As governments and corporate organisations struggle to adequately and appropriately respond to strongly-held concerns over racism against people of colour, especially in light of the George Floyd incident, a dangerous trend of robbing Peter to pay Paul may be gradually emerging.
Scholars have for long argued that white people cannot experience racism due to the societal power dynamic being in their favour.
As author and behavioural scientist, Dr Pragya Agarwal, explained, “White people can indeed face stereotypical assumptions based on their skin colour and hence encounter racial prejudice.
“But this cannot be called racism, because of the inherent systemic imbalance of power between those with lighter skin colour and people of colour.
“Racial prejudice can affect people on an individual level, but it would not have the same effect on a larger social and cultural level because it is only when stereotypes are bolstered by power, such as through a eurocentric model of thinking, that it creates systemic and structural racism and oppression that people of colour have encountered throughout history.”
Anti-racism scholar Guilaine Kinouani backed this assertion, stating that, “There is no doubt that white people can experience discrimination, harassment and be the victim of prejudice.
“We could even argue in some contexts they can be the victims of racial hatred.
“However, no matter how condemnable these acts or attitudes are, we should be careful, as has been now argued for decades, not to confuse individual acts of prejudice or bigotry with racism, which, as a system, is ubiquitous and determinative of life course, opportunities and experiences.”
But what happens when a social media company with over 1 billion users globally gives its users the ability to direct hatred at a people with the click of just one button?
That may be what Instagram is doing with a sticker it created to “Mute White People”. In the quest to be social justice warriors, companies like Instagram are inadvertently committing prejudice.
A concerned white woman, Ashley StClair recently called out the Facebook-owned app over the racist sticker.
In a short video that has now gone viral, the lady bashed Instagram for designing the sticker, a sad commentary on the dangers of lopsided interventions.
For those asking if it’s real: pic.twitter.com/2Hl2YvDEqh
— Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) July 13, 2020
This further explained why many neutral observers are kicking against the “cancel culture” espoused by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) proponents, including defunding the police and tearing down centuries-old historical artifacts and monuments.
It remains to be seen if Instagram will remove the sticker following public outcry occasioned by the video.