Why People Think You Are a Racist

This article isn’t for those of you who are racist and want to fly under the radar.

The challenging part of talking about racism is that no one thinks of themselves as a racist. Not even white supremacists.

However, if you want to be heard in a conversation and to the best of your self-knowledge you don’t think of yourself as a racist and you happen to be white, this article is for you.

If you are wondering why people consider you a racist the moment you open your mouth or write a post, here is the reason.

The reason why people think you are a racist is because you think, speak and act like a racist. It doesn’t get much more simpler than that. There are ways that racists express themselves that you tend to recognize if you hear it.

However, what you may not be aware of is that the main reason you are being perceived that way has nothing to do with your ethnicity. The reason is that you are refusing to understand the social and historical context of racism. The second reason is that you are consciously or unconsciously demanding that someone explain it to you.

If all you can say is ‘What are you talking about? I know Slavery is bad’ then you may as well stop reading. You are more interested in defending yourself.

The second someone has to explain the unique position that white men have in this society or that the ‘racism’ you experience as a white man is the backlash of hundreds of years of oppression that other people have suffered because of other white people — then you lost already. People will assume that you’ve willingly or unwillingly have stuck your head in the sand for your whole life and are bathing in the privilege that you don’t HAVE to think of these things.

No one should have to explain to you why you can say Black power but not White power. No one should have to explain to you what minorities have consistently gone through in this country. No one should have to give you a history of race relations in America.

If you cant acknowledge that someone has had a different experience than yours and make them give you concrete examples of their experience than you have already shut down the conversation.

At this point you have two options. You can decide that you don’t care what these people think and completely walk away and not deal. That is the moment that you embrace racism. Basically you wasted your time and the other person’s time.

Or you can say that while you may not get it, that you can see where the other person is coming from. This is the critical juncture — the crossroads where your fate will decide.

When you decide to walk away from the uncomfortable and choose what you want to see, at that point you have chosen to become part of the system. You see, racism is a system of oppression that seeks to enslave, degrade, dehumanize, penalize and if necessary eliminate those who it considers inferior. Racism exists all over the world throughout several cultures and people groups. If you choose to be a part of that system and accepts its beliefs then you are a racist.

Racism doesn’t always live in the aggressive actions. Racism often breeds in the silent decisions you make to yourself everyday.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store