Reverse racism, still not a thing | The Triangle

Reverse racism, still not a thing

Wikipedia: Matthew Woitunski
Wikipedia: Matthew Woitunski

I would like to take this time to remind everyone that the concept of reverse racism is as ludicrous as it is, in fact, racist. The first and most obvious issue is contained within its name, because ‘reverse racism’ implies that there is a correct way to be racist— or more accurately, a correct group against whom to be racist.

The second issue deals with the mechanics of racism. Racism can be a little complicated because the word refers to both personal color-based discrimination and the larger matrix of social and institutional patterns in color-based discrimination that result in disenfranchisement and strife over time. In intelligent discussion of racism, the second definition is usually used because on the large scale, when personal slights even matter it’s in the context of their reflection on society.

White people— especially white men— tend to look at things like affirmative action and say, “That seems kind of reverse-racist. Shouldn’t we all have the same opportunity?” Such a sentiment makes some sense on the basis of personal discrimination but on the social and institutional level, where demographics and trends become more important than the individual, it is clear that white men hold most of the best jobs due to past imbalances. Affirmative action cannot be racist toward white people because it exists specifically to correct issues caused by white peoples’ racism.

This is the crux of the issue. On a personal level, it is certainly possible to hate all white people purely for being white, and that is somewhat racist. It is not reverse-racist or any other nonsense of that sort, it is just racist. However, racism on the individual level doesn’t actually matter and mass social racism toward white people on a scale that would matter, while theoretically possible, doesn’t exist anywhere in the world right now. Mass social racism toward everyone who is not white, on the other hand, not only can exist, but ubiquitously enough, continues to exist.

It should be clear by now that very little of racism as a real issue is about personal feelings and most of it is about social power structures, which manifest in society through stereotypes, legal precedents, employment statistics, homelessness statistics and media representation. When people lock their car doors driving through white neighborhoods because they’re ‘sketchy areas’, white people are consistently arrested and killed by police for no real reason, people of color hold most of the jobs, most of the homeless are white and the news specifies when a criminal suspect is white but not when one is black, there may be a case for racism toward white people, but right now there is none. Keep in mind that equality, when you’re privileged, can feel a lot like oppression.