Reverse Racism and ‘Black on Black’ Racism are Nothing But Myths

A few days ago, I posted this status update on my Facebook wall:

 I was just on the phone with my Nigerian, UK based learned colleague who is a well established immigration lawyer in London, he was upset because a potential Nigerian client just informed him that he wouldn’t be needing his legal services anymore. And the reason? Well, the client’s wife, also a Nigerian, said she does not want a black person to handle their case. Note, she said ‘a black person’, not just a ‘Nigerian’, but a ‘black person’.

Denying anyone employment because of the colour of their skin is actually a crime in UK. If a white person had said this about a black person, it would qualify as racism, but how do one even describe this kind of self hate Persons of Colour throw at fellow Persons of Colour?

I told my friend it was their loss because they just missed out on having a good lawyer take their case, but really, when will black people shed their chains of inferiority complex and emancipate themselves from mental slavery?

I am so tired of hearing Nigerians in UK proudly talk about how they will never employ another Nigerian. They go on and on about a bad experience they or someone they knew once had with a Nigerian employee. With such hateful attitude towards our own, what right have we got to complain when the white person treats us just the way we treat our fellow black persons?

Well, October is black history month, it is time to lose that self hate along with the residual mental slavery!

When I made the post, I was not expecting a debate on ‘reverse racism’ and ‘black on black’ racism. It was basically to draw racismattention to the self-hate, inferiority complex and prejudice which many of my country men and women are afflicted with. Many have imbibed the belief that their skin colour, culture, gods, brain, accents and everything that is black is inferior. These are effects and byproducts of racism.  This kind of attitude or reasoning from fellow black persons, especially Nigerians, just beats me. It tells of a deep seated inferiority complex and self-hatred that the perpetrators do not even know they suffer from.

Racism and self hatred isn’t exactly the same thing. Racism is an institutionalized thing, and it needs an openly or covertly supported power structure to survive. This is basically an internalized case of self hatred and discrimination. Unfortunately it is not a rare thing amongst PoC especially Nigerians.

Unfortunately my white friends on FB who decided to weigh in on the discussion immediately called it racism. They were eager to tell of how they or a white friend they knew once experienced racism from a black person. They eagerly gave examples of how Persons of Colour perpetrate  racism on other persons of colour. A female white friend even claimed that she has personally experienced racism by virtue of being married to a black person. She wrote:

If someone hates me because I’m white, I see it as racism, no matter what the person’s race who is discriminating against me. I understand that there are different FORMS of racism, and that this isn’t institutionalized racism, but discriminating against a person because of their RACE is a form. We take others’ prejudiced views and internalize them and make them our own self-hatred. Women practice sexism against other women, and nobody says that isn’t sexism. Please don’t pollute the message for allies by telling us that when we’re discriminated against because of our race (and I have been) that we didn’t experience racism. I’m smart enough to know that I will never feel institutionalized racism in the same way as a darker-skinned person anytime soon in my culture, but I did by marriage, so believe me, I get it. I see nothing wrong with using the term racism to describe someone’s self hatred or discrimination against someone because of their RACE. After all, that attorney wasn’t hired because of race, and nothing more.

All attempts by me and other black persons on the thread to explain that the attorney was not hired not because of race but because of effects of racism, prejudice and inferiority complex, fell on deaf ears. She did apologize unprompted, that her message might have come off as a bit annoying. However, this actually highlights the crux of the matter i.e. many white people get annoyed when told it is impossible for a black person to be racist towards a white person.

A fellow Nigerian tried to explain this in simple terms

….let’s be clear. It is not racism, black people do not possess the institutional ability to establish their oppressive hegemony over another race and develop an ideology to justify this. However certain people of colour are prejudiced, not racist, against others. This is because Capitalism forces all people to compete against each other for scarce resources. In this case, the couple believe that a Caucasian lawyer would be better at representing their case to the Home Office although rumour has it that the best immigration lawyer in London, a chap who has never lost a single case is..wait for it a Nigerian!!!!!!

