Over the last six weeks or so, there's a been a renewed conversation about race unfolding in the media, online and around dinner tables.
Gamilaroi woman Amanda Fotheringham answers uncomfortable questions. (Post continues below.)
Often in these conversations, the idea of 'reverse racism' pops up.
'Reverse racism' is a theory that white people can be victims of racism, too.
As well as being a classic example of 'whataboutism' (you can read more about that in our previous article), it's also based on some pretty fundamental falsehoods.
Here's how to have a productive conversation with someone who claims 'reverse racism' exists.
'Racism goes both ways. White people can experience racism, too.'
That's not true. White people can experience racial prejudice — sure — but not racism. There's a key difference.
Racial prejudice is a preconceived idea about a particular race or skin colour. Racism, though, is what happens when racial prejudice comes from a position of power and results in a pattern of discrimination and/or oppression.
An example of prejudice, for example, would be a remark that contains an unfair generalisation about white people. While that may be hurtful to an individual (and is absolutely not OK), it doesn't affect their economic, social or political security.
'That's just semantics.'
No. It's about lived experience. To argue that 'reverse racism' exists puts single instances of prejudice in the same basket as decades — even centuries — of systemic discrimination and oppression.
The kind that impacts access to education, hiring practices, social policy and more. The kind that's shaped our institutions to such an extent that just five per cent of directors on ASX300 boards are from non-Anglo-Celtic cultural backgrounds, for example.