Racism is still racism…

Edit: I see that this post is still read regularly, and I’ve been thinking and discussing this subject since writing this and come to the conclusion that the use of the word ‘white’ by Americans is still a complete  mystery to me. So I want to make clear before you read this that I use the expression ‘white people’ just for the plain meaning of “light-skinned specimens of Homo sapiens” (as we native Europeans are), and the word ‘race’ for a group of humans with the same biological characteristics  like skin color, eye form, etc…’ I actually have no concept for the ‘race as a social construct’ idea the way some Americans use it, coming from a continent of native white people myself, where white people have been killing, hating, oppressing, enslaving, and so on for the last thousand years for differences like culture, language, tradition, religion, place of birth or clan-ancestry, and where ‘whiteness’ is not the defining and most relevant issue unlike in our former colonies where it is very important.

North-America has (very simplified) the situation in which 3 groups of white colonists/former slave masters, conquered natives and former slaves are each ‘racially’ very distinct from each other, just as the Mexican immigrants, so the connection of those groups with ‘race’ and using the color as name of the group is relevant over there, but not always in other contexts, like on the native continent of white people where a lot of groups exist that are racially the same and have a lot of other differences that matter much more.

Also, I do not believe (from all the racists and racism I’ve seen here in Belgium) in the relevance any meaningful concept of specifically ‘white privilege’ over here, as Americans use the term. There is no real ‘we-group’ of ‘white people’ against the rest here for most people, the ‘we’-group is much smaller and more specific, and ‘race’ in itself (in any meaningful definition of that word) is not the defining factor. People of other colors can be much more ‘in’ the we-group (example: an adopted black person with Flemish name) than white people that are very unlike us(example: East-European poor immigrant not knowing the language and cultural customs)
We just sometimes have a dicriminating system based ‘native privilege’: This is our country, our language, our culture: the more ‘like us’ you are, the more privilege you get, the more you are different and behave different, the more you will be ‘out’. (In a way, many things called racism over here are more some sort of pseudo-racism which is equally bad: discrimination on being culturally different. I would like to reserve the word ‘racism’ itself for discriminating people because of racial (biologically) difference, discrimination of muslims (who can be of all races) for example is a big problem and injustuce, but not real racism. Using the term too sloppily might make it problematic to confront real racism where it exists and still is a life-destroying problem!)

I’ll blog more about this later.

(Okay, This is where the original post begins:)

…and you become a monster, so the monster will not break you…

(U2, channeling an idea that might come from Nietzsche)

(Note: I am not American nor a real Academic, and I do refuse to take the views of American or other academics, feminist or otherwise, normative for all of the planet. I will listen to you, but if my experience or what I’ve seen completely disagrees with your theory don’t push your worldview onto me please. I also don’t even give one single atom of Hydrogen about political correctness and using the right shibboleths for any side as you will see… Also, this was inspired by several different conversations happening lately, and was not written to attack any person or text specifically. )

Let’s start with saying racistit flat-out loudly: I’m tired of people who decry sexism and racism and then go bashing white males all the time. No matter what excuse you use, it still is sexist and racist and self-defeating anything you want to accomplish to this outsider of your liberationist tradition!

Yes, I know some of you will say now that racism and sexism come from privilege and that you cannot discriminate against the privileged and bla-bla-bla. But sorry, that won’t convince me, and all those redefinitions will bring us is only a semantic quicksand and more misunderstanding, and maybe even more discrimination.

Firstly, the whole idea of tying ‘racism’ completely to the idea of privilege is a semantic shift that has only happened in certain academic circles, and not one I had ever heard of before entering the blogosphere or discussing about such subject with a certain type of academics. For other people the word ‘racism’ just means negative prejudices based on race (skin color and similar traits) or the hatred and discrimination built on it. And all this bashing of ‘white people’ does definitely fall under the ‘classical’ definition of racism.

Secondly, the idea that racism cannot exist against whites sounds quite dangerous to me actually. It only reminds me of an attempted ‘animal farm revolution’. And completely outside of reality as far as I can say too. Living in a European city with a lot of different people from very different backgrounds I’ve seen racism coming from a lot of sides towards a lot of sides. Including racism (and sexism) against native white Belgians, especially white women even. And most problems here were not really just ‘privilege’, but some are more symptoms a very serious cultural clash. When I lived in a street full of immigrants, my (then) fiancée was afraid to go outside after 8 because a certain kind of men made her uncomfortable because they behaved like just because she was walking outside as a non-veiled white women, which was less than nothing in their eyes, or more some public property they could prey on with their eyes and words (luckily in her case nothing more, but not every woman has been that lucky). I’ve never seen a more severe case of what feminists call ‘rape culture’ in my life actually.

