every time a white person says something ignorant and racist white people defend it by saying it’s free speech but when jesse williams talks about black people struggling and african american culture being exploited and used by non black people for their own gain the same people say that’s hate speech and they start petitions to get him fired from his job??
Adult privilege is using the “You’re just young” argument whenever a young person brings up their personal views or identity. Honestly, being young isn’t like being drunk. You don’t wake up on your 18th birthday and say “Dude, I really regret the last 18 years.” Your views on spirituality, politics, gender, sexuality, etc. deserve to be taken seriously regardless of age.
You have no idea how many Facebook or Tumblr arguments, how many discussions with my family, with my friends, with classmates, with friends of friends, or just people who aren’t my friends I have had or seen about this issue of “reverse racism”.
Believe me I’ve heard it all. The Google, the Merriam Webster, and Wikipedia definitions spat back at me, the “It’s harder to become a rapper for me”, the “It’s harder for me to get into college”, the “white people can definitely experience racism"… People have even gone so far as to call me a white people hating idiot, a ratchet (?), ignorant, or even insane for saying what I believe, which is that racism against white people, more commonly called “reverse racism”, simply does not and cannot exist.
I am a white person. And here I am, explaining to you, most likely a fellow white person, why “reverse racism” is not a real thing. You are not being attacked and nor I nor anyone else at any point is saying you are racist. Also, we first off have to realize that there is a pretty significant amount of systematic institutionalized racism in our society/country.
From my experience, usually the people who make reverse racism claims have experience some kind of discrimination or have been insulted because of the color of their skin; because they are white. That’s not right. It sucks. And I’m sorry that it happened to you. But that isn’t racism.
With this previously established claim that there is a good amount of institutional racism in our society, which I will elaborate on later, that leaves you and I, as white people, to be of the perceived superior race. Now that isn’t our fault. It is not because of any conscious choice you made. Racism doesn’t happen because someone says one day: “Hey! I’m going to go and be racist! Sounds like a good idea!!!” No.
The same way all other types of inequalities work, racism is something you pick up by accident. It’s not something you consciously decide to make happen.
As a white person you are never going to experience racism because racism is institutionalized oppression. Racism is a social construct. As a white person, you will never have to face institutionalized oppression on a societal level.
What I mean by that is that as a white person your skin color will not be the first thing people notice about you. Your skin color will not be noticed before your merit. Since our culture dictates white culture to be the superior and the acceptable one (and all other cultures/parts of cultures to be “acceptable” only to a certain extent, only if it benefits white people and only if white culture deems it to be acceptable.)
How does and how is it possible for “white culture” deem anything to be anything? Well, as we said before, white people are born into a country with a society where they have immense privilege, where they started at the top with extra “advantages” that other races in society did not start off with. And we never stepped into a little portal and in the blink of an eye switched from a racist society to a non-racist society. Not only are we still in a racist society, but everything and every advancement towards the end of racism that we have ever made has been gradual, step-by-step. You must understand that we are not there yet. Racism is still ingrained in us and is still all around us in ways that you and I might not even notice.
Racial inequality isn’t just in the big blatant things, in the hate crimes or in the anti-PoC groups… It’s in the slyer things too. It’s in the way that kids call the beige crayon “skin color” but call the brown crayon “brown” when they don’t know better. It’s in the way that many times people of color feel insecure about their naturally curly hair and straighten it to make it look like it’s a white person’s hair. It’s in the way that telling someone they are “talking black” is an insult and telling someone they are “talking white” just doesn’t make sense. It’s in the way that if you search up on Google “beautiful woman” or “beautiful man”, you will find at the top only white people. It’s in the way that PoC walk down the streets not knowing if the police will back them up or incarcerate them, or maybe injure them or maybe even kill them. (Out of “self defense!” of course)
As a white person you are born into a world with a society in which you are in all ways favored. Your whiteness is encouraged, endorsed. You are set as the default; you are set as the standard. Anything else is thought of as “other”. White is the beauty standard, the face in the media. White people in American society are dominant in all aspects; politically, socially, economically… You are maybe not racist, but you benefit from a racist system, without maybe even knowing it is in every little part of your life, whether it’s in your education/job opportunities, your ability to succeed in any field you’d like, obtaining benefits from the government, legislation, etcetera…
As I said before, it isn’t your fault. But you need to be aware. You need to learn to be an ally, and to stand up for the rights of PoC. You need to acknowledge your privilege and you need to stop neglecting it and remaining in your ignorant bliss, that our society has allowed us to remain in because of the color of our skin.
