Why I’m a Racist…

IMG_3037I am a white american male. I’m married to a beautiful blond-haired green-eyed woman and have two amazing blond-haired blue-eyed boys.  I was a blond-haired blue-eyed child who grew up in suburban New Jersey in a solid family with a mother, a father, a brother and two dogs. I lived a life marked by opportunity and forgiveness; and while I may not have always had “much”, I have always had the benefit of the doubt.  I was raised to treat everyone equally, regardless of race, or any other demographic for that matter. And while my town may have been predominantly white, I certainly didn’t grow up isolated from other races and cultures.  But even with the upbringing and exposure I was blessed with, I’m probably still a racist.  I don’t mean racist like a hate filled bigot who dehumanizes and devalues the lives of others based on skin color.  I mean that I am uncomfortable with, ignorant of and distant from racial inequalities that exist in my country. It is okay for me to admit this.  It doesn’t make me evil, it makes me ready for change.  This admission took two things: research and honesty.  Over the last couple of years I have read, watched, listened to and participated in countless discussions on the topic coming from a broad range of sources.  Through this process I was able to realize the aforementioned realities. Which is great for me, but for purposes of this post, let’s unpack them a little.

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I am uncomfortable with racial inequalities that exist in my country. I live my life day in and day out and only rarely am I forced to confront these realities. Certainly the media, social and otherwise, shine a light on the issue, but that is not what I mean.  Reading a powerful blog post or an inspiring tweet does not constitute confronting anything.  What I mean is that when I get pulled over, shop in a store, go for a job interview, meet a new person for the first time, etc… I expect to be judged by who I am.  Yes, I am tattooed and bearded so I’m sure that on occasion someone generalizes about me, but I don’t worry about it because I know that once they get to know me they will move beyond those judgements. And I assume that they will eventually get to know me, because even with their judgement, they will give me the benefit of the doubt.  I live my life benefiting from other people’s glass walls.  That is simply not true for people of color.  They are forced to confront it every single day.  Perhaps not in an overtly bigoted and hateful way (although I’m sure that happens too), but in the “deficit of the doubt.”  The security guard that makes a mental note that they are there, the woman who locks her car door as they walk by, and yes, the times they get pulled over for driving while black. (No matter how much or how little you think that happens, we all know it happens.)  So you see, while I am very uncomfortable when forced to confront a terrible reality that I can generally avoid, my friends and neighbors of color are forced to confront it every day.  Consequently, they have formed a thicker skin to the subject and are more free to discuss it.  This can easily be misunderstood as being rash or aggressive because it creates an uneasy feeling in me. Let me put it this way: we all have that person in our lives who always manages to say the one thing that makes everyone in the room uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a friend or coworker, maybe it’s your cousin or your sister-in-law; whoever it is, our attitude is generally that it is their problem.  We feel like they are doing something to us, because we are feeling uncomfortable with what they are saying or doing, rather than taking responsibility for our own feelings.  Until I can acknowledge that I feel more uncomfortable talking about racial inequality than people who have been forced to deal with it every single day of their lives, I will never be able to get over myself enough to be a part of the solution.  And if I’m not a part of the solution, I’m a part of the problem.

I am ignorant of the racial inequalities that exist in my country.  I was recently watching a Sunday service from North Point Church.  In the service the lead pastor, Andy Stanley, invited two African American men who were also christian leaders to be a part of a discussion about recent events and racism in general in this country.  They both explained the reality that they were taught how to behave if they ever got pulled over by the police. wallet They talked about it as if it was just another part of growing up.  An obvious lesson like don’t drink and drive or always pay your bills.  This may not seem so strange until they described exactly what they meant by “how to behave if you ever get pulled over”.  One of men relayed that he was taught that you never reach for your wallet.  Now, I understand that if you are being addressed by a police officer you don’t want to be erratic or make any sudden moves, but the degree to which this lesson was ingrained in him as an African American young man was startling.  It ran so deep in his heart that when he heard about recent events he admitted that there was a part of him the thought to himself, “Why’d you reach for your wallet? You know you’re not supposed to reach for your wallet.”  I will teach my boys to always be respectful of police. I will teach them not to resist or run if addressed by police and to always be upfront and honest, but I will not have to teach them not to reach for their wallet.  I cannot imagine feeling like I have to teach my children how to protect themselves from the people who are meant to protect them.  If ignorance is defined as lack of knowledge, education or awareness then I most certainly ignorant of the racial inequalities that exist in our country.  The beautiful thing about ignorance, though, is that it is easily remedied; but not without willingness and intention.  There is a video that has been circulating recently showing several people sitting in a diner, all of whom are white except one.  The waitress comes out and brings all the white patrons pie.  The African American man then asks the waitress, “Where’s my pie?” to which the other patrons respond, “Why are you making such a big deal? All pie matters.”  It is meant to illustrate the tension between #blacklivesmatter & #alllivesmatter.  I think it is an excellent illustration except that it misses one of the most important factors.  It would have been for more accurate if the white guys who had received their pie were blind-folded.  Because whether or not we mean to, most of us are blind-folded to the things that people of color deal with every day.  That is not our fault, but whether or not we stay that way is on us.

