General Question

SmashTheState's avatar

Does "reverse racism" exist? If it does, is it a problem that needs fixing -- or is it a solution?

Asked by SmashTheState (14081points) May 29th, 2010

There is no question in the mind of any honest, reasonable person that discrimination exists at a structural level in the West. Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, and a host of other bigotries assail us from all sides, often supported either tacitly or even openly (hello, Arizona!) by the State.

Given that such bigotry exists (and I’m not interested in the opinions of people who refuse to acknowledge that it exists or—worse—like that it exists), my question is, is so-called “reverse racism” a problem? Or is it a solution?

Take the following statement: Some people require extra rights because they are the targets of extra wrongs. Do you agree with this? If we acknowledge that, for example, women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man makes doing exactly the same work (this has been repeatedly verified), does it not make sense that to counter this, we should give all women a 30% bonus to their pay? We know that minorities are disproportionately targetted by police, and when they hit the courts, they are more often found guilty, and when found guilty they are sentenced to more time. In fact, some 40% of the US prison population is black, despite making up only 15% of the general population. (At current rates of incarneration, by the year 2020, two out of every three black males in the US will have spent time in the prison system.) Given that this is the case, should there not be “bonus” time added to the sentences of all white criminals to compensate for their easier ride?

To me, it simply makes logical sense that we should try to balance things out for the sake of fairness, and I say this as a white male who is perfectly aware of the unjust privilege I enjoy in our society as a result.

What do other folks think? If you disagree, please try to remain polite and construct an actual argument to convince me.

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46 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

There is only racism. The term ‘reverse racism’ doesn’t make much sense if you consider the definition of racism. Are white people discriminated against? I’m sure it happens. Perhaps you could argue it is a by product of whites discriminating against other races in history. In the grand scheme of things, we are going to have racism and ‘reverse racism’ swinging back and forth over time and hopefully the general trend will be forward – like the stock market.

Trying to balance things out for the sake of fairness is a noble cause, but how would you propose to do it? Not all women make less than men; not all men make more than women. Some minorities targeted by the police actually are criminals; some majorities not targeted are criminals. A large percent of prisoners may be black, but that’s hardly solely because of race. I simply see no logic in arbitrarily assigning extra time to convicts that are of one race or another. That is ridiculous.

The fact is, in trying to compensate for injustice, we would simply create more. It would be a downward spiral and snowball out of control.

Compensating for injustice with more injustice is slapping a crappy bandage on a wound you’ve thrown salt into. The greatest equalizer is education.

dealrrr's avatar

the term “reverse racism” is a racist, insulting, and hateful republican talking point. rush limbaugh is a white supremacist and he uses the term to mean that dark-skinned people are less than human and any attempt at a better life for themselves is being racist toward light-skinned people. it’s sick and disgusting that these people are in control of so much media in america.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with @lilikoi and as for what @dealrrr said, I won’t comment on because I simply don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. I did years ago then he went fanatical republican. But it does sound like something he would say.
I would like to add that non of what you propose will ever be possible simply because the person with the big bucks makes the call.
I’ll give you an example of a bias that exist through our society. My husband didn’t believe it but I told him notice how he got treated different when he was in a power suit and when he was in just jeans and a shirt. He started to notice that when he would go to a restaurant with jeans and tshirt that service was slower. Waiters and hostesses where not as nice. When he wore a suit and tie, service was fast. Waiters came back more often to check if he needed anything more, and if he jokenly asked for something for free, he would get it sometimes. Especially if he happen to talk to the managers and say how nice the place was. I’ve actually seen this happen. If he is in jeans and tshirt, they just simply laugh off his request.
More minorities crowd our jails because they don’t have the money to afford an expensive lawyer. Women get under paid because the majority of people on top are rich males who only want to get richer and rip off who ever they can. Its just easier to do it with females because as women climb up they are afraid to rock the boat and be seen as a whiner. Lets face it, if a guy complains hes not paid enought, he is seen as aggressive and a go getter, a woman will be seen as not a team player and a whinning B——h.
There is an old saying. I’m not sure its correct but it goes something like this. He who holds the purse strings gets to make the rules. Unless you have sissors to cut the string, its never going to happen.

