TheGrio Daily

Reverse Racism Isn’t Real

Episode 48

“Black people don’t perpetuate reverse racism. It’s something that wypipo made up in their head to paint themselves as victims when they want to dismantle the arguments of racism.” Michael Harriot uses historical facts to explain why “reverse racism” simply isn’t a thing. TheGrio Daily is an original podcast by theGrio Black Podcast Network. #BlackCultureAmplified


[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. You know. wypipo have a lot of questions like, Hey, do you know this guy named Jamal? Or Can you show me how to do the kick turn part of the electric slide? Or Here’s one of my favorites that might not be racist to you, but how would it sound if a white person said that? Of course, that’s one of their favorites. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:43] Today we’re going to talk about reverse racism because, you know, wypipo love to say that Black people are being racist against wypipo. If we make fun of how they clap or how they dance or how they season their food or anything. Right. If you make a joke about wypipo, there’s going to be a white person who says, hey, that’s racist against wypipo. And what would you say if a white person said that? Right. What they’re talking about is the idea of reverse racism. So today we’re going to talk about reverse racism, see whether or not it exists. And, you know, explain and explore it. So first, we have to know what reverse racism is. Now, now, reverse racism is not like, you know, that movie Tenet, where, like, you can just be racist in reverse. No, because that’s like. That’s not reverse racism. That’s something else. Reverse racism is a theoretical idea that if Black people do stuff or say stuff about wypipo, it’s the same as when a white person says or does something harmful to Black people. Reverse racism does exist theoretically, but you can’t talk about reverse racism just in a vacuum, right? Like just like you can’t talk about racism in a vacuum. Right. Like the N-word doesn’t upset Black people because it just sounds funny. You have to contextualize it with the history of that word, with what is usually a cop accompanied. Right. It was used when they lynched people. It was used to dehumanize people. It was used to extract labor from people. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:42] So, like … like is not the word necessarily. It’s all of the things that are attached to that word for things that wypipo actually did. So even though like calling a white person colonizer or a cracker. No, not a cracker. Because see, we’re going to get into this. But cracker is actually a word that has historical context. Right. The person who supervised slaves often was someone who was hired by the person who owned the slaves. All slave supervisors. A lot of slave supervisors were not slave owners. They were people who were chosen because they were brutal. And they were chosen to keep slaves from escaping, from being lackadaisical, from running away. And so they were known for cracking the whip. Extra hard. Or being ripped crackers, which was eventually shortened to crackers. Theoretically, those are two bad words, but it doesn’t connote the same history of harm. The same is true with reverse racism, right? Just because it’s theoretically possible doesn’t mean that it is a scourge that we should be addressing. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:12] Because, like, theoretically, there are dogs that can meow. But that doesn’t make the dog cat. Right? It’s just one. Symptom. One symptom or one characteristic of being a cat is meowing, right? The dog doesn’t have cat whiskers. It can’t make kittens. All of those things are are true for reverse racism, right? Just because a Black person can say or do something doesn’t make it racist because they can’t conjure up the same history and systemic harm that is indicative of regular Dollar Tree historical racism. There are a lot of examples of that, right? Like you always find someone whenever you mention something about racism on social media, there’ll be somebody who says like they grew up in a Black neighborhood and Black people made fun of them. And like, theoretically, that’s racist, but it’s not like they didn’t live in a whole country. That protected their whiteness. Right. Like like this guy, right? Like, look at this tweet. Like, this is a guy talking about he went to a Jay-Z concert and people call him a honky. Like, first of all. I know he’s lying because, like, who call somebody a honky, right? Like, two people still live in youth honky? Like, he probably was watching The Jeffersons when he composed that tweet and just made up that story. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:48] Because here’s the other thing, right? Like you have ever been to a Jay-Z concert? It’s like mostly wypipo. Like, wypipo are the biggest consumers of hip hop. They are the ones who can afford Jay-Z ticket like it costs $1,000,000 to sit on the last row at a Jay-Z concert. Bruh ain’t no Black person surrounded by wypipo calling people honkies at a Jay-Z concert. I don’t believe you. You need more people. But. This example is indicative of people who claim reverse racism exists. They like to cherry pick that one time that somebody did something that made them feel kind of bad and equated to the whole history and the constitutional approval of racial discrimination that existed in America or exists in America for the last 400 years. Right. And this false equivalency at best and just lying at worst. Right. Because you have to understand how Black people understand racism. So one of the best examples is this recent. Like just a couple of weeks ago, Pew came out with this poll and it asked people like, what’s the worst kind of racism? When you think about racism, what do you worry about? And here’s what Black people say. They’re not worried about individual acts of racism. They’re worried about. Systems and institutions that perpetuate, perpetuate inequality. You can see the results right here. 

