Leave ‘reverse racism’ in 2016

Race relations in America have been on shaky ground for some time now, and with the impending inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, hopes are low for improvement from both combatants on both sides of the political spectrum.

A survey from the Pew Research Center found that 74 percent of African-Americans expect race relations to worsen following Trump’s election, with only 5 percent expecting improvements. In contrast, 43 percent of white voters expect race relations to worsen, while 27 percent expect them to improve.

As race relations made their way to becoming a topic of conversation across the entire country, it became clear that some people who speak on the topic are uninformed about what really defines racism.

Racism is prejudiced behavior that contributes to the disenfranchisement of a marginalized group. Since white people have long made up the majority of Americans and are unmatched in terms of economic, social and political advantage, they cannot be considered a marganalized group. 

Using this definition, in his book “White Racism,” U.S. sociologist and social theorist Joe Feagin argues that African-Americans cannot practice racism.

“Black racism would require not only a widely accepted racist ideology directed at whites, but also the power to systematically exclude whites from opportunities and rewards in major economic, cultural and political institutions,” Feagin said. 

However, not everyone chooses to follow this definition of racism. Some apply the Merriam Webster dictionary definition that defines racism as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

This definition does leave room for African-Americans to be racist, and surveys have found that white Americans believe that reverse racism is as big as a problem as discrimination faced by minorities. 

A 2014 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute showed that 52 percent of white Americans believed they faced the same amount of discrimination as minorities. 

While white Americans may feel this way, there is no way for whites to face discrimination similar to what minorities are forced to deal with.

White Americans will never be threatened with being kicked out of this country. White Americans will never be told to “go back where you came from,” even though they are just as foreign to this land as the rest of us. 

White Americans can feel like some people have prejudices about their race, but stop calling minorities racist. 

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