It’s really disturbing when injustices that are linked to racism are brushed aside and we’re called race baiters for bringing it up. As if I’m imagining things. As if I created race. As if being silent is going to make everything okay. And the coup de grâce is that some unfortunate souls actually believe that by pointing out racism, that makes someone a racist. I find this to be a signifier of the failure of the education system. So many people know how to throw around the term, but so few know what it really means.

For everyone that’s confused, racism is a historically rooted systematic structure based on the creation of racial hierarchies. It’s racially based prejudices reinforced by systematic power structures that design global economic disparities, social guidelines for imprisonment, medical apartheid, and the socially determined value of life.

Just being born a Black woman in this current state of affairs, I simply do not have the structural power or capacity to be racist. And if it’s hard for you to grasp this information from me, please do Ask The White Guy and this really cool Bangladeshi Australian guy who gets it:

Still, I don’t deny that as an African American woman in the current world, I am born with a certain level of privileges that my ancestors didn’t have. For one, I wouldn’t be writing on this blog because it would have been unlawful for me to read or write. I wouldn’t have gotten two master’s degrees (that I’ve been told Affirmative Action paid for) because that too is a punishable offense. For being an uppity negro wench, I would have been hanged and buried in some unknown location and it would have been deemed justified because I didn’t know my place. That fact is the disturbing root of this discussion. These seemingly innocent demands of my silencing are born out of that same legacy. These are “be quiet or we’ll reprimand you” statements. 

Instead of trying to silence discourse, just admit that you’re a coward. Just admit that comfort and dare I say privilege is more important to you than justice. No we can’t talk about the prison system, the fall of the middle class or the military industrial complex without race. No, no, no! To exclude race from these topics is to participate in the erasure of reality and to disregard the validity of millions of lived experiences. These “reverse racism” and “race-baiter” accusations are built on nothing more than modern day fairy tales.

The racial divide is real:

Unequal prison sentencing: Check
Exclusion from the workforce: Check
Sexual abuse: Check
Segregated education: Check
Insufficient medical attention: Check

Pointing out all of these issues is not divisive, but ignoring them is.  It prevents us from fully exploring and understanding the crux of the problem. You’re not really for social justice if work ends when you feel uncomfortable. Perhaps you should ask yourself why your comfort is so dependent on avoiding the deconstruction of racism. If you’re not ready to have this discussion just admit that and move on. Remove your activist, social justice title and just “get to steppin.” But don’t try to silence people because you feel uncomfortable.  Those times are long gone. Mammy retired, leaving us very detailed instructions…being quiet is not on the list.

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58 thoughts on “Fairy Tales of Reverse Racism Race Baiters

  1. They don’t want us to talk about race because they don’t want to lose their privilege…even many so-called liberals that will talk about social justice until racism comes up. Then they act all oblivious like it’s not real.

  2. @Veronica, I’m afraid I have to agree. The fear of relinquishing privilege and having to play an active role in its removal is too much for some people to handle.

  3. Sorry but anyone can become racist. You aren’t born racist. It is something you become. And it isn’t just between “whites” and “blacks” (oops I didn’t capitalize the letter B so I guess I am racist now). Any black person promoting an ideology that all white people are evil and racist is in itself a form of racism. The term “cracker” is an incredibly racist term. Are white people more prone to being racist? Yes. I wouldn’t argue that but that doesn’t mean that a minority group is incapable of being racist.

    1. Lars, I think you’re confused and I certainly wouldn’t use wikipedia as a reference point for dissecting racism. Anyone can be prejudice but not everyone can be racist that require an entire system of power to back up a specific group. Perhaps you should watch the video and do so more reading on the topic.

    2. Lars’ comment is a prime example of how those how believe in White Privilege and White Supremacy derail discussions on race.

      The “Blacks Are Racists, Too” Card.

      Of course, the use of this card is not used to foster any discussions into how race relations actually play out in the US. Nor does the use of this card lead to an analysis of the various types of power dynamics that exist within American Racial Discourse. Instead, this card is used to shut down discussions started by People of Color who look to confront White Privilege and White Supremacy.

