Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes speaks during the Solidarity Rally against racism at Washington Square Park in Salt Lake City, Utah on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. (Rishi Deka | Daily Utah Chronicle)

What do Narnia, the Loch Ness Monster, and reverse racism all have in common? None of them are real.

Lately, there have been a lot of calls of “reverse racism,” or racism against Caucasians, in response to negative comments about white people. This is ridiculous. It is not possible to be racist against a white person in the United States. It is possible to be prejudiced against white people, perhaps, but certainly not racist.

Racial prejudice and racism do have a lot in common, but there is an important distinction. Racial prejudice entails the feeling of dislike, contempt, hatred or superiority over another race. Racism includes these sentiments, but it has an additional factor: systematic oppression which is built into the government, institutions and social structures. Without this factor of systematic oppression, there cannot be racism.

The history of the U.S. is quite literally established off of the subjugation of people of color. From slavery to the Trail of Tears, Japanese internment camps to the annexation of large swatches of Mexican land, our country has consistently taken advantage of people of color with total disregard for their rights. Even as history has progressed and some things have improved for people of color, these improvements haven’t been enough to cancel out the ways our system fails people of color. Discrimination was built into our government from its conception and is still very much alive and well.

White people in the U.S. have never faced this sort of oppression, and it’s important to recognize that. White Americans were not imported as a product and forced into slavery; they came here of their own free will. Their lands were not taken from them — they were the ones forcing indigenous people away from places that were rightfully theirs. White people are not targeted by police forces and are much less likely to be arrested or face brutality. They are not denied jobs or demonized by the media. They have access to education.

This systematic privilege is why you cannot be racist toward white people. You can be prejudiced against white people, but you cannot be racist toward them.

Distinguishing the definitions of racism and prejudice is perhaps linguistically important, but seems somewhat abstract where real-world significance is concerned. Why does it matter? Racial prejudice and racism are on two different planes.

The words “I hate black people,” and “I hate white people,” carry a different weight because of how black people are treated by our country. Racism carries with it hundreds of years of cruelty, abuse, discrimination, violence and subjugation of people of color. Complaining of “reverse racism” minimizes and invalidates the historical suffering of people of color. It also disregards the structural flaws which continue to be oppressive. Claiming “reverse racism” puts a barrier against fixing the ways our society and country works against people of color.

I encourage all “reverse racism” proponents to look deeply into the privileged position your white skin puts you in, because it is critical for understanding and correcting the racist culture of our country. Instead of pulling the “reverse racism” card, look at how prejudice against white people functions. Historically, white Americans have been abusive, violent and cruel tyrants, and anger about the treatment of fellow humans is more than justified. We ought to work to understand how to help build a system which better serves all of the country’s people, instead of invalidating the hurt and frustration of people of color.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

@TheChrony

Shaelyn is a fourth year at the University of Utah studying Political Science and Journalism in the hopes that someday she can be a travel writer. She is especially passionate about social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, and mental health awareness. In her (very rare) free time she loves to hike, paint, and read.

101 COMMENTS

    • Well I work with a majority black staff and I will tell you they HATE white people with a passion, go out of their way to let you know it and ACTIVELY discriminate against the clueless white custumers they deal with, while saying it OUT LOUD that they are jipping whitey and giving Xtra to their own.

    • There’s no such thing as “reverse racism.” What is that? Regular racism is against blacks and reverse racism is only categorized against whites? There’s just racism against all types of people, including whites are subjected to it. And anyone who thinks differently, including the writer, lives in a fantasy world where it’s very safe to live.

    • I love how everyone thinks in terms of just African American and Caucasian people. I’m a white male living in an area that is 70 percent Hispanics. It’s like people think that there’s only racism between Caucasians and African Americans. I can’t even get a job here people are so racially discriminant, they’ll always hire the Hispanic over the white guy even when the white guy has four times the qualifications.

      • Think that’s bad? I’m part Hispanic and look “more white” and they (Hispanics) discriminate against me at job interviews as well. I’ve felt this from my mother’s side of the family as well, they’re always saying how I look and act like my German father, while my sister, who looks like them, is loved by all. I’ve felt this reverse racism all my life, and the weird thing is, Hispanic is NOT a race. It’s getting to the point I want to move to a different country; oh wait, this racial nonsense is all over the world now, can’t get away from it! Diversity is NOT what it’s cracked up to be in the end.

    • Move to Houston,TX. I am a 30+ white male and I can tell you racism against white people is real. I’ve had 2 jobs where coworkers hated me because I am white.
      Hispanics/Mexicans come from a traditional culture which is extremely ethnocentric. Also, 1st and 2nd generation immigrants hate white people because they are “privileged.” Hispanic/Mexican males hate white males, it’s an ego thing, machismo culture. I had a Mexican supervisor and he gave me all the hard labor-intensive jobs. I was floated around to the crew that had the worst job for the week. I was a minority working there. His favorite crew would milk the clock and only work while on overtime. The union would try to push minorities” through to get promoted and would collude aginst white people. Telling lies about drinking on the job, I had 2 drug tests and a breathalyzer test done within 3 weeks because I was up for a mechanic promotion and a black guy, union steward’s son was behind me in the district. The son was removed from another district for pissing off everyone and claiming the white crew was drinking on the job. Coincide?

      Then I worked another job where I was 1 of 3 white people. I was the youngest by at least 25 years. The black union steward would single me out while working next to my coworkers and tell me I was loading in a no loading zone. She would hand me mail to deliver that was out of order and just thrown into a tub (was supposed to be 30 mins of mail but too 2+ hours the sort properly and threw off my day). She would look at me like I was crazy when I would say good morning. If she had a parcel that was misthrown she would walk up to me and rudely ask me where it belonged. I was ran into the ground and given double th work of my coworkers. They were trying to force me out.

      So gather some facts before minimalizing racism. If someone wrote this about racism not being real for other races, you would lose your career. So you cannot tell me there is not reverse racism.

  1. What an ignorant article. Your definition of racism is not correct. I can’t find a single dictionary to support the “systemic oppression” bit you tacked on. Every race is capable of racism. To say otherwise flies entirely in the face of logic. A black person can think their race is superior just as easily as a white person can.

    You could make claims like yours all day long when you alter the definition of the term your entire argument is premised on.

    • Get a people of color dictionary,……it’d be quite different on wat white people’s definitions are,……….!

      • That is a comment…. all dictionaries are the same, there is no “people of color” dictionary or “white people” dictionary. That comment in itself shows how screwed up society is when it comes to racism. Racism can be inflicted on any race hence the term “race” within the word. Also, what* would be the correct spelling. That would also be found in the dictionary.

        • There is the standard definition of racism… And the definition of racism created by a black(biased) sociologist professor in the late 70’s. Modern Pop’s have clung on to this arbitrary(wrong) definition of racism because it absolves them of responsibility and provides incentives. Most of us wirh a brain realize this and just cant get in line with the “race” rhetoric.

          • How is a black professors definition biased if he faces racism, the thing he is defining? Would it no longer be biased if a white man who has never experienced racism defined it? Shouldn’t you experience something before you can accurately depict what it is? That’s like saying it’s biased if someone who has tasted apple pie describes it to another.

        • I can’t find aks, as in ” let me aks (ask) you something” in the dictionary, yet I hear it all the time. Likewise to the “you be”, or you are. So their may not be a dictionary for it but it is common place in some regions. So you are correct, their aren’t dictionaries that differ, is it considered a different dialect?

  2. I do not agree with this definition of racism. According to the article, it has to be systemic, which is just false. Racial prejudice is our thoughts and feelings toward another person based solely on their race, while racism is our ACTION towards that person, stemming from our prejudice towards that person. So while it is of course true that racism can be systemic, it also occurs at an individual level. I want to do everything possible to eliminate as much prejudice and racism as possible, but pretending like blacks can’t be racist back to Caucasians won’t help the cause.

