countries, white people have been in the majority–the dominant race. Throughout history, it has been Caucasian people making their mark in society. We have been the race to collectively succeed without any serious societal barriers standing in our way. We have been privileged.
This has not been the case for 99% of any population that stands in the shadow of white people. Hell, our own country probably holds the world’s greatest–and most number of–examples of racism and white privilege. From our assimilation and violent actions towards Native Americans, to the hundreds of years we perceived black people as our own property, to the violent murders and prejudice shown towards Muslims after 9/11, to modern-day Americans turning their backs to the increase in police brutality towards black Americans, you could say that we’re a pretty fucking racist country, from beginning to end.
So is this racism also seen towards white people in America? Absolutely not.
Racism literally cannot happen towards a superior race in a particular region. Prejudice, however, is capable of happening.
So what’s the difference between racism and prejudice?
The thing with racism.
Racism is–explicitly–an action shown against a race in the minority. In America, examples of these minorities would be: African-Americans, Asians and Asian-Americans, Mexicans (both immigrants AND legal citizens) and Middle-Easterners (or, what are commonly referred to, simply, as “Muslims” regardless of what their religious practice(s) might be). Basically anyone that is not white in America is in the minority and, these people, are at risk of receiving racist backlash from people of a different race. Only races in the minority are able to receive racism.
Why can’t there be racism against white people too?
Because white people in America will never–as long as we remain in power as the majority group–be put at risk of being severely mistreated–politically, socially, physically, verbally, mentally–as a group of people.
The most common example of racism in America would be the treatment shown towards African-Americans since before the founding of our country. Slavery, I shouldn’t need to tell you, dehumanized a specific group of people that were unable to defend themselves without a white man–a white government–interfering (hundreds of years later, might I add). Reconstruction happened only because the solely white government forced their way into the South to establish equality for black people and, once they left, the South saw an increase in Poll Taxes, Literary Tests, lynching and more. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s witnessed more brutal lynchings, beatings and threats to the African-American community. It, once again, took the interference of a white government to abolish “separate but equal” and create the VRA to ensure equality for all black Americans. Our rise in police brutalities and shady police investigations into the circumstantial deaths of hundreds of black Americans can only show that we are still, collectively, a racist country. And these unfair actions have not stopped because we have yet to have severe government interference and, for those that choose to stand up and highlight the injustices of police brutality (of which are predominately black) are usually called “selfish” and “un-American.”
The same goes for other minority groups in our country. When we settled here, we forced Natives to assimilated to our way of life, migrate from their homes on foot and, in the end, they’ve received only a fraction of the land that they used to own and over 1/4 live in poverty. During WWII, we put Japanese Americans into internment camps against their will for our own “security” and over 100,000 of these American citizens lost years out of their lives.
“I feel like white people throw around the term ‘reverse racism’ whenever they feel uncomfortable because they’ve been exposed to what POC deal with on a daily basis.”
Racism, though, isn’t a thing of the past. Just after 9/11, we saw an increase of violent actions towards Muslim-Americans, as well as, many judgements, hate and fear being built up in ourselves and instilled in our children. We even have someone at the forefront of the run for president who, sadly, will more-than-likely get the Republican nomination, that advocates stopping Syrian refugees from finding safety in our own country because they’re “dangerous.” Yet, I’m sure he would permit any white immigrant into America without a background check.
My point is, we have never seen any actions of these shown towards white Americans at any point in our history; in fact, most of these actions were (and are) stimulated by white Americans. And, at no point in our future, should we expect to receive these actions from anyone. Even if we do become the minority race (as projected by 2045), we will still be seen as the more dominate race, holding the most power, for possibly another couple of centuries.
White people being scared of racism is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard because we will never find ourselves at risk of being jeopardized and threatened in our own country by our own people. There is no such thing as reverse racism.
So, what about prejudice?
“Racism” and “prejudice” are not synonyms and should not be used like they are. Ever. Though they have similar connotations, they have entirely different meanings and that comes into serious play here. Whereas racism is usually an “act,” prejudice is merely an “opinion,” so the technical definitions of the two terms are quite different, in the most subtle of ways.
In this case, white people are subject to receiving prejudice. Or, in other words, white Americans are able to receive social backlash from people due to untrue opinions or stereotypes perceived about them, as a race.
The largest difference between racism and prejudice, though, is the fact that–as mentioned before–white people, as a group, will never be put at risk of receiving any violent actions, threats or severe mistreatment from society. This doesn’t mean that there may be some exceptions to this. There may be a few white people a year who are killed for “being white” in America, but think about it this way: if the “exception” for white people is harmful mistreatment and the “exception” for minority people is, well, being elected or living outside of poverty, who here gets the short end of the stick?
“The fact of the matter is, reverse racism cannot exist because you are not capable of being oppressed by the same institution that prefers you and has granted you preference . . . The idea of reverse racism is just a way to deflect from the actual problems and broken systems at hand. Don’t be the person who would rather conceal a problem than address it.”
Just like any race, white people do have–and receive–stereotypes from other races. This, however, does not mean that these stereotypes are often acted upon by a majority of our population, putting white people–a specific race–at serious risk. Because reverse racism doesn’t exist.
Trust me, stereotypes suck. Prejudice sucks. I get that, but ya know what sucks a hell of a lot more? Mass violence, hate groups, threats and being denied your rightful citizenship to a “free” country.
You might remember the Beyoncé blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago addressing the backlash seen towards her halftime performance. For many, they believed she was being “racist” against white people by “exploiting” black power and the Black Panther Party. If you haven’t read this yet, I suggest you check it out here.
Image Courtesy of: Gale Group