I am going to add this to my tumblr in response to every terrible argument about racism so let me know if I left anything out…it’s mad long so I put it behind a cut
- “We live in a post-racial society!”
- “I don’t see race”
- “Race is a social construct (so racism must - by extension - also be a social construct!)”
- “I was trying to unite us”
- “Everybody can be racist”
- “I have a black friend!”
- “___ is the last oppressed minority”
- “Bringing up racism just makes everything worse”
- “Reverse racism is just as bad”
- “I don’t have to listen to your argument because a PoC hurt my feelings”
- “I’m not privileged! I’m poor/disabled/gay/trans* etc.”
- “Everything isn’t about race”
- “Racism is all in the past”
- “You’re biased”
- “This person of color agrees with me”
- “Why isn’t there a WHITE Entertainment Television? Why is there no white history month? Affirmative action?”
- “Why is there a black table in the cafeteria?”
- “That wasn’t my intent”
- “The KKK/Neo-Nazis/slavery/apartheid – that’s racism! Not this!”
- “We’re not all like that! That’s a stereotype”
- “I’m white and that happens to me too”
- “I was playing Devil’s Advocate! I don’t really think that way”
“We live in a post-racial society!”
Also: “we have a black president”, “we’re all human”, “we’re all from Africa”
Those things are indeed correct, but there’s only one reason you’d ever bring this up: you want to ignore racism. We are not in a post-racial society when racism exists on a systematic level and individual prejudices still exist. When white people stop having privilege over people of color, get back to me.
“I don’t see race”
Also: “I’m colorblind”, “I don’t care if you’re black, white, green, or purple”
You do see race, and that’s okay; racism is not. Those who are “colorblind” actually tend to have worse attitudes regarding race than those are not “colorblind”.
“Race is a social construct (so racism must - by extension - also be a social construct!)”
I’m glad that you understand that race is a social construct. A lot of things are social constructs, in fact. Racism, however, is not. Although it does stem from a social construction, it is real and has tangible, far-reaching effects.
“I was trying to unite us”
Erasing our differences is not necessarily a good thing. I think that Audre Lorde said it best: “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
It is important to realize that people of color often have different experiences than white people with oppression because of racism.
“Everybody can be racist”
No. People of color cannot be racist. Racism is prejudice plus power. Do not give me a dictionary definition of racism. There are multiple problems with this. Who do you think writes dictionaries, for one? Two, if you ever would use a dictionary to look up a concept (and not say, an encyclopedia or any legitimate source on the internet), you’ve got bigger problems than a misunderstanding of racism. Three, dictionary definitions tend to come about after a term is used in a certain way, not before. The way the word is used can define how it is defined in the dictionary. The definition of racism comes from 1908, so I don’t understand how you would think it is a good idea to use it.
Yes, all people can be prejudiced, but even then, people of color likely discriminate for survival and self-preservation.
“I have a black friend!”
Also: “I’m dating a black man”, “I’m .0012145% Native American”, “I have people of color in my family”, “mixed babies prove that racism is over”
You being a racist and also having a black friend does not disprove that you’re a racist. Instead, it proves that you are a bad friend.
Having some family members who are people of color, or having distant non-white ancestry does not mean that you are not racist. It follows the same logic as the argument above.
If you really think that interracial marriages, biracial/multiracial children, or interracial dating are a sign that racism is on the way out, you might want to look at history. Last I checked, mixed children did not stop slaveowners from, you know, owning people and treating them horribly.
And going along with the dating black men thing, you can fetishize someone and find them attractive and still have an utter lack of empathy and love.
“____ is really the last oppressed minority”
Do not make these comparisons:
1960’s civil rights movement: marriage equality
slavery : anything.
Do not bring up how atheists are the most distrusted group or even that atheists suffer because of atheism - pro-tip: they suffer because they are not Christian and NOT because of atheism itself.
Do not act as if Black people are generally homophobes preventing victory on the (bourgeois) cause of marriage equality (not only are black people not a significant percentage of the population but this is untrue). There are gay black people who want to get married and there were gay black people fighting for civil rights in the 1960’s.