      Like the one going on here.

    3. in the united states where white people have always been in power, currently it is not possible for other groups to practice racism in this country. a person might call a white person a cracker all day long, but that does nothing that harms job and educational opportunities, housing status, and the possibility of going to jail. conversely, a black person or a latino person COULD be harmed in education, jobs, housing, etc. due to racism. this never ever EVER happens to white people because they are white.

    4. Of course individuals don’t like to feel as though they’re included in groups that have promoted racism throughout history. Of course they get defensive and feel discriminated against when minorities (individuals or groups) talk about privilege in a factual manner. Especially when they self-identify with the group of privilege, but can’t separate themselves from that group as as an individual.

      To me, as a member of the smallest minority group in America- American Indian women, ‘white’ represents an oppressive mentality and the calculated oppressive movements of governmental and societal systems here in America, not a skin color. It is a fact that people of European descent have been the major oppressors in this country, and that the level of disregard for human life in the building of America is, indeed, atrocious. That doesn’t mean that as a Native now, sitting across from a non-Native on a bus, I would want to see that person suffer.

      Denial and wanting to pretend like everything is all better in the racial arena does nothing to help. Yes, the majority still seeks to oppress the minority. And yes, there are angry minorities out there who perpetuate prejudice. That does not mean that every minority who speaks out against current racial discourse in our society is angry or perpetuating prejudice.

      We aren’t so far advanced in our systems that people aren’t freezing to death in their trailers on the Standing Rock Reservation. Federal movements are responsible for the situation there, but no one pays attention. Half of America still thinks Natives pretty much died out or disappeared, so the discourse continues. How can this change without talking about the racism and oppression that put Reservation systems into place?

      I’ve fought prejudice my entire life- being born an Indian in Montana and being raised off the Reservation has delivered a fair share of to me at the hands of both Native and non-Native people. I can’t change the color of my skin, my facial structure. I can’t escape that others will look at me and wonder about my ethnicity- then possibly expect me to justify one viewpoint or another based on their assumption of what my ethnic background means. If you’ve never lived with the knowledge that your skin WILL make you stand out and be questioned, it’s hard to imagine what racism is.

      Luckily for me, this IS America, where I can speak my mind, make my own choices and still be protected. SPEAKING OUT and DEMANDING ACTION is what will bring change to people. I loved this article. You have a new follower.

    5. There is snow on the ground… Snow is white… put your skin next to the snow… Now, understand you are not white… Why do you believe in Plantation Owning White Supremacist insane concept of Color race?

    1. Your ” impressed” She have two degrees and speaking in a fashion that you can relate to ? RARE ?
      If your white, Who asked you for a validation slip & a stamp of approval. And, Why do you find it RARE ?

      1. I think Sid is referring to a common theme in academia in which academics sometimes write in a manner that excludes the language of everyday people. At times this causes a disconnect between readers and scholars.

  4. This is a very hard article for me to comment on because I participated in that self-destructing lifestyle that many black men get pulled into. Drugs, theft etc. I know that my comments have little to do with reverse racism but we play a role that we sometimes refuse to admit. The prison system is there because we participate…you can’t blame the evil when you help it do it’s job. Don’t get me wrong…I love your article and hope you never stop writing. Racism is real but done on purpose…you can’t change a person from being racist he has to see the error of his ways and want to. What we have to do is stop participating and support each other. Retaliating only helps their cause because their the majority per race. I love your article but we have to first see the error of our ways before we can do anything about them.

    1. Ephrem, thank you for your comment. This article isn’t about blame shifting or retaliation but about recognizing hard truths that too often people like to avoid. Also, this blog has plenty of articles about the need for self awareness in the African American community as well. Feel free to browse our archives.

  5. Pointing out these issues? That’s entirely divisive, and don’t pretend otherwise.

    It divides “active” racists from polite society. It divides “passive” racists from their plausible deniability. It divides privileged “progressives” from their sense of moral superiority. It divides people who really care about these issues from people who feign interest in order to serve their egos.

