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People of colour/minorities cannot be racist?

172 replies

sundayrose10 · 11/05/2011 10:44

Do you agree with this statement? I was on a different forum where they discussed black people cannot be racist. Many said blacks/minorities could NOT be racist but there were an equal number also arguing that it was impossible. The reason they gave for the impossibility was that whites have the political and economic power to supress minorities.

Do you agree with that statement or disagree?

I know some people have a problem with the term 'people of colour' but I use it to include anyone who is not white. If it is relevant, I am black myself.

OP posts:
MrSpoc · 11/05/2011 11:22

Bollocks again NotJustKangaskhan - So why is our white power trying thier hardest to inegrate all if we are insitutionally racist?

We are not a racist nation infact we are the most integrated nation in the world. Yes there are more white people in power, that is because we are mostly a white population but this is changing and the white people in power are trying thier hardest to include all.

nijinsky · 11/05/2011 11:22

I think this statement comes from the notion that to prove racism in a lot of civil cases, you need to prove that they are part of a minority racial group which is being discriminated against. In terms of general racism, or criminal racism, I don't think the minority element is quite so essential, if the victim is singled out.

Of course coloured people and minorities can be racist. I've had racist remarks directed at myself, along the blonds are stupid thing, and also from a Chinese man about my snub nose (and I have these features because of my Dutch and Norweigian heritage). My Nigerian friend loathes other Nigerians and will give very scathing assessments of people from certain other African countries, but he says it is because he has lived in parts of the world that most people haven't and he has learned to be careful and to make such judgements to survive.

KeepCalmAndCurryOn · 11/05/2011 11:24

I used to work with a black colleague. Her brother was in a long-term relationship with a white girl; they had a child together. My colleague was adamant that he would never marry his girlfriend, who was not a 'real' partner. He would only marry a black woman.

I assumed she didn't get on with her brother's dp, but then he said the same thing himself Sad. So I don't agree with the statement.

oohlaalaa · 11/05/2011 11:27

Yes, I have heard an ethiopian making what could be construed as a racist remark about west africans.

It was not very unkind, just a generalisation on the difference between east and west africans, and probably the sort of thing a white english person may say about eastern europeans or southern europeans (siesta countries).

Hammy02 · 11/05/2011 11:27

One of my Asian friends dated a white guy at school. Her parents told her to stop dating him or she would be ostracised from the family unless she dated someone of their choosing. How racist is that? Thing is, this happens all of the time but we aren't 'allowed' to say how racist this is. Imagine if this was the other way around? There would be outrage.

MrSpoc · 11/05/2011 11:29

The problem is Hammy02 that alot of people believe that because we live in a white society and that the White race has all the power and influence then the white population cannot possibly be a victim of racism.

Gooseberrybushes · 11/05/2011 11:32

I'm afraid everyone can. In parts of Asia there is enormous racism against people from the same country but a different part, so darker. There is great aspiration for fair skin. So yes, it's true, but you know. I suppose the worst is when the "majority powerful" group is racist against the "minority powerless" group so discrimination can be active and pernicious, whereas "minority powerless" racism can be based more in a feeling of resentment and powerlessness.

MrSpoc · 11/05/2011 11:38

Gooseberrybushes - I agree with the way you have said "majority powerful" group is racist against the "minority powerless" group so discrimination can be active and pernicious, whereas "minority powerless" racism can be based more in a feeling of resentment and powerlessness and you have put this across better then other people have but I would say that our sociaty a is far less racist and our majority power are trying to include all as far as possible.

Meita · 11/05/2011 11:41

Anybody can hold racial prejudices, and act on them. If you define this as racism, anybody can be racist. (FWIW the Wikipedia article on racism is disputed. People don't all agree...)

Confusion might arise because racism is often associated with race-based discrimination and/or race-based oppression.
The UN defines race-based discrimination:
'the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.'

I'd say that only the most powerful group in a society (needn't be the majority though) is able to restrict some other group's human rights and fundamental freedoms. Powerless minority groups can well look down on other groups, can even look down on the powerful group, but they can't infringe the powerful group's human rights. So in that sense, less powerful groups cannot be 'racist' towards more powerful groups.

pipoca · 11/05/2011 11:43

of course they can. I knew a Turkish guy at uni who was outrageously racist about Kurds and racist about the Pakistanis who went to his local mosque.

scaryteacher · 11/05/2011 11:46

Come to Belgium and experience the racism between the Flemish and the Walloons (both white for the most part).

