Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just Say It

If a man treats women like second class citizens simply because they have a vagina, it's easy to call him a sexist. When someone fondles little boys or little girls, no one hesitates to use the word pedophile. Someone who practices domestic violence is an abuser. Someone who tells lies is a liar. And someone who steals is a thief.

But, a person who practices racism can't be labeled a racist unless you know exactly what's in their head the moment they do their dastardly deed. Without that knowledge of their "hearts" it's impossible to label them a racist.

Am I the only one confused?

There are few things I hate more in this world than the belief that it's unfair to call someone a racist simply because they behave like one. Few other activities receive this sort of blanket protection. In fact, I'm hardpressed to think of any. Everyone understands that the surest way to gain insight into someone's character is to assess their actions, except when you're trying to determine whether or not they racist. That's when you have to break out the telepathy.

The common practice of requiring mind reading to levy a claim of racism is asinine. It sets an impossible standard for discussing a serious and prevalent problem, and pretty much insures that racism will be allowed to flourish and grow. There is no way to confront racism because no one is a racist.

As I've said before in this space, this is a byproduct of our society's inability to apply critical thinking to discussions involving race. Moreover, it's more proof that when white people are uncomfortable, the world has to change. White people don't like the word racist, and now everybody in the world is skittish about using it because they want white people to pay attention. It's one of the most incredible examples of white privilege you'll ever run across.

The truth is, I don't care about what's in people's hearts. I'll never know what's in their hearts. I can only judge them based on the way they behave. And if they behave like racists, we need to be willing and able to call them racists. Otherwise, what's the point?



Anonymous said...

so can black people be racists?

Big Man said...

On occasion.

There are times where we have acquired enough institutional power to create a system of advantage based on race.

But, those times are incredibly rare. In almost every walk of American life, black people only have the power ceded to them by white folks, and that power can be reclaimed in an instant.

Raving Black Lunatic