Lesley wrote a great blog post on the necessity of educating ourselves on history. This is especially necessary if we are going to make comments and have opinions towards a particular group of people. If we want to work together effectively against social injustice and inequalities, we need to have the proper understanding of what racism means and how it works. People often define racism as stereotypes or prejudice; this is an inaccurate definition. Racism is a structure and a system that is set for the perpetuation of a culture over another based on the belief that one race is superior to another. This is different from prejudice which refers to a set of discriminatory or derogatory attitudes or behaviors based on assumptions stemming from perceptions and beliefs about a particular race. Thus, prejudices from black people can be directed at white people but not racism because of the systemic relationship of power. White people hold this cultural power due to the mindset that they are the superior race that is rooted in colonized thinking that continues to reproduce white privilege. We should not confuse this with acts of violence experienced by whites such as the riots at the hands of black people, while expressions of prejudice directed at white people are never to be condoned, people of color do not have the power to affect white people’s social, economic, political positions and privileges thus black people can be prejudice, but not racist.
When white people try to flip the script and called black people racist it is an inaccurate and it is a ploy to ignore the fundamental question of who holds more power and privilege. I do not want to get into a debate about which country faces the worst case of racism, but it originated in America when the colonizers brought the slaves to Virginia in 1619 thus the DNA of racism is embedded in the heart of this country; they lynched people of color back then and they are still lynching us in 2020. For those of who say slavery started with the people of Israel in the book of Exodus— you are right to an extent. Yes, they were oppressed, and they endured hardships under the Egyptian task masters, but Egyptian slavery does not hold a candle to African American slavery. The Israelite slaves were not being lynched, raped nor castrated like African Americans were. Also, the Holocaust was horrific and I am in no shape, form or fashion trying to diminish that event but African American slavery went for 400 years whereas what happened with the Jews happened for a short period of time (1939-1941) not to mention they were allowed to go back to their country and rebuild which is why they are wealthy today and have their own nation; blacks did not get this opportunity hence we are economically struggling today and in 2020 we are still being oppressed. When blacks did try to return back to Africa under the leadership of Marcus Garvey they were brought back to the United States because of their economic potential. Many would say that slavery is slavery regardless of who experienced it, but those who do not have to deal with the negative after affects of slavery are the main ones that would say such asinine statements. To date, there has yet to be a reformation of the negative view of African Americans worldwide. All other cultures do not have to deal with the harsh and extreme prejudice based on the color of their skin as people of color do. Until African Americans are seen in a more positive light and other cultures refuse to look at African Americans through typical and cultural stereotypes racism and prejudice will continue to further divide us all.