Do you know who thinks racism is dead? People who have never experienced racism. Sure, I’m a white Irish girl from a middle class family so of course I haven’t experienced racism towards me. I wasn’t raised to be a racist. I had friends across the spectrum because I didn’t care what you were. I just made friends with people. I may have thought that racism was dead back then because I never saw it. My parents welcomed all of my friends because they trusted my judgement. I couldn’t even fathom that there were racist people out there.
Until I saw it. My first experiences with it happened when I started dating my now husband ages ago. People stared a little as we held hands walking around. I heard him get called some pretty awful names for both Asian people and Hispanic people. Which was hilarious, because he’s not Hispanic at all. But it wasn’t hilarious, because WTF people. He was annoyed, but brushed it off. You could tell this was something he’s definitely dealt with before.
After some time that faded away and I forgot about those incidences. Until this one time when we went voting together after we got married. I was looking around a the line and people walked up, got their ballots, and went on their way. Then my husband walked up and I heard something that I had never heard before. “Can I see your ID please?” I looked around him at the person, trying to figure out if I needed to run back to the car to get my ID because I didn’t have it on me. He was stunned, but pulled out his card and showed them his ID. He got his ballot and walked towards the booth area. I walked up, hesitantly. I gave my address and something strange happened: I didn’t need to show my ID. I didn’t see anyone else pull out their ID in a sea of other people that “looked like me”. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Then, the incident that really shook me. The one where some little girl refused to play with my son because he was a little Chinese boy. That wasn’t the last time that he was referred to as a Chinese boy in a negative way. It probably won’t be the last time he experiences racism because he happens to be part Korean. When I married my husband, I didn’t care about that. I cared that this was someone who treated me well and loved me and my son. I cared that he was my better half. I didn’t think “oh maybe I shouldn’t marry him because he’s different from me and I’m going to birth children who were different”.
So no, racism isn’t dead. Just because you’ve never dealt with it or witnessed it for yourself, doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. Just because you’ve never met a white supremacist, doesn’t mean that there aren’t white supremacists out there. The idea of that is insane to me. Just because they aren’t walking around in white sheets, doesn’t mean that it’s some tin foil conspiracy. It’s dangerous to say things like that, especially when you have such a massive following of people that mistake you for news instead of an opinion guy speaking out of his butt.
In short, racism exists and it’s dangerous to ignore that. As parents, it’s our job to raise our kids not to hate by showing them not to hate. That little girl that was ignoring my boy because he was “Chinese” was too young to become a racist on her own. At that age, she learned that behavior. We can easily stop this problem by teaching our children to be better.