Via Mediaite, this Asian woman learned that when describing incidents of racial harassment, make sure the perpetrators are only white people because people of color can’t possibly be racist … ever. First, there's some background information. Mary Spellman, the Dean of Claremont McKenna, resigned yesterday after her remarks about helping minority students who "don’t fit our CMC mold" set off hunger strikes and protests.
On November 11, a student protest was held with Spellman, President Hiram Chodosh, and other members of the administration present to listen to their concerns (via The Claremont Independent) [emphasis mine]:
At the demonstration, students vocalized their demands, emphasizing that they want everything done on their own terms. “We don’t want a center for free speech meant to educate white students,” one protestor asserted. “We want a center that supports marginalized students first and foremost.” When students demanded that President Chodosh commit to giving them a temporary and eventually permanent space on campus, he initially said that he could not commit to a temporary space, but is working on a permanent space at this time. But after about 5 minutes of students speaking out against him, President Chodosh said he would love to transform the Hub, CMC’s student food store and central lounge, to provide them with a temporary space. In a swift, executive decision, CMC Student Body President Will Su dedicated part of the student government office as a temporary space, ordering the administration to give these studentsa permanent space immediately.
Then, things got a bit tense when an Asian woman told the protestors an incident, where she was racially harassed by an African-American man, while walking with her two friends–also Asian. She said the man yelled, “go back to your home.”
“The point I’m making here is that we should not distinguish people by their race or gender or anything. Black people can be racist,” she said. Well, that didn’t over well with this crowd at all. Watch the reaction below, which was captured by Rob Trent:
“How is this relevant to the college failing to provide a space for people of color?” asked one apparently annoyed student as this woman gave up trying to make her points that anyone can be racist, we should judge the actions of that individual person, and what appears to be a warning to not pigeonhole any racial group with default allegations of racism.
One of the most annoying aspects of this whole racial dialogue is that blacks, or anyone of color, can’t truly be racist because as a system, they don't benefit from it or something–as stated in this Huffington Post article. The GIF from the film Dear White People shows a character from the move explaining that racism is "a system of disadvantage based on race."
Right–so, black supremacist theories and vicious anti-Semitism (yes, that’s racism) have never existed within the black community? They have–and the latter was where the Nation of Islam and the American Nazi Party formed a bizarre relationship (or alliance) in the 1960s when the leader of the ANP, George Lincoln Rockwell attended a NOI rally in Washington D.C. on June 25, 1961. He was there to see Elijah Muhammad, with whom both men formed the oddest of odd couples (via VICE):
Overt anti-Semitism, it turned out, was something the two groups could bond over. While Rockwell pushed his hatred of Jews to frothy extremes, Muhammad backed a range of racist theories, including the hoax that the Jews had financed the slave trade. (Malcolm X was cagier about his anti-Semitism, often deferring to Muhammad's conspiracy theories rather than offering his own.
Division of the races was another mutual bugbear. Malcolm X's speech that night was titled "Separation or Death." Inside the arena, Rockwell told reporters, "I am fully in concert with their program, and I have the highest respect for Elijah Muhammad." The question of where to send America's blacks—the NOI wanted a chunk of the US, while the ANP wanted a full deportation to Africa—was, he said, his only quarrel with the Muslims.
For the Nazi leader, the alliance served a fantasy rooted in grandiose absurdism. "Can you imagine a rally of the American Nazis in Union Square," Rockwell later wrote his followers, "protected from Jewish hecklers by a solid phalanx of Elijah Muhammad's stalwart black stormtroopers?"
On February 25, 1962, Rockwell addressed a NOI rally at their Chicago convention:
"I am not afraid to stand here and tell you I hate race-mixing and will fight it to the death," Rockwell continued. "But at the same time, I will do everything in my power to help the Honorable Elijah Muhammad carry out his inspired plan for land of your own in Africa. Elijah Muhammad is right. Separation or death!" The audience teetered between polite applause and boos. Two months later, Muhammad, writing in the NOI newspaper, admonished his flock for their frosty reception: "If they are speaking the truth for us, what do we care? We'll stand on our heads and applaud!"
…[T]he ghost of the alliance lives on today. The Nation of Islam, under the auspices of Louis Farrakhan, maintains an open partnership with white supremacist Tom Metzger. And in the last decade, the American Nazi Party website established a "Non-Aryan Sympathizer Page," offering "a means for non-whites to aid in our struggle" with mail-in contributions.
Alas, we arrive at the definition of racism. It’s solely the belief that one’s racial characteristics and abilities are superior to other races. There’s no mentioning of a “disadvantaged” system anywhere. Blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics…we can all be racist. We can all possess the ability to hate, or feel superior, to one another. Right now, Asian nations, especially China have adopted a rather ethnocentric attitude towards foreign policy. In America, Asians remain the best educated racial group in the country. They’re also out-earning whites in median household income by $12,000 ($66,000/$54,000) and the country’s overall GDP by $16,200 ($66,000/$49,800). Does this mean Asians in America are the best–the racially superior group? No. Of course not. But it does show that we’re a) just killing it when it comes to education, jobs and family life, though those qualities can be adopted by anyone and b) there’s no “system of disadvantage based on race” present. Certainly, there are societal factors that make getting ahead more difficult, but that’s for another time. And, again, those problems aren’t exclusively held to one racial or ethnic group.
I'm all about having debates, but how can you have one on racial issues if the other side doesn't even understand that there's little difference between feelings of racism and prejudice. It's virtually a distinction without a difference. We have to debate whether these words are real. Has it really come to this?
Longer version here:
The list of demands can be read here.