    • Let’s not forget that the Caucasians in power are jumping through every hoop they can in an attempt to look as least racist as possible and if that means screw over white people then that’s what they all do to keep their easy desk jobs that pay them millions. Just because it’s mostly white people in power positions doesn’t mean they’re running things and doesn’t mean they’re looking out for their own race. I think it’s racist to have programs that only help people based on race, there are native American only medical ride services hospitals and meals on wheels services and if you’re not native American you can’t use it, but they can come to the regular ones too, every time i ask people why this exists everyone acts like it’s blasphemy to talk about it. And no one alive today has been a slave in America so for that to be anyone’s defense or accusation now is just plain stupid. I’ve been discriminated against for my size on a sweeping job (i finally got the job when i had someone vouch for me and did the job better than everyone there and got a job with the place we were cleaning), I’ve been discriminated against because I’m caucasian too and when i brought it up they told me you can’t be racist to white people (that statement in itself is racist). The amount of racism i see in America against caucasians in the name of fighting for people of color’s rights is ridiculous. The fact that any race has a quota for hiring is stupid, you should be able to pick the most qualified person and you should have to. A guy that worked hard in school shouldn’t lose his chance to a C student because he’s not African American, that’s racism. When you don’t get a job they should have to explain why and not use a generic answer like “we just feel like we can’t use you at this time”, they should have to say, “you said…. During the interview and it made us feel you don’t know the job”

  3. While some of your points are good, making up a new definition of racism not found in any dictionary I looked at today does not help your credibility as a writer

  4. I completely disagree with this article, though appreciate your viewpoint. You specify that “racism includes an additional factor: systematic oppression which is built into the government, institutions and social structures,” a definition with which I completely agree. However, how can you possibly claim that in our efforts to remedy racism against blacks of the past – notice the tense – that white Americans have not been targeted? There is, in fact, a great deal of systematic oppression against whites today. One prominent example can be found in college admission diversity requirements. It is harder to be accepted into a university as a white male, regardless of credentials, than a black woman, solely due to the color of their skin (and gender). How is that not reverse racism? White individuals are accused of possessing and taking advantage of their “white privilege,” a broad assumption of opportunity and/or socioeconomic status assessed completely on race. How is that not racism? This may come as a shock to the world, but there are in fact white Americans who come from broken family structures, little money, and damaging living environments. Similarly, there do exist black Americans who come from wonderful households and strong incomes. White privilege does not exist in America today. What exists, and hopefully will always exist, is American privilege. Every citizen in our country, regardless of their race, are given equal opportunity to work hard and make something of themselves, a blessing not found in most other parts of the world.

    Sincerely,
    A “‘reverse racism’ proponent” who cannot “look deeply into the privileged position my white skin puts me in” because I am actually a Hispanic woman.

    • Let’s not forget about how the Italians or Irish were treated in the 20th century as they came to America. They were not exactly treated with respect. Also, if you are a white person and you visit or stay on many of the reservations, you will feel discrimination.

    • Sorry I don’t know I am qualified to comment. I am a naturalized Citizen USA from India. Caste discrimination against Higher Caste People in India has many similarities. It is possible higher caste people discriminated against lower caste in past, abused them,not anymore may be not true in remote villages. But discrimination against higher caste people like Brahmins is institutionalized. We Brahmins move out the country for survival and do very well, because no matter what, hard work and merit is recognized in the West. Racial profiling or racial hate is nothing compared to institutionalized racism we face in our country. Living in Poverty is lot harder than facing humiliations. Couple of blow on our face from a different race person I can take it not a everyday poverty we face in our own birth place because of Caste Discrimination

  5. I don’t disagree that racism is real and still affects people today. The thing I don’t like about this article is the tone that it carries. It carries a tone that somehow makes it ok for people to hate white people. I don’t care who you are but being racist or prejudice against anyone is not ok. I also don’t think it is fair to keep grouping white people today with white people of years past. We are not slave owners and no one is a slave and it hasn’t been that way for a long time. But as I said at the beginning, there is still plenty that needs to change so that we are all more equal and all treated better. Lets talk more about what we can do to change instead of pointing fingers.

  6. Sweet! I guess know the university will give me a scholarship because of my Caucasian heritage. Oh wait…
    Don’t get me wrong… I think what happened to blacks is obscene and terrible. So by these definitions an individual person can’t be racist at all. Only an organization or country can. People, individually, can only be prejudice by these definitions. So a white person can only be prejudice against a black, and vice versa. And a country can be racist. And as a country, I don’t believe we are racist anymore. White racism does happen in other countries, which this writer has not ruled out.

  7. According to the oxford English dictionary, racism is defined as:”1Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” There is no mention of systematic oppression or government. Stop changing the meaning of words to fit your retarded agenda.

  8. Okay, but where is that definition of racism from? Dictionary.com defines it as such:
    rac·ism
    ˈrāˌsizəm
    noun
    prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

    Therefore:
    1. Racism has nothing to do with government, inherently. If you want a view on racism in modern society and what it looks like I highly recommend reading “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang.
    2. Reverse racism is just racism. You could have made a much better argument talking about how linguistically the term “reverse racism” is a damaging to understanding and resolving the issues of racism in our culture.

  9. Just to be clear, I am in agreement that reverse racism isn’t real. But I disagree that hating whites is better (or a different “weight” as the writer puts it) than hating blacks. Hatred is hatred.

    • So if a black person is beating a white person to death while screaming” die you effin white cracker honkey”…thats not racist?

  10. Learn about the history of the Italians, Irish (and Catholics), Jews, Polish, and Germans (during the time of the world wars). It may not be as bad in most cases, but they also experienced “systematic oppression which is built into the government, institutions and social structures.” While not all white people experienxed it, you cannot day none of them experienced it.

  11. I have been thinking about this subject for a long time; especially in light of a heated conversation with some classmates about “race quotas” and Affirmative Action. I have also been trying to study my own behavior in an effort to figure out what I believe to be just. This article was very illuminating. It put into words what I have been trying to articulate for so long. Separating race and prejudice is a good start to figuring out exactly how to progress in this country, and I think that the author put it very tactfully. Great article!

  12. This article assumes that modern day people with white skin are responsible for all actions of white people in the history of the United States (whether or not their ancestors were even involved in it). Interesting how in the judicial system we would never punish people for the actions of their ancestors, yet in leftist media the sentence of shame falls on all people, because of their white skin color and what other white people, most of whom are dead, have done to people of color. In short, modern day white people shouldn’t feel bad for things they haven’t done.

    Also, white skin color does not afford any sort of privilege in the modern world. If I say that I am white, I am not going to be congratulated for that. In diversity classes it has been pointed out that employers will often hire people with European names when compared to names of colored races, and this is mainly due to the fact that people assumed English language proficiency in European names, of which the English language is logically tied to. Go figure. If English language proficiency was demonstrated as part of the resume in that study, there would likely have been no difference in who employers chose to hire.

    Even if statistically speaking whites make more money than another race, for example, that does not necessarily point to racism. As races still occasionally separate themselves, there are bound to be different cultures. Perhaps some cultures realize that making more money isn’t actually the key to a happy life. We have to ask ourselves when analyzing statistics if oppression is the cause of this, and then define how it is oppressive before making claims of racism. And by the author’s definition of racism, discrimination not founded upon racial prejudice is not racism.

    The most tangible thing I have seen that may be considered counter-racism in the United States is selecting groups to receive special treatment due to their color of skin or history of racial oppression in the United States. This is often what diversity initiatives are doing. I don’t believe necessarily that people in diversity initiatives are prejudiced, they are simply trying to help people who they feel have a disadvantage. The problem is, they are picking members of certain social groups (determined by race and other social constructs) that statistically tend to have disadvantages, and giving them assistance. However, it is far more effective to look at who has a disadvantage and help them, rather than which groups tend to have a disadvantage and helping only those groups.

    Therefore, diversity initiatives ought to be mostly eliminated and replaced with need-based initiatives. This way, we are not giving extra assistance to members of the group that, against the statistics, do not need it, and we also are not withholding assistance from members of non-diverse groups with disadvantages. This way, if a diversity group does tend to have more of a statistical disadvantage, we will actually already be giving more of them the assistance they require. This is a more fair way to provide assistance in the public sphere.

    It must also be said that diversity is key to academic advancement in some fields, particularly social sciences where diverse backgrounds and belief systems deepen the discussion of certain topics. This is why diversity initiatives should not ever be completely eliminated. However, diversity is not necessary nor productive in situations where your social views and up-bringing do not affect performance, particularly STEM fields. Mathematics doesn’t care if you are black, white, female, male, historically oppressed or historically privileged, it cares if you find the right answer. Therefore, diversity initiatives in these fields are pointless.

    However, with this in mind, and by the definition the author proposes of racism, that does in fact mean that many diversity initiatives are a counter-racist institution, although some don’t mean to be, (which by Barber’s definition exempts them from being racist). It is also ludicrous to propose that the United States cannot be racist toward white people. The idea that it is impossible, that no matter who does anything, the system will never oppress white people, is completely absurd. If someday the number of colored people exceed the number of white people, it is possible (though who says it is likely). If diversity initiatives consistently assist people that dislike western society, it is quite possible. And not only is it possible, it is happening at this university. Why else would the diversity department feel threatened by simple posters claiming “it’s okay to be white”?

