Hi anon, thank you for asking respectfully.
(Now before I start, I want to say that no one should bother messaging me after this about the topic unless you want further clarification. If you’re coming to argue or debate with me about it, don’t bother. You guys all have the same arguments, which were the same arguments I once used. It wasn’t until I educated myself on the topic and realized how wrong it was when I changed my mind and now formed a more informed opinion. I suggest that you educate yourself before you bother messaging me about it.)
The common dictionary term defines racism as a mistreatment of another group of people according to their race. This is a definition written by a white man, who chose to define it very generally in order to have the flexibility of claiming victim of it later on. This is the same way they defined sexism, they made it general so that the reverse can apply.
What racism really is, is when a privileged and powerful group has the systematic support to exploit another race (on a collective level) and use them as a stepping stone for success.
The application of that definition would be white people using their privilege to exploit almost every group of people of colour, for their own benefit. This is something done on a collective level and is upheld systematically.
(ya ya I know, not all white people do this blah blah I get it. Not all white people do it, but all white people get to enjoy the resulted privilege. If you’re taking advantage of that privilege rather than using it to fight against racism and acknowledge the constant struggles poc face, then you’re just as bad.)
When the reverse is applied, its not a privileged group doing it, it is not upheld systematically, and it is not on a collective level. Rather it is an individual and uncommon situation. This means its not racism, it is uncommon prejudice. There is a difference.
Additionally, racism from white people directed towards People of Colour is part of the rhetoric of the dominant institutions and groups in society. Employers, police, school systems, prison, the justice system, the government, they are all racist and it’s very well documented that they are. That’s what it means when we say it’s institutional. It’s supported by the institutions that run our society. On the other hand, prejudice from POC towards white people is a response to this reality. POC grow up knowing that they are less valued, seen as less human, more violent, more sexually promiscuous, less smart, less educated, less capable, all of these myriad of negative and harming stereotypes. As a result, we develop anger and distrust of white people. It’s really important to realize this is a response to the centuries of oppression we have all faced at the hands of white people. It is a defensive measure, to try to reduce the harm we face, while the racism levelled at us from white people is an offensive effort and the cause of our abuse. White people have never had to face the level of violence and dehumanization and absolute decimation of their people that we have had to face at their hands, and still continue to face.
Racism is something you face your entire life, from birth to death. Something you face daily.
- As an Arab child, my biggest worry was the other kids finding out I was Arab because they would associate me with terrorists and think I’m a foreigner that doesn’t belong.
- When I would write stories for class in elementary school, I would use names like “Jessica” and “Ashley”, because that was what’s “normal”. My Arab name was not normal.
- When I would colour in my colouring books, my colour of choice was always peach, as close to white as possible.
- When I would see someone fair skinned, I always thought they were beautiful.
- When I would see a shooting star, I’d secretly wish that I would wake up as a white girl.
Why? Because even as a child, I knew I didn’t belong. I felt like I wasn’t normal, I wasn’t welcome. I was a foreigner, an “other”.
When I would do those “how Canadian are you?” tests, I would always fail them even though I’ve lived in Canada my whole life. Because Canadian culture is white culture. Because “cultural mosaic” only applies to a wide selection of poor attempts at cultured food, it doesn’t apply to acceptance of other cultures and other races and other peoples. Because we are “other”.
I’m “lucky” to be living in Canada, even though the government that I pay tax dollars to is part of the destruction of the countries of my people.
When my father can’t land a good job because his English is broken and my mother has to constantly smile in the faces of my racist teachers, I have the right to hate white privilege.
When its completely normal to read and find numerous articles about slavery, rape, and murder of black and African people, the fetishization and illegal sex slavery of Asian women, the cultural appropriation of east Asian cultures, the label “illegal aliens” for Latinos and Latinas, the colonization, invasion, and exploitation of the middle east for oil, and all these other horrible things white people have done, and still continue to do, then I have to listen to idiots say “racism doesn’t exist anymore!!!” and “I don’t see colour!!” and “We’re all the human race!!!” then yes, I have the right to hate white privilege.
I have the right to hate it and direct my life to fighting against it.
I have the right to say that the prejudice white people sometimes face is nowhere near comparable to the racism we face all the time in all aspects of our life.
I have the right to say that no matter what, the system still support them, and still exploits us.
I have the right to get angry when the only thing white people seem concerned about, is the need to say “not all white people”.
I have the right to get angry when white people think its okay to use racial slurs as a “joke”, completely disrespecting and belittling the fact that these words were once used to justify rape and murder.
I have the right to get angry when they put the blame on their ancestors to disassociate themselves from these racist acts, but still get to enjoy the resulted privilege. Like being able to get a job over a Person of Colour despite being less qualified, like being able to walk in the streets without being shouted at because of their race, like having their killer actually serve jail time, like not having to change the way your hair naturally grows from to get a job, like not feeling such hate for yourself that you apply bleach to your skin to be more beautiful, like being able to look anywhere in media and see yourself and your stories being told, like being seen as an individual instead of a representation of a race, like not being sexually harassed and assaulted because of the stereotypes that exist about the women of your race.
I have the right to be angry when despite these privileges, white people claim that they face racism as bad as we do.
I have the right to be angry knowing, that even after reading this I’ll get 10 more anons saying shit like “you’re racist against white people!! not all white people are the same”
(shoutout to aestheticsg0als for helping me answer this)