I know I haven’t been blogging much lately but I guess that’s what school does to you (especially if you are in your final year). I was actually inspired to write this post because of a discussion on my Facebook after I shared an article entitled “Why Reverse Racism Isn’t Real.” by Sara Luckey.
I am not going to define the term racism because I don’t think that it should be defined. We are all bright enough to figure that out ourselves. I will, however, demonstrate that reverse racism doesn’t exist. So that is what this post is about: why reverse racism isn’t real.
Similar to what the article cited above says, within a discussion of racism, some peeps feel safe enough to say, “Well, I experience reverse racism” which is predominantly white people who say this because that is the only population group who can experience reverse racism (if it in fact were actually a thing). As I noted, reverse racism occurs within a discussion about racism and more often than not it is a white person coming in and saying, “But hey! I know you experience racism, but I experience reverse racism because of racism!” White people usually have the balls to say such a thing (especially in a conversation about racism) because for white people, it has to be all about them and their feelings, and if we ignore their feelings, then they are oppressed. No. Not. Real.
I remember the first time I read bell hooks she talked about these feelings and why white people, especially white women, should be invited to feel these feelings of discomfort, etc. within the discussion of racism. It invites white people in to experience the effects of racism but only for a moment. White people who feel this way in these discussions can leave those feelings at the door when they exit the discussion. So, the effects aren’t real and lasting like, you know, racism. White people can exit those experiences at any moment in time.
Also similar to what the article above says, saying that white people experience reverse racism downplays the actual and real effects of racism that non-white people experience on a daily basis. Sure white people may experience hatred towards them for the fact that they are white but that is not reverse racism. White people who are called dirty and stupid never think that because of their whiteness they are dirty or stupid. But an Indigenous student who is sitting in a classroom filled with her native peers who is called dirty and stupid by her teacher will begin to believe that because of her Indianness she is dirty and stupid. Because that really happened to me, and that’s how it made me feel. What is the reverse racism of that experience? Exactly, nothing. Because reverse racism doesn’t exist.
So, people don’t experience reverse racism because of racism. They may experience racism because of racism but not because it is reverse racism. So yes, white people can be the brunt of some racist jokes or policies. Like when job ad says that they will give priority to people from a specific group like a First Nations organizations that hires First Nations people over white people first. Because that is a racist policy! #Sarcasm. But it is not reverse racism. It’s called catering to a specific group who has lived experiences and understands the nuances of those lived experiences from a very real perspective.
In the end, the opposite of racism is not reverse racism. The opposite of racism is not racism. If reverse racism were an actual thing, it would point out the fact reverse racism is racism. Because what is the opposite of reverse racism? Not reverse racism. So it negates racism all together. It says, racism doesn’t exist because reverse racism exists. White people may experience an event with racist undertones in their lives, but those events are not reverse racism as they are the exact same group who experiences the benefits of racism (and also benefit from reverse racism if it in fact were real). And what is it called when people experience the benefits of racism? Privilege, and non-white people don’t experience reverse privilege because they are non-white.*
*Note: That is not say that some non-white people don’t experience privilege because privilege comes in many forms: education, occupation, sex, etc. I am just writing within the context of racial privileges. Further the point, studies have been done on female offenders and those who align with white conceptions of beauty and behaviour will in fact be treated much less harshly than those who do not align with white conceptions of beauty and behaviours (Source). Where is the reverse racism in those experiences? Exactly. Not. Real.