The question was asked in a forum that I frequent. Can Black people be racist? While this topic can go in many different directions, I think I (with the help of some of my comrades in the Assata Shakur forums) can end the "race" debate with this particular post.
From my experiences, I could answer the question with a simple "yes". However, that answer would be an uneducated one and extremely skin deep (no pun intended). Let’s go beneath the surface. To answer the question at hand, we must first ask: "What is racism?" Racism, very simply, is the ability to affect the lives of those for whom you have prejudiced beliefs. Institutionalized racism, which is what exists in the U.S., is where the power of the entire structure of the society supports and backs racist beliefs. Meaning that the housing, education, jobs, health-care, economics, environment, and criminal justice of African people are all negatively impacted by white racism (1).
To be a racist, Black people would have to be the group that has authority over other people's living conditions: employment, legal situations and such. When one group of people have divided the power of a ‘united’ (and I use that term very loosely) country amongst themselves we see the emergence of "supremacists" (2).
With that being said, in what way do the prejudices of African people affect the lives of white people? (1)
Prejudice and racism are two clearly different entities and people tend to confuse the two. Prejudice, by definition, is basically a biased mind based on unfair opinion. Prejudice can apply to anyone because for the most part, prejudice ideas are fueled by experience. Therefore, it is not fair to prejudge any one individual.
Knowing that dogs bite does not make me prejudiced against dogs because I know they have the potential to harm me by biting, and to be careful of them (3).
Applying this to whites metaphorically, ignoring the experience of whites and their tendencies to inflict harm (in whatever form) upon Africans would be ignorance (3).
The idea that race accounts for innate ability is the creation of white racists. I would suggest you look up Carl Von Linnaeus (1707-1778), Fredrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), both "scientist" if you could say that with a straight face, and Thomas Jefferson and nearly ALL the designers of the American system. If you can find for us where Africans have erected scientist to prove their prejudices and political and social leaders to implement and design societies around that "science" then we can give you some room (1)
to assert that Black people can be racist.
I refuse to be conditioned to believe that an African person could ever be 'racist' against another ethnicity. Erasing prejudice amongst Africans is more critical to the uplifting of Africans than worrying about whether some non-African thinks we can be ‘racist.’ That's rhetorical nonsense that leads nowhere, and I don't care whether a non-African thinks that they're not racist. Our goal is to limit opportunities for non-Africans to EXPRESS and ACT ON their opinions about us as Africans. At the end of the day, that is what truly matters to me. We don't have the power to control anyone's impression or attitude about us. We can work to limit their ability to make us suffer the consequences of their thinking (3).
Worrying about "racism' is a distraction. Concerning ourselves with how we can use our person-power to change our experience and improve our communities does more to disempower racism and racists than engaging in name-calling. We know what the game is, and as long as we play games not of our creation or control, we'll never step up to our own. Take your ball (African agenda), and start your own game (African liberation). The racism game is tired (3).Bibliography
1. Assata Shakur Forums- Comrade Tehuti-4
2. Assata Shkur Forums- Comrade Nesayem
3. Assata Shakur Forums- Comrade Creators College