Tags: discourse/language, immigration/citizenship, inequality, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, war/military, comedy, beauty standards, colonialism, eduardo bonilla-silva, imperialism, institutional discrimination, new racism, slave trade, slavery, white privilege, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: In this short clip, comedian Aamer Rahman explains that a lot of white people don't like his comedy. Rahman is an Australian stand-up comedian, best known as one half of comedy duo Fear of a Brown Planet, and much of his material is a not-so-thinly-veiled critique of white supremacy. Here, Rahman notes that he is often accused by whites of engaging in "reverse racism," a charge which leads him to openly ruminate about what it would take for a person of color to do something racist against a white person. He explains that his sardonic jabs at white society would be racist if he traveled back in time, convinced leaders in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and colonize Western Europe, and begin exporting their natural resources. These new colonizers would then set up a trans-Asian slave trade where white laborers become one of the resources exported to giant rice plantations in China. The experience of being colonized would ruin Europe over the course of several centuries so that whites would want to leave Western Europe and settle in the homelands of the black and brown colonizers. In their new countries, whites would be forced to navigate social institutions that privilege people of color. Rahman concludes that if after hundreds of years of such colonization and institutional racism, he got on stage to crack jokes at white people's expense, then he would be guilty of "reverse racism". All laughing aside, the joke is actually an incisive, sociologically-informed analysis of racism. Rahman correctly describes racism as something more than just an instance of one person discriminating or being cruel to another person (TSC remarks on how comedians are uniquely positioned to level social critiques here). "Instances" of racism are so named because they are the products of a system of power--a system that derives its strength from a colonial history and a system that is encoded deeply within the workings of modern social institutions. To accurately label a practice as racist, one must take into account the historical and social context within which the practice occurred. Thus there can be no such thing as "reverse racism"; there is only racism, and in a context where people of color lack institutional power, they simply cannot be racist. The sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva has recently noted that the growth in charges of reverse racism by whites is in fact evidence of the emergence of a "new racism", which seeks to operate in a more covert manner and attempts to confound understandings of racism by decontextualizing the way race works in and through contemporary institutions.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
2/19/2014 05:10:34 am
Being sexist or racist has nothing to do with political power. By definition those terms mean that you stereotype someone, in either a good way or bad way, based on their gender or race. If I say that all nurses should be women, that is being sexist. If a woman say that all men are chauvinistic pigs, that is being sexist as well. Cultural upbringing has a lot of influence if someone develops a sexist or racist attitude, but it works both ways. Reverse racism or reverse sexism are meaningless terms. You are either making a racist/sexist remark or you aren't.
2/19/2014 06:58:46 am
Actually, if a white guy made a statement about a black kid being a better basketball player is not racists, it is stating a falsely accepted social norm about black people in general terms u.
3/30/2014 12:30:39 am
They would be describing a generalization that is often true and is really a compliment
3/30/2014 12:38:33 am
The explanation or racism is so overly complicated as they try to point their finger at white people. Anyone can be racist to anyone who is different
4/1/2014 04:57:22 am
Chris - You're free to espouse any opinion about the world you want, but apples are not oranges, and for those of us who care about what words mean, it's important not to use the two nouns as if they're interchangeable. It may be convenient for you buy into the idea that anyone can be racist, but to do so, distorts the definition of racism, and in our view, it obscures how racism works at structural and institutional levels.
10/13/2017 08:21:11 pm
I go along with the point most of the way. I also think that it's not ok to hide behind colour to stop people criticising you for anything. One day my friend started saying very nasty intimate things about her husband to me - horribly embarrassing because he happened to be my boss. I told her I didn't want to hear it and she rounded on me saying I was only taking his side because she was black, and that us white people always stick together no matter what. I still believe that I wasn't being racist she was being a bitch who just happened to be black.
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