This Is Us

Yes, Black People Can Be Racist

None of us are immune

Kristine Hadeed
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readJul 6, 2020
Illustration of a Black person rolling white paint onto an otherwise solid-pink floor, and casting a long, dark shadow.
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty Images

I am racist

Even though I am Black.
Even though I have Black friends.
Even though I have experienced racism.
Even though I protest against racism.
Even though I support Black-owned businesses.
Even though I say #BlackLivesMatter.

I am racist

I don’t say this proudly, or lightly. I am not a racist, but I am still racist. My racism is not a reflection of my heart or intentions. My racism is a product of the environment in which I was raised.

Racism is most visible between Black and White people, but it also occurs between Black people. There were, and still are, levels of privilege within the Black population: between “field negroes” and “house negroes;” between light-skinned and dark-skinned; between rich Blacks and poor Blacks; between those who have had access to quality education and those who haven’t.

None of us is immune to racist ideology and the trap of marginally benefiting from systems of oppression — even if we, too, are oppressed.

I am racist

I am racist because growing up, most of the police I saw were White, and most of the mugshots on TV were Black.

Because I didn’t witness a Black Disney princess, or prince, until I was 20 years old.

Because most of the movies I saw that centered on Black narratives depicted them as slaves.

Because I learned about the White people who helped end slavery, but not the ones who burned down Black Wall Street and terrorized many other Black communities decades after slavery had been abolished.

Because George Washington Carver was the only Black inventor I could name until well into my twenties.

Because I heard people I looked up to talk negatively about Black people.

Because “bad” neighborhoods tended to have predominately Black residents.

Because I was told my Black hair was “kinky” or “frizzy” and looked better straight.



Kristine Hadeed
Human Parts

Critical thinker and community organizer advocating for the liberation and dignity of all people.