(And to go on in the politically incorrect direction: the thing is, from all nationalities or cultures present only representatives from a few were problematic in this way. Certain cultures and subcultures seem to tend more to xenofobia or woman-unfriendliness while other don’t seem to have such tendencies at all… Some people from elsewhere really seem to be completely denigrating towards Western non-veiled women. Also, a lot of muslim and African cultures are mostly hostile to anything not heterosexual in a way beyond what we Westerners -even ‘homophobic’ ones- can imagine. I once had a boy from an African country tell me how they lynched gays with burning tyres in his homeland as if it was the most logical thing ever. He couldn’t even understand I was surprised by that!)

Something else: The whole way ‘whites’ are described here is quite deterministic to me, and I do not see how it does anything else than keep the gap between ‘whites’ and ‘non-whites’ wide open. Maybe I don’t get what you want to say because I’m not part of certain academic circles and because I don’t read the right books, or am not American, I don’t know, but this repeated use in a blaming way of ‘whites’ only gives me the idea that whatever happens they will always be the fault for some people, most of which are white themselves by the way, but don’t have all of the other point of privilege that matter to their views on privilege (more on that later).

But anyway, ‘reverse’ racism is just as big a problem as racism. I’ve seen this with certain non-Belgians who were quite hateful against the native Belgian (and sometimes against all of Western civilization ) We’ve never had much slaves over here by the way (only genocidal kings with private African colonies in which they unleashed hell for the local people to get themselves and a few mega-industrials richer), so the biggest racism problem here is not really between ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’ (dumb terms, there’s nothing white about me) but between Belgians and certain newcomers from mostly certain muslim countries, who are mostly brownish-skinned indeed, but the problem is not one of skin or appearance, but a serious clash of cultures from both sides.

I don’t think there’s much difference whether it is Belgians looking down on the brownish guys, or the brownish guys looking down on us white Western infidels, or the brownish guys on the black Africans, or… Racism is evil in every instance…

Yes, racism between non-Belgians is not that uncommon either I am afraid, it’s not only white people who are racist, and there can be really strong racism with no white people involved, even in a white European country. I once, while in a working-class job had a North-African co-worker who was as deeply racist against black Africans as a few of his not-so-friendly co-workers were against his people.

(Yes, it’s probably classist and again not very politically correct, but some specimens among those generally not very educated working class people I worked with were quite shocking to me because they were unashamedly racist, sexist and hating on anything homosexual in a way I thought did not exist in our enlightened modern society! It was only later when I heard certain stories from elsewhere -remember the tyres?- that I realised it could be even worse.)

So don’t tell me racism can only come from white people, and never be directed towards white people. That’s just plain nonsense to me, and if you dismiss what I’ve seen and experienced for an academic theory you should not expect me to listen…

Now to get to my point I wanted to bring across: Racism, as all form of hate and discrimination, tends to work according to the principle of the never-ending vicious circle of violence. It always comes back in a new way from the other side. Hate begets hate, violence begets violence, prejudices and racism beget prejudices and racism. That’s how it works. And the hate on the oppressed side is just as destructive as what comes from the oppressor. And even long before the stage of hate and violence the same principle is clear: misunderstanding breeds misunderstanding, prejudices breed more prejudices, etc… This will also work between 2 groups of ‘equal status’ btw. Never forget that racism can be fully operative without any real privilege-imbalance going on between the 2 groups that are racist towards each other.

And no, I have no problem in confronting privilege and opening peoples eyes for it. But please cease the racist-sounding lingo against the privileged. It will only make a lot of people who need the message close their ears. Look for others word or you will create confusion with anyone except for those who know the right lingo and subscribe to the latest academic theories… I must honestly again say that to me all of this calling out of privilege which in the end comes down to bashing white males to me sounds only like a weird attempt at an ‘animal farm revolution’ that does only make the distance and problems bigger and does not in any way bring reconciliation and not at all stop the spiral of racism actually.

The only revolution I can care for as a follower as Jesus is one that tries to free both the oppressor and the oppressed from the system that distorts the image of God in either of them.

