The Sistah Vegan Project

Can Black People Be Racist Towards White People?

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Well, to try to answer this question, let’s visit the fundamental definition of USA racism, which, for some reason, is greatly mis-understood by a majority of white people in the USA who have expressed that they were a recipient of racism from a Black or Brown person. They use the word ‘racism’ when actually they are describing a situation in which the Black or Brown person was expressing something, or doing something, that is different than the fundamental concept of USA racism. (Updated June 1 2013, 22:44 PST)

What USA Racism Is

Being ‘racist’ means that your behavior or attitude towards people will favor an outcome that privileges white racialized people; that privileges a white supremacist value system in the USA. USA racism means that USA society has built, and continues to organize, hierarchies of power around a white supremacist value system. Such a system means white racialized people end up collectively benefiting from this structural/systemic/institutional arrangement of power, privilege, and resources. This is how the canon of critical race studies and critical whiteness studies fundamentally define ‘racism’ or being ‘racist’ (Crenshaw 1995; Allen 2001; Flagg 2005; Lipsitz 2006; Sullivan and Tuana 2007; Chapman 2010; Martinot 2010; Razack et. al 2010)

If a Black person were ‘racist’ towards a white person or white people, their actions would help to create more favorable outcomes for white people than non-white people. For example, to be ‘racist’ towards a white person who is is being interviewed for a job by a Black person, this would mean that the Black person would desire to hire this White candidate because they are white;  because they fundamentally believe in the white supremacist notion that White people are superior to non-white candidates. This would be the true definition of USA racism.

What USA Racism Isn’t

I have had white people tell me that they are angry that they cannot participate in a healing event for people of color that acknowledges the pain and trauma that racism have caused to people of color. The other summer, I participated in a healing retreat for women of African descent. I received quite a few rants from white Buddhists who said the event was ‘racist’ and I was too, for participating in it. Because the event focused on the healing needs of women of African descent who seek to resist the pains of racism-sexism ( due to white supremacist structuring of society) this event and my participation in it was not racist. If the event were racist, then it would have functioned in a way that would have allowed white people to participate and the two teachers would have taught everyone that a white supremacist value system is superior and that black women should know their ‘submissive’ place in it and not talk about their racism-induced suffering.

I have also been told that it is ‘racist’ to engage in research about how racialization and race affects people’s thoughts, actions, behaviors, etc. Sorry, but this is not racist. It is racist to deny that race is an organizing principle in the USA and claim that we live in a ‘post-racial’ society. Wanting to ignore or deny the reality of how resources, power, etc, are shaped by white supremacist value system (backed by a canon of social-science based research that supports this) is racist; racist because this ignorance, dismissal, and/or denial does not dismantle a white racist value system, but simply upholds it.

Don’t get me wrong. It drives me nuts that I have had Black people come up to me an tell me they are angry, disgusted, annoyed, etc that my husband is white. This is not racism, but it is annoying as hell and something I also do not condone. Yes, it is prejudice and another form of hate, however, it is not racism (and like I mentioned before, I am speaking within the context of USA). And no,  I do not support this prejudice or hate against white people from black people, as I don’t believe that the hate or prejudice against any group or people will every create a harmonious and loving world.  I try to understand these strong hateful feelings within the context of a very messed up history of white colonialism, racism, racialized-capitalism, and imperialism that has produced what can be understood as “the hate that hate produced” amongst some Black people in the USA.

So, what are your thoughts about all of this?

(UPDATED January 12, 2014)

I was hoping that this piece would spark critical dialogues amongst people who would not be bullies, verbally violent, dismissive of everyone’s suffering. I was hoping that trolls would also not come on board. However, it seems that most of the people commenting here have either not read the goal of the Sistah Vegan Project, do not understand the goal, or have read it but don’t care to respect it. Furthermore, it appears that most have no fundamental understanding of what critical race/critical whiteness studies are. These two disciplines/canons are not ‘academic jargon’ or ‘masked racism against white people.’ These canons are not about judging people ‘because of the color of their skin.’ These canons represent a reality that does apply to our real world. My use of these canons to understand USA-Based racism/racialization/race relations, comes from decades of research from scholars and activists who have analyzed the lives of people in the USA (and beyond, but I’m focusing on the USA). Using social science methods/methodologies, as well as critical legal studies, the canons of critical race studies/critical whiteness studies employ testimonies, narrative research, surveys, ethnography, and discursive analysis to name a few, in order to create explanations and literacies around how white European colonialism/racism/imperialism have affected USA society from the micro to the macro scale; from individuals, to structures, systems, and institutions.

I also want to remind people of this: just because someone comments on a blog and claims to be a certain identity, doesn’t mean it is true. For example, anyone can come on here claiming to be a Black woman who doesn’t believe that racism exists when in reality, they could be a bored 12 year old boy using their spare time to troll.

FROM NOW ON, I WILL NOT APPROVE ANY COMMENTS THAT COME THROUGH IF THEY ARE CRUEL, NASTY, BULLYING, TROLLING, ETC. I RARELY CENSOR, BUT I WILL FOR THIS BLOG ARTICLE’S COMMENTS. 

If you enjoy these types of dialogues and want to keep on supporting the Sistah Vegan Project, feel free to donate what you can by clicking below on gofundme. You can find out all about our goal to turn the Sistah Vegan Project into an official 501 c 3 non-profit organization!

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Works Cited

Allen, Ricky Lee. 2001. The Globalization of White Supremacy: Toward a Critical Discourse on the Racialization of the World. Educational Theory 51 (4):467-485.

Chapman, Thandeka K. 2010. Critical Race Theory. In Handbook of research in the social foundations of education, edited by S. Tozer, B. P. Gallegos, A. Henry, M. B. Greiner and P. G. Price. New York: Routledge.

Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1995. Critical race theory : the key writings that formed the movement. New York: New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co.

Flagg, Barbara J. 2005. Whiteness as Metaprivilege. Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 18 (1):1-11.

Lipsitz, George. 2006. The possessive investment in whiteness : how white people profit from identity politics. Rev. and expanded ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Martinot, Steve. 2010. The machinery of whiteness : studies in the structure of racialization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Razack, Sherene, Malinda Smith, and Sunera Thobani. 2010. States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century, Between the Lines. Toronto, Ontario: Between the Lines.

Sullivan, Shannon, and Nancy Tuana. 2007. Race and epistemologies of ignorance, SUNY series, philosophy and race. Albany: State University of New York Press.

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189 thoughts on “Can Black People Be Racist Towards White People?

  1. Frank on said:

    This is the definition of racism in the context of whiteness studies, not the definition of racism aside from the social construction of whiteness and the critical race studies examining the concept of racism from the particularly narrow perspective of the consequences of white supremacy. So called black people can be racist too, as many other groups of people.

    Your post here is the most condescending post I have ever read on your site.

    • Why is this post condescending? I am defining racism within the context of USA history of white supremacy and colonialism. Please explain to me how it comes across as ‘condescending’. Thanks.

      • Decius on said:

        You should make it clear that your context is limited, rather than make the claim that racism is linked to a particular race.

        I don’t see why outside of a narrow academic field it isn’t racist to target someone with slurs and bullets because of their race unless such violence privileges a “white” value system. Among other fields, that definition completely denies that racism can exist in the absence of a white value system.

        Finally, when you use academic jargon to limit the definition of a word to the academic context, you should be careful what connotations of the vernacular meaning you carry along. By divorcing racism from unjustified racial discrimination, the academic context removes almost all of the reason for the negative connotation of “racism”.

        In short, try to avoid publishing to the public using a definition of “racism” that doesn’t always include the vernacular sense of “unjustified racial discrimination”.

      • Freddie on said:

        Are you asking if a black person can be racist or are you asking if a black person can be a white racist? If the former my answer is yes. If the latter my answer is no.

      • Connor on said:

        You must be racists yourself if you are truly questioning whether black people can be racist or not. It’s an obvious YES with outb a doubt. There’s no arguing it. From what I’ve experienced being in a racially diverse area in Maryland where white people are a minority, black people are the most racists race in my area. They seem to like to take advantage of the racism double standards that there is in the US today.
        Please venture out of your self righteous cave before writing another article.

      • Rachel Straub on said:

        I am a white survivor of two rapes and was re-victimized by minorities that I didn’t know who found out about my rape because my perpetrator admitted to them, I never even said anything to them. I was told by PoC that “I deserve rape because I am white trash” and “I’m too ugly to be raped”. The first rape is how I lost my virginity. When I reported to a police officer (who happened to be a PoC) he said verbally abusive things to me as well and no I didn’t receive justice. I’m tired of being told by PoC after PoC that white people can’t experience prejudice especially since I’ve been diagnosed by a psychologist as having PTSD because of everything that has happened to me. I didn’t know any of my perpetrators and didn’t know any of the people personally who made the victim blaming comments that were re-victimizing and re-traumatizing. It’s been years and I still have rough days where I relive the rape trauma and harassment after by people I didn’t even know. I’ve also had several PoC tell me that all white people deserve rape and murder and that whenever there’s a white victim whose perpetrator is a PoC that it’s because they had it coming. These comments are very hurtful to me because I never did anything to my perpetrators or bullies, I didn’t even know them but they traumatized me and that is a lifetime sentence. What you are suggesting is that until things get to an astronomical level, white people can’t experience racism but I feel that I did. Also, it may not be in the American history books but hundreds of thousands of Irish people were brought to this country as well as other countries and used as slaves as well. Some people will try to write it off that they were indentured servants but it was men, women and children and many historians have found documentation of them being sold as slaves for far less than the African slaves. Your argument that white people can’t experience racism because they haven’t been slaves isn’t even true, the Irish were white slaves. Of course my being half Irish doesn’t give me the right to say no English person could ever experience discrimination because they enslaved Irish people, I am not the person who was enslaved it would have been my ancestors. This country does have a horrible history but there are laws that are creating equality such as affirmative action and I don’t see anyone in the Chicago area discriminating against PoC but it has happened to me a lot throughout my life as a white person growing up in the Chicago area. The rape and repeated harassment almost completely destroyed me as a human being and until you personally (not your ancestors) experience that you have no idea what it’s like to suffer PTSD and how often I have wanted to give up.

      • SvenTheBold on said:

        My experience reading your article is that you started by proposing a question on my behalf: “Can Black People Be Racist Towards White People”…

        …then told me I don’t understand my own question. You used the phrase “for some reason,” which implies that this is something everyone ought to know; the implication being that not knowing it makes a person stupid. That’s a bit of a condescending note to start on.

        “Well, to try to answer this question, let’s visit the fundamental definition of USA racism, which, for some reason, is greatly mis-understood by a majority of white people in the USA who have expressed that they were a recipient of racism from a Black or Brown person. ”

        You then told me that I have to pose the question in an academic framework that precludes the question ever making sense…

        “Being ‘racist’ means that your behavior or attitude towards people will favor an outcome that privileges white racialized people; that privileges a white supremacist value system in the USA.”

        …and you then go on to say that it would be racist for me to operate under a different framework.

        “…racist because this ignorance, dismissal, and/or denial does not dismantle a white racist value system, but simply upholds it.”

        That’s the sort of Catch-22 where if I question your reasoning, then you say that I’m favoring white supremacy, but if I stay silent, I have to listen to you explain to me how nothing you ever do could ever be racist towards me, because you’re dark-skinned and I’m not.

        To be clear, my definition of racism is that it includes all acts wherein a person generally acts more negatively towards individuals of some races than they do toward individuals of other races. This holds true across situations where the person is exercising power granted to them by society (like a policeman who treats black people more harshly than white people) or whether they’re simply exercising power inherent to them (like a person who prefers to beat up white people instead of beating up black people). It also spans negative actions that are not violent per se, but are important to a person’s life in other ways (like an employer who refuses to hire people of Hispanic ancestry).

        You implied that it would be racist of you to allow white people to participate in an event designed to heal people who are systemically oppressed because of their skin color. Were you really intending to imply that a recent white Zimbabwean immigrant literally could not even possibly be escaping the pain of having been forced to leave their homeland because of their skintone? Because I fail to see how a pain that runs so deep as racism could be instantaneously cured by moving to a nation where your skintone is on top. (Or were you implying that the white people exiled from Zimbabwe were too white to have been victims of racism?)

        “If the event were racist, then it would have functioned in a way that would have allowed white people to participate…”

        In any case, the exclusion seemed quite condescending to me.

        But really, the most condescending thing you do in your article is claim that the value system oppressing black people is fundamentally white. By failing to generalize your language, you deliberately uninvite white people from joining the conversation if they are proud of their heritage, their culture, or their race.

        I know you do not believe me when I tell you that I am quite proud to be a Norwegian-American. Nor do you believe me when I say that my family literally did not exist in this country until after slavery had been abolished, and therefore cannot be held responsible for the system that existed here. I also know that you do not believe me when I say that my family has not benefited from racist values, but has instead actively sought to fight them in whatever ways we can, in particular through the ELCA. But if you do not believe the particulars of my story, at least believe my generalization when I say that it is not part of the Norwegian ethos to persecute people for the color of their skin; indeed, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, the three states of highest Scandinavian heritage, are also among the most egalitarian parts of the country. The Twin Cities in particular is home to diverse and thriving communities: Somali, Hmong, Hispnaic, African-American, and European-American all alike. Not all white people are part of the problem.

        I’m sorry, but your article contained Catch-22s, over-generalized white people in America, and included misleading terminology about a more-specific-than-average field. I do believe that you did not intend this, but you have to realize that it all adds up to seem condescending, especially coming from a person who claims to have intellectualism on their side.

      • Ethan Quinones on said:

        This post seems to assume a lot of things. Where the black people in Africa who sold slaves not being racists? They sold people who looked slightly different than themselves, just based on things like nose shape and skin tone, not simply black or white. If only white people can be racist, what do you call a black man who hates white people? Or a chinese woman who hates Mexicans?? I think your “definition” of racism is infantile, it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny very well at all

    • elisha on said:

      If you look up the definition of racism it does not say anything about one color. You are incorrect.

      • While I can understand (somewhat) the narrow definition of racism employed here, the notion of “USA racism” is theoretically flawed. You would be better-served to point to “institutionalized racism in the US.” This formulation recognizes that racism has historically been a “white” phenomenon in the US without obscuring the broader notion that racism is any belief that race carries with it inherent superiorities/inferiorities. Black people in the US can most definitely be racist, even when that racism does not result in significant legal or social consequences for whites. Being upset that a person has married someone of another race may simply be prejudice (as with your friends), but it would also qualify as racism if, for example, they felt that you had married someone inherently deficient (or even superior) by virtue of race. This is the nuance that’s missing from almost all discussions of non-institutionalized racism these days (that, and an awareness that race is a social construct).

    • How is your post relevant for today or even if blacks can be racist if you are only commenting on US history regarding white supremacy and colonialism? I am a white male who refuses to apologize for what his great, great grandfather MIGHT have done. From the records I have found, my great, great grandfather was an indentured servant (aka slave) to a black freeman. Does this mean I have the inability to be racist? Your blog obviously says otherwise. Freed black Americans went to the Pepper Coast of Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast) and enslaved the indigenous people until the 1940s – well past when slavery ended in the US in 1865. If you want to talk about racism today, let’s talk the Black Panthers, the New Black Panthers, Black Power, Nation of Islam, Nation of Yahweh, Tribu Ka, and the Moors. To answer your question of, can blacks be racist? Absolutely.

  2. Breeze, I am just coming back to your blog after an intense burst of work on my methane research, so I will need to read backward to where I last left off, but please know that I look forward to doing so over the course of this weekend.

    In contrast to Frank, above, I do not read this entry to be condescending. I find it to be an intellectually sound position that is educational for a white USA male like me. And I am not saying this to score “points” on some kind of “Oh look what a great post-racial white liberal I am!” scorecard, if you know what I mean.

    This is about intellectual rigor. It cannot be academically accurate – or therapeutically accurate – to define black anger at whites in a white supremacist society as an expression of “racism.” If anything, don’t we need to describe black anger toward whites in such a society as a natural emotional and political expression of anti-racism?

    I am coming at the problem global colonialism and eco-genocide from a different disciplinary angle, and will probably not have a chance to read into the literature you cite beyond what you summarize in your blog seminar, so I really appreciate your clear thinking and teaching on this issue.

    In closing, on Buddhist retreats, there seems likely to be a need for explicitly multi-racial retreats in the USA, but not as a substitute for the kind of healing retreat you have described. In my view, there can and should be no substitute for your pursuit of a safe space to engage in that kind of deep emotional awareness, fellowship, and healing. Why anyone would criticize you for this retreat, rather than celebrating your for it, does not seem at all empathic to me.

  3. If empathy was truly valued, that healing retreat would have not been seen as racist at all. Some people are so far removed and blinded by the systemic and psychological programming from “true racism” that they throw that term around foolishly. I had a conversation with two whites, a senior and 30-something, in Texas about the recent Jackie Robinson movie, and their empathy for his hardship truly showed their understanding . But, I reminded them that anything that’s a “system” of oppression and exclusion can be racist, and that can be done by others too. It’s the long-term “PTSD-like” effects that can span for generations that we should fear. This was one of the few that times it felt comfortable speaking about a topic where everyone was open and understanding. I never paid attention to the effects of “racism” on whites, even guilt. It really bothers them to speak on it or touch it, so many ignore and deny it. And the affects on many blacks require a whole mental and emotional branch of the medical system.

