Let’s be perfectly honest here. To hear any white person in this country call a minority a racist is at best, a fool, or at worse, just a dumb son of a bitch. When I hear people like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich refer to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a racist, they fall into the latter category. Like the unicorn, reverse racism is a fairy tale and simply does not exist. To his credit, Gingrich is backing away from but not apologizing for his remarks. There is a distinct difference between racism and having the power to oppress minorities and me standing on the corner yelling “fuck whitey” while the world keeps on moving around me.
My argument is strictly based on the history of this country and in the words of the Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach:
“Looks like the familiar ‘African Americans can be racists too’ theme is popping up again. It’s probably a good time to address our functional definition of ‘racism.’ Is it merely taking positions that favor ones own ethnic subculture? Is it supporting or not supporting a candidate/potential employee/potential in-law because of skin color? In that case, I would suppose that ‘racism’ can be generic among all ethnicities.
“But the history between Caucasian-Americans and African-Americans has, of course, been a bit more complicated than that. In this history, ‘racism’ has been used as a justification for the oppression of African-Americans. I’m talking about segregation, vote-suppression, lynchings, anti-miscegenation laws, ‘sunset’ laws, and various forms of codified discrimination in housing, employment, travel, etc. This oppression is what is commonly regarded as ‘racism.’ And this oppression was never visited upon Caucasian-Americans.
“So, can African-Americans be ‘racists?’ Yes, if you deny the last 300 years of oppression of African-Americans.”
And we cannot ignore that history as much as one side would like to. The whole concept of reverse racism/discrimination was born during the Reagan years along with his welfare queen and Affirmative Action being reduced to a code word, “quotas.” When you control the narrative and the tools to disseminate the ideas, you can pretty much get people to believe what you want them to believe. The George Carlin joke about how stupid the average American is comes to mind.
What we can be (minorities) is prejudiced. They are equally repugnant but being prejudiced does not carry the same power as racism. One is a systemic practice to oppress while the other is an ignorant attitude. The dictionary defines prejudice as:
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.
4. such attitudes considered collectively: The war against prejudice is never-ending.
5. damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.–verb (used with object)
6. to affect with a prejudice, either favorable or unfavorable: His honesty and sincerity prejudiced us in his favor.
7. without prejudice, Law. without dismissing, damaging, or otherwise affecting a legal interest or demand.
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