To the average citizen, it should be blatantly obvious that the United States is in dire need of a race relation transformation. From Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, Washington, minorities are being unjustly targeted and killed.
Despite numerous racially-charged violent acts and daily micro-aggressions that minorities face, some people foolishly believe we live in a post-racial United States, even going so far as to cry reverse racism against whites. The problem with this sentiment is simple: Reverse racism does not exist. With Fox News running headlines such as, “Discrimination Against Whites is a Big Problem,” and lawsuits against universities who employ affirmative action, it is clear some citizens believe reverse racism exists. However, this is a self-defeating notion.
Racism requires two things: privilege and power. Privilege is a structural, institutional and social advantage, all of which whites possess in the United States. They also employ power, the ability to be supported by society and have social influence. White people benefit from both privilege and power when they aren’t murdered at routine traffic stops, are not incarcerated at a disproportionate rate and are fairly represented in the media. While there is such a thing as racial prejudice, which people of all races can express, minorities cannot impose racist institutions on whites.
In our society, they do not posess the privilege or power. Attempts to rectify systematic prejudice and injustice—such as affirmative action and minority student unions—are not examples of reverse racism. They are attempts to resolve institutional oppression.