White people will often hold "reverse racism" as an excuse to avoid racial equality. They seem to think that any advantage given to minority groups somehow discriminates against them. While it is true that prejudice can exist towards all races and cultural groups, the word racism just cannot be used to describe something white people experience. Racism, as we describe it today, is based on centuries of systematic and institutional oppression. A history that includes slavery, lack of voting rights, genocide, violence, and segregation still impacts our views and opinions today. Many Americans claim that that is how it used to be and we've changed as a country since then. What this point fails to recognize is that historical tendencies impact our psychology in a myriad of ways.
With a tradition of demonizing those who are different, it is no surprise that racist tendencies persist today. The institutionalized race hierarchy that has always existed in America and the world leaves traces of prejudice and bias. White people are unlikely to recognize their inherent biases and how they respond to people who look different than themselves. Furthermore, with the few legal sanctions we have regarding equality based on race, the American public often assumes that the work is all done. Written legislation convinces us that we have no more need to improve race relations and that equality under the law means equality in all areas of society.
With violence against black populations, prison imbalances, and even protests based on white supremacy, it is clear that America has to improve racial equality a lot. These systematic inequalities are what constitutes racism, and they create the daily prejudices and biases that various races and ethnicities experience today. White people simply don't have a system such as this working against them. There was no slavery of all whites in America, white people, in fact, controlled the creation of Western culture as we understand it today. History prioritizes the white man's opinion above all else and in terms of obtaining leadership positions and power white cultures have always had the upper hand.
In the quest for equality, inequalities often present themselves. With affirmative action and groups that prioritize support for specific races, it is easy to feel more and more divided as we seek unity. However, what white populations have to understand is that institutionally inferior groups need resources to support them in claiming their equal rights. We need to tip the scales to make leadership positions held by all races and to obtain a country that allows equal opportunity for people of every race.
So the next time you make or overhear a comment about how racism exists against white people, really think about the history that created what we today call racism. Racism isn't a small prejudice or bias, it's a long-held system of oppression. To claim that the same exists against white people is not only untrue, but it fails to recognize the suffering the race hierarchy has caused. Saying that reverse racism exists is proof in it of itself that many still don't understand what racism is or how pervasive it continues to be.