I’m genuinely sorry about my family.

picture011Katy Wilkerson,
Houston, TX.

In the deep South, in my experience, racism is pervasive, especially when you talk about poorer and poorer white people (not just men). There truly does still exist a level of social acceptability that is just not OK. I’ve always been extremely disgusted by it, despite being white and having these people in my family, but I am well educated now and I did grow up poor in a mostly black community. My husband is white, from a poor white family, and they’re all less educated and living in white, rural communities. The racism they display sickens me. My father in law refers to black children as “nigglets”. And that’s a tame example. They are not alone and the culture is pervasive– otherwise hardworking, loving, and “good” people can do horrible things when there is social acceptance and pressure behind it. My husband is not, I believe, a racist, but when around his family he has to “play along” and I generally have to physically leave when this is going on, since I refuse to “play along”. If we continue to tell ourselves, as white people and as humans, that this isn’t happening anymore or acting wounded and dismissing it, we are making it worse for whichever generation finally addresses it and doing ourselves a great disservice. There is no “acceptable” racism in the modern world, no reason that makes it OK, it’s ALWAYS wrong, and this will be a problem as long as it’s ignored.

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3 Responses to "I’m genuinely sorry about my family."
  1. StraightAce121 says:

    Poor whites are also told they are racist or it is often implied by the media. That might cause cognitive dissonance since they are being accused of something they are not. This keeps racism alive. Put racism in, get racism out.

  2. StraightAce121 says:

    They might feel helpless, afraid, or angry due to this frustration. Racism is wrong no matter the perpetrator.

  3. olblue9 says:

    Too bad we can’t pick our parents, but we can pick our friends. So many folks use racial slurs just like the Italian and Irish slurs, to make themselves feel better about their low self worth.
    I look at my relationship with these folks as an opportunity for me to turn the conversation into a positive discussion. If I just walk away, who will they have in their life that can help them to see another point of view. Without me they don’t get to participate in an actual discussion.
    I don’t ever force them to think like me. If we all agree’d on everything, life would be pretty boring. I try to keep it light to allow them time and space to come to their own conclusions.

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