Posted on November 10, 2022

The Infuriating Charge of ‘Racism Against White People’

Leonard Pitts, Tribune Content Agency, November 9, 2022

Sometimes I wish white people could be Black.

Not forever, mind you. Maybe for just a few weeks like John Howard Griffin, the author of “Black Like Me,” who darkened his skin and traveled the South in 1959. Sometimes, I wish white people could have that experience.

Not so they could feel the sickly apprehension that can accompany a simple traffic stop.

Not so they could feel the indignation of being asked to account for yourself just walking down the street.


No, I wish white people could be Black so they could know how it feels to deal with all of that — and then hear white people complain how hard they have it.

The reference is to a recent political ad. {snip}

“When did racism against white people become OK?” asks the announcer. The piano frets worriedly behind him, and white people gaze soulfully into the camera as he lists supposed acts of “left-wing racism” and “anti-white bigotry” they face from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. {snip}

Yes, the spot is obviously a direct descendant of the notoriously racist Willie Horton ad of 1988. But our attention today is on how it tries to neutralize the language of liberal protest by co-opting it, i.e., re-framing “racism” as something suffered by white folks. It’s a rhetorical trick the white right has used for years. Which is not to say it has lost its power to infuriate. This narrative that racism is a “both sides” phenomenon may be comfort food for them, but it is a libel upon my ancestors.