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.

Cover Image Credit: Tori Wills Photography / Flickr

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21 Things Assyrian People Know To Be True

But first - we're not Syrian.
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I'm often asked, "So, what are you?"

Well, I'm Larsa, I'm 21 years old, and I'm a Taurus. But that's not what people want to know. They just mean, you look ethnic, so what are you?

Well, I'm Assyrian. No, not Syrian. Assyrian. We're not all from Syria, but we are a Middle Eastern culture. We actually don't have our own country anymore, but most of us immigrated to America from countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria. Unfortunately, that means that many Assyrians today have been or are currently targeted by ISIS.

So what is it like being Assyrian?

1. Religion is the most important part of our culture.

Assyrians are Christians, and Ancient Assyrians spoke the same language as Jesus: Aramaic. Church is very important because our priests and bishops still speak the old language which is the key to our almost 7,000 year-long tenure. In Assyrian homes, you will typically find crosses, portraits of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and prayers everywhere.

2. You DO NOT wear jeans or shorts to church.

Oh, no. NOPE. Church has a glamorous and strict dress code. Literally, think of the Queen at church. Men in suits or dress shirts and trousers and dress shoes, women in trousers and nice blouses or dresses or skirts. Nothing too short, nothing too revealing. Plus the head covering women must wear as well.

3. Sleepovers do not exist.

I wasn't allowed to have sleepovers during childhood. I think the first time I spent the night at a friend's house was when I was 17 or 18? Yeah. You don't sleep at anyone's house. It's a pretty general rule for Assyrian households. Your parents are more strict if you're a girl as well.

4. Neither do tattoos and/or piercings.

At least in my household. I have been told by my mom that should I choose to get tatted or piercing, there will be very scary and very severe consequences.

5. Your mom and nana force feed you and your friends.

Food is of the utmost importance in Assyrian culture. Our moms and nanas love feeding our non-Assyrian friends, and you can eat however much you want whenever you want. Kitchen closing at 7 pm? Nah.

6. You are (sadly) hairy.

Lord have mercy. The eyebrows I possessed at age 10 were enough to scare anybody and I was literally BORN with them. We have that extra hairy gene which means lots of Assyrian men wax on a regular basis. We didn't choose this life.

7. You can make fun of non-Assyrians all the time.

Talking in Assyrian to your Assyrian friend while surrounded by non-Assyrians is a hoot. Think of when you're in the nail salon and you're being talked about by the Asian women. It's pretty much the same situation.

8. Your weddings are insanely LIT and WILD.

Oh man. Any time I show videos of Assyrian weddings to my non-Assyrian friends, it's the same reaction: wide eyes and open mouths. They literally can't believe what they're seeing. We party till 4 in the morning, and our weddings are full of loud drums and long dances and lots of Indian-style happy howling.

9. Your church services are long.

We don't have a 45-minute or 1-hour-long service. We start at 9 and wrap up around 11:30-12. Yeah. By the time we leave, I'm hungry, sleepy, and tired of being in 4-inch heels on top of being in body spanx.

10. Moving out at 18 is rare.

I know most people in this day and age say that their parents are all about them moving out and being independent at 18, but not in Assyrian culture. Assyrian culture is (usually) you leave the house when you're married.

11. Living with your significant other before marriage is frowned upon.

"I wanna live with my boyfriend before he's my husband."

*parents stare me down*

12. You don't kiss at Assyrian church weddings.

I know, it's odd. But it's true, you don't kiss on the lips once the priest proclaims you're man and wife. Settle for a high-five maybe?

13. Assyrians do not cremate.

Cremating a loved one is quite frowned upon in Assyrian culture and almost never happens. Though it may be thousands of dollars more expensive, we stick to a traditional casket funeral.

14. Our food is delicious.

UGHHH THE CARBS! Assyrian food, and Mediterranean food in general is simply delish. Shish kebabs, LOTS of rice, hummus, dolma, chada, shurvah, etc. COME TO MY HOUSE FOR DINNER!

15. Assyrian New Year is April 1.

We just turned 6768!

16. We drink more tea than the Brits.

Literally, we absolutely out-tea the Brits. All day, every day, tea is brewing. "Buyet chai?" aka "Would you like tea?"

17. The Assyrian Empire was the largest and strongest in the world at one point.

Yeah. Hear us roar. (Literally, roar. Our ancestors fed prisoners to lions and kept them as pets. Casual).

18. Assyrians have endured a massive genocide.

You may often hear it dubbed as the Armenian Genocide, but it was, in fact, millions of Assyrians (and Greeks) slaughtered as well. To this day, the country of Turkey refuses to acknowledge the genocide and take responsibility for it.

19. We're emotional and dramatic.

Funerals are absolutely insane - wailing, screaming, cry-yelling, etc. It's bad. Our mothers and grandmothers tend to be weepy, we frequently talk loud and people think we're fighting when we're just talking, and we're very intense in general. I blame my dramatics on this.

20. My name is Assyrian!

No, I'm not Larissa. Or Lisa. Or Laura. I'm LARSA. Sounds just like it's spelled! A town in Ancient Assyria.

21. The Assyrian people are grossly underrepresented and recognized in modern culture.

I seek to change that, and I know many of my fellow Assyrian youth do as well. We'll see just how easy it will be to put Assyria on the map once again in the future when I'm POTUS.

Watch out world!

Cover Image Credit: Larsa Rasho

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No, Climate Change Is NOT Global Warming

Two phenomena, that you could change!
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Many people believe that climate change and global warming are interchangeable vocabulary, but they are indeed different phenomena. There has been a shift in discussing "climate change" over "global warming" because the term global warming does not encompass everything that is happening to our beloved Earth. Yes, the planet is getting warmer; but climate change explains why places that are usually warmer are getting snow in April, as we did a few nights ago in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Some speculate that there has been a "term change" to scare the public more than the "original" term would have or did, but that simply isn't true. Both terms date back decades, and research has shown that climate change was actually the orginal term used when discussing the weather patterns of our planet. Those advocating that climate change is a more freightening term than global warming should do a little extra research, seeing as how climate change is a literal change in the weather pattern, but global warming suggests the planet may become too hot to sustain life.

Global warming is the general trend of the planet becoming warmer, whereas climate change is a change in global climate making warmer places cooler, and cooler places warmer in respective seasons. Global warming is a factor of climate change, and there are many steps we can take as a society to help slow down the decay of our planet. Stay tuned for an article on ways to help the planet!

This is just a general blurb of knowledge to change things up from the usual articles, and if you like this kind of thing let me know so I can write more!

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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