My discomfort and my ignorance can be attributed primarily to one thing: I am distant from the racial inequalities that exist in my country.  I live in New Jersey.  I am not someone who has gone their whole life without interacting with people of color.  I am not someone who is solely informed by the media in regard to cultures and races outside my own.  I have friends, coworkers, neighbors, mentors and family members who are people of color but I am still distant from the racial inequalities that mark their lives.  I have never made it a secret that I was a “rebellious youth”.  And by that I mean that I was a criminal.  I made very bad decisions and did a lot of awful things.  Some things that I will never be able to fully make amends for.  I have, however, never spent more than a weekend in jail.  I have always attributed the reality that I am a free man to God protecting me and allowing me to learn my lesson without prison time.  I still absolutely know that to be true.  However, I have to acknowledge that my “get out of jail free cards ” came, at least in part, due to my ability to catch a good sunburn in 15 minutes.  I also regularly share with people how grateful I am for all of the opportunities I have been given to do things I really wasn’t qualified for.  I have been allowed behind the scenes in a lot of situations that shaped who I am and developed me in my field with no explainable reason.  While I will never really know for sure, I have to wonder if my experience would have looked the same way if I didn’t.  The “deficit of the doubt” that people of color experience throughout their lives is something that I am only beginning to understand.  And that understanding is really only an intellectual one.  It is often said that the greatest distance in the world is 18″, the distance from your head to your heart.  I will always remain distant from the deficit of the doubt until I allow it be hit close to my heart.  The question then is: How?

Know someone.

I don’t mean know someone in that way that white people tend to reference when racism comes up in conversation.  That, “One of my best friends is black” way.  I mean I have to enter in.  I have to make it my business to overcome my uncomfortability;  I have to be intentional about educating myself and raising my awareness so that my ignorance can diminish; and I have make it personal.  I need to let my heart break at the fact that there are people in this country who do not receive the benefit of the doubt, ever.  I need to care enough to do something.  Something more than just write a blog post or share a powerful video clip.  I have to build genuine relationships with people of color and stop the whole ridiculous “I don’t see color” BS.  I need to see color and learn to appreciate it for what it is.  I need to allow myself to participate in and grow from and enjoy a culture that is not my own.  One that has its pluses and minuses like all others.  I need to be willing to get close enough to applaud when there is a victory, mourn when there is a loss and call it out when there is a shortcoming. I need to actually see my brothers and sisters of color as family.   I have a certain degree of power and privilege because of my skin color.  That is not something I need to feel guilty about.  I didn’t ask for it or seek it out, but I have it.  The responsibility for having it isn’t on me; but the responsibility for what I do with it is.

 

 

 

 

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377 thoughts on “Why I’m a Racist…

  1. Bob Fredericks,

    i write as a privileged comfortable white man. A moderate Republican to which a staffer for a US senator chuckled 5 years ago “yeah, you and four others.” A principled conservative dismayed at the subversion of classical conservatism in this election cycle. An evangelical Christian profoundly saddened by my brethren who have embraced the now Republican nominee for President of the United States. As to appreciating what African Americans go through every day I am reminded of a black coworker who moved from Fresno, CA to inland Southern CA in 1988. He said it was so nice to go into a drugstore and to not have people’s eyes following you throughout the store. It had never end occurred to me that anyone would monitor the movements of a person, white or black, in a drugstore. Years later I had a situation in which someone looked at me with open disdain. It seemed the first time ever, to my recollection. If not, previous slights had not registered and been forgotten if not noticed. The pain of that occasion consumed me for days, how unfair, how unjust. Then it occurred to me that this is what black Anericans experience frequently if not daily. I reflected that I didn’t know that I could handle it and maintain a love for my non people of color. I am reminded of the novel Cry Beloved Country. Oh, that our country would cry out, repent, confess, forgive and be reconciled. That is what would make our country great again.

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    1. Zetaslove

      I writing as a somewhat privileged highly educated black woman ask you, now that you have this knowledge, what do intend to do about it? Standing behind and saying yes I recognize there is a problem and doing nothing, is just as bad as the man on the island saying I’m praying for God to help me as 3 boats pass him by…

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      1. Triniauntie

        I feel like you didn’t read the entire essay. In his last paragraph, he says that he needs care enough to do something- something more than just writing a blog post, etc. He outlines his need to confront his discomfort and allow his heart to break about the realities people of colour live everyday. He needs to build genuine relationships with POC. It’s right there, last paragraph. Maybe it doesn’t seem like ‘doing much’ to you, but I think it’s doing a lot. He’s affecting change within his sphere of influence, and more importantly, I think he’s going to teach his sons similarly, thereby raising a future generation that hopefully will be better. Imagine if every white person acted like him- there won’t be need for protests and movements. I just don’t know what you expect him to “do” more than he’s already doing.

        Liked by 6 people

      2. Zetaslove

        I agree with you, however my comment was directed to Bob not the original article. I did read it thoroughly in that aspect. Sorry if that was confusing.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Will

        He replied on his next moves. To confront it. Make an effort to be different. Just poured his heart out. No lectures needed. Compassion. Half the battle is knowing your wrong. Intentionally or unintentionally

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Zetaslove

        @ Will I replied earlier that this reply was directed to someone else’s comment not the original article. I profoundly agree with the blogger and what he wrote.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Abbey

        As a white woman, I HONESTLY ask you, what should I do? What can I do? I’m sick with this. I love people, but I have no clue how to make real change, besides being open & loving & trying to build bridges in my own life. But I have to tell you, my attempts to make friends with the black women who interest me as people, or that I admire, have mostly been met by friendly distance at best & open disdain (or something like pity?) at worst. It’s frustrating to not know what to do. Idk how to make change.

