Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Are you RACIST?

What does it mean to be racist?

Is this really a problem in America, today?

Yes, it is. People close to me have mentioned being VERY upset about affirmative action. Over the past thirty years, many highly qualified people lost their jobs to LESS qualified people because they were the right color. People in that camp are resentful that minorities took their job and feel justified in being racist due to that.

Today, Barrack Obama suggested that we put aside these resentments.

I've also talked to people who told me that they were called "N.......r" just walking down the street. This gentleman worked at a major technology company. I recall him explaining how these threats led him to buy a hand-gun and keep it under his seat in his car! Let's face it: it wasn't so long ago that Billie Holiday sang the song "Strange Fruit" (written about the black man, hanging from a tree). Even Nat King Cole, just one generation ago, drove home to find that "N" word BLEACHED into his LAWN, of all things. African Americans struggle to overcome the feelings from racist comments made about them, or their forefathers, and probably rightfully so.

Barrack Obama suggested that this man put aside his fear. Perhaps he is the best person in the country to make such a suggestion. He also made a suggestion that we put aside reverse-racism and resentments on both sides. Today, a speech was made that might influence improvements between racial dividers for years to come. The speech encouraged people to acknowledge their past, and embrace the future from a higher ground. No matter what our political affiliation, this speech ought to inspire people to dig deeper into their own SELF and consider this candidates plea. Politics aside, are you going to take the speech for what it could mean in your own life?

Are you racist?

All this talk about "he should disown this person" and people who are saying "a black man against a white woman" in this election, is not that, in itself, a bit racist?

Are you racist?

Have you ever put down another person based upon the color of their skin?

Are you racist?

Do you find yourself uncomfortable in the presence of people of different races or cultural backgrounds?

Are you racist?

Are you putting down people based upon your own cultural background and perceived slights towards you by a race other than your own?

Perhaps we are all racist, to some extent.

You know, it is easy to call other people racist. We can only answer that question for our own self.

I've found myself the victim of "reverse-racism" on more than one occasion. I bristle over talk about "putting down the white man" when what did I do? Did I hang, insult, slur, enslave, or treat anyone improperly? I've not treated any of these people who are displaying reverse-racism towards me in a racist way, to my knowledge.

Yet, in spite of this bristling over reverse-racism, I'm not sure I've been perfect, myself.

I've been guilty in the past of making silly jokes or even an improper comment on more than one occasion. I can only ask for forgiveness and hope to do better in the future.

It is about a choice.

For myself, I decided today to renew my decision to NOT be racist to the extent possible within my conscious choice. I've decided not to judge others based upon their skin color. I've decided not to make off-color jokes based upon someone's racial or cultural background. I am choosing the HIGH ROAD, or as Stevie Wonder says, the HIGHER GROUND of rising up to the best self I can be.

Can you do the same? If I fail or fall down, I can only hope you will not judge me. If you fall down, I will do my best to not judge you.

What happens when we judge others?

If you ever judge others and point the finger at someone, have you ever noticed how many fingers are pointing back at you? So few of us are innocent in this matter.

May we all live according to our highest self, stop condeming others, and live out of a spirit of love. Can we move from a land of anger and resentment, to a land of hope, love, acceptance, unity, and courage? Each of us - the choices we make in each moment - can decide if this dream of a future can become reality.
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