How to Differentiate Prejudice (and Discrimination) from Racism...
Undoubtedly, as members of the human race, we are not just diversified by our colors, cultures, belief systems/religions, ideologies, geographic regions or countries or national origins, but also by what I have personally and intellectually called "racial equity". In a nutshell, depending on the segments of the human race from which one emanates, s/he will have inherited certain stereotypes (good or bad) that will tend to dictate the extent of his or her accomplishments to some degree, except for the brave and talented ones who often transcend "racial equity".
Of course, most stereotypes are just non-sense, but as human beings, it often amounts to differences in the types of opportunities that we get, and the kind of neighborhoods in which we live, or even the tax brackets in which we fall, so on and so forth. Although, many of us will have been able to so debunk, most of us will end up being defined by such stereotypes, which we had inherited from those whose opinions we valued at some points in our lives, or rather from society at large with the advent of television and the Internet, particularly, social networking.
America has had its share of 'second class citizens'or at least scrutinized citizens. From the Indians and White Women (or women at large), to the Irish and the Italians, then the Blacks and 'Others'. And, LATELY, the Muslims seemed to have become the latest "2nd class or "scrutinized citizens". This is why many are calling them THE NEW BLACKS.
Modernly, many seem to be misusing the term "racist " more than ever before. and so much that even as a Black person, I feel that the term has been so diluted to the point that there is a need to invent a new term for truly racist folks. Words are meant to convey meanings, thus, one should associate the use of words with the meanings that they intend to link to them as to get the right message across. This article is an effort to provide some level of clarity on this matter of fact.
One holds a prejudice against someone when one has an irrational feeling of dislike for that person based on some stereotype. Almost every feels some sort of prejudice towards others, may it be based on color, height, religion, gender, nationality or ethnic group. A person can be prejudiced, yet still fair if such a person works hard to prevent himself/herself from acting on his/her irrational dislike, feeling or belief. In short, a prejudiced person, just does not "like" the other person absent anything good or bad done this that other person to merit to be disliked by such a prejudiced person. But, being prejudiced in and of itself does not render someone unjust or evil because we all have to "PREJUDGE" many things or individuals prior to even deciding to access such entities (i.e., human or others) and in so doing, we're being prejudiced.
Discrimination, on the other hand, comes into play when a prejudiced person decides to act upon his prejudice. For instance, many people discriminate on people of the same or other races based on color, race or religious orientation. And undoubtedly, many obese or unattractive women are exposed to employment discrimination. In short, Whites can discriminate against Blacks and Blacks can discriminate against Whites. Discrimination and racism are not equal per se.
Racism, however, is "a different animal". WHY? Racism, in a nutshell, is institutionalized discrimination based on race with the goal of "normalizing" levels of discrimination to the detriment of one race (or enhancement of the other). In other words, the latter describes institutionalized patterns of discrimination that have been "grandfathered in" as normal throughout an entire society, or nation if not World. It is based on the premise that one "race" is superior to another. It is an irrational ideological belief embedded in the fabric of a society's social structure that induces the society at large to feel more comfortable to irrationally discriminate against a particular race either directly, or indirectly or subliminally.
so, you're probably thinking, can a Black or "Non-White" person be racist?
The answer is of course, undoubtedly! In other words, if a person agrees with the subliminal messages that are accepted by the mainstream of a society and applies them in his/her practices to the detriment of a particular "race", then such a person is racist. In other words, such a person would prefer to assist in systematically disenfranchising such a race in order to validate such an irrational belief. Thus, such a person becomes blinded to most if not all good deeds or even amazing talents that persons that fall in that particular race might have to offer, simply to remain committed to the irrational belief that by virtue of another person's race, s/he is inferior.
Of course, this is NON-SENSE. But, perception is reality. Accordingly, there are many people that hate people of the same race (e.g., Whites that hate Whites, and Blacks that hate Blacks), and others simply hate people of a different race. But, we can all be racist. However, in a racist society, it takes very special people to step against the status quo to tell others of the same or a different race that s/he holds borderline "racist" views, especially when such views are somewhat aligned with the historical structure of the very society, whose remnants are self-evident by its ghettos, disparate treatment, striking contrasts in wealth, income and unemployment rates.
So, what do we do? We must compare and contrast. Today I spoke to a 63-year White American who is an Attorney, yet insolvent and quite frankly suicidal, and quite frankly so was his daughter. They both have a high 'IQ" and the daughter is a certified genius. Yet, both of them were jobless and depressed. There are two things that came to mind:
1. For each Black person who is unemployed, there are ample Whites who are as well, yet, simply do not associate their unemployment with the color of their skin.
2. The racial group who has suffered from "racism" is likely to be overly sensitive and that's normal. It is likely to assume that whenever anything goes wrong, 'race' might have played a role. While it is a miserable state to be in, many Blacks live their entire life in such a state of mind in America.
Can Blacks be "Reverse Racists"?
This would be analogous to expecting that women can be "reverse sexists" and that cannot be true because in so many ways women are still discriminated against by society at large.. Accordingly, in my mind's thoughts, a Black person cannot be a reverse-racist, but unlike other schools of thought, I believe that Blacks can be "racist" to Whites as well, but only if certain aspects of society has made it easy for some Blacks to unfairly discriminate against Whites in specific segments of society. However, since it is usually not the case, one can safely say that Blacks can only be racists, or reverse racists, IF and ONLY IF, society has created patterns of unfair discrimination to which they can also ascribe and apply. The latter is rather rare, but I am sure there are exceptions that could prove that Blacks can be reverse racists.
Are Muslims the New Blacks (Scrutinized Newcomers)?
Well, perhaps, but who cares! It is what it is, right? I don't believe that too many Americans care about the extent to which Muslims are profiled when it comes to their safety. While many Black Americans can relate more to the thoughts associated with being profiled, even anon-extreme Muslim on an airplane wants to feel 'safe" (i.e., that his plane is NOT likely to be blown up by an extreme Muslim, who happens to greatly discriminate against Americans. But, the latter is not racism, it is discrimination based on religious superiority, and envy under the premise of a "HOLY WAR".
Does "White Skin Privilege" Exist?
Absolutely! To prove it, simply have five (5) Black actors and five (5) White actors present to an entity under the same criteria, and similar credentials and communicate to people of various racial backgrounds and more often than not, the White ones will have gotten the benefit of the doubt and thus more opportunities. The latter neither helps Whites nor does it help Blacks or society at large. Rather, it robs society of talents and diversity in its decision making processes, while inducing so many Whites to rely simply on their skin tone for self-advancement. The latter has induced a generation of Whites who are not as competent as comparable professionals in other developed countries, and lost opportunities relating to tapping into using diversified Black talents, who instead of becoming inventive and contributing forces in society, ended up being societal rejects or con-men or women whose goals are to go with the flow by either "conning' the system or cycle in an out of jail. For the rest of us who are part of the cognitive elite, it really does not matter what our color is, because as a great friend of mine would say: "IT'S THE SAME 'THANG'... But to the average American, America still necessitates a wake up call, which both TRUMP and OBAMA have partially provided. See my article titled, "Both TRUMP and Obama are Good for America"
Dr. Lorins is the Chief Editor of LorinsPost.com. This article is sponsored by www.RapidGigsPlus.com