    I invite Shaelyn Barber to quit shaming people and start helping people. To stop caring about whose ancestors did what and to start caring about what people can do now. Because ultimately, the most important thing is that you create a fair society built on equality now, not passively criticize people for what other people with similar skin colors have done in the past.

  13. While I don’t think the author’s essential point is without merit, that racism against Caucasians is of a lesser type and degree than that against ‘colored’ groups, her dichotomous classification of ‘whites’ and ‘non-whites’ is reductive and ahistorical. It reflects only the racial politics of post civil rights America. Historically, being ‘white’ required more than pale skin color. Nativist and racist sentiment has poured heavily upon many groups that, while they shared the same skin color, have not been considered ‘white’ in historically significant ways. In American history, groups such as Catholics, Germans, the Irish, Italians, Jews, Mormons, or Quakers have all, at one time or another, been subject to the type of systemic, institutional racism the author asserts has been reserved for people of color. See, for starters, “How the Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev, “How Jews Became White and What That Says About Race in American” by Brodkin, or University of Utah professor Paul Reeve’s, “Religion of a Different Color” (link to RadioWest’s discussion of the last: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/mormon-struggle-whiteness). These texts are ultimately a validation of many of the authors points, namely that there is a special, indelible type of racism reserved for Americans with more darkly pigmented skin (Ignatiev even goes so far as to claim that what defines ‘whiteness’ in America is the willingness to align against African Americans); however, one cannot correctly go so far to say, as the author does, that systemic racism (borrowing the author’s semantics) has only been directed at people of color.

  14. Have you ever paid any attention to what happened to the irish? Did you know that the word slave comes from the word slavic? They were being enslaved so much, that the word was named after them. EVERY group in history has at one time or another been predjudiced against. What you are doing is trying to encourage even more prejudice, and trying to keep the cycle of abuse going. This article is very inflamatory and according to the rules i see put for the reader comments, violates the comments clause, so why was this article posted?

  15. This is totally dependent on how you define racism. Notice from Meriam-Webster that racism is “racial prejudice or discrimination.” I find it funny how you attempt to separate these two terms, while the dictionary uses one to describe the other. This is a very short-sighted article and should be revised. Our country is becoming more divided every single day because people attempt to point out racism in every day life and in this country’s history, rather than look for things that make us all similar and unify this country. Racism exists. Don’t try and victimize any one type of people. Look for ways to improve the social divisions, without pointing fingers. Every single person in this country has been victimized for something at some point.

  16. So, people can only experience racism when they belong to a racial group which has historically experienced “systematic oppression which is built into the government, institutions and social structures?” Irish Americans, Italian Americans, and Polish Americans have all undeniably experienced egregious and violent systemic prejudice in American history. And they’re all “white.” So, I’m not sure how your claim that white people can’t experience racism, due to no historical systemic prejudice, really holds up against… history. And sure, massacres, housing discrimination, and employment discrimination isn’t on par with slavery, but it’s still systemic and it’s still prejudice.

    What I’m really interested in is why this distinction is so important to you, Shaelyn–important enough to write an article about. The impression I get when I hear this distinction being made, and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard it, is that it’s a means to justify prejudice based on the color of someone’s skin. Most people would be perfectly satisfied to take the dictionary’s definition as a sufficient description of racism: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” But I think the sinister thing this distinction accomplishes, is that not only does it disallow white people from experiencing racism in the present, but it disallows it in the future. In other words, if you’re saying–racism = systemic prejudice–and you’re also saying white people can’t experience racism, then it follows that you’re also saying that white people can never experience systemic prejudice. Thus, by definition, you’ve disallowed white people from ever even having the possibility of experiencing racism–which is absurd.

    • First white people who have been the historic racist actors are the same ones who defined the behavior, this is problomatic and definitely doesn’t lead to a comprehensive definition.

      The power component is imoirtant because racism is not just hurt feelings, it’s an opressive force that reaches into every aspect of life. Equating somone disliking you with mass incarceration, state sanctioned violence, government created poverty and all the other systemic racial issues faced by poc is disingenuous.

      Lighter european groups who were historically disenfranchised gave up being a minority to become white, some groups even petitioned the government for this. White has always come with benefits and that was the reason for creating the term (look it up).

      It is important to look at the context and denotation as well as the definition.

  17. Racism by definition is the discrimination, hate or whatever you may, of one due ONLY to their skin color/race. To say this only goes one way is ridiculous. Whites can be racist, hispanics can be racist, blacks can be racist. If you hate anyone because their skin color differs then you’re a racist. Thats all there is to it. Anyone can be racist to anyone, it has no boundaries. If someone harbors hate it’s not dependent on their skin color. I know this is the opinions section. But you stated a false fact. So I suggest you do some real research before making ridiculous accusations.(Like looking up the definition of racism for starters) If you don’t think racism can go both ways then go spend a week in Compton as a white person and see how long you last. You’re entitled to your own opinion and the right to express it, that is absolutely true. But you are NOT entitled to your own facts. Facts are concrete and they don’t deviate from person to person.

    • “Go spend a week in Compton as a white person”

      Why is it expected that a whole mass of individuals (most of white america) can engage in genocide and torture for centuries and not have to deal with any negative impact to thier reputation? We don’t ask this of history or the present when it comes to the jews and germany.

      Another point is that compton is a ghetto (I’m very intentional with this usage, please look it up) these were created by the same people who fear to go there. The norm for black life has been to be raised in conditions white people would hate and being told how to be civilized while enduring it.

      The hood is an equal opportunity offender, the statistics reflect this. Saying you are afraid to go into compton ignores that poc live with that fear daily in government created poverty (redlining, sub prime lending, block busting, white flight, suburbs, new deal, gi bill).

      Rascism is not a two way street. Black people have a right to be upset and frustrated. We are not superhuman and seeing generations of us subject to the same behavior gives us anxiety about the state of our country and the possibilities for our children.

      Read up on this history and tell me black people have not been the civilizing force despite our conditions.

      • Hah! Cry me a river. You just want to believe that so you can get away with whatever bad behavior you want, and still feel good about yourselves.

        Racism is not just a 2-way street, it’s an infinite street. So white people hurt your ancestors hundreds of years ago. Those same people are long dead. If you want to hear about white people facing consequences for their actions – they already are: they need to deal with irrational people like you. And guess what? They need to deal with you even though they themselves did nothing wrong. It was their forefathers that did it, not them. That’s the worst thing ever — being punished for something you didn’t even do.

        Guess what? First, Two wrongs don’t make a right. Thinking that you have a right to hurt other people just because you got hurt, is stupid. Second, the actual people who did the oppressing are long dead and gone. The sins of the father are not the sins of the child.

        You talk about being a “civilizing force” so at least try acting civilized and use civilized, rational logic instead of this nonsense you are spewing.

  18. It’s nice to see that our schools chronicles are written by people who have been completely sheltered from the real world and have bought into a particular ideology completely.

    Let me clarify some things for you.
    Racism is racism regardless of who it is against, by DEFINITION. The literal definition of the word tells you this.

    The biggest myth perpetuated today is that of white privilege. Especially male white privilege. Actually talk to any white male and ask them what their white privilege has done for them lately. Historically you are right, that white people had some privileges. This is not 1960, or 1800. This is 2018.

    The words “I hate black people” and “I hate white people” should carry the exact same weight of how much they disgust you. If they don’t, and brace for this one, YOU ARE THE RACIST.

  19. This is sad– attempting to argue semantics instead of addressing real issues. If racism is about systematic oppression, I would ask that you look for how many social programs, charities, laws, scholarships, etc there are specifically targeting black, Hispanic, white, Asian, native american, etc, races. I think you’ll find that our economic system is, in vast majority, set up to befit the most qualified, and our legal systems, social programs, and schooling opportunities favor certain races above others (notably excluding whites, Asians, and often Indians). And while you’re looking it up, check out the only laws that benefit one gender over another (spoiler alert, they benefit women, not men).

    Look, if you want to be realistic, there’s plenty of prejudice is the US. Race to race, men or women, old or young. I’m quite liberal, and I believe people should have access to the same rights, regardless of gender, orientation, nationality, and skin color. One of my favorite quotes is very well known:

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    Until we stop trying do divide people into categories by external genetic characteristics (like skin color or gender), and do away with regressive identity politics, we can’t move past it. It’s divisive articles like this one that force us to take steps back. The regressive idea that diversity means a group of people who look different (race, gender, nationality, etc) is counter productive to progress. It’s time we embrace diversity of thought, experience, and character, regardless of its external appearance. That’s what Dr. King hoped for. It’s what true progressives hope for.