Accept that your race is not oppressed! Stop trying to link a PoC’s experience with your own. If a black person were to say that they disliked white people then that would be prejudice. But that’s where it ends: at prejudice. Now there is a definition of racism that can be found: The one that says that racism is simply the belief that some races are better than others; racial prejudice. But if this is your only argument as to why you think that “racism” against white people is possible, let it go. Keep in mind first of all that racism as we see it today and as it is in our society was initially begun by white people to justify slavery!! Secondly, a white person wrote this definition. And third, you need to understand the social definition of racism; the one that everyone is referring to when they talk about racism in our country/society. If a black person hated white people, their hatred/prejudice would not in any way be backed up by years of social values, and would not hold any truth of social realities.
Think of it this way.
If I had clear skin and I made fun of one person with acne, that would be mean. My insult would be reinforced by the fact that societal beauty standards say that clear skin is beautiful, thus making my insult have more weight.
But if I were the one with acne and I made fun of the one with clear skin, my insult would not have the same power or weight, being that clear skin is what is considered to be socially acceptable. Yeah, it’s rude to shame someone for their skin, and in the two scenarios the same type of offense was made, but in both instances not the same amount of power/weight was in the insult.
Now, if a white person shows hostility towards a PoC, their prejudices, hostilities or acts of discrimination would be backed up with the huge amount of power that we previously established that they have. That being said, an acceptable definition; the one that takes into regard social realities, history, historical and systematic oppression, etc., would be that racism is racial prejudice based on a system of power. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities or acts of discrimination. Because the key to racism is that it is a system. It is a very powerful, complex, and corrupt system. And even a couple of lines in a definition can’t even come close explaining it or to getting to the core of it.
Using the term “reverse racism” or even just “racism towards white people” is simply a way to deny privilege and stay ignorant. But what you don’t realize is that if you stay ignorant it is at the expense of other races. If you don’t realize the repercussions of your actions, which, by the way, if they are racist, can go completely unchecked, (thanks to your society!), you only further perpetuate racism!
you’ll have to pardon me if I laugh at wealthy white westerners rallying around the notion that their “free speech” is somehow at risk in a world where white western news outlets, western culture and western opinions routinely saturate and dominate everything else
I HATE stories like this one. Such lazy reporting based upon false assumptions. We set a paradigm that say face-to-face speech is more important/effective than written communication then blindly repeat the same tired and worn-out warnings. Oh my God, we say, people are texting instead of talking! It’s the end of the family as we know it!
Jacques Derrida rails about this dichotomy of speech/writing and how we privilege speech as being more “immediate” and “intimate.” In education and schools, we insist students “participate” in class discussion, get frustrated when a bright kid writes some insightful, indepth journal entry but won’t say anything in class. Truth is, Derrida says, writing has the same immediacy as speaking and can be, for many, an easier way to express their thoughts.
See, here’s the thing. I’ve texted to someone in my house – I’m downstairs and find something I think my husband would like to watch on TV, so I shoot him off a text rather than running up the stairs to get him. I send a link to a story I’ve been reading in the Nytimes or a funny cat video or pics of our nephew my sister-in-law just emailed. My daughter and I exchange snapchats of silly faces or what we’re doing or funny conversations.
And I do the same with my oldest daughter who is away at college and lives in her own apartment now. She asks me how to cite sources on a research paper or if I’ll help her brainstorm ideas or how to make beef tips and gravy. She sends me snapchats of crazy things that happen when she’s at work and I reply with various faces that show how my day is going. We share fandom screaming and liveblog shows together. I know more about what’s going on in her life now than I ever did while she was living at home and in high school.
Then there’s my friend who lives nine hours away. We stay in contact through facebook and texts, talking about the movies we’ve seen and swapping pics of cool stuff we find online. My tumblr friend who lives in Russia … we planned a trip together and talk about our lives all the time. And all of it takes place online.
Saying that texting will cause the destruction of the family unit is hogwash. Texting, tumblring, snapchatting, instagramming, twittering … all this has made my family and friends closer, stronger, more in tune with each other. People need to get their heads out of their asses, get over their need to be superior to others by trashing technology, and pick up their phones. Maybe they’d learn exactly what their kids and friends are up to and find, like I do, that they’ve got some damn smart, funny people waiting to reply.
I’m proposing a new word: Maximally Privileged Person. By definition, MPPs are privileged on every known axis. The quintessential example of an MPP is Donald Trump–although MPPs do not need to be famous or politically influential, and they “only” need enough money to escape being oppressed by classism.
MPP movie protagonists are ridiculously common despite MPPs being a tiny percentage of the population.
Consider also people who are privileged on all axes except the one(s) you’re specifically talking about. Those would be maximally privileged trans people, or maximally privileged women, maximally privileged autistic people, etc. Please don’t call these people “trans MPPs,” “female MPPs,” or “autistic MPPs,” however–MPP as an abbreviation is only for people with all the privileges. “Near-MPP trans people/women/autistic people” is an acceptable alternative.
Near-MPPs’ opinions are given disproportionate weight in LGBT+ discussions.
