Prejudice and racism are often confused to have the same meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, prejudice is a preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience. This is generally seen as a bias towards a specific group, commonly race or gender groups. Racism is not just a preconceived bias, but rather is this prejudice plus power.
The concept of race itself is already difficult for some to understand. Racial categories do not designate a difference in biology, but rather a subordinate and superordinate group. Racism is a system of dominance across many realms that shifts resources to the advantage of white people.
Recently, the idea of “reverse racism” has come about in society. This belief is based on the feeling that efforts to increase equity amongst black people is a threat to white people, implying that progress for one group comes at the expense of the other group. The term reverse racism is not only illogical but fails to admit to the problem of systematic “regular” racism.
Common sense seems to dictate that if racism means prejudice towards black people, then reverse racism must mean prejudice towards white people. This growing misconception has brought about an idea of inequity or disadvantage for white people that has never existed before. It is important to reject nonsensical terms such as reverse racism and continue to progress by acknowledging that racism exists and doing something to change it.
The term reverse racism suggests an implicit equivalence to the unequal forms of racialized interactions, practices, and policies. Comparing an entire system that is set up in a way that allows for the exploitation of black people to calling a white person a rude name is inadequate. Because of the deep-lying history behind the organizations that have been formed to support white supremacy, it is absurd to associate racism to racialized interactions as these exchanges are not rooted in past experiences.
Accusations of reverse racism have an absurd connotation; the fact that the word reverse is added makes it sound like “regular racism” is natural and acceptable. This awkward addition not only makes racism seem okay, but also shows how overwhelmingly more common it is for Whites to be racist against Blacks. Americans today tend to believe that racism is simply the act of being mean to someone of a different skin color. Using the term reverse racism gives white people an excuse to continue to oppress another culture for their personal gain. By rebranding prejudice and implicit bias as “reverse racism” to form a catchy phrase, people are only normalizing and tolerating racism. While prejudice and bias will likely always exist in all groups in society, it is important to contextualize race and racism and understand the historical implications that have helped define and shape racism in today’s world.