We Are All Racist

July 3, 2015

President Barack Obama gave a highly charged eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, who was one of nine people shot by a white supremacist in Charleston. He called out our racism directly.

But there is only so much even a President can do. Ultimately it is up to each and every one of us to admit that we are racist and set out to change. Most white Americans are racist by indifference. Indifference that is fed by media. We live in our white bubble which is strongly maintained. It is up to us individually to make those incremental steps in our own behavior which will add up to genuine progress. Add some local leadership for leverage and change could be faster. There are other causes that did this. Who would of thought gay marriage would be a right as recently as fifteen years ago? I hope I am not underestimating the scope of the change that is needed but we do have to start somewhere.

So I will start by confessing as I have already done before elsewhere that I am racist and I will continue to be racist for some time. It is my learned response. I was taught it at an early age, and constant reminders from radio, TV and movies reinforced it over time. It is very hard to deprogram; but not impossible. I am your average white male racist. I don’t wave a confederate flag, I don’t attend KKK meetings, I am not a member of any racist organization, I don’t read white supremacy news sheets, I don’t do any number of direct racist actions. But my indifference is high, and it feeds the total corrosive indifference of the country. My indifference together with that of millions of others forms the atmosphere where other more virulent and repulsive actors operate.  So I am a racist. Not perhaps by intention, but by default, by habit. I am determined to change.