    …granted, I’m not saying that being divisive is a bad thing. Because it damned well isn’t!

      1. I’m a Puerto Rican who grew up in (literally) Mayberry. I know from racism, and I’ve been watching WoC fighting mainstream(white) feminism on Twitter for over a year now. The language and attitudes are exactly the same as what I grew up with.I know how calls to stop being “divisive” are often desperate attempts from pseudo-activists to maintain the status quo to the detriment of the people who most need REAL activism.

  6. Everything about this is on point! I’m from a small Texas town. Graduated in a class of 165 and only 8 of us were black. Some of my classmates swear that the the cure to racism is not to talk about it. I tried not stepping on the scale but I still gained weight. This thought that if we ignore it, it will go away is the reason why it is so dangerous. It’s almost as if no one wants to see it unless someone says, “Hey, no I really meant to be racist.” As long as it is veiled….or hooded… they can pretend it’s not their husband/brother/dad underneath.

  7. I enjoyed the article very much. I disagree on the idea “Anyone can be prejudice but not everyone can be racist that require an entire system of power to back up a specific group”. That is certainly is true but it’s not the only way. Call it grassroots racism if you want but hey anyone can be a racist. You’re defining it only that it’s only done in a historical rooted systematic structure based on the creation of racial hierarchies. That is certainly true but if I’ve had two people in front of you one Black and White spewing garbage towards each other because of their skin tone, are you going to tell me that only the White person is racist? Once bigotry becomes systematic can it then be named Racism? Great articles btw.

    1. Constantine, spewing hate words and garbage is an awful thing but I think you completely missed the point about racism actually is. It’s a systematic institution upheld by hundreds of years of legalized oppression. Racism is more than just hate words. Its much deeper than that and racism can not be separated from the historical context because it would not exist without the historical framework and backing.

      1. I agree with you on that but for me and a lot of others there is a such a thing as “grassroots” racism to build that systematic institution. Racism starts from something simple such as hate words and builds. You’re not acknowledging it because your article is not defining that part. Again I ask Once Bigotry becomes systematic can it than be named Racism? I agree that racism can not be separated from the historical context but it would exist whether or not there was a framework for it to become a systematic institution to do so. What am I saying is let’s say slavery didn’t happen and Blacks and Whites were rightfully equal as human beings from the get go. And let’s say two people one Black and one White today started spewing garbage to each other and used skin tone to attack each other. That’s racism.

      2. Constantine that’s alot of “let’s say” that didn’t happen and we can only deal with the reality we’re presented with. It’s equivalent to saying, “Let’s saying reality isn’t reality.” Slavery happened and that’s the terrain we’re operating in. Nothing more and nothing less. Bigotry, Racism, Prejudice are all related but again they are not the same.Racism doesn’t start from something simple. There is nothing simple about it. It’s institutionalized and long running.


    1. Wow, what article did you read? No one is saying that Black women are powerless. Perhaps you are new to this blog and have never seen the other articles I’ve written. I simply stated that the amount of systematic power it takes to enact an institution like racism is not currently possessed by Black women. That is a truth not an internalized belief of “Black inferiority.” I don’t mind disagreements but I have a feeling that your anger in this topic supersedes critical analysis and sensibility.

      1. Your supposition is a false one and thus everything else collapses with it.

        Why do you delimit your argument to that of “Black” + “Female”?

        If a White + Female who lived in NYC in the 1850’s and argued that “I’ve Never Owned A Slave and besides ‘ I Can’t Vote’ ” the fact that she receives several train loads of cotton from the “Slave South” makes her ultimately complicit with the entire system.


        Surely the evidence of PROTEST against that which is offensive to you would be a start. (Assuming that you clicked through to my blog) – you see shocking SILENCE from the Americanized Black Community in response to American imperialism in Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan.

