Confronting the myth of “reverse racism”

by Devyn Ivers, Copy Editor

Racism can be easily presented in two forms: systemic and individual, systemic meaning certain systems of oppression that have developed over time to prevent minorities from obtaining specific everyday rights, and individual racism defined as a minority being directly targeted in a partial way. 

The history of racism dates back to the 16th century, where religion was used to justify slavery and overall prejudice. It can be found again in the 19th century, where Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection was twisted to give reason to genocide and racist values. These racist values from the past can still be seen today. 

Today, a new phrase has been given light: “reverse racism.” Seemingly created out of thin air, reverse racism is used, most always by white people, to say that a person of color is being racist towards them. I believe that since it is a fairly new term, most people don’t understand the horrific side effects of using it casually. Additionally, they may also find it difficult to comprehend the brutal history behind racism in general.

There is absolutely no history of white people being systematically or individually oppressed. What a lot of people are not willing to accept is that there is a stark difference between mistreating someone and being racist. For example, if you are rude to someone for an idea completely different from the color of their skin or the history behind it, it is not racist. Nowadays, with many white people taking strange offense in the Black Lives Matter movement (perhaps because the attention is finally drawn away from them), they have felt the need to take away from everything the Civil Rights Movement of 1954 aimed to accomplish. This is how the reverse racism phrase was reborn. 

“This is a very dangerous idea to talk about…most of us haven’t endured the very real issues and realities of living as a minority in this country,” said one student according to an anonymous survey. “To try and play the uno reverse card here will not work.” 


In our primarily upper-class white suburban town, it is almost impossible for any of us to experience the acts of injustice thrown towards people of color daily. As a result, a lot of people have been trapped by a bubble of ignorance created in our small town. There has been awful language written on the bathroom stalls, and many students use the n-word, claiming they have a “pass” or that it is acceptable because it is in the lyrics to a song. Few to none of these vandalism issues or cruel language uses have been targeted specifically to a white person or white people in general.

Essentially, reverse racism is a myth created to relieve the backlash white people are facing for being directly racist for all these years. This is not the first time reverse racism has been used as an excuse. Jim Crow laws and the War on Drugs are both examples of white people using the phrase to divert the attention away from the harsh realities people of color face every day. Our society has been built to bring white Americans up and Black Americans down, and reverse racism is a social lie that has only worsened racism in our country.