[snipped, not because it’s not a great original post—it is; will reblog separately—or because there aren’t great responses in here—there are; click through to read—but because this is probably on a lot of dashes already and also it was getting to the point of being so deeply threaded that it was becoming impossible to read]
You know, I kinda have a problem with this, as well. I’m white, but one thing I’ve made a major point in my life is to never see skin color. If you had told me this book was part of a wonderful fantasy series that would have been fine. If you had told me the protagonists were people of color and the antagonists where white: still fine. But you had to drive home the thought that it’s so superior just for those reasons, and that’s unsettling. Racism does work both ways. Someone else expressed disinterest in the book and you jumped down her throat because she was white and expressed an opinion. She doesn’t have to like this book. That doesn’t make her any less of a bad person, nor does it make me one (although I do still plan on reading them, despite the racist review). Think before you type, because you can spew just as much ignorant bullshit as the people you are calling racist.
A few notes on the bolded, working backwards:
1) “Racism” is a complex interweaving of various institutional structures, supported and reinforced by individual attitudes and behaviors but not reducible solely to those attitudes and behaviors, that grants power and privilege to some people based on group membership (the dominant group) while denying power and privilege to other people based on group membership (marginalized groups). In the West, White people are the dominant group.
The review is not “racist” because regardless of what it says about White people, it does not—it cannot—turn that entire hierarchy upside down. White people are still dominant, as numerous other posters have pointed out; 99.99% of the stories that will ever cross your path will still treat White people as individuals and people of color (POC) as stereotypes, tokens, somehow less-than-humans.
2) “Color blindness” is not a worthy goal to which to aspire. There is a reason that race scholars and activists refer to “color-blind racism”: When people say they don’t see color, what they ultimately mean is, they don’t see POC as legitimately human. They may not understand that this is what necessarily underlies their fantasy of a world without color, but studies demonstrate that in fact, they see everyone as potentially White or White-like until those people somehow fail to live up to their standards of Whiteness, and then they see those people as deficient, wrong, and deserving of worse outcomes than “good” (White, or as White-like as possible) people.
If you do not see color, then how do you explain persistent gaps in education, income, wealth, and incarceration between White people and POC (particularly Black people)? You blame the victims, because you have purposely erased the single most important demographic characteristic for explaining those disparities. Without that demographic, their outcomes must be the result of personal character flaws.
But of course, since you don’t REALLY “not see color,” over time, you end up ascribing those outcomes to flaws in the group: “Black people go to prison more than White people because they are naturally disposed toward criminality,” rather than “Black people go to prison more than White people because police look for crime in Black neighborhoods and are more likely to stop Black people and charge Black people, who are are more likely to be convicted and sentenced in mainly White courts.” The second explanation is more complex; it is also an accurate representation of the world we live in.
POC cannot “not see color” because such a strategy would be, for them, suicidal. For White people, “color blindness” is a comforting lie that allows us to ignore our complicity in the systems that generally reward us for our efforts and treat us generously when we fall, while ignoring the efforts of POC and destroying them if they so much as falter.
Large parts of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States are available as a preview on Google books. I highly recommend that you check it out. I’ve assigned chapter 3, “The Style of Color-Blind Racism: How to Talk Nasty about Minorities without Sounding Racist” in courses on race & ethnicity mainly because it uses some concrete interview data that may make the arguments more accessible to you.
Finally, please note that I, as a White person, have the luxury of thinking about this in an academic framework and responding to you in a somewhat measured fashion, with all the cultural trappings of dominance (both race and class) in our culture. Do not mistake that for validity.
The anger of POC in response to your posts upholding the racist status quo is valid. They do not owe you anything and you do not have any special right not to be yelled at for hurting people. I want you to learn so that you do not hurt people. But if you can’t do that, I do at least suggest that you stay out of conversations that for once are not about you.