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Myth #12: "White People Can Experience Racism Too!"

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Myth #12: "White People Can Experience Racism Too!"

Reality: “White people can indeed face stereotypical assumptions based on their skin colour and hence encounter racial prejudice. But this cannot be called racism, because of the inherent systematic imbalance of power between those with lighter skin colour and people of colour.

Racial prejudice can affect people on an individual level, but it would not have the same effect on a larger social and cultural level because it is only when stereotypes are bolstered by power, such as through a eurocentric model of thinking, that it creates systematic and structural racism and oppression that people of colour have encountered throughout history” - Dr Pragya Agarwal, author and behavioural scientist.

The idea of “reverse racism” ignores the basic reality of who holds more power and privilege by assuming that everyone starts off on an even playing field. Its premise completely disregards any of the overwhelming evidence of institutionalized racism.

For example, “reverse racism” is often cited as the reason for complaints about affirmative action, (e.g. the use equitable hiring practices that disclose a preference for hiring people of colour). However this is *still* not racist as this potential ‘barrier’ to employment does not exist for every job, and it is likely that there will be white people involved in the hiring process (from writing the advertisements through to interview panels) whereas for people of colour this is much rarer.

In reality, affirmative action programs were put in place in order to mitigate the results of institutionalized racism, and they work to establish guidelines that find qualified applicants, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or gender.

 

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