What Kind of Racist are You?

What Kind of Racist are You?

Last week it was Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott. I don’t have to tell you what because you already know. If you’re trying to keep track of the number of black individuals who have fallen victim to their skin color in recent years, that brings the total to…hmm…I’m pretty bad with numbers so let’s just say it’s around too fucking many. This time, the news left me feeling even more defeated and hopeless, and perhaps that’s what led me to read the comments on everything that was posted about the death of these two men. It’s not that I haven’t been sucked in by internet comments before, but this time it was a deliberate move on my part. I’m not sure why, exactly. I guess part of me thought maybe, just maybe, I would read something that would provide insight and clarity, something that would help me begin to understand how we keep finding ourselves in this situation over and over again. The only thing that was made clear to me, though, is there is no shortage of ways to be racist.

I have written before about some of my own racist behavior. And I have written about people who are so deep in denial they can barely acknowledge racism exists. It occurred to me, though, as I was trudging through the rants disguised as commentary, “denial” is too vague a word because it doesn’t do enough to explain the myriad of racist personalities. Plenty of people have written on the various types of racism, and I am grateful for their work. I decided to compile a less scholarly list, though, something more of a layman’s introduction to racism, based on my own observations.

  1. The Captain Obvious Racist– A lot of people are really scared of this kind of racist, and often for good reason. But I actually kind of respect their honesty. This is the kind of racist that doesn’t pussyfoot around. They straight-up let you know that if you’re not white, they don’t like you. Period. Hobbies include: building walls, buying white sheets on clearance.
  2. The Amnesic Racist- This is the kind of racist who loves, LOVES America. They get high on freedom and (parts of) the constitution. There is no possible way you care about your country more than these people, trust me. The thing is, they tend to forget that the American principles they cherish so dearly also apply to black people. This means they lose their shit when they see…oh, I don’t know, a black person refusing to stand when the national anthem is played. Hobbies include: complaining about how politically correct our society has become, listening to Lee Greenwood.
  3. The Mr./Ms. Fix It Racist- Don’t be fooled by this title, it’s not as good as it sounds. This is the type of racist who already has the solution to ending racism. It’s simple really. Black people just need to get over slavery, obey the police, get a job, and stop playing the race card. Hobbies include: posting Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on their Facebook page.
  4. The La-la-la I Can’t Hear You Racist- These racists, in my opinion, are the trickiest to deal with. It doesn’t matter what you say, or what experiences you share with them, they are quick to tell you why it’s actually not about race. They will tell you it’s the media’s or race-baiting-Obama’s fault you feel the way you do.  They love to invoke the names of the few black celebrities who deny racism, while somehow totally ignoring every other black person. Hobbies include: watching Fox news, researching the benefits of slavery
  5. The I Want to be a Victim Too Racist- These are the people who think it’s just not right they don’t get to be the victims of racism. They seem to understand things are unfair but are very confused about how that unfairness plays out. (Don’t even try to explain systemic racism to them.) They love to share news stories of whites being victimized by blacks just so they can point out the fact that whites aren’t protesting. Hobbies include: going before the SCOTUS in affirmative action cases, tweeting #alllivesmatter.
  6. The I Need a Nap Racist- This is the type of racist that’s just tired. Not tired of racism, mind you. Nope. They are just tired- tired of talking about race, tired of “everything” being about race, tired of being called out for being racist. They will often ask, “How is that racist?” but that question is rhetorical. They don’t really want to know the answer because the answer will exhaust them. Hobbies include: dressing up as Pocahontas or Pancho Villa for Halloween, having hit shows on HBO or Comedy Central
  7. The Dust Yourself Off Racist- This is they type of racist that gets it. They know they will mess up, say offensive things, be insensitive, etc. What makes these racists different, though, is they somehow resist becoming one of the aforementioned racists. Instead, they get up and start over again, courageously standing up to friends and family members, and consistently checking their privilege. Hobbies include: weeping every time they hear the words “unarmed black man killed,” taking down the system.
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