Jeruba's avatar

The idea of “reverse racism” is offensive to me. It indicates that there is a right or normal or right-side-up kind of racism (obverse—the opposite of reverse) and a backward or abnormal kind. No kind of racism should be regarded as normal or right. Racism is racism, no matter who practices it or against whom.

perspicacious's avatar

Any racism is a problem.

Response moderated
Harold's avatar

Not being American, I have no idea who Rush Limbaugh is. I also agree that any racism is intolerable. I understand reverse racism to be the pendulum swinging the other way to what has traditionally been the case. Here in Australia, there was a time when the local indigenous population were not allowed to vote, and had very limited rights as humans. It was a disgrace, and thankfully is at an end. However now, they actually have more priviliges than the white polulation- free education, lower entrance scores into university, pensions just for being 1/8 aboriginal, etc. The pendulum has indeed swung the other way. This is reverse racism, and is not the only example of it.

roundsquare's avatar

I generally agree with other people here. You’re looking for a solution to a real problem and what you’ve done is try to quantitatively equal things out. If, for some reason, the problem where just in the numbers (pay, jail sentences, etc…) then what you say might work. However, the real problem is the discrimination that happens at the level of the people making the decisions. They are they ones who pay women less, target minorities and give them extra jail sentences, etc… You need to attack the root of the problem, otherwise you end up creating more problems. What we need to do is ask questions like:

> Why are women paid less?
> Why are black males more likely to end up in jail than white males?

With solid answers to these questions, we can try to make a change. If we do it right, this will be real change and it’ll make us all better.

Two other points:
1) If you try the ideas you suggest, you’ll create resentment which will slow down real progress. This is especially true for people who aren’t minorities but feel they got where they did through honest, hard work.
2) These kinds of solutions are seen by many as admitting that minorities can’t make it through their own talents. You can agree or disagree with that, but the point is that you would even build resentment on the part of the people you are trying to help.

I think its important to point out that I (and I would guess others on this thread) applaud the fact that you see discrimination as a problem and want to end it, its just the methods proposed that we are against.

gemiwing's avatar

Punishing someone because someone else was punished gains nothing. It’s the equivalent, to me, of banging on a child’s cobbler bench- bash a peg down and it just pops up on the other side.

Better to take the pegs out of the bench, set aside the hammer, and line them up equally.

majorrich's avatar

Alas it still happens. Well meaning people trying to right something that took place 100 years ago. It’s unnecessary and creates hard feelings all around.

JLeslie's avatar

You mention extra rights for people who are targets of wrongs. I do think the law sometimes has to step in to help balance things out. It seems some people need to be forced to overlook race so to speak, hence affirmative action, equal housing, and more. Recently Rand Paul said private businesses should be able to discriminate, their business, their property, their right basically. Might sound ok philosophically (it doesn’t even sound ok to me philosophically actually) but in practice it is awful. However, to find a balance many times the pendulum swings too far the opposite direction, and eventually, hopefully, there is a middle ground found.

Generally, I find things like affirmative action and specific laws that protect minority groups to be unAmerican. America is supposed to be based on a merit system. Doesn’t matter what family you are from, what color, race, religion you are, if you work hard all the same opportunties should be open to everyone. Why do we need hate crime laws? Isn’t it a crime to beat, harm, kill anyone? I am not saying I am against those laws, but sometimes I am not sure of the logic in them.

I think most people are not racist, although of course there are still racist people out there, mostly I think they look for conformity. I think it is less about skin color and more about how people speak, dress, and conduct themselves. I know people will dislike this statement.

