Response to “Black people cannot be racist, and here’s why”

Response to “Black people cannot be racist, and here’s why”

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Illustration by: Maria Tahir | Staff Illustrator

I wrote a column a couple of months ago for the University Star about why I thought minorities, specifically black people, cannot be racist. Disregarding the comments that questioned my mental health and stability, a lot of commenters brought inquiries I believe I should attempt to answer. The point of this column is to clarify the points I was making in my last column.

It is true—black people and minorities can be racist. However, they cannot carry out acts of racism because they do not have the opportunities or resources to practice racism in the manner white Americans have in the past and present.

Racism is racism, and it is still defined as “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.”

That being said, it is inherently true that anyone can be racist, but minorities in America are not racist without reason.

Historically, racism in America was founded on the belief that races not of European descent were inferior and no better than animals. The hatred black Americans or other minority members may have for people who do not look like them is often times reactionary—an effect to a cause.

Racism between two different minority groups often stems from preconceived notions and stereotypes contrived by white Americans in the past. Minority groups carry these prejudices around daily as if a part of their skin.

People were incensed at my claim “black people cannot be racist,” and one cannot help but wonder why. The personal attacks aimed at me, and the reaction from several commenters only seemed to qualify my belief that some white people do not truly understand racism, how it works in this country and how it pertains to minorities.

Minority “racism” stems from personal experiences and daily interactions with racist white people. It was not a liberal education or soft schooling that taught blacks and other minorities about racism—it was our interactions with institutional and personal racism.

We are at a large disadvantage, and when we choose to voice our opposition to the injustices our people face, we are deemed racist or “professional victims.” The only way someone could become a “professional victim” is if they are continuously put into a position where they are mistreated. We are victims because America has made us so—not out of personal choice.

“People believing themselves infallible to being racist is one of the main things keeping institutional racism alive,” said commenter Ronald.

I cannot help but agree with his sentiment. I do not believe black people cannot be racist, but their disdain for the white race is often diminished to prejudice because they have no real power to practice racism.

There is no system set up for minorities to benefit from based on racial means.

There is no protection against murder by law enforcement officials and the prison system for minority groups like Hispanics and black Americans that also disenfranchises another race.

No one is arguing or implying that blacks deserve more respect than whites or should be allowed privileges and immunities because they are black. Black people just deserve respect because 240 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, we are still treated as if our lives do not matter.

How can we be racist, if we are not even considered a part of the human race?

-Mikala Everett is a digital media junior

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24 COMMENTS

  1. “No one is arguing or implying that blacks deserve more respect than whites or should be allowed privileges and immunities because they are black.”

    So you’re against affirmative action, right?

    • do y’all ever research the ish you say?!your fox “talking points”?! google is free. Affirmative Action helped white women the most! That’s factual. Thanks have a nice day.

  2. Of course blacks and minorities can be racist! Not all blacks identify with BLM…not all women are feminist…not all gays identify with the gay lobby. Hope your eyes and stop being obsessed with race, which it seems like you are. Yes, slavery is bad. But ultimately you don’t deserve anything. Please open your eyes.

  3. You are truly a despicable person! How dare you try to defend racism of any kind! Only a truly demented and vile person would do so! (No matter their race!…. which is kind of the point)

    “Minorities” are more than able to practice racism. All it takes to practice racism is to be racist.

    Step up and admit YOUR own racism!

    The only racism is not only “whites” versus “blacks”
    There are plenty of “blacks” who are racist toward “Asians” and “Hispanics” Yes, “Whites” too! Even “Asians” and “Hispanics” can be racist.
    There are plenty of videos on the internet showing just how racist and violently so blacks can be…
    I remember one specifically of a group of men attacking a delivery boy because he was just a “C****” and can’t fight back… because “They cant even speak English” them and their friends video taped it laughing and calling him slurs all the way, throwing him down and kicking him!

    If THAT is OK to to you are the WORST kind of human, and how dare you defend it!

    It happens to “Whites” too. We have allowed a narrative of “White people bad, black people defenseless” But that is not the case in this age! You can rise above and do great things! (not saying there is not racist people, but it can only be determined on a case by case instance)
    There are plenty of schools where there is a minority race that dominates the school, because of the narrative we have created separating peoples those kids think it is a good chance to attack and bully a innocent “white kid”
    Just like what can happen to a majority white school to a black student.
    both cases are equally horrible!

    The only way we can get over racism is to see everyone as the equals we are, the racist ones will go away eventually, but if you in turn become racist, you are just adding more to the bunch!

