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Qutzupalotl

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 12,048

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I think fear and hatred of the "other" are at the heart of racism.

That often manifests in abuses of any power or superior position that is available, but I see the power component as an effect rather than a defining characteristic.

I attended one of the schools that was closed for years after the Brown decision. I was a white kid in a school that was about 80% black. For a few hours a day, I experienced what it was like to be a minority though with a reprieve at the end of the day that I realize my classmates never got.

My classmates were children of parents who were not able to complete their education, and they often struggled. I was put in a situation where I faced a lot of lingering resentment and even malice for things I did not do, simply for who I was. There was always a sense that you could not stick up for yourself due to the overwhelming numbers opposed, so you learned to get along and let racial taunts slide, and avoid people and situations that physically threatened you.

One could argue that this was a special case where numbers gave social power to people who did not have it in society at large, and so the racism-as-power definition would hold. But to say I never experienced racism because whites have power in the larger society is to deny what I went through every day. Any advantage, even height and strength, can be leveraged by any person, regardless of color. That is why I say everyone is capable of racially motivated actions regardless of whether they have power in larger society, and everyone should examine themselves in this regard.
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