"The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. " – Che Guevara
Few discourses do my head in quite as austerely as those about ‘racism against Whites’ or ‘sexism against men’, or any other idea that those at the bottom of a power relationship can somehow be prejudice in an identically equal fashion against those at the top (for lack of a less liberal cliché).
But as migraine-inducing as the idea might be it garners a lot of thought as to how White people could suddenly forget that race and racism were their own inventions, not something experienced equally by those with power and those without.
A pocket-book summary of the history racism is as follows: post-Columbus European colonialism was an ideologically secular enterprise that arose from the intellectualism of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, whose neo-classicism focused specifically on the Roman Empire as opposed to the traditional European focus on the Roman Church.
Empires throughout history have been inherently based on a concept of racial superiority – but traditional empires traditionally viewed ‘racial’ superiority as being defined by hierarchies of culture or religion. Post-ranaissance European empires were historically unique in being premised on race as an innate genetic phenomenon.
The reason for this change was the discovery of the Native Americans. The Old Testament divides human races as Japhethites (Europeans) Semites (Asians and Jews) and Hamites (Africans). But upon the colonisation of the Americas, European intellectuals classified American natives in a new stratus.
Now here’s where the key part in European colonial racism enters: as well inventing a fourth race, European academics (most pre-eminently Immanuel Kant) pseudo-scientifically postulated a hierarchy of these races, based on genetic attributes, with – unsurprisingly – the White race occupying the top of this hierarchy. The reason for this invention was of course of justify colonial dominance over the non-European world.
So race must thus be understood as an invention by the White hegemony to maintain racial power. But the key point that one must never forget that race (whilst being a social reality, which colour-blindness completely disregards) does not exist as a biological entity. Assuming that it does is biological racism.
Now, here’s why the idea of ‘racism against Whites’ is racist in of itself. The idea that discrimination against a White person is as austere as discrimination against a non-White person assumes a non-existent social equivalence. For example, traditionally choosing a job candidate on the basis of their skin being White has been done in Jim Crow-esque eras in order to maintain an ethnic hierarchy, since Whites occupy the top of the chain. Choosing a job candidate on the basis of their skin not being White – however – is done to create racial equality and representation, since people of colour occupy the lower end of this chain.
By disregarding the power relationship and inequity between Whites and people of colour, race is overlooked as being an invention by Whites to maintain power. More significantly, blindness to there being a possible inequity between races overlooks race being an invention by any race, thus it brings into question whether race is an abstract concept at all.
Therefore, the concept of ‘racism against Whites’ assumes a world in which power relations do not exist, and race exists innately as a biological entity. Which is…dum-dum-dum…racist.
Unwittingly assuming race to be a genetic reality isn’t just inherent in the idea of ‘racism against Whites.’ In a defence of “criticising” Islam, new atheists and Tommy Robinson-lovers will non-racialise their sentiments with the exhausted cliché of “but Islam isn’t a race,” thereby digging their own hole by assuming race to be a genetic entity. Islam is an ideology; Blackness is a melanin level. Neither one qualifies more than the other to define the abstract notion of “race”. If a group of people is peripheralised into a separate demographic and oppressed as such through institutional power, it’s racism. After all, didn’t Jews define themselves as a separate ethnicity after hundreds of years of persecution? But obviously the racism against Islam harks back to pre-Columbian theo-cultural racism, which I earlier discussed.
The simple fact is, not only is ‘racism against Whites’ an incoherent concept that ignores power differences but it also views race as a biological reality, rather than a structural invention. It’s hardly a co-incidence why many of those who regurgitate this nonsensical idea are explicitly White nationalist.
Unless we recognise race as an abstract invention that is used to maintain a system of power that does not cut both ways, we won’t come any closer to ending racial prejudice. Instead, we’ll be deepening it by ignoring the inequality that exists between Whites and non-Whites.