Subtle racism oversimplified

Racism is a deeply entrenched aspect of our society — one that, in today’s day and age, often isn’t blatantly obvious.

In a recent article published in the McGill Daily, a fourth-year cultural studies student rightfully expounded this fact by pointing out that racism is more subtle, appearing in day-to-day conversations and activities.

Racism can manifest itself in a simple comment or question — something that many people gloss over or seem to forget. In bringing up these concerns, the author is correct.

However, the author of the article made some overly simplified implications as to what it means to be racist.

The author clearly states that he believes the foundation of racism is based in whiteness. His theory outlines that racism is based on the assumption that everyone who is white is pure whereas all those who aren’t are seen as lesser.

While there’s an undeniable history of colonialism and racism related to white people, xenophobia and racism can manifest itself in a variety of contexts.

Racism isn’t solely a Western phenomenon where white people have historically oppressed other races — it exists in Asia, Africa and throughout the rest of the world.

To argue that xenophobia and racism can only be rooted in whiteness is narrow-minded and doesn’t explain the whole situation — while white people can be racist, being white does not automatically make you racist.

The author also could have further explored the subtleties that he claims can be racist.

Instead of implying that all white people are inherently racist, he could’ve gone into greater depth about the distinct situations in which this sort of racism can arise.

Ultimately, in taking a different approach to his article and focusing more so on exploring the subtleties of racism, he would’ve had a more cohesive statement that was less accusatory and overly simplified.

There’s definite benefit to raising awareness about the different, subtle ways in which racism can manifest itself. However, accusing all white people of being racist right off the bat isn’t the most constructive way to do so.

— Journal Editorial Board


Politics, Racial

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

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