As February comes to an end, as well as Black History Month, I am extremely irritated about the amount of postings I’ve seen on social media questioning why there isn’t a “white history month.” Perhaps it’s the continuous reign of Donald Trump that brings these people out of the woodwork, because they have definitely been there all along. Or maybe I wasn’t as aware of it before because my white privilege made me blind to it. Regardless, I want to address why racism against white people is actually nonexistent and never will exist.
A quote from a blog post by Karen Fratti on hellogiggles.com sums it up perfectly. “It’s just not possible for white people to be victims of racism, since white people have all of the power and privilege in systems that they’ve set up over centuries to benefit them. Access to jobs, education, healthcare and even beauty standards all privilege the white experience, so there’s no real way for white people to face oppression for their race from people of color.” In Fratti’s article, she analyzes a poll done by NPR, which concludes that 55 percent of white Americans feel discriminated against. Simply, all white people benefit from the oppression of all non-white people. White people are told they are superior from the second they are born. Everything in America tells people that whiteness is better. They are born and raised with a system of supremacy and handed the tools that build these systems. Even if they don’t realize it.
Today, Trump has made promises to the whites of America that he is going to solve their grievances and concerns about being oppressed. This is laughable. White people didn’t experience the systemic oppression that people of color have had to experience since the beginning of time. And with our new administration, the systems that were put in place for people of color to be given basic rights and steps towards equality are being slowly dismantled.
White people aren’t inherently judged by the color of their skin or deep-seated prejudices that go back to the beginning of history; they are instead given the benefit of the doubt. The concept of white privilege is extremely real. Being white already gives people a different view of you. Your life isn’t at risk because of how you look. When a white person claims they are “color blind” and that race doesn’t matter, it’s easy for whites to say. The experiences white people have with every member of society is so different. With employers, law enforcement, landlords, etc., the other party already sees your race. Seeing race is not necessarily good because it also doesn’t see the atrocities that white people have committed in the name of race.
This constant experience of a white person on a daily basis insulates them from any racial discomfort because this is the day to day experience, the default setting. White people don’t belong to a racial grouping like people of color do. So, when whites experience “racism,” their reaction is one of a small child having their iPad taken away. It’s the end of the world. They believe they are being discriminated against even though it’s impossible. Robin DiAngelo describes the reaction as “white fragility.”
White people lump their experiences into one category. These experiences will never involve fearing for their life because of the color of their skin, fearing not getting a job or acceptance to a university because of their race, worried about being called a slur on the street just walking to get their mail, etc. Therefore, white people assume this is how everyone else’s experiences are, regardless of skin color. This is something white people will never understand because they will never experience it.
We can see this, simply, in all history classes we’ve taken since elementary school. A week or two, sometimes a generous month, has been dedicated to learning about the history of POC. But, historically, it’s all about learning about whites. And, more recently, the lack of color range in makeup brands. Everything is built around white people.
So, if you’re white and ever feel victimized by “reverse racism,” just remember: every system in America is built to benefit you. Just because people criticize these historically oppressive systems doesn’t mean they’re being racist towards you. White people have had everything in their favor since the beginning of time. Get over yourself and understand that your privilege can be used to help those who are oppressed.
If you’re still thinking you have been discriminated or oppressed against as a white person after reading this, you’re part of the problem. You will never be able to be reasoned with or talked to about this, and that’s why we can’t move forward in America with racial concerns or problems. Every month is “white history month.” The history we celebrate is white by default. There’s no need to have one because all of the history we are exposed to is usually white history.