  4. I was an opinions editor and writer for a few years and I have no idea how anyone let an article like this slide. You contradict yourself from the very start saying blacks can be racist but they also can’t since they don’t have the right resources for it. You even go so far as to say oh well yeah we’re racists but it’s justified because of what you did to us. Then you keep contradicting ourself saying oh we’re not victims but actually we are victims and it’s all your fault. Black peoples lives matter when they contribute to society, but when they steal and sling dope and rob people, then end up getting shot by a cop, and you blame it on white people, your lives will never, ever matter.

  5. You are truly a despicable person! How dare you try to defend racism of any kind! Only a truly demented and vile person would do so! (No matter their race!…. which is kind of the point)

    “Minorities” are more than able to practice racism. All it takes to practice racism is to be racist.

    Step up and admit YOUR own racism!

    The only racism is not only “whites” versus “blacks”
    There are plenty of “blacks” who are racist toward “Asians” and “Hispanics” Yes, “Whites” too! Even “Asians” and “Hispanics” can be racist.
    There are plenty of videos on the internet showing just how racist and violently so blacks can be…
    I remember one specifically of a group of men attacking a delivery boy because he was just a “C****” and can’t fight back… because “They cant even speak English” them and their friends video taped it laughing and calling him slurs all the way, throwing him down and kicking him!

    If THAT is OK to to you are the WORST kind of human, and how dare you defend it!

    It happens to “Whites” too. We have allowed a narrative of “White people bad, black people defenseless” But that is not the case in this age! You can rise above and do great things! (not saying there is not racist people, but it can only be determined on a case by case instance)
    There are plenty of schools where there is a minority race that dominates the school, because of the narrative we have created separating peoples those kids think it is a good chance to attack and bully a innocent “white kid”
    Just like what can happen to a majority white school to a black student.
    both cases are equally horrible!

    The only way we can get over racism is to see everyone as the equals we are, the racist ones will go away eventually, but if you in turn become racist, you are just adding more to the bunch!

  6. Just one comment I have is that it is time to stop using slavery and references to ways of life one hundred years ago as some sort of attack towards white people. Present day white people have absolutely no association with the ways of life that consisted of slavery and neither do present day black people. The white people of today did nothing to the black people of today in regards to slavery. The people who did that died a long time ago. No one I know has ever been a slave or has ever met a slave owner. You are conforming to the awful categorizations in our society and diminishing your individuality. We should have never created ways to group individuals based on broad similarities like color of skin. The exact result of that is the terrible, judgmental, misrepresented society we have today. You should choose to see through the categorization and look at people as individuals without a single ounce of preconceived notion of what they are like and who they are. Represent yourself.

  7. Separatism has been promoted and nurtured behind the scenes for too long. It began when we became hyphenated Americans. Theodore Roosevelt warned of the dangers of hyphenated Americans. According to Roosevelt, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, and intricate knot of [Hyphenated-Americans], each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than other citizens of the American Republic.”

  8. Do you even read the drivel that you write to see what sort of nonsense it is? First, blacks can’t be racist. Then they can be racist, but its not really racist because any bigoted belief they have is excused. Hatred is hatred, no matter where it comes from. Due to the color of my skin I’m instantly labeled a racist, told that I can have no say in a discussion on race and am shamed by a history of American slavery my ancestors had no part in. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never discriminated against anyone based on the color of their skin or that my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents picked cotton in the sweltering Texas heat right alongside the black members of the community. However, because of reprehensible acts of people I have no association with I am lumped in with everyone else of my race. You yourself use that as the very definition of racism and yet when a person of color behaves in such a way you defend them. You are a hypocrite, plain and simple. Every time you look in the mirror, there is a despicable and racist hypocrite staring back at you. Such hatred breaks my heart because there is beauty in all cultures. People like you are precisely the reason that racial tension still exists. Many people can look beyond a person’s appearance and see them for what they truly are, a human being, even if you think they can’t due to your own racism. Some are good and others are not, but it is that person’s actions which define them. The only thing you did with your original article was poke a hornet’s nest with a stick, a stick made of ignorance.

