In my opinion the ideas in this article are a huge part of the problem in the current conversation about race and racism. “How you define racism may keep you from seeing it” or it may make you see it everywhere. Even when it doesn’t exist. This article reflects a hugely political and ideological perspective. And I don’t concede these concepts or definitions. I think true Justice means we have one standard that applies to everyone, not different standards based on alleged “power dynamics.”
BTW, it’s a cute fallacy to suggest that disagreeing with these concepts is proof of racism.
The approach outlined in this article that defines racism via power dynamics leads to the idea that only whites can be racist, and that the things they do are racist by definition, almost like original sin. As a Christian I disagree with this definition because I think the Bible’s is better and closer to the one they are trying to bury.
Further, this definition inevitably leads to assuming the worst of other people, especially their motives. And it results in something being called racist when a white person does it but not when a minority does it. That is a double standard by definition. For instance I have heard that when a white person asks a black person if they work at a store, it is a form of microaggression because it assumes they are servants. That assumption is ridiculous. That MIGHT be true. But it also might be true that someone needs help. Just last month I was at home depot and a black man asked me if I worked there and if I could help him find something. Inside I thought about this concept of power dynamics and laughed at the idea that his question was some kind of insult to me. I did not consider it a compliment or an insult. It was just a case of someone trying to find something they need. I politely said I didn’t work here but thought the items he was looking for were on such and such an aisle because I had passed by them. We both smiled. He thanked me and we carried on. I guess I was dressed like one of their employees. This kind of thing has happened to me many times in a variety of stores and there is no benefit to trying to impute some sinister motive.
Love means you don’t assume the worst possible motive for a person’s actions, especially when they aren’t overtly evil. And that is what this approach does. It assumes that all white people are unconsciously trying to exert their power over minorities. I believe that this assumption itself is actually an unloving and inaccurate stereotype that is guilty of doing the exact thing it is claims to remedy. By the way, some white people are trying to intimidate or impose their will on minorities. And some minorities are trying to do the same thing to white folks. And prideful acts, malice, or oppression are wrong no matter who is doing it.
I do agree that some of the things mentioned in this article can be hurtful or abusive and are worth discussing. But there is one standard for people from minority and majority cultures. And that standard is love and humility.