Can you be racist to white people? A thought exercise that should, if you contemplate on it, be a simple affair.
Not according to Manisha Krishnan of VICE, who in her article titled “Dear White People, Please Stop Pretending Reverse Racism Is Real”, argues that racism towards white people is a fantasy that is rooted in white fragility and a person who does “is outing themselves as someone who has little to no experience or knowledge of what racism is”. Racism to her is based on “historical, systemic oppression and power”, as exemplified by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, European colonial domination over Africa and racial caste systems such as apartheid South Africa and Jim Crow in the American South. Underpinning these systems is the demonstrably false belief in the innate supremacy of the “white race”.
One often hears, particularly from those labelled ‘social justice warriors’, that while ‘people of colour’ certainly can be prejudiced against whites, they can’t be racist because ‘people of colour’ as a group don’t have the same control over society’s institutions and power structures. In other words, it includes policies, behaviours and habits that happen to favour the majority or the group that has the most power.
Part of the problem with the debates and conversations that surround this particular issue is it boils down to debates on semantics and conflicts over definitions. If you subscribe to the layman definition of racism, which some call prejudice; that it is the judging of people by the colour of their skin, not the content of their character, then of course ‘people of colour’ can be racist and discriminate towards whites or anybody else. But if you believe in a more academic definition that defines racism as one group holding institutional power over another group then by that definition black people cannot be racist because, at least in Europe and North America, generally speaking, they simply don’t have the institutional and cultural power to shape society and culture in their own image.
So on one side racism is seen as mostly a personal and individual issue, while the other side sees racism as mostly a systemic phenomenon. I like to have a holistic approach and I am perfectly comfortable in acknowledging that there are different types of racism that require different definitions. While it is true that in the West blacks and other racial minorities do not have the institutional power that whites have (and therefore cannot be institutionally racist), it is still wrong to think that they can’t be racist on an individual level.
Manisha’s definition of racism originates in sociology. Although it specifically refers to institutional racism. In essence, she and other so-called ‘SJWs’ equate and conflate ‘racism’ with ‘institutional racism’. They keep trying to delete individual racism and use institutional racism as the only possible definition there could be for racism.
Manisha then writes something that is clearly false:
” And as far as history goes, white people have never been persecuted for the colour of their skin—so there’s no point comparing their experiences to those of black, brown, and Indigenous folks.”
“White people have never been persecuted for the colour of their skin”… Really? Manisha cannot be serious with this tripe. This statement could only be penned by someone with such ignorance it would make a toddler wince. Of course white people can be persecuted and receive abuse for the colour of their skin, not merely in theory but in real life as well.
I could easily trot out examples such as the parent who disapproves of interracial marriage or crackpot organisations like the The New Black Panther party – a nothing organisation who have about twelve members- or the Nation of Islam, whose wacky ideology states that white people are a race of ‘devils’. Neither group possesses the power to execute their horrible ideas but it doesn’t make them and their ideas any less racist. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to ask Manisha about whether she believes the racist label is appropriate for these black supremacist, hate mongering cults.
What about the eviction of white farmers from their land through the use of force by the hideous dictatorship of Robert Mugabe? Isn’t that an act of racism? Moreover, Mugabe stated as recently as 2014 before an emotional crowd: “We say no to whites owning our land and they should go. … They can own companies and apartments…but not the soil. It is ours and that message should ring loud and clear in Britain and the United States.”
Hmm…discriminating and denying people access to resources on the basis on skin colour, I wonder what that could be? Hmm…I will leave it up to you to work it out.
What about what happened in 2004 during the civil war and French intervention in the Ivory Coast where the government led by the President effectively incited an anti-white pogrom. In the days after the French intervention mobs loyal to the government called “young patriots” rioted and looted French schools, businesses and cafes,committed sexual assaults and rapes on white European women and chanted anti-white/anti-French and xenophobic slogans such as “whites get out”. I ask Manisha, isn’t this racist?
