It seems to me like most people on this forum are white and racist, with the exception of a few black folks who we’re fortunate enough to have here interrupting what would otherwise be a happy circle jerk. Many of you, I’ve noticed, erupt with anger and often racial vulgarities at the very mention of white people being racists. Others refrain from using racial slurs but nevertheless deny that they have any racism in them. And who am I to say you’re racist? I imagine it must be sickening to some of you to see a white guy like myself trying to drag you all into his “white guilt” and make you “feel bad for being white.” So I’ll refrain from making any judgments about you lot and whatever racism you may or may not have and instead talk about myself and my own, undeniable, ugly, racism. We seldom really know what’s going on in each other’s minds, and what each other’s lives have really been like, so I’d like to offer some full disclosure to those for whom it may be of benefit. I doubt I’ll be making any friends by posting this and as the following may be hurtful to some to hear, I would like to apologize in advance. I have no excuse, and am ashamed that racism has been a part of who I am. In dialogue about racism, we whites often fail to mention actual examples of how we engage in it and are a part of it, so here are mine: Walking by a group of black people on the street - sometimes my body goes stiff, as if I might have to fight. Sometimes I try not to look at them, or glance their way cautiously. I remember a time in rural Japan when a woman looked at me with total terror in her eyes for no reason other than that I wasn’t Japanese. I remember how it felt like she’d punched me and how it ruined my entire day. I wonder how many dozens, hundreds(?) of times I’ve ever looked at a black person that way and screwed up their day. Or if they were already so used to it it just enforced their justified view that all white people are racists. Wanting to prove how not racist I am - I brought up racial issues with a black man I was doing business with the other day. He didn't bring it up, I did, and even when it seemed like he would really rather not discuss it I kept talking about it mindlessly just because it was interesting to me. When I see a black person often the first thing I think is "how can I show this person I'm not racist, or not as racist as most white people?" When I'm around black people, at least half that time is spent thinking about the fact that they're black. I often expect some kind of validation, recognition from black people that they think I'm a good person. As if it's their job to tell me that. When I was in preschool, I regularly called a black classmate of mine racial slurs. I thought it was funny. She cried and I kept doing it. Eventually her parents got involved and had it out with my parents. Her family sent me a book showing people of all colors holding hands and getting along. I continued making occasional racial slurs against Asians and Native Americans in elementary school. I was a mean, racist kid. My school, my area of town, the families my parents knew were all predominantly white. I had no friends who were black and knew no one who was black. I remember my first week of middle school, I was paired up in class with a hispanic kid. I quickly went to my white teacher and said, "Pair me with some one else. We're not like them." She refused, and the kid looked at me confused and said he didn't understand what was wrong. Watching movies on racism, like Blackkklansman recently, I had to stop myself from laughing during numerous scenes that were patently racist. Some part of me wanted to laugh at black people being denigrated. I think stuff and have even said racist things about Asians without thinking about it. Generalizations about different countries, scornful remarks about their cultures. In general, I have thoughts - when I meet black people, when I see them on TV; before I even hear what they have to say I have thoughts like, "He looks full of himself." "He's too defensive. Race is probably always on his mind." "She doesn't look intelligent." "Why do they talk like that?" "This movie's just trying to make black people seem smarter than they are." It's ugly. It's bigoted. But it's on my mind. Even as I kick myself for it, some part of me won't condemn the racism in it. So where am I going with this confession? I'm saying I'm a racist and I don't want to be. I'm saying, this is some really ugly, vile shit. I'm saying, how would I like to find out that some one was thinking these things about me? I'm saying I'm probably not going to make any friends by posting this, but if any white person here has any of the same racism in them, I hope you confront it. For your own sake, because I've heard a lot of you say some really racist crap that, yeah, I've thought of before, but every time you say it outloud you enforce it and you lose a little bit more of your humanity that you're going to have to try to get back some day if you genuinely want to be a good person.