How to be a good racist

The topic of racism is often frowned upon. It’s usually followed with remarks like, “Not again.” “Have we not gone past this?” Actually, we haven’t. Avoiding the topic makes it more dangerous. To move forward,  we have to talk about the existence of our differences, understand them and look for ways to work amicably.

Let’s remove the gauze on the scab. Let’s define what racism is before explaining how to be a good racist.

I like this definition of racism:

Racism =racial prejudice + systemic, institutional power. To say people of color can be racist, denies the power imbalance inherent in racism. Certainly, people of color can be and are prejudiced against white people. That was a part of their societal conditioning. A person of color can act on prejudices to insult or hurt a white person. But there is a difference between being hurt and being oppressed. People of color, as a social group, do not have the societal, institutional power to oppress white people as a group.

 True, it’s hard to see a black man oppress a white man. It’s rare.

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Racism, to borrow Karl Marx’s ideology is “here [,] it is standing up, not only holding itself up but rising, getting up and lifting itself, lifting its head, redressing itself and addressing itself.”  Racists have orchestrated a new way of couching their hate, they are evolving too as we enter new eras.

There are different types of racists. They are the shameless types and the improved ones respectively. In England, I’ve met both.

The first type approached me at a train station. He called me a monkey and made monkey sounds. At first, I didn’t want to respond to his chants but when he started hopping in front of me and started taunting me with his animalistic behaviour, I put him in his place by digging my fist into his face. I couldn’t resist it. When the police came, he explained what motivated his actions. His mates had dared him. It was then I concluded that perhaps, these types of racists are trained or pushed by their peers or even parents to be hostile to those who don’t look like them. These ones learn these traits. Children, regardless of colour, play together until they grow up. They quickly learn from the society about differences and begin to act their racist roles. Dr. Robert Williams puts it succinctly when he says parents, institutions and society teach “racial hatred and racial fear”.

The second type of racist is that one that keeps you close and crushes you with love. As a student at Kingston University, in our world literature class, the lecturer requested that we select writers we would like to read. I selected Ben Okri and Salman Rushdie. Our lecturer overlooked my selections.

She felt comfortable with were D.H. Lawrence, Charles Dickens and other white American authors. Some of my classmates told me not to make a big fuss about it.

Some weeks later, she added James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain as if that singular act was going to make me leap into the sky. In the class for Baldwin’s discussion, she called on me first to explain the book. Immediately, I felt some arrows piercing me. Being the only black boy in the class, I wanted to ask why I should be the first person to answer that question. I had so many questions. I remembered that I echoed some words from the blurb just to keep the class moving. I never returned to that class again and of course, she never questioned my absence.

This kind of trained dislike is the most dangerous of all. These ones are diplomatic and selective in their use of hate. I met one like that some days ago and told the story on my Facebook post. They don’t present it out in the open. Some would argue that they don’t see how that lecturer was in any way racist. Well, in the academic setting, silent discrimination is the new way form of racism. The eyes can’t see it but the body can feel it.

There are several ways to be a good racist in these contemporary times. They are, but not limited to:

Smile always: Whenever you go to a shop, at the cash till, there’s always that ready cashier smiling and ready to treat you royally because you hold the cash. They’ve been trained to make you feel like a god. That’s how a good racist behaves. He/she doesn’t want to sound harsh or mean, she wants to be seen as nice but deep down, she wants to crush you. This is the best practise in the game of racism.

Make uninformed decisions: Walk around with a sensible dose of stereotypical thinking. Whenever you see black man, assume the worse. He could be either a con artist or a thief. Ensure you walk around thinking that all blacks are evil.

It’s essential for racists to arm themselves with these steps and it’s more important for the so-called minority tribes to recognise these subtle moves.

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