Being “Not racist” is not an absolute. It is a conscious and daily decision. In order to be “Not racist” a person has to first accept that the world itself and most of their opinions that deal in race are in fact, racist. Being “Not racist” is something that has to be part of every single day. There is no “Graduation date” for anti-racism. There will never be a day when a person can say, “I’ve read all the books, seen all the movies and heard all the lectures. I am now not a racist.” There is no ready made “Not a racist” desk set.
When people say things like, “I’ve never had a bad thought about another race,” and believes this statement is proof they are not racist, it serves as the opposite. You would HAVE to be a racist to claim that you’ve never had a bad thought about another race. If you live in America or any other first world country, capitalism dictates that there is a top and a bottom. People love to associate the top and bottom with money. All the while choosing to ignore the very real fact that money is extremely racially entwined.
To live in a first world country and say that you’ve “Never had a bad thought about another race” implies that you, somehow, were never affected in any way shape or form by your parents, your teachers, television, books, movies, advertisements, friends, other family members or society as a whole. I am sure you think that you are an awesome human being but no one, I repeat, no one is capable of not being affected with THIS much propaganda being thrown at them the moment they enter the world.
In turn, if you believe this to be true, you are a person who is incapable of change and being “Non-racist” because as far as you’re concerned, you aren’t the least bit racist to begin with.
The very first step in being “Not racist” is to figure out where your racist thoughts and feelings lay so that you can focus and change them.
Been on my mind lately trying to figure out what my racist thoughts are (like, the ones that aren’t so obvious) and where they come from.
Sadly, many of the racist thoughts aren’t going to be brightly obvious because when we see something as “True” we also believe it can’t be racist. When you’re getting to a place where you’re questioning your truth, it can get very difficult and upsetting.
A good place to start is in your every day. You’d have to be completely honest with yourself and truly examine why you think they way you do. For example, when walking down the street or at a store, pick a random person and decide what you think they do for a living, if they have kids, are married, have a Bachelors degree, ect. Really think about it honestly. Try to dissect why you think they have these things and if you’re honest, you’ll start to see your racists leanings.
The problem is, it’s extremely hard to be honest with yourself. If you’re seeing a Black man with baggy jeans, you might think something extremely racist but because you’re focusing on it, you’re going to intentionally try to change your thoughts of this person. You’re going to tell yourself that this person has the best job you can think of, is the best parent ever, nicest person on Earth, ect.
You’re going to do this because although you might be willing to admit you have racist leanings, nailing those leanings down would be admitting that you’re a racist. These two things might sound like the same thing but they aren’t.
Admitting that you’re a racist is extremely difficult but until you’re able to make that statement for yourself, it will be very difficult to change your racist leanings.
*Note: Forcing yourself to change the negative way you think is a good thing but it should come only after you’ve truly figured out what those negative things are first.
Also-This is a private exercise. There’s no need to walk down the street announcing to passerbys that you’re a racist. Making this statement to yourself is about growth, not making a spectacle.