As humans, part of our social nature is to search for similarities in each other; something in another person, with which we can relate and bond over. I think that's why any 'ism' feels like it's going against the grain.
To maintain an 'ism,' extreme, conscious measures need to be taken. Unfortunately, this is mostly achieved by putting another group of people down to elevate one's sense of worth. For instance, classism often comes by living in excess to highlight the divide between those who have and those who are less economically fortunate. And racism comes at the expense of the minority. I don't understand racism, so I can't explain what racists are trying to bring to our attention. They're better people because of skin color?? I almost feel bad for them because they think they have nothing better going for themselves than genetics.
This sense of superiority is as contrived as the measures taken to deny it. One of the tactics that bothers me most is when people use race as an adjective. Especially when it's done for nothing more than political reasons. As in, "Our county was built around such-and-such lake which was discovered by so-and-so, the first African-American man to drive a car." Get where I'm going?? One thing has nothing to do with another. This is just another form of, "Some of my best friends are black." The issue of race is often squeezed in for selfish reasons - to show you're dealing with good people because they like brown people.
And it's condescending. With all the contributions brown people have made, why are we relegated to getting pats on the back for the mundane while our major contributions are downplayed. What if the situation was reversed?? I don't ever recall seeing a historical reference to "so-and-so, the first white man to use a gas mask." Sounds ridiculous, right?? So why do we accept it??
And not only do we accept it, we've adopted it. How many times have you caught yourself saying something like, "Hey, there's some white girl looking for you."?? It's easy, but it's lazy.
Let's do better, but also, let's expect better. If people insist on using race as an adjective, let's make sure it's an educational sense and therefore in everyone's best interest.
Inspiration to Demand Better: A list of major inventions by African Americans