September 18, 2010

Are You A Racist Like Me?

Are You a Racist?

African Americans only recently gained “freedom” in the United States. Just 50 years ago, those of color were generally unable to vote, sit at the same counter as whites, ride the bus and sit wherever they liked.

Now with a new president who happens to not have white skin, there’s a perception that equality has arrived.

I hear about the “race card” being drawn unnecessarily. That people of color are making mountains out of mole hills. That “these people” aren’t being effected by skin color issues, a racism epidemic, or stereotypes. I’ve heard the argument that they are just feeling the results of economics, circumstance or unfortunate choices.

I beg to disagree. Color issues are alive and well in America. And yes it effects one’s circumstances. Actually it affects all of us. Racism is alive and well. Fear and resentment come in new shapes, forms and voices these days. Some issues look different then they did in past, but we continue to overlook their deep implications. Everyone is equal, right? So everyone gets a fair chance at life, right? That is like saying that if you’re born as a lion in the wild, your life will be the same as a lion who is born in captivity.

Even a yogi like me, who practices love and acceptance of all people, all colors, all shapes, catches herself in unfortunate mental patterns at times. I try to check my self, but I often fail. I happen to be afraid of white people—the KKK. In fact, I hate them. Aren’t I a racist then?

When a spray-painted swastika appeared at the entrance of our mainly white-suburban neighborhood a few days ago, I noticed panic start to arise in me. Suddenly I felt unsafe in my own neighborhood. Should I walk the streets at dark? What if I had to confront this level of anger and violence head on? Is my anger any different than theirs?

After speaking to a neighbor, I realized that I have underestimated the extent of the anger and violence in this suburb. The KKK has strong headquarters just several miles north. Kids openly flash their KKK cards in the schools around here to show their alliance with the organization.

Why is this happening so openly? Who is looking out for the safety, freedoms and rights of those who aren’t “white”? What about my right for peace and happiness while not being bombarded by such negative messages?

So I ask, how can this level of blatant anger, militancy, and hatred towards individuals who are not white, heterosexuals (my guess is Christian as well) be tolerated by a “free” nation? Why are individuals like Troy Davis and Mumia Abu-Jamal not getting fair trials? Why are there more black and Latino males incarcerated in the U.S. than whites? Why are neighborhoods still segregated?

I am not afraid of people of color. I am afraid of white people who are angry, have low consciousness and seething hatred and violence boiling in their blood. I am afraid of anyone who hates “differences.” I am a racist who hates [white] ignorance.

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