Christopher Niles and Racism

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Dec 4 12:11:45 PST 1998

I've been trying to catch up on this thread. I have to echo Christopher Niles note of amazement below at what seem to be several white people quite righteously bandying about an analysis of whether a Black person is a racist.

It is still the best understanding of this that Black people cannot be reverse racists. That is , Black people might be prejudice against white people , but there is a qualitative difference between the prejudice of Blacks against whites and vice versa, because, of the group dominance of whites over Blacks and its long history. This doesn't mean Black prejudice is a virtue. It is also basically based on a reaction to the history and ongoing fact of white supremacy.

In recent years, with Clarence Thomas and the like there have arisen Black racists, but they are anti-Black racists (Sambos) not "reverse discriminators."

>From the threads, I guess it is being discussed
whether Christopher's posts are of the latter type. That is , I hope they are not making accusations of reverse discrimination. Accusations of socalled reverse racism themselves are one of the main forms of racism. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court is dominated by this type of racism.

Assuming (hoping) that we are not dealing with that, it seems rather poor analysis of Christopher's comments on this thread and his previous posts to conclude that he is a "Black conservative" like a Clarence Thomas. Therefore y'all shouldn't take the initiative on calling him a Sambo. We'll let you know on that.

Christopher seems progressive and rad to me and not at all a Sambo.

Somehow I have temporarily misplaced Christopher's original post in this thread, but I did read it and I am able to gather some of it from the discussion. I believe Ken Lawrence is overreacting. I have come to respect Ken from his posts on this list, but I urge him to take a more communicative approach to discussion with Christopher.

I don't know if I have been in the movement as long as Ken Lawrence, but I have some experience and struggle, hardwork. I've been in front of plantgates at 5:30 am been on picketlines. Organized anti-racist marches in response to racist murder, et al. I have much respect for the heroines and heroes Lawrence refers to. However, there is not doubt that our overall movement needs to revive. I am glad that a Christopher Niles is thinking critically about improving the movement. And I don't think his criticisms here are "unintelligent" as I think one person said. I wish we had a thousand Christopher Niles in the new generations, from what I can tell from his posts on this list. Criticism /self-criticism is a fundamental process in a revolutionary movement. And there is no requirement that every criticism be perfectly correct from the start. His purpose is constructive.

Christopher wants to get the movement going again. And guess what ? Eventually he and his generation will be the only ones who can keep it going. At least he is working on the problem , which makes him more advanced than the great many , unfortunately.

Christopher, here's one older activist who is listening to your criticism, positive and negative.

Charles Brown

Workers of the West , it's our turn.

>>> Christopher Niles <cniles at> 12/04 8:56 AM >>>
>How any of this proves that a given post of his isn't racist is beyond
>me, however. A good deal of what he writes seems dedicated (consciously
>or not) to racial mystification (in the name of the exact opposite,
>natch!) A racist streak in such thinking is hardly unheard of. We all
>know we live in a racist society, and have to struggle against
>internalized racism on an ongoing basis. One needn't be playing "holier
>than thou" to call things as you see them.

Yet another "white" man accusing a Black man of having "racist" tendencies.


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