  4. An early, 1970s, description of racism maintains for me. A black person may be disdainful of, prejudiced against, dislike a white person, or all whites, but a black person or group cannot be racist. Racism demands a superior-inferior power relationship. The dominant value system of economic-power, including warfare, is controlled by the dominant “white” cultures, e.g. Euro-American, racism, as a social construct, can only be exercised from that perspective, one of superior-dominant power over inferior-subordinant lack of power.

    Even if specific community arrangements allow individual incidents of discrimination, what is being exercised is not racism but localized, isolated privilege. A society can be racist, sanctioning and practicing racism; the individual, sans that sanction, is not

    When a black person is discriminated against-denied-ostracized-ignored… by another black that is not racism, that is isolated and specific fear, dislike–and taking advantage of opportunity– but not racism. Race is scientifically, logically, non-existent—except the human race.

    • Preach IT..I’ve been looking for the book(and I know I USED to own it..) which clearly defines this in the same manner you have..I can’t yet think of the title of the book nor the author for sure..I’ve read ALOT and by time I figure it out this dialogue may have passed..So without it I’m driving forward..I couldn’t agree more with your comments..Now try convincing that to folks though who believe the opposite? Folks who have duped themselves into believing the opposite; because it eases the guilt factor. Personally? I don’t neeeeed anyone to feeel guilty for past/present transgressions..Just stop IT..But how is that done? How can folks who have had this idealogy nipple-fed to them since birth(perhaps? I don’t know just a guess..) or media-fed; for years & years & years & years; suddenly STOP thinking it? Take Paula Deen for example…She didn’t JUST start thinking that way! IT just finally slipped out in the open..Instead of behind closed doors. Its a mindset..And its that mindset that will have to be stomped out..Least if we all want progression and freedom for all. How can any of us heal if the overall mindset continues? Answer. WE can’t. But many of us are so ready..Ready for this MADness to be over. Ready to not have to arm our Black children with SO much don’t-do’s that they can hardly recall the entire LIST. Every time I think about “that list” it just makes me so very sad & alot of mad. What makes me hotter? WE have allowed our children to have to live in this manner for years & years & years & years…Its not fair to them. And look where its gotten us. Reeling backwards so fast.

    • Connor on said:

      So what you’re saying is, that there is not a single black person in the US that thinks they are better than white people, therefore they cannot be racist? You know this how? Oh.. Right… You don’t… You are incorrect here. ANY race can be racist. There is no arguing that.

  5. I know that your sources for the definition of racism are situated within a white supremacist discourse, and I’m sure that definition applies in those cases, but in reality, anyone an be racist. I think the best way to go about thinking about this is to consider racial minorities, and leave Caucasians out of the picture for just a moment. I can think of several occasions where I’ve witnessed one racial minority saying terrible things about another racial minority. For instance,a couple of years ago, there was a big news story about how a group of African Americans were calling a group of Asian people racist names and apparently assaulted them. I have heard some terrible things about Asian and Arabic people from people of Hispanic descent as well. And I must confess, I have heard some terrible things said about Caucasians by other racial minorities as well. I think perhaps what needs to be said is that INSTITUTIONALIZED racism (at least in the West) benefits Caucasians and promotes white supremacy, but racism can and does occur on an interactional level that can be committed by any race on any other race.

    • @vegansunshine1991 – Actually, I’m seeing forms of institutionalized racism with other minority groups against blacks and whites. It’s interesting how other”non-threatening” minorities are practicing this particularly during the recession. There are whole industries where certain ethnic groups were recruited, and once they gained numbers and power, whites and blacks no longer can enter those fields.

    • SYL K on said:

      First, even if you “leave Caucasians out of the picture” a white supremacist paradigm remains (yes, even at the global level because COLONIALISM) [thank you Jonathan for eloquently making this point).

      Second, you are conflating ‘tension between ethnic groups’ with ‘racism’.

      • Which is what she said, “institutionalized” racism, which is what colonialism is. That is different from personalized racism. I have been assaulted because I am white. Institutionally, this means that if I spoke with authorities they would side with me no questions asked. Personally, this does not mean that I was not a victim of racism. Being told, with no provocation, “whitey needs to leave if she doesn’t want trouble,” is RACISM. Just because my racial characteristics match those in power does not mean that I am immune from verbal or physical abuse because of my skin color. It means that I am less likely to experience it and when I do, if I choose to report it, I am more likely to have the political authority side with me. Does that mean I didn’t experience racism? No. It means I have never experienced institutionalized racism.

  6. Iana on said:

    I agree with the definition of racism as presented in this article, as it’s racism as it is defined within the context of the USA. I think there is a reply to this article about how it may dismiss “racism” in a non-white supremacist society, but that was not my take. It is my understanding that racism is defined through social constructs, and as those vary so will the definition of racism. In places were racial hierarchy is not defined by degrees of on white to black, it is clear to me that racism could still exist but have a different face.

    On an on-line dating site they offer members a chance to answer questions as a way to share further information about themselves. Answers can be viewed publicly so other members can compare answers and find similarities or be completely disgusted with each other. You can also provide an explanation to your answer as all questions are multiple choice. There is a question on the site that asks, “Do you have a problem with racist jokes?” My response to this was yes, because a racist joke in the USA is something that stereotypes, humiliates and degrades a non-white person. I added that explanation to my answer for people who are unaware of what a racist joke is. Still, I read an explanation from someone who answered no to the question (they don’t have a problem with racist jokes) claiming their white friends get it as bad as their black friends so people need to lighten up. But here’s the thing, there are no racist jokes regarding white people–jokes that seemingly degrade white people are actually anti-racist. These are outbursts (if you will) from an oppressed group of people towards the oppressor. Can these outbursts be offensive? Of course, but they aren’t racist.

    Lastly, regarding comments about having a white husband–my sister and I recently had a discussion about our beliefs regarding racism and sexism, particularly as it pertains to brown folks like the two of us who are first generation bi-racial. My sister expressed that it’s really important for her to understand how both racism and sexism exist in this country as they can and do effect her very directly–but it was not important for her to to let these issues influence all of her decisions. At the end of the day, she wanted to make her own choices, from her own perspective even if they weren’t choices anyone excepted. And this is from my baby sister…she got all the brains!

    • It sure reads like you got the brains, too, Iana!

      I take VeganSunshine’s point, but I agree with you that I do not see anything in this article that negates the idea of racism in a non-white supremacist context. The question that comes up for me is where does that context exist right now in the real world?

      Even as we look outside of the USA, don’t we have to ask whether globalism (right now in the year 2013 CE) is primarily a white supremacist institution that we have inherited after 500 years of colonization by European Caucasians?

      I am not sure it makes sense to call the antagonisms between non-Caucasian groups within this inherited global power structure “racist” in the same way the structure itself is racist. I guess I am really leaning toward Gwendoline’s distinction between prejudice and racism. Is that the critical distinction here?

      • I think that is the critical distinction that I failed I trying to make— >
        “I guess I am really leaning toward Gwendoline’s distinction between prejudice and racism. Is that the critical distinction here?”

      • You did not fail to make it, you succeeded as a teacher in getting the ball rolling!

  7. coreywrenn on said:

    Thanks for writing on this Breeze…I get so frustrated with the misundersandings white people often have about America’s history and how racism really flourishes today. Just got into a “twitter war” with a buddy last week who was announcing to everyone that racism is judging someone based on the color of their skin….so POC can be racist, too. Frighteningly, people with college educations (in the liberal arts) still believe it’s that simple!

    Jonathan said ” If anything, don’t we need to describe black anger toward whites in such a society as a natural emotional and political expression of anti-racism?” I tend to agree with this.

    On my end I’ve been dealing with a lot of backlash from vegan men who are disgusted with me for taking a critical feminist stance …I’ve been called a sexist and a misandrist countless times. Must be nice to have complete control over the world and call anyone who dissents the very thing they challenge…complete hegemony.

    I’m trying to learn more and teach others, thanks again Breeze. Good luck with your upcoming project.

  8. The only place where I ever encountered racism against White people is in the fictional world of the novel “United States of Africa” by the French-djiboutian writer Abdourahman A. Waberi:

    He creates a world where Africa has always been the dominant continent and therefore still is, because it colonized the rest of the world. The novel has two White protagonists – a male Swiss immigrant without a name who dies very soon in a backside alley somewhere and a female artist who was born in France and then “rescued” by an African couple on a humanitarian mission, who brought her back to live with them in Asmara. After her adoptive mother dies, she starts looking for her French origins.

    So, everyone who thinks racism is simply one individual saying something to another individual and that it has nothing to do with fundamental power structures (means: colonialism) – read this book! You can’t pretend to use language without evoking a history full of violence. There is no such thing as ahistoric language.
    And everyone else: read it too! ☺ It’s a very good book, smart and in a poetic language (ok I haven’t read it in English but I’m sure they found some good translators), it’s sad and funny and by turning things around it makes structures visible of our non-fictional world, that usually remain invisible.

  9. So, Breeze, here’s the main issue I think you may find will come up with regard to your post. It seems to be (and I’m pretty sure you’ve run into this statement before) a rather academic and narrow exploration of the idea of racism. Your intent is very clear and concise. Your definitions are sound and logical. Your audience, however, is diverse in every sense of the word. With this diversity comes a much more generalized idea of what racism or racist intent actually is in the “real world.” I have a pretty good feeling that if you were to ask the average layperson in the US what racism means, it would be close-ish (sorry) to the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition:

    “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”

    Now, I understand you’ve qualified your statements thoroughly. If you wish to keep this an academic exploration of racism as defined by Crenshaw, Allen, Flagg, Lipsitz, Sullivan, Tuana, Chapman, Martinot, & Razack, then by framing your argument as you’ve done, hopefully will help keep everyone on topic and working within the bounds you frame your points within. However, assuming you accept my above statement of the broad population’s general idea of what racism means, you’re going to run into more than just a little blowback, particularly from white US Americans…especially when you link that blog to a site like Facebook, possibly the ultimate anthesis of academic rigour. It would seem argumentative at best and inherently racist at worst to those whose understanding of racism is omnidirectional without regard to the established powers that be in a given society.

    I guess what I’m ultimately getting at is your intent seems unclear to me. Is it to educate the masses and enlighten them as to the accepted definition of racism as held by those with a higher degree of scholastic privilege? This would seem to be a tall order. If this is not your intent, then what? If you’re throwing these topics out there without the willingness to accept that the general population has an inherently different idea of what racism is, then it would seem to the casual observer your intent is to instigate rather than to engage.

  10. @Zack, @Decius, @ Frank

    My purpose of starting this dialogue was simply to explain that it seems that over my lifetime experience as someone called ‘racist’ by white people in the usa , for doing research about race and/or attending a ‘black’ centered event there seems to be a misunderstanding of what ‘racism’ is. Racism is a form of prejudice, but I am trying to explain that prejudice isn’t always a form of ‘racism’. And in the context of USA, ‘racism’ is based on how white supremacy has structured power, resources, etc.

    I am not necessarily trying to educate ‘the masses’ using ‘academics’ in a random way. The people I listed are the people who have helped to use social-science and law to explain how ‘racism’ in the USA is a form of prejudices based on white supremacist value system to favors ‘white racialized’ people. That was what I was simply trying to explain. My blog doesn’t exist to change anyone’s mind, nor do I expect that the ‘masses’ will actually care about anything I have to say in reference to the realities of racism. It is simply a space for me to talk about these issues because I was simply not been allowed to try to have these conversations ‘with the masses’ in the standard workplace, k-12 experiences, etc.

    I know Blacks are ‘prejudice’ against white people, but what I was trying to explain that if I look at the fundamental definition of ‘racism’, as defined by critical race studies, this prejudice is not ‘racism’. But, I guess I just failed at doing this. I was also trying to understand why, for 2 decades, I have been called ‘racist’ for using social-science research and methodologies to understand the negative effects of white racism. I simply just don’t ‘get’ it and am trying to start a dialogue by first defining not some ‘academic jargon’ of racism, but using critical race studies, which was started by law professors of color who were simply sick and tired of most of white American claiming that ‘racism’ or ‘skin color’ no longer mattered and that ‘white supremacy’ is not longer a problem, post civil rights.

    I do apologize to everyone for having posted this in the fist place to make everyone very uncomfortable with what I have suggested or referring to the canon of critical race studies that sought to try to use social science research and law research to explain what ‘racism’ is in the context of USA.

    • deciusbrutus on said:

      I’m not offended at all; I’m just pointing out that “racism” has a different meaning in my world than it nominally does in academia. It also has a usage in academia different from its nominal definition, because using that definition it makes no sense to describe an action as being racist “towards somebody” or “against somebody”. By the nominal academic definition, racism is only everything which has the effect of supporting white dominance, and only includes racial hate crimes if those crimes reinforce white dominance.

      I can point out several instances where whites committed violence against blacks that resulted in major civil rights gains traceable to the publicity of the violence. I’m not of the opinion that because the results were good that the acts weren’t racist, and I doubt that you would accept that line either.

      • SYL K on said:

        I took it that the whole point of Breeze’s post was to point out that racism as used “in the real world” (as you called it) is a misapplied term. (As Gwendoline and Jonathan pointed out, a distinction needs to be drawn between discrimination/ prejudice/ offensive behavior and racism.) And since it is being misapplied, there are dire social repercussions that follow ( one small example: people accusing Breeze- an anti-racist activist of being a racist). If people can believe Breeze is a racist, you can see how this might be a problematic misconception to possess at the broader level when it comes to anti-racist measures being blocked or criticized because misinformed people think such measures are racist and problematic.

        If one wants to have the right definition and understanding of autoimmune disorders, one doesn’t appeal to popular folklore or “what the people say” about it. One turns to an immunologist. Similarly, if one wants to have the right definition and understanding of racism, one doesn’t appeal to how people talk about it in the “real world”. One turns to critical race theory. Critical race theorists (and those allied with the field) STUDY RACE and all dynamics associated with race. In the same way that an immunologist is the best person to turn to if you want to understand autoimmune disorders- (no one would accuse THAT as being “too academic”. It would just be accurate), a critical race theorist is the best person to turn to if you want to understand racism.

        If you are disagreeing with a fundamental principle or standard shared among immunologists and you are not an immunologist, chances are you’re just wrong. If you are disagreeing with a fundamental principle shared among sociologists and you are not well-versed in sociology, chances are you’re just wrong. If you are disagreeing with a fundamental principle or standard shared among critical race theorists (SUCH AS THE DEFINITION OF ‘RACISM’) and you are not well-versed in critical race theory, chances are you’re just wrong. It’s okay to not know something in a field with which you are not familiar, but it’s not okay to completely invalidate an expert’s claims simply because you don’t like what she is saying.

      • SYL K on said:

        With respect to the latter part of your comment where you say: ” I can point out several instances where whites committed violence against blacks that resulted in major civil rights gains traceable to the publicity of the violence. I’m not of the opinion that because the results were good that the acts weren’t racist, and I doubt that you would accept that line either.”
        . ..
        You are misrepresenting where reasons fit in the causal chain.

        The violence white people brought upon black people was not done FOR THE PURPOSE OF growing the rights of black people!

        Here is a simple example to demonstrate my objection to your example:
        Shawna climbs a tree. She falls off the tree. She breaks her arm. She goes to the doctor and gets a brace. Her arm heals and is better than ever.
        One would be wrong to conclude that Shawna broke her arm SO THAT her arm could be better than ever! In addition, one would be wrong to insist “If you want to have a healthy and awesome arm, break it!” Sure, breaking her arm is somewhere in the causal chain but it is not THE REASON Shawna’s arm is better than ever.

    • Jeannette Lancien on said:

      Don’t apologize. Whether folks appreciate your rigor, understand your intent, or agree with what you have to say is much more about them than you.

      What you have to say is valuable and needed. Your give voice and shape to experiences that many of us are not able to articulate in spheres some of us have neither the ability, resources or energy to access.

      I found this post grounding in some ways. We can talk theories all day, but to be able to connect theory with experience (whether that experience be push back in academia, being attacked for marrying a white European or enjoying a severe lack of compassion from a community supposed based in compassion) is invaluable. It’s even more powerful to compare experience to theory and see where theory is lacking.

      You have not chosen easy work, but please know that it is valuable, appreciated and will support others in using their voices as well.

      Btw– sorry to have missed you in Portland.. I was in herbalist class :)

    • Ryan Darst on said:

      White supremacy is wrong, but Louis Faraqon’s black supremacy is admirable?Somewhat prejudiced are we?

    • Tired of the race baiting BS on said:

      So, you’re saying that only white people can be racist toward blacks and that when a black person exhibits racist behaviors toward whites they’re merely being “prejudice” but are not racist? Do I have this right? Wow! So, in your opinion, would you describe the New Black Panther Party as racist? I, as a mixed-race person, definitely would especially considering their one time leader was caught screaming “I hate white people” in the street. Racism is a very real problem that affects all races and for you to diminish the racism anyone has had to endure is more than just belittling it is unnerving and quite juvenile minded.

      Just for educational purposes, the definitions of racism and prejudice according to dictionary.com are:

      Racism
      1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determines the cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

      2. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine: discrimination.

