argument top image

< Back to question Can white people be victims of racism? Show more Show less

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?

No, white people cannot be victims of racism Show more Show less

This perspective believes that racism does not exist in a vacuum. Racism is predicated on systemic oppression; something is racist because it deepens existing racial inequalities. Whites are the primary beneficiaries of society's norms and institutions. Therefore, they cannot be victims of racism.
(1 of 2) Next position >

Racism is white supremacy

White supremacism is a specific brand of racism that cannot be grouped into the same category as other types. Racism originates within this tradition. Therefore, the dictionary definition we choose to use is irrelevant. Racism describes a centuries-old belief in white domination. The same ideology that led to a thriving international slave trade, Jim Crow, the brutal murder of Emmett Till and thousands more murdered for the colour of their skin. White supremacy stands alone in its role in historical atrocities and present inequalities. Proponents include New York Times columnist Jamelle Boule and Time Political Correspondent Vera Bergengruen.
(1 of 4) Next argument >


Not sure yet? Read more before voting ↓


The Argument

The United States was founded on white supremacy and the belief that white people had to colonize and civilize the unknown, its people included. As the power structure currently exists in the US, white people are still the majority in positions of power and there is a constant push from majority white groups (political and religious) [1] to maintain this system for fear of being outnumbered by minorities. From the beginning of slavery laws to current issues regarding access to equal education, the white majority in the US has strived to maintain a dominant status as the power wielder and lawmaker.[2] White supremacists have been found to infiltrate the military and police forces with little to no repercussions, and incidents of domestic terrorism carried out by white people have rarely resulted in the equivalent show of force that is used on unarmed black people.[2] This is a clear example of America’s desire to uphold white supremacy despite egregious offenses against the citizenry while demonizing racial minorities who did little to nothing to deserve being murdered by law enforcement.

Counter arguments

Racism exists in every society in the world. If racism is defined as the oppression of one group over another on the basis of believed racial superiority, then racism is not exclusively the domain of white people or whiteness, but of any group in power who can oppress another group based on that power imbalance.[3]


Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 03:14 UTC

Explore related arguments