I want to say first that I am white for those of you who don’t know. I was born and raised in the South. My family was racist, though maybe not a hard-core as some people I have experienced, so I was raised with racisit views. It is funny to me that my family is still racist, even if they don’t realize it…and I have worked hard not to be that way anymore. I can’t help how I was raised. I can’t help the way I was taught as a child. I can say that I never understood why my family was so against anyone not white and I spent many days confused.
I remember specifically a conversation with my dad when I was younger. I was in the car with him and he had stopped by a mini-mart type place for a loaf of bread on our way home. I wanted a Coke and so he bought one for me. Being a small child I did what a lot of kids do and decided to put the bottle cap in my mouth (it was still attached to the bottle and to this day I can’t remember why it was a good idea). At this point my dad turned to me and said, “Don’t put your mouth on that, n*s may have had their hands on it.” As an adult I realize it was a very racist comment. As a child I remember being confused and thinking, “wow they must have some pretty dirty hands.” I was probably around 6 or 7 years old at the time.
Another memory I have from my much younger years was when I went to a pizza place with a friend and her family (aunt,s uncles, some kind of celebration). At said pizza place there was a young couple, teenagers I think, that were having what looked like a nice date. This couple was made up of one white girl and one black boy. As you can guess some of the people I was with didn’t take too kindly to that. One of the men in my friend’s family was actually very rude, hateful, and threatening to go get a gun and shoot them.
The couple just enjoyed their dinner though I am sure they heard that jackass making threats since he was so loud that everyone I was with decided to leave. I also remember that I was embarrassed for him. I was only about 8 years old and I was embarrassed by an adult’s behavior. And adult I barely knew.
As I got older I realized that all those little seemingly innocent comments by my family weren’t so innocent and I made a point to purge them from my mind. As a result I have noticed that most of the white people I knew and grew up with were a whole lot more worthless than most of the black people I knew and grew up with. The white kids I went to school with, on an average and there were always exceptions, were ditzy if they were girls and just plain losers if they were boys. The black kids, with the same exceptions, tended to work hard and do very well in school and were some of the nicest people I met. This made me re-evaluate the racist views I had been intentionally or unintentionally taught.
Many of my favorite teachers over the years were also black so I have to wonder if that is what helped me see things differently. They weren’t the stupid and illiterate like the white people around me said they were…they were intelligent, thoughful people who knew a lot about a lot of things.
I have been reading a lot of blogs and news articles about the election and one of the most pervasive ideas that more people don’t vote for Obama is the racist issue. People who maybe uncounsiouly don’t like him because he is half black. If you confront them on it, they say “Oh no, I’m not racist…” I think I have to agree…these people really don’t realize that their views are racist. Or maybe they do realize it, but don’t want to admit it to themselves as they know racism is bad and they don’t want that label as it would label them as a bad person.
To that I say this…if someone says you have said something racists why not evaluate you feelings and see if it is? Unless you like being a racist, there is no wrong in realizing that maybe that view was wrong and you can change your mind. If you don’t like Obama because of his stand on things or his plans to change things, that is different. But…if there is something you “just don’t like” about him…maybe it is born of racist views. Maybe you really need to look at his stand from a color blind point of view. Maybe you need to pay more attention to the issues. Admitting it doesn’t make you a bad person…letting it color your view does.
Lastly, I found this video at The F-Word blog. I have to agree with what this woman says. I leave it to you to watch and think about before you go to the polls next month.