'How Could I Possibly Be Racist?'
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'How Could I Possibly Be Racist?'

A look into unconscious racism.

'How Could I Possibly Be Racist?'
David Pakman Show

“I have Hispanic friends, black friends, and friends that are gay. How could I possibly be racist or homophobic if I have these people in my life?”

Honey, that means nothing.

A couple of weeks ago, a popular HBO late-night host used the N-word. Anybody watching knew he didn’t mean it in a negative way. Or so I thought. Later, I began seeing all the posts on social media calling him out. I saw where HBO and he apologized. And all this time I am still thinking, “In the context he said it, he didn’t mean anything by it.”

On the episode right after that his first guest, Michael Eric Dyson — who is black — talked openly with Bill about his use of the N-word. Bill owned his mistake and talked about how he was just trying to be funny. Dyson referred to this as “unconscious racism.” Something that we all are conditioned to, and don’t always realize is happening. He talked about how we need to understand that this is a thing and that it’s hurtful. This reminded me of a story that my mom told me. She was having dinner with friends and they were discussing the Confederate Flag. She had told them her high school mascot was “Johnny Rebel” and how they would fly the Confederate Flag at football games. While growing up, she had never recognized this as racist because it was “just a football thing.” Her friend Christi then looked at her and said, “Of course not Sally, you are not black.”

So back to my initial qualifying statement. I have friends that are Hispanic, friends that are black, and friends that are gay. We laugh, joke, and tease each other. In high school, my black teammates called me “White Girl.” I was not or am not the least bit insulted by this or anything else they might say to me. I felt lucky that they wanted to be my friend. But what about when I tease my friends or tell my Hispanic friend that he’s really just a white boy? Is this equally funny to them? Is it the same if I tease them about their race? No, none of these things are the same.You see, I have never been judged or had to defend myself for being white, instead, I’m praised for it. There’s not a painful time in history about me being white. As a matter of fact, I am automatically accepted by some because I am white. When I walk out my door every morning, I walk out into a somewhat different reality than my friends. I think because I have these people in my life and that I love them, it is okay to say these things. That this automatically makes me “not racist.” Well, that’s not how it works.

This brings me to “Black Lives Matter.” The argument that some white individuals use against this is, “all lives matter.” Yes, all lives do matter, but the difference is, we have never had to fight to prove our life matters because of our color. Our lives have always mattered. Same thing goes for Pride month. If you are straight you don’t have the right to say what about “pride month for straight people?” The other 11 months are your months. The fact that there is even a pride month comes from society telling non-straight people that they are wrong and shouldn’t be proud. Society loves that you’re straight, therefore you get 11 months of pride.

Personally, I don’t care if you agree. What I do care about, is letting those I love know I am aware and I hope to stay aware of how “unconscious racism” is hurtful. Yes, I am a Liberal and if trying to make everyone feel welcomed and loved is some “hippy liberal BS” then I’m proud to be one.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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