On Monday, Professor Marc Lamont Hill of Morehouse College and HuffPost Live host, told CNN that black people are incapable of racism. Yes, just four days after a black racist shot 11 white police officers for the crime of being white police officers, Lamont Hill explained that “black people don’t have the institutional power to be racist or to deploy racism.”
This is actually a commonly-utilized trope in racist minority circles: racism can’t apply to those without power. Which is ridiculous, since racism both an ideology and a practice, and neither requires power to wield. But here, for example, is Zeba Blay of The Huffington Post: “racism is a system in which a dominant race benefits off the oppression of others – whether they want to or not.” So, by redefining racism, you can apply it only to white people. Voila! Black people can never be racist.
Of course, this is nonsense. And it’s racist nonsense. Saying that people are incapable of committing a sin thanks to their skin color is definitionally racist.
Black people can be racist. Just ask black people: according to a July 2013 Rasmussen poll, a wide plurality of blacks, 31 percent, believe most blacks are racist, compared to 24 percent of blacks who think most whites are racist and 17 percent who say most Hispanics are racist. Defining away racism based on power imbalances is a solid way of ensuring a moral double standard that ends with more racism, not less. After all, by Lamont Hill’s argument, President Obama and Loretta Lynch wield significantly more power than any white people in America — but that doesn’t mean that white people are incapable of racism, obviously.
This is the problem with the left’s view of race: they believe that group identity trumps individual responsibility. Poor people can be racist. Rich people can be racist. People of all colors can be racist. It’s incumbent upon all of us to fight racism, instead of turtling into a victim group identity and then claiming moral sanctuary while pressing forward vile bigotry.