I have been around the world

Mike Snow
Spotsylvania, VA

I have listened to the Race Card Project for some time on my NPR station and it has encouragd my own thoughts on the subject. I admitted to my self many years ago that I had thoughts and views that one could deem as “racist”. This smacked me in the face when I was in 8th grade and at a assembly of some sort. I was sitting in a row of students and on my left side was a classmate of mine who was African American. While watching the program I blindly turned to him and made what I thought at the time was an innocuous comment that was blatantly racist. I knew it, he knew it and I to this day am not sure if I have ever been so embarrassed and ashamed in my life, even at that middle school age I began to rethink how my actions affected others. I went on through my teens and early 20’s wrestling with my thoughts and beliefs as well. It was not until I entered the military and subsequently served in combat. During my career in the Army I was able to go overseas to Europe, the Middle East and throughout the USA. Seeing other cultures and worlds is a real eye opener, seeing the violence and devastation people can wreak on each other because of idealogical, racist and religious beliefs is astonishing to me. Seeing real suffering up close puts your own life in perspective. But, my biggest thought changing experience still is that how well my unit(s) worked together, overcoming obstacles together. Speding time in that vacuum together with people from all walks of life, differing religious, race and gender backgrounds, and putting everything aside to accomplish a goal or a mission, suffering equally together and rejoicing when we could. Now I’m not naive enough to think everyone feels the same as I do but for me anyway being in a position where one’s race, gender or religion ultimately did not matter brought a lot into perspective for me. That perspective was even clearer upon returning to the States and reading, seeing and interacting again and seeing and identifying the tendecies of people and discriminating behaviors. While I think there have been strides in race relations in this country, that there still exists a racial divide and some deep racism is apparent. My thought is “if these people (by that I mean people who harbor some ignorant positions) could look outside this country and see the plight of the rest of the world maybe they would have a different opinion” and that peoples true colors show through in times of austerity and difficulty and that should be the measure of a person, not a generalization based upon an incorrect belief. I make it a point not to look at each person I come into contact with for who they are an dlet their own actins speak as to what kind of person they are. This Project just makes me think more, to keep it in the front of my thoughts and to try and be a better person. Thank You.

Michael Snow


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