    • I agree with your response. As a white woman, when i read articles like this it makes me think some black people really are racist themselves and want a reason to justify blatant aggressive racism towards white people by claiming that its impossible for blacks to be racist. Thats good to know. So that when a black person tells you white people stink like wet dog, calls you cracker, honkey and is beating you to death, its conforting to know its allll my fault cause I’m white, and the person doing this to me is NOT racist. It me.

  20. I couldn’t disagree more with this article. Reverse racism isn’t a thing, because its just called racism. And while racism doesn’t require a systematic or institutional component to be racist, based on google that is called institutional racism, but if we go based on your definition isn’t Affirmative Action a “racist” policy against white people and favors minorities? So if we go under your definition the government is systematically racist towards white people. I’m not saying AA is a bad policy, but its a contradiction to your entire article.

    An interesting fact is that in the 2015 census Asian households had the highest median household income which was 20% higher than the median “Non-Hispanic White” household. Its not something that is racist it could simply come down to the average size of household for the race, because the metric isn’t based by person. This is actually the most racist article that I’ve read on this site.

  21. The idea that reverse racism does not exist is certainly correct, there really is no such thing.

    That’s because reverse racism is simply racism. The definition of racism itself does not include whether or not it is institutionalized oppression. And yes it’s not like you are going to follow the definition, I get it, you think you can change it however you want, fine. People of color have indeed been the victims of institutionalized racism, horrific abuse, and subject to the most inhumane treatment; murder, rape, and violence, to name a few, at the hands of white slave owners. This fact is indisputable and injustices of similar nature continue today.

    The problem here is you are saying that because people of color were treated badly in the past by a select group of white individuals, (none of which are still alive and few of which are indeed ancestors of white people living in the US today), and that because different phrases carry different weights (which I DO agree with), this somehow makes it okay for people to say those things to a specific group of people. This is fundamentally wrong on hypocritical level.

    Should it ever be okay to say you hate someone based on their appearance alone? If you see a white person who you have never met, and say you hate them is that okay if you assume they were descended from a slave owner? First, you don’t know who they are at all. Second, that DOESN’T matter. Even if they were descended from a slave owner you are holding them accountable for something they DID NOT DO. Maybe they think it’s just as evil as you do. They don’t have to atone for something their ancestor did. We don’t live in a culture where the individual brings shame upon the family, which would be like some “white guilt” crap. White guilt is not helpful. We should focus on the here and now, to improve the lives of those around us.

    Thinking it’s okay to say “I hate white people” is wrong because it is racist as well as saying you hate any other group of people based on preconceived notions. If people are seeking revenge based on how they’ve been treated in the system taking it out on people you don’t even know seems petty and useless, especially if you’re referring to people who are dead. Here we can follow the golden rule of “treat others how you want to be treated”. You can make the argument that those who inflicted violence on people of color deserve punishment, and I certainly think that is the case but they are dead. Getting “revenge” on white people today makes no sense. On a day to day basis if you are treating other people kindly and defending your boundaries they will respect your boundaries, and if they don’t, they are prejudiced or racist. It’s simple.

  22. “It is not possible to be racist against a white person in the United States.”

    Racism is defined as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

    In order to arrive at the conclusion that white people cannot be subject to racism in a country whose declaration contains the inalienable and legally upheld phrase that “all men are created equal,” you would have to begin with the premise that (in your example), white people are not equal to others. In your example, you are excluding them from being considered victims of a criminal act and it would stand to reason that that logic puts them at an inferior position to the aggressor of the racial discrimination.

    It is most certainly possible to be racist to a white person in the United States same as any other race. Discrimination on the basis of race qualifies that act as a racist act; it does not matter that races involved. Quantifying the validity of an discriminatory act on the basis of race is, by the aforementioned definition, a racially motivated act that can border on racist. Creating a blanket statement that no white person (or any other race) can be a victim of racism by explicitly suggesting that “privileged positions” protect from this is strictly an opinionated and most certainly biased viewpoint of the author whose validity is readily up for debate depending which side of the political spectrum someone is on.

    Simply put, marginalizing the validity of racial discrimination for ANY race without individually assessing the innocence or guilt for the constituents that comprise the offending and victimized groups is simply reprehensible, irresponsible, and one of the most racist things possible; you suggesting that white people cannot be victim to a crime on the basis of their skin color and that – BY DEFINITION – is racist, and the same absolutely holds true for any race. Writing an article this loosely based in the closed linguistic understanding of words that hold very crucial political power such as “racism” is irresponsible and I highly advise you reconsider your understanding of “racism” or other politically charged words. You are flat our attempting to change the definition of a word but I’ll grant you this; “reverse racism” is most definitely not a real thing. There is simply “racism,” and any perpetrator or victim of racism can belong to any race. To proclaim otherwise elevates one race above or below another and that is a simply hideous, ugly, and shameful ideal to hold.

  23. I am curious how your definition of racism functions in the real world. If racism necessitates “systematic oppression which is built into the government, institutions and social structures”, then how can an average citizen be racist? It seems you’re pushing the “prejudice plus power” argument. There are several issues with this: Does that mean a poor person cannot be racist? Does that also mean one can’t be racist against non-Japanese Asians because they haven’t faced oppression on the same scale as other Asian races? Clearly this is not the case.

    Also, I do understand that your claim that white people all have access to education is a generalization, and I agree that for the most part it is true. But does that mean that white people who don’t have access to education cannot be racist either? To deny that those people exist would be an insulting oversight.

    I can see why you think “reverse racism” invalidates the feelings of people of color. I also take issue with the term. I believe what the word “reverse” (poorly) attempts to do is explain that it is less common than racism against people of color. The fact is that it doesn’t matter if it’s less common. It still exists. Racism against all races is real, and it is just that: racist.

    I believe there are problems with your definition. If racism necessitates ones power to impose their will on another person, that means that no average citizen could be racist. An employee could not be racist to their boss. A poor person couldn’t be racist against a rich person, etc. Clearly that is not the case, so I think it is important to dumb down the definition of racism to simply mistreating an individual because you believe your race is superior to theirs.

    A definition that raises so many legitimate counterexamples is not a suitable definition.

  24. The only reason that anyone buys this position is because whites have been so deracinated that they are afraid to take their own side. It is okay to be white and it is okay to advocate for white interests. No one cares to discuss anti-white crime and anti-white discrimination in educational institutions (education being indispensable to succeeding in American society). This is why increasingly, organizations such as Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and Vanguard America and Patriot Front are starting to organize in Utah, and they will continue to grow in influence so long as you continue to push this anti-white line.

    https://www.amren.com/archives/reports/the-color-of-crime-2016-revised-edition/

    https://www.amren.com/news/2017/11/against-affirmative-action-steven-farron-raymond-wolters-review/

  25. In the modern era, many whites in England, Ireland and British North America were indentured servants. Many were transported unwillingly: as political prisoners, vagrants, or people who had been defined as “undesirable” by the state. Currently most sex slaves and unwilling prostitutes are white, which are in higher demand than most other ethnicities.

    I would define racism as biased treatment towards any person based on there perceived racial or ethnic background. Any instance of treating two people differently because of there race IS racism, regardless if there Irish, Ethiopian or Martian.

  26. I think you bring a perspective that is interesting and has a lot of good points. I think it is misleading however to portray racism and racial prejudice as two completely different things. I won’t disregard the fact that in past and present events, the white people of this country have oppressed people of color. Pretending that White people have been afflicted of the same restrictive circumstances as those of color would be wrong. Your article avoids however the fact that racial prejudice occurs on all sides of race to this day (not just whites and blacks) and regardless of what has happened in the past it is wrong for anyone to maintain these views. To truly change our system all people must adjust their views and try to understand those with differing beliefs and backgrounds. At this point in history we must begin to be part of the solution by calling everyone to be better and denounce any instance if racial prejudice. I appreciate your efforts to help people try to gain a new perspective on an issue as sensitive as this.

  27. I believe Barber’s definition of racism is extremely narrow. Actions towards someone does not have to be rooted in “systemic oppression” to be racist. Did the US government and thereby US laws support racism a little over half a century ago, yes! Yet, no reasonable member of society would claim the recent actions of the KKK or white supremacist are merely prejudice and not altogether racist just because “government, institutions and social structures” do not support these measures.

