Racism is not always conscious. It’s attitudes and prejudices you might not even be aware you have. They’re often wrong characterizations of a certain group of people, or they are based on the actions of a few that you attribute to the entire group, even though you (and society) don’t do the same to the majority group.
It’s not just the KKK and white supremacists.
It’s the disgust you feel when you see a brown-skinned migrant worker and say things like “They’re taking our jobs.”
It’s telling your daughters to watch out Mexicans because “they” like to cat-call women. It’s telling your kids the story of riding a bus in LA in the 1970′s and the bus driver telling you to put your head down so that a black mob from Watts won’t come on the bus to rape you for being white…and you believing him.
It’s an overly-enthusiastic “Wow” when you learn someone who lives in a bad neighborhood is going to college.
It’s saying that, because certain criminals dress alike, all people who dress like that are subject to suspicion and interrogation of their motives, despite the fact that you wouldn’t follow people in suits and ask them if they know Bernie Madoff or if they run a pyramid scheme.
If you hold these attitudes, you might have a bit of what’s called “covert racism.” It doesn’t make you a bad person or a white supremacist, it just means you’ve bought the lies that your society has told you about “other” people.
Awareness is the key to solving it. Realizing that it’s something that needs to be changed inside yourself is the only way to change our culture. Being able to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong about X.” Realizing how prevalent it is in our culture and how it affects our justice system, politics, government and even economics is not a blame game, it’s a better understanding of the world around you. If you’re a skeptic, I want to find out “why.” I constantly think about things I take for granted as common knowledge and try to find out if they’re true.
What I’ve found about race is that we are not a “post racial” society. We’re mired in it. I was sold a lie in school when they taught me about the struggle of Black Americans and ended the story with the Civil Rights Act. All the evidence points to otherwise. I don’t have to list it all here because the research has already been done, just like I don’t have to list all the evidence for climate change here. All it takes it to ask how, why and”Is this right, this thing I believe?”