Michael Harriot [00:07:30] So, like wypipo like to think of racism as bad things that are intentionally done against Black people. But what we’re talking about is the system, the institution, the aura of America that disenfranchises and economically disempowered Black people for centuries. And when you think about those systems, right, you realize that Black people in reverse can’t be racist or not usually racist. Because when Black people create systems or are in control of systems, they don’t disproportionately negatively affect wypipo. Like ask yourself, why don’t white children do bad in majority Black schools? Like when you’re in a majority Black school. Unlike majority white schools, white children aren’t disciplined at higher rates and receive harsher discipline than Black kids. The reverse is true when Black kids attend majority white schools. And you have to ask yourself, why doesn’t that exist? Or like when a white person moves into a Black neighborhood. Why don’t we hear a bunch of stories that say, white person, go home? Or Why don’t we see more Black lynchings in majority white neighborhoods in the 1920s? Or. Or the 1930s or the 1940s? Or why don’t Black police officers shoot more wypipo? It’s because reverse racism isn’t systemic, it isn’t widespread. And those are the things that we are talking about when we talk about racism. 

Michael Harriot [00:09:34] First, it’s like, Why do you think that Black people watch white movies or TV shows? I mean, there are studies like this one that shows that the reason that Black shows and Black movies are taken off TV is because wypipo generally don’t consume Black entertainment. If it’s if there’s a majority Black cast, wypipo won’t watch it. But, you know, Black people we watch Game of Thrones, right? We watch I don’t know what’s something white on TV. Everything on TV, because Black people don’t perpetuate reverse racism. It’s something that wypipo made up in their head to paint themselves as victims when they want to dismantle the arguments of racism. But just because it exists in isolated incidents like dogs who can be out or fish who can walk on land doesn’t mean it’s a problem that we should focus and concentrate. Our efforts on eradicating the regular kind of racism is much more pervasive. And. If let’s say let’s like let’s imagine a scenario where Black people could be racist against wypipo. This imagine a scenario where reverse racism was real and something that we shouldn’t have to worry about. Well, how could we do that? 

Michael Harriot [00:11:08] Well, first, Black people would have to build a time machine. Then they’d have to codify race based discrimination. Didn’t they have to manufacture philosophy that says wypipo are inferior? Then they have to set up a system that economically disempowered wypipo. Then they’d have to create a political system that disenfranchised wypipo but called it a democracy. Then they’d have to erase wypipo’s history and culture by making it illegal to teach in school. Then they’d have to arrest, incarcerate and educate wypipo disproportionately. Then they have to kill every leader and demonize every movement that tried to bring about white equality of white liberation. And when they couldn’t overcome all of these obstacles. We’d have to perpetuate the idea that wypipo are inferior because they can’t overcome all of the obstacles that we created. And if they pointed out the systemic things that we created, we’d have to tell them to pull up their bootstraps or pull themselves up by their bootstraps or stop playing the victim, or ask them why they’re always whining. And then and only then, if someone on Twitter says something derogatory about wypipo or insinuated that wypipo are inferior or that Black people are superior, well, then. Well, okay. They still wouldn’t be racist because after all, Black people just invented a time machine. But anyway, don’t forget to download theGrio app. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and your favorite podcast platforms. And don’t forget to tell a friend. And remember, as always, we always leave you with a famous Black saying. And today’s famous Black saying is “Black people draw heat. But wypipo draw blood.” We’ll see you next time on theGrio Daily. Thank you for listening to theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app, subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

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