Monday, May 10, 2010



…yes you understood me and I’ll say it again:


For some reason, I’ve been hearing this phrase out of people’s mouths lately. A not so old adage that was birthed out of dominant, white culture’s tight and wrinkly rectum during the backlash to affirmative action. The idea that by saying, “Fuck you whitey,” an individual can reverse the hundreds of years of systemic oppression that effectively and currently withholds the majority of resources and means of production from a particular minority group.


First of all, the biggest affirmative action historically in this country was the GI bill. Which COMPLETELY DENIED BLACKS from any of the VA education and housing benefits that were promised to soldiers in 1944. This bill pretty much created the middle class, so when grandpa Joe claims, “I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps.” I call Bullshit.

Jim Crow laws, redlining, blockbusting, unequal schooling that still continues today (compare Beverly Hills High to Locke High in Watts.), and so many other forms of discrimination, formal and informal, have worked together to sustain a formidable obstacle between Blacks as a group and the resources that whites already own (and probably aren’t trying to share). And let’s not forget to mention slavery, the fact that most of those old guys whose pictures are on our currency raped their female slaves and created offspring, and those offspring were legally prevented from inheriting any of their fathers’ wealth. So don’t try to pretend that the disproportionate number of impoverished within the black community has no relation to the disproportionate number of the richest of the rich being white and male. And you don’t even want to hear me go off on colonization.

So yes, affirmative action was a form of reverse discrimination but only attempt to balance all of the previous centuries of original discrimination.

Racism is not only embedded deep within our own personal psyches, but also within our political system and cultural norms. There is no way in hell that reverse discrimination, which is what individuals can commit, is going to overturn that. That would be like saying that scholarships for people of low socio-economic status were reverse classism or that all feminist practice is simply reverse sexism.

Please. Like I tell my daughter, I can’t think for you, you have to do it yourself.


Emily said...

To me, the term "reverse discrimination" implies that "discrimination" invariably originates with one group (i.e whites) and is aimed at another group (non-whites), therefore "discrimination" that favors the second group is "reverse."

The logic in that is faulty. Discrimination is discrimination, whether it be white towards non-white, man towards woman, young towards old, or the "reverse": woman towards man, old towards young, non-white towards white, or within groups as much as between them.

And, unfortunately, I believe discrimination doesn't always flow from more powerful to less powerful, it goes both ways.

Just my $0.02.

Sloth Womyn said...

Your two cents is welcome, Emily. I agree that the term, "reverse discrimination," can be problematic. however, it does imply that there is a traditional flow of discrimination within our society. Can the powerless discriminate against the powerful? I think so in some cases I'm sure but by definition the powerless do not have the means by which to discriminate with. We don't want to confuse discrimination with prejudice, nor either of those terms with racism; and remember that in the context of this post I am focusing on race.

Emily said...

points well taken :)
I love your fire, Robin!!!