        Refusal to eat fruit from the “Poisoned Tree” would mean that there would be more serious discussions among “Black Academics” in which they look at “Dr King’s” unwillingness to stay silent about “Unjust Wars” and then take it one step further and ask <b?"IS IT HEALTHY FOR THE AMERICAN NEGRO to seek even more 'Social Justice' from the hands of the US Government that is a known 'Serial Killer' – when what we have seen ALREADY is that our people can have their silence purchased IF their compromised Black Leadership is appointed to enough media organizations to maintain the ARTIFICIAL HORIZON, which our people are navigating from?"

        It is CLEAR that when a group of “Americanized Blacks” are allowed to conspire together to erect a POWER STRUCTURE that is more focused upon AMERICAN POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM than upon DEVELOPING THE BLACK COMMUNITY through the COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS that they already control SOMEONE WITH SOME GREATER VISION had better come along and REGULATE their access to the BLACK COMMUNITY CONSCIOUSNESS NUCLEUS – lest they as EQUAL HUMAN BEING – ROB THE BLACK COMMUNITY BLIND – just like CitiBank and Wells Fargo would do IF allowed to operate in an unmolested fashion as do the EMBEDDED BLACK FOX CONFIDENCE MEN do today within the Black Community.

        Failing this we’ll see references to “Africa! Never Never Never Again!!!” used to DISARM the “Americanized Blacks” in the congregation – all the while these same confidence men are redirecting the congregation’s attention away from the CRIME SCENE as they are complicit.

        My challenge to you is for you to articulate ANY EVIDENCE that any of the ‘gravitational pull’ upon Blacks in America is ultimately to allow us to STAND UP ALONE – with any chance (in hell) of ever offering STRUCTURAL ASSISTANCE to any other diasporatic Blacks. OR is it all just to aggregate POLITICAL POWER in America (as I have come to see is the case)?

      2. Thank you for proving my point. You are not ready for this conversation. See there are multiple sides to tomfoolery: indifference, silence and rage. Your words fit into the rage category. In any of these instances it’s hard to have a substantial coherent conversation. I’m not going to waste anymore of your time.

  8. Your article is well written and I have read it twice trying to fully grasp everything your saying. I am a white woman and growing up heard many negative descriptions of black people by my dad. I have recognized my whole adult life that my father was a racist and am sorry for that! I am perplexed as I listen to the guy on the video. I did not find humor but bitterness. I am desperately trying to hear every word every person spoke on this page because I don’t want to be guilty of the very ignorance you are pointing out. However, I don’t understand. I will never be black, as much as I joke that I think I am, and all my black friends say I am too. I will never know the pain, humiliation, and suffering so many have, but I do know that there are many, many, many white people who don’t see color. It’s awkward for me to even distinguish colors for the point of conversation. I do believe, much against the majority of the comments here, that we stay stuck on racial arguing. As I will never understand what it is like to be black, you will never understand the frustration, confusion and sadness I, and many white people feel when we are continually stuck is this accusation of being racial. I cried the day President Obama became President and I did not vote for him. I cried tears of joy that our country had crossed a threshold of racial barriers. I cried tears of joy for a people I love, yet without walking in your skin color, will never fully grasp what you have been through. I cried for a nation that GOT IT, that realized the potential of every person regardless of their skin color. I thank you for expressing yourself so eloquently and I will read again and again until I get it.

    1. I appreciate that you’re trying to understand and hopefully you’ll get it one day. The funny thing is Kelly, I’m not talking about you or people like you in this article. Though the, “I think I’m Black” comment is kind of interesting. If you are one of the people that truly recognizes racial disparities for what they are, that is what we need. The problem comes in when people don’t want to acknowledge these disparities because it makes them uncomfortable. Racism is not going to end due to silence. Ignoring it only exacerbates the problem. People often view an attack on White privilege as an attack on White people, when it is completely the opposite. It is trying to point out that work needs to be done so that all people, regardless of color can have access to upward mobility and human rights. As of today, that simply is not happening and those of us that realize this are not race baiters but peacemakers. And you can’t have peace by avoiding reality.


    2. One of the most insulting things well meaning White folks have ever said to me is that. “I don’t see color”. It means you have no respect for my culture or worst think that your culture is that which everyone shares. If you don’t see color then you don’t see me. I am a Black man, one who does not only know suffering but triumph, pride and a history of excellence.

