Commentary: The Foolishness of the “Reverse Racism” Complaint

A new study shows that some whites believe anti-white racism is on par with anti-Black racism, if not worse. 

Posted: 04/19/2013 03:43 PM EDT
Commentary: The Foolishness of the “Reverse Racism” Complaint

It’s going to sound crazy to people of color who have themselves experienced racism in America, but a new poll finds that a significant number of whites now believe that they’re bearing the brunt of a lot of America’s racial animosity. Not only that, some believe that anti-white racism is now an even worse problem than racism against minorities.

According to the joint research project out of Tufts University and Harvard Business School, called “Whites See Racism as a Zero-sum Game that They Are Now Losing,” “[b]oth whites and blacks agree that anti-black racism has decreased over the last 60 years, according to the study. However, whites believe that anti-white racism has increased and is now a bigger problem than anti-black racism.”

“It's a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society,” Tufts Associate Professor of Psychology Samuel Sommers, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement, “most of which show black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health and employment.”

Not only are there those common, everyday disparities, of course. For a better look at how ridiculous it is to think that whites suffer real, serious racial animosity more than people of other races, look no further than our recent struggles with Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.

Despite the fact that it turns out both leading suspects in the case are Chechen, with light complexions, in the aftermath of the bombing, there was a faulty suggestion by CNN reporter John King that we should be looking for a “dark-skinned” suspect. Not only that, in recent days others have leapt into action to work against anyone who seems to have ties to the Middle East, such as when one man tackled a Saudi national in the moments after the bombing because he looked “suspicious.” In another incident, two Arabic speakers were led off of a plane at Boston’s Logan Airport while authorities checked a “suspicious” bag. All three people detained seemingly because of their ties to a different culture turned out to be completely innocent.

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a white guy from New York, detonated a massive truck bomb, killing and injuring nearly 1,000 people, many of them children. Despite the fact that McVeigh committed terrorism on a massive scale, to this day people don’t give the side eye to every white man they see at the airport. They don’t tackle random white men in the wake of violence. They don’t do that because they know that one white person committing one foul act does not taint all white people.

When people of color are caught committing crimes, on the other hand, it is to many racists in America a testament to the fact that those entire communities just can’t be trusted. That’s one of the ugliest aspects of racism in America and it’s a good example of one reason why whites complaining about “reverse racism” have it all wrong.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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