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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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White men are most racially sidelined group in society

White men are subject to overt - and socially acceptable - racism all the time. White male identity is increasingly seen through a single demonising lens that associates them with guilt, oppression, violence and ignorance. This has come about thanks to a number of colliding factors including initiatives to redress unbalanced gender and racial representation across industry, in the media, and in the workplace. Proponents of this view include Scottish Herald columnist Stuart Waiton and the American alt right.

The Argument

Racism may be understood as discrimination against a certain group of people based on their race, with the underlying belief that one’s own race is superior. [1]This understanding suggests that any individual of any race can experience racism. That said, white people can be victims of racism if non-white individuals show prejudice towards them due to their colour. Mitch Berbrier carried out a study on white supremacist media appearances and publications, in which the supremacist groups assert that they are victims of racial profiling and discrimination. [2]The study also demonstrated that alt-right groups believe that their rights are being challenged, such as the freedom to create their own publications and groups and openly express their views.[3] To state that white men are racially sidelined in society is to suggest that they are overlooked and not privy to certain privileges that are afforded to other races. One way in which the aforementioned manifests is through affirmative action. Affirmative action, also known as positive discrimination, can be understood favouring certain groups, such as ethnic minorities, that have been discriminated against. Favouring non-white races can simultaneously be interpreted as the disapproval and neglect of white people. What’s more, Tufts University carried out a study into white and Black American attitudes towards racism. [4]The results demonstrated that white Americans believed that racism against whites has increased since racism against other races, such as Blacks, has decreased. 11% of the white participants claimed that anti-white bias was high. White Americans are recognizing that racial equality is a zero-sum game. Because of this, progress in racial equality for other races negatively affects their lives. [5]

Counter arguments

The crucial issue with this argument is that it overlooks the fundamental role of power structures in facilitating racism, which exists within a hierarchical structure. Historically in the West, white people have rested on the top of this structure given Eurocentric beliefs that privilege whites. [6] That said, it is indeed possible for white people to suffer racial prejudice, such as assumptions and stereotypes about them. However, this cannot be equated to racism, as the prejudice having an effect on the socio-economic standing and privileges of white people is missing. Given that whites generally hold power, due to the aforementioned influence of Eurocentric beliefs and structures, white people cannot be feasibly sidelined. Even affirmative action has to be facilitated by those who are generally in positions of power and influence, i.e white people.

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Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism#:~:text=1%20%3A%20belief%20that%20certain%20races,or%20hatred%20based%20on%20race
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20832074
  3. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/the-worlds-worst-support-group/536850
  4. https://ase.tufts.edu/psychology/sommerslab/documents/raceinternortonsommers2011.pdf
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523124220.htm
  6. https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/09/can-white-people-experience-racism-12340542/

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This page was last edited on Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 10:09 UTC

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