Amid mounting racial tensions sparked by the recent police shootings of unarmed Black men, Americans are deadlocked in a controversial debate regarding the notion that supporters of justice movements like Black Lives Matter are racist toward white people.
So can African-Americans really be racist toward the very racial group that oppressed them for so many years? The answer is a resounding “no,” according to tech giant Google and a host of other experts poised in debunking the myth known as “reverse racism.”
According to The Sun, the California-based tech company is accused of promoting the liberal or “leftist” idea that Black people and other ethnic minorities CANNOT be racist toward white people. Critics of Google’s search facility claim that the engine’s search results offer biased answers to questions regarding reverse racism, rather than returning results that simply show there’s an ongoing debate surrounding the issue.
Like any other search engine, Google sweeps its database for top-ranked search results that best match the user’s query. So when writers at The Sun googled the phrase “Can you be racist towards white people?,” the search engine pulled its best explanation from a 2015 Huffington Post article titled “4 ‘Reverse Racism’ Myths That Need to Stop.”
“Reverse racism isn’t real. No, really,” the article reads. “The ‘reverse racism” card is often pulled by white people when people of color call out racism and discrimination, or create spaces for themselves (think BET) that white people aren’t a part of.”
The article goes on to state that somewhere along the line, the term “racist” got mixed up with related terms like prejudice, bigotry and ignorance. It points out that while it’s possible for Black people to be prejudiced toward whites and carry ignorant beliefs about them as a race, Black people CAN’T be racist because they don’t stand to benefit from a system that oppresses white people.
A search result from blogger Slap Dash Mom echoes a similar explanation.
“Just want to point out … prejudice against white folks is not ‘racism,’ it’s ‘prejudice or discrimination,’ ” it reads. “Racism is something else entirely. It’s a system that acts against people of color in this country (established through slavery and colonization). So there is a difference.”
Google offered an even broader explanation for the phenomenon that is reverse racism, hinting that Blacks and other racial minorities might discriminate against white people “as an attempt at redressing past wrongs.” But again, it noted that racism and discrimination are two different phenomenons.
According to The Sun, it’s unclear whether the so-called “biased” results are a conscious decision from Google itself, or whether it’s a result of the algorithms it uses to collect search results. However, Google isn’t the first to seemingly combat the notion of reverse racism.
Huffington Post Black Voices writer Zeba Blay eloquently shot down the idea that Black people could be racist to whites in a Now This! video last year.
“Things like BET, Black Girls Rock or Black History Month are not reverse racist against white people,” Blay said in the 2-minute clip. “Because remember, in a society where white is seen as the default race, all history is white history. But racism isn’t just someone feeling superior to another race and then discriminating against them.”
Carlos Hoyt Jr, an assistant professor of social work at Wheelock College, took it a step further by explaining that in order to be racist — and benefit from said racism — one must have political, economic and legislative power. African-Americans don’t have much of that.
“For the revisionists, racism is prejudice plus power leveraged at an institutional level to maintain the privileges of the dominant social group,” Hoyt wrote in The Pedagogy of the Meaning of Racism.
A Google spokesperson has since denied all allegations that the tech giant is purposely pushing a specific ideology or agenda, asserting that it has no control over the content pulled from third-party websites.