What I Learned From The White Boy
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Politics and Activism

What I Learned From The White Boy

Part 1: The first installation of what I expect will become a series.

What I Learned From The White Boy

Personally, I think I generally do a pretty good job with trying to listen to others' opinions that are different from my own, even if I don’t agree with them. Sometimes people’s understanding of various topics are so misconstrued that I would feel tempted to just tell them to shut up. Most of the time, I can fight that urge and have a civilized conversation…most of the time. Luckily for me this is one of those times, and it gave me a little more insight into the way some people see the world around them.

A friend of mine was telling me about an experience that a professor had shared with them about when he first became a faculty member at the university. At the time this professor just happened to be the only Latino professor working at the university….he’s still the only Latino professor working at the university (but that is neither here nor there). Anyway, we are a small campus in the middle of Ohio with a small Latinx population, and when a Latino man happened to be walking around the campus, police started making assumptions. This eventually led to them stopping and handcuffing him without giving any real reasoning behind it even though the reasoning was evidently clear to just about anyone who hears this story…or so I thought. Evidently I would be proven wrong by the white boy when he said “I don’t believe that.”

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t your stereotypical case of "white man refuses to believe that the police are racist because he’s also racist". It was almost the exact opposite of that. It was more that he just couldn’t fathom racial discrimination still being an issue that we have to face in our lives today. The fact that he couldn’t accept that the police unlawfully handcuffed and detained a man based solely on the color of his skin was so surprising to him because he had been raised to believe that the police were the good guys. The belief that police are there to protect all of the people was so engrained in him that I could tell that he was being sincere when he said “There had to have been another reason other than that!” Now, granted he grew up in a very white community where there weren’t a lot of people of color so these were issues that he never had to deal with or really understand on a personal level like this, but this was the idea that he had been raised with. As we told him this story I could see in his face that a tiny piece of his world had been ruptured.

It was in this moment that I began to understand the white man some more, maybe those that don’t see the issues aren’t actually knowingly racist. Maybe they do just live in these little bubbles that they have been unable to see past, in their world they do think that everyone should be treated equally and by result they believe that everyone is, even if we aren’t. And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure if that’s honestly a good or bad thing.

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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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