What Racism Is and What Racism is Not

For those who think the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement for justice is racist, please accept the following in the spirit of goodwill.

When you are aware that races exist and that the members of one race are not always treated the same as the members of another, or are aware that the histories and group narratives of the members of the different races are not the same, this is not racism. It is racial awareness or being aware of reality.

When you speak about this racial awareness or reality, this is not racism. It is speech about truth.

When you call for an end to the very unequal treatment of your own race or of another race, this is not racism. It is a call for justice.

Racism is racial awareness plus action or speech that perpetuates unjust and unequal treatment of races different from your own.

In order for someone to be a racist, they have to take actions that harm another person unjustly based on the perceived race of that person — or they have to say things that have the effect of keeping the unequal and unjust treatment going.They can be  a closet racist if they keep their negative beliefs about other races to themselves, but it takes letting those attitudes out where we can see them in action or hear them in speech for us to know about them.

When you talk about racism and how it has affected those you know, that is just speaking the truth as you perceive it. When you call someone else a racist only because they are talking about racism and how it has affected those that they know, that demonstrates that you don’t understand the concept and/or that you are a racist yourself. Lumping every discussion that mentions race into the category of racism is just another way to maintain the status quo, which obviously does not treat members of all races equally or justly.

I am NOT saying that behavior has no impact on outcomes.

I am saying that you don’t get to blame all black people for the bad behaviors of some black people while excusing all white people except the one who was actually caught. To do so is to be a hypocrite.

Either we are all judged for ALL of the actions of EVERY member of our race (or gender or religious faith) OR each of us has to be judged by our own individual behavior. When you take the latter approach and check to see if that is what reality shows as actually happening, you find that the exact same behavior gets different outcomes depending on the race of the one doing it. This is institutional racism, and it is not racist to say that — it is facing reality.

Refusing to face reality means that sooner or later, someone or something will smack you in the face (literally or figuratively). The #BlackLivesMatter movement is, to some degree, a smack in the face to a lot of people who just want to pretend that racism is a thing of the past or just not a big deal.

As a white person, I get tired of hearing about racist cops and racist laws and racist this and that, but my tiredness does not come anywhere close to how tired black people must be with having to live in those realities.

So, when you say that #BlackLivesMatter is a racist movement, you both demonstrate your own ignorance about what racism is and your own racism, because your statement keeps the injustice going that this movement is fighting to correct.

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed (May 2016). Mobile notary public and signing agent, freelance writer, and ordained minister. Science fiction and fantasy fan, willing servant to cats, avid reader and collector of books and other stuff. Please see my websites (including this blog and others) for more info on me and what I think about the issues of the day.
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2 Responses to What Racism Is and What Racism is Not

  1. carey27 says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday, and thinking I might write something similar! It’s nice to find someone else has as well! Love the name of your blog btw!

    Like

  2. Gradmama2011 says:

    ah, a kindred soul! I too like to write about my thoughts and opinions. , which I do often.

    Like

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