I'm a Closet Racist!
I’m a racist! That statement shocks me more than it does you. It shocks me because as a white male in his late 50’s I wasn’t raised to be one.
My childhood was spent as a military dependent. In my lifetime, all children of military personnel were always integrated. We all went to the same schools, theaters, stores etc. I had never considered myself as being predjudiced. And for the most part I still don’t.
So, why do I make the above statement? I say it because the statement is true. Not in an overt, obvious militaristic manner as most people would consider a racist to be…but in small, not so noticeable ways. I was unaware of them myself.
If you were to ask people who know me well, they would say I’m the furthest thing away from being a racist. Many others might also fit that description. I get along well with most everybody and go out of my way to help those in need whenever possible, no matter what race they are. Recently, I bought a car and gave the van I had been driving to a black male friend who is a coworker. Although I could’ve sold the van, he really needed a vehicle. Is that the action of a racist?
Here’s a statement sure to get some people riled, but it’s true. Many of my best friends are black. Heck, I even married a Japanese woman and our dog was a Pekinese.
But all levity aside, this is a serious subject for me. Therefore, with all the evidence to the contrary, why would I say I’m a racist?
Many years ago, at around age 13, I was living in the small town of Clio, SC. It was during the early 60’s and school integration was being proposed by the government. I remember this being a frightening concept to not only me, but to most of the other Caucasian children in town as well.
For once, those chosen to be forced into one of the all black schools would then be the minority. How would they treat us? The same as they had been? It would only be fair.
But even then, I hadn’t considered myself as being prejudiced. Then, someone asked me a question that proved I was. “Would you accept a blood transfusion from a black person?” The thought shocked me…why I don’t know.
The thought had never occurred to me. Somewhere in my past I had picked up the notion whites were better than blacks. It could have been negative comments overheard from peers or a number of other possibilities. But there it was…right out in front of me.
It took me years to unlearn it. I thought I had finally conquered the specter of racism in my life. But it wasn’t so. Other unhealthy concepts kept plaguing me. A few years ago one became apparent that showed me I still had a problem.
Whenever I saw a black man with a white female, the thought, “She’s pretty; can’t she find a white guy?” entered my mind. That was an ugly thing for anyone to think and I knew it.
There are other examples of racism I’ve had to overcome and I’m sure more will crop up. However, I feel there are those in our country who keep fueling the flames of racism. It’s their livelihood. Without keeping the pot stirred up there would be no use for them.
I’ve been brutally honest in this article, but I feel that’s the only way any of us can overcome our problems.
Racism is dividing our country and there are those who would like to see nothing better.
But I know in my heart, I’ve overcome a lot of the negative thinking I once had. Being a racist in any form is wrong and it’s something I don’t want to be. Maybe there’s hope for us after all.