      1. Dear ShaRall: I am so taken back and will simply remove myself from the conversation. You can’t sum up judgement on me based on one reply I wrote. I am sincerely trying to “hear” and “see” in order to be part of the solution and not the problem. I appreciate African American culture greatly! I was at a home group the other night and was absolutely fascinated with the African artwork displayed throughout the home. Their pride in their heritage was so moving and I so desired to get some for myself. I am saddened to tears at the schism that exists even though I am trying. My apologies for writing, displaying and offending.

    3. @kellyamaster: This might sound a little removed from the conversation, but please bare with me because I do have a point. Have you noticed how there are some “white” people who have a genetic predisposition to be bitter, hateful, and disagreeable moreso than the average person? Do you notice how these types of people tend to stick out in our minds when they put their two cents in about a topic or attempt to partake in a civilized debate but miserably fail to get their point across due to their natural abrasiveness and use of psychological warfare? This can also apply to other races. There are people in the “black” community, not the whole “black community”, who are making valid points, but tend to do so at the cost of shutting other people out by throwing around epithets or attacking the personal character of others. Please, keep in mind that these people do not represent the entire movement or group just like those group of “white” people who do the same do not represent us as “white” people. I can only suggest that you find a way to not take people dumping on you personally, rather, read a good book on communication styles and dealing with toxic people. They are everywhere.

      Having said that, I do not apologize for the actions of other adults because I believe in personal accountability. So, you need not apologize for those who so happen to be a part of the “white” community and partake in toxic communication just like JAM is not really hear to answer for the people in the “black” community who partake in that form of communication. There are really awesome communicators in every community, and unfortunately the way our human brains function, we tend to particularly focus on the negative ones.

      What I would really like to see in the world is that there is a power shift away from putting those with the narcissistic, anti-socioal disordered, sociopathic, and psychopathic tendencies in a positions of power. They fuel the fire with racism. They make money out of manipulating and exploiting raw human emotion. I think these people are also purposely perpetuating racism, sexism, and whatever other -ism that plays into their favor. They are hidden in every community and they promote any divide they can because it is easier to divide and conquer and/or it allows them the opportunity to play the lucrative role of middle-person.

      1. I can’t really go back and edit, but please note that I do acknowledge the horrendous typos like “hear” is mean to be “here”.

  9. I think the confusion stems from the fact that you’re speaking about racism as a social construct/system whereas most people talk about it colloquially as a personal view of “betterness,” and therefore gloss over the subject because they personally do not hold that view (whether true or not). I think the challenge is to get past people’s knee-jerk reactions to talks of race – and their desire to gloss over it – because they don’t want to be associated with intrinsically thinking they’re superior, and frame the conversation to address systems. It’s similar to people assuming feminism is about hating men and female superiority when it’s really about equality and duality. The conversation has been hijacked in a sense and assuming people are avoiding the topic to protect their own interests 100% versus a confusion of definitions just creates more defensiveness and avoidance.

    1. You missed my point when I recognized the fact that people are confused. I even started off my sentence, “For everyone that’s confused…” Did you miss that part? I agree that the conversation has been hijacked but at the same time you can sit down with some people and try to explain everything until you’re blue in the face and they still won’t get it. Not because they are oblivious but because they don’t want to get it. They don’t want to understand because with understanding comes…get ready for it… the dreaded accountability because that would involve putting in work and giving up privileges. However, I’m not foolish enough to believe that most people will hold themselves accountable, I’m simply stating that I’m going to speak about real issues and if you can’t handle that discussion just admit that and walk away instead of trying to silence others.

      1. Hi JAM, I would like to know what you mean by “giving up privileges”. I would greatly appreciate if you could expound a bit more about “accountability” and “privileges”. I see it in a mathematical sense in that there are only so many jobs, resources, housing in the world, and that equality for all means less of a chance for any given individual if that individual were more likely to obtain a job, resource, shelter, etc prior to equailty due to a certain color of their skin. We can see this happening with men and women competing in the same market where men are having a tougher time than they use to have in scoring a job or getting into a school unlike men from previous generations (please insert the word white wherever appropriate). Thank you by the way for allowing other’s like myself to participate in your comments section.

