Same, same but different?


Based on a discussion during the lecture on the 26th of September.

Race is a difficult subject and talk about race can easily be misunderstood. There is historical discourse embedded with the colours of our skin. The baggage discourse gives to different races, is not only the one from today, but also the long history of colonization, slavery etc. There was an interesting conversation during our class on what it means to be racially different.

This discourse has power to define what it means to be different. As the conversation during the class proved, a person from any background can feel threatened, afraid or left out being the only different person in a particular space. Still, a white person will never have to think about his or her skin colour affecting their education, social security, physical security or any other kind of security. As Zeus Leonardo (2009) suggests, white people do not think about belonging to a racial group because the discourse of race has not affected any of their life choices. After all, only a white person will experience being taken as a king, just for being different – for being white.

Our lecturer suggested, that there is no such thing as reversed racism. This point of view takes into account the cultural and historical baggage embedded with the word racism. But thinking of racism, it is simply explained as the discrimination or lowering of a group of people because of their difference. Following this explanation, it can be used to describe the discrimination of a white person.

However, when talking about racism, the concept itself does bare with it some historical meaning. I find that talking about reversed racism actually even strengthens the idea of white hegemony. The idea of reversed racism would seem to suggest, that racism, the discrimination of differences, can not affect the white, because white is the norm. For this we would have to have a new concept, reversed racism, to talk about the relatively rare situations where a white person is being discriminated because of their race. Hence, I agree with the lecturer, that there is no such thing as reversed racism. But racism, as defined above, that can possibly come across the life of a white person, maybe. This is an interesting subject and depends greatly on what meanings and cultural and historical baggage a person associates to the word racism. Maybe this is the reason racism is used in a  large variety of ways.

After all, like my foreing friend once wisely told me, we are all “same, same, but different”.


Pinja Fernström (writer) , Julia Korhonen, Anna Majava, Lena Kunnert, Lisa Bennet

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