Many people in my family are/were incredibly and aggressively racist. Growing up I didn’t understand what the jokes meant or the slurs meant but I knew it felt off for some reason. The older I got, the more abrasive and hurtful the “jokes” became. My first girlfriend was African American and, living in Nebraska, this quickly opened my eyes to the glares, disdain, and contempt that she and her family endured day in and day out. As I grew older in the Marine Corps and met more and more people from different walks of life I realized more and more how hurtful and destructive those “jokes”, sneers, contempt and the like are to people and how easily they can become brainworms that feed the brain with all the anger and fear it can take.
I watched great Marines be disciplined for minor things while us white guys slid by. I watched MP’s harass my friend at the main gate of the base because he was wearing a plain white t-shirt, forbidden by Marine Corps uniform standards. Others in the group of cars with us had no issues, even though many had the same style of plain t-shirt on. I watch a good friend get sentenced to time in the brig and then dishonorably discharged after being 10 minutes late to our morning meeting. You guessed it, he was black.
I guess I’m trying to say that it’s important people be presented with things like this program where you can see a myriad of views and reasons in a non-confrontational way.
This is a tender but important subject and having more ways to create conversations is always welcome. These last few years have brought out a lot of the ugly in our country but I’m hoping for a brighter, happier future.