The phrase 'reverse racism/reverse racist' is a silly meme that is often employed by white racists to describe racist actions perpetrated by (usually) black people. Usually, the so-called ‘reverse racist’ act is some kind of tame or ironic observation, often the so-called ‘reverse racist’ is somehow calling out some kind of institutional white racism, or has been embroiled in a controversy for standing up for themselves against such mechanisms. Sometimes, the ‘reverse racist’ is actually a racist, or has actually committed a racist act(and the offended white person, who is more desperate to call a black person out on racism because they feel that somehow the crimes of the white power structure throughout history have been piled heavy upon their shoulders. They feel that the insistence of our current society to ‘be nice’ and judge people ‘by the content of their character, not the color of their skin’ is somehow an undue burden). People who call out ‘reverse racism’ are the same people who can also be heard saying ‘I’m not racist, but…’. These people have black friends. When asked around black people who their favorite actor is, they may say ‘Denzel Washington’, or ‘Will Smith’, if they’re feeling ecumenical.
The problem at hand is, however, a linguistic one. Even if the label of ‘reverse racist’ is actually applied to a real racist (there are racist black people), the term ‘reverse racist’ is confusing. If a person is racist, they are racist. Wouldn't a 'reverse racist' be someone who goes out of their way to help a person of a different race, or to erase an existing racial barrier?
There’s something weird going on under the surface of the 'reverse racist' label. It seems to imply that racism originated with white people, and any other kind of racism is somehow reactionary racism, impure racism. In one sense, you could think of it as a preference by the claimant for David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar.
All people are subject to tribal urges, to a greater or lesser degree. Some folks have stronger, more malicious strains than others, with the focal point ranging anywhere from ideology to geography to race. If someone is being racist, feel free to acknowledge it. But please, try to respect your native language by not infusing it with unnecessary silliness (people who call out ‘reverse racists’ are often the same people who feel horribly oppressed at their being a Spanish option when they call customer service*).
If you are white and were offended by this post, let me ask you this: when a black person (public citizen or private) is acting in a ‘racist’ way, among your group of friends/families/associates, are you usually the first person to notice it? Just curious.
*On a (somewhat) unrelated note, aren’t you glad that the Brits are starting to stand up for their healthcare system? It’s about time.