About Arizona, since you mention it, I do not think that law is racist. I completely disagree with it, I think it should be overturned, but not because it is racist. Local authorities, local police, should not be given the responsibility or the power to arrest people for immigration, because it will deter people from calling the police when they need help or witness a crime. It simply is not the job of the local police to deal with immigration, and it is that way for a good reason; it can interfere with keeping citizens safe. People in Arizona are concerned with crimes being committed by illegal aliens. I don’t know the statistics there, but I know where my parents live, outside of DC, it is estimated that over 40% of gang crime is illegl aliens. Personally, I think just focusing on crime is enough, and if they are found to be illegal once enough evidence is brought forward to go to trial, then if they are illegal they should be deported or go to trial, whichever is thought to be the best course of action. Actually, legal or not, anything short of being an America citizen, if they are criminals (I am not including being an illegal alien as being a criminal) they should be deported. It is one thing for a country to have to deal with criminals who are citizens, but very few people have tolerance for someone who is stealing, dealing drugs, and helping to corrupt neighborhoods, and not even a citizen of the country. Go back to your own country.

My husband is Mexican. His family has varying opinions on that Arizona law. His sister thinks there is no problem with it. My husband agrees with me that local authority should not be given this right or responsibility, and he does have more concern than his sister (she really has none) that authorities might abuse the law and harass people. His mother feels like everyone thinks all Hispanic criminal activity is being done by Mexicans, and she hates that the media seems to reinforce the idea.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think we should solve the problem of the inequality itself (the root cause) rather than try to make it more fair by only addressing the symptoms.

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to add that I am very much in favor of having an easier path to being legal in America. I think if someone wants to come here, work hard, and have a better life for their family, they should be given the opportunity. Especially those who have been here for years already.

bolwerk's avatar

First of all, 70 cents on the dollar for the same work is not the same thing as 70 cents on the dollar. Women probably get crappier work too.

Maybe I’m misreading the term, but I don’t see these examples as “reverse racism.” As I understand the term, reverse racism is supposed to mean going too far politically to make up for past wrongs. For instance, to some arguing the phenomenon exists, affirmative action does not exist to benefit blacks who were discriminated against. It exists to benefit blacks because blacks have generally been discriminated against in the past, and therefore discriminates against whites who don’t enjoy the meritorious benefits of hard work. A white person who gets a longer prison sentence because he’s not black wouldn’t be the victim of reverse racism; he would be the victim of direct racism.

An example of the reverse racism bogeyman: somebody who gets into Harvard because he had a B- GPA in high school but is black would be the victim of reverse racism because he probably won’t be able to perform up to Harvard’s standards.* Meanwhile, a white person with a A+ GPA loses a seat.

That aside, I don’t see how increased discrimination really helps. If the white guy gets a longer sentence tacked on to restore equity, he’s the victim of an unfair sentence…and the black guy is still a victim of the original, racist sentence anyway. At best, it just wastes more time and effort, and at worst it will just increase white resentment towards blacks – which I think is not a good idea. By the OP’s logic, it would make more sense to reduce the sentences of blacks by 30%, but that would just lead to racist judges and juries increasing them further.

I personally see the solution as simple: dispense with racism-propagating public institutions. An obvious one in the U.S. is the war on drugs (yes, it’s an institution at this point). That in turn would allow for a reduction in the number of lucky-to-have-a-GED gun-wielding thugs who get hired as police and immigration officials.

But I also don’t see how all methods classed as affirmative action are inherently bad ideas, or how they are detrimental to whites. Like it or not, it’s 2010 and many minorities, including many who are the legacies of colonialism and institutional or de facto racism walk among us. Keeping them uneducated and on welfare is hardly to the white male’s benefit. Making sure educational environments include a broad array of racial and class backgrounds† helps create a better dialogue and a better educational environment – and how can rich white people be educated if they only go to school with other rich white people?

* One of the more amusing facets of the reverse racism bogeyman is the need to stretch reality to create examples of what people who talk about reverse racism really mean. I’m sure there are actual examples too, but it’s not like there’s an overwhelming population of would-be Harvard attendees going to community colleges because they lost their scholarships to Malia Obama.