In some ways the idea of maximal privilege is a cumbersome one. You can never know for sure who is maximally privileged unless you see them showing their privilege on each axis, which isn’t feasible except in the case of Donald Trump, who publicly spews vitriol down every power difference he finds. But it’s also a powerful term for theory.
MPPs tend to stay with MPPs, socially speaking, with one exception: as straight men, they must have at least a limited interaction with maximally privileged women.
Emma Watson, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, made a call for gender equality in a recent speech for the HeForShe campaign in New York, and while her efforts are beyond respectable, one writer used it as an opportunity to bully the star.
Her captivating speech challenged universities to provide “equal respect, leadership and pay” in order to “tell women that their brain power is valued.” She also encouraged universities to “make it clear” that the safety of women (as well as minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable) is “a right and not a privilege.”
While the speech was yet another applause-worthy move by the actress to promote gender equality and women’s rights, The Sun used it as a means to make fun of her.
Offered without comment - The Sun’s response to Emma Watson addressing the UN about gender equality and sexual assault.
In a clip from the publication (which was captured by Louise Ridley and posted on Twitter), the writer, Rod Liddle, condemns Watson for her boring “whining, leftie, PC crap,” which he says “all actresses do if we are stupid enough to give them the chance.”
Liddle, instead, suggests “Hermione Granger” should “stick to telling [people] the rules of quidditch or how to turn someone into a frog.”
Though he says he doesn’t object to “them” (them, meaning actresses) having views, he doesn’t understand “why we take them seriously.”
It seems as though Mr. Liddle didn’t do his research on Watson before publishing the article, so we figured we’d give him some insight:
Not only did she graduate from Brown University, but she’s also been an ambassador for the UN for two years, working on initiatives for the HeForShe campaign to raise awareness and promote gender equality and women’s rights. She’s given educational and respectable speeches on the subject time and time again and has become a major face in Hollywood to battle against its lack of gender equality and sexism.
Amid maintaining her career and her work with the UN, she also started a feminist book club called Our Shared Shelf and has fully participated in it, using the opportunity to further her own feminist education.
So, if Liddle or anyone else is questioning “Hermione’s” involvement in these matters, we remind you of the questions she once presented herself:
Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating, we need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations but who speak for all of humanity for the indigenous people of the world. For the billions & billions of under privileged people who will be most affected by this. For our children’s children and for those people out there who’s voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight, let us not take this planet for granted I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.
Leonardo Dicaprio, Oscar Win Speech (Words on Climate Change)
I love the fact that, while a whole country is united behind the same ideas : freedom of speech, unity without consideration of religion, color or politic party, marching on the street, that while all of our medias are saying the same mantra again of “no amalgams, the terrorists doesn’t represent islam, muslims are as much a part of France than the other”, that while muslims, jews and catholics are hugging on the streets, that while ordinary people who never heard the words of transphobia, Ferguson or white privilege are trying to overcome their prejudice and condone the bombing and tagging of mosque, applaud the cops they used to loathe for their work, a part of Tumblr is attacking us.
They attack us for defending free speech, when free speech is the only reason they can use this website to reclaim their agency, to educate themselves, to criticize governments and privilege. Without this free speech that we, French, fought and bleed for so many times already, you wouldn’t be able to speak. You would maybe not even know being something else than cis exist, than you may be aromantic, or asexual, that people like you exist in other parts of the world. You would be silent, forced to slave under laws that you can’t speak against, under people you can’t overthrow because no one think they are doing something wrong.
Yes, Tumblr, we French who tried so hard to overcome our privilege and our sometime biased views because of US thinking, who educated themselves on the internet on feminism and sexuality, because our universities don’t offer us courses on Feminism or Ingrained racism except if you do philosophy, because our countries are so wildly different that it’s normal that we can’t always understand you, we are today defending you.
People who you would maybe hate, because they don’t know their privilege, because they don’t know they are hurting your feelings, because they don’t know your religion and repeat things they heard without thinking too hard about it. People who know that what they do is not respectful, but when did we ever changed a country while being respectful ?! People who don’t know Tumblr exist. People who don’t know your problems exist. That you should be able to live the life you want, whitout having to fear for the future, without having to fear men, white people or religious therapy. But, hey, they do know fear. Now, even more than before, they know. The fear of turning on the TV and see another madman shooting people. The fear of taking the metro when it stop for a moment, thinking “hey, maybe there is a bomb, maybe I’m not gonna make it”. The fear for your relatives, because they lived 200 meters away from the printing house where the two terrorists hid for an entire day. For little boys who were told they couldn’t go outside their school because it was raining too hard, when the sound they could heard was the sound of helicopters and assault teams getting ready. The fear they heard in their parents voices, away in the country, for them.