Discrimination is a problem, cultural clashes and prejudices are a problem,and privilege is a problem, and these things are sins that should be fought against, made visible and repented of, but this way of framing it is going nowhere, sorry…

One more remark about the whole privilege thing: privilege is never absolute, and it actually can be completely contextual. As for myself, in one situation I have been completely privileged as a native Dutch-speaking male, in another I have been completely the lowest person in rank just for being an introvert, or not been taken seriously in any way just because I’m a religious person (I live in a secular country where being an evangelical gives you the opposite of privilege). Or because I’m a non-academic who does not use the right shibboleths…

Last remark: there are much more ways of institutional discrimination (also very depending on the context) than the usual suspects of sex and race: Introvertpobia (or extravertnormativity) for example can also be institutionalised in certain sectors for example (I’ve experienced that, and might even have been fired for such reasons once), and hippie profiling can also be a strong form of unjust institutional xenophobia. There’s a lot more going on than the few highlighted problems that are battled extensively, and a lot of people who need to be lifted out of the darkness and given a place on the table, and a voice on deciding what we’re going to do. And sometimes we will have to listen and try to understand things that go beyond what we can understand….

(Last politically incorrect parenthesis: don’t ask me what to do with a man in the street who hates all Westerners, sees all non-veiled women as lowly sex objects and wants gays to be executed, but God loves him and even wants us to love him, and if we don’t listen to him first, he will never ever attempt to listen to us. I actually refuse to believe that anyone is beyond redemption, and even he carries the cracked image of God. Which doesn’t mean I would let my wife ever talk to him…)

To close let us pray:

Let us be like Jesus
who loved the least
and went for the most lost ones first
He, who had the privilege
of being God Himself incarnate
and became a lowly baby…
Let us ask for His Spirit
to open our eyes,
and for the upside-down Kingdom
of the Father
to shatter all of this evil
that divides us and destroys us…
Let us love
let us fight hate
let us bring down barriers
and invisible walls

what do you think?


8 responses to “Racism is still racism…

  1. I often forget to love those who hate me. Thank you for the reminder. God bless and keep you.

  2. Thank you for highlighting THE reason I want to leave this country. Also, great article.^^

  3. Where can we go? All the white countries are filled with this, and any attempt to create an exclusively white anything will not be seen as the analogue it is to Black and denominational organizations (and it will likely attract racist whites). What can be done?

  4. Thanks you man for this wonderful post!

    I was really excited because I’ve just created a post exposing anti-white racism (in FRANCE) and the thought-police on my own blog.
    I’d feel greatly honored if you could comment on my ideas, which can always be improved.

    All the best!

    Lothar’s son – Lothars Sohn

  5. Pingback: So what exactly are ‘whites’ supposed to be? | Brambonius' blog in english

  6. I’m sorry, but this is just silly. I’m a white man and even I understand that anti-white racism isn’t an issue comparable to racism against people of color. Before you talk about how stereotypes against white people hurt us, how about considering the fact that people of color the world over are devastated by racism–in every imaginable way, from the moment they enter the world.

    By devastation, I do not simply mean hurt feelings. In the United States, because of the effects of racism, inferior healthcare for women of color results in higher rates of infant mortality, low birthweight and just about every other birth-related ill you can think of among people of color. Teachers disproportionately punish students of color for minor or subjective offenses while teaching them a curriculum that under-represents their culture, outside of (for African-Americans) being enslaved and brutalized. Many people of color are forced to rely primarily on fast food for sustenance because poverty limits what they can afford and fast food companies aggressively market to their communities, which means that these kids might very well have reason to act up from malnutrition and sugar-highs/crashes. Too bad it makes them seem like future criminals. Once you’re grown up, it keeps going. The real-estate industry aggressively targets African-American and Latino clients for subprime mortgages while also working to keep them out of heaping swaths of the housing market through discriminatory practices. The criminal justice system racially profiles people of color, especially men, which leads to their overrepresentation among people arrested, tried, convicted and even executed.

    And don’t make this an American thing. Europe has A) had an extensive history of racially-justified imperialism and B) is home to many of its own marginalized groups who are similarly treated abhorrently. How many anti-ziganists (racist against “gypsies”) do you know personally? Are you one? Did you know they’re forced to live in mercury-poisoned slums in many parts of Europe? What about the way North-Africans and South Asians (Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis) are treated? You must be crazy if you think Europe is somehow exempt from the problem of racism, which is global, and that your whiteness doesn’t afford you some advantages. And you know what? People who have your attitude contribute directly to all of this, whether consciously or unconsciously. I don’t think you’re aware of this, but your likening discrimination against white males from people of color to the racism that THEY have to put up with is extremely dangerous. Hippy-phobia? Really? Yes, insults to white males for being white and male can make us uncomfortable, and yes people of color can brutalize whites as individuals (this is crucial) for being white, but this does NOT do any of the things I just listed. We’re talking serious stuff here, the kind of stuff that is literally killing and impoverishing people here at an extremely alarming rate. This is not to mention the emotional damage one sustains when consistently treated with less respect throughout his or her entire life. White privilege is a logical conclusion to draw from these things because it is the flipside to racism–the fact that we do not have to deal with these things is our privilege, and the fact that we can deny it even exists and assume that our experience is universal is an extremely damaging part of that privilege.

