June 21, 2017
“If you’re white, you’re probably racist,” an editor for the University of Alabama’s student newspaper told her classmates in a recent op-ed.
Writing last week for The Crimson White, Opinions Editor Marissa Cornelius begins by listing various “internalized racist beliefs” she considers common to white students, such as “being scared of the Walmart on Skyland Boulevard” or being surprised that a black classmate is “articulate.”
Cornelius reassures her peers that “being racist might not be entirely your fault,” however, suggesting their bigotry may simply be a product of being raised in a society that allowed slavery “as few as four or five generations ago” and denied blacks the right to vote “during many of our parents’ lifetimes.”
Indeed, she asserts that American society is so hostile toward minorities that “children as young as three and four are already socialized into believing that white children are inherently more beautiful and better behaved than black children,” alluding to the “baby doll test” used in arguments during the Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education, which allegedly showed that society had caused black children to have low self-esteem, leading to their choosing white dolls over black dolls.
As Dr. Gwen Bergner has pointed out, though, subsequent experiments seeking to replicate those findings have produced inconclusive results, often showing that a child’s doll preference and his or her sense of self-esteem have nothing in common.
Regardless of the role society may have played in fomenting the racist attitudes she ascribes to her white peers, Cornelius insists that they are still blameworthy for “failing to recognize the fact that, yes, you have racist beliefs and attitudes, and these might even sometimes be manifested into racist actions or words.”
Even those who consciously…