      3. Hatred or intolerance of another race or races.

      Prejudice
      1. An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason.

      2. Any preconceived thought or feeling.

      3. Unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.

      I have never in my life read such a condescending article based on such a one-sided, misguided, and distorted set of values and morals. To even assert that whites can not ever be a victim of racism, is racist in and of itself. All white people are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth and are not afforded any extra educational opportunities. Every American has the same opportunities available to them. When a person chooses to live the thug life, dealing and hustling on the street, instead of taking advantage of the educational resources available to them it is not the “White man holding them down”. That, my dear, are idiots choosing to do nothing with their life and instead of taking responsibility for their personal choices they choose to blame the “white man”. People like you allow them to get off the hook by perpetuating this misguided notion that blacks can not prosper and becomes successful because of racism. There are plenty of successful minorities in America. Any excuse for not being a successful educated person is just that, an excuse.

      Here’s a real-life situation from where I live; A plant has only a few black workers to which the local NAACP president decided it’s time to picket out front claiming racial bias. The plant to appease the NAACP hires 10 blacks who lacked the educational and experience requirements usually used during the applicant screening process. The first problem with that is the people who did meet the requirements were passed over because of the NAACP and their bullying ways. Secondly, this is a plant whose employees must operate heavy machinery would you want a co-worker who is qualified and has experience or would you want to put your life in the hands of someone who was hired simply because they’re black? In the end two months after that batch of hiring came the mandatory drug screening given after the same length of time to all new hires with only one person passing.

      Black people can be and there are most certainly racist blacks. Think about inner-city neighborhoods and how whites would be treated upon going into that neighborhood. This white person would most likely end up being a victim of some sort. Now take a black person and put them into a predominately white neighborhood and see how he is treated. Yes, the people who live there may be cautious about the intent of said person however the likely hood of said black person becoming a victim is slim to none. Take the Trayvon Martin case for example, the jury came back with a decision blacks didn’t like so to protest that racial profiling is wrong blacks chose to loot Wal-Mart, cause property damage, and in numerous instances attack innocent whites simply because they’re white. In one instance the attacker looked back at his innocent white victim and said “Now that’s justice for Trayvon”. When OJ was acquitted of murder, white people did not agree but also did not respond like wild animals either. I don’t think racial profiling is used by the police as much, I think it is more of a criminal profiling. Trayvon Martin portrayed himself as a thug street criminal and was perceived as such. Martin at 17 had a criminal history which included theft, drugs, and assault. There had been a rash of break-ins recently at that complex, Martin in his past had been caught with burglary tools and a dozen pieces of jewelry, who’s to say he didn’t have intentions on breaking in to one of those townhouses?

      The Trayvon Martin case is taken up and is considered such an injustice yet we hear next to nothing about truly innocent victims. Victims like baby Antonio who was shot dead by two street thugs while sleeping in his stroller. Baby Antonio’s mother took him for a walk and chose not to bring any money with her. When the two black street thug punks tried to rob her and realized she had no money one of them said to her: “I’m going to kill your baby” and proceeded to shoot this 18 month old baby in cold-blood. Baby Antonio, white/mexican, is a truly innocent victim yet we hear next to nothing about these types of cases. Why, because they happen so often it’s no longer newsworthy in the eyes of the media.

      I’m so sick of black people such as yourself behaving like blacks are the only race that can be victims or racism. That is not the reality of the situation and you know it. Most violent criminals are black men, that is a fact. How about black fathers step up to the plate? How about young black people take responsibility for their own failures in life due to their personal choice to not get an education?

    • I think the major problem you’re running into is one of semantics. English is a complex language with words constantly shifting meaning or coming into existence. You’ll basically run into two types of people: Those who think “google” should be a verb and those who stringently hold to Google as only a proper noun.

      This is a consideration you might want to consider. “Racist” may not apply to black prejudice against whites in an academic sense, but in much of American vernacular racism is poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race or the belief that some races of people are better than others (a la Merriam Webster). It isn’t strictly true that “[b]eing ‘racist’ means that your behavior or attitude towards people will favor an outcome that privileges white racialized people.” What is true is this is an academic viewpoint on what racism is within the context of the USA, which clashes with the vernacular used by many lay-Americans.

      In short, “racism” means different things to much of America than what you’re putting forward. It might be clearer if you make known that you’re talking about racism in an academic sense instead of a practical one.

  11. @ Corey: I am sure you don’t need me to encourage you not to give up, but…don’t give up. We are teachable!

    @ Jasmine: I find that to be a very provocative and helpful reading recommendation. The record is clear our species was born from the Rift Valley womb of Mother Africa. A quick review of the research on the evolution of human skin color confirms that dark skin is the mother skin color of modern humanity. Those of us with lighter skin are “deviants” from this mother tone. I need Breeze or someone else to help me out on this, but isn’t the colonial era idea of “race” itself a seriously backward pseudo-scientific concept that Europeans concocted to justify slavery and other crimes against humanity? Such that racism is by definition a European colonial pseudo-scientific way of screwing up the truth about what it really means to be human, where we really come from, that “Adam and Eve” are not white people but black people, and so on?

    • Dean Miller on said:

      Adam and Eve were not likely black at all, most likely caucansiod traits since they where from the Black Sea area. Light skin,dark hair,brown eyes maybe. But the name ‘Adam’ means red, ruddy apearence. And as for every one not black being ‘deviants’ In that case I guess all humans are ‘ deviants’ since we no longer have tails and now walk upright. Or you might call it evolution.

      • I guess this really depends, Dean, on whether we are talking about 1) Mitochondrial Eve, Y-chromosomal Adam, and the accompanying genetic analyses that show Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens sapiens evolved with black skin under African skies; or 2) a 19th century white supremacist and creationist interpretation of the Abrahamic scriptures, in which the Hebrew word for “Adam” in the Book of Genesis is mistranslated to represent “a Caucasian with ruddy skin.”

        You are probably right to tussle with my use of the term “deviant” in my previous comment, but not for the reasons you give. Those of us with “white skin” are not different from people of color in the same way that all human beings are different from primates that have tails and swing from tree branches. The analogy you are drawing is not called “evolution,” it is called racist social Darwinism.

        My intention in using the provocative word “deviant” was to underscore the point that fair skin is better conceptualized in comparison to dark skin as both a deficiency in itself (low SPF) and a genetic diversification for coping with an underlying nutritional deficiency (Vitamin D). People of color have a better natural sun protection factor (SPF), and there is even some evidence that melanin helps sequester potentially toxic metal ions, irrespective of its photoprotective benefits. Fair skin is the relatively late adaptation of some migrating humans to the seasonal solar deficiency that occurs in the polar latitudes farthest from the equatorial cradle of humanity IN AFRICA.

    • Jonathan, I know you mean well, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. “We are teachable” indicates to me that you think it is somehow the responsibility of Black people to educate white people about racism, and that is simply not the case. What IS the case is that any white person who needs to be taught about structural racism in 2013 is a person whose white privilege enables him/her to sit on the sidelines while the STRUCTURE that white power has built continues on its merry way, disenfranchising (see this month’s Supreme Court ruling for literal evidence) communities of color at will.

  12. Thank you. I’m not really up for dialogue on this subject but would love it if we could dialogue in person. I’m not up for it because I’m in the middle of taking a final that is written in a language that is not the language of my birth. Anyway, I just wanted to say I agree with you. I used to teach sociology at a community college and I used these definitions to explain racism, even breaking it down to power + prejudice = racism. Most of the students would get it but there were always a few that did not. I also needed to read this today because I go to a rabbinical school where I am the only black person. So thank you :D

  13. Nice piece. IMHO, no. Prejudice is to racism as feelings are to institutionalized oppression.

  14. HELL NO! Individuals do not get to define “racism” as it has been lived in the USA for hundreds of years in a way that suits themselves. This is not a matter of opinion, folks, this is a matter of fact. And the dictionary definition quoted in one post was written by…wait for it…WHITE people. Racism is never individually-based; it is always about collective power and privilege. A person is “racist” who acts in a way that supports the power and privilege of the dominant “race.” And those of you who would like to pretend that the scientific non-basis for race is definitive need to look the hell out your window and check what is happening in your public schools and jails.

    • @susan starr, you took the words right out of my keyboard!!!

      • jajajaja (Mexican for hahahaha…I was blessed to be able to become an ex-pat 5 years ago because, really, race is only the beginning–and, I believe, the basis–of the insanity that is USA culture/politics/society in the 21st century. I admit it–I’ve wussed out and gone to live in a place where family and community are primary (in no small part because people cannot afford as many THINGS with which to occupy themselves), where strangers are welcomed, where people respect manual laborers (because that is still most everyone)…It is not a perfect place, and it does not have perfect people. But it is not the belly of the beast of capitalism, and one can breathe in peace here.

    • Who said anything about redefining racism? Of course racism is defined as you state, “A person is “racist” who acts in a way that supports the power and privilege of the dominant “race.”” I don’t dispute that point at all. What I simply stated is the general public’s perception of what “racism” means is not at all what your stated definition is. It’s much closer to the dictionary definition. The general public doesn’t usually surround themselves with the material put forth by critical race scholars.

      This is just one of the many reasons why common ground can be so hard to find when speaking about this topic. If you can get the greater consciousness of the American people on the same page, then there’s likely some hope for progress.

  15. The Alchemist on said:

    In my favorite article on the emotional effects of racism/white supremacy on non-white people the following description is given:

    “the grinding everyday stress of being poor and marginalized in America
    [experienced by people of Color] is weathering, a condition not unlike the
    effect of exposure to wind and rain to houses. . . . Stress hormones threaten
    the health of poor people, . . . Blacks, and Hispanics . . . when people feel
    frustrated, frightened, or angry stress hormones, affect the body”

    Racism and Psychological and Emotional Injury Recognizing and Assessing Race-Based Traumatic Stress by Robert T. Carter
    The Counseling Psychologist January 2007 vol. 35 no. 1 13-105

    Your retreat was an attempt to get out from under the elements. The rain, wind, UV rays, and hail (microaggressions, racism, sexism, ablism, etc) that leave me feeling like the weather beaten exterior of a wood framed house. The color of the paint has faded and patches of paint have flaked away but the wind and rain just keep coming. Breeze, don’t apologize for wanting to get out from under the elements. It’s nice to commune with other people and not have to first convince them of your humanity. I no longer have conversations with colorblind post-racialist. I’m tired of the deflections, derailing, and logical fallacies they employ to score debating points. To many of them this is just an abstract intellectual discussion. How you heal and recover from days spent in a sea of whiteness is not something most of them really care about. I’m a black disabled female working in the natural sciences. I don’t waste time explaining certain things to people classified as non-black, male or abled bodied. I think having certain conversations with people unlike me can be re-traumatizing when their responses force me to debate my humanity with them.

  16. I believe that there are different types of racism. From individual, to institutional. I believe that everyone in this society harbors some level of racist feelings, thoughts, and even behaviors…some much more than other. I am black, mixed, and I do believe that black people can be racist towards whites. I however, understand where the racist feelings are coming from, and harbor some of them myself. I also, unlike most people, don’t think that having some level of racist thinking makes you a bad person. We are all only as strong as the culture we come from, and all people can change for the better given the right environment. Acting on racist feelings to hurt or bully people is not ok of course, but it isn’t the biggest problem.

    My issue is with institutional racism, and the majority, white dominated culture allowing blacks to languish and die without taking urgent action. This is not just the fault of the overt racists..In some ways the overt racist seems more concerned with the state of black people than the polite white liberals and calculating white conservatives. And the happy hippies, and busy business people.

    It maybe that my definition is similar to the ones that other people are using to differentiate racism from prejudice. I have, for a long time, felt that it would be better if people were not so unwilling to acknowledge their own racism. I kind of feel like making it something that is only something that whites engage in makes it harder for white and blacks to be introspective about the issue.

    • @Oakland Radicals…I like your thinking…I believe we all are “racist” in that we are tribal and hold our family, ethnicity, ancestry as at least a tad better than others, which “betters” our affiliation, at least in psychological and social re-enforcement…which I find to be perfectly harmless…now, bullying and outright intimidation is utterly intolerable and wrong.

      I don’t think that institutions are just allowing Blacks to die, though, as much as waiting and waiting for Black people to do what every person should do: take responsibility for themselves, which incorporates being adult and embracing opportunities to make better and better decisions in one’s life to be successful. Life is Unfair, which cuts across ethnicities and colors.

      I believe Whites feel like they are blamed for something that almost every person has to deal with in life: Am I going to face my problems or blame them on someone else: parent; family; teacher; church; college; employment; government; “ex”. That is where I agree with you, again: ” I have, for a long time, felt that it would be better if people were not so unwilling to acknowledge their own racism. I kind of feel like making it something that is only something that whites engage in makes it harder for white and blacks to be introspective about the issue.”

      …I do believe that polite White Liberals have been a significant part of the problem in that they say they are against “racism” and for “equality”, but don’t fight against unions that are more concerned with teachers’ tenure than student performance? Why? Because it would mean challenging Black students to do their homework and get their s*#% in gear, with the rest of the world….but that would be “racist” of Whites to challenge anyone not White to work harder. So…lessened expectations are seen as kind, when in fact, they are crushing our youth…

  17. Thanks for starting this dialogue, Breeze! I’ve never even considered that the definition of racism could be bigger than prejudice against someone of a different race. Joe Creitz’s simple analogy was helpful in differentiating the two.

    And I suppose the same idea would apply to sexism?

  18. Crystal on said:

    Would it be OK to simply believe that racism is both hatred, disregard and contempt for a person based on their ethinicity AND the academic definition ? Are they not both valid ? An apple is a fruit, but it can also be red, sweet and crunchy. This is how I see it. Racism is so Embedded everywhere there can hardly only be One deifinition.

  19. Crystal on said:

    Breeze, what do you consider to be racism outside of the USA ? What is racism in Tibet ? What is racism in South Africa, or East Europe ?

    • I wouldnt define it Crystal. I don’t think I should or can define racism out of the ‘white racism’ context of the USA I think my blog post is asking everyone to engage in. I have no knowledge of ‘racism’ outside of the usa context to define it, so i will choose not to.

      I do find it interesting that despite me explaining ‘white’ racism in the context of structures and institutions, I am being asked by some on here to give racism a broad general definition that fits all times, regions, and situations OUTSIDE of the white racism USA context that the blog article is specifically addressing. Seems like this is shifting the focus away from
      how ‘white supremacy’ is the root of usa racism. But, that is just how i am experiencing it.

      For me, academic definiton or not, racism in the usa is ‘white’ racism and as such racism = power + prejudice that upholds a white supremacist value system since that has existed since 1492 in what is now usa. I have really tried to make this distinction clear on my blog, but it seems like perhaps it is not clear enough(?)

      Thanks for engaging.

      • just because people refuse to hear what you are saying does not make your communication at fault. “aggressive ignorance” is what my seminary president called it–people have to work hard to not know some stuff.

      • Dean Miller on said:

        So Breeze,
        ‘White supremacy’ is the problem. So what would be the answer ‘Black supremacy’ ? Or as M.E.Ch.A would have it ‘Brown supremacy’ ? You focus on ‘U.S.A.’ ‘White’ ‘Colonialism’ why? Because at this time ‘White U.S.A.’ is dominant?
        Look at Africa today ‘Bantu supremacy’ over Pygmies.

        Racism has deep roots and a long history outside of our U.S.A.
        How about Hitlers views on Jews and everyone else that wasn’t German. To the Greeks everyone that didn’t speak Greek were ‘Barbarians’. In North America before ‘Euro Colonialism’ Aztec Colonialism killed or “sacrificed” almost 100,000 people a year from a different ethnic group. In Durango, Colorado at the Sacred Ridge massacre site dated 800A.D. mutilated remains of Men, Women, Children and even dogs indicate ethnic cleansing took place.

        There is a 1883 book by Paiute Princess Sarah Winnemucca, “Life among the Paiutes” she writes in it about her ‘dominant’ people dealing with others many many generations before her time.

        “My people took some of them into their familys, but could not make them like us. So at last made war on them. Their number was 2,600. The war lasted three years. My people say the tribe we exterminated had reddish hair. I have a dress trimmed with this reddish hair. I am going to wear it some time when I lecture.” She has a statue in Washington D.C. She was a Indians rights and Womens rights advocate. My point of all this is that ‘ WHITE SUPREMACY’ is not the root of racism. Lack of respect for other beings is. And it begins with the individual who feels free to disrespect.
        WHITE,BLACK,BROWN,YELLOW,RED. EVERYONE is free to abuse power or be racist. Make the choice not to be.

      • Dean,I think I mentioned several times over the last 8 years of my blog, PhD Work, book projects that my focus is on the USA and how Black women experience the USA. So, to answer your question why I’m focusing on USA, because it’s been my work and sense of curiosity. I am wondering if this is the first time you have read my blog, as your question implies that you have not read the goal of the project(?)

        I can’t and won’t speak of any other ‘racisms’ because the blog and dialogue is specifically about the USA. I find your response kind of strange if not ‘irritated’ with me for creating a dialogue around the same specific topics I have been for the last 8 years: black, usually female, experiences in the USA. Sure, you can talk about other ‘racisms’, but that is not the topic of the blog and nor is it my ‘expertise’.

