By Richard Hutchinson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 13, 1997

Columnist confuses racism and prejudice


Ezekiel Buchheit ("People Even More Ignorant Than I," 10/10/97), in his attempt to combat racism, demonstrates confusion on nature of the problem.

What Buchheit is talking about is prejudice: a problem of individual attitude. Where he goes wrong, with his examples of non-whites who are prejudiced, is that he totally obscures the much bigger problem of racism, which should be renamed structural racism for clarity's sake.

Non-whites, in our white-dominated society, can be prejudiced, but they do not have the institutional means to oppress whites.

Whites, on the other hand, benefit from the entire institutional power structure whether they use racist language or not. To put it another way, the economic fact of white flight to the suburbs has a vastly more negative effect on non-whites in urban areas who suffer because of the declining tax base, than does the existence of a handful of overt white supremacists.

White people in this country should spend less time acting defensive and/or reducing racism to personal prejudice, and more time taking action to eliminate the structural white supremacy that still rules this country.

Richard Hutchinson
graduate instructor of sociology


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