"Reverse Racism": A Sad Misnomer for a Tragic Mississippi Murder
By Terry Keleher
With this recasting of the story, the alleged white murderer is now the victim, the perpetrator is the media, and the crime is “reverse racism.” And anyone suspecting racist foul play is recklessly playing the race card.
If your head is spinning, welcome to the Orwellian world of so-called post-racialism, where the new racists are people of color, along with anyone who still sees or speaks about racism. The new victims of racism are always white. Any effort to redress racism is itself racist.
The gospel of this new, upside-down world is colorblindness, which treats any kind of race consciousness as a cardinal sin. Of course, there are exceptions, such as when you play the race card in an effort to absolve someone likely to be charged with a racially motivated murder. That’s an irony that I’m sure is lost on those whose only true colorblindness is to their own whiteness.
Despite holding the overwhelming share of economic, political and cultural power, some white people believe in “reverse racism” because they truly fear that whites are the targeted and threatened racial group. If you hold this worldview, the concepts of systemic racism, white superiority or even white privilege are likely to escape you. This reductionist view limits racism to mere personal prejudice.
But most racism stems from a historically-evolving and institutionally-based system of racial hierarchy and inequality that routinely privileges white people and disadvantages people of color. It’s alive and well today, and even worsening—as, for instance, with the widening racial wealth gap, which has reached record highs thanks to a recession that has hit people of color hardest.
For further evidence of systemic racial inequality, look at any key quality-of-life indicator in the U.S., from infant mortality to life expectancy and everything in between. Whether it’s household income and wealth, home ownership or health care access, educational attainment or employment, it’s all racially skewed. Any one of these glaring disparities is serious enough, but taken together—the cumulative and compounding impacts—they point to an organized and ongoing system of racial inequality.
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Below: "Our mascot isn't racist! You're racist for calling us racist!"