Imagine U.S. history if white folks experienced racism

People of Color (Black and non-Black) in the United States can (and many do) hold prejudicial or bigoted beliefs about white people. Whether it is right or wrong to do so (IMO, a strong argument could be made that it is reasonable for PoC, based on their treatment by white people, to hold anti-white prejudices), anyone with an understanding of history can see and fully empathize with why they might. Those prejudicial and bigoted beliefs only affect white people on an individual level. They do not have an impact on the rights possessed by white people. They do not have a collective effect on their economic, employment, or educational status.
In short, People of Color can be anti-white, but they cannot be racist against white people bc they lack the collective power to impose their prejudices on white folks as a racial category. Access to social, political, economic, and religious power is a fundamental component to the system of oppression known as racism (in the same way that access to such power is essential to sexism, which is why men do not experience sexism). Without that access to power, there can be no domination, oppression, or subjugation of white people by PoC.
 
But what if PoC could be racist?  Imagine how different United States history would be if People of Color could be racist. We might see examples like the following:
Black text on a white background that presents an alternate version of Jim Crow era signs that read "We serve whites only".  In this version, the word 'whites' is crossed out and 'Blacks'  is added.
Has there ever been a time in United States history when this sign could not only be found on a Black-owned business, but the right to refuse service to white people was protected by law?

  • People of color invading and forcing white people off their lands
  • White people prevented from voting by People of Color
  • People of Color regularly carrying out race-based violence against white people
  • White people being explicitly targeted via a War on Drugs
  • PoC bombing and destroying Wall Street without fear of retribution from the government
  • White people creating an Underground Railroad to transport their fellow slaves to safe haven
  • People of Color preventing white people from reading or writing
  • People of Color conducting chemical experiments upon white people to understand the effects of mustard gas on humans
  • White people prevented from going to higher institutions of learning
  • PoC forming vigilante organizations and roaming the countryside committing acts of terrorism against white people, including rape, murder, torture, public execution, and more
  • PoC having the backing of the government to carry out any of the prior acts
  • White people prevented from having access to the GI Bill after WWII
  • White people prevented from acquiring, holding, and passing down wealth and property
  • White people being forced into internment camps during WWII bc PoC were irrationally fearful that whites were German traitors
  • white people unable to trace their ancestry back more than a few generations
  • white people bought, sold, and traded by PoC
  • PoC preventing white people from working in the entertainment industry
  • white people having to protest and boycott and organize simply to be represented in the entertainment industry
  • white people treated as three-fifths of a human being
  • white people viewed culturally as lazy, thugs, freeloaders, or government moochers
  • PoC starting riots when white people fight for their civil rights
  • law enforcement officials of color attacking white people during peaceful protests
  • PoC creating laws that criminalized virtually any behavior white people could engage in
  • white people having their communities broken up through the creation of the interstate highway system
  • white people being the victims of redlining
  • white people experiencing brutalization by law enforcement officers at a higher percentage rate than other racial groups
  • PoC forcing white people to build the foundations of this country
  • white people, despite working the fields picking the cotton that led to the massive expansion of the US economy, being prevented from possessing any of the fruits of their labor
  • white people having to worry about being caught at sundown in towns across the Southern United States
  • Whites needing to create a white-friendly business guide so they could travel through the country and avoid businesses that refused to serve them
  • White people being forced to give up their bus seats to People of Color
  • PoC creating an entire state that excluded white people
  • PoC writing laws that prevented white people from being land owners
  • People of Color going to war with one another over the right to continue the institution of white enslavement

I’ve lost count of the number of times when, during a discussion of racism, a white person chimes in with [dictionary definition of racism]. It’s more than a little annoying bc it comes across as a desperate attempt to say “we get oppressed, too”. They’ll point to one-off examples of racial bigotry that they or someone they know experienced.  Some (like whiny, sexist man-child James Damore) will cry that they, white people, are the victims of race-based discrimination (this, despite white people holding virtually all the power in the United States, and dominating virtually all industries). Their best (or is that ‘pathetic’) attempts aside, they cannot point to any examples of racism that whites have faced. They can’t (well, without lying about it) talk about how the Asian-led U.S. government allowed atrocities to be committed against whites in the early 20th century. They can’t pull out an Oregon history book and point to the laws on the books preventing white people from living in the state.  Nor can they go “Look! See here? The Black Panthers terrorized white people just like the KKK did to Blacks” (they do like to try, but they rely upon historical revisionism and pure ignorance, rather than facts and evidence). The reality is this:

We live in a country where People of Color with anti-white beliefs have never held the power to impose those beliefs upon white people collectively. Without such power, no matter how much whining is done, no matter how many times an antiquated dictionary definition is brought out, no matter how many times cries of reverse racism ring out, white people do not and cannot experience racism.

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Imagine U.S. history if white folks experienced racism
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One thought on “Imagine U.S. history if white folks experienced racism

  1. 1

    […] There is a long-standing debate over whether or not PoC can be considered racist. In general, the debate revolves around them having the structural power to impose those prejudices on others, with the argument being that they don’t have power and so can’t actually be racist. I tend to find this sort of reasoning meaningless, and in general really want to know if the person denying that PoC can be racist think that them having prejudices against whites is bad or not. Tony Thompson at “The Orbit” pretty much answers that question in a recent post while de…: […]

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