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Can white people be victims of racism? Show more Show less
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In 2011 Harvard and Tufts universities published a landmark study into American attitudes to racism. Many found their findings surprising. White respondents believed their communities were subject to more racism than their black counterparts. Their belief was that post-civil rights efforts to correct anti-black prejudice had come at the expense of white people. But this idea of"reverse racism" frequently comes under fire . As study co-author Samuel Sommers writes, ""It's a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society, most of which show black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health, and employment." In the decade since the paper was published, this debate has become more central to the political agenda. Investigating prejudice, identity and ethnicity, has become critical to understanding how racism is performed and reproduced. So, can white people be victims of racism?

Yes, white people can be victims of racism Show more Show less

This perspective looks at the everyday prejudices faced by white people as proof that they can be victims of racism.
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Anti-black racism starts global movements, while anti-white racism is socially acceptable

White victimisation is on the rise, and yet barely registers in the news cycle. Many point to President Trump's presidency and the backlash against his perceived racism against ethnic minorities. In the aftermath of controversial laws, such as the travel ban, videos surfaced of blacks attacking whites on the basis of their colour. That footage was never investigated. Nor did it spark any kind of meaningful social movement, like those seen in Ferguson or in the wake of George Floyd's murder. There can only be one takeaway here: society places greater value on black lives. The ongoing violent protests around the world by Black Lives Matter activists typify this attitude, and how it has now become engrained in the social psyche. Proponents include white supremacists and the alt-right.

The Argument

Mainstream culture’s position on racism displays a disturbing double-standard. Anti-white racism is tolerated and accepted while anti-black racism is condemned and seen as morally reprehensible. The names of George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, and many other black victims of racial injustice are known to almost every American citizen. Their deaths caused public outrage and led to massive protests around the nation, but when the 5 Dallas police officers, Brent Thompson, Michael Krohl, Michael Smith, Patrick Zamarripa and Lorne Ahrens were gunned down in July during a Black Lives Matter protest, their names were quickly forgotten[1]. Anti-white sentiment has recently resulted in both violent actions as well as rhetoric, most notably by member of The New York Times editorial board Sarah Jeong. Jeong has publicly made racist statements such as, “The world could get by just fine with zero white people”, and It’s “kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men”. The Times explained her behavior as a response to the racist tweets that she had been receiving online, but there was no public outcry at her inflammatory tweets.[2]. If it had been the opposite, and a member of the Times editorial board had posted an anti-black racist comment, they would be publicly fired automatically. As anti-black racism is rightfully viewed as deplorable by mainstream culture, anti-white racism has become an accepted position in society.

Counter arguments

Many social justice advocates would argue that the reason that global movements haven't erupted from anti-white violence isn't because there is currently less value placed on white lives. The reason is because white people suffer individual cases of violence against them, not the systematic violence that African American's must suffer through. While it is possible for people to be prejudice against white people, it is impossible for them to be racist to white people because they do not have the support of the systems of power[3].

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/dallas-police-ambush-anniversary-memorial-tuesday/2401813/
  2. https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2019/04/29/the-war-against-white-people/
  3. https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/09/can-white-people-experience-racism-12340542/

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This page was last edited on Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 00:11 UTC

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