However another white commenter weighed in:

 “I completely disagree on the basis of cultural transmission. Just because black people don’t possess the power of those institutions doesn’t mean they can’t adopt racist attitudes. Arguably that perception of inferiority is what contributes to the difficulty of eliminating racism. I think it is confusion that because the beneficiary of “racism” is the white race that blacks would not facilitate their own oppression. It can’t merely be a situation of self hatred because it is a socially significant perception specifically pertinent to race (not just them or the lawyer) and capability that demands examination.

And the response he got from my Nigerian comrade was:

 “I gather you are an American from the Northern part of the continent. And how many black people lynched whites south of the Mason-Dixon line? Blacks may express prejudice against Latinos who are struggling with them for an ever decreasing pool of McJobs, Blacks may express prejudice against Koreans who are the only ones that will set up shop in black ghettos but nowhere in history have blacks had the power, the institutional power to enslave others, get others to work free of charge, appropriate the value of their labour and develop an ideology that states that this is the natural order of things, that it is as natural as Mom and Apple Pie!!!!!

But our white ‘ally’ wouldn’t hear of this, in fact he felt so entitled he shared my status update of a personal experience on his wall with my post link as an example of his imaginary ‘Black on Black racism’. He invited his friends to comment on it, and of course they were quick to gather around to give him the thumbs up, make jokes about how the blacks on my wall who disagreed with their reverse racism theory are in their words “Social Justice Warriors Morons (SJWM)”

It was eerily familiar watching white persons give themselves thumbs up while referring to blacks who disagree with their take on racism as morons, uneducated or not intelligent enough.  It is as if their subconscious needed to invent reverse racism and also ‘black on black’ racism to assuage whatever innermost guilt their over privileged white ass feel whenever the subject of Racism comes up. .

Racism just like sexism is prejudice + Power which make it impossible for a race or gender to perpetrate against their race or gender. Contrary to what the female commenter said above, women cannot be sexist towards men or other women. Yes, women can be hostile or practice learned sexism towards other women, just like the ignorant couple I mentioned in my status update perpetrated discrimination against their own race but this cannot qualify as sexism or racism against their kind.

I must emphasize that whether institutionalized or not, all forms of discrimination should be condemned. Also, saying this is not racism or sexism is not in any way saying, this is not as bad as racism or as bad as sexism, the difference is in the definition not necessarily in the severity of action.

PREJUDICE does not equal to POWER or INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT. Individual instances of discrimination or prejudice does not equates to a whole institutionalized history of an ideology like racism or sexism as this white blogger tried to explain to other whites in this blogpost.182582_422366811128988_207237099308628_1307120_561728427_n

Racism cannot be a substituted word for prejudice, unfair treatment or discrimination. Same goes for sexism. Institutionalized Racism, Systemic Racism, and Institutional/Systemic Sexism all have something in common and that is prejudice, privilege + power.

In social justice terms, marginalized groups cannot be guilty of -isms because they don’t have the power to institutionalize their prejudices. These isms are in a world of their own with unpalatable history. Racism was a legally supported ideology that is now being systematically dismantled albeit too slowly to yield great result.

It is insulting to PoC to compare the many years of racism they suffered and still suffer to the occasional bigotry, prejudice and discrimination persons of Colour sometimes perpetrate against other persons of colour. This is not racism.

It insults the horrible experience of PoC who live and experience systemic racism daily, to reduce the rare case of a PoC discriminating against a white person to racism or as it is called ‘Reverse racism’. There is no such thing as reverse racism.

One important aspect of racism is the institutional support of it. A PoC does not have the power to institutionalize discrimination the way racism was institutionalized.

Black on Black racism is a myth, it is impossible for a person of colour to be racist towards another person of colour. The word racist does not fit the context.

For example, 99% of those who harass me about my Yoruba accent on my YouTube Channel are fellow Nigerians. To them, their local accent is unpleasant and not civilized enough for YouTube videos. Some even go as far as sending me ‘advice’ on how to lose my accent and speak English with a foreign accent.. This is indeed a sad case of Accents and the Tragedy of Self-Hate.