    You talk of institutionalized racism as being a free pass for you to have racist beliefs yourself. Bull. “There is no protection against murder by law enforcement officials and the prison system for minority groups like Hispanics and black Americans that also disenfranchises another race.” And what of the killing of white Americans? Do they not deserve your call for justice? Far more whites are killed by police than blacks. Of course, one would counter that proportionally blacks are shot at a higher rate. Well, had it ever occurred to you that maybe blacks are statistically more likely to be shot by police because they are statistically more likely to commit a violent crime, putting themselves in the sort of situation that might end with an officer and a gun? Of course not, because you only want to look at the numbers which would justify your own racist beliefs. Well, you might come back with the statistic that blacks receive harsher sentences than whites for similar crimes. Have you ever thought that maybe that has something to do with the fact that the median income of white families is greater than that of black families thereby giving them the means to obtain a better lawyer for their defense? You seem to think that any institutionalized racism in this country is the fault of the police and the justice system but you couldn’t be more wrong. Think about it and you’ll start to see where the real division of people and the oppression of society lies. It boils down to money and power. Those that have it will do almost anything they can to keep it, even if that includes oppressing those with less of it just to smash any competition.

    Maybe one day the black community will see how they are being used by the Democratic party just as religious whites are used by Republicans. Do you even realize that a significant number of those at BLM protests are paid to be there by the Democratic elite and it is these people who start the riotous behavior which only leads to the discrediting of the movement by whites who hear blacks talking about peace yet turn on the news and see blacks looting stores and burning police cars? Do you know that many of the rallies being held across the country to protest the presidential election which have led to violence are being funded by these same people? Do you understand why? It is to create further racial division, a distraction made to entice people of color to band together with their brethren against a common enemy and then pander to that solidarity to get their votes, all the while enacting laws which are the crux of what you would consider systemic racism. A Democrat like LBJ is viewed as a hero by signing the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act. However, while in congress he repeatedly fought against laws that would help blacks. These laws were passed due to Republican support and Johnson only signed them as a pandering move to try and garner support in the black community for the racist Democratic party. It was the same reasoning with his nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He was an unabashed racist of the most vile order yet because his name is next to those few things the black community has voted Democrat for the last 50+ years. A Republican like Nixon is reviled as a racist even though his administration led to the mass desegregation of schools and he signed affirmative action into law, giving the CRA (something he supported) teeth to actually give previously disenfranchised blacks more of a fair chance to earn a living in places that still had the old Jim Crow guard still in power. Of course in the end all we think about (other than Watergate and his resignation) is how he started the drug war, something that to this day affects blacks more than whites. Why did he do it? Because the two biggest groups of people who were against him and the Vietnam war were blacks and young hippies, and with frequent drug use in those communities he was able to lock up his enemies without explicitly making being anti-Nixon a crime. It wasn’t due to racism, it was all about power and the absolute drive to keep it once achieved. You say that “There is no system set up for minorities to benefit from based on racial means.” I guess you’ve never heard of affirmative action, or minority scholarships, or preferential treatment in college admissions to promote diversity. I ask again, do you even read the drivel that you write?

    The next time you think you’re doing yourself a favor by writing these types of editorials, think again. All you are doing is playing into the hands of the elite who wish to control you. They don’t care that you’re black, but because you care that you’re black they will use that to their advantage. You’ve apparently still got a lot to learn about how the system really works. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t really any racism by whites anymore. It obviously still happens, but you live in a time with far far less of it. Do you not see the difference between a black man getting shot for attacking a police officer and a black man getting attack dogs unleashed on him because he drank from the wrong water fountain? Obviously, I would love to see a world completely devoid of racism. I’d also like to see a world where more than half of all black children grow up in a home with a father. Both of those things have one thing in common: they require personal responsibility. When you do things like write these types of editorials, which work to divide rather than bring together, people like you are doing yourself no favor trying to blame a system when change can only occur from the bottom up and only from those whose actions must change, and I don’t just mean you as a black person but you as the youth of America. I’ve been in a college classroom in the 90’s, the 2000’s and the 2010’s and as time goes on I can state that personal responsibility is quickly fading into a relic of the past. What do you think happens when the message you teach your children goes from “be mindful of your actions, obey the law and respect others” to “what you do doesn’t matter because the system is against you”? What do you think happens to a generation of children who are given “safe spaces” where they can be free from all the bad things that happen out in the real world instead of being taught to confront those transgressions firsthand and learn something from the experience? You wind up with someone who sees a handful of heinous acts and instead of seeing them as outliers is convinced that they are indicative of an entire system against them, all fed by the elite controlled media which works to use your own prejudices against you. If you see the relatively small number of truly racist acts and come to the conclusion that the cards are stacked against you by a racist system then how do you expect people to feel about a segment of society that comprises 16% of the population yet commits nearly 60% of murders and nearly 70% of robberies? Those are FBI statistics on black youth crime. Why wouldn’t the average person come to the conclusion that young black men are more violent and liable to commit a crime than their white counterpart? It is statistically true. However, it’s not because of the color of their skin, its because of who they are as a person and how they were raised. What do you think would have a greater overall effect on the black community: protesting against every black person shot by the police whether they were in the wrong or not or starting a movement where “baby mama” and “baby daddy” are replaced by a mother and a father (or any combination thereof, so as not to leave out any same sex couple) raising their children in a stable environment? Two of the biggest indicators of potential crime are poverty and the lack of a two-parent home. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that two responsible parents will bring home more of an income to provide for their family and provide more of a chance to be there for their children and discourage them from activities and associates that help lead to a life of violent crime.