  10. It’s institutionalized and long running. What I am trying to convey is that if I see two people of different races insulting each other over race that simple act is racist. Is racism institutionalized? Of course it is but doesn’t mean it’s the only way to prove racism or give it’s only definition. If I hear a Black person or Asian person saying ugly remarks about other races they are racist as much as the White person.

    1. What you are describing is prejudice, once again racism is a systematic structure it’s more than words and insults. It’s not being able to walk down the street wearing a hoodie without being killed and the murderer being let off because the institution of racism has deemed the victim “scary.” Racism as a structure has backing and power that reinforces subjugation. Saying mean words does not equate to that.

      1. I agree that it’s a system but to only acknowledge that way is where I disagree with you.You’re stating racism as a structure rather to just words. I think they’re both. You don’t. Racism has it’s roots from prejudice.

      2. It’s not both. Words are descriptive and can often be an identifier of racism but mean words do not always equate to racism, especially if they are not supported by a power structure that can actually affect the lives of millions of people around the world.

      3. @Constantine: I think maybe the disagreement that has arisen between the two of you stems from the difference of the dictionary vs the term of liberal arts academia.
        @JAM: Is that correct? Maybe, you can clear that up for us. When we learn the term racism in grade school, we learn the strict definition that is defined in the dictionary. I don’t think everyone takes the same classes that you have had the opportunity to take or read that boook that may have offered you a different interpretation. It would be great if you could point us to the source from where you are getting the definition of racism. I think that once we have that terminology in that context, then it will make for a more fluid conversation.

    2. Here is a very simple example. Regardless of how many horrible or race specific names I call White folks they will still work, live, go to school where the want unimpeded by whatever feelings I may have or display.

      1. So true. I hear you. It has only been recently that women are gaining a position in the workforce, but I can somewhat relate to what you are saying given that I remember a time when women, including myself, were destined to live under the thumb of males and without a good shake of opportunity in the US. The feeling was suffocating. I hope and try to promote a more equal status of everyone. I am soon to be a business owner, and I will definitely practice what I preach. 🙂

      1. I agree. Institutinalized racism is a sweeping force that tries to knock down many. However, I think discrimination in general is also horrible, be it a non-institutionalized racism or bludgeoning of an Asian teenager by a group of non-Asians. It’s all just horrible. I am with you, blackalaureate, and I try my best to help the cause.

  11. Reverse racism is an illusion. These people just don’t want to face that reality. Luckily I live in the real world.

  12. This may sound ignorant to you, and if it does, please forgive me, but would you consider it “racist” if a black person had a position of power in a company and used that position to harass white employees? Is it possible for that to be racism, since the employees can’t be terminated due to their race, or would it just be prejudice?
    This isn’t a hypothetical for me, I’m asking because I worked for a company some years ago in which this was the case, and I was told, repeatedly that it couldn’t possibly be racist, since the person I worked for was black and I am white.

    1. Unfortunately, that does happen and I, too, have witnessed something akin to your situation at a place of employment. Yet, we can both agree that it happens more often than not where there is a white male in the position of power who treates other non-white-males like dirt. By my dictionary definition, it is racism. However, by the more academic standards used, I think that definition is more specific. So, it is really important that you first find out if you are using the same word. Technically, there are two different types of racism and it is causing people to nitpick at each other over the word. It would be great if the professors who elaborated on the word racism had used a slightly different word. It confuses those who have not taken such classes. Thus, by the definition I am assuming this article is utilizing, no, your situation is not considered racism. However, by the dictionary definition, yes, it is racism. What is more important in a legal sense is that you get the legal definition which may be different from academia and the dicitonary. -.- I know, I know. It would have made things so much easier for communication reasons if grade school had taught us the other two definitions. What I can say is that, you will find it difficult to get much empathy/sympathy from people in general. Most people have their own interests at heart. Possibly, you are also focusing on that image in your mind than actually listening to what other people are saying on this forum. It is really important that we listen and offer your support. Hopefully, someone else from the black community will hear you as well, but first, we must listen.