Also, I have witnessed some Race/Bi-racial harassment perpetrated by blacks on some fb groups. One particular irking incident was from an African Atheist group which turned out to be a pseudo Pan Africanist group under the camouflage of Atheism. I watched in disbelief and utter anger as fellow African atheists harassed a bi racial member who disagreed with them. They spouted some prejudiced, bigoted comments at him and mocked him for not being, according to them, African enough. They used derogatory words to describe the fact that he is biracial. I was so angry I called them racists even though I knew it did not fit the context. The sad part was that they actually liked being called racists. In their warped brain, they assumed being called racist gives them a kind of power over a skin colour that to them, represent oppression.  I had to burst their bubble and told them they actually lack the power to be racist. I called them just what they were, bigoted, prejudiced, ignoramus bullies.

Yes, there are times we feel racist is the strong, immediately recognizable word to use, but this cannot be appropriated to fit our anger, disdain or dislike of an action. Racism operates in a particular Prejudice, Power, Privilege, Institutionalized and historical context. We can’t change this fact to suit our needs. If we are so in need of an emotive, stronger, easily recognized word to describe the kind of harassment, discrimination, prejudice or bigotry spew by small minds, we might just have to invent a new word and that word cannot have racism in it as a qualifier.

Racism is not some unpleasant incident individuals experience once in a while. Racism is one long unpleasant history and continued present experience of PoC in the hands of the other. i.e. the privileged colour. Non institutionalized, non systemic individual experiences or perpetration of discrimination is not racism. Let no one, and I mean no one trivialize the meaning of racism. Racism is not about opinions; it is the lived experience of Persons of Colour.

Not everyone, including persons of colour, understands that for it to be an ‘isms’ all the elements must be present i.e. Prejudice + Privilege + Power= Racism/Sexism. This is why discussions on race inevitably leads to a white person jumping on a thread to complain about that one time they were shoved by a black person because of their skin colour and bingo, they have experienced Racism. Very laughable!

This white definition of Racism makes them feel good and also allows the privileged colour i.e. whites, play ‘Racism’ victim once in a while.

Some probably understand what we are saying, the problem is that they want to use the word RACISM to describe the once in a while bigotry, prejudice or retaliation they face from Persons of Colour who have an axe to grind based on what the White Skin colour represents or evokes.

To these set of white people, prejudice, bigotry, harassment or discrimination seems not strong enough to describe their hurt WhiteTearsfeelings, ruffled feathers or the stripping away of parts of their privilege. When confronted with such actions, RACISM is the word they crave to describe such incidents. It is as if they so very much need a reason to exclaim: “Yeah, anyone can be racist, look at me, I am a white person and a black person was just racist towards me!”

Maybe they use this to assuage a subconscious guilt about the past and the daily racism Persons of Colour are subjected to. White persons must understand that they do not get to redefine the term Racism to suit their ego. Racism is not a term we glorify; it is a term with unpalatable history, memories and uncomfortable present for PoC. Appropriating the word  to comfort your ruffled feathers is insulting to the real victims of racism.

I did stress on my FB post that I wouldn’t be going into lengthy debate on Racism because there are papers and bloggers that have done justice debunking Reverse Racism  and explained the difference between RACISM as an institutionalized ideology, and Non Institutionalized discrimination. In fact there are reasons why I don’t want to talk about Race especially on Facebook.

There was this incident during the 2011 London riots where many stores were set ablaze and looted by angry youths. I was glad that my teenage son was away during the police backlash; I would be scared to let him go out on the streets for fear of being rounded up just based on the colour of his skin. I remember an episode during the outbreak when I wanted to go out wearing my hooded leather jacket, I took one look at myself in the mirror and said “NO, wrong timing, wrong jacket, wrong skin colour, wrong city”. I had to change my hooded jacket because I knew it wasn’t a wise idea for a black person to be seen in a hooded jacket during a riot situation, not when the police were out looking for scapegoats.

I said as much on my facebook wall and not surprisingly, my white friends on FB immediately protested that my post was not fair.  I asked them if for a minute they would have felt like I did about a hooded jacket in a riot situation. Being singled out for scrutiny because of the colour of their skin is not their experience.