    I do agree with Barber’s point that comparing reverse racism to the racism experienced by Native Americans, African Americans, and basically any minority group in American is quite pathetic. I do disagree, however, with the notion that reverse racism “is not possible.” I personally have a an experience in which a government sponsored institution sponsored reverse racism. When I was a senior in high school, we received an announcement that we needed to go to the student counseling center to pick up packets with information about available scholarships that we could apply for. After school I headed to the counseling center. The secretary there handed me a one page paper with possible scholarships that I could apply for. As I was about to exit I noticed a stack of packets sitting on the counter. The word scholarships caught my eye. “What about these?” I asked. “Those won’t apply to you,” she replied. After asking why, she proceeded to tell me that those scholarships were for minority students. The packet was 12 pages! For every one scholarship I could apply for, a minority student could apply for 12. As I contemplated the unfairness of the situation my best friend Jose walked into the office. Jose was originally from Venezuela. His skin color was dark, so much so that many people mistook him for being African American. After informing the secretary that he was there to learn about scholarships she handed him the 1 page that I received and then after handing him the 12 page packet she said, “And make sure to apply to all of these, they could really help you out.”
    Jose was my best friend. We had been good friends for over 3 years. During that span of time I never once cared about his skin color, his nationality, or his culture. He was kind and had a good sense of humor. Frankly, that fact that he was able to apply to over 10 times the amount of scholarships did not bother me. What bothered me about the situation, was the fact that this “systemic oppression” of white people in high school forced an unnecessary difference between us. We were both ranked in the top 10 students of our class. (I think our scores were so close we were almost tied). We both were on the track team. We shared common friends. We had similar ambitions. Yet, for the remainder of that day I was left feeling like I was not as qualified or deserving because my skin color was different than his.
    Was this experience anywhere near as extreme as the historic oppression experienced by minority groups in the US? Absolutely not! But the personal and interpersonal affects are just as real and disheartening.

  28. Great article Shaelyn!

    Technically, by the very definition of racism, most white people are incapable of being racists. 99% of whites have nothing to do with the influential powers that control all the branches of the government, institutions, or social structures. But that’s not important, because I agree with your statement about how distinguishing the definitions of racism and racial prejudice are abstract to real-world significance. Silly debates over definitions can take the focus away of what’s important. I think the most important thing we can do is take personal accountability of our own feelings of dislike, contempt, hatred or superiority over another race (your definition of racial prejudice). Because that is all we can control. Correcting systematic oppression on the other hand, can’t be achieved by yourself, but by communities coming together and standing up for what’s right as a whole. It’s a process.

    I also agree that anger about the treatment of fellow humans is more than justified. On that topic, I would stress how important it is to understand correctly where to direct our anger. If someone personally discriminates against you, you have a direct target for your anger. Although people have the freedom to have opinions of racial prejudice, the system has laws that protect us if someone ACTS upon those ideas illegally. If the law or system of government doesn’t protect you or discriminates against you, anger should be targeted at the corrupt powers and institutions responsible.

    So, although anger is justified, we can’t let it sit there and boil, we have to channel it, to drive us to find solutions and justice. If it just sits there and boils within us with no specific target or function, it just becomes a toxin that will corrupt our thoughts and lead us to misdirect our anger towards the entire white race with feelings of …. “dislike, contempt, hatred, or superiority over another race.” That is what I think is NOT justified, but unfortunately, that is what I see a lot of. A lot of people with a disdain for the white race actually use the definition of racism as justification for their feelings of racial prejudice. Anger is justified, it’s a natural reaction. Feelings of racial prejudice is a set of negative and terrible ideas that individuals alone are responsible for accepting.

  29. From Oxford Dictionary:
    Definition of Racist
    A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

    From Merriam-Webster:
    Definition of Racism
    1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
    2b : a political or social system founded on racism
    3: racial prejudice or discrimination

    Based on the choice of words used in the second paragraph, I think that the semantic case has not been made here. The definition of the word racism has been used to refer to an institutional or government level of organized or at least perpetuated prejudice. However, the word racist has not. An individual can, therefore, by definition be racist, without being a part of an institution that is somehow promoting similar values. Therefore, the idea that an individual cannot be racist is unsupported, as this does not match the actual definitions given in congruency with each other (the assumption that racist falls under an umbrella definition for racism, and that racism can ONLY indicate association with institutionalized or otherwise group organized activities).

    Furthermore, I wonder, what happens when a group of people think they are not capable of performing certain wrong-doings, much less atrocities? Does this somehow make their philosophical paradigms immune to error, or remove the personal responsibility in self-analysis of behavior, thought and beliefs, and ultimately their actions? History is full of examples of prejudice from all peoples, and towards all peoples. In every case the perpetrators felt justified while it was happening: Racism against Irish immigrants, German immigrants, and many others have and did occur on US soil, and they were predominantly white, and this is even the type of racism that is being spoken of in the article.

    We should be very careful when we assert that a certain type of racism is impossible. In so doing, we may be making it even more likely to happen; after all, it’s so easy to just keep doing something as long as we feel the support of a culture while remaining anonymous within it. The anonymity coming from being simply congruent, and continuing standard practices culturally without organization is many times worse than any nebulous organization, because it constitutes a contract among a population to agree to abuse another group within itself, but with no real source to act against in order to change commonly held perceptions that would serve to undermine the very source of beliefs that drive it.

    Anyone COULD be racist. Racism and prejudice CAN be directed at ANYONE. We, as individuals, must remain vigilant in our efforts to educate ourselves, overcome fears, and learn to accept others without regards to race, gender, religion, or any other aspect that simply makes us all the diverse group that we are today. And being told that you can’t point out when you are being abused via prejudiced behavior is only a way to make sure that it happens eventually. Refusing to believe in something doesn’t make it any more or less real. If individuals have the perception that they have encountered such unfortunate treatment then they must always have a voice.

    For example, at one time it was a commonly held belief that a woman could not be raped by her husband since she was considered property. How did not believing in this despicable act change the experience for the women who endured it?

    Anyone can be hurt by anyone. There is no magic formula that somehow makes a person invulnerable to pain and suffering. We owe it to ourselves to unite against racism in all its forms, and learn to appreciate each other for our diversity and the strengths it brings our communities, cultures, and lives.

    And lastly, slavery has many names throughout history. At times, being called “wife” could include you. Indentured servants were treated in a similar manner. There have always been those who prey on others. Even today, there are children, women, and even men who have been forced into sexual slavery. Many of them are white, but that last fact is not important. What does matter is that it is abhorrent. And their suffering in no way detracts from the suffering of any other group of people; on the contrary, it validates the idea that this type of treatment of our fellow human beings is intolerable. It isn’t the suffering of any particular race that concerns me. It is the suffering of my fellow human beings that will forever hold my attention.

  30. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This article is conservatism. It’s not about equality and freedom of all people. It’s about thought control, blanket statements, and the promotion of divisiveness. It throws buzz words and pointless definitional arguments about as if they have deep meaning. Instead of a focus on tired, hate-filled rhetoric, I would love to see concrete examples of prejudice or racism right here, right now, what we can do about it, and what we all have in common. “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

  31. I don’t know if anybody actually reads these. I certainly don’t. I don’t even know if leaving a reply is appropriate for this article. I do feel that it might be worth getting a little bit of a dialogue open on the subject, regardless. I have not included sources for any of my claims, but I would be more than happy to provide them at any time.

    Thanks.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    -“Lately, there have been a lot of calls of “reverse racism,” or racism against Caucasians, in response to negative comments about white people. This is ridiculous. It is possible to be prejudiced against white people, perhaps, but certainly not racist.”
    –I agree that this is ridiculous, and that “reverse racism” doesn’t exist. However, I would like to assert that “reverse racism” is just racism. I will explain below.

    -“Racism includes these sentiments, but it has an additional factor: systematic oppression which is built into the government, institutions and social structures. Without this factor of systematic oppression, there cannot be racism.”
    –This is not wrong, but it is does not show the whole picture. What you have described is a conflation of the common definition of racism (racial discrimination), and another one known commonly as “institutional racism” (more info on the types of racism here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism#Aspects). While it is not currently the case that white people experience *systemic* racism in America, white people absolutely experience at the very least racial discrimination, (non-institutional) racial segregation, and othering, (on some scale) which are all forms of racism. I, a white male, have personally experienced racial discrimination on multiple occasions. Anecdotes only mean so much, but consider how many times you have heard one or more of the following:
    “Whiteness is bad”, “slavery is a white phenomena”, “white people are x (e.g racist)”, “this x doesn’t allow whites, as it is a safe place for PoC”, “that’s so white”, “I hate white people”, “you can’t say that, you’re white!”, “*your people* enslave PoC” or anything else that is meant to demean white people or to separate them from PoC.

    -“The history of the U.S. is quite literally established off of the subjugation of people of color-”
    –and the poor, the Irish, the Italians, prisoners, etc. etc.

