Tumblr Q&A: Prejudice

Q: So I’m not a really big fan of the whole “reverse racism” deal either. But I wouldn’t be so confident that only white people can be racist. For example, I’ve heard my Latin@ relatives say some pretty messed up shit about African-Americans. Wouldn’t you say that they’re contributing to institutional racism?

A: I would say no, because institutional racism implies power. What your relatives are expressing is prejudice, but there is no prejudice+power—which is racism. A social and structural hierarchy of white supremacy positions whites as superior and POC as inferior, so even if there are negative racial attitudes between or among POC, this doesn’t then elevate one group to the power of whiteness over another. This kind of prejudice also doesn’t limit, diminish, or change white privilege in any way. Racism isn’t something that disappears for any POC simply because some have prejudiced views. Regardless of these views, racism will still exist. So I would disagree that someone is contributing to something that has already been targeting and working against them for centuries.

—DD

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