      • P.S., and my blog specifically is looking at ‘racism’ in a ‘post-colonial’ era of the USA and its roots in European colonialism since antebellum slavery. But yea, I have continued to make this clear for 8 years. Even wrote a dissertation about it and shared that information about it. And about 7 or8 articles, but it appears that I get these “I’m irritated with you for only looking at white racism in the uSA” emails from a bunch of people. As a doctoral researcher, I had to look at a specific region (USA), era (antebellum through post-racial USA), community (Black women vegans; white vegans) to do my work; hence, my dialogues on this blog revolve around that. However my work seems to become “problematic” to many, despite me explaining for 8 years what my focus is; because I am not ‘looking at the whole world’s experiences of racism and discrimination,’ I get criticized and I don’t know how or why this productive; it just seems like if I mention ‘white’ racism in the USA, it greatly annoys many; and I never said ther aren’t other color/race/trie discriminations in the world. But I can’t look at every instance and not should I feel ‘entitled’ to go into a completely different culture from my own and start researching ‘their problems’ before I look into my own nation and the problems we have with ‘white’ racism here. Sorry, but this is what a social science cultural geographer researcher does: they pursue specific era/community/place to investigate…. and in all honesty, my Sistah Vegan project came about because I see a theme over my entire life as me as a Black woman and other black woman experiencing racial-sexual discrimination in the USA. Therefore, I thought maybe I’d look into it. And then I started realizing it had deep roots in ‘white’ racism that is a legacy from European colonialism and ante-bellum slavery in the USA.

        You point out to me that “‘white supremacy’ is not the root of racism.” Well, I never said it was. If you re=read the post, please point out were or how you interpret me saying this. I said I was specifically looking at ‘white’ racism in the USA.

      • If “lack of respect” and individual choices about whether to “be racist” were the issue, there would not be disproportionately negative outcomes for people in the usa who are not white across ALL sociopolitical indicators. Or perhaps you believe, Mr. Miller, than Black and Latino men are overrepresented in prisons because they do more crimes than whites; or perhaps you believe that white people’s work is worth more than the work of people who are not white, and that is why there is a wage gap; or perhaps you believe that poor children of color are just plain stupid and that is why their test scores are lower than white students in public schools. Most likely you believe you have earned the police-harassment-free, rats-in-the-children’s-food-free, take-3-buses-to-work-free life you have. But you are wrong on all counts.

      • Decius on said:

        It’s one thing to say that you aren’t discussing e.g. the phenomenon of people with dark skin discriminating against people with white skin. It’s another thing entirely to say that that phenomenon isn’t/wouldn’t be racism.

        @Dean Miller: The solution I propose is a system that is egalitarian in nature. The most problematic thing I’ve encountered about it is that it requires, among other things, that all children be raised in the same culture, regardless of the culture of their parents. Every racist of every race will interpret that as the x-ification of their culture, and the expectation that most people currently have that they will be able to choose to raise children would need to be adjusted.

      • Ryan Darst on said:

        If it’s all “white racism” how do you explain Attorney General Holder refusing to prosecute blacks. Or Obama speaking of his grandmother’s “typical white fear” of blacks. Can you say “hypocritical double standard”. What about the obvious situation where the majority of American blacks supporting Obama simply because of the color of his skin. I’ve talked with a large number of black friends and acquaintances and not one even agrees with his policies other than receiving handouts. Maybe an honest discussion is in order…

      • @Ryan Darst (June 22): Yes, I can say that you are applying a hypocritical double standard in this instance. The consequences of slavery and Jim Crow in the lives of black people are not the same as the perpetration of slavery and Jim Crow at the hands of white people. And how do you know more white people did not vote for Romney simply because he is a white Republican than black people voted for Obama simply because he is a brown Democrat? As you will recall, people of color did not have a choice between a black Republican and a white Democrat in November of 2008 or 2012. It’s not like it was Herman Cain versus Hillary Clinton. People of color in the USA are so much smarter than you give them credit for.

    • crystal, why would you ask? i cannot imagine any other reason except that “racism” is an academic idea to you with no meaning in your heart/soul. you and all the others who want breeze to explain/defend her position, whether you are well-meaning white liberals or just run-of-the-mill racists–people whose chosen ignorance supports the status quo of white supremacy–need to START by assuming the truth of her statements and asking yourselves “what might this mean about ME and MY life?”

  20. Gustave Flowbert on said:

    I am by no means educationally qualified for an academic discourse on this matter but I’m just so tired of my fellow white people nitpicking this issue to hell and back and black people having to pretend that white people have points worth making about “what racism means”.

    We (as white Westerners/USA-citizens) have not even a hint of a clue about what it’s like to experience racism. It doesn’t mean we can’t listen, learn, and change things for the better or that people of color can’t be jerks to us as individuals. It SURE doesn’t mean that society is set up against us though. That’s the end of it, society benefits us because of our race. Racism. There we go.

    I’m being very dismissive and I take responsibility for the negative reactions this might cause but I can’t believe we still can’t even process this most basic of concepts as white people.

    • thanks, gustave (nice nic)…maybe if we respond as white people the dolts who think people of color have to “educate” them about racism–WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU PEOPLE BEEN FOR THE LAST 60 YEARS?–will go back to their privileged lives and leave Breeze alone. cuz they sure as hell ain’t interested in changing any racist structures.

      • Ryan Darst on said:

        Okay you tried to sound educated even though you misused have the words in your post then use the word “ain’t”. Self-avowed idiot much?

      • Sandra on said:

        Personally, it makes me slightly angry. This entire field/blog is utter nonsense. Academically race is entirely a social construct anyway if one wants to speak of academic definitions how does one avoid that very big tree in the middle of the road of this discussion? If there are no “races” how can racism even exist..if we are discussing this purely from an academic perspective?

    • Gustav!

      Finally!!! The most important part of your comment is “I am by no means educationally qualified for an academic discourse on this matter…”

      I think more people need this disclaimer before they speak.

      seriously, thank you for allowing breeze to share her claims and experiences. We need more white folks to shut up and listen so that they can get the issues. White people are not victims of racial violence….I don’t know what America these white folks are living in…maybe they watch too much tv.

      Thanks for your comment! It’s one of the best ones on here!!

  21. Can Black People Be Racist Towards White People?

    The majority of blacks are Anti-white, and not racist at all.

    • Ryan Darst on said:

      That’s called racism you prejudiced, fool. You just proved that you are in fact a bigot.

      • It is an “academic” definition only in your white-privilege-preserving mind, sir. Your reply is akin to saying “The world is round in an academic sense but colloquially we speak of it as flat.”

    • well, if all blacks are anti-white, I would afraid…..IF THEY ACTUALLY RAN THE WHOLE SYSTEM IN AMERICA!!

      Just because Obama is president doesn’t mean black people run the country you fool.

      You are your racist self won’t need to worry about black people’s “racism” because we STILL live in a white supremacy–so you’re okay!!! (God I hope you’re part of the OLD baby boomer generation…..)

      I don’t know why white people are so afraid..how many times were whites lynched in trees because of blacks…..

  22. Black people are the biggest racists in the world. Crying racism for every little thing is racists. Voting for obama because hes black is racist. Seriously ask any black person who voted for obama and 99% don’t even know what his stance on the issues is. They just know hes black.

    • Bob-you’re an idiot…and you’re PROBABLY an uncritical white person.

      We keep talking louder and louder because white people don’t want to admit that they hold racist opinions towards blacks…I mean…we live in a RACIST system….we are ALL trained to be racist towards the same populations.

      Who cares if people voted for Obama just because he is black? Why do you think so many white presidents won before…..you think white people didn’t see his race?

      Why did so many people vote for McCain and Romney—they were terrified of having a black guy in office (because they’re totally not racist!) so they voted for a white person who resembled them.

      Why are you crying about black people voting for Obama when white people have ALWAYS voted for candidates that looked like them.

      You’re a bigot……I voted for Obama and I know what his stances are. You’re racist, so you just don’t belong on this blog you fool.

      • Sandra on said:

        Voting for someone within your own group is not racist either way if you ask me. People simply tend to vote for people who represents them most accurately. Whites have always been the majority (until Hispanics are) so the majority of presidents will be white…this is not racist. If all black people vote for Obama it is not racist either, just human nature. Obama is bi-racial and belongs to both groups (in my opinion anyway). Why do bi-racial people deny their white group completely and act ashamed that they are partially white?

  23. Ryan Darst on said:

    Hey,moron. You may go check Webster for the real definition. It is the belief that one’s race is somehow superior to all others, not the dumbass Chris “thrill up my leg” Matthews. Black supremacists such as yourself ARE racist, and you’ve adopted the “any means necessary” approach to selfishly advancing your own agenda. It’s a new day, friend, and bigots such as yourself are being called out everyday. You have done a disservice to those affected by true racism.

  24. Albert Meadows on said:

    Is this a joke? Clearly the blogger and the brown nosed white folks commenting did not grow up in a black area as a white child. Ever been jumped in a school bathroom by a group of black kids for being a white kid? This is the type of garbage that gives black children the false impression that it’s acceptable to physically assault or verbally abuse white children with little or no consequence at home or in school. Just stupid, discrimination is equal to racism.

    • The type of garbage that gives children permission to be violent is not discussion of what racism is or is not; what gives children permission to be violent is the male notion that power over people is a good thing and that the ability to make people afraid is a good thing. Their culture teaches them that as surely as it teaches them that Black belongs on the bottom. We will consider your position the day after thousands of white men have been murdered by Black police officers with zero consequence and not one day before.

      • deciusbrutus on said:

        Is it still not-racist when white kids beat up black kids?

        Is it still racist when white-skinned people raised in American Black culture commit more violent crime per capita than white-skinned people raised in American White culture?

    • >discrimination is equal to racism

      And this is exactly what the miscommunication between colloquial “racism” (the term as used by everybody who isn’t indoctrinated into sociological jargon) and academic “racism”. Colloquially, racial discrimination is by definition racism, while in the academic sense it is neither necessary nor sufficient.

      • @ Decius..

        Learn how to ask critical questions.

        –no–it’s not racist when a black person beats up a white person. We are not talking about an individual instance of violence with people possessing different skin tones. That’s an idiotic scenario and demonstrates how surface-level your understanding of racism is, which is why I dont’ know why you’re even commenting on this material.

        –The racism that black people experience is very similar to a beating…except you’re receiving a beating from a whole system…you’re receiving a beating from the educational institutions and the economic institutions, but you can’t see who is throwing the punch….but it hits harder than you could ever hit an individual white person.

        You spend too much time commenting on Breeze’s blog without reading stuff. SYSTEMIC RACISM…..learn what that is………….

  25. makgil on said:

    define it however you like-prejudice, racism, etc. discrimination of any kind is unjust. it is also unjust, ironic and hypocritical to call others out on an ‘ism such as this while partcipating in the worst form of ‘ism’s by far-speciesism.

    • Sandra on said:

      As far as “receiving a beating from the entire system” it seems that (to me) this is not something that happens (in 2013) because of race or racism but is something that happens because of socio-economic status. I have witnessed very overt discrimination toward the so called “privileged white group” without taking into consideration the individual members of this group and their socioeconomic status. I have seem a lot more overt discrimination toward poor people. Poor people get trampled on white and black. Poor black people just have a few more tools to make them think that they are being helped when actually all poor people are being pacified into a false sense of security so we can all become slaves for the top. Since the beginning of time there have always been slaves and there will always be slaves. A slave is a person who works and is forced to give up the fruits of their labor. We should unite in our human plight instead of dividing and fighting over things past. The poor people in America today are just the modern versions of slaves. We are much better treated ( the better to keep us pacified) and unaware of our status.

  26. Joe Washington on said:

    Hiding your racism behind social-science research and methodology still makes it racism. Trying to use research studies and education to express your racism is pathetic and dishonest. It’s like saying, “no disrespect by this comment but you’re an idiot.” You could also call yourself a coward.

    • I don’t personally think she is “racist” for studying the topic…if I am understanding correctly, she has gotten flack for merely researching this subject, being called the r-name? If so, that is at minimum not fair….it would be like calling me a Satanist for researching the Satanic Bible?

      …to your point about hiding behind research studies and education, that sounds quite fair…i just didn’t get an air of her thinking anyone who disagrees is an idiot…she seems pretty kind, but misguided…

      • Billy on said:

        @Aph. I really hope you’re not an adult. Why do you keep calling people names like a child? Just because someone has a different view or opinion does not give you the right to call people idiot’s and such. How can anyone else take anything valid of what you say when clearly you cannot make one statement or opinion without injecting your child-ish ways.

      • I was hoping that everyone would speak to each other in a way that is not insulting. I agree that is is not productive to call people ‘idiot’ or similar when discussing this topic.

    • @Joe–you’re an idiot and you don’t know what racism is.

      I don’t know too many black scholars who use social science to BE racist.

      If you think oppressed people talking about their oppression IS oppressive, then no one can help you.

  27. Heidi on said:

    I take issue with this post because it is implying that the racial biases of blacks towards whites is justified, even condoned in certain circumstances. I grew up in a predominantly white rural community in Iowa, so I am not able to defend myself with an urban or racially diverse upbringing. As an adult now living in a small city, I have worked with people of many different races, religion, and sexual orientation. I have never felt entitled to special treatment because of the color of my skin or any other reason. I am about as white as I could be. I have red hair, wear glasses, and am left handed. As a schoolgirl I was relentlessly teased for my hair color, called “four eyed ginger,” and even was called a “freak” by a teacher for using my left hand. Now, I do understand that these are not examples of racism, but they are examples of bias and discrimination for things I had absolutely NO control over. I really take offense when I am told that I don’t understand prejudice because I am white. I have not experienced racism, but how many people posting here made fun of someone for something beyond their control? Prejudice affects all humans. I cannot take away the horrible things in our nation’s history, but I do believe that I have learned valuable lessons from them. I guess my point is, I feel like saying only white people can be racist towards only black people is extremely unfair and narrow minded. Can only men be sexist towards only women? No. It goes both ways. We have all experienced hardships and pain, and we can’t understand fully any experiences we have never had. I am not of African descent. Does that mean I have no right to be proud of or celebrate my Norwegian heritage? Or that pride in my family’s heritage is racist?

    • Heidi–

      I made tons of comments below–read them because they address all of your problems.

      You obviously don’t see how white supremacy is different from individual remarks from black folks.

      No one is doubting that black people individually can say mean things, be aggressive, or say a racial slur towards a white person. That is very individualized. We are not talking about that. We are talking about SYSTEMIC racism towards black people. Just as people called you names for having red hair, black people are vicitimzed by the education instituions and economic instutions; however, they hide behind the system…so we don’t ever actually see a literal face from a victimizer. The WHOLE system is against black people….so it’s not just a white person coming up to a black person and calling them a nigger, it’s much much more larger than that!

  28. Kenny on said:

    Wow you people are dense… THE DEFFINITION OF RACISM IS THE DISCRIMINATION OF ANY RACE BY ANY RACE!

    • No Kenny–we’re not dense. We’re educated.

      You evidently didn’t read Breeze’s post, which seems to be a trend with the uncritical folks.

  29. Interesting discussion here. I came upon it after an African American, once a friend, told me flat out that she has a problem with skin color. What is your opinion on this: I was told that my rape as a white woman isn’t as bad as a rape of an African American. Why is me as a white woman being raped “not so bad”? As a woman I have to say a rape is a rape. My skin color didn’t make it any easier to be raped. Is this racism, discrimination, prejudice or just plain ignorance of the pain of rape?

    • I have no idea who said that to you or what the context was, but it doesn’t matter, they’re flat out WRONG. Rape is rape regardless of who it is done to, and I am truly sorry that happened to you.

    • @faithintwelve…

      –you need to read more. it’s that simple. all of the answers are out there to your questions, you just have to be willing to read them.

      This comment section isn’t a space for random people to ask questions that can easily be answered with a google search.

      First of all, any physical act done to any body is terrible! I’m sure it hurts just as much for a white woman as it does for a black woman.

      In actuality, women of color are raped MORE than white women are; however, “rape” discussion are always talked about as if it’s a white woman’s issue, and they act as if rapists are “color-blind” when they choose their victims which is not true.

      Its proven that if you’re more low-income, and if you’re always a woman of color, you have a higher chance of being raped.

      History will tell you why. Black women were brought to this country during slavery as BREEDERS….we were bred with black men to produce stronger slaves and laborers.

      Also, African women were REGULARLY raped by their masters–in fact, it just wasn’t even called rape. It was normal. Therefore, that system of institutionalized rape towards women of color has never gone away.

      Women of color’s bodies are seen as public property—in fact, women of color are paid LESS in sex work fields because their bodies are not seen as desirable as other races because women of color are not valuable—they are “rape-able”—they are anyone’s property.

      Therefore, we can’t act as if rape is “post-racial” or “color-blind.” Therefore, when talking about rape, if we’re not going to simultaneously talk about race or class, then the discussion is a waste of time.

      No one is trying to de-legitimize your rape at all, and I’m sorry you experienced what you experienced; however, understand that “rape” as an issue predominantly impacts particular populations more than others!

  30. Patrick on said:

    I was one of only two white kids in an all black school in Michigan. I was beaten and called names for two years. I’ve never cared about race, but these kids would say things like “that’s what you get for having slaves whitey!” They learned this hate from their parents, and it is racism. Black people are just as capable of being bigoted racist as any other person.

