Racism won’t end until the Human Race becomes all one shade of people who all look the same. I remember as a kid, coming home from school and asking my folks what this new word was. By the age of thirteen, I am sure I knew almost every non racist word by which one person could call another person to put them down.
I was a white kid in a white neighborhood, in a mostly white city, and all the words and expressions I knew were words applied to other white people in other white neighborhoods depending on their looks and body shape. That didn’t include the ethnic slurs, depending on what part of the mostly all white city I was in in the moment.
I wasn’t aware enough to realize it as a kid, and before I grew light feet and wanted to wander around the country, I thought only white people talked about white people and other people. Travel around a bit, or in today’s world wander the Internet, and you will hear or find exhaustive lists of words, with new words created almost daily, of how one Human Being can describe another in a derogatory manner.
I was past my teen years before I experienced racism in person. I worked with a mix of people from many ethnic groups, and I was close with some of them. I found no one ethnic group or skin color had the market cornered on racism, just as no one group has the market share of body shaming or intelligence demeaning adjectives used to describe others.
In some cases classifying people is not even driven by emotion. It is driven by a Human need to classify all people into two main and several sub groups, starting with, “Like me or not like me”. Everything after that is even smaller subgroups consisting of why someone is not like me.
Living in the Southwest, there is a fair representation of people of various ethnic backgrounds. People from all over the country and all over the world. Depending on the person, I have seen and experienced love, hatred and indifference in every ethnic group of people.
One day, many years ago, I was doing volunteer work in a local non white community. There was a tug on my pants leg, and I looked down to see a little girl, maybe three tugging on my pant-leg. When I looked at her, she asked my in all seriousness, “Are you a real White Person?”.
The Parent gave me an embarrassed look, and hustled to the little girl out of the room before she said something more embarrassing. I remember as a child, a little white boy telling a little black boy, “You need to go home and wash your face, it is dirty. These examples are an aside to what I heard as people describe other people they do not like. You have heard it too.
We can march down the streets and protest racism. We can burn down city blocks, refuse to go to overtly racist areas, whether they are neighborhoods, or states, but ending racism is not going to be done in a summer.
I listened to a Black Women on NPR telling me how I think. Now, really, what does this Women really know about what I think, other than her own perception? Only through the stereotype of her lens can she process what I think. The same lens, the Woman on NPR claimed she does not want to be judged by.?
I am reminded weekly if not more often, I really do not know what people who are close to me really think, until something is said, that makes me know how little I really know them and how they or what they think.Yet, some people, such as the Woman on NPR, have their minds made up on how you and I think about other people.
Maybe I am guilty of the same? Have I sliced and diced and classified people so many times a day over so many years that I am not even aware I do it? Rich, poor, tall, short, fat or thin, maybe labeling people is so familiar to me I am not even aware I do it. Maybe I am only a normal human who can look at the haters as statistical fliers, because I am not them, or am I?