  • Whites are not used to being stopped  and frisked because of the colour of their skin.
  • Whites are not used to being keenly watched in shops by security because of the colour of their skin.
  • Whites are hardly bothered about making sure their hands are visible all the time while shopping in supermarkets. .
  • Whites hardly experience that sinking feeling in the stomach as blacks do when they have to open their handbag in a fancy shop. Many blacks know that fiddling inside their handbag in a shop is a sure way of attracting  suspicion.
  • My white friends are probably not aware that tickets officers flood black populated areas in London but hardly ever flood white populated areas. When I step out of a train station, I can immediately tell by the numbers of ticket checkers if I am in a black or white populated area.
  • My indignant white friends probably did not know or just didn’t care that when school kids plan to shoplift, the white teenagers use their black friends as diversions, while the white kids do the shoplifting. Those kids already understand that the black school teenagers would be the ones under serious surveillance because of their skin colour and in case of any eventuality, would be the first ones to be searched. Most often than not, this trick works.

I was sad when told about this diversionary tactic during a workshop on race relations by those who have act68368_508298952516409_1049618340_nually participated in the trickery. Children do learn from the society and wise ones learn to use the strengths and weaknesses of the society to their advantage. Maybe my white friends can easily dismiss this as just teenage pranks, but the implications of it were enough to move me to tears.

Needless to say their lack of empathy or lack of ability to have the fears I had about going out in hooded jacket because of my skin colour does not in any way invalidate my feelings and it does not remove the fact that racism is the key cause of this fear. Their white Skin is a privilege that protects them from  these racial discrimination experiences  but not checking their privilege is what makes them quick to assert that these fears are unfounded.

When People of Colour talk about Racism, it would do well for the privileged Skin colour to listen and learn. You can’t be an ally when all you are eager to do is redefine the word to put you in the picture as a victim.

BTW, it is OK if you disagree with me, I can’t force you to be right. 🙂



  1. minxatlarge says

    I’ll agree with you: Not Reverse Racism. However, I’ve found that attempting to explain Privilege to privileged people is like trying to explain water to fish. Meanwhile, at FTB, there is an archive of Crommunist’s posts, including the best lay explanation I’ve read anywhere of System Justification Theory which he called “Why are you hitting yourself?” The effect you’re describing (mislabeled as ‘reverse racism’) is described by Crommunist:

    “Hypothesis 2: People will use stereotypes to rationalize social and economic status differences between groups, so that the same target group will be stereotyped differently depending on whether it is perceived to be high or low in status.

    Translation: We use stereotypes to explain differences in power, to the benefit of the top group.

    This flows nicely from the previous point. Stereotypes are readily available and require almost no cognitive processing – they’re lazy heuristics that save us from having to do any heavy mental lifting. When our brains cast about looking for explanations for a given phenomenon, we reach for the easiest one. Why did lightning strike my house? Demons, obviously. The crops failed? It was witches. Black people live in comparatively greater poverty than whites? It’s because they’re lazy and lack personal responsibility. The key thing for this finding, however, is that both sides believe it. If you’re a white person confronted with the inequality, it’s because blacks are lazy. If you’re a black person confronted with the inequality, it’s because whites are more industrious. Now obviously this doesn’t hold true for everyone, but it is the easiest way of aligning the three conflicting ego, group and system justification motives.”

    “Why are you hitting yourself?” is seriously deep and juicy and totally applicable to everyone’s life. In my experience, examples of clueless Privilege or self-loathing stereotyped people can be explained with ‘duh, System Justification’.

    It’s not ‘reverse racism’ because: System Justification Theory. I’m not “attacking” anyone for their Privilege; I’m just describing an interesting cognitive bias that has the following effects in social situations, right?

    Tree, under Stereotype Threat and mad as a wet hen about it

  2. says

    Great post. I read the FB thread and I love the block video -- nicked it for @the_block_bot with no attribution I’m afraid -- you probably don’t need the hassle!

    I think I might ask them if this is a PoC being a “reverse racist” next time I come across this crap on Twitter…
    Difficult to watch and internalised racism from the racist cultural influences that say white/good, black/bad. How can PoC be racist in that culture? Clearly ridiculous.

  3. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @minxatlarge- Thanks for the link to Crommunist’s post on System Justification. Excellent posts.

    However you thought System Justification was mislabbeled as Reverse Racism in my post. You wrote

    The effect you’re describing (mislabeled as ‘reverse racism’) is described by Crommunist

    Reverse racism is not the same as System Justification or even stereotype. System justification is broader as it encompasses not just racism but sexism, classicism and a whole lot more isms. It could also be explained using the concept of Kyriarchy. Reverse Racism on the other hand is the myth that Persons of colour are capable of being racist towards white people.