So, maybe they don’t know your problems, and you. But they know fear. And rather than thinking only about them, their fear, their safety, they thought of you. They marched on the street when it was the perfect opportunity for a new killer to act. They took their children, their families, and they marched. For all the victims, no matter what religion they were, what work they did, what color they were. For this freedom of speech that is so much more valuable than our life, that people died for it. They choose to take a stance, to make a statement. That the French people doesn’t bow to terrorism. That the French people will support all religions and people who want to live together, under the banner of a great nation. That the French people is not afraid of standing for you. Your rights. Your right to have an opinion and express it. Your right to disagree with our rules and our ways. Your right to not like what Charlie Hebdo did. Your right to be muslim, or jewish, or atheist, or catholic, or any other thing you want to be. Your right to have a voice and to have it heard.
We fight for you since a very long time, Tumblr. Maybe we are a tiny community in here, maybe you don’t see us. But we see you. Our news talked about Boko Haram. They talked about the plane incident. Yes, the media coverage about the mosque and the news from other countries isn’t great at the moment, but can you blame us ? We just lived the most terrifying week ever, as a country, and you would blame us for being self centered ? For wanting to reconfort each other with the wonderful news of unity all over our country ?
You would want us, who tried to make Ferguson more know, who mourned Leelah, who try everytime they hear something racist or uneducated to take a stand, to think like you. To despise ourselves. To blame ourselves for our politics and they way the world work. But I think about all of those “white” girls that, suddenly, looked at themselves in the mirror, being told they are privilegied, when they thought their life wasn’t that great. I think of all those boys who try hard to say that sharing naked pictures of celebrities is wrong. I think about french people who think of you when they hear their own sister saying homophobic things, who weeps when the media doesn’t cover your protests.
So yeah, I find it fun that this tiny community that is trying so hard to change, for you, is getting so much hate.
You don’t understand our satire. I know why. You were never taught that everything can be criticized. Yes, even religion. You were never taught our dark humor, our cynical side that comes from a long line of philosophers and authors, from a people who broke his chains centuries ago from a monarchy “de droit divin”, by divine god. You were never told that you could laugh of everything, if you did it in a certain way. If it respected “the law of the genre”. You were never taught in law school that you can’t do “hommage”, or fanfiction, but that you can make fun of a person or his work, if you do it with an humoristic intent.
Your media doesn’t understand us. It fly over all the covers of Charlie Hebdo that made fun of our politician, of the Pope, that laughed in the face of our extremist parties, because you need to know the actuality of our country to actually understand the jokes. Your media doesn’t understand second degree humor. Your media doesn’t understand that all victims are mourned in our country, that we know the name and the face of everything single one of them. That they will go into french history, not just the cartoonists, but the maintenance agent, the cops, the muslims and the jews. Your media doesn’t understand that we are spreading love and acceptance, that we are already suing those who spread hate on twitter.
So. You don’t understand us. You don’t try to understand us. You come to us, with your ideas, your religion and your education. You come to us who tried so much to be accepted into Tumblr, who tried to make a difference in a country vastly different from yours, who tried to be better persons. And you spit on us.
And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of trying to think all night about witty comebacks for people who rejected my offer of help to understand satire better. Of people who thought and said Charlie Hebdo were biggots and racist and that French people should die. I’m tired of this indignation that is causing me to shake in my bed, because a whole country is trying to do better and you don’t try at all.
But I’m not going to silence you. I will support your causes. Your problems. I will reblog and like your stories, I will think about them and try to be a better person. I will get into arguments with my sister and my grandparents about you, about your right to be who you want, to live as you want. I will stand for you. I will try to make my little corner of the world better, even if it’s slow.
So, please. If you can’t stand for us. Just let us stand for you without scorn. We will fight this fight, with this french spirit you seem to like and detest at the same time. And I’ll be damned if we don’t win. So that tomorrow, you can be free.
And I want to thank every single one of you who mourned for us, who reblogged or liked our posts or thought of us. We saw the images on the news, your actions in every part of the world for Je suis Charlie. To know that, even for an hour, a day, you thought of us, is the greatest achievement of all. Thank you.
Megan O’Rourke writes about the current fight over free speech at Yale, her alma mater:
In speaking out about the university’s possible paternalism, [Erika] Christakis and her husband were privileging abstract free-speech rights over the immediate emotional experiences of those who are likely to experience discrimination at the university. And what must be underscored is the position from which they spoke. Masters host teas, throw parties, and are your advocates on campus—your social support and your surrogate parents, in a sense. To have these figures suggest that the way to deal with racism is to “look away” must feel like a massive disappointment—even a betrayal.
It’s hard not to see the Yale case as emblematic of a vicious cycle—and, in this way, different from some of the other recent conflicts on college campuses: élite institutions allow inequities to continue without successfully addressing them, in turn making resentment build.