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View Diary: Why there's no such thing as "Reverse Racism" (169 comments)

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  •  More simply, albeit less insightfully: (0+ / 0-)

    The term "reverse racism" implies that there's such a thing as "forward racism." Using the term "reverse racism" is actually an endorsement of racism.

    While I basically agree with the diarist, sometimes a blunter approach is more useful in the rough and tumble of everyday political conversation.

    Also, while the diarist accurately describes the structures and dynamics of true racism, I'm afraid that most (white?) people still just see racism as a synonym for racial discrimination.

    And that's not a crazy way to read it. Academics and other deep thinkers don't get to dictate the nuances of how ordinary people speak and listen. So I think it's best, when you're talking about racism in informal settings, to say something like "racist power" or "racially oppressive systems" to make clear you're talking about the systemic issues, not the more personalized issues of prejudice and discrimination.

    Because, yeah, persons of color can totally commit prejudice and discrimination. You don't want to get sucked into arguing against that reality, or appearing that you are. It's not the point.

    •  I agree that it's important (0+ / 0-)

      to use words in ways that people will understand when you're out in the world talking to folks and organizing and arguing, or even having dinner with your family.  I'm not arguing against that.  

      But I also think it's crucial to talk about concepts in academic and intellectual terms.  There's a whole field of African American Studies and Critical Race Studies, and these folks have been talking about race and "racism" since before the latter word even existed.  When I want to think about the complexities of race, I turn to Michael Omi & Howard Winant, or to Patricia Williams, or one of the dozens of other brilliant scholars who write about racism. Why are their definitions of race any less convincing than a physicist's definition of "quantum"?  But then, we're brought up to respect physicists....

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