  13. I am first generation US American in that my family is from Europe. Due to some really unfortunate events, I ended up going through the foster system for most of my childhood up until emancipation. I lived with so many different families of race, creed, etc. Yes, there is racism. However, it really does go both ways and all ways. Now, you can say “no it does not”, but how is it acceptable that someone else can tell me how I feel and what I have experienced throughout my life? Or, what makes another person act as though they are an omniscient and therefore can say that without a doubt, racism against “whites” does not exist. More importantly, why would it be such a bad thing to admit that there are black people who are racist and target/bully other races like Asians, descendants of Central & South America, “whites”, etc? Does that really take away from the argument that racism needs towards blacks/Africans/African Americans needs to stop? No. It doesn’t. Acknowledging another person’s feelings and experiences is just as important as acknowledging the feelings and experiences of others. In fact, acknowledging what another race encounters is often a good common ground to build upon. Here is an example of of how not to educate people about systemic racism:

    Person A (black): The system is built to oppress minorities.
    Person B (white): No, no it is not.
    Person A (black): Yes, and that is typical comming from a person of white privilege.

    So, a this point in the this heated conversation, for some reason the white person is being defensive. Then Person A(black), accusing someone of being of white privilege might cause them to be even more defensive because the white person doesn’t really understand the meaning of white privilege. White privilege to them sounds like they are being told that they got a free ride in life because they are white.

    Person B(white): White privilege?! I have earned everything I have and have sacrificed so much to be where I am at in life.

    This is a common reaction I see in these types of conversations in face-to-face settings or exchanges online. What it seems is as if though what Person B(white) said just insinuated that Person A(black) has not worked equally as hard. If we focus on the communication on an individual level, we can really see where these discussions break down. Both parties feel slighted. Person A (black) is hurt and frusterated that they are experiencing something that Person B(white) is not experiencing or understanding because they are not black. Person B(white) is hurt and frusterated that Person A(black) has, as by their definition, invalidated their hardwork and challenging life experiences.

    Person A(black): White privilege allowed you to reach your potential.

    Realistically speaking, the two people are so heated that they start throwing at each other whatever they have been stuffing emotionally. This gets us, those fighting against racism, no where. It turns into an emotional punching bag situation, and I can even see it on this comments forum. If one wants to get through to another about racism, one must find a common ground:

    Person A(black): I notice some people don’t treat me the same way they treat you when we hang out.
    Person B(white): Are you sure?
    Person A(black): Yes, I am sure.
    Preson B(white): I don’t see what you are talking about.

    This is a really great opportune time to appeal to another’s empathy through shared experience.

    Person A(black): Have you ever experienced what you felt was racism towards you because you are white?
    Person B(white): Yes, I have. I remember when I was attending school in [insert school], and these group of black kids would constantly pick on me and call me names. One time, those kids shoved me into a wall and I dislocated my arm.
    Person A(black): That sounds awful. I am sorry you had to go through that. Did you tell the principal or dean?
    Person B(white): I told them, but I don’t understand why it was not filed as a hate crime when they were singling me out for being white.
    Person A(black): Yeah, that does sound frusterating. Well, that is how I feel when I trying telling people about the racism I experience as a black person. No one hears me, like no one heard you and it is hard.

    See, now we are getting somewhere in this conversation. Person A(black) is more likely to be heard and with empathy. Believe it or not, there are many people who have experienced some form of ostracism due to a group’s xenophobia that typically has to do with skin color, country, or religion.

    Sometimes, just bringing up any form of discrimination is a good starting point in tapping into another person’s empathy. Talking at people does not help. You might think what I am saying is b.s., but just try it once. Just once. See how far you get in your conversation with that person. It is a really useful technique and it helps everyone practice compassion for each other. I have found that I have effectively gotten through to other people with this technique. I also get to know more about what they are going through as well.

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