1. says

    The white woman wasn’t experiencing racism, white people can’t experience racism in a white dominated society. She experienced prejudice and discrimination, not racism. There is a difference. Racism is institutional and woven into the fabric of society. The only people in this country who endure that are people of color because white people set it up like that hundreds of years ago. White people can’t endure racism because they are part of the group of people with power and privilege.

  2. Ted says

    @Derrick…”The white woman wasn’t experiencing racism, white people can’t experience racism in a white dominated society.” LOL. So only white people are ever racist???

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    @ Derrick,

    LOL. You don’t know how many times I’ve been called a racist on this blog, and called a “snow queen” by some Black Gays for being a “regular” on Towleroad.

    Anyway, I’m very proud of those folks in that barbershop.

    That young blonde sure got treated better than I did in Black barbershops–but that was a while ago. I had to learn to cut my own hair. LOL

  4. Patrick says

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines racism as the “belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races” and the expression of such prejudice.

  5. JJJJJJ says

    Derrick – that’s a common argument amongst people interested in social justice, but I think it’s misguided. Racism means discrimination and prejudice on the basis of one’s race – which is clearly the case here. How I think the argument should be redefined is people in a dominant majority can’t be *oppressed*, but they can be victims of racism. Racism is just a classification of a type of prejudice. Straight people can be victims of heterophobia, but they can’t be oppressed by gay people. I’m not sure why the term “racism” is being used for the word “oppression.”

  6. 1♥ says

    Regarding the people to stood up, I hope they are on our side when it comes to Gay rights. We need more people like them in all communties.
    And this should also be a lesson to non-black people on how to act to a bigot in their group.

  7. matt says

    Hate is hate It shouldn’t matter who had it worse or when. Pain is pain. It’s not a contest and somebody’s else’s pain doesn’t make yours any less real.

  8. Patrick says

    Beautiful response. I wish I could honestly say I would always be so bold, rational, and eloquent and speak up when I see ugly situations like that. I hope to grow to have that much grace.

  9. Mawm says

    Derrick, I understand what you are saying, but if you look at any definition of racism, Websters, Oxford, you will see that anyone can experience racism. An African-American can be a racist as much as anyone else. You can’t change the meanings of words just because a sociology teacher said so.

  10. Bobby says

    Great story. Very touching. And people like Derrick have no idea what they’re talking about. The woman was white, the actress playing the part didn’t like her because she is white, that is racism.

  11. Chitown Kev says

    You don’t EVEN want me to get into the entire question of who codifies the English language, who assigns definitions o the meanings of words and why they assign them…

  12. says

    @Seattle Mike: Indeed!

    The white woman was experiencing a contrived situation designed to test responses. The context for a white blonde is different than it would be for a black person in an all-white salon, which comes up in the discussion. But the only thing real–and therefore noteworthy–is the awesome, articulate, kind responses from the customers stuck in one of ABC’s fake experiments. They’re some of the good people of the world.

  13. Randi M. Romo says

    This is a great exercise. It is a very good lesson for people across the board. However, I would like to point out that what was happening on the part of the black character was not her being a racist. Reverse racism is not a real thing. What she was portraying was bigotry and prejudice, things that do happen at times on the part of some people of color toward some white people

    Racism itself is an artificial construct. Here in the U.S. it was created with the intent of utilizing some groups of people for the express purpose of creating wealth and gaining power. Racism means to treat differently from systemic and an institutional perspective; it involves power of one group over another based primarily on their racial origins.

    Blacks, Latinos, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Indigenous people in this country have not held those roles of power, policy and decision making. And while initially some whites were mistreated by other whites, they were ultimately able to assimilate and melt into the “melting pot”, because of their skin color and assimilation into a white normative culture. Something people of color could not do.

    Power is a very necessary precondition for racism’s existence, for it depends on the ability to give or withhold social benefits, facilities, services, opportunities etc., from someone who should be entitled to them, and are denied on the basis of race, color or national origin.

  14. oncemorewithfeeling says

    You can have any opinion you want, but words have definitions and facts are facts: anyone can be racist towards anyone else. Wallowing in victim status to such a degree that you have to have it all to yourself doesn’t help anyone.

    There’s no difference between some black people saying blacks can’t be racist and some black people saying that LGBT rights aren’t civil rights. Both statements are wrong and offensive. Share the wealth — there’s victimhood enough for everyone.

  15. Thedrdonna says

    Nobody is saying that bigotry and prejudice is wrong, simply that when it is being performed by someone in a disadvantaged minority there is a distinction, because the minority does so in an overarching culture of unequal power distribution. Black people can’t be racist, women can’t be sexists. This is all based around vocabulary, but it’s important to understand that there is a cultural context to these actions, and the motivations, causes, effects, and reasons for bigotry generally stem from different sources in oppressed classes when compared to oppressor classes.