MrSpoc · 11/05/2011 11:47

Meita i think you have just interpreted that completely wrong. is just says that everyone is equal and should be treated as such. No where does it say that the majority race cannot be the victim of racism. in fact it quite clearly says irrelevant of your background or social status you should not be a victim to racism. Well that is how I have interpreted id.

Gooseberrybushes · 11/05/2011 11:47

Mr Spoc: there is truth there, but I think that other societies being equally or more racist doesn't give permission for us to be less tolerant. I am very aware of "reverse racism" and its existence, and also of fears that sometimes one is obliged to tolerate the intolerant. Also that our civil code of inclusivity springs in part - it can't be denied - from the legacy of colonial guilt.

But having achieved general acceptance of the anit-racist principle we (by which I mean British and "white majority powerful" in this country?) shouldn't take backwards steps using the excuse that racism does exist elsewhere.

MrSpoc · 11/05/2011 11:51

Gooseberrybushes i dont accept reverse racism. It is just racism which ever way it is thrown.

I agree I am proud of our nation and how we are trying to make things a level playing field for all. What we should not do is allow racism against white people because we a feeling a little guilty, because of how the minorities have been traated by our own race many years before.

PurpleRayne · 11/05/2011 11:55

Idi Amin.

Ryoko · 11/05/2011 11:57

Anyone can be and is racist, obviously the other forum have never been called Cracker or Honky.

Point them to Mugabe, enough said there.

SoupDragon · 11/05/2011 11:58

" I guess what I'm saying is that this is distinct from the racism/power wielded by white people against minorities"

I presume you aren't inferring that only whites are capable of racism?

A friend used to run a predominantly black guide troop. She said that by far the worse racial tension was between the Africans and the Afro-Caribbeans. If it is indeed the case that one holds racial prejudice against the other, then it is entirely believable that, should one find themselves in the position of power over the other (job interview for example) then they would exhibit racism.

Saying that racism is a purely white thing is, er, racist?

moominmad · 11/05/2011 11:59

well the word 'cracka' exists and 'ghostmen' so racism towards white people exists.

trixymalixy · 11/05/2011 12:03

A friend I used to have at school was Chinese. His mother hated the fact that he was going out with a white girl and used to call her "that ghost", which is apparently an insult based on the colour of her skin.

SpeedyGonzalez · 11/05/2011 12:05

Racism- noun: hatred of or prejudice against another race

Of course everyone can be racist, what rubbish. Though one problem is the use of the inadequate term "race". A better alternative would be skin colour, nationality, or ethnicity.

Having read some posts here about black-on-black racism it has reminded me that racism is basically always about the perpetrator needing to convince themselves that they are better than the object of their prejudice. Which shows what a sorry state their self-image must be in.

MollysChamber · 11/05/2011 12:09

Utter bollocks.

A fifteen year old boy named Kriss Donald was murdered in Glasgow in 2004. He was abducted by five men, stabbed 13 times, soaked in petrol and set alight while still alive.

He was white. His attackers were of Pakistani descent. They were all found guilty of racially-motivated violence and three of them with murder.

Utter bastards come in all colours.

joyousthings · 11/05/2011 12:15

I have a friend whose white mother is married to a black man and she has always been racist. She doesn't hide her comments either.

CheerfulYank · 11/05/2011 12:16

Oh how terrible. I don't even want to click on that Molly. :(

I am another who thinks it is bollocks. My best friend tried to convince me otherwise and I told her that I thought it was ridiculous. She looked at me very patronizingly because she is taking all sorts of Human Relations classes in college and they teach this sort of twaddle there. Hmm

oohlaalaa · 11/05/2011 12:19

Just remembered, my cousin lives in Birmingham, and when he was about 15 walking along the street minding his own business, a group of asian teenagers (all male) walked past him. They said something to him, cant remember what, but my cousin ignored it, and then he was punched. My cousin, who is not at all racist and wouldnt hurt a fly, reckoned it was for no other reason than being white. My cousin thought the boys were of Pakistani origin.

This was about 15 years ago now, and my cousin is an accountant today. It did upset him and our family at the time, that someone could hurt him for no reason.

JoanofArgos · 11/05/2011 12:21

Trying to articulate what I think about this, but I find Meita has done it better.

Racial tension isn't the same as racism.... maybe the problem is that there's a word we lack, which makes clear the difference between prejudice/bigotry/hatred, and the kind of racism which is powerful, and able to discriminate.

I disagree also that 'our white power' is trying to integrate - Cameron was only recently banging on about immigrants and the dangers of being too inclusive!

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