Can Minorities Be Racist?

This is a simple answer, but very few will be correct.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

I can’t count the amount of times that I have seen white people cry “reverse racism.” If you say anything negative about them they are quick to say “you’re racist!” I remember being at a party when my friend’s boyfriend had jokingly called me racist after something I said. Annoyed, I just rolled my eyes and said, “minorities can’t be racist.” I didn’t feel like debating or giving a history lesson at the party so I just left it at that.

The answer is no. Minorities cannot be racist. What I think most people are confused by is the difference between racism, prejudice and discrimination. (All definitions by Robin Diangelo -author of White Fragility)

Prejudice: the pre-judgment about another person based on the social groups to which that person belongs to. Prejudice consists of thoughts and feelings, including stereotypes, attitudes, and generalizations that are based on little or no experience and are projected onto everyone from that group.

Discrimination: ACTION based on prejudice. These actions include ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander, and violence.

Racism: racism is a structure, not an event. It’s when a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the POWER of legal authority and institutional control.

Based on the definition of racism, minorities cannot be racist. The reason why is racism only benefits the people in power aka white people. White people are the only ones that have the power for racism to work in their favor. The actions of racism by white people will continue to give white supremacy power and benefit white people.

Some people might still be confused because what if you think a minority can be “racist” to another minority? Say an asian person says a slur to a Black person. This would not be racist because the asian person does not have the power and effect of white people. The asian person saying a slur is not benefiting anyone else but the ideals of white supremacy or white people. The actions of the asian person would be considered discrimination. Minorities can be mean, discriminate and be prejudice to other minorities or white people but they cannot be racist. For a more in depth convo you can take a listen with educator Jasmine Price:

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In this episode, the So-Called Oreos answer the very important and complicated question, can minorities be racist? It’s something we’ve seen discussed and wanted to do a deep dive to settle the answer once and for all. Kia and Janae are joined by Jasmine Price, an educator, professor, and most importantly, Janae’s older sister. Janae explains the difference between prejudice, discrimination and racism before Jasmine gives a lesson on the circle of oppression, circle of equality and forms of injustice so we can truly understand if “reverse racism” is a thing. The episode ends with some very interesting social responses that spark an interesting convo.

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