Reverse Racism: a Myth, a Lie, and an Excuse


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A Black Lives Matter protester holds a sign in support of singer Beyonce during a rally outside the NFL Headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 16, 2016. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Racism is not a topic that is easily discussed within America and our inability to host these vital discussions often leads to a number of misconceptions and blatantly incorrect concepts that can cause a significant amount of controversy. Allow me to set one thing straight: reverse racism does not exist.  

When reading this, please keep in mind that racism is an incredibly deep-rooted issue in America that goes far beyond the simple definition that many of us are aware of, and my thoughts on it are barely skimming the tumultuous surface of this controversial topic.

Reverse racism seems to be a concept on the rise. Just the other day, I encountered someone who vehemently and passionately argued that reverse racism does in fact exist and white people are constantly victims of it. Thousands of white Americans are joining in on this argument. According to a study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 55% of white Americans surveyed said that they believe there is discrimination against white people in America.

However, in my opinion, the definition of racism has been skewed and changed by people who have never experienced it firsthand. Racism is often defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Though the last seven words are often thrown aside and forgotten.

Additionally, racism can be classified as a racial majority’s power to dominate a minority group politically, economically, and socially, but this portion of the definition tends to be excluded from ones scattered throughout the internet.

If a minority group in America lacks power politically, socially, and economically–since these groups are still considered to subordinate to the white race–how could they possibly exhibit racist behavior? Not to mention, minorities are constantly bombarded with various outlets that portray white people as the more powerful race with traits and qualities that are more graceful, fairer, and preferred to the physical features of minority groups.

This results in many children being raised with the belief that fair skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair are desired traits, and minority groups are subordinate – the undesirables of America.

For example, a study called the Doll Test was conducted by two licensed psychologists in 1947, and young children of all different ethnicities were given four baby dolls, identical except for their skin color. The results were clear: the children preferred the white doll and associated it with positive adjectives and beliefs. A similar study was done again in 2010 which received the same results. Young, impressionable minds surrounded by pictures, advertisements, political figures, etc. that are not nearly as diverse as they should be ultimately leads to this mindset.

I, myself, have fallen victim to the belief that my Filipino features are not nearly as beautiful as the physical features of a white person. I continue to grapple with this and I am joined by millions of other teens and adults in minority groups that have been brainwashed by America’s societal structure.

The pasts of minority groups in America are filled with bloodshed, colonization, slavery, and oppression. Those who believe in reverse racism seem to have forgotten this suffering. It feels as though they have chosen to turn a blind eye to minorities’ agonizing pasts and instead have chosen to play the part of a victim. The reality is that minorities have been enslaved and shoved far down on the social pyramid for a significant part of American history, which is why the term racism rose to prominence. Do not forget that.

I do acknowledge that some minority groups hold prejudices against the white race, but this does not amount to racism. Common prejudices formulated about white people come from their extremely biased behaviors that seem to be reoccurring themes. An example being, white police brutality may lead to the belief that all white people will react in a violent manner to a person of color’s harmless behavior. Most prejudices are formed through a paranoia based on observations and experiences.

I know that being half-Filipino I have never experienced racism nearly as harshly as others have, but I am no stranger to unchecked white privilege and white supremacy. Countless times, I have had white friends and acquaintances try to dictate what race I am. They have pointed to my skin and told me that I am white, nothing more.

What seems like a small gesture is so much more because those people believed that they had the right to decide who I am. Whether subconsciously or not, they thought that they held power over me, enough to control me and to make my decisions for me. It’s moments like those that force me to realize just how deeply racism, discrimination, and white privilege run through our society’s veins. It’s moments like those that make me realize how much I hunger for change.