    • @Patrick

      –your bruises in no way equate to the systemic violence that black people feel. Instead of acting like a victim, perhaps you should try to understand their anger, instead of dismissing them as crazy apes running around punching white people.

      Their parents aren’t racist…The system is racist TOWARDS black people, which is why black folks have so much anger towards uncritical white folks.

      Imagine that–you innocently go to school everyday like an ignorant ass, while these kids endure violence that you will never understand. It’s not a coincidence that you were one of the ONLY TWO WHITE KIDS in the first place….

      Yes, black people can be ignorant and can individually inflict wounds and say hurtful things, but that’s what our system does to black folks every day on a larger level so stop acting like you’re a victim, because you’re not.

      You just had a physical run-in with the anger black people feel towards the system. The issues are larger than you and your friends….your skin represented something to these children that was hurtful….similarly, black skin represents something nasty to mainstream society and to most white folks; therefore, black people are exhausted from having to deal with such racism on a daily basis…so I would say you got a symbolic beating.

  31. Speaking as a white person, this blog is exactly right. You can be prejudiced against white people (which is not a serious problem), but that’s not racism. Is it bigoted? Sure. Is it racism? No, and assertions otherwise would be incredibly ignorant of the history of the country and race relations globally. White people need to recognize a difference between discrimination and loss of privilege. Hint: One of those things is GOOD.

  32. 1Q84 on said:

    Yes.

  33. Josh P on said:

    “If a Black person were ‘racist’ towards a white person or white people, their actions would help to create more favorable outcomes for white people than non-white people. ” I didn’t read the whole thing but according to this statement you are simply reversing the definition of what people know racism to be. If you use this definition then whites were not racist to blacks when they were slaves. Besides, there technically is no such thing as racism. The human race is just that, one big race. Scientists have never figured out how to divide different ethnicities into different races. All humans are over 99.9% identical. That being said, if someone was racist, they would hate humans. Someone can definitely hold contempt towards a certain ethnic group, but that doesn’t always mean a certain color or anything like that. Anyone can choose to be part of a different ethnic group. So to answer your topic’s question, no, black people cannot be racist towards white people. White people cannot be racist towards black people. Yellow people cannot be racist towards red people, etc. etc.

    • Well said, Josh…if scholars wanted to be so “purist” about tensions between ethnic groups and “White Privilege” ( which I do believe is a valid point ), then they would have been factual that there are no races, given the science. Instead, an unhelpful and divisive term was introduced.

      …my hunch is that there was an agenda to single out Whites while saving one’s ethnic face about their own bigotries and prejudices…

  34. Is the point of the blog entry to “just” remind us of the original introduction into our vocabulary of the term, “racism”? In my politically correct university education in the 80’s I was taught that Racism is Prejudice + Power…which implied: White People have the “Power”, so there was no way anyone who wasn’t White could be “racist”. I bought it hook, line, and sinker. ( I was also too scared to voice any disagreement with Non-White students ) It was helpful to spur my thinking beyond an individual level, but that’s the rub. We do not only operate in America on a corporate, institutional level…and there are many facets to social progress, anyway, so to oversimplify and project one’s biases, i.e. towards our influence in the world as “imperialism” is not something I will “Amen”, anymore. It’s akin to preaching that slavery was a “White” invention…a teaching my honest money was wasted on in college.

    To borrow from Larry Elder, the Black Talk Show Host, when Reginald Denny was getting his head bashed in by a Black youth and a brick, was that not about power? When Ward Connerly was blasted by a Black Congresswoman because he was opposing Affirmative Action, saying he didn’t have any ethnic pride, and because he had a White wife, was she not being racist, even against her “own”? It was an act of power and intimidation, through the medium of “race”…with the Media backing her up…power, again…this time aiding a “Black” person.

    Please, do not spin the truth of power used destructively by Blacks as just a reaction to White Power, and defang it by not calling it another form of Racism…it insults the Common Sense of the Americans of all colors and stripes who know what it really is.

    I am educated with a Master’s Degree…that doesn’t mean I esteem what “Academia” dishes out as if it is more valuable and true than what the non-educated speak of. Oftentimes the so-called “learned” can produce some of the worst ideas around, even with “research”…no agendas in the “canon”? This re-casting of “racism” is absurd and intellectually, as well as socially, irresponsible. It does contribute to a greater resentment between the ethnic groups ( since I do agree that there are no “races”, anyway…time to update that, too ).

    The inherent illogic here is that Black people get to define White Behavior as “Racism”, but White People cannot critique and disagree with “Black” definitions? That is racist.

  35. Pingback: Let’s talk Zimmerman. | Erika, the Chillest

  36. You said:
    “Being ‘racist’ means that your behavior or attitude towards people will favor an outcome that privileges white racialized people; that privileges a white supremacist value system in the USA.”

    Unfortunately, this perception of the definition has been taught to the massesv through race-baiters like Al Sharpton. Good ol’ Al wants to keep the fires of racism burning because without racism, he wouldn’t have a high-profile, high-paying job. The actual definition of racism is:

    racism (noun)
    1: hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
    2: racial prejudice or discrimination job.
    3: abusive or aggressive behavior towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief

    No color is mentioned. Minorities are not necessary. Yes, you most definitely can be a racist if you’re black.
    I’ve always said that voting for someone based solely on their skin color is racist.
    I’ve seen countless interviews of people who voted for Obama when they knew nothing about his policies or ideology. Isn’t discounting the other candidate just because he is white racist? It most certainly is.

    That is ludicrous because like it or not, the president IS half white.
    He was raised by white people and grew up with mostly white kids too.
    These days, if a white person disagrees with the policies of the president, they are deemed a “racist”. Obama is just as much white as he is black. (And I say “black” because I am white, not European-American).

    Unfortunately, the label of “racist” is losing it’s impact. I believe racism is a nasty, disgusting trait in people that are ignorant, uneducated and uninformed.
    But it gets thrown around so much lately, it’s losing it’s meaning.

    Racism most definitely exists in this country, but like the boy who cried wolf, one has to use it when it’s deserved. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have made careers of exploiting racism. Even when there is no racism present, they cry “racist”. Remember, these guys get rich off of race-baiting.

    The president who promised to bring us all together has created divisions like we haven’t seen since the 1960s. I was never afraid to walk alone my entire life.
    I have heard of several instances since the Zimmerman verdict where a white person was attacked “for trayvon”. This is a hate crime and most definitely, it is racism.

  37. I would be interested to see what you think of an experience I had in a diner recently: http://tarnishedsophia.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/weird-experience-at-the-diner-yesterday/

    While I’m fairly certain you’ll say it was an individual action of prejudice, I do wonder how you might have handled it were you in my shoes. I take no issue with the academic definition of racism, and agree that the “prejudice + power” aspect is a big part of it. However, what I’ve seen in the my own experiences is laypeople using this definition to condone or propagate the idea that it is acceptable to use racial slurs and other forms of prejudice against whites because “it’s not racist”. This creates a type of “out” for minorities who engage in prejudiced behavior, who can be confident in the fact that while they may be punished for their bad actions they will never have to live with the stigma of having those same actions called “racist”…even if they were racial motivated.

    For example, a group of Asian teens can mug a white woman and not be called racist. A black man can harass a homeless white man and cannot be called racist. A black woman can use slurs against a white child and refuse to let her own offspring play with said child…but she (by definition) cannot be called a racist. Now reverse the colors of the victims and perpetrators and you will have racists.

    This, to me, is part of what is setting back our progress in creating equality between all people. By saying that the same violence is worse only when committed by pale skinned people does nothing to help the victims, and in some cases makes it sound like minority aggressors should be excused. At least, this is my own take on it based from personal experience.

    • @tarnished Sophia–

      Oh please…the fact that we’re calling out racism for what it is setting back the progress of equality??? You must NOT be black.

      The only reason why we enjoy the “equalities” that we currently do have is BECAUSE minorities walked the streets, fought the systems, bleed, and called out racism for what it was!!!! Read a history book.

      have you never heard of the civil rights movements??? Do you think oppressed groups just gain “rights” because they sit quietly and pray that privileged folks get it?? Come on…I think people like you set back progress. You’re so afraid of confronting the fact htat we live in a system that is racist….we are ALL born racist into this system…part of the project is learning and acknowledging that.

      You can be racist without saying the “n” word……if you were born in America, you’re PROBABLY racist, even if you feel like you’re kind towards the black folks. You are creating violence by not letting minorities speak their voices. If you don’t experience racism, then shut up and let those who do speak up!!

  38. Amanda on said:

    This is what I think. Black people use slurs against whites all the time. They have called me white fat cracker, peckerwood, grey ghost, white bitch, white nigger and a host of other names. They can be just as racist as the white person. I could stereotype blacks all day long as well as whites. The truth is that some blacks can be just as racist as some whites. I personally have been the recipient of these comments. I have heard these comments made all over my neighborhood. I am an elderly white woman living in a racially mixed neighborhood. Blacks call Mexicans taco benders, beaners, spics etc. They call Asians gooks, chinks etc. So yes blacks can be racist and some actually are.

    • @Amanda
      –sure blacks can be aggressive towards whites and use racial stereotypes and words…however…black people don’t run America as a system. Just because Barack is president doesn’t mean all black people run this country–we still live in a very white supremacist culture—I mean, when barack became president, we had to see his birth certificate because we couldn’t believe that he was actually American!!

      You are conflating the idea of “individual racial aggression” and “systemic racial aggression.” I would much rather have someone call me a name TO MY FACE rather than have education systems and economic systems against me.

      You said you were called a “fat cracker, peckerwood, etc.” Well…you know what…..now imagine your WHOLE SOCIETY is against you and you know you are being discriminated against, but you can’t even tell who is your aggressor..it’s the whole system. Now you know 1/1000000000000th of what a black person feels in this culture.

      Black bodies and white bodies are not yet equal…it’s sad that I have to keep saying that. It’s amazing that white people think that, but not blacks…so who do you think we should listen to? White people who don’t experience SYSTEMIC racism, or black people who do??

      That’s like saying that a woman can be just as sexist as a man…well, maybe individually, but that doesn’t matter. We’re talking about systemic issues…like systemic sexism…where men predominantly run the governemtn, and have most leadership positions…that is another form of sexism, but you are so arrested by the idea of individual words from an individual person.

      Learn what a system is and then chime in with this discussion!

    • StellarEbony on said:

      Blacks in my opinion are racist by default..it’s a defense maganisum. We have been subjected by this abuse from every race. The darker blacks especially experience racism the most, even from their own black people. That’s because the ‘bullied becomes the bully’ maybe as a means to fit in. Brainwashing has alot to do with it. Also there is racism within nations and again the nation
      most populated by blacks i.e Africa experiences the most hate and humiliation……

      My belief is, people hace such a weak disposition and they refuse to accept difference in society because of lack of mental discipline in tolerance towards

      • StellarEbony on said:

        People have a weak disposition in tolerance towards others….their mind controls them through conditioning or just laziness to prevent the mind prevailing in their decision making.

  39. Rebecca on said:

    No one likes condescension and capitalizing “Black” and “Brown” (which are skin colors, not a nationality or ethnicity so they should not be capitalized) to purposely leave “white” lowercase in order to communicate supremacy is racist. I’m BROWN and I think this post could have been something very good if you hadn’t ruined it with your personal bias. People like you completely ruin progress for the rest of us.

  40. rte3 on said:

    To claim that only white people can be racist, when the definition you choose to use incorporates the idea of power, is actually a statement rooted in the concept white supremacy. You’re basically saying that other races are incapable of having power/authority… otherwise your comment would be something more along the lines of “Only the dominant racial group of any society can be racist”… but you chose to specifically say “white people” and then qualify it by adding the “in a america” part… which says less about your argument than it does about why you’re arguing it. you could have chosen a definition that remains neutral while making the same point… but you didn’t. i wonder why that is.

    This perspective also ignores the fact that power structures constantly change based on your environment. It also ignores that fact that, even with “white society”, poorer white people are essentially relegated to minority status…. and, at times, even lower because they aren’t a special interest group that can be exploited for political gains. These people have no power… in fact, as a society we’ve decided that it’s ok to openly mock them — but it’s ok — they’re white, they’ve obviously go to sleep each night on a pile of money they get just for being born white… the trailer park thing is just to throw people off.

  41. @Rebecca–do you think the fact that you mentioned that you were “brown” validates your comment even further?? That is about as surface level as your understanding of racism! Breeze is qualified to speak about these issues, you’re not. Having brown skin doesn’t automatically mean that you now have a PhD in critical race studies.

    Black and white bodies are NOT EQUAL…you are acting as if racism is an individualized comment towards an individual person. Racism is a systemic thing…and we currently inhabit a white supremacist culture! Therefore, white people don’t even NEED to say a racist comment to be racist because racism is in the air. Just because no one sits you down and tells you that you’re racist doesn’t mean that you’re NOT racist. Just because you don’t say the “n” word doesn’t mean you’re NOT racist.

    In fact, I would argue that since we ALL inhabit a white supremacist culture, we’re ALL trained to view whites as normative and all other brown races as less than…especially blacks. Just look at statistics….or read a book. the same goes for sexism. We’re all raised in a patriarchy–it’s in the air we breathe, no one is exempt. That’s how “hegemony” works. You dont’ get to decide whether or not you want to be brainwashed…the work Breeze does helps us become a bit more literate about these issues so we can navigate through this white supremacist culture.

    The fact that tons of white people THINK black people are equal to them is merely a way to deny the racism that’s occurring. I mean, minorities are saying they’re NOT equal, but the privileged are saying they ARE equal…come on.

    I mean, what race is normally viewed as not having a race?–white people. They are granted invisibility. Therefore, postracism, the idea that we can’t see color, can ONLY privilege those who are ALREADY invisible—-like white people!

    Ugh. This is a drag. I don’t understand why people are commenting on here when they:

    a) Don’t read the full post
    b) Have not read anything about racism from a critical black person’s perspective who understands racism
    c) are not willing to listen to others who talk about the aggressions they experience from white supremacy.

    If you don’t personally experience racism in your life, great, but don’t silence other experiences or else you’re participating in violence!! If you don’t experience something Rebecca, why are you on here acting like what Breeze goes through (as well as TONS of black folks) isn’t real! You’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Additionally, if you actually read anything academic about racism, you would already know that MANY scholars (not just Breeze) capitalize “B” in Black, but not the “w” in white. It’s symbolic.

    Read before you decide to comment on issues you have no clue about!!

    • deciusbrutus on said:

      Let me point out that ‘racist’ is not a term that applies to a person, as a character trait. ‘Racist’ describes behavior and attitude, not people.

      It also doesn’t take an individual as a direct object, even if the race which is oppressed has only one member; one can racially discriminate against an individual, but the racism is towards the race.

      • @Decius–where are you getting this definition of “racism” from…..the dictionary or something?

        You’re a fool. Breeze studies these issues. I STUDY these issues—you ARE WRONG…I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU KEEP COMMENTING AND REPEATING YOURSELF!!!!

        I actually take grad level classes in issues like this—what’s your qualification? Where are you getting this information from?

      • deciusbrutus on said:

        Aph: I’m using the academic definition provided; when I want to use a different definition here, I call it out specifically.

        “Being ‘racist’ means that your behavior or attitude towards people will favor an outcome that privileges white racialized people.”

        That’s not a statement that describes a character trait; it describes the behaviors and attitudes of a person.

        And I stand behind the claim that one cannot have a ‘behavior which favors an outcome that privileges while racialized people’ to an individual. (One can have ‘behavior which favors an outcome that privileges while racialized people over a specific race, but not generally’, which is close enough to being racist towards a specific race)

    • Rebecca on said:

      “if you actually read anything academic about racism, you would already know that MANY scholars (not just Breeze) capitalize “B” in Black, but not the “w” in white. It’s symbolic.”

      You’re just confirming that they use a symbolic gesture to say black people are better than white people. The opposite is what justified slavery. How would we feel if white scholars did that with every written article in 2013? You don’t win equality by trying to dominate. I am not going to trade racism from white people for racism from another people who think that they are above someone of a different color. My family is called spics and I am catcalled by black men, never whites. Interesting patriarchy, isn’t it?

  42. @Decius–

    if you’re sitting here and trying to argue that ANY HUMAN can say something offensive to another human being–then you’re in the wrong blog because EVERYONE WOULD AGREE WITH YOU.

    However, we’re not just talking about individual racism……in fact, I would argue, that is a distortion of what racism is. You are discussing the most OVERT racism that I learned in 3rd grade–literally.

    We’re talking about something larger than a black person calling someone a “cracker.” If you want to call that discrimination, fine…however, we’re looking at it on a MACRO level…where blacks are disempowered in this culture. We inhabit a white supremacist culture—if that makes you uncomfortable, sorry….(it makes MANY of us uncomfortable) but that doesn’t mean you can write it off with the wave of your hand. It exists. The fact that we, as people of color, have to PROVE that it exists….is PROOF that it exists!!! lol.

    You really need to read more critical studies work about race. You keep looking at racism from an obvious micro level; whereas, we’re looking at it from a macro-level, understanding that America (although diverse) has always been white supremacist!