Recognize that while white women fight for equal pay with men, it is with white men. White women still make more than Black and Latino men.
“Bringing up racism just makes everything worse”
Also: “it’s racist when you call me racist”,
Who does it make things worse for? Perhaps if you think about it from a privileged perspective, bringing up racism makes you feel guilty and hurts your feelings.
Other than that, think of your logic: bringing something up actually calls attention to it. It might be uncomfortable for you, but acknowledgement is the first step to solving something.
You complain about something or discuss something in hopes that it will improve. If a person – or in this case, a group of people – help perpetuate something that hurts you (perhaps unknowingly), the aim is to get them to realize what they’re doing and (you would hope) to stop.
“Reverse racism is just as bad”
Also: “PoC have been racist towards me”, “PoC don’t like me”, “PoC are mean to me”, “cracker is just as bad as n****r”, “well what if I said I hate Asian people/want black people to die”
Reverse racism is not a thing.
There are mean people in the world of all races and ethnicities. Just because someone from a particular group hurt your feelings, it does mean that they were doing it because of the color of your skin. I find that people tend to say this when the only people of color they’ve known have been the ones who bullied them or hurt them in some way. Maybe the football players and popular girls were black, maybe you went to school with a lot of Asian people and felt left out, or maybe a Latin@ person was rude to you. It probably wasn’t because you were white.
But I hear you, dawg. Maybe someone even called you a cracker (which is not a racial slur, FYI), a honky, or a whitey. The great thing about your life is that you can speculate about how hurtful those words are and how offended you should be, because they have never been used in your systematic oppression or used to degrade you. People of color have been attacked because of their race and oppressed because of their race. You have not.
“I don’t have to listen to your argument because a PoC hurt my feelings”
Also: “you could be nicer”, “you’re being hostile”, “you’re offended too easily”, “you’re oversensitive”, “I did agree with you before you got angry”, “you’re just as bad as racists because you were mean to me”
Racism is not about hurt feelings on either side.
People do not have to be nice to you for you to listen to or accept the validity of their arguments. Your white privilege has likely led you to believe that everyone should be nice to, and particularly that people of color should be your mammy or magical negro that coddles you and walks you through racism. A person of color might be mad nice and do that for you, but they are under no obligation to do so
“I’m not privileged! I’m poor/disabled/gay/trans* etc.”
Also: “I know plenty of Black people who are better off than me”, “I’ve had a difficult life”
Don’t play the oppression Olympics.
You might not be privileged in one or more ways, I’m not saying that. Privilege != wealth, though class privilege is one form of privilege.
Think of it this way, if you take two people and hold everything but race constant, the white person will be better off. White people and people of color experience oppression and discrimination differently because of intersectionality.
While women are all oppressed, Black women face sexism and racism (in addition to anti-Blackness).
While trans* women are all oppressed, Black trans* women are disproportionately likely to be violently attacked.
While all women and men can be sexually assaulted, Native American women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted (and by men who are not Native American).
I could go on.
“Everything isn’t about race”
Also: “It’s not about race”, “you’re playing the race card”, “there are more important issues”, “it’s not as bad as you say”, “class is more important than race”,
Sure, everything isn’t about race, but a lot of things are. Again, this isn’t about playing the Oppression Olympics, but race influences more than you may think.
Even college-educated upper-middle class, straight, cis men of color experience racism, and are not better off than their white counterparts. I could dedicate an entire blog in itself to proving this, but I won’t.
White people with a criminal record are more likely to be hired than Black people who do not have a criminal record.
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested outside of his own home by officers responding to a call reporting a break-in.
People with “Black-sounding” names are less likely to be hired than people with “white-sounding” names.
Black people are kept out of white neighborhoods
Black people need to be in worse pain in order to be prescribed the same medications as white people
White domestic terrorists who are not called terrorists, while brown people are.
“Racism is all in the past”
Also: “Get over it! Slavery was years ago!”, “Why do you hate me for what my ancestors did?”, “___ happened years ago, it doesn’t affect you”
Racism is alive and well. I listed some examples above.
