Reverse Racism; Fact or Fiction?
May 10, 2016
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Unicorns, The Easter Bunny, and reverse racism, have one thing in common, and that is they all do not exist.
Reverse racism as defined by the dictionary, is a phenomena in which discrimination, sometimes officially sanctioned, against a dominant or formerly dominant racial or other group representative of the majority in a particular society takes place, for a variety of reasons, often initially as an attempt to redressing past wrongs.
The term reverse racism came into use as the struggle for African American rights divided the white community. In 1966, Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), publicly accused members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) of reverse racism in their efforts to dismiss or reject whites from local government in Alabama to make room for blacks.
It was not until the 1970s, in reaction to affirmative action, which reverse racism emerged. Many believed that deserving white students are discriminated against while “academically qualified” students are given a spot just because they were a person of color.
There was a need to address the underrepresentation of people of color in colleges as well as on the job force. However, affirmative action does not mean that it favors people of color over whites, but it ensures that they are considered equally.
Brian Wurtz, 19, a Cinema Video Production major has never experienced “racism” as a white man, but has experienced discrimination, “No I have never experienced racism, but I have been discriminated against during my middle and high school years because I was victimize for being gay.” Though Wurtz has never experienced racism first hand, he does understand what it means to feel ostracized from society.
Racism is defined as the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as an inferior to another race. It is a concept that functions on both an individual and institutional level. However, in this case throughout history the white race having position of power and supremacy—non-whites are inferior to the white race.
In Jim Crow south, bus drivers, police officers, educators, restaurants and other facilities played a huge part to maintain segregation and racism against people of color. Though many ethnic minorities held animosity towards their oppressors, they lacked the power to negatively affect whites’ lives. But also, people of color have been traditionally discriminated against from predominantly white institutions.
Because America has never been anti-white, or created an entire system based upon people of color being superior over whites, the issue that whites can truly be victims of reverse racism is difficult to make.
Luke Delavan, 22, a Psychology major has experienced racism early, “When I was in 7th grade someone called me a n*****, I don’t remember what the context of the conversation was, or what possessed him to call me that, but when it happened I didn’t know how to react to it.”
The reverse racism card is often pulled by white people when people of color speak up about racial discrimination or create spaces for themselves. Due to racial discrimination, people of color had to create their own platforms—whether it be through entertainment or media.
Outlets such as BET (Black Entertainment Television) were created because blacks were not allowed to be a part of white television, and if they were, blacks were misrepresented, but now BET is seen as blacks secluding whites.
White people can experience prejudice from black people and other non-whites, and black people can have skewed views towards white people, as well as other non-whites. However, racism is far more multifaceted.
Abbey Reinecke, 21, a History/Historical Preservation major has experienced prejudice when she visits her family in Pottstown, “My cousins are biracial and they live in a black neighborhood, and people stare and point at us because we are white, and it is obvious that they are talking about us.”
Prejudice and racism are not the same thing.
People of color cannot be racist, prejudice yes, but not racist. Because racism describes a system of disadvantage based on race, people of color cannot be racists since they do not benefit from such a system.