    • deciusbrutus on said:

      Are you using a jargon form of ‘racial discrimination’? Because I’m using it to mean “Any decision which uses race as discrimination, especially in situations where race is irrelevant to the nominal decision”.

      There’s also ‘racial-tension-motivated aggression’ (racial aggression), which is what hurling epithets around typically is, which is what you seem to think I think constitutes ‘racism’.

      The real reason I’m still engaging is that when people I disagree with stop loudly parroting their sacred texts at me and bother to engage me with independent thought, I end up a happier and more knowledgeable person.

      I also find the macro-history completely irrelevant, because nobody takes actions on the macro level; all actions take place on the micro level, and I need to understand fully how micro-level actions like prohibiting literacy tests to vote could possibly create macro-level results like reducing crime rates in black neighborhoods.

      Oh, and look closely at your unstated assertion that culture is homogenous in the US. What would you see differently if the US had many different, interacting cultures but no single unified one? Is speaking of US culture meaningless in the sense that speaking of brunette culture is also meaningless, or is it meaningful in the same sense that speaking of cricket culture is meaningful? What would be different about the world if the counterfactual case were true?

  43. @ Aph: What I am understanding from your comments is that a white person is racist simply because they are white. I am white, so I am racist. You can sit back and judge my character and declare me racist without ever meeting me. It seems to me that I have somehow become a bigot and a racist simply by being born. While I can somewhat agree with the concept that racism (in the USA) is a product of a white supremacist value system, I think it is absurd that one person is able to insult and judge another based on their skin color. I realize you will not believe this to be an honest statement on my part since I am white, but it is how I feel. You may hold the opinion that I am racist, but I hold the opinion that you are racially biased. There is nothing I could say or do to rectify the brutal injustices of this nation’s past, and I don’t think holding me responsible for them is fair. There is a pedophile in my family that went to prison; would you suggest that based on that person’s crimes I should also be incarcerated? Since the offender is my biological father then it stands to reason that I, too, can and should be held responsible for his crimes and then my child after me! Maybe this seems fair to you, but it doesn’t to me. You cannot hold one person accountable for the actions of another, and one person’s actions cannot predict another person’s actions simply because the two people have similar traits. I am done now, since you probably got the the first “white” in this comment and have dismissed everything else anyway. I really don’t like trying to reason with a brick wall, and it is counterproductive anyway.

    • deciusbrutus on said:

      That’s not how responsibility works. When you do a fault analysis, there’s no point in assigning fault to a part of the system you can’t change afterward, it’s like stepping off a cliff and blaming gravity. Gravity isn’t going to change next time. There’s no point in trying to allocate responsibility to people who aren’t going to alter their actions. Once you look at it from that perspective, you realize that allocating blame never helps anything unless you blame yourself, because you’re the only one whose actions you can change by putting blame there.

      (Stolen from Eliezer Yudkowski, and taken mostly in-context)

      Blaming something beyond your control requires denying that you have the ability to change it. It’s better for everyone involved if we don’t try to place, accept, or deflect blame.

      • Sandra on said:

        Sure does feel like “blame” is being “placed” squarely on whitey’s, whitey’s children, whitey’s children’s children…………………………if not why are we even studying/discussing this issue?

  44. Mr. Smith on said:

    Wow. I knew Americans were dumb but I didn’t know you we’re this dumb. You actually think that’s the definition of racism? REALLY?…I’m gobsmacked =|

    Your logic is totally flawed. So therefor, because your clearly a cretin, I simply cannot have even a remotely intelligent conversation with you about why you’re talking out of your arse.

    I’m disappointed. I really am.
    I’m also beginning to think you’re completely hopeless…

  45. To make an argument that might make sense from your perspective: you are fulfilling the white supremacist value system by identifying as black and then talking like a real fool who can’t see that the most relevant context is now and in your neighborhood.

    I am hoping your husband is more ok than I would be with a wife who is “trying to understand” those who react with disgust towards him when they are being obviously racist towards him probably only behind his back. You sound like me growing up ignorant and valuing my black friends but “trying to understand” and keeping quiet with some of my vehemently racist white ones. No more. You need to see the light on this and look up from your journal articles. Some of your black friends are being racist, and it is your responsibility to do something about it.

  46. Esiajalugu on said:

    I really hope not all Americans are like this. You still don’t get it do you? The first and foremost reason why your society is so messed up, is because when lots of people emigrated or forced to migrate to your pseudo multiculturalist country, over time nearly all of you lost your native language, culture, customs of your original people. Because you have lost this hundreds of generations ago, it is harder for you to imagine how life would look like with it.

    The most important is language, we form our thoughts in our minds on our native language, this native language formed when we lived in our native habitat for thousands of years, thus for instance the language of an African tribe suited their needs perfectly. They invented, perfected and used words everything what they seen and felt. Now if you abruptly move this group to an alien country where they rapidly loose this knowledge and start to use the language of their oppressors, they consciously or sub-consciously begin to build new group identity. The important thing is, that this new identity is independent from their oppressors, this “smuggles” a little freedom into their lives, this is a form of selfdefense. By the way this is true to any race or ethnicity, just read the story of Mamlukes, Chinese court eunuchs or Mestizo. Just imagine black from different empires, with different languages, most of the time from African countries that waged wars against each other, are suddenly in a situation where the things what made up the importance of their life was gone forever.

    The only common thing they have is their skin color. The first generation learn English, but use a great number of loan words from different African language families, their cultural elements also mix. This protected them from absolute intellectual deprivation (which is when you lose your original cultural identity completely and adopt a foreign one), but this is only a short term solution.

    Because of this new mixed cultural and linguistic heritage wasn’t isolated (melting pot, influx of other cultures), it didn’t had any time to settle and adapt in a way the original had, more and more new elements went into it, and older ones went out, until it was unrecognizable (this happened to Asians, Europeans and Natives too. Just in a bit different way, and for different reasons).

    So what remained? Those form of the heritage what change really slowly, physical ones, let this be skin color, or other easily recognizable ones (humans generally use facial features the most).

    —–

    A bit unrelated, have you ever considered why do we find those animals the closest companions that actually have a face, or a similar facial structure as our own? Have you ever seen faces or face like object in random noise imagery (paint splash, marble lines, tree barks)? This is one of our primary evolutionary feats, the ability quickly recognize friends or foes, and emotions on the faces of our fellows can be the difference between life and death (this was more important in ancient times, when our species formed a million or so years ago). In this sense prejudice was useful when you encountered something unknown, this prejudice can be anything from the fear of large bodies of water, unknown animals, plants and even people. You assume the worst so you don’t get surprises. However when you get accustomed to the new object or organism, and see that it is harmless or not as harmful, but still maintain the original prejudice, that becomes counter productive. It makes mutual coexistence difficult, and lessen your survival options. This phenomenon between different groups of humans what we can call racism. It doesn’t really matter what information is the fundamental (by fundamental I mean something which is not chosen but inherent) basis of this racism.

    For example look how interesting is (from a social perspective) this in the virtual world. Let’s see World of Warcraft, it is in a completely fictional setting, when the developers created the story all of the groups were blank in a cultural sense, they didn’t had a medium which could carry a form of prejudice or racism, then they invented the history, and when the world was online (after several decades of publishing previous titles), it was filled with conflict. Players could either choose Horde or Alliance, yes I know this is a matter of choice (unlike in real life), but when gamers were put in a conflict, and invested a lot of time and energy into their faction, they soon accepted it as part of their cultural background. Needless to say heavy fight emerged, both on forums and in real life, to the extent when groups exchanged death threats, and things got physical in a few cases. All because of some imaginary fairy tales. But by the time of the conflict the origin was irrelevant, each group had reasons or so they though to hate each other.

    Keep in mind, most player are casual (they have both Horde and Alliance characters), but at least 1 million engage in this kind of behavior.

    Sorry about the bypass, but this was just to show that sadly racism and prejudice, is inherent in our species and every other organism on the planet, you can have it heavily or lightly, but it exist in everybody to an extent.

    —–

    Because of this fact, the chaotic and culturally extremely volatile society in the USA, started to focus heavily on race, gender, etc. Your country became polarized (ask why does Americans identify the most, with sub-cultural groups? and a large number of them), and this process is not slowing down but speeding up. It is impossible to maintain a tolerant atmosphere under these conditions. Which society doesn’t have these things? Monocultures. True monocultures doesn’t exist, because that would mean every body is identical, both physically and mentally. But you could see the difference, between your country and for instance nomad Sami. If the Earth becomes a monoculture (unlikely), then this is undesirable, since it would mean the end of 6400 languages and many more cultures, thus their way of life, thinking and lots of information is lost forever. That is why the system of isolated, or semi isolated monocultures is the most tolerant.

    Just like when you have to types of fluids and a barrier, if you remove it, the two will mix, but require time to settle, in the end both of them are lost, and new one emerges. You can speed up the process with some moves, but this also makes it more chaotic.

    Or you can painfully rearrange the two fluids, with lots of time and effort, and have the coexist.

    —–

    When you live in a society with lots of false cultural stimulus (like the USA) it is easier for you to adapt a very localized view, like what you have written about racism, and how it is possible or not for a black to be racist against a white.

    {I say both the information (color) and the information carrier medium (skin) is irrelevant, that is not the point, the point is the interaction between the groups. It doesn’t matter if you use decimal, hexadecimal, or octal number systems, what kind of binary operations (subtraction or division, etc.) you use what really matters.}

    I had this debate with several people, some of them really believed that all members of a specific race or gender were the same or part of a global supremacist agenda. If you go to radical Black forums, even there you can see debates about this. I have seen them argue whether those whites are enemies who’s country, ancestors and themselves never participated in slavery or have no contact with blacks (the specific country was Poland, but there are many more). Most Black traditionalists for example reject any western religion outright, in this way they came into conflict with Christian and Muslim blacks. There are groups who consider Arabs part of a supremacist system because of the Arab slave trade, continued slavery in Sudan and lastly because they are whites. Pan-Africanists are more lenient on the issue, sometimes including Arabs in the north as Africans. These are just a few of sub groups of a group. Just as pointless as radical white pondering, whether Jews, Italians, Hispanics are white or not.

    Africans in their natural habitat didn’t identified with their skin color, it was so obvious as the color of the sky. Just like with every other race. When I say to people, that do not identify with my skin color, they say “You are racist, because you think your skin color is the norm, it is infront of you, yet you don’t even notice it, etc.”

    Why should I? It means nothing to me, sure it would be strange to me if suddenly my color would turn to another, just like any change in your body. But it doesn’t carry any significance to me, it is just a tool to protect my body, and if you know what is the evolutionary reason for it, it makes it even less important culturally.

    Language is very different, you learn it, but it defines your thinking, I have seen a lot of examples where different peoples with different native languages, solved the same problem quite differently, or got to the same conclusion with a different though process. You have to go out and live with fundamentally different cultures to fully understand this. Have you ever heard of the Occitans? They made a country which was before the medieval French state, they had a very famous culture and musicians, even after WW2 there were at least 12 millions of them in what is now southern France, but the state issues and order that the only official language is French. They called it (with Breton, Arpitan, Basque) patois, which meant backward, primitive, unlettered, etc. and it’s practice just some kind of fogey, useless superstition, and has to give way for the more “modern” French (people really like to use the word modern for manipulation). Guess what today it is spoken by less than 100000 people, children are still beaten today in school or get expelled if they dare to speak Occitan, you can get killed in some places if Frenchmen hear you, and any kind of debate about it in the TV or politics is taboo. In the state that has the motto: Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

    Since language defines our thinking, it is more of a binary operation, than a number system (referring to the previous example).

    Have you ever thought that since you speak the language of the colonials as your mother tongue, your thinking process is not truly independent or you cannot detach yourself from it? I think that most Blacks would really benefit from learning an African language, or at least going there once, and trying to practice that culture. Today it is even more urgent as native African languages dwindle, because every country has foreign colonial language set as standard. Look at the artificial borders that separated the same people and tribes, and forced long time enemies to live in one unnatural state. The World would need at least another 1000 independent countries, and many more autonomous territories.

    —–

    This question is as redundant as the following about sexual identification. A lot of people consider it a big deal, whether we born with our sexuality, learn it or develop it because of some external forces (like psychological traumas). Conservatives tend to say, that if people are not born with it, then they choose it, so that means it is wrong (the reason why it is wrong differs, for instance religious nonsense). Liberals tend to say, when somebody mentions that it isn’t scientifically proven that we born with it, or there are other factors, and each of these factors count differently in every individual; that they are a homophobe, or if the question remain unsettled, then conservatives will use this information to push oppressive agendas.

    What they forget that it is totally irrelevant if we chose it or born with it. Something is normal when the whole of society agrees that it is normal, or just practice it without any second thought. Now for instance if we agree that homosexuality is normal, then we can also all agree that it doesn’t need any justification.

    Do we need any justification for breathing?

    This is just a logical connection between the variables. Ignore the variables look for the connection.

  47. no thanks on said:

    This is laughably stupid. You want to reinforce categorizing people based off the color of their skin, as if that itself were not racist. You deliberately define everyone out of the conversation. What about all the “USA whites” who are poor immigrants? What about Asians? Your “black vs white” worldview is narrow-minded, silly and outdated.

    • thanks but no thanks on said:

      “Your “black vs white” worldview is narrow-minded, silly and outdated.”
      I would also add harmful and dangerous. Even worse that it’s wrapped in the veneer of academic/ scientific truth.

  48. Meat-eating Christians are like white supremacists! Let me show you what I mean:

    In a 1989 interview with the now-defunct Animals’ Agenda, Reverend Andrew Linzey, an Anglican priest and the foremost theologian in the field of animal-human relations, drew a parallel between animal and human slavery, saying that history is repeating itself with regard to animals:

    “Now, just think of the difficulties that those early Christian abolitionists had to face. Scripture defended slavery. For instance, in Leviticus 25, you’re commanded to take the child of a stranger as a slave…St. Paul simply said that those who were Christian slaves should be better Christians.

    “Almost unanimously, apart from St. Gregory, the church fathers defended slavery, and for almost 1800 years, Christians defended and supported slavery.”

    On the other hand, in a 1991 essay, “The Bible and Killing for Food,” Reverend Linzey writes:

    “…it often comes as a surprise for Christians to realize that the modern vegetarian movement was strongly biblical in origin. Inspired by the original command in Genesis 1, an Anglican priest, William Cowherd, founded the Bible Christian Church in 1809 and made vegetarianism compulsory among its members.

    “The founding of this Church in the United Kingdom and its sister Church in the United States by William Metcalfe, effectively heralded the beginning of the modern vegetarian movement.”

    The church of the past never considered human slavery to be a moral evil. The Protestant churches of Virginia, South Carolina, and other southern states, actually passed resolutions in favor of the human slave traffic.

    Human slavery was called “by Divine Appointment,” “a Divine institution,” “a moral relation,” “God’s institution,” “not immoral,” but “founded in right.” The slave trade was called “legal,” “licit,” “in accordance with humane principles” and “the laws of revealed religion.”

    New Testament verses calling for obedience and subservience on the part of slaves (Titus 2:9-10, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-25, I Peter 2:18-25) and respect for the master (I Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5-9) were often cited in order to justify human slavery. Some of Jesus’ parables refer to human slaves. Paul’s epistle to Philemon concerns a runaway slave returned to his master.

    Quoting Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, Colossians 3:11 or Galatians 3:28 as verses in favor of abolition in the 18th or 19th century would have been met with the kind of reaction animal activists receive today when citing biblical verses in favor of vegetarianism and the compassionate and humane treatment of animals.

    The Quakers were one of the earliest Christian denominations to condemn (human) slavery.

    “Paul’s outright endorsement of slavery should be an undying embarrassment to Christianity as long as they hold the entire New Testament to be the word of God,” wrote Quaker physician Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik in his 1986 book, The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ: the Pacifism, Communalism, and Vegetarianism of Primitive Christianity.

    “Without a doubt, the American slaveholders quoted Paul again and again to substantiate their right to hold slaves.

    “The moralist movement to abolish slavery had to go to non-biblical sources to demonstrate the immoral nature of slavery. The abolitionists could not turn to Christian sources to condemn slavery, for Christianity had become the bastion of the evil practice through its endorsement by the Apostle Paul.

    “Only the Old Testament gave the abolitionist any Biblical support in his effort to free the slaves. ‘You shall not surrender to his master a slave who has taken refuge with you.’ (Deuteronomy 23-15) What a pittance of material opposing slavery from a book supposedly representing the word of God.”

    In 1852 Josiah Priest wrote Bible Defense of Slavery. Others claimed blacks were subhuman. Buckner H. Payne, calling himself “Ariel,” wrote in 1867, “the tempter in the Garden of Eden…was a beast, a talking beast … the negro.”

    Ariel argued that since the negro was not part of Noah’s family, he must have been a beast. Eight souls were saved on the ark, therefore, the negro must be a beast, and “consequently he has no soul to be saved.”

    I commented in a letter to my local newspaper, The Tri-Valley Herald, in early 1992 that it remains to be seen if organized religion will support animal rights or simply remain an obstacle to social and moral progress.

    “Simply!” say conservative Christians.

    I point out, that was George Wallace’s philosophy, too, proclaiming, “Segregation Now. Segregation Forever,” in 1963.

    “Forever!” they respond.

