Over the years I’ve heard some ridiculous things come from the mouths of ignorant people. Some of these things are: “If black people can say the n-word why can’t I?” or “Black lives matter, how about ALL lives matter!!!” Now as outrageous as these statements are the one I’m going to be talking about is when a white person says “That’s racist!” in relation to a comment that was made about white people.
Let me be a bit more specific. On many occasions, I’ve heard a person of color make a joke about how “all white girls love Starbucks” and out of nowhere pops out some white woman saying “Excuse me, not all white people like Starbucks okay! That’s racist!!” There are many issues about this statement that I would like to talk about but first let me explain the difference between two very similar words: prejudice and racism. I previously mentioned these two in my last blog post, which can be found here.
First of all, prejudice is a preconceived judgment or opinion that is based on limited information. This is where stereotypes come from. Racism, on the other hand, describes a systematic advantage based on race. People of color can’t be racist since we do not benefit from such a system. I think that a movie called “Dear White People” (now adapted into a Netflix show) put it best with this:
Now under the “Reverse Racism Umbrella” there many other pressing issues. One of these is the belief that white culture can be appropriated just like any other culture. People specifically point this out when complaining the black people wear blonde wigs or straighten their hair. First, the are black people around the world that have naturally blonde hair, that is beside the point. Second, white people aren’t the only ones with straight hair, many different ethnic groups also have straight hair such as Latinos and Asians. Lastly, flipping the script on cultural appropriation completely and willfully erases the historical context. Throughout history, black women and men have been demeaned because of their hair and were forced to conform to Eurocentric standards – lest they risk their lives.
The last issue I would like to touch upon for now is the consistent issue stating that BET, Black Student Union, and Black History Month exclude white people. Zeba Blay said it best in her article for Huffington Post when she said, “Things like Black History Month, BET, and Black Girls Rock are not “reverse racist” against white people, they’re not examples of a double standard in which White History Month, The White Entertainment Channel, and White Girls Rock would be considered offensive. “Why isn’t there a White History Month?” you ask? To repeat a very true cliché — all history is white history. Most black children in America will learn they are descended from slaves before they learn they are descended from ancient African civilizations.” These institutions are created out of a necessity to give a voice for blacks and other POC in a world where they weren’t given opportunities or a voice.