Are Black People Racist?

Racism is an uncomfortable topic to speak about, and I really want to address this issue of black people being racist.

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Afropunk 2015

If you asked me a year ago if I was a racist, I would have said yes. As a mixed-race woman (black mother, white father) – although I was born in Germany, my whole life has been surrounded by my black Nigerian heritage and I identify very strongly with my black side.

While I’ve been exploring the true meaning of racism, since it all comes down to power, can black people really be racist? There is no denying that there is a seething hatred for whites from some black people. I personally never thought I could really and truly get on with some white people because I thought they could never understand me, and I couldn’t be my authentic self around them.

But what really scares me the most is the hatred that some black people have towards other black people. All black people are not the same, the same way that not all white people, or even Latin people are the same. I watched an interesting video on youtube, and although I dont 100% agree with everything this man says, he does make some valid points.

A while ago I was trying to discuss race issues with a friend I met at work. He’s Irish and whenever I try to have a conversation with him about rac’ism’ and trying to make him agree that white privilege exists; he argues that the Irish were also enslaved, and he grew up during “The Troubles” – growing up he experienced a lot of violence and discrimination for various reasons. He also went on to argue that black people destroy their own communities and kill each other more than the police are killing them.

Although I can’t knock his experience and what he went through growing up – I definitely disagreed with the fact that black people destroy each others communities. In order to back up his argument he sent me a video of an old uncle Tom talking sh*t about a rally for Trayvon Martin which was going on outside a black-owned business (which apparently none of the protesters supported). He goes on to say that when a black life is taken by a non-black person, that’s the only time it matters – even though there were a couple of shootings “black-on-black” crime in that area quite recently.

Any excuse to pull the race-card right? No! I understand that since I live in the UK, racism is different compared to the USA. There is a social experiment called ‘Shopping while black‘ and in one situation where a black woman is followed and searched in a shop [the experiment is staged and the store attendant told other customers in the store about why “her kind” is always suspicious] one of the customers asked the store attendant – “oh, did she pull the race card?” .. I can’t do the video much justice so I suggest you watch it for yourself (its linked above).

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Slavery tends to get brought up because hundreds of years of dehumanisation, segregation and lack of healing have caused the society that we live in today. Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary calls it Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome. There has never been any kind of reparation or form of help to the black community for what they had to go through.

” In 1833, The Slavery Abolition Act (UK) stated that a sum of 20million pounds was paid, not to those who had lost lives or had been oppressed by slavery, but to the white owners who had lost their ‘property’ “

In my opinion, black people have every right to be angry at white people. Honestly, I believe white people are so scared of black people these days because deep down inside they know that revenge is due. This is why racists starting coming out of the wood works to say that Beyonce is anti-cops and uplifting the Black Panthers in her superbowl performance.

The Black Panthers were created to protect black people and their communities; they used to monitor police officers in their areas. White people even created a White Panthers group to support the Black Panthers after they were told that if they wanted to support the Black Panthers that’s what they should do.

To round up, I don’t think that black people can be RACIST – but I do agree that there is some racial prejudice among some black people which is interpreted as racism. Black people cannot be racist because they dont have enough power to negatively affect the lives of those that they are prejudice against.

Racism is about POWER

In my “definition” of racism I agreed with the fact that racism is an irrational bias (positive OR negative) against a certain racial group.

I also agree that there is some form of prejudice or hatred towards white people – The general vibe I get from white people when I try to talk to them about racism, is that there is a fear of being called racist.

Rather than accepting that racism exists, they to try to justify that racism isn’t as bad as it is when white people are being stereotyped negatively as well. Here is what an old work colleague of mine commented on an angry fb status I wrote regarding a racist newspaper article I saw

to be fair, as a white male, i cannot claim racism, i cannot claim sexism, i cannot claim ageism (atm) i am in the most discriminated against section of society, as no-one will believe me if i claim any “ism” at all… and re. racism how come rappers can say the “N” word (see i am not allowed to type it without inciting racial hatred) all the time and no-one blinks an eye or claims inciting racial hatred by them…”

Jane Elliott’s brown eye blue eye experiment is a great example of white people denying racism. When the topic was raised that black people have to try harder to fit in and conform. One lady pointed out that her husband also has to conform! He has to wake up early and put on a suit and go to work. I was astounded that she was agreeing with the words coming out of her mouth – I’ve included a link a video of the experiment above.

There is a thin line between racism and prejudice, and that line in power. The suffix ‘-ism’ means a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement. If sexism and homophobia have been accepted in society, why is the meaning of racism so misunderstood.

In a beautiful example given by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary asks her audience how white racism negatively affects black people – there were answers such as: job opportunity; housing; school performance etc.. When she asked the audience what negative affects black racism had … Silence. And that is exactly the point.

Racism becomes intertwined with the power systems, if the majority of lawyers, politicians, police officers etc are mostly white men, then there is a real imbalance with who works in highly influential positions which doesn’t reflect the rest of the population.

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Black Lives Matter

Not all white people are racist, but the system of white supremacy/privilege is racist. So.. can black people really be racist? Find out in my next blog post