† Tying this into my other footnote: a more realistic picture of affirmative action in education is including a population from a class/racial group that might, on average, include some qualified applicants who don’t quite have the same strength as the applicants they’re theoretically displacing.

anartist's avatar

Been around to some degree at least since the Bakke decision.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Was Harvard letting in people who met lower standards? Or, just saving space, a quota, for minorities who met the criteria for being admitted? My universtity, back when I was attending, I don’t know how it is now, did let minority students into the college of Engineering with lower grades (it was a small difference in GPA, but still) and I think that is wrong. I am ok with the quota’s, but not ok with the reduction in standards. However, the quota must make sense. Like having a quota of 15% minorities when the community is only 5%, or applications are only 5% makes no sense. I have read that minority students admitted to universities with reduced requirements statiscally do fairly poorly. It is almost setting them up to fail. Infair to the student, unfair to the student who did not get in because a space was taken by a minority, and unfair to the university. I am not sure how accurate my information is though.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: I really have no idea who does it. I intentionally made up an example to illustrate the point. Either way, racial quotas are illegal. And you’re right, I’m not sure how accurate such things are either. I suspect that, outside of a few extreme cases (portions of the City University of New York over the past few decades perhaps), few places ever knowingly replaced B- students with A+ students. More realistic is probably A+ students replaced by A- students.

As far as internal policy goes, schools’ only option as far as affirmative action goes is to create an educational environment they find suitable. That might mean allowing some people in from different backgrounds who might not, on average, do as well. Policy beyond that is in the hands of the state, at least according to American jurisprudence as of a few years ago.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Racial quotas are illegal? From what I understand when the international magnet elementary school opened in Boca Raton, FL, they had quotas for minorities. Are you differentiating between race and minority? Of course I realize ther eis a difference, but minority quotas include factors such as race.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: as far as internal school policy is concerned, race can certainly be factored in, but so far as I know quotas for race have long been illegal. However, many other factors such as gender and economic class are not protected the way race is. I doubt linguistic origin is either. The big one is race (and maybe national origin). So, yes, plenty of “minorities” that aren’t classified as races could be given a quota. It might be a tough case to make that a hard/fast quota for them should be allowed, but Latin Americans and Hispanics are not a national or racial group; they’re a cultural and linguistic group. A Latin American can be as white as Brad Pitt or as black as Wesley Snipes – and may or may not be Hispanic (Brazil is Latin, but was colonized by Portugal, not Spain).

Now, there’s also external policy to consider, and what that is varies from place to place. I’m fairly sure racial quotas have been judicially dispensed with here too, although they might still occur in some cases. One of the problems with social policy through the courts is the courts aren’t really able to enforce their own decisions.

anartist's avatar

It is time we acknowledge that barriers to various races and ethnic groups [especially blacks] have all but disappeared. One notable exception is prejudice and suspicion against persons from a group with whom we are in an undeclared war with. In that case, much like the Japanese-American citizens interned during WWII, many innocent Muslims and others from the Middle East suffer discrimination and harassment as part of a crude “Better safe than sorry” effort.

syzygy2600's avatar

Plenty of Irish, Polish, and Italian people are discriminated against (especially in the past) and looked down upon by other white people, however this is ignored by society because they are also white.

A white person can be poor, or have a disability, or be a part of a marginalized religious group. “white privilege” is a racist term in itself.

anartist's avatar

@syzygy2600 What you are describing is the history of immigration. Many people [white and otherwise] came here for a better life with little money in their pockets and often little education. They had to take the worst jobs and may well have been looked down upon by others who were further up the ladder. But they pushed on and gave their children better chances and eventually the families became successful and indistinguishable from the rest of middle-class America.

In this case the real prejudice was sort of a class issue. And each new problem, like the Irish potato famine, brought many poor and struggling Irish folk to our shores, they initially had to work the crummiest jobs and had little respect.

But this was not intrinsic discrimination of an ethnic group as disrespect and discrimination against the uneducated poor.

The black problem was so much deeper because they did not come here of their own volition and not only did they own nothing, they did not even own themselves. Except for a few fortunate ‘freedmen’ it was a long time before they could struggle to make their way in the world as the Germans, the Swedes, the Irish, the Polish, etc, and they also had the legacy of slavery to deal with. But all opportunities in this country are basically open to all ethnic, religious, and racial groups.

