For The Last Time, White People: Reverse Racism Isn't A Thing

For The Last Time, White People: Reverse Racism Isn't A Thing

And you are NOT the victim.
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No, actually, all white people. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only white kid in a black school, or if you have “a lot” of black friends, or that your great great great grandpappy was an Irish slave:

If you are white, you have privileges other people do not have.

This statement is *not* “reverse racism.”

Reverse racism, in fact, does not exist.

“But-but-but-*sniff* someone said a mean thing about white people! That’s racism too! It’s reverse racism!”

“Reverse Racism” is a term used when white people feel like they face discrimination the same as or worse than people of color. Here’s why that’s not a thing:

I’ll set aside the fact that by labeling a pseudo-prejudice against white people as “reversing” racism, you are effectively and accurately defining racism as originating from whiteness. Racism does NOT mean saying mean things about an entire group of people necessarily. Racism is actually defined through the lens of power structures.

It’s the difference between an employee hitting on their boss and a boss hitting on their employee. Both are inappropriate. One is absolutely and completely different. Because of the power the boss has due to the nature of their relationship, this scenario cannot be compared to the first. If the employee feels their job and livelihood is at risk unless they participate, that’s coercion and could potentially lead to rape. If the employee initiates, the boss has no outstanding reason to engage in the flirtatious behavior beyond simple desire to. Again, both aren’t okay. But one is V E R Y different from the other.

So maybe someone said a mean thing about white people. The difference here is that your ancestors have never been historically enslaved. Your ancestors weren’t secretly medically tested on without their consent countless times since this Nation’s nascency. You are not more likely to be arrested and convicted of the same crimes as black men. You make more money on average than latina women. You are the least likely to be murdered by police.

I could continue.

These are systems. These systems oppress people of color and facilitate white people to move more easily through life. They make it easier for white people to get jobs, get an education, find housing, and make money to pass on to their future generations. This does not mean white people have everything easy and no struggles in their lives. It means you won’t have any of the race-related ones. Other factors, like class, gender, sexuality, and many others play intersecting roles in the broader tapestry of this discussion. But you can’t just “reverse” generations of problematic, racist power dynamics with a single "mean” comment.

And let’s be perfectly clear: calling out or discussing racism is not racism. Full stop. While for white people this discussion can feel like a personal attack on their character, the discussion of racism isn’t about you personally. For once the conversation doesn’t center around you (unless you specifically did a racist thing and someone is calling you out--in which case: shut up and listen). Beyonce was not racist for saying “Becky with the good hair.” Saying things about a race isn’t the same as being racist. And being prejudice is not the same as being racist. Discussing disadvantages created by our society helps spread awareness of the imbalance. By calling that “reverse racism” you attempt to end the discussion, end the spread of awareness, and end any progress towards an anti-racist society--all while pretending like you’re the victim of racism. If you truly cared to end racism, you would be listening, not derailing.

So when people say ALL white people? Yeah, you too.

ALL white people receive the benefits of our systemically racist society. Don’t worry, even with affirmative action, white people are still 40% more likely to get private scholarships. And stress not, a white sounding name is 50% more likely to get a job interview than someone with an “ethnic” sounding name. White people even have it easier when it comes to house hunting, especially when PoC aren’t even always shown all the options.

No one is saying YOU cause racism. But you do silently benefit from your whiteness. And you need to do something about that. If your friend gives you an iPad--cool! If he then tells you he stole it from someone--really uncool. If you then shrug and login to iTunes, you’re a terrible person.

No, you didn’t steal anything. But you didn’t do anything to make it right.

Honestly? That’s unacceptable. No, *you* did not enslave black people. But you and your family have silently benefited from being the race with all the power. Your apathy keeps the system moving forward, it keeps PoC marginalized, and it keeps you silently in power. You’re playing Candy Crush on a stolen iPad, that someone else worked hard to earn. Be better. Do better.

Educate yourself on racism. Know what the difference is between “racism,” “discrimination,” and “prejudice.” Most importantly, study power dynamics and listen to the people who have different experiences from you. Otherwise, accept that you are the problem too.

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In Response To 'The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Protest Sign,' And To The Women That Responded To Her

We march so that they are no longer invisible, no longer a second thought.
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My first thoughts in response to Ellie Winters’ article were pretty standard. No, we’re not done fighting on the gender equality front. No, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife. No, feminists rallies aren’t spitting on you for wanting to cook dinner for your husband and drive your kids to soccer. No, feminists aren’t fighting for your immediate incarceration because we’ve gotten whiff of the fact that you don’t want to be a CEO and established that you’re a disgrace to womankind.

Ellie, I’m also super sensitive. I got into about half an hour of "The Ring" before I screamed at my friend to turn it off. I’m a grown woman and I still like the lights on when I’m alone in the house because yes, I, like you, am scared of dark rooms too. I like makeup and I feel better about myself when I look pretty. I think dresses are perfect party go-to's and when I go shopping, the ordeal takes me hours. I like getting my nails done too. In short, I have a bunch of typically feminine characteristics...and I’m somehow still a feminist. Apparently being sensitive and wanting to have rights to my body aren’t mutually exclusive.

My next concerns about the article were finally a little more inclusive and thoughtful. Yes, perhaps you know more women in business than men. How many of those women are women of color though? How many of those women of color are being paid the same as their male counterparts? How many of those women of color are being paid the same as their white female counterparts?