    I beseech you to rethink this stuff, dude. It’s NOT your fault that you learned all of this, because we’re bombarded with these attitudes from a very young age, but it’s really really bad. For the record, I totally used to think exactly like you and I don’t think you’re an idiot for it. All of your evidence is right there, because your perspective is limited. Don’t take this from me, read some literature on the subject. If you can’t be assed to do that, here’s an exercise–look at the various social statistics for women, LGBT people and people of color in your country. Once you notice the inconsistencies in various areas, like economic and criminal ones, ask yourself–is this “their fault” after all? I like to think that this is a pretty clearly racist position if you look at it for a second, but maybe it won’t be. Prove me wrong, please.

    • Notice that I use ‘white people’ as ‘white-skinned people’. Not as any cultural group, because teh differences between 2 white people of 2 different cultures can be a lot bigger than between people of different skin color. The we-group here is ‘Flemish people/Belgians’ and an adopted person with another skin color but behaving completely like other Flemish people will be ‘in’ for most Flemish people (except for the real racists) while there are a lot of white people (especially when they speak our language) that are out. Your gypsies are white people too btw, as a teacher I had a gypsy student (a teenage girl), and I thought for half a year that she maybe had German ancestors or so, but I didn’t even know she wasn’t Flemish… The problem with them is not their race, but their culture and tradition, which is incompatible with our modern way of living and is indeed looked down upon by a lot of people. How many nomadic people do you have left that do not have problems with the requirements of the modern society? (and I don’t know any anti-ziganists, I don’t even know if we have that word in Duth, but those who don’t like poor people and immigrants do indeed not like gypsies either and they are treated very badly sometimes, kicked out of a lot of places, having no home but their vehicle they don’t have much place in modern Europe.)

      But the world is not black-vs-white. White people are not considered superior everywhere. It’s easy when you live in a country where white people are the superior colonists and the other groups are racially different. (black ex-slaves, native colonised people, Mexicans) but it doesn’t work like that everywhere. And neither are the white people the ones who run the country everywhere and oppress the others. There are several ’empires’ in the world in which people assume that they are more than all the others. Try to be a white Westerner in China (or a more or less whie minority like the Oygurs, which are actually an oppressed minority of Turks, generally considered white) The ironic thing is that I’ve heard from Turkish students that the Ottiman empire will strike back to destroy our backwards cultures and take over Europe. Supremacy exists where one group is bigger. The Turks have have supremacy in the Middle-East for a long time, but never in China. The Chinese are the absolute rulers over there, and there are much more of them than there are white Westerners anyway…
      Maybe you think in the US that some supremacy can exist of the Americans over Chinese immigrants, but there is NO worldwide supremacy of White people (be it Americans or Westerners) over the Chinese. Only assuming such a thing is naieve and in a way very condescending and racist. It would be more realistic to see them as our superiors if you like to think in those terms.
      Or over the more fanatic Arabs, who think we Westerners have an evil backwards morally rotten culture and who do think they are quite superior over us Europeans. And you Americans are the ‘big Satan’ to them. While an arab can be treated racist in the West, he will not forget that he is part of a bigger wprld with a rich history and culture that for example America will not in a 1000 years be able to compare to, sorry.

      Your ‘white supremacy’ is completely naive on worls-scale. You can assume some kind of white supremacy over them in America and certain Western countries where white people are the majority, but worldwide? Not at all. Very often the majority group has the supremacy, or sometimes a historically more powerful minority group. (Look up the Hutu/Tutsi problem for example) Racism is not an invention of white people. Ethincal discrimination exists between all kinds of people, even among different groups of white people or in the absense of white people. And ethnically white people can be as much discriminated as other people. Certain Brittish colonists (even in America) have been using the Irish as slaves, Cromwell sold a lot of Irish into slavery for example, and earlier the Romans were especially fond of the so-called ‘Slavic people’ for slavery, which were also white European barbarians. (=non-Romans)

      But there is a lot of racism and discrimination going on, and it’s painful and destroying lives. Actually the problem here is more one of immigration, cultural differences and dare I say out of experience, a lot of classism. Not at all ‘white’ people against other people, but ‘people of our culture’ (the ones that lived first in this country) against ‘them’ who come over and might threaten us. And them can be white like us, or black or any other color, but I would never use ‘white’ as a description of the ‘us’. I’ve seen too much ‘white’ people excluded in my life. I’m not speaking of myself being hurt here, I’m only irritated by certain academic theories and think they are not helpful at all…

  7. Thank you for writing this blog post. I completely agree with you.