Racism as a system of advantage - comments from Annaliina
When reading Tatum's text, I found the discussion of the definition of racism very intriquing. The definition of racism as a system of advantage based on race is, as far as I can see, functional in most senses and in itself surprisingly neutral. However, I am left wondering wheter this definition, applies also for other races than in the case of Whites and Blacks. It is natural that Tatum discusses racial issues from the US perspective, herself being part of the American society where these issues have been "burning" since the Civil Rights movement and before. After having read Tatum I felt a need to study other texts with scholars with other backgrounds; Swedish, European, Asian, African and so on, as it seems that the understanding of racism has a tight connection to the society where it has been (or is) present.
Tatum's definition of racism left me also wondering whether there are places where racism according to Tatum's definition is targeted towards the White, meaning that the White, for once, wouldn't be in position of power. In this reflection, aspects of time and history become relevant, as in the case of South Africa where White nationalism has been replaced with Black nationalism to a certain extent. Also, a few days ago, I saw a news programme from Bolivia where the country for the first time in modern history (since somewhat 500 years of Spanish domination) has an indigenous head of state, Evo Morales. The programme dealt with the historical development of the society and the uneven distribution of power since the Spanish conquest that has resulted in bitterness amongst the indigenous peoples who now, when given power (through President Morales and MAS-party; Movement for Socialism) continue to distribute it unevenly, now placing Whites at disadvantage.
The examples mentioned here carry, in my opinion, traits of racism, if it is to be described as a system of advantage based on race. The same might apply also to Whites opportunities in the Japanese society. Having said this, I still feel unsure whether my understanding of the definition would be accepted by Tatum. Perhaps something to discuss in class?