    I provided some useful links that explained perfectly what Reverse Racism means.

    Here is one

    and here is another
    Also bear in mind that two totally different myths were debunked in my post . One is Reverse Racism and the other is Black On Black Racism. I suspect you were talking more about Black on Black/ racism than Reverse racism.

    Even though I think the posts is clear on the fact that two different things were being debunked, I might change the title of the post to make this point clearer. 🙂

  4. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Thanks oolon, the block video comes in handy as a debugging, exit music for trolls. 🙂

    The video you shared about the good/bad doll experiment with kids just made me very, very sad. 🙁 It is sad but also informative. I suspect I will be sharing it on my facebook wall soon

  5. CatsareSnakes says

    I think that, as a white, the closest I have ever experienced racism as you define it was in Korea. I rarely saw anyone I could visually identify as non-Korean -- although I may have seen Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and many other nationalities. The experience was for approximately a month and was … an education. But I doubt it was racism all the same because I think I was viewed more as a curiosity to watch for amusement than as a distrusted enemy to watch for safety purposes.

    I wonder how you consider Antisemitism in relation to racism and sexism. My religion does not automatically present in my appearance, particularly because of my Ashkenazi background. I live in the Midwest of the U.S., commonly referred to as The Bible Belt. Assumptions are frequently made and sometimes an expression of shock and hostility when the offered “Merry Christmas” is returned by me with “Happy Chanukah.”

  6. Frankie says

    I should read your blog more often -- as a white person, it was challenging. I think I had at least four “but but but” knee jerk reactions while reading your post, but look, I don’t claim I am without prejudice.

    As a side note, in my country -- which as a former colony has similar, but different laws to the UK -- shop owners think that by putting up a sign such as “we reserve the right to check your bags” at the front of the store this gives them the legal right to do it. My sister (who is white) challenged this once, sued them and the shop assistant was later charged with assault (then discharged without conviction) for trying to stop her exiting the shop without letting them check her bag.

    Though this is a specific, isolated incident that concerns a privileged person in the society she lives in -- I don’t see how legislation can “fix” the sort of discrimination that you outlined in your post.

    Thanks, you’ve given me a lot to think about today.

  7. Sam Riley says

    This seems to rely heavily on defining racism as systemic discrimination, which isn’t it’s definition, and then you have a go at ‘whites’ for redefining racism. I don’t really disagree with your sentiment, merely your poor choice of wording.

  8. Meggamat says

    I think the difference here is one of semantics. Most people understand racist to mean any prejudice based wholly or in part upon race, and are unfamiliar with the definition used here relating to prejudice augmented by social context. Effectively there is no association in most peoples minds regarding racism as being supported by or contrary to, society. Natural languages, unfortunately, are ever-changing and ambiguous. However, whilst neither should be practiced, you are incontrovertibly right that socially augmented and socially condemned bigotry can have different effects.

    One aspect of your post(and I acknowledge that you were quoting someone) that seems inaccurate however is the part:

    “nowhere in history have blacks had the power, the institutional power to enslave others, get others to work free of charge, appropriate the value of their labour and develop an ideology that states that this is the natural order of things”

    In fact, there were points in history where African groups had more geopolitical influence than the European nations of those eras. The Moors, for example enslaved the Slavic people (hence the word “slave”) for many years, and once Timbuktu was a cultural world center. The power of groups will wax and wane, but it seems that prejudice always abides (it is likely an aspect of the human condition, and not of any specific culture) and whether or not that prejudice becomes “racism” is dependent upon the relative power of the groups.

  9. =8)-DX says

    I think I understand the underlying logic behind this semantic war, but there’s something I don’t really get. My question would be -- in a society that has managed to remove systemic or institutionalised racism, is the behaviour of a particular person who would have previously been called a racist, now no longer racist? I could imagine the situation that such people would be mocked/shunned/not taken seriously, but surely the actions and mindsets of people are what make them racist?

    Would a white racist no longer be so if she moved to a foreign country where there was systemic/institutionalised racism against her particular skin-colour?