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      6. thehomefrontnm

        Hello Abbey, I believe change has to start at the root of a problem. Often, racism is identified as being a problem relative to action, however, the root of racism is in perception, not action. The way we perceive things becomes our reality. Hence why those who are insane do not see their actions as crazy but rather, as logical. As a black woman who has spent my whole life around many cultures, including other black women, who I have viewed as being equally friendly to white and black girls alike, I find it hard to believe that 9 out of 10 black women you choose to befriend are distant or show disdain for you. This very well could be coming from a preset perception that you may have about black women. Our perception of things are sources of what we are taught, hear and see as well as experience. With that said, often on television black women are viewed and shown as being extremely argumentative, conceited, mouthy and/or difficult (RHOA, Basket ball wives, Love and Hip Hop, Empire, Bad Girls club… etc.) This gives viewers a perception of black women that aligns with what you say you feel you have found in your attempts to befriend them. It’s no different from the way they show white women always tripping and falling in movies, or dying because of silly decisions (that no woman, in my opinion would be dumb enough to make) This gives a perception to viewers about white women that in turn could make them feel like white women are easy, simple-minded or gullible. I would ask you to dig into how you view people of other races. What perceptions do you have about people that you equate to being an issue that you connect to being an issue that stems color of their skin? I know everyone (especially white people) love to claim that they don’t see color and that they are kind to everyone and see everyone as equals, but the reality is that, that idea is physically impossible. We are constantly impressioned by what we see, feel and perceive. You wouldn’t marry a man who you are repulsed by because you are not attracted to him. He would have to offer you something that impresses you in order to attract you and even that would not prevent you from viewing him as unattractive. We judge and make assumptions based on color just as much as we do based on height, weight, looks, dress, body language, etc. The only way we control that is by changing the way we perceive one another. Bias will always be a part of that and there is no shame for that, that is human, it’s not allowing it to constantly affect the way we react and view people as a whole. I believe that’s what the author of this blog intended to reveal. Best wishes to you.

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      7. Titus2Homemaker

        Unless perhaps this is an issue related to your particular *location*, I would be inclined to agree. I have plenty of black friends, and (as I would expect) they’re no different than my white friends, except their skin’s a little different. Individually all are different, obviously — some tend toward playfulness; others are blunt, don’t-give-crap-type ladies, etc. but none of them are standoffish or “suspicious.”

        I wonder if you’re coming across as less than natural. If you’re looking to befriend some folks just because they’re black, I’d think that might tend to foster some suspicions…like “what are your real motives, and do you like me for me?” People are just people. Maybe work less hard at trying to “make black friends” and focus more on making sure you’re spending time in places where not everyone is white, since making friends is a fairly natural process.

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    2. WILLIAMS

      My name is LaJuanda, color should not be an issue in the first place, because as you all know everyone is all mixed up. I am African American but however my great grandmother is an Irish white women. I have red hair and so does my kids. I’m constantly asked the question about being mixed. HELL aren’t we all. Most of the original African Americans that were brought over here were slaves and eventually rapped by white owners thus there children and children are all mixed up. So no color just confusion, and people who are scared of facts. No need to judge but yes educate as many people as you can who are ignorant to shade of pigment. The only thing that makes one white is that they lack melanin in there skin. So that makes white privileged, and the black of the black of a disability, so we do become judge, misunderstood, and fall short of any advantages until a white person feels nice enough to give one of us disabled colored folks a shot of victory. Never will it be equal but yes it could be at least fair. Rules shouldn’t bend or change due to color. To tell you the truth I’m not really black or white I’m a mutt. Due to the broken system my skin is RED.

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  2. Daniel

    Zetaslove, my apologies whomever you are educated or not, the blogger beyondtheglasswall has raised the issue it I s for the public to deal with it.
    He has figuratively cried out “Wolf Wolf” – it’s time the hearers of the cry to act.
    I live in London UK, I remember from a few years ago when a white London Metropolitan Police Commissioner publicly claimed that all London city mugging are done by black people. The city cried foul play, whether simply with lipservice we have yet to know, the Commisioner resigned, but his claim issued in random stop and search especially of young black men, while white persons get away with crime.
    The very obvious outcome of statements like this made by the Chief of Police in a city like London is to show how racism has been so deeply institutionalised in all areas of the society, including even unfortunately, in the church.

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    1. MoniqueM

      Being an American who lived in London for nearly two years, I have to say that I saw the ingrained but unacknowledged racism that exists there. There’s lots of racial mixing but I still couldn’t get my hair done in the West End. That’s like the Dark Ages. To me, a caramel -colored woman who grew up in white suburbia with mokstly white friends (and if they weren’t white, they were some other race than black), and then moved to the majority black, affluent city of Washington, D.C. and raised there. I expect to have my hair done in a posh salon, but my very long hair – influenced by my Native American heritage went without for the time I lived in one of my favorite cities on Earth, London. I wouldn’t walk in and he humiliated by someone who says, to my face mind you, “We don’t do your mind if hair.”