I was sure someone would write that response. I was sure that someone would ask “Hey Ellie, what about black women?” or “Hey Ellie, what about trans women?” I was waiting to see such an article pop up on my feed, so when “To The Girl Who’d Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign” came out the next day, I was psyched to open it.

The article addressed my indignation as a feminist; it addressed the hypocrisies and logical fallacies of the original article. What it did not address were women of color and trans women. Perpetually invisible, perpetually a second thought.

So maybe we need a reminder of what our feminist rallies are about. And maybe it’s our fault- maybe the message of inclusivity and intersectionality is lost in the sea of pussy hats and “my vagina, my rules" signs. To be clear, the flood of women at women's marches and slut-walks aren't just fighting for female CEOs, and they're most definitely not fighting for their right to shame you for wanting a husband. They're fighting for a trans woman's right to exist; they're fighting for a black woman's right to her humanity.

Yes, we're past the point when we're fighting for suffrage and maybe that's why it seems to people like Winters that the battle is already won. But it's important to remember that when women fought for suffrage, white middle-class women lead the marches, frequently excluding women of color. We're better than that now, as the poster in Winter's cover photo states, and we can do better than just simply fight for white women.

We can turn our focus to the fact that the life expectancy for trans women is ridiculously low; to the fact that a black woman was murdered in a jail cell by the very system that then pronounced her death as a suicide; to the fact that forced sterilization is still very much a problem for women who are minorities, who are in poverty, who are HIV positive. It's time to bring these people in the light, it's time to give them a voice. We march so they are not longer invisible, no longer a second thought.

Cover Image Credit: Erik Drost / Flickr

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6 People Who Would Probably Be A Better Commander-In-Chief Than 'The Donald'

You might not agree with me, and that's OK! That's why this is an opinion piece.
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As you may know, it is about halfway through February right now. February is known across the USA as Black History Month. March, which is coming up soon, is also Women's History Month. Given how crappily our current president has treated black people and women during well, most of his life in the media, I thought it would be fun to compile a cute little list of some black people and women (and a few who are both!) who would be a better president than Donald Trump.

*Please take this list with a grain of salt. I am merely a college freshman trying her best. I'm not actually in support of more Hollywood celebrities holding America's highest office.

Off to the races we go! Here are six people of one or more minority group who I think would be better in office than "The Donald."

1. Tammy Duckworth

I'm very proud of Tammy Duckworth as she's from my home state of Illinois. A disabled female Asian-American veteran, Duckworth now serves her country as a senator from Illinois. Before becoming a senator, she represented a district of Illinois in the House of Representatives. She lost both of her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. With her military knowledge as well as her government service, she could be a real powerhouse in the Oval Office.

2. Laverne Cox

In case you missed my little disclaimer in the introduction of this piece, I'm not actually a fan of the idea that more Hollywood personalities should run for President. However, I do think there are many Hollywood personalities that do notable enough activism work at the moment that they would do well in an official government position, and Laverne Cox is one of them.

You may know her as Sophia on "Orange is the New Black," but in real life, she's just as awesome. As a black transwoman, she often promotes awareness for LGBTQ+ youth as well as racial issues. She is the first open transwoman to be on the cover of TIME magazine, as well as paving the way for many other transgender people of the future.

3. Elizabeth Warren

Warren, during the 2016 election, was a favorite of many Bernie supporters due to their collaboration on multiple bills in the Senate. There was also speculation after Hillary won the nomination of the Democratic National Party that Senator Warren, who is from Massachusetts, might be chosen to be Clinton's vice president. However, Tim Kaine was chosen for Clinton's ticket.

Warren has long been in the public eye as a high-profile law professor at many universities even before running for her seat in the Senate in 2012. She supports green energy, voting rights, and is decidedly opposed to Trump's administration.

4. Leslie Knope

Okay, yeah. Leslie Knope is not a real person, and I would not support Amy Poehler as a presidential candidate despite how much I love her portrayal of this character. Leslie Knope has a long history in the government, both small and big-time, and is very dedicated to the people and places she loves. She's very organized, has binders and binders full of ideas, and can become very focused on passion projects. Those are all qualities that our current president does not have that I believe would be very beneficial to the American people if he did.

She's also very feminist, which would always be a nice addition.

5. Deray McKesson

During the Ferguson riots and protests in October of 2014, this Baltimore teacher and activist essentially moved to St. Louis to help organize protests and marches. Eventually, he ran for mayor of Baltimore but lost. He often volunteered his time before the Ferguson protests helping underprivileged children in Baltimore, but upon temporarily moving to St. Louis he was often seen at protests and was even arrested a few times.

His activism may not be a selling point for some who disagree with the Black Lives Matter movement, but would someone who has a problem with this particular candidate I've chosen even read this article? Would they support any of the other people I have decided to put on this list? Probably not. Anyways, McKesson is now continuing his activist pursuits and recently even came to talk at Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) about social justice.

6. Michelle Obama

You knew she was going to be on this list, right? She was a wonderful role model as First Lady and continues to charm the American people with her muscular arms and interactions with the populace. Although she wonderfully fulfilled the role of First Lady while her husband was President, many forget that she is also a graduate of Harvard Law School and has often tried to help better her hometown of Chicago. While she has not yet launched her own political career, I could easily see it happening soon — even if she doesn't ever end up in a bid for her husband's old job.

Cover Image Credit: The White House / Instagram

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