Or to use an example closer to home, Micah Xavier Johnson, who excellently fits the very definition of a bigoted maniac, murdered five police officers in ‘revenge’ for things they had nothing to do with. In fact, those police officers were protecting a Black Lives Matter protest condemning police brutality against African Americans in the aftermath of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in July of this year. I as a black man have no hesitation in acknowledging that Johnson’s vile actions were motivated by racial hatred. It is very simple to me, especially when the man himself said he wanted to kill white people.
Again I put the question to Manisha, would she have the fortitude to call Micah Xavier Johnson and his crimes racist?
As if this wasn’t enough for your appetite, Manisha proceeds to defend “the exclusion of white people from spaces created for minorities” and the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter refusing to sell a shirt to electronic singer Sima Xyn at the Toronto pride rally this year because according to them shirts are only for sale for people from the black community, while Sima is a white woman. Manisha is able to defend this blatant act of racial discrimination with a straight face, without any sense of irony or self awareness.
Let us not take cover behind indirect terms and glossy euphemisms. Firstly, what BLMTO did to Sima Xyn was the very definition of individual racism. They excluded and discriminated against simply for the colour of her skin. Her support and sympathy for their cause which she presumably thought was equality, justice and ending police brutality was irrelevant to these obnoxious clowns.
Secondly, it is obscene that a people that claim to advocate for racial equality would bar people from their meetings based on their skin colour. Imagine if the civil rights movement played this exclusionary, parochial card. Why do you think Rosa Parks refused to give her seat up? To preserve her dignity. For white society to recognise that her skin color didn’t mean she had to give up her dignity. When you refuse entry to white people based on their skin color, you’re literally committing the exact same offence. You’re humiliating them. You’re robbing them of their dignity.
“It’s interesting that as soon as you de-centre whiteness, it becomes about people being anti-white,” she said, noting that at a panel for queer black people she attended, some white people were asked to move to the back to make space for black people. A few were offended…”Why is it that in a place created for black people to have a conversation amongst themselves… to talk about what it means to be black and queer, that white folks felt they had to be at the centre?”
“A few were offended.” No shit! You asked people to move to the back of the room because they were white. Since, the back of the room is the perfect place for white where no one can see them and black and brown people don’t have to endure the oppressive and nerve-shaking presence of their whiteness. My lord! Can she not hear herself apologising for racial discrimination justified by their pathetic euphemism of ‘de-centering whiteness’. My head is about to explode in frustration at the saturated cognitive dissonance on display.
Manisha’s argument is effectively minimising ‘anti-racism’ and apologising for racism. Oh the irony! She also mocks white people as having ‘hurt feelings’ if they complain about having to sit at the back of a meeting because of their light skin. I bet you she would not react this way if this same act of discrimination happened to black queer women, gay people, transexuals or whoever else. Her tone is arrogant, lacks nuance and is that of a propagandist not a journalist.
I understand that many people exaggerate or grossly overstate anti-white racism such as Breitbart or David Horowitz’s ghastly Frontpage Mag. Many of the people who drink from the fountain of white racial paranoia are either the alt-right or lunatic white nationalists who constantly drone on about their silly conspiracy theory that a globalist cultural Marxist mafia is using ‘political correctness’, ‘multiculturalism’ and feminism as a tool to destroy White Christian civilization to the point of tedium.
This is why I can understand, to a degree, why many people are quick to dismiss charges of anti-white racism. No one wants to give credence to white supremacists and no one wants to give legitimacy to the synthetic white victimhood that fuels the hateful ideology of these groups.
However this doesn’t mean that a non-white person can’t be racist, discriminate and commit acts of racially motivated violence towards whites as the examples I gave above demonstrates. It does happen even if it is not on the same scale and lacks the long and deep history that white supremacy does.
Overall, racism is not an evil that flows exclusively on the vanilla side of town or the chocolate side of town. It is a human trait without direction that is truly colour blind and among the darker elements of our common nature. Us ‘people of colour’ are just as capable of prejudice, stereotyping, otherising and yes, racism as anybody else of any colour. As Cornel West once put it “We are all recovering racists”, and recover we shall.