I’ve read a number of articles and been told specifically that black people can’t be racist, although they can be prejudiced.
As soon as I heard this claim, my bullshit meter went into high alert. However, being the skeptic that I am, I decided to do some research on my own.
So before we begin, let’s take a look at the definition of racism. I will even share more than one accepted definition, just in case you think I’m cherry picking.
Here we have 3 definitions. All of them seem to agree with one another. The definitions are from Merriam, Oxford and Wiki.
I also can’t imagine a case where anyone couldn’t do these things, whether they’re white, black, purple etc. In fact, saying these things can only apply to one race of people could be seen as a racist statement.
According to studies, we all hold prejudices towards people of other races.
Racism is hardwired into the brain, say scientists – and it operates unconsciously.
The same circuits in the brain that allow us to see which ethnic group a person belongs to overlap with others that drive emotional decisions.
The result is that even right-thinking individuals make unconscious decisions based on a person’s race.
Funny, I don’t see anywhere in that article that only white people can do these things and that black people (or any other group) are exempt from it.
But let’s have a look at some of the arguments being made online by people who claim that black people can not be racist.
Let’s start with this one, which actually claims right in the title that black people can’t be racist:
The system of racism begins with a race designating itself as superior to another. To carry out acts of racism, a race must have power and privilege. There has never been a time in American history when a race other than white has had power and privilege over another—especially in the case of African-Americans.
What a pile of horseshittery. Are you really trying to sell that no African American has ever had power over a white person? They never have the opportunity to act discriminatory?
There are no African American police officers, business owners, politicians, teachers, doctors, celebrities etc?
This could be answered with one picture.
Pretty sure this guy has a ton of power. I believe the President of the United States is often referred to as ‘the most powerful person on the planet’.
Now this is not to say that minorities cannot be prejudiced or practice discriminatory behaviors because they definitely can and have done so. Bigotry, the stubborn intolerance of any race, creed, belief or opinion different from one’s own, can be practiced by any race. As a part of a community that has experienced tremendous amounts of bigotry and racism to this day, it is important that we as African-Americans direct our anger and hurt at the institution of racism and not people.
Scroll up to the definition of racism and you’ll see that if you’re acting discriminatory, then you’re being freaking racist! Of course it can be practiced by any race because racism isn’t reserved solely for white people.
In this article about a Colbert interview, a comedian explains why black people can’t be racist:
As a counterpoint, Colbert asks if black people can engage in racist behavior, to which Bell notes an important distinction: Yes, black people and people of color can be prejudiced, but that is different from racism.
“When you say the word ‘racism,’ a lot of people who are way smarter than me … academics, they don’t believe you can be racist if you’re a person of color, if you’re a black person,” Bell explains. “We can be prejudiced, but racism implies power and institutions behind it. I can be prejudiced, I can be like, ‘I don’t like white people,’ but I can’t, like, not hire them or not give them their voting rights — you know what I’m saying? So it’s a very different thing.”
No. I don’t see what you’re saying. Of course if you’re a black business owner, you could (try) to deny someone a job purely because you might be racist. So can a white business owner. For your crap theory to sell, you’d have to show that no black business owners exist or are capable of racism.
Who the hell are these academics you speak of?
I feel like I’m watching a Trump interview when he just throws out that ‘other people’ have said something. He didn’t say it. These other people did and he’s just casually bringing it up.
Let’s look at this news story, which starts off with this emotional bit:
A man cannot hate the whip with which he is being flogged but then be expected to love the person doing the flogging. When such a black man, lying helpless bleeding on the ground expresses hate for the white person wielding the whip, it is only reasonable.
Yes! If the person being whipped hates or feels anger towards the person freaking whipping them, then that’s perfectly understandable. When you start thinking all white people are evil because of this one person whipping you, then that’s bloody racist.
On discrimination based on one’s colour, I can only concur that blacks can be prejudicial towards whites – but not racist. What do I mean? Before I attempt to give an explanation of my argument, I first have to define words that serve as the premises: prejudice and racism. Prejudice refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership. Racism on the other hand refers to social actions, practices or beliefs or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other. Furthermore, racism is socio-economic, with systemic structures which promote one race’s powers over another. Socio-economic being the operative word, I am certain you will agree that black people do not have the resources to impose such oppressive structures which enforce their superiority. White people on the other hand have, and had imposed them on blacks for over four centuries of slavery and colonialism. Black people can be prejudiced, but not racist.
And so black people are incapable of feeling superior and can never take social actions or practices that are based on the prejudices you admit they are capable of feeling?
Well, I can come up with at least one real life example of a black person being racist.
In that video a jar of mayonnaise is supposed to be the ‘white friend’ and she says some insane things, such as ‘your people’ don’t wear deodorant.
If a white person said these things about black people, they’d rightly be shouted down as racist.
And if you’re talking about power being necessary for racism, have a look at this video where she decides to get white people to say they owe her reparations.
If you can watch those videos and still think black people are incapable of racism, I don’t know what else to say.
I think it’s dangerous to push this narrative that some groups are incapable of racism. It allows them to ignore and excuse away real life racism, and it makes minority groups perpetual victims.
Look, we all know that racism exists. It should be challenged wherever it is found, in whatever group it is found. I also think when we separate ourselves into groups, we make race matter more. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we didn’t see race but just saw the human being instead?
I think ANYONE is capable of being racist. Let’s fight it together.