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Can white people in the USA be victims of racism?
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Racism is based on systemic power relationships

Racism is one directional. White people cannot be victims of racism because they occupy a superior position within society.

The Argument

No, white people cannot be victims of racism as racism is one directional.[1] White people cannot be victims of racism because they occupy a privileged social position that does not face systemic racial oppression, especially in Western society. If racism, as it is defined, is based on systemic power relationships, it is therefore impossible for white people to suffer from racism as they hold power in the current racial dynamic. Some people may think that racism is the belief that certain races are inferior to others as a base definition. Using this definition, it is theoretically possible that white people could be victims of racism. However, this definition is incorrect. Racism is predicated on some racial groups being more powerful than others. Uneven power dynamics allow it to function and flourish. The measure of racism is therefore in its wider implications: how it feeds into structural inequalities that sustain dangerous attitudes about certain groups. Over the course of hundreds of years of systematic racist efforts towards minority populations, and on the other hand, hundreds of years of the systematic embrace of white privilege, white people do not suffer from racism.[2] A black person making a negative comment about white people might be offensive or prejudiced, but it is not essentially racist, because their words do not have structural implications or an oppressive history.[3] The same is not true were these roles reversed.

Counter arguments

White people can be victims of racism, even with in systemic power relationships. That is because racism is primarily defined as discrimination based on skin-color. The definition of racism does not need to be exclusive, but rather should be inclusive of various forms of discrimination. By limiting racism to one-faceted experience, not only are the racist experiences of white people devalued, but multiple ethnicities and races that aren’t black.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 15:38 UTC

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