Racism is racial discrimination, but racial discrimination isn’t always racism.
Words have definitions but the meanings attached to them are from our own shaded views on life. If words like “minority” or “superiority” bother you when discussing racism, and you’re particularly sensitive to stigmas, then you’ll probably feel more uncomfortable as this blog progresses.
|rac•ism n (1936) 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2 : racial prejudice or discriminationWebster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary|
If you live by Webster’s Dictionary, then you believe that their definition of racism is all there is and let’s just forget about history and context in present-day America. In that case, everyone can be a racist and a victim of racism at the same time and it all evens out and rainbows fly out of everyone’s mouths and butt holes instead of ignorance and misinterpretations. That’s on you, and you’d probably rather discount arguments like this:
|The essential feature of racism is not hostility or misperception, but rather the defense of a system from which advantage is derived on the basis of race. The manner in which the defense is articulated – either with hostility or subtlety – is not nearly as important as the fact that it insures the continuation of a privileged relationship. Thus it is necessary to broaden the definition of racism beyond prejudice to include sentiments that in their consequence, if not in their intent, support the racial status quo.David T. WellmanPortraits of White Racism, Second Edition|
That’s a lot isn’t it? Easier to go back and hang out at Webster’s? Maybe easier, or you go the harder route and acknowledge racism as historical and anthropological regardless of how passive or active you are when it’s happening in front of you. Racism in America, specifically, where roughly 70% of the population is white is has been a system from which advantage is derived from being white. I’m not talking about my white friends in grade school getting an extra cookie from the white lunch lady scenario (which I just made up so everyone keep calm) but historical and systematic oppression of non-white (and sometimes Jewish) people. This does not mean that if you’re white you are a racist, but you CAN by sheer population and power.
Every country has its structure of racism with the majority in number being at the top. In Korea it’s predominately the palest-skinned Koreans with the money and power and the numbers who are racist towards Koreans with sun browned-skinned Korean laborers, and other subgroups. In Belgium racism is experienced by Turkish and African people more than Asian.
I had several conversations via Twitter today, and conversations with my husband Davy off Twitter, and realized again just how many people do not understand that racism and racial discrimination are not the same thing. Racial discrimination happens to everyone in America, including white people, and is fucked up and wrong. Racism is systemic and goes back so far in history.
A white person in America who’s called a “honky” is not a victim of racism, but a victim of hate and racial discrimination. That white person’s child who gets beat up on a playground and called a “cracker” did not experience racism, but bullying and racial discrimination. The white person who is denied a job or college acceptance because of affirmative action is not a victim of racism, but simply part of a proven and privileged group in America who should understand that the existence of affirmative action at all speaks volumes. The white person in an inter-racial relationship or marriage who’s scoffed at by their in-law for being the “white devil” is not experiencing racism but deep prejudices, and unlucky draw of in-laws.
Similarly if my husband walks into a Turkish neighborhood here in Belgium and gets beat the fuck up because of his “whiteness” he is not a victim of racism. He’s a white guy who got beat up in a Turkish neighborhood for being white because of racial tensions stemming from actual racism to begin with. I would die a little inside seeing my husband beaten and bloodied, but I certainly would never cry that it was an act of racism. Acts of hate and acts of racism can be mutually exclusive.
I’m not saying white American don’t receive hate, every race does as Webster’s so simply tells us, but white Americans are not victims of racism. Reducing racism to racial discrimination is not only dangerous, but turning back time so generations that came before us can be disrespected and heartbroken once again even from their graves. Boys who cry wolf are bad enough, but irresponsible cries of racism defeats any purpose to fighting actual racism.
You can’t possibly, as a white person, try to take anything away from generations and this Big Brother 15 victims’ and families and friends who have to watch this, by telling them “Oh, everyone experiences racism!”
Racism is not something white people can have, because there HAS to be something us non-whites can call our own, right?
P.S. Thank you to everyone supported the truth and did not jump into the shark tank today on Twitter. No need to feed the sharks.