What defines a racist?

Growing up a little black girl in the South…

This statement sounds like the beginning of a really good book. It’s also the beginning of testimonies any Southern black woman can continue based on her experience. There could be so many stories told but how many would include a tale about experiencing racism and prejudice.

understanding why

You can’t grow up with parents who lived through the Civil Rights movement without trying to fathom what they went through. There are so many comments around racism and prejudice that I don’t think people know what they mean, let alone wanting to admit if they are a racist or not.

First, let me just point out what inspired this post, as if you didn’t know. The murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. I’m glad that federal authorities have stepped in to review the case, taking it out of the hands of local law enforcement. What I continue to hear and read as if it’s written in red and large font is what George Zimmerman’s father has said about his son:

“He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever …,” the letter says. “The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth.”

An article on CNN.com goes on to say that

Zimmerman’s family has denied that race played a role, saying he has many minority relatives and friends.

My response? Having minority family members, being a minority, having friends of other races does not mean you aren’t prejudice or a racist.

Dictionary.com defines a racist as a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race  is superior to any or all others.  The definition of a prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason, and unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.

If you were to look in the mirror would either of these definitions relate to you? Before you answer, consider these words: perception and reality.

The creator of a bumper sticker currently in the news says the bumper sticker is racist. Well, I know a lot of people and many I heard from do feel it is racist. The perception of my friends inevitably is the reality. (Note: there are no links to the story or image because I also feel it is racist.)

perception is reality

There are a couple of groups that stand firm in their racists thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. They don’t hide and will tell you exactly how they feel if asked (sometimes you don’t have to ask).  Another well known racist group in history hid their identities behind robes, masks, and conical hats. Did they hide because they knew what they were doing was wrong and their actions were against the law?

My concern is when people act as if racism doesn’t exist or if someone tries to convince others that they aren’t a racist. To which I respond…

Actions speak louder than words

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