I’ve experienced quite a bit of blatant racism in my life. Getting followed by security in the mall for no reason, getting called a nigger in elementary school, getting ignored when I walk into an expensive store (their loss), seeing someone call my mom a nigger when we were playing tennis. Don’t even get me started on cab drivers in New York, or police anywhere. But those are instances of flagrant racism – pretty easy to identify. My concern is in regard to the down-low racists.
I just want to ask some of my older coworkers, “Were you racist? And if not, was your daddy racist?” I know that my parents have heavily influenced my ideas, beliefs and my world view. The communities I grew up in also influenced these things. See these White guys yanking this Black guy off of his seat?
It was during the civil rights movement. These White folk couldn’t stand the fact that a Black man had the temerity to sit in a “Whites Only” establishment. Those White guys had kids. Little racist kids. The guy in the sunglasses was probably the kid eating corn-on-the-cob at a lynching party a couple of decades earlier.
What? You’re gonna tell me that their kids didn’t automatically turn out to be racists, right? Whatever. I doubt this level of disdain for an entire group of people just washed away.
I don’t see how a child can be indoctrinated with racism and not grow up to be racist. I mean, there are exceptions of course, but think about sports. Think about the people you know (you may be one of them) who blindly follow specific sports teams with undue zeal and passion no matter what happens.
You’re more likely to get a Red Sox fan to cheer for the Yankees than to hear a racist tell his or her kid, “niggers are cool though.”
Don’t get me wrong, I fucks with White people. But the White people I know listen to Dead Prez, participate in humanitarian efforts in Haiti and have better arguments for affirmative action than I do. They could all very well be racist, but I’m a little less concerned.
I’m just saying that there may be a lot more racists and bigots out there than we’d like to believe. CNN recently took administered an opinion survey on the Civil War. Twenty-five percent of the White people sampled sympathized with the Confederacy. Thirty-eight percent of the of the participants from the south said the same thing. Now think about your office or school. Yeah, 38% is a lot. If anybody tries to tell me the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, they need to come holla at me personally (so I can give them a book and a slap to the face). Siding with the Confederacy doesn’t mean you’re racist, but it’s one hell of an indicator…
There are people who have been raised to hate Black people. They may be sitting right next you. But just like many parental teachings, the racist ones don’t always stick. Evidence, experience and knowledge can help wash some of the racism away. That’s how you end up with an ex KKK member who suddenly feels really bad and wants to make amends. There have been White abolitionists and White civil rights activists throughout history. And there are millions of open-minded and friendly White people out there. It’s the ignorant ones that I’m worried about, and there isn’t much we can do to change their minds. The best way to fight this kind of ignorance is to be the best people we can be. The rest is up to them.