Just to make sure I don't manage to offend anyone with my post, I'll invent a hypothetical race of people and use them as an example. These are the
Paisley people. They comprise about 17% of the population, and the stereotypes concerning them are that they are smart but lazy, selfish, love alcohol
too much for their own good, and tend to be "know-it-alls" or smart alecks.
Suppose I am a white (Caucasian) female and my coworker is a white female. I don't like her because she's bossy, mean, sarcastic, rude, often
manipulates the boss into having me do her work, and thinks she's always right. No problem, right? I have good reasons not to like this person who is
the same race, gender, and socioeconomic class as I. Now suppose my coworker is a Paisley female. All of a sudden the reason I don't like her is
because she's Paisley, my issues with her are all about the Paisley stereotype and not her
personality traits, and I'm a racist. And if my
hypothetical coworker is a male rather than a female, now it's about the fact that he's a man, and I must be a raving misandrist (someone who hates
But, back to me and my hypothetical female Paisley coworker. No matter how much I protest that my dislike of her has nothing to do with the fact that
she's Paisley, I won't be believed, and chances are SHE will also play the race card if she perceives my dislike. So, in order to keep my job and
get along with everyone (and/or avoid counseling for my racist attitudes), I must pretend to like this woman and be nice to her - much nicer than I
would be if she were white like me and I could simply have valid reasons for disliking her.
So, calling white people "racist" is a means to force them to treat other races better than they would if the same person were white like them. You
can be a jerk, lazy, mean, rude, and display all kinds of unacceptable behaviors (tardiness, taking extra breaks, not getting your work done, etc.)
and you'll get away with it because you aren't white, and if any white person criticizes you, you can cry "racist!" This is not equality, it's
taking advantage of the white stereotype - that they're all racists and secretly think they're better than everyone else even if they don't admit
In fact, the classic definition of racism specifically includes the idea that "one's own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate
others." I can dislike Paisley people all I want, and technically as long as I don't think I'm 'better than them' I'm still not a racist. Jewish
people who dislike Germans because they believe that we think we are a superior race who still harbor secret desires to exterminate them may be
prejudiced (and certainly irrational), but they are not racists. I'm not sure how the concept of racism got twisted around to where it's simply
unacceptable to dislike (or not wish to socialize/associate with) someone of another race, but that's not the original definition.
Racism still includes the connotation of bigotry though - of not liking someone who is "inferior." If I'm a country hick who doesn't want to
socialize with a "yuppie" who attends ballet and philharmonic concerts, wears designer labels and coordinates her shoes with her outfit because I
have nothing in common with her, that's okay. But if I'm the yuppie who doesn't want to associate with the gal who lives in a trailer park, goes to
rodeos and barbeques, and wears the same two pairs of cowgirl boots all Winter because I have nothing in common with her, it's bigotry and it's not
The same is translated to race. If I'm Paisley and I don't have any white friends, who cares? I probably just have more in common with
my "own people." But if I'm white and don't have any Paisley friends, I'm a racist.
This all seems counterproductive to me. Isn't the goal
to have every human being valued and evaluated for who they are and what they do, not
their race, gender, ethnicity, social class, etc.? Instead of that, we have a situation where everyone who is perceived as being the "majority" or
the group "in power" (usually whites or white males) has to "like" and accept everyone of every other race regardless of their personality traits,
character flaws, and shortcomings. Is that what we want? Because as long as people of any "color" continue to cry "racist!" every time a white
person doesn't like them or criticizes them for any
reason, that's what we will have.
Suppose I'm a business owner, and I have 2 job applicants. One is a black kid, a gang member with a criminal record and a rude attitude who comes to
the interview dressed in gang colors, and the other is a clean-cut white kid who was in the honor society and student government. Which one am I going
to pick? I don't know - it'll be a very tough decision and I may have to choose neither and look for someone else because I'm afraid of being hit
with bad publicity or even a lawsuit if I pick the white kid.
If, on the other hand, my applicants are a white kid with long greasy hair and droopy drawers who smells like an illegal substance and can barely put
together a coherent sentence, and a clean-cut neatly dressed black kid who (like my high school classmate, a black boy I deeply respected and admired
in spite of our personal rivalry because he beat me to be class valedictorian by a fraction of a GPA point) who played team sports and got good
grades, I can heave a deep sigh of relief and pick the black kid - the one I really want anyway - no worries.
Am I the only one who sees anything wrong with this picture? As a white person, I am forced
to make my decisions and choices about people who
are not white by the threat of being labeled a racist rather than being able to choose freely based on their merits as a person. And I ask you again,
is this what we want?
Yep, I'm a white female, who didn't ask or choose to be one any more than you chose to be whatever you are. But I must be a racist, because I'll
cross the street to avoid a tough-looking group of black youths all wearing the same colors and loitering on the corner. It can't be instinct or
common sense, because as a white person I'm not allowed to use such things when dealing with people who aren't white. Yep, I must be wanting to
avoid them because I'm a racist who hates black people. Since I'm white, it's the only possible reason. Right?