The idea of reverse racism has been a hot topic of recent, discussed by many, with people landing on both the for and against sides of the fence.
Anyone reading this article should already be aware of a woman called Jane Elliott, as racial debates can’t take place without her name being mentioned. She is an advocate for racial equality, one of the godmother’s of racial debates, someone who I personally, highly respect for her bravely, outspokenness and intelligence. And if you don’t know who she is, please research. More specifically, check out her most recent appearance on Jade Pinkett’s Red Table Talks on Facebook – a talk show I’m an avid viewer of, as subjects explored on there are mind-opening, I highly recommend.
One element of her teachings is the idea of reverse racism not existing. The idea of reverse racism refers to an oppressed people being racist to the oppressing people. And in the case of against, the argument is the oppressed do not hold the power, consequently reverse racism can’t exist. In the instances of black people being racist to white people, which she, and many others who sit on the fence of being against the idea, say that this doesn’t exist because racism is linked to power and therefore, in a society where white people have the power, how can the oppressed be racist?
What happens if an Indian person says something racially-offensive to a Chinese person, or a Polynesian person says something racially-offensive to an African person? To my knowledge, there is no racial power struggle between Indians and Chinese or Polynesian and African, so would these be considered to be racial verbal attacks – therefore the victim does in fact experience racism without having a lack of power, or not?
Arguments for those in favour of the idea that reverse racism exists, take the viewpoint that there are areas and situations that allow reverse racism to exist in modern times.
The recent attacks taking place in South Africa on white farmers and their land springs to mind. Another example would be a scenario of a white child being in a predominantly black school, where majority of students and teachers are African/Caribbean descent, or a white family living in a predominately African/Caribbean neighbourhood, if that child/family experiences mistreatment due to them being a minority and it is racially-motivated, is this reverse racism?
If two Afro/Caribbean people beat up a European person because they do not like the colour of his/her skin – what would we call this? Just an attack? Even though it was racial motivated… Those that are for the argument that reverse racism exists say that if someone has an issue with someone because of the colour of their skin, it is racism, no matter who is on the receiving end.
All of these very real scenarios paint a picture of blacks holding the power in these situations and therefore strong points with proving that reverse racism can exist.
I want to make myself very clear on this, at no point do I think that these situations, put the inequality of white people on the same level as racism experienced by black people, because under no circumstances does it. BUT I do think we have to be mindful of how we treat others, and no one should be excused from racially-motivated attacks, whether that be covert or overt, or physical or verbal.
On discussing this with a colleague of mine, she made a very valid point –
It’s not about whether or not reverse racism exists, it’s about us all being more aware of what we are doing to contribute to the racial divide. Now is the time to become more mindful of our words, language, intentions and reasons. Everyone. Irrespective of what “colour” we are.
Words : @TheRubyMaeMoore