13 votes

When The Racist Is Someone You Know and Love…

2 comments

  1. grahamiam
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    Agree with /u/cadadr that this essay is overly simplistic, but man does it ring close to home for me. In 2015 I decided I was going to start saying something to comments from my family, including...

    Agree with /u/cadadr that this essay is overly simplistic, but man does it ring close to home for me. In 2015 I decided I was going to start saying something to comments from my family, including my mother, especially as they appeared to be more out in the open with their prejudices - this was before Trump's rise, so a lot of it was fueled by Ferguson+BLM. I spent the next year making the occasional pushback. I wrote a long letter to my mom, included a couple of books (she's a big reader - Baldwin, TN Coates, and Rankine), wrote a few emails, responded to a few Facebook posts. In most cases I'd get no response, every now and then I got a half-hearted apology. Then it would happen again.

    After a little more than a year of doing that I realized I wasn't making a difference. I knew I couldn't go back to saying nothing. I also knew I didn't want a relationship where I was spending part of my brain always waiting for the next terrible thing to come out of their mouths/keyboards, wondering how I was going to respond this time. So I stopped having a relationship with them, completely. I know there's some logic to say that I've removed my ability to change them, but these are people in their 50s or older, I'm not going to change them. Here's where I want to say "the hard part was that otherwise they were good people." But that's such a bullshit phrase. They were good to me and people like them. It was still hard. It still is hard. I don't know what the best answer is. I do think by continuing to be in a relationship with them, though, I was condoning their comments, comments that may be largely harmless on their own but feed a system that continues to provide less resources, less opportunities, and uses violence to enforce the hierarchy.

    Idk idk idk.

    8 votes
  2. unknown user
    Link
    This is way too unstructured to really get something out of it, but this part is an illustration of a very interesting phenomenon: Just getting to know the Other a bit is the best remedy of...

    This is way too unstructured to really get something out of it, but this part is an illustration of a very interesting phenomenon:

    I was visiting them both in the hospital when my grandmother said, simply: I was wrong to use the N word. And I was wrong to tell you all those horrible things about black people. It’s what my daddy taught me and it was wrong. She said it in front of her roommate, who listened but never said a word. It was a movie ending — and it was true.

    Just getting to know the Other a bit is the best remedy of racism. It seems to me that most racism is born out of some kind of distancing, voluntary or not. When the distance is removed, hate cannot survive, for it is built on stereotypes and other ignorance. Reminds me of this: https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544861933/how-one-man-convinced-200-ku-klux-klan-members-to-give-up-their-robes

    4 votes