The Double Standard of Racism
by msalah on October 23, 2016 - 2:09pm
In today society, racism if often associated with white people as perpetuators and people of other colors as victims, an issue that is discussed in this article through a psychological test analysing people’s perception of themselves and of others based on racial bias.
This article talks about an experiment where a black journalist had the position of a police officer who had one second to decide if he would shoot the black or white person appearing on the screen, depending on his perception of what this person was holding (a gun, a stick, a cigarette pack…). His results have shown that he would more often shoot a white person rather than a black person, proving that our brain naturally associates other races as being bad and our own as being good. Therefore, black people will more often defend the black victims while white people are more likely to defend the white police officers (Chalabi, 2016, para. 6). Even though such an argument is based on psychological studies, I do not agree with the conclusion made by the journalist. A few months ago, when the issue of police officers violence towards black victims was at its peak, I saw a powerful Facebook video of a black woman, who was also a police officer, giving an emotional speech to all the officers responsible for the unjustified deaths of black unarmed men. She questioned their intentions as well as their actions as officers and reminded them of their duties and responsibilities towards society: the protection rather than the hurting of the population. Indeed, this woman may have been more affected by these tragedies than others, due to the fact that these victims shared the same skin color as her, however, I think that the decision to defend them goes further than her “race”, it concerns the fact that innocent human beings were killed by people who abused of their power. Hence, I strongly believe that a white police officer could have had the same reaction as her and that many other white people would also defend the victims, who are part of a minority group known to have suffered from a long history of oppression and discrimination and are still to this day, the subject of numerous injustices in our world.
This comes back to the fact that white people are seen as perpetuators and other people of colour as victims, however, this only happens because we do not live in a racially neutral society, but rather, a white dominant world (Chalabi, 2016, para. 9). We can relate this tendency to the concept of “white privileges”, where white people are granted with certain advantages that are superior rather than equal to the advantages of people of colour. Such a theory could explain the questionable judicial system in America and the way that people are being treated by police officers depending on their skin colour. However, I do not think that it means that black people believe that they are “good” and that white people are “bad” or the other way around, it rather means that a great number of the population believes that everyone deserves the same rights, freedoms and judiciary protection, no matter what their skin color is.
Psychological test, such as the one discussed in this article, can be rather surprising, it can emphasize some of the racial bias that are automatically produced by our brain. Hence, we should all question ourselves regarding our own racial tendencies before criticizing others.