      My parents didn’t do all that protesting and rallying so that that would be my experience, or my expectation.

      Thanks for sharing this about UK.

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  3. Ethel Edwards

    I can deal,with anyone, any race, but there is a line that I draw when I am around white people. I don’t get to close. I am a well read black lady. I know that there is good and bad in every race. I have read history book about white that help during slavery putting their life and families life on the line. I never forget that today we still don’t have the privileges that our white friend have, but I can still love everyone, and trust until they show me different.

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  4. carnival barker

    Can’t agree with this. The object of being human is to treat everyone as human, thus not see color. We should be striving to ensure all are given the opportunity to price themselves, to where their race is no different than the author’s beard and tattoos.

    Maybe it’s because I have worked in inner city schools and seen what the kids and families there are up against, not only from the judgmental, but within their own communities. Maybe witnessing their lives made me angry for them, for these innocent children and the world of Shit they will go up against someday. Perhaps I just am where the author desires to be someday.

    No, you aren’t a racist, you simply have been asleep to the actual world. You are the character in the allegory of the cave, beginning to adjust to the light coming in from outside. Come on outside, enlightenment is the first step to making a change.

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    1. GnosticGirl

      But he’s right though, not seeing color IS part of the problem. Here is an excerpt from another blog post written by a black mother that explains it better than I could…

      “Because simply put your fathers, husbands, and sons are killing our fathers, husbands, and sons.
      I know what you’re going to say, but…

      … I don’t see race.

      … I’m not racist.

      … No one in my family is racist.

      … I have a Black friend.

      … I’m raising my children to be color-blind.

      … My father, husband, and sons wouldn’t hurt a fly.

      Maybe it’s not “your” husband, father, or son, but I’m pretty sure the mothers and wives of the officers who killed Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Mike Brown felt the same way. I’m sure that the woman who raised Theodore Wafer, who murdered Renisha McBride, didn’t think she was raising a murder. I’m sure just like you they taught them to be kind to all people and to be upstanding citizens. I’m sure they didn’t talk about race because hey it’s not that big of a deal anymore, right?

      Wrong! To start raising your children to be color-blind is insulting. There is no shame in being a person of color, and saying that you don’t see my color means you don’t really see me. You don’t see my history. You don’t see my culture. You don’t see the daily struggles that my skin color causes. You’re not helping me. Honestly you’re helping yourself when you say you don’t see color. It means you don’t have to acknowledge the privileges that your skin color affords you. It’s easier to parent this way because then you don’t have to teach your children about racism. You aren’t forced to have hard conversations.

      It also means that your children grow up never truly seeing their privilege, and seeing no reason to fight against systematic/institutional racism. It means that the only things they learn about race come from the biased media (ie television and movies).”

      (Taken from http://mamademics.com/out-of-sight-out-of-mind-why-white-moms-need-to-care-about-murdered-black-children/)

      THIS is exactly why it IS important to see color!

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      1. carnival barker

        Therein is the misconception – that not being parented about racism will lead to ignorance. My parents never once talked about people being different, they were too busy busting their tails working to provide a house for my brothers and I. Yet, I still became aware of the plight of the black community and its history. The slave trade, civil rights movements and black history in general is well-covered in school. Racism is taught by parents who want to make their children jaded, history is taught in school.

        The greater part of unity and understanding might come from a life of growing in a diverse community, I got to meet people of all walks of life. I don’t need to see color to be aware of the social uphill battle against the black man, I just needed to discover that there are only good people and bad people, and the exterior of a person will not offer any clues into that.

        We are a society now of “know my pain” vs. “get to know me”, anyone with ears to hear and eyes to read can hear and see the prior, but it takes moving beyond the flesh to know the latter. No one needs to hear the backstory, they are more interested in how you overcame your challenges.

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    2. pj180266

      I find it disingenous when people say they “don’t see colour”….Of course we ALL do and rightly so….The problem starts if you treat people differently because of their colour…..I’m a Black woman and do not appreciate being told…”I don’t see anyone’s colour, I treat everyone the same”…..that’s nothing to be applauded for…we are SUPPOSED to treat everyone the same…and that’s what being human is about….there’s simply no need to pretend you haven’t seen that we are different colours and with that comes different cultures etc….I definately see colour but it doesn’t alter my behaviour towards an individual…jus’ sayin’

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      1. carnival barker

        Perhaps you are right, PJ, that I can see color,a whole myriad of colors, but it simply doesn’t hit my radar, because I’m interested in knowing the soul. After all, our bodies are the vehicles our spirits drive. Should I hate the same car that I drive because it’s painted different? When put in that perspective, racism and prejudice sound ridiculous, no?

        I do offer a solution to the ongoing tragedies of police killing black people – Perhaps its time that all police are required to have served at least 4 years in the military. Our soldiers are fierce protectors of the US constitution, and would better uphold the rights of all citizens when they continue onto the police force. I feel there isn’t a strong enough filter for people joining.

