| The colorful pseudoscience|
Race & Racialism
|Hating thy neighbour|
|Divide and conquer|
|—American novelist H. A. Covington|
Reverse racism is a snarl term generally employed by wingnuts and white nationalists,[note 1] referring to actions and attitudes that ostensibly accord racial minorities the same "preferential treatment" once enjoyed by members of the racial majority — or, indeed, any slight, real or imagined, against whites by those of other races, most often in North America. The term tries to delegitimize the emotions and efforts of those who work for racial equality, and to undercut their efforts.
The term is a favourite of concern trolls, who suggest that those working towards equality take things too far, and in order to avoid the label they must reduce their efforts.
The overuse of this term — especially by white supremacists who attribute all minority advancement to "reverse racism" — has proven frustrating to those discussing more legitimate instances of the phenomenon, such as the Tawana Brawley mess or those (successfully) challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court cases Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and Gratz v. Bollinger.
It is also commonly referred to as the "It-sure-is-tough-being-a-white-guy-in-America-today Syndrome" (Sometime shortened to the ISITBAWGIAT Syndrome). It can be found in Great Britain, Australia, and to a much lesser extent Canada, too (under different names, of course).
Why it's a stupid term
Describing anything as "reverse racism" is a good way to look like a racist yourself. Racist views held towards majority groups are still generally considered racism, despite the aforementioned efforts of the sociologists and social activists to exclude them; calling them "reverse racism" implies that there is a "normal" type of racism. It's not too hard to then draw the conclusion that "reverse racism" implies a tacit acceptance of racism against minority groups, almost an accidental admission that there are different (separate but equal) forms of racism.
In short, racism against white people is called racism, not reverse-racism.
Many current sociological definitions of racism focus on a central idea of racism as requiring not just racially-charged beliefs, but also the power to affect races differently. The very systems of the Western world have been qualified as racist because of the "culturally sanctioned beliefs, which, regardless of intentions involved, defend the advantages whites have because of the subordinated position of racial minorities."
However, by this definition there is no such thing as "reverse racism," because a racially disadvantaged person in a subordinate position is not benefiting from "culturally sanctioned" racial prejudices and so cannot be racist per the above definition. Even one rejecting this definition in favor of "racial prejudice", however, makes "reverse racism" an oxymoron. There is only racism, whoever the victim may be. And there are very few who would deny that it's possible for a racially disadvantaged person to hold racist views or that people of the predominantly powerful racial group can, in certain circumstances, be victims of such attitudes.
- The best example is a post on Stormfront, but RationalWiki is really hesitant to link to them at all.
- Reverse racism tag at Blogspot. Note the majority are anti-Obama.
- Winnipeg Sun, "Reverse racism continues"
- Men's Rights Blogs.
- Wellman, David T. (1993). Portraits of White Racism. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. x.