There are two definitions of racism. The real one and the liberal one.
1. rac·ism – hatred or discrimination against another race
2. rac·ism – being a member of a majority group
The second definition, also known as white privilege, is the one that the left likes to use. And proving that the New York Times will print any op-ed, no matter how dumb, that supports its point of view, it backwashes this tepid mess of idiocy from Masha Gessen, a Russian gay rights activist with a high level of stupid even by New York Times op-ed standards.
In Boston, where I went to high school, I quickly learned the very peculiar fact that being Jewish meant being part of the majority — the white majority. Many Soviet émigrés, buoyed by this discovery, adopted rabidly racist attitudes. This embarrassed their kids, the people of my generation, who, as they became American adults, usually moved steadily to the left of their parents.
Masha Gessen isn’t just an idiot, she’s also a liar. Russia is about as racist as it gets. No one from Russia, Russian, Jewish or any member of a minority living in Russia, develops racist attitudes because they’re a majority in America. They already have them to begin with.
That gives them something in common with 99 percent of the planet.
Gessen has to make up something this stupid to prop up the bizarre liberal argument that racism can only exist between the majority and the minority. If Russian Jews had negative views of blacks in Russia that would negate the whole nonsensical argument.
We neighborhood-shopped and chose Harlem — among other reasons, because many people who are roughly my age and in roughly my field of work are moving to the neighborhood. Soon enough, I was speaking to one such woman. She mentioned she sometimes sensed resentment from Harlem’s old-timers. She said she had been the target of “racist remarks.”
I cringed. This woman was white, and the remarks had been made by people who were not. And I knew there was no such thing as “reverse racism”: You cannot be the object of racial discrimination if you are a member of the powerful majority. I had learned this as an American before I became a Russian again.
Reverse racism is a stupid term. The only acceptable context in which to apply it is when a measure intended to alleviate racism backfires and leads to racial discrimination as in the case of affirmative action.
Describing racism itself as reverse racism is as stupid and wrong as Masha Gessen.
Gessen claims that a racist remark is not a racist remark if it’s directed from a minority to a majority. So what is it then? She’s not capable of answering the question.
Not even when her own daughter asks it.
A couple of drunken men loitered nearby. Apparently, one of them had lashed out at my daughter, calling her a “white bitch.” He then collected his kids from the playground, making it clear this was done on her account.
“Isn’t this racism?” she asked me, shocked.
Somehow, my model, which denied the possibility of racism directed against the majority, could not account for the power dynamics involved in being a child being berated by an adult.
This is what happens when you observe life through ideological models, instead of dealing with what is there. Communism was an elaborate demonstration of the economic effects of doing just that. And Masha Gessen has learned absolutely nothing from it. Zero.
But let’s take her bizarre contention that there is no such thing as bigotry from a minority to a majority. As she knows quite well, most of the various peoples back home hate each other.
If a Latvian uses a slur toward a Russian in Latvia, it’s bigotry, under her model, but if he does it in Russia, it’s not bigotry. If the Latvian and Russian move to New York and exchange slurs, it’s possibly bigotry. If they both suggest that Masha Gessen is a mindless idiot burying what’s left of her ideas of right and wrong in Party dogma no different than that of the Politburo ,it’s observed scientific fact.
Racism is not about power dynamics. Racism is about hate. If you define racism by power dynamics, you end up accusing non-racists of racism and excusing racists of racism.
Defining racism by power dynamics is as stupid as defining any form of hatred in terms of power dynamics instead of in terms of hatred.