The widely recognised definition of racism is missing something important. Structural power. It’s this that gives white sounding names an advantage in job applications. It’s this that means people of colour are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police. It’s this that means most make-up brands, plasters and “nude” coloured clothing is for white skin tones only i.e. the norm. If structural racism didn’t exist, why did Rihanna’s new make-up brand set a benchmark for beauty that other brands have never even come close to achieving? Because most beauty brands didn’t even realise there were forty shades of human skin tone worth catering for.
The world is not equal for everyone. It’s a tilted stage where whiteness is centre stage, it’s the norm and those in the spotlight aren’t given the tools to recognise it. Recognising this is important, white readers (ourselves included, obvs), you can be critical about the privilege we have but didn’t ask for, and still benefit from it. Just don’t let that guilt get in the way of being an ally and calling out racism when you see it, nobody’s got time for those white tears.
“I can wholeheartedly say that the dictionary definition of racism was written a very long time ago and not by a person of colour. It doesn’t allow us to have a conversation about modern-day racism. If you’re not aware of it, then make yourself aware of it. Racism isn’t just calling someone something, it’s a whole system. If you think we live in an equal society, you’re living in a daydream. You need to recognise that there is such a thing as white privilege and you can be homeless and still have white privilege, because you can still have a better chance of getting out of homelessness than a person of colour in the same position.” – Munroe Bergdorf