We run into a lot of folks who struggle with the idea of reverse racism. Who say, for example, between two equally qualified applicants for a supervisory position — one white and one Black — the person of color is hired and that’s “reverse racism.” Kendi’s book has done an excellent job helping me understand the subtleties of this argument.

If what some call discrimination by hiring people of color creates greater equity among those in supervisory roles then that policy is antiracist — “a measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups” (Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist, pg. 18). For example, the 2020 Labor Force Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics notes the following breakdown for total employment under Management, professional, and related occupations:

  • White  78.7%
  • Black or African American  9.7%
  • Asian  8.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino  10.4%

I think one would be hard pressed to explain away this disparity. Antiracist measures are necessary if we are to make progress.

“The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.”

Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

Linda hosts One-Liner Wednesday. Check out her blog for the rules and to see who else is participating this week.