    Another problem seems to me to be that many people don’t use the sexism/racism = PPP definition, so it can be very confusing in discussion. As a kind of clarifying use of the words, isn’t it ok to for instance reference “sexist/racist behaviour/speech” and “predjudiced individuals” vs “systemic sexism/racism”? Words are usually defined by how people use them so, instead of having to explain each time someone is predjudiced, that this is not sexism by the PPP definition, surely it’s not much of a problem simply clarify what definition one is using…

    Definitions of words aren’t right or wrong in themselves, they’re about how people use them and it’s not often productive to use a definition that gets in the way of communication (you can’t tell someone: “you can’t say women are sexist”, if they reject your definition of the word sexism). Any arguments about which arbitrary symbols we use in language are better to express a given concept are only so good as they win out in the end (people actually change the way they use words.)

    Good article, thanks -- there’s a lot to think about here =).

  10. leftwingfox says

    Would a white racist no longer be so if she moved to a foreign country where there was systemic/institutionalised racism against her particular skin-colour?

    I’m thinking of the Jay Smooth video about “What you did” versus “What you are”.

    That person may still be bigoted, intolerant and discriminatory. But what effect are they actually going to have on a system where they are systemically disenfranchised, politically and economically in the minority, and lack the institutional prejudices and protections to reinforce their beliefs when they choose to act on them?

  11. Pen says

    I think your post perfectly illustrates why the words racism and sexism aren’t in my vocabulary. Right at the beginning, you were interested in what you rightly said was an illegal, antisocial and discriminatory act. That’s bad enough to be going on with. It is illegal under the selfsame law that makes all other forms of discrimination and prejudice illegal, as it should be.

    But what about institutionalised racism/sexism? I’m increasingly convinced that this concept is worse than useless. Too often it obscures the fact that the racism or sexism people experience is an accumulation of individual events rather than a mysterious oppressive miasma. Worse, it obscures the agent of discrimination. Take the example ‘whites are not used to being frisked because of the colour of their skin’ -- and by extension, black people are (or most of your other examples. To me that’s a bit like the focus on rape victims and/or those privileged enough not to be raped so often. Why isn’t the focus on the agent, the one who’s causing the problem and whose behaviour needs to change: the somebody(ies) with the authority to frisk people is exercising that authority on black people preferentially.

    Not, I imagine, because the rules of their institution tell them too -- that would now be illegal though in the past institutionalised codes which explicitly discriminated were a real possibility. These days we do have a less visible problem. Codes which look as though they’re the same for everyone result in differential outcomes based on race or gender, or religion, etc… It would be sensible, I think, to save the terms institutionalised racism/sexism, for this problem. I know people don’t, even in academia, where they should know better and pick terms that are reasonably heuristic. Then again people on the street use the word racism to mean ‘anything I didn’t like which appeared to have a racial component’.

  12. paul says

    I knew a young woman who was disowned by her parents because she dated a white man. I would call that racism (though not of the legally prosecutable kind). If not racism, what is it?

  13. Callinectes says

    I’m not sure I understand. I had thought that racism and sexism were flavours of prejudice revolving around particular real or perceived aspects of human diversity. This is the first time I’ve heard them directly linked to power dynamics.

  14. Azula says

    There are several good posts up on the web, including here on FtB, about the different kinds of defintions and how they’re used in critical examinations and problem solving. You know, if some of the people commenting here would like stop derailing with “that’s not the definition” remarks.

  15. prodegtion says

    Sorry, women are just too unintelligent to even comment on these issues.

    “Mansplaining” is not a real thing. Men do a better job debating women’s rights than women for the same reason that men do a better job debating animals’ rights than animals.

  16. Meggamat says

    @prodegtion: Is this the article you meant to comment on? I suspect you may have had multiple tabs open. If you didn’t do this accidentally, try reading some other Articles by this author, she has some useful insights.

  17. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @prodegtion- I suspect you commented on the wrong board but the thing is, people who leave such stupid comments on any board do not get to leave comments on my space. Sexism is not welcomed on my board, therefore your comment violates my comment policy. As I also explained in my comment policy, I am allergic to self-inflicted ignorance and you reek too much of it. For these reasons, you are hereby banished to the trash can. Bye.