This is one of the most accepting, most egalitarian countries in the world.

syzygy2600's avatar

You are wrong. Orphaned Irish children were sold by the British as “farm boys” to wealthy landowners in USA, Canada, and Australia. This is essentially slavery.

Personally I think the biggest divisions are between the rich and the poor. I don’t believe that a black person born into a rich or upper middle class family has a harder life than a white person born poor.

anartist's avatar

@syzygy2600 that was indentured servitude. The was a time limit to that. The ‘servitude’ ostensibly paid for their passage. The British wanted them gone, from a life probably as harsh as they started with here, and once they were free, they had a whole new rich country to homestead in.

bolwerk's avatar

@syzygy2600: State policies can be tailored to their own histories. In NYS anyway, Italians are entitled to affirmative action benefits. I imagine native Hawaiians in Hawaii get similar attention. It might make less sense for South Carolina to have affirmative action programs for Hawaiians and Italians because S.C. never had large populations of either.

@anartist: Irish were deliberately discriminated against on the basis of the fact that they were Irish (national origin). “INNA” used to be published in employment ads: “Irish need not apply.” Of course, they assimilated more easily than most other minority groups – much more easily than the Italians, who I would say arguably aren’t fully assimilated to this day.

It was even worse in England. I’ve seen this attributed to Disraeli (Cahill, “How the Irish Saved Civilization”) and Charles Kingsley ( – attributes to Kingsley): “I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country…to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black one would not see it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours.”

syzygy2600's avatar

well said bolwerk, as someone with a lot of Irish heritage, I find it very frustrating that our history is ignored and “whitewashed”

also I’d like to post this in response to the line in the topic about women earning less than men:

You’d think with all these women earning 72 cents for every dollar men earn that our big, faceless, capitalist corporations would be hiring these cheap female worker bees by the assload! Of course, these statistics, fodder for slow news days and email forwards, only take into account the median income of men and women.

Women are in fact paid the same as men for the same amount of work. What they fail to tell you is that men work more hours, work more dangerous jobs, are more willing to relocate, and are basically chained to a desk for most of their miserable lives.

As education for women increases the wage gap may narrow, but there will always be some gap because some women will choose to put their education and career on hold to have kids. How many worthless BAs are out there because a chick found the “perfect guy” and decided to throw her education away to pop out a few kids and stay home?

I tell my girlfriend to go all the way. Get that BA, MA, and PhD. She came from a desperately poor background and now she’s at a tier 1 law school. Hell, my girl is even Cisco and Microsoft certified and that really gets my boner going. She didn’t get there by blogging about the fucking patriarchy on her blog in between posts about her cat and/or periods.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk If there are quotas still, which I guess I need to research to be sure, it would be for “protected groups.” Whether it be based on race, ethnicity, whatever. I don’t agree with saying that Hispanics could fall into a quota situation and blacks don’t. As pointed out in the discussion, back in the day the Irish would have been a protected groups. It’s whoever is being discriminated against. America is kinf of screwy with how we identify these things. The elementary school I spoke of, when my neighbor filled an application for her son, she ckecked African American. She was blond, whote, and blue eyed. She looked like Barbie I swear. She also was African American. Came to the states when she was 16. The continent a person is from does not guarantee what race someone is. My husband is technically a white Hispanic I guess. It matters how technical someone chooses to be. If we group Mediteranean descent as white, which we do in America, he is white. But, he still has somewhat of an accent, so people know he is not born and raised here. I don’t think he ever feels discriminated against.

eden2eve's avatar

Reverse racism does exist. I saw many examples of it at a National Laboratory where I was employed.

In one instance, a person defied and broke security requirements, allowing a Foreign National from a Sensitive Country access to the entire database of information at the Laboratory. This was an extremely serious security breach. Not only was the individual not dealt with, but another person who was not at all responsible (the whistle blower) was “let go” to cover for her lapses. She is still at this facility, showing extremely sub-standard work performance, according to her peers.