    -Mexican land
    –Mexico is majority white, and was likely moreso in the 1800’s. Thanks, colonization!

    -…the ways our system fails people of color. Discrimination was built into our government from its conception and is still very much alive and well.
    –May I ask what discrimination (beside affirmative action) remains on the books, officially?

    -“White people are not targeted by police forces and are much less likely to be arrested or face brutality”
    — I probably shouldn’t touch this with a 1,000-foot pole, but I’ll try. I will use police killings as an example. When you look simply population stats and police killings, PoC are overrepresented. That doesn’t make any sense, however. Many people never interact with the police even once a year. Thus, by looking at number of police interactions by race over number of interactions resulting in a shooting (a much more accurate metric), PoC are actually UNDERrepresented in police killings. Additionally, when you take into account that black Americans are overrepresented in crime statistics, it makes sense that they would be arrested and/or convicted at a greater rate than white Americans.

    -“They are not denied jobs or demonized by the media”
    — Job denial has more to do with class than race and whites are most certainly demonized by the media. *cough mass shootings *cough* the 1% *cough* the current administration, etc.

    -“They have access to education”
    –Black Americans attend college at nearly the same rate as white Americans.

    -“Why does it matter? Racial prejudice and racism are on two different planes”
    — This all depends on the definition. Racial discrimination and prejudice *are* racism by the common definition. The common definition applies more directly to individuals, whereas the “institutional” definition applies more directly to, well, institutions.

    -“The words ‘I hate black people,’ and ‘I hate white people,'”
    hold exactly the same value because racism (the common definition) is abhorrent no matter who commits it.

    -“Historically, white Americans have been abusive, violent and cruel tyrants, and anger about the treatment of fellow humans is more than justified. ”
    — I will apply this same logic to a common argument against black Americans. I do not believe or condone this argument, but I will present it as an argument against the logic of the above quoted statement. Here goes: “Historically, black Americans have been abusive, violent, and cruel pissants (see; crime rate by race), and anger about the treatment of fellow humans is more than justified”.

    I would like to add that the sins of the father are not the sins of the son. White Americans today are not the father, and, as such, should not carry the burden of the “abusive, violent, and cruel tyranny” of whites past.

    -“We ought to work to understand how to help build a system which better serves all of the country’s people”
    –I agree wholeheartedly, and with a strong emphasis on ALL of the people.

  32. Thank you, Shaelyn, for defining the term racism so concisely and demonstrating that ‘reverse racism’ in the United States is impossible. I hope you will continue to write such pieces as you are working toward graduation and during your career.

  33. Was there any thought in this article at all? Are you completely void of logic and critical thinking? If one can be racist of any other color how is possible that the reverse can’t be true? There are some horrible comments towards white people, and to say that speaking evil of a color isn’t racist then you have overlooked the true definition of racism. I don’t agree with this article at all, and whites don’t carry this privilege such a large amount of people think. Read the book “Outliers” and read the studies he references, you’ll see that the majority of success is solid blend of intelligence, circumstances, and background. Your success is based on all three, and culture whether you’re in regardless of color will heavily impact your future. Upbringing has a huge impact of success, sadly this variable is completely different from those that are poor to those that are middle class.

  34. Hey Shaelyn,
    Thanks for writing this article and encouraging discussion, I just have a question that I’d like your opinion on. Earlier in your article you say that racism is racial prejudice with a systemic oppression built into institutions and the government. Would affirmative action not be classified as one such structure? Even if a caucasian can be more qualified for something like attending a university, they could be overlooked for a person of color to meet certain quotas while being less qualified.

  35. Racism against whites does exist. You can’t change the definition of a word to fit your own narrow-minded narrative. Any major dictionary will define racism as the belief that one’s race is superior to another’s. Nothing else is needed.

    Unfortunately you have a poor understanding of both U.S. and world history if you think slavery, conquest, and violations of rights are unique to the U.S.

    • Long before any African ever layed eyes on a white man, they were enslaving, killing and subjugating each other, one tribe against another. And long before whites ever saw a black face, they were doing the same in Europe. Case closed.

  36. you cant change the definition of racism so that it fits your world view. racism is clear. it is discrimination based on race alone. and you provide no specific instance of institutional racism today because that too does not exist. the only instructional racism that is alive today is affirmative action which is a racist policy but no one cares about it.

  37. I always thought that the definition of Racism was simply the prejudice based on race. I agree there is no such thing as reverse racism. There is just racism and I wish it would stop. Based on that anywhere someone can be racist no matter what there color. You said you can’t be racist towards white people in the USA. Can you be racist to white people in another country?

  38. I disagree: Systematic racism includes systematic oppression. Just racism on its own reflects a feeling of racial superiority. Thus, an African American seeing his or herself above Caucasians is racism, same as the opposite. If you disagree, look it up in a dictionary.
    I definitely agree that Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities can be at a disadvantage, but I disagree that it is universal, and propose rather that things have gotten significantly better over the years. Opportunities for minority youth to work themselves into college and above the poverty line, even into the upper echelons of society, are available like the never have been since the foundations of our country.
    As a Caucasian who grew up in a minority white community, I knew a lot of people that you referred to in your article as “oppressed.” Yet somehow, I was always the one with cheaper clothes and lower tech. I had a flip phone for the last three years of high school, while kids in poorer family situations than I had the latest smartphones, headphones, and shoes I wouldn’t have dreamed of buying. My family had more money than most in my community, but we were far from rich. My parents started out poor, and lived in seriously low-income areas when i was a small child. However, through living within their means, being frugal, and saving money, they worked out of it. Anyone can do the same; most, if not all, barriers for previously oppressed groups are gone. In fact, there are a ridiculous amount of scholarships present to those who work hard and seek them out.
    I’m not suggesting that it is the fault of the poor that they are poor, but I am suggesting that the way out is available if they are looking for it. They may need help learning how in some cases, but the glass ceiling has been removed.

    America has changed for the better. We still have a ways to go, and racism is still present, but let’s celebrate how far we’ve come.

  39. https://imgur.com/a/bOxTo

    “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”—Oxford
    “1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”—Merriam Webster
    “the belief that some races are better than others, or the unfair treatment of someone because of his or her race”—Cambridge Dictionary
    3. racial prejudice or discrimination—Merriam Webster

    Not seeing much about “systematic oppression” in these definitions… but maybe we should just call up Merriam, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. ask them to update their online dictionaries :^)

  40. This article is racist and is merely repulsive virtue signaling. This does not bring people together but creates further division. Where is the racism task force the University created on this? What a joke.

  41. What is the point of this article? What are the systematic laws that are oppressive? Where are the racist leaders that prohibit the progress of the non-whites (me)? If it is convenient please provide some objective proof, not you’re personal biased views. This article serves no purpose except to propagate the regurgitated ideals force fed to you by your pseudo social-science professors.

    Historically humans are cruel and terrible. I’m glad we have evolved.

    Are the races equal? Are we all the same?

    Should we treat others as a group or individuals?

    You see the symptoms but don’t address the disease. Your diagnosis is incorrect.

  42. The article aside, it seems like there are a lot of white nationalist responses on here. America is still racist, and the semantics of that word are unimportant. When someone says for example “Steve Bannon is a racist,” the reasonably minded person knows what that word means.

  43. Racism is racism. An instructor of mine (who happens to be black,) argued that her grandmother was incapable of racism because she had no power, according to the equation: prejudice + social power = racism (which is the argument of this article too), because she had no social power.
    I respectfully disagree. Taking my instructor’s grandmother as an example: she did have social power. However little that may be, her influence over those she associated with–including her family–is social power. When that power is coupled with racial prejudice it IS racism.
    Regardless of what your ancestors suffered they are not you. If you continue to play the victim you will never truly rise. As well I might argue that I’m a victim because my ancestors were kicked out of Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois at gun point and now demand reparations from the government, or the states involved at the time. That was tried when it happened and was ignored. My ancestors moved on. They made a living in these formerly desolate valleys. I recognize that it is not fair for me to demand compensation from the descendants of those people–I wasn’t personally wronged, and they weren’t responsible for their ancestors’ conduct.
    Racial prejudice, and flat out racism wouldn’t exist if we’d learn to quit referring to each other as something other than a human being. Unfortunately, that requires a word that has NEVER yet been used in all the posturing on both sides–Forgiveness.
    Forgiveness is not about the other person seeking your pardon, it’s about YOU forgiving the past, (and even the present) and choosing not to be enslaved by it. It releases one from emotional slavery to another, whether perceived or real. It is the only way to save yourself. It is the only way society is going to move forward.

