Prejudice vs Racism/isms: A Discussion
We need to discuss the difference between “prejudice based bullying” and racism/isms.
Prejudice Based bullying isn’t a good thing at all. But it is literally not even slightly as bad or the same as racism or any other ism.
Prejudice based bullying is when someone bullies someone based on prejudice. The aspect of “institutional power” is absent from prejudice based bullying. Examples of this is POC vs POC prejudicial actions, thin shaming, POC being “mean to” white people, etc.
Prejudice based bullying can and does hurt feelings, and can get physical and can end in deaths. But it is not racism, or an ism.
Racism is the above + institutional power.
Racism is Prejudice based actions committed by a group with institutional power.
Sexism is prejudice based actions committed by a group with institutional power. etc.
I’ll give some examples:
- Black person calls an Asian person a racial slur = Prejudice Based Bullying
- White person is called a racial slur = Prejudice Based Bullying
- Fat person makes fun of thin person = Prejudice Based Bullying
- Girlscouts of America not allowing cisgendered boys to join= Prejudice Based Action
- Black owned businesses giving discounts to other POC but not to white people = prejudice based illegal activity
- Asian Restaurant hiring only other asian people and throwing away resumes from all other applicants = prejudice based illegal activity
- Black people being “mean to you on the internet” = Prejudice Based Bullying
- “White Girls and Starbucks” = Prejudice Based Bullying
RACISM/SEXISM/LOOKISM/ ANY OTHER-ISMS
- Fashion Company releases statement that their clothes should only be worn by white people = racism
- White people calling POC racial slurs = racism
- Housing discrimination for POC = racism
- Boyscouts of America making it so that we even needed a Girlscouts of America instead of just making a Scouts of America for everyone and/or creating a girls division = sexism
- A store owner turning away a woman who appears to be a size 14 from his store because she “wouldn’t fit any of the clothes”= lookism/illegal discrimination
- A black person calling a white person a cracker, and the white person responding with the N word = racism (and by the way, “cracker” is short for “whipcracker” not “saltine cracker because the cracker is white.” When a black person calls a white person a cracker; they are saying that whatever it is that that white person is doing is reminding them of overseers who used to whip black people to death during slave times. Which is deep as shit.)
In every situation that can be called “racism/ism”, the action must be enacted by a member of the party with the majority of numbers and/or institutional power. An “Oppressor”, for lack of a better word.
For example, I am a minority in certain ways and a majority in other ways. Just because I am a minority in particular ways, doesn’t mean that I cannot be an oppressor in other ways.
If I were to issue slurs or try to oppress people with mental illness or with disabilities of any kind, I would be participating in an “ism.” As someone without mental illness or a physical disability, my actions contribute to the whole of the oppressing force that has trampled them for ages. Even if whatever it is that I’m doing is significantly less damaging or “hurtful” than their response.
When you belong to an oppressive majority–no matter what majority– every single oppressive action you do is fueled and weighted by years and years of previous oppressive action by others in your group. Whereas, people in the contrasting minority not only have less institutional power, but they may also be vastly less able to defend themselves in any meaningful way.
Which is a reference to the INSTITUTIONAL part of institutional oppression.
The entire system that gives you the benefits of being in the majority, usually gained through decades of being an oppressive force, give the minority group the exact opposite of benefits. Which is restrictions.
Restrictions in regards to:
- The effectiveness of any rebellion.
- the effectiveness of any complaints
- the validation of their history and point of view
- protections they are afforded
As well as the impact of any offending actions towards the oppressive party.
- “That black person called you a cracker and now you’re sad, but at least you do’t have to live with the knowledge that George Washington pried the teeth out of your ancestors heads and put them in his own mouth as dentures because he was shitty at keeping his teeth clean, and your ancestors were basically thought of as expensive cattle
- that transgirl said "die cis scum” and now you are sad, but at least your mortality rate isn’t like 1 in 10 just for being alive.
- that fat girl said “real men like women with curves” and now you are sad. But at least you can buy clothes in your size at any store ever.
- that boy with depression was mean to you, butat least you don’t have a horrifying history of people with mental illness being shocked to death and thrown in cages, killed, being tortured, or having their organs harvested to look back on, with a scientific misunderstanding spanning centuries that has created stigma that negatively impacts any interaction you have with anyone who knows about your mental illness.
- That girl is wearing a shirt that says ‘misandry for life’ and that makes you angry but at least you don’t live in a world where there are so many crimes against humanity committed towards women that I can’t even come up with one that could encapsulate the entirety of the term “sexism”.
- that man with a wheelchair parked halfway in your parking space and the wheelchair parking space in protest of people talking the wheelchair spaces, but at least you didn’t have to fight tooth and nail for decades to even get a parking space that suits your vital need.
In conclusion; if you have been a victim of Prejudice Based Actions:
Yes, you may be upset and yes you have been bullied or treated unfairly or disrespectfully. And yes, your feelings may be hurt. But you are not a victim of institutional oppression. And your retaliation, if violent or excessive, comes with the power of your entire group behind it.
It is like if you, are a grown man and are hit by a two year old, and in retaliation, you choke slam that two year old child into the concrete. Yes the two year old shouldn’t have hit you, but Dont Do THAT. You should say “please don’t hit me, that hurts”. Or, as in the case with racism/prejudice, say that the POC hurt your feelings, but understand that they have special circumstances.
Nothing will ever change that. So you need to just swallow it.