Reverse racism

There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the reverse of any form of oppression). White women can be just as prejudiced as men, women cannot be ‘just as sexist as men’ because they do not hold political, economic, and institutional power.

—Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, Özlem Sensoy, Robin J. DiAngelo[1]

A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States, by Barry Deutsch[2]
A comic depicting contexts in which the phrase reverse racism might make more sense.[3]

Reverse racism is a misplaced attempt to explain prejudice, bigotry, and oppression directed at White people by appealing to their skin colour.

Presumably, the proponents of this phrase understand that racism means prejudice, bigotry, and oppression directed at people based on skin colour, race, and/or ethnicity and that most of such oppression is directed at darker skinned people. Thus they create a new phrase to describe the "opposite" oppression, i.e., oppression directed at lighter skinned people based on their skin colour. This is an extremely misplaced analysis of kyriarchy, and society in general; with no factual basis.

While White people face many intersectional oppressions, e.g., transmisogyny affects trans women regardless of skin colour, poverty affects everybody, and so on, they do not face oppression because of their skin colour. This is not by definition, this is based on the empirical evidence for kyriarchy. Notwithstanding, all oppressions intersect with racism. So a black trans woman, for example, is even more likely to be injured by transmisogynistic acts (known as transmisogynoir) than a white trans woman.[4]

Could reverse racism ever exist?

Aamer Rahman, a person of colour, comedian and social justice advocate, talking about reverse racism.[5][6]

In theory, if we take reverse racism to mean discrimination on the basis of skin wherein the lighter one is the more they are oppressed, then it could exist in a system wherein all the cultural and social values were set by black people and/or other people of colour (PoC). Such a system would contain power dynamics that were the outcome of a historical precedent for the disempowerment of white and lighter skinned people. Being darker-skinned and any other PoC external characterists would be the epitome of beauty; white slavery would be a world-wide historical event in which PoC owned and traded white people; countries with predominantly white populations would be considered "backwards"; a cornerstone of their heritage, both past and present, would be PoC cultures invading and colonising white countries; and so on. In fact the phrase/acronym PoC in such a world would likely not exist.

A world such as that described above, which would contain reverse racism, is detailed eloquently in Aamer Rahman's routine, reproduced here in both video and transcripted format:

A lot of people don’t like my comedy, a lot of White people don’t like my comedy, a lot of White people say this to me:


"Hey Aamer, hey. Get on stage, you make your jokes about White people, you say "White people this, White people that." What if I did something like that, huh? What if I got on stage and said yeah, "Black people are like this, Muslims are like that." You’d probably call me a racist, wouldn’t you?"

And I say, “Yeah, yeah I would. Yeah, you should never do that, That’s bad for your health.” They’re like, “Well you do that Aamer! You do that. You get on stage, you make your jokes about White people. Don’t you think that’s a kind of a racism? Don’t you think that’s… dun dun duuun… reverse racism?”

I said, “No, I don’t think that’s reverse racism,” not because I think reverse racism exists, I think if you ask some Black people they’ll tell you flat out “There’s no such thing as reverse racism.” I don’t agree with that. I think there is such a thing as reverse racism, and I can be a reverse racist if I wanted to. All I would need would be a time machine, right? And what I’d do is I would get in my time machine and I’d go back in time to before Europe colonized the world, right? And I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and colonize Europe, right?

Just occupy them, steal their land and resources. Set up some kind of like, I don’t know, Trans-Asian slave trave, where we exported white people to work on giant rice plantations in China. Just ruin Europe over the course of a couple centuries, so all their descendants would wanna migrate out and live in the places where black and brown people come from.

Of course in that time, I’d make sure I set up systems that privilege black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity. And white people will never have any hope of real self-determination. Every couple of decades make up some fake war as an excuse to go bomb them back to the Stone Age and say it’s for their own good because their culture’s inferior. And just for kicks, subject white people to coloured people’s standards of beauty, so they end up hating the colour of their own skin, eyes and hair.

If after hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of that, I got on stage at a comedy show and said, “Hey, what’s the deal with White people? Why can’t they dance?” That would be reverse racism.[6]

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