How a naive Boomer had to correct her thoughts about racism

January 28, 2019

racismIt turns out I’m more naive than I thought. I blame it on being white.

See, I thought we’d pretty much handled the worst of racism. When Lyndon Johnson got civil rights laws passed, when affirmative action came in and as a liberal Baby Boomer, by the new MilleniumI thought we were in fairly good shape.

Sure, maybe there were pockets of racism but for the most part, it was a relic here in the good old USA. For the most part.

Boy, was I wrong.

Nooses, racial epithets, awful notes, confrontations? Racism — institutional and individual– is alive and well, institutionally and in our neighborhoods. Among people we know.

“Where did this come from”? I thought.

As it turns out, it was always there. Lurking. Had no idea. Because it doesn’t happen to me. I’m white. I didn’t see it because I am white.

But now that the awful man in the Oval has turned rocks over and exposed it, we can’t miss it. We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We are forced to address it.

It’s not that he created racism. It’s that it was always there and he gave those vermin permission to show it.

There are two schools of thought on this. One is that it would’ve been better if this had not happened. The other is that it’s good that we have exposed this hatred to the sunlight so we can address it. Eradicate it Get rid of it.

I come down on the second side. Let’s see it so we can tamp it out. Because we can’t address things that we can’t see.

When it comes to how to get rid of racism once and for all, I’m clueless. I suspect it will take generations. It certainly is taking too long.  But it will take longer still if we don’t see it to address it. And we must address it incident by incident, as it comes up. We must not give it air. Leave no room for air.

When we hear or see racism, call it out.

When we see it, do something about it. 

“See something, say something” is more than just a BOLO for terrorism. It’s a Be On the LookOut for racist behavior, too.

I’d love your thoughts.

5 comments on “How a naive Boomer had to correct her thoughts about racism
  1. Pat says:

    I too have been shocked by the growing number of blatant acts racism whom our “leader” has unleashed by his own bigotry and arrogance. As you said, we need to stand up and call it out. We need to defend the rights of all citizens, not just the rich, white male ones.

  2. Haralee says:

    Yes many of us live in cocoons until now the ugly, it is out! Being Jewish I knew it was all there but only let loose when too much to drink or when the haters didn’t know I was Jewish. My solution has been just kiss off those people not school them on their hate. Now of course that solution if others dealt with it like me is not good enough!


    I’m not sure what to say because like you I thought things were so much better. I grew up with white drinking fountains….but any hate is wrong, any discrimination is wrong…I have great hope because my children don’t see color and they love people. All we can do is teach love and hope. And not the mealy kind of hope, like a wish, the real substantive hope that changes lives.

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