The first thing you really need to understand is that the definition of racism that you probably have (which is the colloquial definition: “racism is prejudice against someone based on their skin color or ethnicity”) is NOT the definition that’s commonly used in anti-racist circles.
The definition used in anti-racist circles is the accepted sociological definition (which is commonly used in academic research, and has been used for more than a decade now): “racism is prejudice plus power”.
I’d like to add:
Oppressors cannot understand oppression to the extent that the oppressed can understand it. Therefore, oppressors should not be allowed to define oppression for the oppressed.
The reason we no longer accept the FBI’s 1929 definition of rape is because this definition excludes all rapes except rapes of females that involve physical force. This definition protects perpetrators, by denying that the vast majority of rape is even happening.
Similarly, the colloquial definition of racism protects racists, by implying that racism is a rare personal psychosis, instead of a widespread social problem.
Accepting and perpetuating oppressor-defined notions of oppression (for example: this anecdote of a well-meaning school teacher), can and often does lead to terrifying real world consequences (for example: rapists who do not realize they are rapists).
i think i’m finally ready to get my heart broken again???