FAQ #24 - Can Blacks Be Racist?

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boohab

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May 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/20/96
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FAQ #24
subject: Can blacks be racist?
scaa contributors: mbowen, Gilberto Daniel Simpson, Ed Brown, Lane Singer,
Tim Irvin
other resources: <none>

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Personally, I don't like this move of redefining "racism" in a
self-serving way and then saying we can't be racist. It's oversimplifying.

Firstly, there *are* situations when Blacks have the power to oppress
others. An example which has been on my mind recently is the Prop 187
issue in California which many Blacks voted for. The proposition denies
basic services like health care and education for illegal aliens and many
people see it as an example racism directed mainly against Latinos.

Like it or not, there is a certain amount of political power which comes
with being an American citizen and an Anglo (regardless of race) and
African-Americans are certainly able to use that status against other
people of color.


But at the same time, I would want to keep in mind the point which folks
are trying to emphasize when they say that Blacks can't be racist: there
is still a difference between the political power which Blacks are able to
exercise against others and the power which whites are able to exercise.
There is a vast difference between a couple of Black old men, sitting on
a corner talking about "Peckerwood this" or "cracker that" and a couple
of white old men sitting in a War Room deciding "Are we going to invade
Panama or Libya this week?" Yeah, I would say that both are being racist,
but there is a world of difference in terms of effect.

Peace

Gilberto

--

Some will argue that Blacks cannot be racist because, collectively, we have
no "power" in the United States. Others will argue that power has nothing
to do with being racist; race does.

The answer? Yes.

-- darkstar 4/95

I always try to distinguish between *individual* racism and
*institutional* racism.

*Anyone* can be an individual racist if they believe in the inherent
inferiority/superiority of one race over another, or if they advocate
basing the treatment of others on their race.

Blacks can't be very racist at the *institutional* level, for to really
be racist at that level, they would have to control a large enough
chunk of this nation's institutions to act on whatever individual
racist tendencies they might have.

When many people claim "blacks ca't be racist," they are presumably
referring to institutional racism. But I claim that all racism is
not institutional, and for that reason they *can* be racist. They may
lack the ability to oppress whites based on that racism, but in a few
people it *is* there, and those people wouldn't hesitate to do so if
given the opportunity.

-- Tim Irvin 4/95


But at the same time, I would want to keep in mind the point which folks
are trying to emphasize when they say that Blacks can't be racist: there
is still a difference between the political power which Blacks are able to
exercise against others and the power which whites are able to exercise.
There is a vast difference between a couple of Black old men, sitting on
a corner talking about "Peckerwood this" or "cracker that" and a couple
of white old men sitting in a War Room deciding "Are we going to invade
Panama or Libya this week?" Yeah, I would say that both are being racist,
but there is a world of difference in terms of effect.

-- Lane Singer 4/95

racialism:
the belief that there *are* differences between human beings
which are inherited such that it they can be ordered into separate *races*
in such a way that each race shares traits and tendencies which *are not
shared my members of any other race*. each race has an 'essence'.

all forms of racism build from the premise of racialism. notice that
racialism is not saying anything 'good' or 'bad' about races just that
mutually exclusive races absolutely exist and divide the species.

extrinsic racism:
the extrinsic racist says that there is a *moral* component to the
'essence' of a race which *warrants* differential treatment. these
differences are, to the extrinsic racist, not particularly controversial.

intrinsic racism:
the intrinsic racist says that the moral 'essence' of a race establishes an
incontrovertable *status* for the race. no matter what an individual
member of a race *does* he should be treated just like the rest of his
race.

anyone who can understand race can be racist. any racist is equally wrong.
the amount of control or influence of the racist party does not change the
moral component. the white man who killed one black teenaged boy in one
southern town and tied him to an air conditioner fan and tossed his body
in the river is no more or less racist than the man who moved forward a
presidential campaign on the principle that the opponent would let loose
crazed black criminals if elected. racist is not as racist does. racist is
as racist *is*.

certainly there are priorities in anti-racist struggle. the greatest is
probably that of racist residential segregation which is a product of
white supremacy. but that doesn't change are even effect the fact that
there exist racists of all types in american society, black, white ,
latino, asian and otherwise.

an 'uncle tom' by definition is racist. an 'uncle tom' is a black person
who internalizes white supremacist beliefs, hates themselves and other
blacks, finds little redeeming about black life and always defers to white
authority. if you read 'black boy' by richard wright, the book from which
this term gains some perspective.

M.Bowen 4/95

RStacy2229

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May 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/27/96
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In article <ADC621199...@153.36.16.142>, md...@well.com (boohab)
writes:

>But at the same time, I would want to keep in mind the point which folks
>are trying to emphasize when they say that Blacks can't be racist: there
>is still a difference between the political power which Blacks are able
to
>exercise against others and the power which whites are able to exercise.

NBC TODAY SHOW: Bryant Gumbel and Virginia Governor -- both black -- get
together to discuss a planned "Confederate ball" in Richmond, given by
descendants of Confederate veterans in the former capital of the
Confederacy to benefit a museum which tells about the history of the
Confederacy. Between them, these two powerful black men manage to make it
sound like there's going to be a Klan rally, complete with a lynching or
two.
This was a genuinely charitable event, to benefit a private institution
which educates people about the history of one of the most important
historical events ever to affect Virginia. Yet, because it was an event
primarily attended by whites, Gumbel and the governor wanted to portray it
as racist and, if the person watching that interview on TV knew nothing
more of the event than what they heard there, they probably succeeded.
Question: Did these two men not effectively use their positions to create
a negative attitude toward whites? Prejudice plus power equals .....?

DarkStar

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May 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/28/96
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In article <4obc94$4...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>,

RStacy2229 <rstac...@aol.com> wrote:
>In article <ADC621199...@153.36.16.142>, md...@well.com (boohab)
>writes:
>
>>But at the same time, I would want to keep in mind the point which folks
>>are trying to emphasize when they say that Blacks can't be racist: there
>>is still a difference between the political power which Blacks are able
>to
>>exercise against others and the power which whites are able to exercise.
>
>NBC TODAY SHOW: Bryant Gumbel and Virginia Governor -- both black -- get
>together to discuss a planned "Confederate ball" in Richmond, given by
>descendants of Confederate veterans in the former capital of the
>Confederacy to benefit a museum which tells about the history of the
>Confederacy. Between them, these two powerful black men manage to make it
>sound like there's going to be a Klan rally, complete with a lynching or
>two.
>This was a genuinely charitable event, to benefit a private institution
>which educates people about the history of one of the most important
>historical events ever to affect Virginia. Yet, because it was an event
>primarily attended by whites, Gumbel and the governor wanted to portray it
>as racist and, if the person watching that interview on TV knew nothing
>more of the event than what they heard there, they probably succeeded.
>Question: Did these two men not effectively use their positions to create
>a negative attitude toward whites? Prejudice plus power equals .....?

I don't believe that power has to be an issue for a person to be considered
racist, however, I disagree with your example above.

If anything, Gumbel gave *more* prestige to the event because the "good
ole boys", be they racist or not, hunker down when the symbols of the
Old South are attacked. And if it is attacked by the likes of Gumbel, they
will be even more firm.

--
-------------------------- Sign below the dotted line --------------------

Welcome to my virtual reality!

Ed Brown - dark...@cais.com
http://www.tnp.com/~darkstar (construction in progress)
Copyright, 1996, Edwin Brown

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