        I also had a horrible theory, that these shootings are happening for reasons beyond simple racism. An officer who shoots a citizen without just cause gets several months paid vacation while the investigation is done. I feel it’s becoming “Shoot a citizen, get a free vacation”. It sickens me to think that, but after the unarmed, compliant health aide in Florida being shot, then asking why, and the police officer saying “I don’t know”, it’s got my suspicions raised.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Victor

    The fact that you’ve written this article on what you are ignorant of and what you’re uncomfortable with.. proves you are not a racist.. you just may be prejudice.. which almost all intelligent human beings are… meaning they make pre judgments based on what they know and what they don’t know.. it doesn’t mean you feel one race is superior or inferior to the other.. in fact it seems you may be thinking we are of one race.. the human race.. so don’t be too hard on yourself.. and try to stay open minded.. Peace!!

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  6. RustyBuckets

    Okay, but, none of that is actually racism. You can keep calling it that if it makes you feel better, but, it’s not.

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  7. Diane

    When I was 16 I got pregnant, married, had my baby and graduated both from high school and then college. This was the seventies when it was still looked down upon and people talked and had prejudices against my Mexican husband. I made it my mission to prove them wrong about ALL of their misconceptions. Why can’t people who feel discriminated against prove peoe wrong? And if stupid people want to hang on to their folly it is their loss. The best revenge in life is to live well.

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  8. Kit

    This blog or self awareness write up was very interesting even to the last sentence. Thank you for sharing. But I have a question, do you think that black people are the only race of people who stand out so strongly on this earth because they are the only people with a dark complexions? I ask that because, if you think about it, caucasians,, asians, chinese, etc. all have fair complexions…why is it that a people with brown/dark skin cause such a fear, worry, and hate? I sometimes think that we would never have to even discuss the word racist if perhaps I was never born or the one color of people i was born into had never existed. I often wonder why would a Sovereign God create one people to be so drastically different that the entire world (every where we go to live) hate, misunderstand, or fear us? My family bought a home in a predominantly white neighborhood and that same year literally 7 homes in a 3 block radius put for sale signs up on their lawns. I just don’t understand and maybe I never will.

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    1. beyondtheglasswall Post author

      The only answer I have on such a heartbreaking question is that we live in a broken world. I believe that everyone is created in the image of God. Unfortunately, our world is distorted from its original intention. (Sorry to be overly theological)

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    2. susan

      To answer your question do some self-education on the criminalization of color. Rent 13th on Netflix and learned how slavery was eliminated except for “criminals”. Hence in order to keep to keep slaves, the South especially how to criminalize blacks. Rent “Rikers” the jail in NYC which was originally a holding pen for slaves to be returned to the south. Read and search on incarceration of issues-where a 19 year old teen gets 5 years for stealing a backpack ( he didn’t and it was proved) but a white man who raped a women and with DNA was found guilty got 30 days and released early.

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  9. Shannon

    This article spoke to my soul in a way I have been praying for. For my brothers and sisters of another color than my machiato brown skin to not sympathize but to EMPATHIZE. That is where love can enter and change can happen for the betterment of us all as one people. The same way you admit to some of the prejudices that are natural in you we too have developed prejudices of our own because of our inability to understand why you all cannot understand our struggle. But your beautiful words, your bare honesty and transparency has made some things clear for me that I did not know that I myself was misunderstanding! Thank you. For so many things thank you. Thank you for opening your heart and allowing it to break even though you do not fully understand. That my friend and brother is the essence of touching the heart of God and what He sent Christ to do for us all. Thank you for being so truthful and allowing me to see the beauty of our imperfections and the room where we can bridge the gap and overcome. I applaud this article with tears rolling down my face and a renewed ferver for God to continue this type of talking, action and restoration. To God be the glory! God bless you and your family. I am sharing this!!!

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  10. Cool Pappa

    “This admission took two things: research and honesty.” – That dedication and commitment to the truth will lead you on a great journey. But trust me, it won’t be easy and you may lose some friends along the way (esp. when racial discussion heat up on social media), but the amount of integrity and character you develop (and new relationships with other people groups) will be life changing.

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  11. M.J

    It’s articles like this that water down very serious things. Like racism. It’s got to the point where so many things are considered racist that it’s diluting the word and what it’s used for. It helps hide real racists.

    What this post amounts to is this “I’m a white man” (do you include white women, or are women as a whole just oh such victims?) “I’m a white man who lived his life and hadn’t done research into race issues, therefore I was uneducated on certain issues and this means I’m racist” no. That’s not what it means. It means you were uneducated. There is a MASSIVE difference. Also one should always question their education just in case you know…they’re being educated wrong. Your being uncomfortable at what you’re learning, is also not racist. What would be racist? You learning that other people are being discriminated against based on the colour of their skin, and instead of feeling uncomfortable, feeling like the discrimination is justified, enjoying the thought and the act of the discrimination etc would be racist!

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  12. Robb Stone

    Well said. Thank you.
    There is no fence to sit on, no grey areas. We (meaning we White people) are either on the right side, or we are on the wrong side. Our Privilege is such that we don’t have to deal with racism in America, if we don’t want to. We often hide behind abstract excuses (like, I’m not a Klan member, I don’t tell racist jokes, I support racial equality, etc). But that’s a cop-out, and it’s part of how White Supremacy works. If we keep silent — thinking we aren’t part of the problem (or worse, that it’s not our problem) we are tacitly allowing racism to flourish. Silence is complicity.

    The first step is to look at ourselves and begin to ask ourselves hard questions. And the second step is to start listening to Black people; really listening, and getting out of their way. I shared your post. Thank you.

