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It’s realistic and honest to admit that not everyone holds the same views when it comes to any section of social justice. Some are more extreme than others, some more moderate, and this is generally considered acceptable and okay. As Americans, we can express our opinions without censorship of any kind, a freedom that can bring out both the best and the worst. An example of the latter would be the obnoxious, hateful opinions that bleed into public forum simply to generate a great deal of controversy. One of the biggest and possibly most distasteful disagreements is the concept of white racism, also referred to as reverse racism. It is, in most blatant terms, what happens when a white person is so engrossed in their privilege that when someone of color is treated with the same respect and equality as they are, they feel as if someone is attempting to knock them off of their racial pedestal. It’s this childish train of thought that has constrained the white American into belittling the struggles of those who face racism every breathing moment of their lives. It is the unicorn of social justice; we have people who cling stubbornly to the idea of it despite its lack of solid proof of it actually existing.
Before you open your mouth to disagree with me, just let me say this; my intention is not to say that prejudice against white people cannot exist. It does, on occasion. Racial minorities are not immune to being racist against other racial minorities either, and evidence shows this. However, that is not the point I am trying to get across. White prejudice is real, I will admit it, but it is a trivial issue in comparison to authentic racism. Prejudice and racism are not interchangeable words, as they mean quite different things and carry quite different weights. Prejudice is a small aspect of racism, so one can innocently make this mistake. This is something to keep in mind if you, a white person, feel you are being handled in a manner you deem as “racist”, because you may be experiencing prejudice, not legitimate racism. If this crosses your mind, stop and ask yourself, “do I really understand what racism means?”.
If we want to have a much firmer grasp of this concept, we would have to look first at the concrete definition of racism itself. The most common definition, as quoted directly from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. If you still believe that this definition fits your idea of “reverse racism”, I urge you to look closer. You missed that it stated, “based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. To briefly shift our focus from America to Europe, white history consists of a multitude of instances where Europeans conquered native people, such as those in North America and Africa, and committed acts of genocide and violence with the flimsy excuse that they were deemed uncivilized, and, to shift back to our United States of America, we also have the glaring cases of African slavery deeply ingrained in our American history; this is racism in its most basic, primitive form. Yet it is also critical to mention that this isn’t the entire assemblage of what racism really means. There are countless aspects of it; it is not a simple concept that can be understood by definition alone. We have systematic, economic, social, and historical prospects to take into account.
It’s these elements that shape the futility of white racism. A white person does not have to struggle to get work because of their race, or have to worry about facing racial violence while on the street, or worry about being pulled over and facing brutality at the hands of a racist policeman, or worry about being randomly selected at an airport and being inhumanely searched, or facing an unfair sentence at trial based on a false accusation because of their skin color. Every day you hear tragedy after tragedy of racial violence, but very few of these victims are white. You cannot discuss racism without bringing these components on the table.
To accompany this idea of reverse racism, we have these same white voices that gripe over their assumed racism also gripes over the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History Month and other similar concepts. What they don’t understand is that the white community doesn’t need a month or a movement to “celebrate” its alleged greatness; the dominant anecdote you hear, whether it is historical or fictional, is routinely white. Our history books are drenched in it, our TV shows and movies soaked in it, our books and magazines submerged in it; America bares its whiteness so vigorously, it leaves the colors behind. This why people of color celebrate when one of their own makes a modeling career, or appears in a film, or is written inside of a fictional story because this is an anomaly in our whitewashed America. White people don’t need a group to protest against violence because there is no continuous string of slaughter against them for being white. They own white privilege with their tone of skin, one that not any other race can say the same too.
Here is the bottom line; white racism cannot exist because racism is rooted in oppression and hate-filled racial intolerance, a situation that white people have historically never been up against. White people have been the oppressors and the ones in power. Theoretical “racism against whites” does not hold the same weight as the genocides, sexual violence, and the manipulative behavior that were exercised throughout the imperial ages of Europe and later the United States by white settlers and imperialists. Racism against white people cannot exist because white privilege exists. This is their protection badge, their get out of jail free card that those of color cannot obtain because our system tips itself towards white privilege time and time again. There is a whopping 48.4% of hate crimes committed in 2015 where the perpetrator was white, and that number has only continued to increase dramatically, with not a single finger lifted to fix it. The KKK doesn’t exist for shits and giggles; it is in itself the personification of white racism, with its website open for the public to access at its leisure. White people have power, and it is needlessly abused. People who use their whiteness for activism and to raise the voices of those who have been silenced again and again should be a radiant standard of how to use privilege, instead of to tear others down. If you are going to take anything away from this, please let it be this; your power is a privilege of its own, and I advise you to use it for the good of others for their sake and, in a way, your own. Being white doesn’t make you a wicked person, being a racist person does.