  18. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Meggamat -- prodegtion does not need to read my ‘other posts’ to validate the intelligence of women, what he needs to do is grow a brain and stop talking from his ass. 🙂

  19. Meggamat says

    @Yemisi Ilesanmi

    That would probably help. That said, one can never know what the context is. I try not to open multiple tabs when commenting, for this reason.

  20. Gilgamecha42 says

    You’re right. There is no such thing as “reverse racism.” It’s just called racism. And if you think people other than “white” people can’t be racist, you’re delusional.

  21. Crunchy Renee says

    It is true that white skin gives you a lot of privilege. I always saw the real world effects of this, but didn’t know it had a name until I was an adult.

    For example- I knew that no matter what my friends and I did, we would not get in trouble. Just being white and having a good address on your ID made you pretty much safe from legal consequences. Things that any POC would get a decade in jail for, were routinely ignored when it was us white, middle class kids/young adults. One girl I knew got high and crashed her car into a post, and was found by the cops with a needle sticking out of her arm. This was not the first time! But she didn’t get arrested, she merely was driven home. Repeatedly.

    The flip side of that was knowing any black person (there weren’t other POC), would be harassed, frisked, fined, or even imprisoned, over basically nothing. I always said they got busted for breathing while black., as any little thing got severe punishment, I saw it first hand. There were always so many cops all over the black neighborhoods (it is super segregated too), and they acted like an occupying force.

    And the only way to really get busted being white? Be lovers or close friends with blacks…and poor (of course) Its true poor whites had it worse then middle class whites, but both had it light years better than any black person. Sad but true, from one of the most racist states for policing.

    I will not pretend to know what its like. I know I am privileged, even though I am low income now. I always wondered what to do about this? I pointed it out, but it was just so obvious, everyone already knew. so how do you stop it?

  22. Nick Gotts says


    Did you ever ask youself who wrote that dictionary definition? They don’t write themselves, you know. There is a perfectly good term for what you want to call racism: racial prejudice. Using racism as a blanket term obscures the very real difference in the effects such prejudice has according to who is expressing it -- but I guess that’s a feature rather than a bug as far as you and those championing the same viewpoint here are concerned.

    I’ve come across, and used, another definition of racism (and similarly for sexism, heterosexism, etc.) than the prejudice+power one, but it occurs to me now that it’s slightly different in its range: actions that reinforce racial (gender, orientational…) inequalities. That would cover the refusal of one Nigerian in Britain to hire another Nigerian as a lawyer -- but would not allow the nonsense of “reverse racism”. Do you have any thoughts on that definition, Yemmy?

  23. says

    I have to mention the fact that in America Black men have an do control women in prostitution. It may not happen as much as it did in the 70’s and 80’s but it does happen a lot. They prostitute all races and to me that is slavery so Black men here have and do control every aspect of their lives. Not that only Black men can be pimps by any means. That is a very sad and dangerous life if you can even call it a life.

  24. says

    I have to ask here. What scenario would be required for you to acquiesce that a white person did indeed experience racism? If a predominantly black group is harassing and beating a white minority in their midst (using the fact that they are white as a justification for said harassment and normalizing their own poor behavior) Would that qualify as racism to you? What if they were using their position of power to do so? It is racism then? That seems to fit your definition of Power + Prejudice. The problem I have with the there’s-no-such-thing-as-reverse-racism argument is it excludes people who are in that type of power dynamic that do not fit into the normative identity roles for that power dynamic. Some black person calling a white person a cracker is not necessarily reverse racism but a group of people using their authority to make that person’s life a living hell on the basis of their race would certainly seem to qualify. 

  25. Sonia says

    Very interesting post. Forgive me. I’m new here. What word or phrase do we use to describe Rwandan genocide? Or Armenian genocide? All these genocides going around, they are not mythological.

  26. Sonia Green says

    Had to clarify. What do we call the stages before those genocides in language people can understand and relate to? What is the behavior going on that leads up to that? There’s this website called genocide watch where I get this information from which has an extremely illuminating breakdown of the process. I’m leaving a link.

    I find it interesting that it is not okay to say a plethora of every day pop culture words, but it is okay to post memes to make fun of other people’s problems, as long as they are white. My concepts of free, not hateful speech have been broadened.


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