  44. I read this opinion a number of days ago and I was musing over the institutionalized definition of racism. I wasn’t sure how to understand this opinion. Normally I read opinions as just that opinions. I think that is a good way to understand lots of viewpoints. That being said, there are a number of things that I agreed with and a number that I did not agree with; however, I was torn on the institutionalized definition of racism. Personally I would define it differently than the writer did, however I want to present an interesting article that I read in the Independent a little while ago that reminded me of this opinion.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/south-africa-white-farms-land-seizure-anc-race-relations-a8234461.html%3Famp

    The URL contains a brief description. I’m not intending to cause dissent or anger anyone, but I would like to introduce an interesting counter point. This article Both strengthens the claim that racism has to be institutionalized and weakens the claim that racism can only be directed at people defined as not “white.” It’s an interesting article. Take a look.

  45. “White privilege is America’s favorite myth”
    When I first applied to the university, I was offered a $2,000 scholarship based off of academics, act score, etc. A couple weeks later, I was informed that my scholarship more than doubled to $5,000 based on “diversity.” The school found out I am half Hispanic and tacked on an extra $3,000. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Please tell me how this resolves any problems. Thanks for the money, though!

  46. The U.N. defines anti-Semitism as a form or racism. This includes whites. Thus the statement “It is not possible to be racist against a white person in the United States.” is undeniably false.

    “17. Urges all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur with a view to enabling him
    to fulfil his mandate, including the examination of incidents of contemporary forms of racism and racial
    discrimination, inter alia, against blacks, Arabs and Muslims, xenophobia, Negrophobia, anti-Semitism and
    related intolerance;”
    United Nations General Assembly Session 53 Resolution 133. Measures to combat contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance A/RES/53/133 page 4. 1 March 1999.
    http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/53/133

  47. so you’re saying racism can only exist one way??? it’s impossible to be racist towards caucasians….wow you are really ignorant and stunned how did this even get published this is really embarrassing you should probably quit journalism and wasting your mom and dads money on paying for your college it’s not going to work out.

  48. This doesn’t make any sense. Racism in America today has nothing to do with actual racism and everything to do with culture. Slavery was common at the time of the founding, but people such as Thomas Jefferson began to work toward freeing these slaves. To say that America was any different in regard to the rest of the world with slavery would be ignorant. There was a large and bloody Civil War that gave you freedom. The least you can do is respect the WHITE people who died for you to type a stupid article such as this one. And Japanese internment camps? Really? There was this thing called Pearl Harbor. You know, the first time since the Revolutionary War that the U.S. had been bombed by another country? Japanese people were placed in more civilized concentration camps and weren’t allowed to leave. This is because we didn’t want to be taken out from the inside. It was bad, sure. But it was a necessary precaution. And once the war ended, these people were set free, so maybe you should fact check a few things before you release an uneducated article such as this one.

  49. Racism is the belief that one’s race (they’re social constructs because there are no biological races) is superior to all others. That’s it. The only significant groups that actually believe this are: Muslims, Black Panthers, and the KKK/White Supremacists. All of these groups have colossal mythologies that substantiate their belief.
    In the case of Islam it goes back over a thousand years. With the Black Panthers, they have their own version of history. Which of these groups is the greater threat? Think about it.

  50. Black people who think they can get away with treating white people badly because of nonsense like “systemic racism” are the worst. These are not the actions of a decent human being.

    Crying “boo systemic oppression” and “you can’t be racist against whites” is just black people justifying being jerks so they can abuse white people and still feel good about themselves. It’s unjust, vindictive, and irrational, and just serves to further enforce their victim mentalities and super-entitled egos.

    Is that black person you?

  51. “White people are not denied jobs or demonized by the media. They have access to education.”

    This one makes me laugh.

    1. Aren’t white people being demonized by the media write now? By THIS VERY ARTICLE.
    2. Aren’t you a black person with access to education? I mean, you are a student at the University of Utah right?

    Your total lack of ability to assess how things are is hilarious. This is what “foot in mouth” disease looks like.

  52. This piece reflects a degree of ignorance that I would expect of anybody who suggests that a member of a specific race cannot exhibit or espouse racists views. Yes, ignorance. In hood parlance, ig-nant. You cannot change the definition of a word to accommodate your stupidity. Profile folks of any race all you want – we all do it. Just stop with this bull that you’re responding to centuries of oppression. Vote Republican – I guarantee life gets better.

  53. Wow, you are such a donkey(please use the other word)clown! So I suppose the 12 black people that attcked me when I was 15 specifically for the offense of being white was clearly not racist. National news if it happens the other way around. Delusional idiot.

  54. This is one of the most racist thing’s that I’ve seen on a public form in year’s and goes to show the view of most in this country today because ask yourself what would happen if a white person male or female had published this article? I don’t think that a white person would even write this in their personal papers at their home because of what would happen if it got out ever? But to see that a black man has zero concerns about writing this and then to go as far as to have it published on the internet speaks volumes as to whom are being discriminated against and bullied and whom isn’t in this country today I as a white man that was raised very poor in a part of Atlanta Georgia that had so few whites I was the only white person in my grade in school for 4 years and each and every single day I was jumped and beaten souly because I was white how is that not racism? But I didn’t and don’t blame the whole black race for my torment as a young man because that would not be far to do so then how and why should I be blamed for something that happened over 150 years ago and how anyone can feel that they should be treated differently because of something that may have happened to their ancestors is stupid I’m sorry but it’s plan stupid and to be allowed to publish an article as stupid as this one is a very bad sign because I as a non racist white person is starting to be puched in the direction of racism because I am so sick and tired of having to hear the crying of blacks (not all by no means) saying it’s my fault that they don’t work and my fault that they left their children taking no responsibility for their own actions as I have to and I get no help extra help from the government or anyone else if I don’t work my ass off sick or well my kid’s don’t eat and I know that always have and haven’t ever asked for or expected a handout to say that I have it easy because I’m white is insane and to say or even think that it’s not your fault (not anyone else’s in the whole worlds) that you don’t have a job or that you don’t see or support you children is also insane but what’s even more insane is your allowed to believe it because white people have been tricked into being ashamed of being white been shamed into taking the blame for something that happened a hundred years before they where even born and that’s the most insane thing of all.

  55. I think your distinction between racism and prejudice is excellent and I’m sorry so many people aren’t willing to understand you. It’s important to be able to note the difference between an individual’s biases and a society’s distribution of power.

  56. preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Prejudice…. Every person is this. Because we all judge/form an opinion of each person we meet based on what we see. I see a white person, society has trained me to think a way(if you look like a meth head, I treat as such)….I see a black person, society has me form an opinion. I have to be educated enough to disregard what tv, news, and media has shown me about people and form an opinion on each individual. Racism starts here. This can not be fixed easily. Some will not even admit it. Just stop assuming everyone is anything and treat with love. I get that sometimes stereotypes are true, but don’t assume. Just stop calling people anything, everyone gets mad when you do, then conversation with them is over. De-escalate situations and be real, but leave your ego at the door.

  57. This is such a fantastic and informative article. Go you, Shaelyn I took a lot from it this piece and you should feel proud of how eloquently you are educating others.

  58. Shaelyn Barber your definition of racism does not fit the Webster definition of racism. Whenever someone says it is impossible for any black to be a racist in America, then I know that I’m reading an article from a true moron.

  59. Isnt it kind of ironic that they’re saying you cant be racist to white people
    when that in itself is pretty racist?
    Yknow just a LITTLE ironic

  60. This a a juvenile article. Does not help advance the cause of equal opportunity at all. It is obvious, as Audrey pointed out, that racism still exists but if you can be specific about any institution that acts racist, then report it and it will be fixed. I believe that racism is a problem wherever it is found, and anyone who thinks that is a one race problem is naive, immature and brainwashed.

  61. The simple fact this this type of blatant, idiotic pandering to the black people even garners any support illustrates the bigger problem: the black community has no real leaders worth a damn. They’re all spinning the same yarn of “white oppression” instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. A “leader” in any community, yellow or green, who preaches the blame game after all these years, in the face of fatherless families, men having 8 kids with 6 different mothers, shunning “white man” education, committing a disproportionately large number of crimes relative to their population representation, and constantly blaming others for where they are is exactly why the black population remains stagnant behind Hispanics, Asians, and all other minority immigrants.

  62. Two books EVERYONE must read, or audiobook: Black Lies Matter & Black Rednecks White Liberals. Absolutely mind-blowing. Unfortunately, big media and most journalists are preaching the white privilege mindset and social justice agendas to those who simply accept what the TV tells them.