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  13. pj180266

    I personally love this article…I’m a Black woman and I applaud you for your honesty and your ability to look into yourself and ask yourself some difficult questions…. self awareness is key to understanding and having empathy for others, and I salute you for trying to make a difference for the good of yourself, your children, your family and by extension the rest of us….Cheers …i enjoyed reading this and wish you well…

    Liked by 3 people

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  14. smegargee

    Fight Racism with Bureaucracy
    It’s a time of despair. It’s a time of many people struggling with what we can do about racism. Racism is both personal and institutional. Personal racism can be difficult to identify… sometimes. Institutional racism can be identified and therefore, dismantled. If you want to dismantle institutionalized racism, embrace bureaucracy.
    Discussions of America’s racism are overwhelmed by discussions of the feelings of “white” people. That “conversation” is a smokescreen for the social and bureaucratic institutions — local, state and federal — that devise, enact and enforce the laws, policies, regulations and ordinances that have had the most crushing effect on the lives of millions of African Americans — and have done so for many generations.

    What can you do?
    One start might be learning about the practice of “redlining” where you live. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining
    For example, you could get involved in local organizations, committees, etc., that oversee real estate practices. Attend those tedious zoning, land use and other municipal meetings that determine who gets to do what, and where. Extend this idea of “bureaucracy as a tool of racism” to any area of life such as commerce, health care, education and labor. Find out about racist ordinances, practices, regulations and codes, and avail yourself of the forums to work against them.

    Another might be in what you ask of local and state candidates for elective office this November. Demand to know where they stand on laws and regulations that limit opportunities for housing, healthcare, voting rights and education in your community. Then vote accordingly.

    The personal insult that is racism is the shame of we who are privileged. But it is the substance of racism that has prevented many generations of African Americans from living where they want to live, from getting the jobs, education and healthcare they deserve, from shopping for nutritious food in their own neighborhoods and from voting for their chosen candidates. This is the racism that no one captures on video.

    The banality of evil gives us bureaucracies that devise, enact and enforce oppressive racist laws and business practices. But the work of tenacious bureaucratic people who will not accept or cooperate with the evil of racism can give us laws and business practices that dismantle it. It will take a lot of work and it’s time to get started…

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. claudele04

      smegargee
      well said!!
      Racism is effective when it quietly decides not to fund your neighborhood, when resources leave, when policing procedures effect only inner city or neighborhoods

      Like

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  15. Michael

    I enjoyed this article and the author’s empathy and self-awareness. Although I understand that racism can be defined as an entire system aligned against those who are disenfranchised and a racist is someone who supports or promotes inequities. Still, many people use racist to be synonymous with bigot or define it as someone who suffers from serious prejudice.

    Continuing beyond definitions, the author speaks well for my own personal and sadly delayed progression into understanding over the course of my life. I have truly benefited from the great banquet of perks provided by what is called “white privilege.” And I pray that these perks will one day instead be extended as “birth-right” to all my brothers and sisters. I believe that can only happen by respecting the choices of the leadership within the communities of color. They know their problems better than I ever will. They are qualified to define the solutions that our society should provide to tip the balance of the 500 years of history behind the present state of systemic racism. To believe otherwise on their capabilities and insights leads right back into racism. And we need to do more than respect the leadership within the communities at risk. We need to follow them. And so I feel that I am compelled to support reparations as the starting point in the healing process. It probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but the debt is huge and payment is due.

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  16. Chuck Greene

    As the only white student in my (1973-76) Detroit high school, I completely understand 99% of your (article-related) thought processes.

    As for the remaining (vitally important) 01%…..

    Please teach your boys: if you’re ever approached by an officer of the law, Do Not Reach For Your Wallet; Do Not Reach For Anything.

    This life-saving fact has nothing to do with race.

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  17. Bob Evans

    I went to Cuba a couple of years ago and was stuck by the fact that the local (hispanic) people I stayed with, warned me to be careful of Black people in Cuba. Now if 60 years of no capitalism and comrade sustaining Communism, does not eliminate racial suspicions what would ?

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  18. Aishwarya

    Found my way here through a reblog of this post. I really enjoyed reading this. I too, was brought up in a solid environment and have rarely come across situations where I have to face the bitterness of reality. I agree with you, reading blogs or tweets can hardly be considered ‘facing’ things… however, they do upset me all the same.
    I’m glad I could meet you here. Looking forward to reading many more posts from you. Cheers and have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  19. Matthews Wright

    I can appreciate the conjured perception of the blogger author “Why I am a Racist”. His thoughts align with the social commentary I present in my blog “Wright’s Light!”. When we think of terms and their meaning, many view them as a static entity, as racist can only be defined as one thing. Instead, our world and experiences are an array of visions, thoughts and actions and each, to one degree or another, falls within the range of the definition. Similar to a Bell Curve with a line drawn down the middle and posting a “+” sign on one side and a “-” sign on the other, within both sides there are degrees of positive and negative experiences all lending to the wholeness of the Bell Curve. To often we direct our attention to the median that splits the curve into two halves when actually we need to observe all of which creates a situation to come to a solution.

    Intuition and Trust in the 21st Century have become a lost art and to reclaim our creativity and humaneness, we will once again have to look inward for SELF development, look beyond the noise to reveal needed light to guide our thoughts and actions. Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, President Emeritus Morehouse College stated it best for me in the 1930’s; ” It is not your environment, it is you – the quality of your mind, the integrity of your soul, and the determination of your will, that will decide your future and shape your life”…

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. Michael A Van Allen (@DrMAVA)

    Dear Mr. “White American NJ Suburban male married to a beautiful blond-haired green-eyed woman.”

