Even though I was raised in the deep south, I never knew the kind of overt, name calling racism of my previous generation. My white, liberal parents were very different and they raised me to form my own opinion on just about everything. So, it was not until after high school that I came face to face with the “Silent Racism” that I think is so pervasive in this country.
I was 17 and had just started working at the front desk for a local motel. The motel was desperately looking for another desk clerk and one day a young black girl came in to fill out an application. After she filled out the application, I excitedly took the application to my white assistant manager. I thought she would be pleased and would call the girl right away, but instead she looked at the name on the application and asked me, “Was she black?”. I said “Yes”, without understanding why I was asked. I was floored when the assistant manager immediately put the application straight into the trash can. Instead of saying a thing, I just turned around and went back to work.
To this day, I NEVER told anyone about that moment. At the time, I was young and had no voice. I would like to think that if the same thing happened today (27 years later), that I would have acted differently and I would have reported the manager. But, honestly I am not so sure. And THAT is the real problem that is hurting ALL of US!!!!
It is the silent compliance that is creating an unjust world. I like to think that I am not racist because I have never used a racist word or judged someone based on their race. But, I have allowed others to do so in my presence and for that I am just as WRONG!!!
I was so proud of Mr. Obama for the words he spoke the other day about Racism in this country and his suggestion that we all need to start a conversation about race. I think there are many injustices in our society that are hurting us all. They limit our potential as a country and I for one am sick of it.
On this day I commit myself to no longer be silent when it comes to race. If I observe a racial injustice, I will stand up against it. I want to see a better world, for my children, for myself, and for us all.