“THIS IS A HATE CRIME!”
I read, scrolling through Twitter when I should have been in bed. I had been watching videos of baby otters for about 15 minutes, and I was starting to transition into puppies when the headline first caught my attention.
I was automatically interested, and it didn’t take me very long to find more information about it online as details developed. I watched videos and read the information in horror, and followed the story as it developed into the next day. Automatically, I agreed that what was done, was in fact, a hate crime. It was horrific and an act of violence that should certainly be labeled as such. But as I read the comments, and followed the hashtag as it developed on Twitter, I also noticed another common trend.
The incident was quickly labeled by some online as more proof of what some refer to as ‘reverse racism’ and that the oppression of white America. The ‘violence’ of movements like #BlackLivesMatter. This, of course, isn’t the first publicized incident of violence against white Americans. After the election, a video surfaced of a man being forced out of his car and beaten for apparently supporting Donald Trump. In the days following the incident, it was constantly brought up to me in conversation whenever I spoke with dismay about the apparent rise in violence against minorities after the election.
“They’re attacking us too. There’s violence on both sides.”
This is true. No one is arguing that there have not been punches thrown on both sides of the isle. However, there’s a couple of important points to consider before jumping onto the ‘reverse racism’ bandwagon and claiming that this justifies the existence of white oppression.
Simply: violent action is not inherently oppressive. Sometime’s violence is violence. Sometimes it’s violence against the perceived oppressor. Oppression is the action of constant harm to a minority, or the ability to put restrictions in place that limit the actions or ability of a people. The truth is that no white man in America can ever say that he was kicked out of a job, home, or religious institution for being white. Yes — in today’s world, it’s easy to feel like White people are constantly being demonized. Yes — ugly stereotypes exist about Trump voters. But the objective of a racial discrimination is discrimination against of those who do not hold power and maintaining the power of those that do. Simple. Violence against those who are perceived to hold power can not be racism for that simple fact. It is also not an oppressive action if the people being acted against are apart of what is traditionally the elite or more fortunate.
In the end, what happened to that young man was wrong and disturbing. He was an innocent victim of a hate crime targeted at a white person. But white America is far from oppressed — and that’s not going to change anytime soon.