With the verdict of the the Ferguson trial having been announced, and riots occurring
all over the nation, the concept of racism has been a heavily discussed topic. Race has always been an issue that is regularly debated and discussed, but the events that have been taking place in Ferguson have become a catalyst for national discussion. This is a something that will go down in history. Michael Brown is the not the first black boy to be killed by a police officer, and sadly he won’t be the last (in fact, many have been killed since him). But the activists that have taken inspiration from this case are hoping to make it so that it is no longer a standard.
But, I’ve digressed. What I really want to focus on is the recent discussions of race themselves. One very interesting concept that has been touched upon before is the very definition of racism. There is an argument held by many that no one but white people can be racist. Reverse-racism is also being debunked as something that can not be possible. Why? Because “true” racism is Prejudice + Power. And who is in “power”? Why, white people, of course.
Now, I 100% agree with the concept of white privilege. I believe that there is an injustice in our society that stands on the foundations of hundreds of years of oppression of POC. As a POC, I highly resent the imbalance in opportunities. I very highly resent the fact that a young black boy who peacefully surrendered to the cops was shot down and killed out of “fear”, when a white man who shot up a movie theater in Colorado was arrested peacefully.
That said, I disagree that POC can’t be racist. I believe they can be racist toward other POC, as well as white people. Someone said that POC can have a “racial prejudice”against white people, but that it is not actual racism.
To be racist is to think, speak, or act out on negative feelings toward someone based strictly on the color of their skin. White people, historically, have show to be more prone to racism. Our nation was founded by white men who believed they were superior to other races…and unfortunately that is the foundation upon which our society is based.
Because discrimination and racism is very much institutionalized in our society, I believe that the power for change lies with those have the privileged. So, obviously: white people.
But I stand by the idea that racism is not so much based on power, but on perceived differences in general.