White Liberal Racism Part 1: 1,000 Paper Cuts

i too am havard 5
From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean

When I decided to write an article on Liberal America titled?”White Liberal Racism,” I got the sense that I wasn’t going to get a lot of Christmas…err I mean “Happy Holidays” cards from many of my fellow members.

The concept of “white liberal racism” seems like an invention from the conservative right. After all they are always calling Liberals racists in order to deflect charges of racism in their own political party, which often is well earned and deserved. To understand how white liberal racism actually works you have to understand the basic differences between conservative and liberal racism.

Conservative Racism

Conservative racism attacks the victims of racism. They subscribe to the following:

  • Using the phrase “reverse racism”
  • Accusing liberals of “race baiting”
  • Accusing liberals of playing “the race card”
  • The phrase “blaming whitey”
  • Using?out-of-context crime statistics

And of course, they like to use black conservatives as a means to show how diverse they are. I’m sure many racist white conservatives would vote for Dr. Ben Carson, not really enough to make him the nominee, but still a significant portion. When Charles Barkley tells his?”white friends” about how his fellow blacks need to stop blaming whites, it’s being baptized for white conservatives. Suddenly they are cleansed of all the past sins of their forefathers, because a black man has declared racism to be a mental construct promoted by those dastardly “race hustlers,” rather than a real problem.

I had a drunk conservative once tell me, “I see you as a white man bro.” Of course, he really wanted to say he saw us as equal, but in his eyes equal means that we are both white.

Liberal Racism

Liberal Racism mainly exists in the form of Microaggressive behavior. What is Microaggression? In 1970, Harvard Professor Chester M. Pierce created the term to describe many of the racist comments and behaviors he witnessed on campus. The pervasive and seemingly “harmless” nature of these small slights troubled him. Professor Pierce wrote:

“These [racial] assaults to black dignity and black hope are incessant and cumulative. Any single one may be gross. In fact, the major vehicle for racism in this country is offenses done to blacks by whites in this sort of gratuitous neverending way. These offenses are microaggressions. Almost all black?white racial interactions are characterized by white put-downs, done in automatic, preconscious, or unconscious fashion. These mini disasters accumulate. It is the sum total of multiple microaggressions by whites to blacks that has pervasive effect to the stability and peace of this world.”

The following YouTube?video illustrates some examples of microaggression. However the video isn’t as telling as many of the comments following the video.

The I, Too, Am Harvard Campaign

Harvard University students’ “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign is?a collection of photos and testimonials about the microaggressions black students experienced at the university. The campaign was launched by?Ahsante Bean and features black Harvard Students showing?a collection of photos and testimonials about the microaggressions that black students experienced.

Here are a few? of my favorite photos from the collection as well as a video on her work. I strongly encourage you to check out her work.

From the I too am harvard by Ahsante Bean
From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean
From the I too am harvard by Ahsante Bean
From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean
From the I too am harvard by Ahsante Bean
From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean
i too am havard 3
From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean

From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean

i too am havard 4
From The I Too Am Harvard Campaign By Ahsante Bean


Racism based in Microaggression is very tricky. The environment we grow up in — as well as the media influences we all have in our lives — all tie into how we perceive other races, even other cultures and genders.

I think most Liberals are well-intentioned and open-minded for the most part. Growing up, teachers always gave me the same compliment, “you speak very well, Joseph.” I always took pride in that compliment until I noticed that only the minority kids were told this, not the white kids.

Some people suggest that?the study or acceptance of the the microaggression theory could lead to less candid interactions between people in general. Or that people will be too afraid to offend someone by being themselves. I don’t subscribe to that point of view. I think it’s lazy to just write any kind of racism off as “human behavior.”

I believe that we all have a duty to evolve our thinking no matter how uncomfortable or painfully awkward that process may feel. It’s our duty to gain as much understanding about ourselves, each other, and the universe around us as humanly possible.

Just because you and I may be comfortable in how we view the world, it ?doesn’t make either one of us right. Life is an education and true human beauty is constantly learning. The greatness of human beings isn’t the fulfillment of our potential but rather the perseverance we show when we stumble and fall repeatedly when we’re reaching for that potential.

In part two of “White Liberal Racism,” I will explore a more overt, yet secretive racist subculture that exists in many liberal leaning circles.