    So in conclusion, yes, of course minorities and black people can be racist. And no, being at the receiving end of it in any way does not condone such bigoted behavior. Three lefts make a right but two wrongs don’t. If you want to live in a better world you have to realize that it starts right there with you. If you go around excusing your own racist beliefs all you are doing is adding to a cycle of hate you portend to be against. Put your hatred where it should lie, and not where pop culture and biased media say it should. A young black girl just 50 years ago would kill to be in your shoes and have the opportunities you have. Yes, there is still more work to go, but it won’t get done by ignorant, hate-spreading propaganda like yours only looking to claw back all the ground that was fought so hard for to gain.

  9. Power is not simply institutional; it can be situational. Example: in one of my classes at school, a fellow student said that women can’t be sexist, because, as you are arguing, they didn’t have power. Problem: our teacher was a woman. She had power. She could have marked male grades lower than the female grades. Institutionally, she was slightly more oppressed than half of the people in that room. But, situationally, she had the most power in that room. Replace my female teacher with a black teacher. It still applies. While he probably will face more hardship than I will in the larger world, within that room, he outpwoers me. He would have the capability of being racist

  10. Isaiah is right!

    QUIT trying to defend your racism while crying about others you sick and twisted individual.
    YOU are part of the problem!

    All racists are a disgrace to humanity (and you are included)

    GROW UP, ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY!

  11. Hi Mikala,

    I’m an ethnic minority of mixed heritage, half white in fact. I would love to explore this concept more deeply through a respectful discussion with you as I disagree with with your view. I hope you’d take the time to email me back to discuss it further.

    Firstly, you contradict yourself. In your first article you say:
    “Minorities cannot be racist. I’ll say it louder for the people in the back who did not hear me—minorities cannot be racist.”

    Then you say:
    “It is true—black people and minorities can be racist.”

    Secondly, why is there a requirement of privilege to be racist? I could argue that the belief of superiority could be things that are not generally recognised to provide what we recognise as privilege, e.g. moral superiority, physical superiority, that one race makes superior lovers, that one race will go to heaven whilst the others are doomed to go to hell. I do concede that privilege should be a massive factor in determining the role of the state and the law in acting upon acts of discrimination or hate crimes, e.g. saying “all black people go home” at an African refugee centre would be far more harmful than a native American saying “all white people go home” and the law must recognise that.

    Thirdly, if privilege is accepted, can privilege not be confined to small areas where certain ethnic minorities do have a clear advantage? For example, Jewish people in finance, African Americans in certain areas of the music scene. If it was found they were systematically excluding white people, or other ethnic minorities, would that abuse of privilege not be racism?

    Finally, by the definition you use, I see no reason why minorities cannot be racist against their own kind. If you were dismissed on the grounds of race by someone of your own race, that would still be racial discrimination, i.e. racism. That might be done because it was a client facing role and a minority specifically wanted a white person in the role. Is that not an act of racism by a minority that favoured another race?

    I was struck by two events in the news this week. The first was the response of certain people, mainly on Twitter, about Serena Williams marrying a white man. I don’t understand why it should not be called racist. I think opposition to intermarriage is one of the most racist things you can possibly say, as it implies that members of each race should observe fundamental boundaries, and that people like myself – a minority due to mixed heritage – should not have been born. I don’t see how that can possibly not be deemed as racist, even accepting privilege as a requirement if other beliefs of superiority are invoked (my second point) or by racism against your own race in that minorities must respect their inferior status and not mix with whites (my third point).

    The second event was the kidnap and torture of a white disabled boy by four black 18 year olds. The police were even reluctant to describe it as racially motivated, even thought they were saying “fuck white people”. Also, the media in general were extremely forgiving to the four people involved, saying they were badly raised and were young people who’d made a mistake.