    But when I put two and two together, and say offhandedly, “Meat-eating Christians are like white supremacists,” suddenly their “tough” veneer disappears, and their feelings are hurt!

  49. StellarEbony on said:

    I definitely don’t agree with the example given about the job interview.

    But however I am very offended by white people refusing to acknowledge that black people are racists towards them because they persisently continue to be racist usually implicitly. But at the same time they blame their ancestors for the past hurt….yes it is ur ancestors fault but why do u lot proceed to be racist than; and then u’re further suprised and offended when karma comes ur way….it makes no sense

    You started it…but yet you still haven’t exhausted the hate…When will you possess a strong desposition? or just simply when will you quit suffering from delusion of grandeur?

    • I must admit, I’m offended. I’m considered white. My family immigrated here during WW2. My ancestors didn’t do anything to your ancestors, and to make that generalization is incredibly prejudicial.

      I have never in my life imagined judging someone based on the level of pigmentation in their skin. So why should I be judged for the level of pigmentation in mine?

      • StellarEbony on said:

        The point I made is white people are still racist, although their ancestors are not here to receive their karma…so therefore it is up to the generation of today to make a change in how they conduct themselves; but it seems as if they’ve inhereted the deluded way of thinking from their fore fathers and mothers…….so it shall be they who will pay the price…(I’m fore telling what is set to happen)

        I Dont Give A Damn If You’re Offended…..blacks have felt that way for generations…in fact thousands of years including the Arabic slave trade…..the feeling isn’t nice don’t you agree?

      • “The point I made is white people are still racist…”

        I know, and that’s what I responded to. It’s a terribly generalized statement; it appeals to the fallacy of hasty generalization. You’re making the statement that all white people, as a group, can easily be classified at racist merely by skin color. To be frank, your statement is racist in and of itself due to the fact that it insinuates that white people at a group are lesser than black people, who are not (obviously) included in your blanket statement.

        “…although their ancestors are not here to receive their karma…so it shall be they who will pay the price”

        Again, a blanket generalization. Not all white people have racist ancestors. Even if you ignore the fact that the group “white people” includes many cultural backgrounds, there is also the fact that not everyone’s families were in the U.S. during times of slavery or the growth of civil rights.

        Seeing as I do not personally believe in the (Buddhist) idea of Karma or the (Christian) idea of inheriting the sins of the father, I can’t really speculate on how you feel regarding inherited karma. However, I will say that to appeal to the notion of karma really makes no sense to your point. If you study Buddhism, you will learn that there is no “blameless victim” because all suffering was brought upon the victim via actions in a past life; using that line of logic, if you truly believe in karma, then you would be saying that the suffering of black people in the U.S. was due to their faults and actions in past lives and thereby brought on themselves. I don’t know about you, but I, personally, find that idea quite repugnant.

        “…it is up to the generation of today to make a change in how they conduct themselves…”

        I agree, to the extent that I believe that it is up to each of us separately to become better people and create a better world.

        “I Dont Give A Damn If You’re Offended.”

        Rude. Did I curse at you? Did I blatantly disregard your feelings? Did I blatantly disrespect you, citing reasons that make no sense in context of either this conversation or the blog post?

        No, I did not.

        “…..blacks have felt that way for generations…in fact thousands of years including the Arabic slave trade…..the feeling isn’t nice don’t you agree?”

        Dr. Harper was clear in that the point of the post is to study/discuss racism as it exists in the United States. To bring up the Arabic slave trade is not only irrelevant to this conversation, it’s also disrespectfully disregarding the entire idea behind Dr. Harper’s post.

        However, I will rise to your bait. No, the feeling isn’t nice. I can certainly empathize with those with downtrodden ancestors. I’m Jewish. My ancestors have been enslaved, cast out, hunted down, stolen from, likened to animals, and herded like animals into slaughterhouses where they were mercilessly killed. My ancestors who escaped to America during WW2 not only continued to suffer the Christian mindset that they were lesser due to “the Jews having killed Jesus,” they also walked hand in hand with black people in the U.S. struggle for civil rights. I cannot, mind you, claim this is as true for all Jewish families, only mine, during the civil rights movement.

        In sum, you should really consider broadening your perspective and gaining a bit more respect for your fellow human beings. There is no possible way for you to know or comprehend all levels of suffering or discrimination anyone else has experienced or is experiencing. If you cannot do that, you probably should not participate in what was obviously intended to be an academic discussion.

  50. William on said:

    “USA racism” is a made up term to avoid the fact that racism is synonymous with bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination. Any race is capable of racism. USA racism is a racist concept. The fact speaks for itself.

    • StellarEbony on said:

      White people’s defence is ‘eveyone is racist’…err NO racism is a mindset and you know it. You don’t have to be evil if you don’t want to; if you possess compassion and empathy you’ll be perceptive enough to relate to people on a emotional level, besides the physical entirely.

      • “Racism is generally defined as actions, practices, or beliefs that consider the human species to be divided into races with shared traits, abilities, or qualities, such as personality, intellect, morality, or other cultural behavioral characteristics, and especially the belief that races can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to others, or that members of different races should be treated differently.”

        I don’t at all think that racism does not exist, but I do think the term is morphing to encompass too many ideas. The idea that it only happens when white people are gaining an advantage over black people directly negates what others claim as racism when anyone other than an African American makes stereotypical comments.

        It might be “white people saying everyone’s racist,” but I think it may be a valid claim, based on the definition of racism, that anyone who subscribes to the socially-constructed notion of race is engaging in racism.

  51. White people will forever be considered the evil race by non-whites. Whites have had generations of time to rid that evil (racism) from their demeanour.

    Black people will forever defend themselves by making remarks to rid themselves from being emotionally and psychologically damaged by comments of a bigotry nature targeted at them. Call it reverse racism all you want, the fact is one needs to protect themselves.

    All I know is karma is on its way for white people, Arabic people for all their evil subjected at blacks for hundred of years; All those other races who feel its acceptable to chime in at attempts to destroy the black psyche , will feel the wrath of karma. PATIENCE

    • “…to appeal to the notion of karma really makes no sense… If you study Buddhism, you will learn that there is no ‘blameless victim’ because all suffering was brought upon the victim via actions in a past life; using that line of logic, if you truly believe in karma, then you would be saying that the suffering of black people… was due to their faults and actions in past lives and thereby brought on themselves. I don’t know about you, but I, personally, find that idea quite repugnant.”

      The fact that you’ve used blanket generalizations to ascribe these attributes (racist white people, evil Arabs, damaged/victimized black people) is racist in and of itself. No doubt the U.S. (and the world as a whole) has a long way to go to overcome the systems of power (race, gender, class, etc.), but the mentality that you’re expressing is just as much a part of what’s holding back Progress as white racism toward other races.

      To judge someone just because their skin color or hair texture is different from yours is silly and morally reprehensible.

      Embrace the differences; love them, share them, glory in them. Children do, while they’re still children. Why do we have to lose that as adults and continually being up the past we weren’t alive for?

      My grandfather’s best friend was black and another grandfather to me. When he passed away in 2006 from a brain tumor, it crushed my entire world. I still miss him with every fiber of my being. (In fact, my glasses are getting foggy and my nose has turned an unfortunate shade of red just writing this.) I say that to say this: For anyone to make blanket comments about how all white people are evil racists hurts me on a deeper level than I can express. I would do anything to have had one more day with that man.

      • Derek Mudd on said:

        I think this article is very stupid. As a black male, I can say that many other blacks hate whites, and are racist. To bring up slavery is just ignorant. My own African ansestors sold other blacks from various tribes to slave traders. GET OVER IT!!! We live in 2014 now, and slavery in America is over. Take control of your life and stop playing the part of the victim. I am a successful Major in the Army, and my black wife owns a successful health food market in Manhattan, and being black has never held me back. I judge people by their character and not the color of their skin. Cut the hate mo gearing and realize that we all are red blooded human beings!

      • I think you are mistaken about what people who believe in Karmic Reincarnation actually believe.

        Karmic Reincarnationists believe, in summary, that once a soul learns enough to become enlightened, it leaves the cycle of life. Until then, a soul is placed in whatever body best suits its education. Sometimes that can mean that a soul that doesn’t understand suffering is placed into a body that suffers a lot, and sometimes it means that a soul is placed into a body that will suffer a lot for a reason unrelated to suffering.

        The wheel of Karma does not play tit-for-tat in any case.

      • Decius, Karma is the law of moral causation. According to the formulation by the Buddha, in this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve. In other words, it is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery.

        Understanding of the suffering is moot. People who accumulate for negative Karma will suffer more than one who accumulates more positive Karma. Thus, those who suffer more would have accumulated more negative Karma. The entire basis of the theory was to explain the suffering occurring in the world.

      • StellarEbony on said:

        Dont try and bamboozle me with words…attempts to seem smart.

        Until u’ve suffered the way I have for having black skin, u have no right commenting…I will stick to my statement; karma will still come regardless, because ur evil race has a lack of empathy and compassion for others.

        Those black people who always state: ‘this is 2014 we shouldnt feel sorry for ourselves’ (or which related year it is) have settled to the idea that black people should not have a revolution against their opressors are both
        brainwashed and scared stiff… They’re worried that they’ll get
        shackled just like their ancestors.
        If white people were oppressed they’ll probably start a war so that they can be treated equally or humanly…they’ll call it ‘A WAR ON RACISM’

        Maybe those weakened blacks are happy to see another generation go through mental and emotional upheavel, but for me and many other black people we cant bare to see us mistreated any longer….

        The fact is black people are racist in order to protect themselves because our core i.e spirit is being attacked on a daily..but u cant understand that because ur white skin provides its perks

        As a jew u are now accepted in to society because of ur skin….but yet blacks are still at the bottom of the list…..but when will it change? Only if blacks fight back…the white race is our schoolyard bully and the only way to defeat a bully is to fight back…not to ignore it, not to turn the other cheek and not to walk
        away….give them what they are asking for; which is a fight…..

        HOW MANY MORE BLOODY GENERATIONS?

      • Derek Mudd on said:

        You are the prime example of why black people are so held back! What are you, some neo-black panther idiot? You want to kill white people? You are a scumbag! I’m a proud black man, and smart enough to know that we are not oppressed anymore. Name one thing that we can’t do that whites can…. Get your head out of your ass, and face reality. The only oppressed blacks are the ones who oppress themselves like gang members and welfare leeches. People like you who work for nothing deserve nothing. All you do is hate and wait for handouts.

      • Bamboozle you with words?

        Try these on: You, dear, are a hateful, racist, hypocritical bigot who is not worth any further of my time. Not because of the color of your skin, but the content of your character.

      • StellarEbony on said:

        No the notion of karma is when a person who has been mistreated finds the strength from within to release the fear that they have about their abuser, in order for God/creator to unleash a negative effect on that person-mirroring what the victim received.

      • I dont believe in any form of religion, so i dont need to look at their perception of karma as the truth….religion is mind control.

        If u hurt people unjusutifibly it will come back to haunt u.

        Karma doesnt always imply that the person that has been wronged did something to deserve it.

      • If you’re going to use the term, you should note that you’re not using the textbook definition, is all I’m trying to point out. I’m a language person, so I see all the time where rhetoric and semantic confusion causes a large amountof damage.

      • That’s not my definition that’s the one u’ve gathered from other sources……I judge people on an individual bases…but for my experience, white people are not worth the hassle because their implicit racism is always evident to someone who is intuitive like myself….. U haven’t got much knowledge about this topic it doesn’t affect and effect u
        directly as it does me….my child is aware of the racism that we
        feel, she can also sense when
        someone exhibits that notion…….and she’s only nine (it’s a feeling)

        Belittle my comments all u want, racism is real….it is I who feels it every time i leave my house

        Jews are accepted, we are not.

      • I said it above, but it deserves repeating: if you’re going to use a non-dictionary definition of a word, you should try to make that clear. Language is a means to communicate ideas; it can and does evolve to take on different definitions, but it can only continue to be a form of communication if other people can understand what you’re trying to say. Having studied karma and Buddhism, I understand the word by its actual definition rather than your personal one. I don’t say that to be snotty, I am simply a “language person.”
        I’m not at all saying racism isn’t real. I’m saying that ascribing an attribute to an entire race because of the color of their skin is hypocritical and illogical.
        You are incorrect when you say that I haven’t much knowledge regarding racism. Not only have I studied social inequalities in an academic setting, I also experience racism on an almost daily basis. (I say almost because I work in a small office and can hide from the world that way.) The same way that you say that white people do not or cannot understand white on black racism, I would like to posit that perhaps there are other types of inequality that you are not taking into account. Outside of the race issue, you probably experience sexism, the same as I do. Perhaps you experience it, but you don’t consciously register it. I certainly didn’t before it was pointed out to me. Is that white male belittling you because you’re black or because you’re female? My guess, honestly? Because you’re female. Sexism is one of the still socially acceptable forms of discrimination. How many women do you see on television put down as stupid? What about hyper-sexualized teenage girls? How many times in your life were you told that “women don’t behave that way,” “it’s not ok to hit a girl because she’s a girl,” or that you should “act more ladylike?”
        Jews are not accepted. They’re tolerated, openly mocked, publicly damned to fiery pits of hell and torment, and proselytized to. I understand, though; it’s difficult for you to see or understand the inequalities of others. Just like you said.
        Just food for thought.

  52. Cristina on said:

    You are actually using a racist definition of racism.

    Of course black people can be racist towards black people, people from any race can be racist and can be victims of racism too.

  53. Cristina on said:

    Correction: meant to say black people can be racist towards white people.

    In fact, I suggest you look into the situation of prisons in the USA.

  54. For me personally, saying that black people are exempt from racism or being racist is in fact the ultimate form of racism.

    Have to get this off my chest after seeing how what started out as a great discussion went down the drain in no time: Aph, you’re extremely rude towards people who have a different opinion. It’s horrible.

    When you have to stoop to name-calling just to get your point across, there’s something very wrong with you, no matter what colour your skin is.

  55. I’d just like to state first that I have no academic education on this subject. However, I feel that although this piece may correct from an academic standpoint and definition, it’s feeding a very large problem. Picking apart the differences between racism and prejudice leaves a huge loop-hole for the black community to breed hate. I grew up in NYC and had many friends of many different backgrounds, and I can tell you I became sick to death of hearing hateful things spewed at me casually by black friends, who claimed in confrontation that it was fine for them to say because they can’t be racist. As a prime example, I invited a friend to live with me when she was evicted from her apartment, and she stayed for two years. By the end of those two years I couldn’t stand the site of her. She had moved here from Ethiopia when she was 9 and grew up in Washington with her Aunt, a representative in the U.N. Aside from hearing her daily tirades against white people as a whole, I was also subject to almost daily personal insults i.e cracker bitch, white skank, inbred trash. I was also told my skin and eye color was a ‘genetic defect’ and that I was supposed to take any abuse handed out to me because I deserved it. And her defense for these words was always the same,that it was fine because ‘black people can’t be racist, it’s a white american word’ (Which, actually, it is not. The first ever use of the word racist was coined by Leon Trosky, founder and leader of the Red Army, and was used to undermine traditionalist Slavics opposed to the communist movement in the 1930’s). I believe before any real changes can be made on an economic or political level, we need to stop differentiating hate on an inter-personal level. I’m sure that your writing has no ill-will, or bad intentions, and I’m sure you’re very correct from an academic stance, and I have no grounds to argue your point (as I’m not educated on the subject). However, I do feel that your writing feeds into a larger cycle of excused, dismissed or “justified” hatred that you should take into consideration when you’re oing your research and writing.

  56. I really loved reading this article. I guess I am a very practical person – I would love to hear your opinions on the “Now what?” What can we do now? Particularly, what can White people do to rectify all of this. I love academic banter but I also love results!

    • La RoVing ReV on said:

      A couple of suggestions, from what I assume is a fellow white person…first, think about why you capitalize White, which seems to make it the historical and social and political equivalent of Black, which it most certainly is not. Second, think about why you ask a Black person to develop strategy/tactics for us white people. Kind of our own job, don’t you think? And if you cannot come up with anything you can do to rectify structural racism, maybe you are not hanging with the right people.

  57. StellarEbony on said:

    Derek Mudd u are the weak brainwashed black person im referring to….u live in a dream world…of course we are still oppressed….Obama is only president because he is half black, so therefore he is not black….one example a full black person cannot become in the western world.

    • Derek Mudd on said:

      Brainwashed? I disagree. As far as Obama is concerned, all he needed was a powerful family connection and support from other politicians. I don’t know what you’re hoping for, but I’m guessing you want some magical group of retarded black men to take power and kill all white people. Not once in my life have I been mistreated for being black. It’s you close minded blacks that perpetuate this lie that we are oppressed. I’ve met many rich and powerful black men, and I know the fact is that the oppression is over. If anything, being black is an advantage in that we can get free college and advance in the career fields much easier than whites.
      You are the prime example of a “nigger”. I am the example of a black man.

      • StellarEbony on said:

        Free college …maybe in America…but in the UK no, in fact the rest of Europe ………

        Nigger …that word means nothing it holds no effect…..u Americans are obsessed with that word.

        Lucky for u that u haven’t been mistreated for being black….this is what i’ve experienced……the implicit racism is raw and real..

        I wish i was in a dream state……how wonderful life would be.

