Photo Courtesy of Ryan McGuire
Racism- Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. (Oxford Dictionaries as of January 2018)
My definition of Racism- ANYTHING that you think, say, or do that is filtered through someone's color (race), or ethnic background.*
What makes it hard to address the type of racism we see prevalent in our society today is the mischaracterization of what it means, something that we will explore further in Part II.
Racism and hatefulness are not dependent upon another; however, because we fail to characterize racism appropriately, White people can say they "don't see color," and because they aren't walking around calling Black people 'niggers,' believe this to be true. This subtle deception also supports the delusion that Black people can't be racist, or that the "oppressed cannot be the oppressor."**
However, real life practicality tells us that this is a lie, and Jesus Christ Himself provided an example of this in scripture. He tells us about a man who, in great debt to his master fell before him in mercy. In a move of compassion, the king forgave the man of his debt, but as soon as that servant saw his fellowman out in the street who owed him a substantially less amount of money, the servant went as far as to have him thrown into jail until he paid what he owed (Matthew 18). Apparently, both men were in the same financial boat, the only advantage one held over the other is monies owed. Therefore, the idea that a person who is being oppressed cannot in turn be an oppressor does not sit well with me.
I advocate for the proffered definition of racism simply for this reason- it forces you to think about what it is you are thinking. Metacognition, if you will. When thoughts and emotions are filtered through this understanding, Black people realize that yes, the oppressed CAN be the oppressor and White people realize that they "see color" more than they would like to believe. America was built up on hateful racism, but the idea of racism is neutral in the sense that it cannot be more than what a person forces it to be. Only when we truly accept how hatefulness towards people of color is the darkness behind America's "Greatness" will we truly begin to heal as a nation.
More to follow on this topic...
*Notes on Life Podcast now airing on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify*
Citing HBO's Insecure, Season 2 episode 2.**