    I usually totally disagree with arguments that begin “if a white person said/ did that…” due to privilege not being taken into context in assessing the harm done to the victim, I make an exception here. Even without race being a factor, it’s still kidnap and torture which is extremely serious. They are still young and their brains are not fully developed but this was overdownplayed. Also, there is also the factor he is a minority by virtue of being disabled, which was totally forgiven. Whilst they did not dwell on it, they fully exploited that weakness, and I would argue not being mentally disabled means they had considerable privilege over him.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  12. Too long didn’t read: In my previous article I said Blacks couldn’t be racist. Now I am saying they can, but it is okay because Whites did it to Blacks first.

  13. You continue to are make racist statements like” they cannot carry out acts of racism because they do not have the opportunities or resources to practice racism in the manner white Americans have in the past and present.” You are also confusing bigotry with racism. An action taken to harm OR BENEFIT one race is also racisim. If a planned action intentionally benefits OR harms one race of people it is a racist act. You certainly do not need “power or priviledge” as it states in your article to be a racist or commit a racist act. Bigotry, however could require power or priveledge, as it infers the ability to give or withold favor based on a personally held belief. This article, especially it’s title, is comletely wrong. It aslo perpetuates seperatism. Not all white peole are bigots or racists. Some of us want to end color discussions alltogether. We will never achieve racial equality while there is predudice OR privilege given based on race. The existance of one promotes the other.

  14. Yet another small minded person who thinks only about themselves, their group, their country, their cause.

    Writer; I don’t like being negative, I don’t like being mean, but this type of thought process is dangerous and you are a fucking moron for believing such things. Go out and rethink your position (perhaps take in all human beings into consideration, except just the ones closest to you?), or fuck off and never start writing your ignorant opinions down again(also did you mention your writing is 10-a-penny shite?).

  15. My favorite part about both of these asinine articles is you completely ignored any definition of “racism” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary that did not conform to the definition you wanted to portray in your articles. The definition you quoted is only ONE of several definitions of the word racism. It also means “discrimination or hatred based on race”. Taken from YOUR source. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

    Scroll *all* the way down and read ALL of the definitions not just the ones you cherry picked. A biased article is a biased article but this crap takes the cake.

    You are part of the problem.

  16. This has to be one of the most poorly written pieces i have read throughout a ghastly amount of biggotry embalmed literature in my lifetime . I’m shocked that the hypocrisy of your statements would fly past a garbage can ; yet given your obvious success at shock value, I’m moreso wondering why this isn’t a satirical piece. Another blameshifting racist yapper with no sense of diversity stuck in a small minded one track rage against themselves. Don’t you realize that you have become your own enemy? This word vomit you have ( in the uttmost laziness) shambled together is almost encouraging people to hate whatever your kind is . Half of me thinks you are an alt right troll trying to stifle an already questionable regurgitated topic you know nothing about. There are so many backwards points and skipped over actualities that it seems almost pointless to show them. You are a whiney hatemonger that has nothing better to do but imagine that your life is worse than it is. Go read some statements from your precious BLM leaders and other civil rights ” activists” and tell me there’s no racism . Life must be pretty good if this is all u got to bitch about. U pay for your own classes? If so , bad finance move. If not, shame on you for using another’s buck to write hate speech. Congrats on alienating your audience . You have a right to your prejudices however, acting impulsively upon them with no objectivity has just made you another racist.

  17. Nice way to contradict yourself over and over again. You dont need power or privelege to carry out an act of racism. Im just one guy, not a cop or judge or law maker but me calling a Chinese person a chink is still an act of racism. The argument presented above is akin to “stealing is only stealing if its done by a rich person. Theft by a poor person doesnt count because they dont have the money to buy it”

    And if you want to see, not just hear somebody tell you about it, actually SEE government backed racism by a minority just travel to Canada. Its legal to advertise a job as ‘Native” only, its legal to have “Native” only apartment buildings. If you tried to advertise a job as Chinese only youd be cited for racism and shut down, same as white only.
    You also see the kind of factual white washing as the above article with sex. In the city where I live there a number of women only gyms. Golds Gym has a womens only and a co-ed. They decided to open a mens only, low and behold they got sued for yup gender discrimination. And yup they were ordered to shut it down. And like above some how these womens only gyms were not gender discrimination but the mens only was.

    Quit trying to make excuses why one isnt really an issue but the other is. Call a spade a spade and be done with it

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