How can I not be Racist?

Mary Leslie
Tappahannock, VA

I’m not racist, I don’t want to kill or torment people because they aren’t white like me. My mother taught me not to use the “N” word. But that isn’t a complete truth about racism. My mother taught me not to use that word by yelling at me to Never Ever say that. She didn’t explain what it meant, what the intention of the word means or why white people use it. I, now, realize that she was terrified that her little blonde haired, blue eyed girl could be harmed by offending others with use of the word. I don’t want to be racist but I see it in myself when I work on it, when I process why I became afraid of the black man walking down my street (while I was taking my garbage can to the curb) at 1 am. But I get tired, I’m weak and I am ashamed that I don’t actively challenge and educate myself. I tried talking to white people about it but generally they dispute me and I find myself unable to articulate to them my knowledge of it’s existence and our white peoples continued perpetuation of it. Or they ridicule me and won’t listen. This is very disheartening when it is my family that responds this way. I am ashamed that I feel tired and don’t want to work on it anymore, especially knowing(and trying to block it from my mind) that people of color can’s avoid it or take a break from it.


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