Jun 10, 2011

The “race card” is a concept that has been used to silence people of color who attempt to speak out when they feel that race has been used unfairly in determining how people are treated. It is one of the most dangerous weapons in the White privilege toolbox, for it implies that a non-POC would know better when something is truly racist than someone who is constantly subjected to racism. That said, it isn’t that people of color can never be wrong about denouncing something as racism, but that they should be treated with a level of deference when expressing their concerns. Instead of having something dismissed as someone pulling a card, these complaints should be respectfully analyzed and received. If someone is truly committed to being non-racist, the appropriate reaction to a charge of racism is “I don’t feel like what I did was racist. Can you help me understand why you feel that way?”, not accusing someone of using race to be manipulative or deceitful.

But, alas, in a world of White privilege where is the incentive to say “You’re right, that was racist of me”? or “I didn’t mean to be racially insensitive”? And for even those who pride themselves in being non-racist, where would a non-Black person be taught the difference? If racism doesn’t negatively impact you in a very obvious way, it’s quite a task to say, “hey, let me learn about this so I make sure that I’m not out here supporting an unfair system of advantage that benefits me.”

It’s an amazingly duplicitous thing, to flip racism around so that the person who is the victim now looks like the guilty party because of their observations of someone’s behavior. A Black woman who feels that she has been passed over for a raise because of her background may be told that she is ‘pulling the race card’ and that racism will never end so long as people like her “see race in everything.” But how can you not see something that is constantly there?


Post a Comment