Michelle Sanchez: The oppressed have every right to prejudge

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Michelle Sanchez: The oppressed have every right to prejudge

Megan Kearney

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Whether it’s brought up in a discussion with my classmates, or as a comment on the internet, the most common response I’ve heard from white people when people of color express their outrage and mistrust towards them is “you’re being reverse racist,” the notion that minority races have the audacity to be prejudiced towards whites, and that this brings discrimination .

 The idea of “reverse racism” or “racism against whites exists” is ridiculous, and it’s important to establish that it does not exist.

Racism is having your pain mocked and belittled, your expressiveness cackled at and being portrayed as a “sassy black woman,” while white people have the privilege of having their thoughts and opinions coddled and considered important. Racism is dehumanizing people of color by making their cultures’ customs (eg. bindis, headdresses) a petty fashion trend.

Racism is having a lesser chance of being hired for a job for sounding “too black,” while other American English dialects, “California English,” Appalachian English, New York Dialect, to name a few, are considered to be “proper.”

The most prominent message while looking through magazines and watching TV is that the only people worthy of being represented are those with euro-centric features. That is racist.

So no, “reverse racism” does not exist. Is there such thing as prejudice towards white people? Definitely, but it’s important to understand that racism takes place when racial prejudice and systematic/institutional power are both against you. People of color are not in positions of power as white people are. Therefore, racism is only inflicted on people of color.

If your instinct is to get irritated and defensive when a person of color points out your privilege, sit down and listen. It’s essential to realize that people of color have every right to be angry and to assume that people are evil due to oppression that they face  in the first place. To think people of color have to downplay their anger just so white people don’t get their feelings hurt is self-centered and disgusting.

The oppressed have every right to prejudge.

What do you think?