How to tell if a white person is racist

How to tell if a White American is racist against blacks:

First, the definition. According to the Oxford Dictionary a racist is someone who believes:

each race or ethnic group possesses specific characterisitics, abilities, or qualities that distinguish it as inferior or superior to another such group.

Notice that it is a belief not a feeling. Advanced stages can lead to open hatred, even violence.  More common are these symptoms:

  1. They believe that whites are naturally better than blacks – more intelligent, more moral, more trustworthy, more beautiful, more hard-working and so on. Like if they think whites are Basically Good while blacks are not. You know these people are racist because this is pretty much a restatement of the definition.
  2. They believe stereotypes about blacks. The bad stereotypes, at least, fit the definition of racism.
  3. They use the n-word, racist slurs or tell racist jokes – meaning they feel the need to disrespect blacks. Why is that? If they do it against Asians or Latinos, then most likely they are racist against blacks too.
  4. They play down slavery like it is no big deal. Because to them the suffering of black people is no big deal. Because blacks do not count as, like, Real People. Unlike, say, the Jews whose Holocaust we must never forget (and rightly so). Key expressions:
    • Get over it!
    • It was the times!
    • Africans sold their own people as slaves!
    • Arab traders sold slaves too!
    • Slavery is universal!
    • My family never owned slaves!
  5. They think racism is no longer a big deal. Only a racist could look at American society and think there is nothing seriously wrong.
  6. They think blacks are imagining racism, which is racist in and of itself since it assumes that blacks have extremely poor judgement.
  7. They think blacks are their own worst enemy. Black pathologies, blaming the victim and all that. Which in practice is just another way of saying racism is no big deal.
  8. They are against reparations, affirmative action, etc – against any serious, concrete policy to undo the damage done and provide equal opportunity. Why is that?
  9. They think blacks are unreasonably angry, have a chip on their shoulders, complain, whine, etc. After the history blacks have gone through and are still going through, they have every right to be angry!
  10. They use the tone argument where they say they would listen to you if you said it nicer. This puts white feelings above black feelings. Why?
  11. They think racism is natural. Which, of course, means it seems natural to them. Why is that?

One or two symptoms might not mean much. Three or more indicate illness.

Some quick-and-dirty tests:

  1. Ask them about reparations. Less important than whether they agree is how important they think the lives of black people are in comparison to whites.
  2. Ask them what percentage of white people they think are racist. Subtract that from 100 to get a rough measure of their own racism (a score of 100 means they are completely racist).

See also:

790 Responses

  1. If his/her mouth is moving!


  2. Number 5 can often be due to ignorance instead of racism.


  3. But you don’t have to display all these signs to be racist.

    Also, not wanting to mix with other races is a common sign.


  4. One thing I’ve noticed among friends of mine that’s kind of an indicator is their taste in black music. Most LOVE rap and HATE R&B; the grimier the rap the more they love it. I’ve suggested some great R&B but they simply can’t be bothered. A friend who plays the piano couldn’t get past one song on D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar album, which I thought he’d love for the instrumentals alone. They can’t quite articulate why when I ask, either. But I suspect the exaggerated stereotypical images of rap music support what they already carry in their heads, while expressions of black love are harder for them to accept. It seems to me they’re more comfortable seeing us as fighters