A Response To The Article “Only White People Can Have Racist Friends”
Aren’t racism and race hatred the same thing?
Actually, no they aren’t.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, in order for one to be a racist, he or she must possess the belief that “all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”
If that is true, then the racists of the world form a rather big tent, consisting of two main camps.
In the first camp, there are those who can be considered racists on the grounds because they take racial stereotypes into account in their thought process, and therefore may subconsciously think one race is inferior than another because its members are unable to break free of the mold that forms the perceived stereotypes.
In the second camp, there are those who harbor an actual hatred for other races and seek to undermine and/or destroy them, because they believe that races are inherently designed to function as if they were countries, forming alliances with and against one another.
Although most people don’t stop for a moment and realize these distinctions when thinking about racism, it is important they do.
There are many good people out there who view racism as a cancer that needs to be eradicated.
However, it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the commonly accepted strategy to combat racism isn’t working.
A few days ago, I read an article written by my fellow RISE NEWS contributor Courtney Anderson titled “Only White People Can Have Racist Friends.”
The multiple uses of the absolutist word “only” to describe the traits of certain races (“Only one of us can actually experience racism, and it isn’t him;” “The only people with societal power are white people;” “White people are the only people who are not negatively affected by racial stereotypes;” “They are also the only ones who can safely have “dialogue” with racist individuals.”) is a perfect example of how a good-natured person can be racist without realizing it.
While Anderson is (hopefully) not trying to portray white people as an enemy, she is relying on stereotypes to make her point. Let me ask you two questions.
1) Is it possible for white people to break free of the mold that forms the perceived stereotypes of people who are unable to experience racism, hold societal power, are not negatively affected by stereotypes, and are safe to have dialogue with racist individuals?
2) Is it possible for other races to break free of the mold that forms the perceived stereotypes of people who do not hold any power and are not safe to have dialogue with racist individuals?
The answer to both of these questions is “yes.”
It is possible for white people to experience racism?
Any white person… sorry… any person who read that article technically did, due to the presence of absolutist language that creates stereotypes.
Is it possible for someone other than a white person to hold power?
Let’s ask Barack Obama.
Is it possible for white people people to be negatively affected by stereotypes?
Yes, because stereotypes are relied upon by race haters who seek to construct a narrative regarding the nature of what they consider to be monolithic entities whose members are incapable of dissenting, and therefore cause every single person who is a member of the races perceived to be at war to have weapons aimed at them, whether they know it or not.
And finally, is it possible for minorities to have dialogue with racist individuals without risking harm to themselves?
As previously stated, by writing her article, Anderson has displayed a racist trait, right here on RISE NEWS.
And that’s okay.
Because racism is such a broad topic, and there are different kinds of people who can be classified as racists, whose overall natures range from friendly to malevolent, the best way to attack racism and make it a thing of the past is to start at different levels.
Let’s ask ourselves a question.
Which racists are the most problematic?
The most harmful to our society?
The ones that are calling for open warfare between the races. Groups like the KKK, neo-Nazis, the New Black Panthers, etc.
These groups are willing to balkanize this country and cause it to descend into lawlessness in the name of their agendas.
Most people who like to crack jokes about racial stereotypes because they like politically incorrect humor, and most people who refer to racial stereotypes when issuing grievances about the state of our society, don’t want to see that happen.
In that case, those of us who do not abide by stereotypes in our mindsets, need to offer an olive branch to those who do but still want peace, law, and order, and vice versa. And those of us who do abide by stereotypes need to do the same with others who abide by stereotypes of our own race (and perhaps play “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” by Avenue Q on our phones when talking to them).
This suggestion may sound ridiculously stupid to you, but this approach has been made before. And the last time it was, it saved the country.
Let’s not forget that during the Civil War, when this country was on the edge of descending into oblivion, Abraham Lincoln forged alliances with Congressional Democrats who supported slavery but opposed secession, and even named one, Andrew Johnson, as his Vice President when he ran for re-election in 1864.
Hell, even Lincoln himself had some racist tendencies, having advocated the resettlement of freed slaves back to Africa and saying that his motivation for freeing the slaves was to protect the union and allow African-Americans to enjoy the fruit of their labor as opposed to them being entitled to universal human rights.
But yet, he knew what must be done. He put aside his feelings and acted according to his duties as Commander in Chief and as a citizen of the United States.
Another question that you may be asking now is, “is the state our society as grave as it was 155 years ago, that we must follow this course of action?” I say “no. Not yet.”
Our political climate is changing.
Prominent voices on both sides of the political spectrum are arguing that the current system isn’t working.
We have people like Bernie Sanders saying, “we must be more like the European Left.”
And we have the alt-right saying, “we must be more like the European Right.”
Both the European Right and the European Left are serving as destabilizing forces that are fueling the collapse of a once-promising economic bloc and the rise of ethnic nationalism and separatism. Some view this decay as the prelude to war in the region.
In that case, if our politics begins to resemble Europe’s more and more, shouldn’t we have the same fears as what will happen at home as well as abroad?
I have no doubts that if civil disorder or civil war breaks out, self-proclaimed “racial warriors” will be at the forefront.
If they are indeed planning what I suspect they are planning, they need to be stopped, and they need to be stopped sooner rather than later.
We need all the allies we can get. We need to put politics, religion, gender, age, differences on political correctness, etc aside. No more talking about “privilege,” “wealth,” or “power.” And no more talking about who needs to do it either.
Talk about government, and you will alienate potential conservative allies. Talk only about how we as a community are going to act on the individual level. Act peacefully. Engage in dialogue. Get those whose hearts are immersed in darkness to see the light. Only fight back when attacked.
Our country doesn’t have much time for infighting between those who love peace, freedom, and security.
Those who fought and won the Civil War realized this.
And I pray to my God that we do, too.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Daniel Lobo/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)