  63. This is one of the most ignorant misinformed and downright ridiculous pieces of garbage I’ve ever seen published. It’s unbelievable this author would be given the time of day and have a piece such as this published in any sort of respectable publication at all.

    Not only is it based on absolute nonsense, it’s pure projection, as the author is showing blatant dislike and racism themself in how they speak about whites.

    It’s amazing how people today think they can make up their own definitions and facts.

    So apparently now…according to this author, racism, which is one’s belief in superiority over another, strictly based on race alone, “cannot exists without instutionalized opression”

    What absolute BS.

    Really? Ok…how about the oppressed Irish?

    The author shows a complete ignorance of history of North America.
    For starters, the native Americans fought with each other before Europeans came here, and continued to fight with each other after.

    Native american tribes enslaved and tortured not just each other, they did the same to white settlers on the frontier.
    Some tribes completely erased other tribes off the map.
    The one sided mantra of the “peacful” savage being eradicated is a fabrication.
    The world was a brutal place back then, and its absurd when people look at the past with modern perspective. Hell…slavery is still ongoing in Africa today!
    How about spending energy on what’s happening today?

    Also,
    The whole claim people “rightfully” having land is absolute garbage.
    Land is held by those who can protect it. Period.

    Pull up a video of the world and see how borderline change and empire rise and fall over the centuries. This is how the world has always worked and still does.
    This is the whole reason for NATO.

    “Whites were never brought here against their will”

    This is absolute BS. A complete lie. Ever heard the term “spirited away”?

    Look it up. It was the kidnapping of children and being brought the American colonies as forced labor.

    Irish and many other undesirables in the United Kingdom when the United States was the colonies and was not a country yet saw many whites deported here by Great Britain. They were in fact sold into slavery and treated as chattel, and this is an absolute verifiable fact.

    Whites were never driven off their land? Uh..ok.. the mormons were driven off their land and were persecuted and oppressed, and went out West and settled the very state she lives inn UTAH…because of oppression. It was even legal to kill a mormon when the governor of Missouri, bogs, passed the mormon extermination act, which was on the books until the 1970s.

    Is unbelievable that somebody like this could hold a job in the academic profession at a University and write garbage like this.

    It is full of nothing but alternative facts and “history”rooted in fantasy and nothing more. She opens with Narnia?
    Narnia s more factual and realistic than the garbage she is pushing in this article.

    So…is someone hates whites and thinks they are superior, that’s not racism now…

    I love how people arrogantly take history they like, omit and dismiss the rest, and then twist it to support the redefining of the English language.

    This country is completely becoming more ignorant and stupid as the years progress, and social media has only dumped gasoline on it.

    Social media has turn into a mass celebration of mediocracy and ignorance where people get together celebrate this garbage…hitting the share button without fact checking anything, spreading mass disnformation at an alarming rate.

    Just look at the flat earth movement.

    I’m actually appalled and disgusted at the complete garbage and mind numbing stupidity of an article like this and the fact that it even sees the light of day from a publication.

    Shame on the Chronicle for having no journalism standards or editorial standards.

    Just publish anything right? Unbelievable.

  64. As a 50yr old white man, grew up poor and in public housing, 20yr military veteran, been to various countries, been around mostly minority environments all my life and have an adult son who is biracial (black, white, filipino) and a teenage daughter (white/filipina), I have come to the conclusion on two things that are for certain when it comes to the topic of race in our country:

    1) Minorities can and are allowed to say anything bad about the MAJORITY (White folks), but the MAJORITY cannot say anything bad about other minorities (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Women, LGBTQ, etc…). That is because the MAJORITY still runs this country in all facets (Politics, Judicial, Socio-Economical, Religious, etc…)

    Perfect example are with GROUPS in schools or in politics…..why can there be an African-American Day, Latino Day, Asian Day, Native-American Day, etc… or how can we have the Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, Asian Caucus, but none of these groups can you have a Caucasian Day or White Day or White Caucus in politics.

    The bottom line – RACISM can only go against the minority or less privilege group, not the other way around. This is coming from a “cultured” white guy who has seen and been around many minorities and in various countries other than USA. We can’t confuse hatred or prejudice with the term racism. All groups have prejudice or bigotry, but you can’t ever have racism against whites since they are the MAJORITY in this country and are not ever an oppressed group.

    2) Most white folks can go anywhere they want in the USA or around the country without being exposed to racism. That is why you will never hear things like: Walking while White, Driving while White, Shopping while White, etc… that is because in our everyday life, what we as whites take for granted, which can be labled “white privliage” is the ability to go anywhere or do anything, without being harassed, stared at, accused of, etc… Most minority groups in the USA, have experienced racism against their group solely for being one color, or being a woman, or being LGBTQ, etc…

    If you are a white male, chances are, you never think of being discriminated against when you go to eat, or go shopping, or get pulled over by cops.

    We have freedoms that most minorities don’t and that is why terms like “hidden racism” are still out there or very subtle.

    In the end, whether you folks that read my comments agree with me or not, try doing an experiment with a black friend and go shopping. Both of you go into the same store and as a white person, watch your black friend and how the store employee engages your black friend or see if left alone, the store employees keep an eye on him/her. Then, have your black friend watch you and see if the store treats you any differently. Chances are, the black friend will be watched or treated differently than you as a white person.

    This is the hidden racism or in some cases, blatant racism that happens daily for many folks of color, not just blacks.

  65. I give up on White America! To read this article and see all the back lash the insults, the hurt feelings to something that is meant for you to look at yourselves and see another persons prospective is so tiring. You won’t focus on why she said racism is different than being prejudice. All you white people can focus on is how dare this up-adie negro call you racist. When in fact she didn’t. This is an unfortunate realty that we as Black Americans deal with everyday.

    We cant even express our mistreatment, our frustrations, or hurt our pain to each other without you all jumping on harassing, calling names, “correcting” and all. I feel sorry for you, because it’s not us you hate but its yourselves. All the comments on here defining what racisim should mean for BLACK people through your whiteness is exhausting. How can you tell someone what their experiences are?

    You are so mad that we are angry that you cant see why. White people need to take a long look in the mirror. And for the ones talking about Irish slavery and what not. I’m so sick of that argument. Just another example of how whites have absoluty no shred of empathy for the plight of Black people.

    You forget that only 50 years ago we couldn’t even eat in the same restaurants, drink from the same water fountains, use the same toilet, go to the same schools, ride the same buses as you. And for me that was my parents reality. So don’t tell me that was a far past and we are so over it. For many of you on here commenting now it was you who was there doing the oppression then. So don’t tell us about racism and prejudices because we know that all too well. Yeah, here goes another Black women playing the
    victim, because we are! I give up on White America, I’m done.

  66. ^ And this is why America won’t get better.
    Because you’ll wear your “tired Black Woman” shoes and pretend that Racism is only against you and yours. You won’t try on someone else’s shoes and you’re trying to minimize the pain others feel.
    4 generations ago, 3 of my Great grandmothers were pureblooded native american. The other was African American.
    I have a white phenotype, which is classified as my race.
    Let me tell you how racist the world is towards a blonde like me.
    School I was bullied by colored girls (Hispanic and Black) simply because of my skin. I got beat up (at a time I was a passifist, which I no longer am because of this) because I had white people hair and they liked to rip it out of my scalp. The Vice Principal wrote me up as a racist just because those girls said I said something that I never did. I got suspended for 2 weeks. The girls who started it, Even proven on surveillance footage, didn’t even get a single day of ISS.
    But that’s ok, Racism doesn’t exist in regards to white people.
    My entire Godfamily is black. And I live them. They are educated, sweet, and because of them, Race never mattered to me. i’m not an Intolerant asshole, but I’ve suffered the abuse if intolerant assholes my whole life. I’ve had an appointment to apply for food stamps. A black lady walked in, but me in line, stated she “deserved the spot because she was oppressed” whatever, Go ahead.
    She has no kids, No one to feed but herself and her mate.
    The exact same state as me, No kids, only need it to help.me and the Mr survive a few months.
    She got 500 a month, and I got told to go get pregnant.
    So go ahead. Racism is set in personal levels before it can become systematic. Some racist asshole made the laws, and what’s funny is every white person gets the blame.
    You know what I’ve noticed? White Privelege only exists in rich people. Poor people might be racist, but they don’t actually get any slack.

    There is a tree called intolerance. On it are many branches, only one of which is Racism.
    In order to remove the tree, individual people have to stop creating an imaginary division.
    And that starts with taking a moment to.realize EVERYONE who is racist is at fault and treating anyone poorly for a skin color is racism. Period.

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