The Problem of Reverse Racism
By: Jabram Raven Allen
September 03, 2011
A misunderstood and resented concept among whites, “I can’t understand why blacks can have black churches or other meeting places without it being called racism.” I understand how this situation can cause negative feelings among whites, and though entitled to their feelings; through lack of interpersonal experience and overwhelming corporate promotion of negative racial stereotypes , whites remain intentionally poorly informed about black/white racial relationships within the U.S…
The following statement is taken from a discussion between R. Jensen PhD from the School of Journalism University of Texas ( et. al. Baltimore Sun, White Privilege Shapes America, July 4, 1999) “Here’s what white privilege sounds like: I’m sitting in my University of Texas office, talking to a very bright, conservative white student about affirmative action in college admissions, which he opposes.” The student states that he wants a level playing field with no unearned advantages for anyone. “I ask him if he thinks being white has advantages in the United States. Yes, he concedes, there is something real and tangible we could call white privilege.”So, if we live in a world of white privilege – unearned white privilege – how does that affect your notion of a level playing field?” He paused for a moment and said, “That really doesn’t matter.” “That statement, I suggested to him, reveals the ultimate white privilege: The privilege to acknowledge that you have unearned privilege but to ignore what it means.”
If you are familiar with the concept of recuperative space, a space utilized for rest and healing through retreat, you realize that whites posses an overwhelming degree of such spaces, plus consistent positive input about their racial identity through virtual and written media. Despite affirmative action, blacks however are forced to deal with both outward and covert hostile psychological attacks through: police harassment and brutality, explicit vilification of black men through media, refusal to acknowledge black men as other than gang bangers and rappers – images readily utilized by white corporate media to sell offensive merchandise to disenfranchised urban youth; while dismissing black men that have assimilated healthily into white society in terms of dress, mannerisms and behavior as being like whites, and having no concept of blackness. Because most whites accept stereotypes of blacks as a reality, blacks that are articulate, intelligent and well assimilated into white – U.S. – society are often found by such whites to be intimidating; challenging to white perception of what is and isn’t black and punished for successfully assimilating into U.S. society by being removed from media, the work place and various institutions that interact with the public; while blacks that conform to black racial stereotypes utilized to reinforce the beliefs of whites in their white racial superiority are rewarded by being allowed to remain within settings that ‘uppity’ blacks have been excluded from.
Because of this consistent assault on their character; blacks gather in institutions that actually accept and encourage their healthy presentation as human beings raised and educated within an industrialized, European society. However; even if these institutions have been traditionally black, they have never denied entrance into these institutions to non-blacks either blatantly, or covertly – even those individuals intentionally seeking to usurp and co-opt such places in order to prove a point or become a sanctioned, empowered minority catered to by “decent blacks”.
When blacks speak of racism, they are referring to the demeaning, race based attitudes of those individuals maintaining control of a particular institution and how they are affected by those attitudes by personally and as a group; especially if that institution has declared itself to be a public institution. Most blacks don’t have a problem with whites or any other group declaring a space as theirs as long as that space does not require blacks as tax payers to pay for it at their expense. Black institutions such as black colleges do not depend upon white financial support to maintain their existence. However, a white or Latino student may attend Howard University even though it is a traditionally black college. But what usually happens is that unlike healthily assimilated blacks who enter into white institutions and respect the dominant society whites and other groups usually enter into black institutions and attempt a coup; while accusing those institutions of reverse racism as they dismiss the fact that whites possess a far greater number of institutions then they do. Thus; over time, blacks have had to become protective of their own institutions – institutions that were hard fought for with blood sweat and tears; while protecting their right to enter and be part of the mainstream institutions that declare themselves to be public domains.