Let’s End Casual Racism

Dear friends and family, 

My son came home a month ago embarrassed because he heard a friend say “nigger” and then later repeated it not knowing what it meant. Friends whose family probably don’t consider themselves racist, but probably don’t mind partaking of a racist joke here and there (“only the really funny ones”). Upon learning what it meant, my son broke down crying because our neighbors are black and it pained him to know that he had contributed to the blind, ignorant hate that is racism. “Why would someone hate another person just because their skin color?” He asked in between sobs. I told him I didn’t know, but that most people probably didn’t understand how they contribute to racism in small ways.

This is why you shouldn’t make casual racists comments or jokes, but more importantly why you shouldn’t laugh at them and should actually tell your friends and family to stop.

Decades ago, I very clearly remember my dad getting ready to tell my younger brother a Pollack joke. My brother asked, “What’s a Pollack joke?” My dad was gonna answer and I said, “Don’t you dare. He’s lived 10 years of his life not learning racist jokes. We’re not ending that streak today.” My dad isn’t a hateful racist, he just liked Pollack jokes because that’s what he grew up learning. This is why we must end casual racism in our generation.

I hate, HATE the fact that the first word to pop into my mind every time I see a black person is “nigger”. My extended family was pretty casual with that word when I was growing up. I think being in the ghetto/barrio, if you can kick another race when you’re down, it makes you feel better and helps ease the pain of the racism you feel. It’s not rational and is completely absurd, but that’s life. I don’t say that word. Not casually, not hatefully. It’s a word I simply choose not to use. I have to consciously choose to. It be racist 30 YEARS after leaving the ghetto. If I can do it, you can too. 

To quote a fave lyric from a song, Your Racist Friend: “You can’t shake the devils hand and say your only kidding.” Please, please don’t shake the devils hand ever, kidding or not. 

Please read this link. The whole thing. Don’t read the first paragraph, think you know what it’s about and that it doesn’t pertain to you. Don’t dismiss it because you “know better” and that this won’t teach you anything because you are then part of the problem that the article describes.

EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege

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About Tom Ortega II

My purpose in life is to make people happy through the application of technology. My primary way of attaining my purpose is by doing Montage, iOS and Flex programming for my consulting company, OmegaOrtega. The secondary way is by building games with my great friend from high school over at Area 161. I'm found on app.net as LordBron. You can read my personal blog over here. It's filled with technical posts, but also posts about bettering oneself My faith is being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have a spiritual blog called Spiritual Techies. It's not LDS specific, but more generic spiritual thoughts. Who's Lord Bron? Where does the name come from? He was the main character in a short story I wrote in middle school. I liked him so much, I took up his name as my nickname and username for internet sites. He was a time-traveller. 'Nuff said!
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