We are all on the same page that one cannot be racist against White people in the United States since racism is a system in a society used to the benefit of those in power to oppress those without power and based on racial or ethnic differences?
That’s the sociological definition of racism, not the dictionary’s. But since we’re talking about a societal situation and not a grammatical one, the sociological definition takes precedence.
So put the dictionary down before arguing about the definition.
Here’s the definition rooted in sociology—the study of human societies:
“[Racism is] the systemic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and
Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power
(Whites). This subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms
and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.”
Except in 2019, not everybody is actually on that page.
Jeremy O. Harris, the playwright of the acclaimed Broadway show Slave Play, was fielding questions at a talkback post-performance when a White woman leaped from her seat and began accusing Harris of “racism against White people.”
The interaction was captured on video and shared on Twitter.
Just saw the amazing @SlavePlayBway by @jeremyoharris after which a white audience member jumped up and accused him of being “racist against white people.” The confrontation proceeded from there. Clips in this thread. #slaveplay pic.twitter.com/KiXbo0rdcC— Adam B. Kushner (@AdamBKushner) November 30, 2019
She kept saying how oppressed she was and how she’d fought her whole life for ... it wasn’t clear what, but presumably something worthy. A perfect, inadvertent encapsulation of one of the play’s core ideas.— Adam B. Kushner (@AdamBKushner) November 30, 2019
“She just freaked out,” said a fellow audience member, of the woman.
“The videos don’t do it justice. She went off on him. … She was screaming at the top of her lungs. She could not handle her own guilt or responsibility in her own feelings, and she demanded that Jeremy help explain and handle her feelings.”
Fellow white sis, pic.twitter.com/ZocgfNCcpF— Dorian (@DorianJonesz) November 30, 2019
Until people like this woman realize that the point of telling stories of black oppression is NOT making them feel better about racism and giving them a cookie for having a human emotion, they’re gonna be mad.— Leslie Streeter (@LeslieStreeter) December 2, 2019
All I hear is white tears pouring in my cup 😂— BigChuck (@BigChuckEdits) December 2, 2019
The real problem here is that some white people expect a “thank you” for doing everything to stop or slow down oppression after a few hundred years of slavery. News Flash: Don’t expect one, simply acknowledging that slavery made an adverse impact on people of color, to date.— SemperCrossFit (@_SemperCrossFit) December 2, 2019
White lady: "I don't want to hear that white people are the ******* plague all the time!"— тнe вαвy нυмαɴiѕт (@BabyHumanist) December 2, 2019
Okay, but honey, why do YOU hear this all the time? Because I don't....
The lady said she felt like she was a marginalized member of society.
“I never once said that you as a White woman were not a marginalized person. But if you heard that in my play, I don’t know what to tell you. Perhaps read it or see it again.”
very on brand for her as a white woman to step into a black space with black voices and scream over them to further claim to be the real victim of oppression— s t e f 🇵🇷 (@senoritacruzz) December 2, 2019
That woman is an an out and out racist. No doubt about it, she can't handle the truth, the ramifications of 400 years is still apparent.— Theodora (@_Aniweta) December 2, 2019
She claims to have tried to find a solution for racism, going by her outburst I doubt it.
It's like my granny used to say... if you throw a brick into a pack of dogs, the one hollerin' is the one who got hit 🤷🏾♀️— Mommma's been trying to tell you (@MommmaSaid) December 2, 2019
She was affected by what she saw and heard. She felt insulted and is one who's tired of hearing about Blacks getting credit for "complaining".— james jones (@eskineez) December 3, 2019
“In the play, the Black person in every couple doesn’t feel heard or valued by their White counterpart,” said the audience member.
“She was mirroring the attitude of one White woman in the play and embodying the same characteristics. The play is about race and Black people and what they experience, and she couldn’t recognize that she was feeling exactly what the play was designed to make her feel.”
The play inspired the conversation that Harris was hoping for, for sure. But we’re still in awe at the lack of self awareness of this reaction.