    Confession is good for the ‘soul’ and although it must be terribly liberating for you to say hey “I’m ignorant” I beg to differ. You are not ignorant sir. You have recognized a problem, you remain curious, and apparently have the courage to come out of your ‘comfort zone’ to address it.

    Not only do you ‘have two amazing blond-haired blue-eyed boys’ but, it’s clear to me that your parents had an amazing blond-haired blue-eyed son- as well.

    Liked by 3 people

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  21. Pingback: Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 17-23, 2016 | Writerly Goodness

  22. Titus2Homemaker

    I think it too often gets missed that teaching our children to view everyone as equals IS doing something. When my children play with their dolls, and as many of them are dark-skinned as are fair-skinned, they learn that color is just that — color. When my children play with the neighborhood children who don’t look like them, they learn that people who don’t look the same are still PEOPLE just like them. When we study history or talk about the news, and they see us grieve for the injustices we can’t go back and erase, they learn that there is sin and hate in the world but it’s not okay and it’s not something we’ll take part in. That’s DOING something.

    It’s not the only thing there is to do. It’s not the only thing that NEEDS to be done. But it’s an important something, because changing minds and changing hearts is the only way to effect REAL change. And although many of us are doing what we can in the public sphere, the fact is, some are in a better position than others to be able to make a difference in those areas — it just depends on what our jobs are, who we know, where we are, etc.

    We have enough of an enemy to fight; let’s not kill each other with friendly fire.

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  23. Pingback: Sou racista, mas estou pronto para mudar

  24. Pingback: How I’m Staring to “Get” the Race Problem | …every thought captive…

  25. jdholmes90

    Thank you for your courage in writing this article. You brilliantly broke down how you and other whites benefit from privallage and how whites can take responsibility for addressing this critical issue. I recently wrote an article critiquing the colorblindness in our society, especially in the Christian community and it relates to a lot of what you are talking about, especially in regards to listening to others. Check it out! https://jholmes90blog.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/the-colorblind-christian-the-toxicity-of-the-churchs-silence-on-racism/

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      1. Titus2Homemaker

        I am so encouraged just to see this type of discussion taking place, and people (from all walks) sharing openly and honestly, and accepting the honest observations of others, as well. I believe the shutting down of discussion on matters of race has been our biggest stumbling block to growth in that area. Being able to have the conversation is huge.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: Dude’s viral post: yes, I am racist – but I’m not evil, I’m just primed for change | kimi blog

  27. Pingback: Dear white people…Part 2 | sacredmargins

  28. James Irving

    I think this was a well-written article from someone who actually took some time to reflect on himself, others, and society, instead of just regurgitating what other people have said. Maybe other people are too afraid to do this because they are scared of what they may find, have to deal with, or feel guilty for ignoring.

    It shows great character when someone is willing to be open-minded and consider other possibilities and realities. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jeff, and I look forward to seeing other pieces you create.

    Liked by 1 person

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  29. Jeffrey S

    I totally agree with what he is saying and there is nothing wrong with whats said above. He doesnt mean any harm or racial hate he just is explaining his feeling. He doesnt say anything bad about any other racial or ethnic group.

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  30. Pingback: Dear white people…Part 2 – TrevorLCox.com

  31. Pingback: Longreads – Holly Meehan

  32. Frances J Yule

    White blue eyed Australian here. I didn’t know I was racist either because it had been socialised into me from day 1 in a thousand ways. I was born during the White Australia policy which was never a true policy but a series of damning government acts to force assimilation onto the First Peoples. It’s still happening. I heard about an hour’s worth of information on the Aboriginal culture when I was still at school; the emphasis during that hour was that it “past”, not current. That was it. I got the shock of my life when I saw my “first black” walking along the street 4 years later. I believed they were “extinct”. I had no idea of the truth.
    Awareness of the thought processes that accompany racism is tops. Doing a double-take is a priority. My private joke with myself is that I’m pigmentally challenged. It actually helps. It brings my whiteness down a peg or two. We are surrounded by other pigmentally-challenged people who only understand other races/cultures through catch-phrases born out of ignorance. Thieves, rapists, vandals, gangsters, welfare bludgers, drunks, drug addicts – heard it all, internally responded to it without even being conscious of doing so. But then, one day, I suddenly realised that all those negatives applied to all races, all cultures. So, why just “others” and not white people?
    As I said, doing a double-take is a priority. The rest will take care of itself.

    Liked by 1 person

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  33. Jane Elliott

    We will never solve the problem of racism until we recognize the fact that there is only one race: The Human Race, of which we are all members. Believing in the myth of race is as ignorant as believing, as the Greeks did, that the sun is a god who flies across the sky in a golden chariot every morning. Please read Robert Wald Sussman’s book, “The Myth of Race”, as soon as you can. God created the human race, but human beings created racism. Anything you can create, you can destroy. It’s time to destroy the myth of race. Thanks be to the man who wrote the letter that got this discussion started, because we may be on our way to a more moral society.

