Friday, May 18, 2018

Racism

"You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals."--#45

Sure, the argument has been made that this quote is taken out of context from a discussion of MS-13 gang members, but it will be embraced by people who believes it applies to anyone without "white" skin.  

There has been some discussion on the FB pages of my friends about racism, in light of everything happening in our country and around the world.  And this was before #45's comment (no, I don't say his name.)  A friend commented that she didn't think most people were racist.  And I posted this below because I disagree.

I think most people are racist. Not in the way of the KKK or white supremacists, but in the lock-your-car-doors-when-you-see-a-black-man-on-the-sidewalk way--they might not even recognize they do it. Recently, it was pointed out to me that hotel shampoo is for white people's hair; I'd never considered the implicit bias that hotels would stock that instead of something else (or even shower caps, which they don't do much anymore--I didn't know that shower caps were often used by African-American women.) It's just enough privilege and then racism that when Black Lives Matter started, people argued "all lives matter" or when violence happens, white people start saying "they" meaning black people (as in, "well, they commit more of the crime, right?") It's the racism that assumes that when it's just white people around, jokes, little asides, and such statements can be made ("slavery wasn't that bad in the North.") It's insidious and perhaps even more dangerous than the KKK because it goes unremarked. It's this racism that supports systemic racism in our society. I know I struggle with racism, having grown up in Texas where there were few African Americans in my neighborhood and none in our circle of friends. I come from a family with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy and, I believe, probably owned slaves in Louisiana. And sometimes I'm locking my car door before I even recognize the gesture. It's why I encourage a diversity and variety of friends and experiences plus trying to stay informed via media and education--to give me the understanding that I lack, to render visible my implicit racism and prejudice and so I can teach my children better. "You have to be carefully taught . . . "

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