There are some who naively believe that with the legitimate and decisive election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, we are not post-racial. There are some who believe that since they voted for a Black man means they do not harbor any prejudice. There are those who believe that since they have a friend of a different race than them, whether Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, or Jew, then they can not be racist. There are those who believe that since they know someone who practices another religious belief or not, means that they are religiously tolerant. There are even those who believe that are not homophobic, because they presently or previously interacted with someone who was gay or lesbian.
Although it may be good, it doesn’t exclude you from being a racist, harboring prejudice towards another person because of race, intolerant towards another’s beliefs and homophobic.
If you find yourself saying or thinking “My Black or White or Asian Friend” you still have a problem. Why categorize your friends by race? It’s OK to recognize their race, but don’t categorize them by their race, religion, etc over the relationship or position.
I’ve done it myself. A few days ago I was made aware about Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday. I made a comment that I have never taken the opportunity to learn about the holiday and wondered if I can ask one of my Jewish friends if I could attend synagogue with them.
Now on the surface it appears innocent, but I unconsciously categorized them by race/religion over the relationship. I can honestly say I rarely do this, but when it happens I notice it and work to correct it. This is why I don’t always assume someone is racist without some measure of history or proof.
The intent is self-evident. And an assumption can be made of the motives of such a statement that can be easily proven false.
I’m just waiting to hear this guy say that “I’m not a racist”. What is sad is that this guy and many others like him honestly believe what they are saying, although it can and has been proven false repeatedly. It doesn’t matter that Barack Obama is a Democrat, because if Colin Powell or even Mel Martinez become President they would get the same thing from people just like this who will claim they are not prejudice with their words, but not prove it in actions. Unconscious and systemic racism.
What many like this guy in the previous example can not justify is the contradiction they have with supporting the Constitution and Bill of Rights where it says something about freedom of religion. Then with their misconception of the Christian gospel or maybe just the ignoring where it says God is no respecter of persons. I guess that excluded Muslims or maybe was just referring to Christians only. Why hasn’t someone directly countered the unconscious racist with a simple question? Why can’t a Muslim, Black, Latino, Woman, Jew or Atheist be President? The only way to destroy racism is by countering it with truth. Some are clever at disguising their bias and will answer your question with a question or misquote the Bible as their defense. Don’t be fooled by this ploy, make them answer and you will discover that they can only answer that question when they confront their own racism.