  16. Derrick from Philly says

    Here’s the difference, ONCEMOREWITHFEELING:

    “I don’t like Black people” = bigotry & prejudice.

    “I don’t like White people” = bigotry & prejudice.

    “I don’t like to be around Black people because they are not very intelligent, always playing the victim, they don’t seem to be able to learn standard English, and they are prone to violence. It’s our White race that has accomplished all the important advances on this planet. The Blacks ought to be glad we brought them here.” = RACISM

    “White people were created to cause destruction and confusion. They are prone to commit abuse, use, and steal from people of color on this planet–that’s their nature. They are White devils” = RACISM

    Part of the original definition of racism is believing your race is superior and another race is inferior. I think the term came into wide use during the time of the Nazis.

    There is only one group of Black people that I know of who may have attained a sense of racial superiority. That’s members of the Nation of Islam.

  17. Rrhain says

    @Derrick: So close and yet so wrong.

    Racism is based upon power. And while the majority of interactions between those who are white and those who are not white have the white person in the position of power, that is not always the case.

    In this particular instance, it is the black people who have the power. This is their neighborhood, their store, their community. They define the standards and they control the culture. Thus, this particular interaction has the non-white person in a position of power and the actions against the person who is white is racist.

    You really do need to take a refresher on that sociology course.

  18. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Racism is based upon power.”

    Well, you need the power in order to discriminate–to practice the racism.

    The racism itself is an intellectual state of mind where you believe you are superior and “they” are inferior–maybe by nature.

    We’ll both take that refresher sociology course. And I’ll take a psychology course and “Race In America” African-American Studies course so I’ll be ready for our next exchange.

  19. says

    “Thus, this particular interaction has the non-white person in a position of power and the actions against the person who is white is racist.”

    Not disputing the power points, but this particular interaction is fake so it’s play-acting racism and galaxies away from the long, real history of institutional racism, however much a few earlier commenters want to make ludicrous equivalencies. What it shows is that good people will stand up for what’s right with grace and eloquence when they think they are seeing another human being treated unfairly.

  20. Chitown Kev says

    “I think the term came into wide use during the time of the Nazis.”

    Derrick, not only are you correct with that statement, but the term “racism” was coined by a gay Jewish man…Magnus Hirschfeld, although his context was a little different.

  21. Ytr says

    White people can experience racism. I know this. My white mother experienced it A LOT when we went to Jamaica when I was little. My father is black and he also experienced racism by Jamaicans there.

  22. jonvincent says

    I’m actually surprised a bit. I know a lot of black women that feel like there are so few good black guys to begin with so why do white chicks need to steal their men? Family and tradition often want to keep races and religion together and I can understand that to a point. But many white chicks are going after black guys for the pure fetish factor or as an adventure and not for real love. Its one thing to fall in love with a guy because you love him in a color blind way but when your a Kardashian and fetishcize black guys and only date black guys exclusively it’s a weird type of racism that is just wrong.

  23. Allie says

    Though I think the sentiments of support shown by the black community at the barber shop towards the white woman are sweet and positive, I’m very concerned by the premise of this video.

    The premise, to me, assumes that there could be and perhaps are more negative reactions and exclusion among the African American community towards interracial couples. The video doesn’t show both types of exclusion–from a predominantly white community as well as the black community. And I find that this video detracts from the oppression black people in this country face on a day to day basis, because it focuses on problems (and solutions) only being among their community. It felt patronizing to me, this entire set-up. As if there’s an element of surprise to the fact that the black community defends and upholds this couple’s right to be together. It really offended me.

    I’m the daughter of a white mother and biracial father who looks and identifies as black. I grew up in a predominantly white conservative town, though I’ve spent time in cities that are mixed or predominantly black. We’ve experienced great welcoming and love from people of all races, people who celebrate diversity and strive for unity, justice, and an end to oppression. In our white conservative hometown, however, we experienced exclusion from some of the white community. Whereas every black family we knew welcomed and supported us. I find that this is more of how it really is, than what the video is showing.

  24. alex says

    @Allie: Don’t overthink it. This is video from a pseudo-news organization. They only show the people that respond they way they want.

    I’ve never seen a “What Would You Do?” segment that would ever approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of an accredited university. (IRB must approve any scientific studies to ensure there is no negative impact on participants or bystanders.)

    That said, very few people watching this “news” program will ever question the legitimacy of what they see.

    Your concerns are valid. Unfortunately, we live in the age of the “sound-bite”. The question becomes: Is it better to have a simplistic pro-diversity message or should we avoid the subject unless it can be debated properly?

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