The Seven Types of Racism and How To Respond

Here at the NegusWhoRead laboratories our group of scientists, cultural anthropologists and barbershop hoteps spend countless hours investigating all things Black, from trying to figure out why the hell anyone would buy clothes from the Lil’ Wayne collection, to cookouts and economics. One of our largest collaborative research projects is the dissection, examination and categorization of racism and its causes. What we have learned in our initial research is that the most popular misunderstanding of racism is that it is about hate.

Au contraire mon frere (That’s French for “nah, nigga” )…

To clear up this misconception, the Racism Research Team at NegusWhoRead has decided to offer you this handy guide to recognizing the different types of racism, along with real-world advice on how to combat or defuse each situation

1. Inadvertent Racism – Yes, White people (we know you’re reading this too) most Black people will readily admit that not all White people are racist. In fact, most people in general are good at heart. But here is what some of you fail to understand:

Just because you don’t have hate in your heart and don’t want to atom bomb Black people off the face of the Earth, does not preclude you from committing a racist act. Whenever anyone levels charges of racism, the first response is usually “I’m not a racist.” We don’t think everyone who commits an innocuous act of racism is a card-carrying member of the KKK (Does the KKK even have membership cards? ID badges? Personally I’ve always wondered who has the KKK’s hood-making contract? How do they get them to stand up so straight? But I digress…) When the Red Cross released a racist poster that insinuated black kids didn’t know how to act around the pool, no intelligent person  though everyone at the Red Cross had a secret hate for Black kids. Or like when a white lady who doesn’t know a thing about you feels she has the authority or freedom to touch your fucking hair (or in my case–even worse–rub their hands across my bald head)!. Even though she has never run her fingers through a  caucasian stranger’s locks, she might not hate you. Her curiosity and privilege just led her down the wrong path, but it was still racist.

How to respond:  Relay the story of how, yesterday, you replaced a valve in your toilet that stopped it from leaking, and you fixed one of your lawn sprinklers. Tell them you aren’t a plumber, but you sometimes do plumber shit. Inform the person who committed the inadvertently racist act that you don’t think they are a racist, but they sometimes do racist shit.

…or–in the case of hair fondling–tell them you’re allergic to white hands, and now they’re  gonna have to give you an epinephrine shot.

2. Lowkey Racism This is different than inadvertent racism for one small reason: Intent.

Lowkey racist know what they’re doing. They’re playing an game of “let-me-see-what-I-can-get-away-with.” Lowkey racism is when your coworker buys everyone in the office a bottle of wine for their birthdays, but when yours rolls around, he gets you a fifth of Hennessy. Lowkey racism is when the ultra-conservative Chik-Fil-A makes every employee wear a shirt that says that they “Back The Blue” in the #BlackLivesMatter vs Police deathmatch debate that only exists in White people’s heads.

How to Respond–Smile. Then offer them a hug. When you embrace them, hold them tight for an extra half second and whisper in their ear. “I see what you’re doing, Jim. Trust me, I won’t EVER forget.”

..then take a couple shots of  that birthday Henny.

3. Appropriation  Appropriation is a little like inadvertent racism, except it always has an element of theft or disregard involved. Justin Timberlake still doesn’t understand why Black Twitter went apeshit on him as soon as they saw an opening, even though he’s been appropriating Black culture ever since he left N’Sync. Justin Timberlake is basically Bilal with a slightly worse voice and simpler lyrics. He is Chris Brown without thug credentials. Black Lively is still reeling  from the beating she took about her booty. Maybe this entire article is just a device to get you to see what Christopher Michaels said about Miley Cyrus:

How to respond: Walk up to them and ask if you can have your culture back. Tell them you know they have it because you saw it sticking out of their wallet.

Or, like Christopher Michaels said: Blame their mama. And Billy Ray Cyrus.

4. Structural racism is probably the most difficult to identify and combat, because it is usually built into a larger system. Like the American system of policing. Or the American education system. Or the American justice system. Or the American political system. Or… wait. To save time and typing, I’ll just say “like America.”

The complex, years-old systems that perpetuate systematic racism are hard to tear down because they protect themselves at all costs. Like when you say #BlackLivesMatter as a means of convincing them that African bodies aren’t disposable, and maybe we should make some changes in policies, they call you “anti-cop.” Like when you suggest we address racial disparities in the quality of secondary education with affirmative action, they say you want a “handout.” Like when you wonder why there is no legislation against this kind of abuse, and you realize only there have only been FOUR Black senators in the entire history of America. That’s right. There is a greater percentage of Black Presidents than there are Black Senators.

How To Respond: Realize that a system designed to oppress and subjugate a group of people can never protect those very same people, so you have to burn that motherfucker to the ground.

..Or vote.

Either one

5. Blatant Racism – You’ve seen this before. It’s KKK marches. It’s confederate flags. It’s the white people mad about interracial couples in Cheerios commercials and Old Navy ads. If you have never witnessed it before, you don’t even have to leave this site. Just scroll through the comment section of this article, or wait until the White trolls read this one. I have to admit, I’m not bothered that much by blatant racists. They’re kinda cute. They’re usually toothless (figuratively and sometimes literally) ignoramus rednecks with learning disabilities and single-digit vocabularies. If you hate grammar, visit a racist website and hang out in the comment section. They’re punctuation-challenged relics of a bygone era, like people who wear bell bottoms or still buy porn on VHS tapes.

How to respond: Don’t. It’s not like you’re going to say something profound to them and they will suddenly vow to change their racist ways. Leave them alone in their insular little retarded world.

…But every now and then, when I see a skinhead couple, I walk up to the woman and say “Hey! Didn’t we used to date?” 

6. Reverse Racism – I’m not one of those people who believe that reverse racism doesn’t exist. As we’ve shown in our previous examples, there are many forms of racism. I’m sure there are isolated incidents of reverse racism like how Eminem never wins a BET Award or that one story every White person tells about that one time they were the victim of discrimination. While I believe any form of discrimination is wrong, it’s hard for me to muster sympathy the White people living in a White world that bends towards them. It’s the same lack of empathy I feel when I hear a multibillionaire complaining about taxes. It’s not that  don’t give a fuck, but… I don’t give a fuck.

How To Respond: Don’t.

They’ll be aight.

7. HateThis is the most egregious form of racism. These are the people who inadvertent racists have in their heads when we point out their racism. They want Black people gone. They don’t want to live near us. They scowl when they have to work with you. They would rather slit the throat of their firstborn child than have her date a “nigger.” (I put that in quotation marks because there is a specific way a hateful person says that word that cannot be replicated. It’s something in the way they hit the double “G” and sound out the “R.”)

Most people think this kind of hate dwells in the KKK or meets at midnight in secret locations. No, these are the upstanding American citizens who want to send the Mexicans back to Mexico because they’re taking all the jobs and making America too brown. These are the people who believe Obama is from Kenya. These are the people on the other side of the executive desks when statistics that show how having a black name impedes employment. These are the people who call themselves “real Americans” (even though the average Black ancestry has twice as much time in America than the average White person’s). These are the people who put multimillion dollar contracts into Cheef Keef’s pockets and microphones in front of Young Thug’s mouths. These are the people who write Mona-Scott Young’s checks and scripts for her reality shows. These are the people who keep Don Lemon on the air. These are the Trump voters. They are the #AllLivesMatter screamers. They hate us.

How to respond: Now that Kimbo Slice is gone, there is only one thing that beats hate:




About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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