How to Fight Racism Without Being Racist
I abhor racism.
First of all, racism is predicated on race, which is an arbitrary social construct with little genetic or practical legitimacy.
Second, even if there was a legitimate way to classify humanity into a handful of races, it’s a logical fallacy to apply a characteristic to an individual based solely on that broader classification.
Racism is arbitrary and illogical and that’s why I denounce it at every chance and celebrate the crusaders who fight it.
When I wanted to honor one of those crusaders, Martin Luther King Jr., a few years ago, I wrote, “in order to get to a truly post-racial society, we should reject the arbitrary classification of humans based physical attributes (race).” I asserted that if we want to fight racism, we shouldn’t talk about race.
But little did I know that I was violating one of the unspoken principles of the modern war on racism: talking about racism while not being the right race.
“How dare a white male even talk about racism” was the typical hyperbolic response from the professionally offended. To paraphrase a friend, if you’re white and you don’t admit to being a racist, then you need to shut the hell up.
One acquaintance commented, “Spoken like a white man who has no idea of what it feels like to be judged based on your ethnic background.”
I asked her if she would have felt differently if my article had been written by a black transgender person. She said yes, which prompted me to ask the question, “So you are judging me by the color of my skin and not the content of my character?”
At least she laughed and understood the allusion. Many wouldn’t.
This is doctrine of “white privilege” in practice: white males are oppressors so their perspectives are inherently flawed to the extent that they shouldn’t be heard.
As the Internet sensation known as “AIDS Skrillex” so astutely said, “You have never faced oppression in your entire f***ing life [because] you’re a f***ing white man!”
Or as Bernie Sanders notoriously asserted, “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.”
“AIDS Skrillex” and Bernie Sanders seem to think that because someone is a white male, that he can’t have an opinion on race, paradoxically negating their white male opinions on race.
Another form of accepted racism is affirmative action, which aims at overcoming institutional racism with programs that support people in the victimized groups. But as the indefatigable Jordan B. Peterson summarizes, this pernicious mentality doesn’t fix racism, it just legitimizes a different form of it.
Affirmative action institutionalizes the mentality that “the way someone thinks is inextricably linked with their group identity. Well that’s what the bloody racists used to think!”
Affirmative action is saying that our racism is okay in order to make up for past racism. It’s just the tu quoque fallacy justifying racism because “they started it”!
Those who shout white privilege and affirmative action assume that all whites have this mystical power and all blacks have been victims of racism. They are focusing on the color of someone’s skin rather than the content of his character. They are, in essence, fighting racism by being racist themselves. It’s illogical; it’s self-defeating; and, quite frankly, it’s what is causing the rising trend of white nationalism that we’re seeing today.
So how do you solve the problem?
In a 60 Minutes Interview, Mike Wallace was astounded that actor Morgan Freeman would think that Black History Month is ridiculous.
He asked Freeman, “Well, how are we going to get rid of racism?”
Freeman’s responded by saying, “You stop talking about [race]. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”
In other words, you stop racism by not being racist. Stop using the construct of race as if it conveys anything meaningful because it does not. Stop talking about race.
It’s important to note that I’m not implying that we should stop talking about racism when we stop talking about race.
They are two different things and while race is fake, racism is not — it’s a real problem. It’s partly because race is fake that racism is such an illogical evil but you don’t stop that evil by perpetuating the fallacies of race through the concepts of white privilege and affirmative action.
How do you fight racism without being racist? You focus on the individual, not on group identity. You talk about persons, not members of races, and you strive to fulfill King’s dream by judging people by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.