      • Derek Mudd on said:

        Hahahahahahahahha you are from the UK, and you have hurt feelings…. What a moron! American blacks resent slavery. UK blacks resent not being American. You are one step from being some Muslim terrorist.

  58. StellarEbony on said:

    Who said I was British…..I’m born in the US……..Now u just look stupid!!!! Weak brainwashed coward

  59. (UPDATED January 12, 2014)

    I was hoping that this piece would spark critical dialogues amongst people who would not be bullies, verbally violent, dismissive of everyone’s suffering. I was hoping that trolls would also not come on board. However, it seems that most of the people commenting here have either not read the goal of the Sistah Vegan Project, do not understand the goal, or have read it but don’t care to respect it. Furthermore, it appears that most have no fundamental understanding of what critical race/critical whiteness studies are. These two disciplines/canons are not ‘academic jargon’ or ‘masked racism against white people.’ These canons are not about judging people ‘because of the color of their skin.’ These canons represent a reality that does apply to our real world. My use of these canons to understand USA-Based racism/racialization/race relations, comes from decades of research from scholars and activists who have analyzed the lives of people in the USA (and beyond, but I’m focusing on the USA). Using social science methods/methodologies, as well as critical legal studies, the canons of critical race studies/critical whiteness studies employ testimonies, narrative research, surveys, ethnography, and discursive analysis to name a few, in order to create explanations and literacies around how white European colonialism/racism/imperialism have affected USA society from the micro to the macro scale; from individuals, to structures, systems, and institutions.

    I also want to remind people of this: just because someone comments on a blog and claims to be a certain identity, doesn’t mean it is true. For example, anyone can come on here claiming to be a Black woman who doesn’t believe that racism exists when in reality, they could be a bored 12 year old boy using their spare time to troll.

    FROM NOW ON, I WILL NOT APPROVE ALL COMMENTS THAT COME THROUGH IF THEY ARE CRUEL, NASTY, BULLYING, TROLLING, ETC. I RARELY CENSOR, BUT I WILL FOR THIS BLOG ARTICLE’S COMMENTS.

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  61. Luc Prévost on said:

    I like that!

  62. Walker on said:

    This makes me sick. It is wrong on many levels. Anyone can be racist. Whites calling blacks the n word is racist and so is a black person calling a white person a cracker. Racism is not defined by what color the person saying it is. Black parent of a white son!

  63. “Well, to try to answer this question, let’s visit the fundamental definition of USA racism, which, for some reason”

    …and that reason is the definition of racism taught in many *elementary* schools to *small children* in an effort to protect small children from racist bullying by each other.

    The thing is, when little kids grow up these adults *remember* what they were taught as little kids.

    If the anti-racism lessons they’re taught as adults contradict the anti-racism lessons adults asked them to take to heart during their more formative years, then what happens…?

    Maybe to stop the next generation of adults from defining racism as hurting someone just because of his or her race, parents and teachers need to stop teaching little kids the anti-racism lessons they’re currently teaching?

    “…This is how the canon of critical race studies and critical whiteness studies fundamentally define ‘racism’ or being ‘racist’ (Crenshaw 1995; Allen 2001; Flagg 2005; Lipsitz 2006; Sullivan and Tuana 2007; Chapman 2010; Martinot 2010; Razack et. al 2010)…”

    Yeah, this stuff might be above the literacy level and abstract thinking stills of a 6-year-old.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/deconstructing-white-privilege-the-animal-rights-movement has another interesting point:

    “…What seems to be most pertinent to the abolitionist approach is the highly academic nature of the literature and the arguments. For instance, the Humane Research Council reports that a professional analysis of popular nonhuman animal rights literature found that most of it reads at the 11th grade level at best, or beyond the college level at worst. The problem is that the average American reads at the 7th or 8th grade level…”

    …and this is a problem for other causes too, and some racist bullies haven’t even reached 7th or 8th grade yet.

    To reach those kids, prevent that bullying, and protect their peers, anti-racist lessons need to be aimed at an even younger and less literate audience.

    Waiting until they’re old enough to comprehend the current canon of critical race studies is waiting too late. :(

    What if children were instead taught an age-appropriate definition of racism that *doesn’t* contradict any of the canon of critical race studies?

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  65. Robert on said:

    You define USA Racism. However, that’s your definition and it’s not necessarily correct. Not all American’s feel that way. As a matter of fact a lot don’t. By definition racism is:
    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
    By definition any person can be a racist. Just as anyone can show hatred to another. My belief is that if you think racism only works one way, or from/to one race then you are a part of the problem.

  66. Laura Menchaca on said:

    So, basically according to this article it’s impossible for reverse discrimination to exist ? Nonsense, and the definition of racism u_s_a_ is nonsense.
    According to the definition you site, racism can only, by its definition, empower or better a person of non color ie white person.
    screw the academic definition. Racism is when any individual favors a particular race over another and discriminates accordingly showings bias toward their ownshowing bias to their own race over others.
    people are entitled to their own opinions is nothing we can do about that. However, racism is wrong no matter whom is doing it.

  67. Mike on said:

    Racism

    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    It’s unfortunate that you feel the need to mislead people about what racism is. What you are trying to do is perpetuate racial conflict and a racial agenda that serves to divide people instead of unite them. Crabs in a barrel, crabs in a barrel.

    • Anyone who needs to use the dictionary to prove to someone what they meant has already left the discussion.

      • Yes, it is interesting to just have me refer to a dictionary definition and basically dismiss the 6 years of PhD social science research I conducted to understand how racism operates in the USA and its genealogy. But, to each their own.

      • Was that comment dismissing the 6 years of PhD social science research you conducted, acknowledging that some of the other people talking about racism haven’t done PhD-level study of it and may never get the chance to do so, both, or neither?

  68. A Race on said:

    Your next research topic should be on research bias as it relates to the race of the researcher. It doesn’t look like you understand that (and you are clearly very intelligent).
    Question for you, is all power inherently racist? That is, if one group of people hold power, and are predominately of a specific origin, does this inherently lead to racism? Every race has been a racist depending on power structure (is what I would argue, and I might be wrong).

  69. A Race on said:

    Why do you expect common folk not to have a semantic discussion on the definition of racism (like when they appeal to the dictionary), when you use insensitive words like “white supremacist value system?”
    “White Value system” is less insensitive. Using “Supremacist” is biased (without question).

    • Using “white supremacist value system” to describe the value system of white supremacists isn’t *being* biased at all!

      It’s simply and clearly *describing* a bias.

  70. Brandy on said:

    “For example, to be ‘racist’ towards a white person who is is being interviewed for a job by a Black person, this would mean that the Black person would desire to hire this White candidate because they are white;  because they fundamentally believe in the white supremacist notion that White people are superior to non-white candidates. This would be the true definition of USA racism.”
    So, what about the large number of Blacks that voted for Obama just because he’s Black? What was that, just “helping a brotha out?” This post is flawed and ridiculous. Racism is discrimination (positive or negative) based on a person’s race. This explanation is, quite literally, one sentence long.

  71. RParker on said:

    I came here to read comments regarding what people THINK about racism. I found a well written, articulated post written by a very well educating person. I view racism in a very simple way.

    Racism is simply what YOU feel is offensive. If you are black and a person says something you don’t like you ASSUME it was meant to be racist, when it’s not.

    I am light skinned, I grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods. White people ASSUMED I was black and black people ASSUMED I was white. Well I have to be one or the other right?

    If I was in a mixed group and I openly admitted to being a mixed race (black, white and indian) then I was get looks like I was trying to be “neutral” given the races I was among.

    NOT true. I was being truthful, but I figured out I can’t win either way.

    A win doesn’t mean I deserve a ribbon a win means I cannot be FREE to be who I am without someone judging me for my apparent color, which depending on the beholder put me in the “other” category.

    today I am just disgusted with ALL races, because you are ALL bigoted and self absorbed. You only see what you WANT to see and don’t care to “walk a mile in another shoes”.

    On an application I don’t want to be known as black or white, both equally as painful in my case, so I put Native American because it’s they ONLY classification that represents my TRUE heritage, AMERICAN.

    I wish I can say F^&K you to everyone you ALL suck equally, really that’s how I feel. You ALL suck. You quibble and argue over the smallest of details that has ZERO relevance. ZERO, and you make a mockery as someone else pointed out the “human” race which is the ONLY thing that truly matters.

    I am a HUMAN, and I am AMERICAN, what difference does it make if I am brown skinned white person or a white skinned black person, huh?

    Yeah exactly NOTHING. I am ashamed to be HUMAN because by your standards I have to be judged and categorized for what, so YOU can count your numbers?

    Kiss my A%% white, black, chicano, mexican, italian, german, chinese, japanese, korean.. you ALL can go to hell.

    and I mean that lovingly. The REAL victims are Native Americans, they have no home, no heritage, no meaningfull past and no representation. none.

    Do native americans ask for anything? NO.. but it’s a BLACK vs WHITE thing like that’s the only races that exist.

    F^&K you.

    Racism is what is offensive, it’s not a matter of disparaging another race, if you feel comfortable for someone calling you nigger, spic, wetback, peckerwood, honky, casper.. that’s fine.. as long as it’s “OK”.

    It’s NOT ok. It needs to STOP, ALL of it. Racism is RACISM PERIOD, we are all different, and I HATE that people don’t get this point. HATE with a growing passion.

    You don’t OWN the words. You can’t use them as you see fit, tolerance is what you people need to exercise not bigotry but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime.

    It’s really sad that I have to face myself and realize I am a product of ALL the bad parts of the human race.. and no good is represented by any of you people. It’s ALL bad.

    I feel ashamed to be a HUMAN, it’s not a a very bright future at all.

    • La RoVing ReV on said:

      Oh good Lord, child, get over yourself. Your “can’t we all just get along” whining totally ignores the reality of race in the USA (which, by the way, is NOT “America”–check your geography). You want to know what difference race makes, do you? Gee gosh, how about the likelihood of getting murdered by a policeman who gets no consequences? How about living shorter lives and earning less money? How about a media that tells you every hour of every day that colored people exist as props in a white society? The list is as endless as, apparently, racism itself. And I don’t know about you, but I know many, many Indian activists who soooooooooooo do not want your pity. Or your identification with them. You did not come here to be educated, you came here to spout your nonsense.

    • What a rigid, all-or-nothing, and downright inaccurate and illogical rant.

  72. Emily on said:

    Definition of racism: 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

    Doesn’t state anywhere what races can and cannot be racist. But it does state that racism is a form of prejudice and discrimination.

  73. So long story short, you believe in what you saying, other words it’s impossible for a black person, or how you think white ppl call it brown , I personally would never refer to no1 with any color if they are human being!

    And yes, to me as a white female, black females appear racist, they face expression changes when they speak to me, they are uncomfortable if they have to serve me, they throw my groceries I. The bag, and I never even said nothing about that

    I’m very young, but old enough to have my child , and my opinion is that
    A lot of black ppl have some issues when they see a white person, they don’t even need to know the person

    I think that is something so rude if grown ppl doing it!!!

  74. Stella on said:

    @Caitlin Kline believes that academics is the only form of intelligence.

    sexism and racism can easily be told apart. develop your psychic abilities than you will figure out how someone truly feels about you, without them vocalizing it.

    I can tell you have an issue with the way black people look; from hair, skin tone and physical stature. Not forgetting-you assign to the idea that black people are not smarter enough. Yet I know how to ascend and tap in to nature’s magic, for all the trinkets I want.

    I wonder why they will not teach metaphysics in schools. Has it got something to do with melanin?

    Black people will RISE. Once we quit worshiping ‘whiteness’

    To get to the topic studied. Black people are racist because they have resentment, bitterness, pain, confusion about why we are so despised.

    I thought white people are the ‘clever race’. why have you lot not comprehended CAUSE AND EFFECT? (sarcasm) for those who didn’t get it.

  75. You are clearly mislead and this article is so biased. Racism is discrimination toward any other race than your own!! White people aren’t the only ones that can be racist. That comment is racist in it’s self!! We are all the same intelligent beings, only our cultures and skin colour diferentiate us.

  76. Shauna on said:

    Hello Everyone,
    I understand the thought process that leaves people thinking that blacks can’t be called racists because of institutionalized racism, however I agree with VeganSunshine that prejudicial behavior/hatred/rage/discrimination and yes racism can be found in any culture. I have a close friend who moved here from Bermuda. She was used to entertaining people from all over the world in her home country. She moved here and was shocked by the treatment she received from BLACK people. She was very dark skinned and was treated less than by SOME of the people of her own skin color. We had many long talks about this. Recently, I posted some comments to a WOC about Ferguson. I merely stated that she shouldn’t lump all white people in the same group and that I had worked hard in my lifetime to understand other cultures and step across the boundary lines where other cultures are concerned even if it makes me uncomfortable. I was told I was lying, pretentious, should come down off my pedestal and that she could read the fuggery (insert other word) in my words. Furthermore, I was told I should shut up and other things that I won’t post. Hmmmm. So much for trying to keep dialogue open. I have a son who is married to a black woman and they are expecting a baby in December. My own fiancee is from French Cameroon and we constantly deal with discrimination because he is french, black and an immigrant. And no racial issues didnt just start to bother me because of my family. I’m a bit frustrated at the moment because if a white person tries to communicate with SOME POC, they are seen in a more than negative light. If you don’t communicate then nothing improves.

  77. Shauna on said:

    oh I should add that I applaud you for posing the question even though some people view your post negatively. We all write according to our own perceptions but we have to start somewhere. You are at least keeping the dialogue open.

  78. Sounds like one group wants to use the word ‘racism’ as a weapon, but make sure it can’t be used against them.

  79. D. Clark on said:

    Hello,

    Your article is very thought provoking and well explained but in a specific context in my opinion. As our world becomes smaller through travel, I felt the need to copy a simple definition of racism:

    rac·ism
    ˈrāˌsizəm/
    noun
    noun: racism

    the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
    prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

    I choose to try and see the positive attributes of human beings but not deny their evil and wrong doings. We are foolish to believe everyone is beyond race and will choose look to the heart of the individuals. As a Christian, I know God created us equal. Having respect for ourselves and others should help us transcend to that ideal; if only we would put aside our fears and weaknesses it could be possible.

  80. Pingback: Black vs. White – Racism in Seven Seconds | Don't Do It For The Vine!

  81. John Johnson on said:

    I know there are black racists. There are Indian racists, too. And as far as I can tell, blacks and Indians (from India) in this country-US-have a tendency to collaborate with each other against the interests of white people in the workplace. I’m a pretty smart person, college educated, and I used to have left-leaning politics; (I was a vocal advocate of payments to American blacks to compensate for slavery in this country-US).

    I think there is more and more racism in the workplace and the victims of this trend are very likely to be white during this time in history (2014). We have all (I include myself in this statement) been conditioned to believe that whites cannot be discriminated against, at least not here in the US. Boy, is this a fallacy!

    Remember we’re going through two seismic shifts in the US today. 1) The number of whites is gradually dwindling because whites are not reproducing themselves at the rates that non-whites are; 2) There is a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” (a growing class divide) in this country.

    The white people at the top feel privileged to dictate the racial politics for all white people. The whites at the top also make the mistake of believing that all white people have had the same opportunities and experiences they have. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    In the meantime, sound-bytes claiming that whites are far ahead on the income scale get plenty of airtime on radio, TV, and computer. Whites at the top of the heap can undoubtedly claim to have unprecedented earning power. But the whites in the mid-ranges and the bottom may have just as many income troubles as any minority in this country. And the whites in the socio-economic midranges don’t have the benefits of racial-hiring quotas or DOL regulations “protecting” them from discriminatory actions or harassment in the workplace.

    This is something that the whites at the top cannot comprehend. They are an elite. A rare breed of person whose talents, connections, and savvy have been so serendipitous, that they’ve been able to rise above the racial preferences that are leaving so many whites out in the cold.

    I know I have been harassed, excluded, and systematically discriminated against in the workplace. I have been reduced to tears and then told my emotional reaction was “unacceptable” by an Indian manager who collaborated with a black woman from Nigeria against me. WHEN will this country wake up and realize that any race is capable of exacting retribution for so-called or perceived wrongs? It is not only a white shortcoming.

    And here’s another twist for the traditional, born-in-the-USA ,white American citizen: Indians-who are BEING INVITED TO THIS COUNTRY IN DROVES, SUPPOSED BECAUSE AMERICANS CANNOT LEARN THE TECHOLOGIES REQUIRED IN TODAY’S BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT, have a tendency to ally themselves with blacks in the workplace. And whites, more and more, regardless of their talents, virtues, education, or intellect, are being left out in the cold. Maybe because they enough self-respect and belief in themselves and the founding principles of the American nation to expect better treatment in the workplace than an Indian (from India), Russian, African, or Caribbean Islander is willing to tolerate. The resulting preference in the workplace for peoples who originated from out of this country is tantamount to racism against white Americans.

    WHEN WILL WE PASS LEGISLATION STATING THAT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WHITES, WHEN DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WHITE PEOPLE THAT IS BASED ON A PERSON’S RACIAL IDENTIFICATION, IS AS WRONG AS ANY KIND OF DISCRIMINATION?? NOT UNTIL THEY START LYNCHING US, I SUPPOSE!!!

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