Reverse racism undermines the weight of a genuine struggle

Kaanchee Gandhi, Editor-in-Chief

The term “reverse racism” has been used at an increasing rate recently over social media sites by white people who are, once again, attempting to be the center of attention. If anyone was appalled after reading that last sentence at the incredibly racist comment in it, they are 1) probably white and 2) whom this article is specifically addressing.

“Reverse racism” is an expression used to describe the dominant racial group in a society; in America, this is the caucasian  race. People throw out the term “reverse racism” often in instances when white people experience prejudice solely based on their race. Classic examples of this are children getting bullied by their peers for being white or people of colored being hired over caucasians to increase diversity within a company. While these cases may occur, “reverse racism” in America does not and has never existed.

To be fair, white people can be discriminated against. However, discrimination and racism are two very different things. Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of people in a category, race being one of them. Racism is the ultimate belief that one race is superior to others, and members of other races are inferior. It exists when there are social constructs and widespread bias that oppress a particular race of people. White people have never experienced reverse racism or racism of any kind.

America, as a country, functions primarily at this point off of white privilege. Although slavery has been over for years, the country itself was built upon this institution. Rather than equality immediately becoming orthodox when slavery was abolished, the movement was slow and demanding. Racism was so incredibly conventional in the history of America that to extract it from today’s accepted way of living is possibly even more demanding. It is no help when people who do inherently believe racism is wrong, belittle the movement by bringing up their fake white struggles.

Racism exists. It exists in the workplace where there is a 50 percent lower callback rate for job resumes with African-American-sounding names according to a study done by Marianne Bertrand, an associate professor at the University of Chicago. It exists unconsciously in courtrooms where black defendants are 30 percent more likely to be imprisoned than white defendants for the same crime as found in a study done by the Penn Law. And it exists in public school systems, where according to the Civil Rights Data Collection, teachers in predominantly black and Latino schools are paid less than white-majority schools.

The overarching culture established in America today is that “whiteness” is the norm and everyone else is different. Fashion, movies and music today are designed for and directed towards white people, and anything differing is labeled specifically as “Asian hairstyles” or “black people music.” Society assumes that everyone strives to look white, act white and think white. For people of color, even the act of expressing one’s own culture through outfits and music is seen as an act of defiance against conforming to white “culture.” It is not just white people who are promoting this culture. The term “white-washed” is used as a pejorative most often by minorities when claiming that someone of color has conformed to whiteness. Still, that does not give white people the permission to chip in their own traumatic experiences every time a conversation about racism comes up.

Using the term “white girl” as an insult is rude and offensive, but it is not racism. Telling a person they cannot rap because they are white is unfair, but it is not racist. By claiming that these actions are racist, white people are trivializing the actual racism being experienced by people across America every second. Prejudice against their skin color is not something white people can just try on for a day while keeping all of their white privilege. Racism will never end until it is taken seriously.