Superficial judgments can still be defeated

Maggie Devine/Editor-in-Chief

I think I might have become a racist.

A few weeks ago, I know I wasn’t.

I’m not too fond of telling this story, but it is necessary to include here. The Reader’s Digest version is that I was assaulted at my job by an African American male. It has affected me, profoundly, in more ways than one. Since the incident, I have been working a little. When I take care of a black man now, I get this feeling of anxiety and almost fear inside of me. Does this mean I am a racist?

Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. with several other students from CFHS as a part of a leadership conference. There were kids from all over the country, and a good portion of them were African American. One of my roommates was. She became my best friend on the trip. I loved her, and I still talk to her every once in awhile. She wasn’t the only black person I hung out with, either. We were all friends. I wasn’t a racist.

Am I a racist now? I know I don’t feel that way around black women or black children. Does this mean I am sexist, also? Or am I just stereotyping?

I am honestly questioning myself here. I’ve never really experienced the feeling of racism. What is a racist supposed to feel? Are there different types of racism?

It is my belief that racism is taught, and learned, many different ways and in many different situations. Did the man who assaulted me teach me to be a racist?

Racism is rampant in Texas. In modern day, Texans resent Mexicans because of the illegal border-crossing problem, although since the state’s existence there have been problems between whites and Hispanics. In a report by Raul Michel, Mexican General Consul in the State of Texas from December 9, 1942, Michel explains the state of racism towards Mexicans. There was a lot of segregation, much like black and white segregation in the south in the early 1900’s. Some had offensive signs indicating their unwillingness to serve Mexicans. This racism is taught. Most Mexicans working in Texas were braceros, or migrant workers. Texans were taught that braceros were less. They were taught racism. Children growing up there saw offensive signs towards Mexicans, and the cycle continued. Today, racism is taught against Mexicans in Texas because any given Mexican is basically assumed to have crossed the border illegally.

It’s the same wherever racism, towards whatever race, is. It is taught, and it is a vicious cycle.

I think that, for the most part, racism is a life-long condition. I say condition, because it is not normal, and it is most certainly not good. Racism is pointless, like jealousy. Nothing good comes out of either or those things. Racism is a wasted belief. It’s just wasting braincells.

Judging others based on superficial things (skin color, the way someone dresses, the amount of money someone has) is useless, wasteful, harmful. I hate it. I’m not like that. Those kinds of things don’t matter. I know that, I’ve always known that. That’s what my parents taught me to be like.

I hate this feeling that I have. I hate being anxious, not only because it’s not a pleasant feeling, but because it is wrong. At work, I have no knowledge about any given black man that I help. They could be pastors, or doctors, or lawyers, or graphic designers, or hotel managers. They could have a family, or be bachelors. All I have is the pretense in my heart that someone who looked kind of like them hurt me once.

Maybe I’m not a racist now, because I don’t want to be like this. I think I’m just a shook up little girl with acute post-traumatic stress disorder because of one isolated incident. This is not going to change who I am, or how I view anyone. If racism can be taught by one minor incident, I am not going to let it teach me.

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