I was raised by my parents NOT to be racist and to treat everyone with respect. This is odd since I was a child in the 60s and 70s and grew up in small towns in South Georgia. My parents forbid the use of the N-word and taught me to treat everyone the same. So, I never paid attention to someone’s color unless they made an issue of it. Even though I wasn’t racist, I still had times when I was either insensitive or ignorant to it. It is hard for a white person to truly understand. The recent tragedy of George Floyd has uncovered an ugly division that still exists. I had assumed we were better people today that we shouldn’t have a problem with racism.
Obviously that was ignorant thought on my part. It reminded me of other times in the past when I have been ignorant or insensitive about race.
I am reminded of the time when I was going to the football games of my favorite team. There was a protest that was initiated against the band playing “Dixie” as the team’s theme song. I went into the office one day and expressed my disgust that people were protesting a fight song until my co-worker and friend, Sam, explained to me why the song was offensive. Since it offended him, it then offended me. I understood it and I was happy when the school removed any references to “Dixie” to the band.
Speaking of Dixie, it sickens me to see people display or fly the Confederate Flag. The flag should be in a museum and not on public display. The war is over. It is a symbol that is insensitive to the feelings of black men and women.
I was also reminded of the time when I attended a church with a pastor that liked to tell racist jokes when he was not behind the pulpit. He thought it was okay to share these jokes with me since I laughed at them and never called him out about it especially considering the fact that we had some mixed races in the congregation. Looking back now I see that I only encouraged his behavior by laughing at his jokes and not ever calling him out about it. I repented of condoning his jokes and I hope that he has repented of this at some point.
I have also seen where employers have fixed the hiring process to ensure that they hire minorities- not based on qualifications – but simply because of a quota. While I understand the reason for this practice, I also think this is unfair to all minorities to simply make an office or company “look” like they have diversity. Given the appearance of diversity doesn’t mean there is equality.
So, yes, there are still race issues today and I am ignorant if I say there’s not. We really need to fix this.
It is ridiculous that we have police shooting and killing black victims. The actions of these overzealous law enforcement officers taint the many who are good and do their jobs without regard to race. I know I wouldn’t want to be in law enforcement. Unfortunately, officers tend to get jaded and desensitized to their subjects because they do see the negative side of society. It is too easy from some of them to fall into stereotypes and make assumptions about people based upon their race. It’s going to take more than requiring classes on race sensitivity training.
The ugly truth is that America still has race issues. While racism does exist, there is also ignorance and insensitivity.
It is disappointing to see how divided our country is right now on race, politics, sex and religion.