    Liked by 1 person

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  34. mgray23

    I stumbled across this on a Facebook post. I hit that button to come to the actual article so hard my son asked me if the mouse was okay. That title! I’m a black woman and I had a whole dissertation on what I was gonna respond. Then I read it. I’m beyond amazed to see these words come from someone who’s considered THEE MOST privileged in our society. Your honest “come to Jesus” was when you said black folk have a thicker skin because we have to deal with racism everyday hit the nail on the head.

    You are also the only white person (man or woman) I’ve ever come across who truly understands the concept of racism. This is something you NEED to tell and teach your brethren.

    Liked by 2 people

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  35. Weeman

    Could national crime statistics in the US that show the VAST majority of violent crime is committed by African Americans have anything to do with why that particular demographic is stopped more by the police and people feel fear? Would you deny the correlation?

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    1. beyondtheglasswall Post author

      I would point out that there are too many factors going into statistics like that for me to pretend to understand exhaustively. I would also assert that IF those statistics are involved in some level of correlation, it is just that, a correlation which does not indicate a cause and effect relationship.

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  36. MoniqueM

    Wow! I don’t remember how I came to this article but I’m so glad I had the courage to read after the title shocked me. In this day, I wasn’t sure what the page would hold and I’m one for keeping myself healthy. With so much toxic verbiage today, I immediately guarded myself. But I looked at the author who reblogged this post and he was benign in that right, so I said, “It must be good, or at the least, okay.”

    Oh! It’s better than that. Thank you for being so thoughtful and taking so much time with your words and thoughts. The love is palpable. You heart has touched mine, and to me, that’s the best of humanity. I have to agree with another post, I don’t think you’re racist, but I deftly get your point. And I get calling one on yourself, because I have to do that with myself. We all have some view that another would consider racist, but if we keep each other at a distance with this word, when will we bridge the gap?

    This word is disparaging and I’ve tried to exorcise it from my lexicon. Mostly because I’m out to forward a new paradigm of inclusion.

    Oh, and so much great conversation, you really began something here. And mostly, you were a success because you opened your heart and poured it forth. Many here responded with their minds, but that’s the constant journey, yes? The journey from the mind to the heart?

    It’s okay. It’s the time for this. We all have different ways of confronting life and so many have shown that here. No one better than the other, just what leads you to an open heart — and for many of us, the gift is to be able to have an open heart even when we are met with closed ones. That is my journey. Not everyday. Not every month. Not all the time. But a part of my journey, and with folks of all skin hues, religions, faiths, ethnicities, cultures, and beyond. I am a human dealing with life in all of its facets and whether or not I first behold them as glorious matters not. What matters in My well-being is that I find a way to find the glory within it all, no matter what it looks like at first glance.

    My life has been charmed. It continues to be so, as a Black woman I was not born into this world thinking, “Damn, I was born Black and female!” I was born thinking, ” Alright, alright, alright. ” (To steal from a favored actor and once my biggest crush.) And that’s what I continue to find my way back to when others want to tell me that life was given to me to beat me down or dismay me. You don’t have to be Black to be taught that. That is an inheritance from the Human Condition.

    And God’s favor was not just bestowed upon some, it was bestowed upon us all. So White privilege, while it may be an extraordinary learning tool, and I see that it is so I’m not here to begrudge it, but I won’t live by it either.

    God did not protect you and is choosing not to protect those men murdered by the police. God is with us all. Even though I do not share your beliefs about God that doesn’t make me your enemy. In truth, because of your courage and its inspiring effect to evoke mine, that makes us soulmates. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Whatever folks have to say, that is not my business. It is their divine right to express their take on this issue and any other – for that is all we have in this life and who we are is our experience of life. I love, not to be loved in return but because it is who I am. I love what you have shared here and what you have brought forth in so many. Thank You for your heart. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. beyondtheglasswall Post author

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I consider myself very fortunate to have found myself in a position to engage with so many in such an honest and genuine way as a result of this post. It has been and continues to be a joy. 🙂

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  37. David

    I am a white male and personally, I think it is articles like this that breed the separation of people. I grew up in a small town of mainly white skinned (European descent) people a lot of brown skinned (Hispanic or Indian descent) and only one black skinned family. I feel no guilt for who God has made me or for what I have gone through.
    Growing up I was taught if ever pulled over I should already have my license and registration pulled out and ready to give to the officer, yet this still did not stop me from being pulled over and an officer pulling my friend and me out of the truck at gun point. We aptly obeyed, eventually going on our way. My sister also white was often pulled over just because, one time receiving a ticket for “waste of finite resource,” in other words the officer decided she accelerated too fast from a stop, yet she never exceeded the speed limit.
    Those are a couple of small examples but, the truth is injustice happens to everybody, it is not a skin issue it is a heart issue. God has created us to be who we are; be it black, brown, white, or whatever. I congregate with a body of believing Christians that range in skin tone several of which are also considered felons of all ethnicities. I am so tired of hearing white apologist, stop apologizing for the actions of others, you didn’t do it and you are not the ethnicist (there is only one race so not racism).

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    1. beyondtheglasswall Post author

      I hear you and appreciate your willingness to engage with what I wrote and share from your heart. I do disagree, however, that calling attention to the problem creates it. I find that only feels true if ignoring the problem is an option. (Which I would argue it is not for people of color.) That being said, thank you again for your thoughtful response.

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