Saturday, June 02, 2018

Full Disclosure: I Am Racist

A regular complaint I  hear from some of my fellow white people on Facebook is that they are sick of being called racist.  They often make this complaint between their posts about the Confederate flag and various derogatory observations concerning black people and Mexicans.

My first thought is that, in general, I am not accused of being a racist.  I won't say it has never happened but it is not so frequent that I have put it on my list of topics to refute.  So, if this is something you are feeling a little singled out about, you might want to consider that maybe underneath all of your annoyance with the accusation, you are just reacting negatively to a fair description.

Second, I don't think this is an accusation one should run from.  I don't.  I am racist.

I am also bigoted, homophobic, sexist, and an ageist. There is hardly a week that goes by where I do not unfairly categorize someone.  I often do not give individuals proper respect based on some prejudicial notion swimming around in my head.  The truth is I give favor to the people who most resemble me and suspicion to those least like me.

Now I don't beat myself up over this too much.  Evolution has developed us as pattern makers and conditioned us to be tribal.  It is our default setting.  However, natural is not always best.  Many recovery programs list admitting you have a problem as paramount.  I admit I am all these things... because I don't want to be any of them.

It would be arrogance to deny these states of being in my life.  What?  Would I really think a little enlightenment given to me over the years would change century upon century of societal inertia?  Would having a gay or black friend uproot all the paths of thinking that were laid out for me before I was even born?

So if you find yourself being annoyed at being called racist, I have news for you - it's true.  But don't lose hope, now you know- and as we learned from G.I. Joe, "Knowing is half the battle".  What you do with that knowledge will determine how you tend to be known.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails