Were Haney’s Comments Racist? Can “Blacks” Be Racist?


“I will never lose to a black boy in my life. I don’t care what nobody got to say. Can’t no black boy beat me on any day of the week. Fight a black boy ten times, I’m gonna beat him ten times.”

Imagine this week if the above had been the response of a “white” boxer about a “black” one during an interview. The most prominent race-baiters and their sheepish, uninformed flock the world over, would be losing their heads screaming, RACIST!!!!, while reminding the rest of us that this is yet another reason we should dread the abominable “white man”.

Of course, the above interview response is just a hypothetical. No ‘white’ boxer was quoted this week as having said that about a ‘black’ boxer. In fact, the reverse is true. The actual interview response came courtesy of the WBC lightweight champion, Devin Haney, a “black” boxer. And as the Independent reports, Haney, replying to a comment about world champion Vasyl Lomachenko, stated: “I will never lose to a white boy in my life. I don’t care what nobody got to say. Can’t no white boy beat me on any day of the week. Fight a white boy ten times, I’m gonna beat him ten times.”

“I’m not racist and I never will be a racist.” Haney has since stated. “I’m chasing greatness.”

He added: “I just had a very positive conversation with Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC, and confirmed to him directly my commitment to be a role model and my absolute rejection of discrimination of any kind.”

Ryan Garcia, a rival of Haney’s in the Lightweight division, tweeted this about the whole brouhaha: “We should all respect every one from every race and see who the best man is! I respect Devin Haney and I believe he didn’t mean this with Racist intent but let’s all respect each other for the love of the sport.”

Devin Haney [left] said: “Can’t no white boy beat me”, when asked about pound for pound fighter Vasyl Lomachenko [right].

And I agree. I don’t believe Haney was being racist necessarily. In boxing, fighters constantly need to hype themselves up to boost self-confidence, especially for a bout they would be a considerable underdog in. And yes, Haney would be a heavy underdog in a matchup against Vasyl Lomachenko (yes, that same ‘white boy’ Haney is trying to convince himself he cannot lose to.)

However, while I don’t believe Haney’s words are necessarily racist here, (neither would I think necessarily that had a “white” boxer declared the same, that that would be racist); it’s a far cry from believing that “blacks” can never be racist, no matter the circumstance; a belief that’s becoming more widespread by the day.

CNN Political commentator Marc Lamont Hill notoriously expressed this opinion in an on air debate with Larry Elder back in 2016. “To say that the Black Lives Matter movement is racist is bizarre to me not just because black people don’t have the institutional power to be racist or to deploy racism, but because the movement has called for justice.”

Hill added that Black Lives Matter has “called for demilitarization. It’s called for nonviolence. And because a few people enter that space and kind of colonize that space and do something other than what the movement is about, doesn’t mean the movement is wrong. In the same way the Tea Party movement called for fiscal responsibility. But there are racists at the rallies. I’ve been to some Tea Party Rallies, there are racists there but I wouldn’t say the Tea Party is racist as such.”

Given he was trying to defend an absolutely indefensible premise, the former CNN contributor ended up disproving his own point. After contending “black” people can’t be racist, he brought up the Tea Party rallies, claimed he attended some of them, claimed also that racists were present, but concluded that he “wouldn’t say the Tea Party is racist as such.”

So taking Hill’s point to its logical conclusion, Black Lives Matter, despite not being racist, does have a few people who, according to Hill, “enter that space and kind of colonize that space and do something other than what the movement is about“. In other words, there are racists who belong to Black Lives Matter or attend Black Lives Matter Rallies, which according to Hill does not make the group racist, but which is also contrary to his earlier point, that “black people don’t have the institutional power to be racist or to deploy racism.”

He’s by no means alone in his absurdity. Michael Eric Dyson once stated: “Racism presupposes the ability to control a significant segment of the population economically, politically and socially by imposing law, covenant and restriction on their lives. Black people ain’t have no capacity to do that. Can we be bigoted? Yes. Can we be prejudiced? Yes. Racist? No.”

Despite attempting to confound the listener with unnecessarily heavy-handed words, (as Candace Owens once pointed out), when you wade through Dyson’s fluff, you realise what he’s actually saying is that so-called blacks can’t be racial bigoted, and can’t racially prejudice others. Again, absurd.

Though not as wordy as Dyson, Doyin Richards in the Huffington Post last year wrote: “Black people can be prejudiced as hell, just like any other group of people. As a matter of fact, I think all humans are prejudiced in one way or another. But just because a black person hurt your feelings that one time doesn’t mean you’ve experienced racism.”

“This is where I’m going to lose some of you:” wrote Richards, stating the obvious. “I don’t believe that people of color can be racist in America.”

Richards in the midst of his nonsensical assertion ignores the fact that racism is a form of prejudice by any definition, and so to play games with words (though not as ‘eloquently’ as Dyson), does not change reality. Racism is a form of prejudice along racial lines. Therefore, if “blacks” can be prejudiced as Richards himself concedes, then it’s also a concession, unwitting or no, that “blacks” as well as members of all other races, can be racist.

What nullifies this argument completely is the narrowness of its scope. In essence, Hill, Dyson, Richards and others who espouse this opinion, claim that since “blacks” don’t wield sufficient socio-economic and political power in the U.S., they are incapable of racism.

Not only is this untrue in the U.S., but the premise simply doesn’t exist in black majority countries elsewhere, like in some parts of the Caribbean, in parts of Africa and elsewhere. Here in St. Lucia for instance, those who would be almost universally deemed “black”, have wielded political and economic power since our Independence in ’79. Yet if anyone here were to suggest that “whites” in St. Lucia are incapable of being racist, he would be mercilessly mocked and ridiculed (if he were black). And if he were “white” he’d be vilified to no end.

What’s ironic is that, in St. Lucia, an increasing segment of its majority “black” population, like its “African American” counterparts, does not believe it’s possible for “blacks” to be racist. For instance, those of an Indian background here consider the term ‘coolie’ extremely racist. Like ‘nigger’. But many “blacks” simply don’t consider the term racist and continue to use it with impunity.

As I stated, the “blacks can’t be racist because they’re oppressed” spiel, is just too small in scope to be accurate. Nor is it even true in the U.S. Not unless there was never any President Obama, or Maxine Waters or other “blacks” who belong to the American political class. And unless there has never been an Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and others who are among the top percentile of the American bourgeoisie.

By Dyson and Hill’s logic, Obama, Waters, Winfrey and Jordan have graduated from the socio-economic disadvantage that their ‘blackness’ came with, and are now surely, more than capable of being racist themselves.

However you slice it, people of all races are capable of racism and can be racist and victims of racists. It’s a disservice to the many races that are deemed “black” to make such an exemption/excuse.


Dean Nestor

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