By Tim Wise
So, yes, it remains the case that even when black folks have college degrees they’re nearly twice as likely as comparable whites to be out of work; and Latinos with degrees are about 50 percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work; and Asian Americans with degrees are about 40 percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work. And yes, even whites who claim to have criminal records are more likely to be hired than equally qualified blacks without records, but still, can anti-white lynchings be far behind?
And yes, blacks and Latinos combined only represent about 13 percent of students at the most selective colleges and universities—the only ones that actually practice any kind of real affirmative action for admissions—and there are twice as many whites admitted to elite schools with less-than-average qualifications as there are people of color so admitted, but still, can any rational person doubt that whites will soon be limited to mere token representation at the nation’s best educational institutions?
That such hand-wringing about so-called reverse discrimination reeks of intellectual mendacity should be obvious by now. Despite years of so-called reverse racism, whites remain atop every indicator of social and economic well-being when compared to the African Americans and Latinos who, it is claimed, are displacing us from our perch: employment data, income, net worth; you name it, and we are the ones in better shape without exception.
To claim that affirmative action not only disproves white privilege, but indeed suggests its opposite—black and brown privilege—as many have argued to me via email exchanges, is to ignore the entire social context within which affirmative action occurs.
It’s like protesting that sick people are privileged, relative to the healthy, because there are no hospitals for the latter.
It’s like complaining that the poor are privileged, relative to the well-off, because no one sets up soup kitchens to serve the affluent; nor does Habitat for Humanity ever show up to build mansions for the rich.
Why Reverse Racism Isn’t Real
By Sara Luckey
Racism exists when prejudice+power combine to form social constructs, legislation and widespread media bias that contribute to the oppression of the rights and liberties of a group of people. Racism is systemic, institutional, and far reaching. It is the prevalence of racism within social structures and institutional norms, along with implicit and explicit enforcement by members of a group, that allows racism to run rampant and unchecked. America is a country seeped in white privilege, and our social structure is built on colonization and forced slave labor that then turned into further systemic and ongoing oppression of PoC. We have a culture that presents whiteness as the norm and all else as ‘other’ or different. White is presented as the beauty ideal, the main face in the media (unless we’re talking about criminals, then PoC get unfairly misrepresented), the standard, the regular. It’s a structural problem that affects the perceptions of jurors in criminal cases, admissions to colleges, funding for public schools, welfare and food stamp programs, the redrawing of district lines that affect where we vote, who we see represented on T.V. and how, what schools people have access to, what neighborhoods people live in, an individual’s shopping experience, access to goods and services; it’s extensive and a part of the fabric that let’s whiteness remain dominant in American culture.
When white people complain about experiencing reverse racism, what they’re really complaining about is losing out on or being denied their already existing privileges. And while it may feel bad to realize your privilege is crumbling and the things you’ve taken for granted can be taken away from you, it is unfair, untrue, and disingenuous to call that experience reverse racism.
For more on the subject, see White Students Complain About Race Talk and GOP Claims Racism Ended.