This whole Shirley Sherrod makes me want to puke. It’s bad enough that Shirley Sherrod got screwed. But that’s just one instance of a disturbing idea in Right Wing politics — that there’s some sort of rise in reverse racism. They look for ways black people are racist and how that’s keeping the white man down.
First off, as Harry Allen pointed out, “Racism has a sole, functional expression: White supremacy.” Read the whole essay, but my synopsis is this: Black folks might entertain overly broad stereotypes about white people — just as anyone might about a tribe/race/religion other than their own — but it isn’t functional; since they don’t have the same sort of power as white people, they can’t cause the same sort of harm to white people.
To claim there is reverse racism in the United States, to campaign against Affirmative Action, to fulminate with righteous anger whenever a black person, against all odds, succeeds where a white person fails, is not just wrong-headed. It is, in fact, the use of victimology and the appeal to atavistic tribalism to perpetuate White Supremacy. Just because you’re not wearing a sheet and waving a torch, yelling “DIE N***ER DIE” doesn’t change things a bit. You’re just being devious and subtle, or to put the most charitable interpretation to it, ignorant and misguided.
And those Tea Party people who are all up in arms that the NAACP called them racist? Please. The easiest way to tell when a white person is being racist is when they’re getting indignant about being accused of racism. Not only that, Andrew Breitbart isn’t dumb, he knew that he was consciously manipulating racism to whip up his base and discomfit the NAACP and Obama administration.
The root of the matter is this: If you are a White American, you are the beneficiary of White Supremacy and racism. Your government, on your behalf, is killing brown people on the other side of the world to make sure you have gas for your car. Your education system, news media, and entertainment industry does everything it can to reinforce in people of color the idea that they are inferior beings. You are the baseline, the norm, the default, ‘that guy,’ and that African American person over there is ‘that black person.’ The burden is on him, not you.
To deny that this is the case makes you, in a word, racist.