You must have heard the term “black people can’t be racists” due to the notion that they have endured centuries of continued systemic racism and discrimination. Can black people be racist?
Whether you realize it or not, anyone can be racist and manifest racial stereotypes in their everyday life. Below are some ways to help you identify your bias and determine whether you are racist or not.
1. You don’t know where you stand during a discussion
Unfortunately, if you are uncertain or rigid in your positions, that is a red flag. It is not always easy to change one’s perspective and talk from an unbiased point of view. Cultural change requires strong, clear, persistent force, and each individual contributes to that force through their words and actions.
During racial discussions with opposing views, you carefully curate your responses to look neither racist nor anti-racist. You don’t want to rock the boat or create tension or ultimately be disliked, and that fear quickly supersedes any purported ideological values.
2. You only believe that other races can be racist except yours
Due to popular belief in society, the black race has been the only race that suffered the most under racial pressure, from slavery to unequal rights, prejudice etc. They believe they have earned the God-given right to call out anyone as racist and not be racist themselves.
It is also important that the black race should not continue defining themselves by what they have through. It is time we stop holding down our minds with the shackles of mental slavery. We should stop thinking the world hates us when we initially carry its weight on our shoulders. Come on, we are more than that.
3. You laugh at the cultural heritages of other cultures
Racism technically means the belief in superiority to another race. Going by this definition, a superiority complex can easily lead you to be racist.
Making fun of how other races talk, their food, traditional clothing etc. is a bonafide way to know and show what you are. Yes, it can be surprising that it’s weird and different, but you don’t have to laugh behind their backs or in their faces.
4. You make fun of other languages
This is almost the same as the point stated above but let us clarify. Every foreign tongue must sound alien to you, and you can never get used to it. Hence the need for pidgin and creoles simplified version.
You should respect the culture and language of others no matter how different it sounds or how many people speak it. Respect goes both ways, and if you think theirs stink, yours might probably stink even worse. There are 7,151 languages in the world today, why do you think your language is the best?
5. You find yourself constantly explaining everything
If you have a reason for everything, from laughing at the physical appearances, mannerism and other people’s behaviours.
Instead of explaining your irrational behaviors incessantly, reflect on what you would’ve done and how the affected person might feel.
6. Racists are comfortable around you
If you are comfortable with people making racist jokes around you, that should tell you who you are. Even though you don’t concur with their views, your silence makes you an accomplice. You should be able to
7. You act overly friendly to a person of another race to make sure you don’t seem biased
This is just plain acting by trying to make an effort to be a good citizen of the world. People tend to act overly friendly to appear “non-racist” not to spark racial discussions and clashes etc.
But it is better to just be you than a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
8. You make quick judgments that are stereotypical about a person’s preferences based on their race or ethnicity
Do you ever ask someone questions about their race, as if they were a spokesperson for all other members?
When whites see black men, they believe blacks can sing, are athletic, stronger, and violent, while the black man thinks they are more technologically advanced. All these preconceived notions stem from racial judgements.
9. You noticed someone’s race and behaved differently because of it
When people go out in society and come across people of other colors, they mostly give off nonverbal cues. And it speaks to others even before you open your mouth. Subconsciously white people have a deep-seated fear of black people that they try to ignore. But it shows up nonverbally when they first meet a black person.
For example, an older white lady who clutches her bag tighter when she sees a gipsy or black man approaching her or the person who hurriedly shuts the door to the elevator to avoid riding with them.
Sometimes you think you don’t realize that you are doing these things, but others, for instance, your target audience or onlookers, will notice it very much.
10. You say something like “You’re different from other Chinese people, you’re articulate, you’re tall” and so on
Most people think it’s okay to say this, but are you trying to make that person feel better by saying that they are great but the rest of their race in the entire world?
It’s one of the saddest things you can say to anyone. And the actual message you’re conveying in saying what you think is a compliment is this: “You’re the only Indian/White person I’m not racist with“.
It should not surprise you that black people can also be racist, whether African or African American or African whatever. Dark skin has consistently received the bulk of racial attacks for so long that people don’t even feel when a black man is racist.
Now let’s score ourselves!
Suppose you exhibit 2 or more of the above racial behaviors, then congratulations! You are racist! But don’t worry if you want to truly overcome these bevahiors you can;
1. Pay attention to thoughts and reactions.
Don’t let certain mental images cross your mind, even though it was how you were raised. Renew your mind constantly, like the beginning of each day and the end of every night.
2. Educate yourself.
Learn about other cultures asides from your own. And please and please know at least 10 to 5 countries in each continent. By the way, Africa is not a country.
Read and listen to a wide variety of sources. Know what people of all races from different walks of life and opinions are saying.
3. Engage in dialogue with people of different racial backgrounds.
It’s always lovely to hear about others’ experiences, especially if they differ from yours. The more time you spend, the more understanding you’ll become.
Be honest and open-minded. No one knows it all, especially you.