It was this and other similar security breaches that caused the government entity to lose it’s contract to operate the Laboratory, and it was given to a private enterprise to manage. The publicly owned company closed the major part of the facility, causing a loss of jobs for thousands. And this facility no longer does the diverse research, which was so important to our culture. Now the only part left is the Laser facilities, because evidently that is the most profitable.

Another example…. where Grad Students were being selected for Summer Internship Programs, in two instances which I was aware of, students were selected who were far less appropriate academically. Both instances turned out to be very remarkable debacles.

One of those students sat at his desk, played video games, refused to participate in programs provided, and behaved in a sexually aggressive manner to another student in his program, causing her extreme levels of apprehension. His mentor did not try to modify his behavior, do anything to protect the other student, and of course did not terminate his internship, which would have happened to another student at the first infraction. He just waited until the summer program was over and he was gone before telling the powers-that-be not to ever allow him to return. In the meantime, he didn’t do the work he was employed to do, and was paid a very handsome income for the summer while totally defying the requirements of the program. Even the diversity proponent at the facility, who was of the same ethnicity, was astounded at this permissiveness, stating that this was what caused lash-back in these programs.

In both of these cases, the leadership were fearful of making the individuals responsible for their behaviors. In my opinion, examples like these are what make these efforts unsuccessful and cause anger among those who ARE required to play by the rules.

dealrrr's avatar

this explains why conservative talk radio is so popular.

syzygy2600's avatar

@dealrrr yeah, because the only reason someone can be discriminated against is race, right? I’m sure all those poor white people really have it easy, right? Get your head out of your ass.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: At least how I was taught it in anthropology and sociology classes, which wasn’t that long ago, there are five races: Caucasoid, Congoid, Capoid, Mongoloid, and Australoid. Beyond that, you have more linguistic, cultural, and political categories like ethnicity and nation. Bigotry against the Irish is owed at least in part to national divisions. It’s hard to see the problem in strictly racial terms because the Irish had intermingled with other peoples, such as Vikings, long enough where they ended up looking pretty similar to Anglo-Saxons. Religion is obviously another can of worms: Irish were Catholic, and England was Anglican.

As for categories like “African American” and “Hispanic,” they imply race, but they aren’t really racial. Hispanic is a cultural and linguistic category (even the government doesn’t use it as a racial term): these are people who speak Spanish and come from areas colonized by Spain. Hispanics can be white, black, yellow, brown, green, whatever.

I didn’t mean to say I think Hispanics should fall in where blacks should not; I just meant it might be easier to offer such protections based on cultural and linguistic background than race. Sort of like how a protection for the impoverished might help blacks disproportionately, but will help many whites as well.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk protections are based on discrimination. I don’t think the law is trying to figure out whether it is based technically in race or ethnicity, it is just trying to protect who others have decided are supposedly less worthy. You say it might be easier to offer protections based on cultural or linguistic backgrounds. I would offer that to white America, especially prejudiced racist white America they tend to see 3rd and 4th generation American blacks, and Hispanic blacks, and island blacks as black, even though the Hispanic black sees themselves as their country first, maybe Puerto Rican Black, Cuban black, Jamiaican black to the person himself the black may not really be a big part of their identity, but to a racist it is, they see the color of their skin before anything. The same way an antisemite would not care that I don’t practice my religion, they just know I am Jewish, hell I could profess to be a Christian, and if they hate Jews, and know I was born a Jew, they hate me. Your example of Hispanic being a variety of races and ethnicities is completely understood. White Hispanics can reap the benefits of fitting in with white America and also take advantage of any possible laws that protect them as a group or give them a leg up.

mattbrowne's avatar

It does exist. And like “traditional” racism, it’s wrong.

wilma's avatar

I agree with @mattbrowne . It is real and just as wrong as any other kind of racism.

anartist's avatar

@syzygy2600 “white trash” is another discriminatory label. At the bottom of it all, race or ethnic origin is the excuse, what is discriminated against is poverty and weakness. Those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder get despised, and if a group of similar people appear on our shores because of major problems elsewhere, they get despised as a group. With assimilation and no current waves of that same group immigrating into our nation’s poor and unemployed, the stigma vanishes.