No one hates you for what your ancestors did. They hate what your ancestors did and how its effects are still felt to this day. They hate that many people still perpetuate racism. Maybe your ancestors weren’t even here, but someone’s ancestors were.
If you think racism in the past doesn’t affect people of color, think again. There are many things in the past that affect the reality that many people of color face today, including:
Being enslaved while other people worked freely and built up their wealth
Not being allowed to learn how to read
Having other people steal your land and squat on it for free, or receiving it after the revolutionary war, or receiving it from the Homestead Act of 1862
Being promised 40 acres and a mule (and never getting it)
Being kept from receiving an education
Being ineligible for most of the benefits of the GI Bill (such as an education – college or vocational and cheap mortgages)
Being ineligible to receive government subsidized mortgages due to living in a redlined neighborhood
In a conversation about racism, how can anyone be without “bias”? What you’re really trying to say here is that a white person’s privileged experience in which racism is non-existent is worth more than that of a person of color, who does experience racism.
“This person of color agrees with me”
Also: “maybe it’s just you”, “no one thinks that way in real life”
I honestly don’t care if a person of color or some people of color agree with you. People of color can be wrong, too. Do you not think that living in a white supremacist society that people of color have not internalized racism?
“Why isn’t there a WHITE Entertainment Television? Why is there no white history month? Affirmative action?”
You mean “TV” and “history class”? Most channels are oriented towards a white audience, with white actors playing roles on shows that are filled with white people. History classes are oriented towards the history of white people and told from the perspective of white people.
White people in the United States and elsewhere built countries and built their wealth on the backs of people of color. Affirmative action isn’t nearly enough to make up for that. Oh, and the main beneficiaries of affirmative action are actually white women.
“Why is there a black table in the cafeteria?”
Also: “Why are there HBCUs?”, “Why is there a Chinatown?”
There are actually probably plenty of “white tables” that you don’t notice.
First, people of color need safe spaces. Separatism was and is done for the most part in an effort to survive and to exist on one’s own terms.
You may ask, don’t white people need safe spaces? Yeah, that’s pretty much the United States and much of the world.
Second, people of color were initially excluded from many institutions, including universities, which is how many institutions, organizations, and groups that focus on people of color originated. People of color are STILL excluded and left out today.
“That wasn’t my intent”
Also: “I didn’t mean to be racist”, “I was just saying what I felt”, “I’m sorry you feel that way” (or any other non-apology)
Intent arguments are fun. If you step on someone’s foot, you say sorry, right? You don’t argue about whether you really stepped on their foot, whether you meant to step on their foot, and so on. Your intent is irrelevant. If multiple people of color call you out for doing something racist, you should trust their judgment and apologize.
“The KKK/Neo-Nazis/slavery/apartheid – that’s racism! Not this!”
No, just because some forms of racism are characterized by violence or virulent hatred does not mean that other forms are any less a manifestation of racism. These are only the extreme forms of hatred that you were probably taught were bad.
“We’re not all like that! That’s a stereotype”
Also: “I’m not like that”, “that’s just as bad as saying people of color are all ___”
You do know that you’re proving nothing by saying that? If x doesn’t apply to you, then move along with your day.
Even if someone says something like “white people can’t dance” or “white people have terrible taste in food and all like mayo”, it’s probably a harmless stereotype. Most people of color know white people, while the same cannot be same about white people with people of color.
White people can usually laugh at stereotypes of themselves, while people of color die from them.
“I’m white and that happens to me too!”
Also: “it’s not racially motivated if it happens to me”
You have to face it: the experiences of people of color are generally different than white people. If something does happen to you that happens to a person of color, it does not mean that your experience is actually widespread
“I was playing Devil’s Advocate! I don’t really think that way”
Also: “some people think that way”, “I didn’t say that it was true”
“if whiteness can colonize and determine the political geography of every continent on earth, place itself at the top of the worldwide power and economic ladder despite being a global minority, convert billions to its religions, and wipe out entire indigenous societies, why do you think it needs you to defend it on the internet” - anygoddamnedcolleen
reblogged from abagond
originally posted by wretchedoftheearth
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