In one instance reverse racism worked spectacularly. Bakke, the law student who was not going to be accepted because of quotas, filed a reverse discrimination suit, which allowed him to enroll and study for his JD while the case was in the courts. The case took so long going through the courts [including the Supreme Court] that he graduated before it ended. Now that was one smart lawyer-to-be.

kluge's avatar

Is it reverse racism to be tolerant and accepting of an uneven performance due to seasonal affective disorder?

Is it reverse racism to allow an extra half hour lunch break for a worker who has hypertension?

Laws or legislation defining and attempting to re establish balance of privilege will lead to factionalization and further alienation of the some groups from others.

It is unfair. Some poor whites may have experienced a lot less privilege in their lives than some poor blacks. A blanket treatment of these groups in an attempt to “reverse the impacts of racism” is only going to increase this discrepancy and the anger it fuels.

I think a better way to ask the question you are trying to ask here is to ask whether we as a species ought to help our underprivileged members in their quest to achieve the full potential of their lives.

Then, a better question emerges than “Is reverse racism good.”

How can we apply personal and group policies, actions, and ideas to help further the cause of an equal playing field and decent standard of living for everyone?

I reject the idea that people should be divided into races and each group treated differently in one rigid way or another.

I have visions of IBMS with databases of who is Jewish, and wonder what we should do with Lenny Kravitz.

Should a mixed race child of a single addicted prostitute be treated the same as one from a wealthy stable suburban family simply because they both share some genetic marker?

The idea of a proportional raise for visible minorities and women is impractical, and it does not help those who have no job.

Everyone will have a more rich and fulfilling life as a part of a society which values the differently abled and members of groups which have been marginalized because of their genetics, but I dont think this issue is going to be solved by legislation.

anartist's avatar

@kluge And yet if an individual, especially an individual in a position of authority, seeks to help those under his/her supervision to level their playing fields by cutting a little slack to the person with SAD or hypertension, or to the single parent who has to leave early, or to the person whose background or education did not equip him/her with acceptable written and verbal communication skills, to a point where it is noticeable, the supervisory individual can be accused of favoritism.

kluge's avatar


In the situation where a position of authority is held by a respected and esteemed community member the accusations of favourtism should be minimal. People understand and appreciate both benevolent intent and overall wise leadership. The person in authority should be replaced if the community as a whole feels their favourtism is too heavy.

In most sitations positions of authority are held by people who do not answer to those who might complain and care very little what they think.

There will be exceptions, but the problem of favourtism can largely be eliminated by rejecting false leadership.

roundsquare's avatar

@kluge Its all well and good to say we should not use any sort of categorization to help people, and I’d like to agree. But I’m not sure that its practical. The more fine grained you get, the more individual analysis each case requires. Thus, the institution meant to help people becomes bloated.

The point is to find a balance in the heuristics.Luckily, with technology improving, we can slowly become more and more fine grained (i.e. as we gather more and more data about individuals we can make better and better decisions).

Of course… privacy becomes an issue…

ItsAHabit's avatar

There is no such thing as “reverse discrimination.” It’s all discrimination. And as the truism says, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

SelfConsumingCannibal_IsBack's avatar

The two problems with reverse racism is #1 that people feel like they need to go out of their way to prove they are not racist and #2 that even when you do go out of your way to prove you’re not racist, people are still calling it a form of racism!

likipie's avatar

Racism is racism. It doesn’t matter who’s hating who, it’s not a “solution” to anything. Hatred is never a solution.

Crashsequence2012's avatar


As it suggests that “racism” has a usual direction.

wabbit's avatar

I think a large part of the problem has to do with widespread misinterpretation and misapplication of guidelines pertaining to affirmative action. People involved in recruitment and hiring processes are sometimes poorly trained and monitored, and/or are forced by their superiors to guarantee certain outcomes. It seems that misleading information, assumptions and hiring mistakes have greatly influenced peoples’ negative opinions. Affirmative action guidelines exist because they’re needed. Using them incorrectly is what it wrong.

wilma's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 I agree with what you said there.

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