Color Me Gray

Hi, good to see you again.  I didn’t know you would want to be seen with me again after I revealed my teenage sortie into the world of dirty movies.

Okay, are you ready to step off the ledge with me again?  Here goes.

Today I address the fourth element that made the scenario with the crying girl (10/14 blog) so challenging.  For some reason this is the toughest for me.

Element # 4:  Race

If gender magnified the complexity a hundred times, race multiplied that a thousand times more.

The girl was black, I am white.  The only scenario where it would have raised more societal red flags would have been if the races were reversed.  Very sad and undeserved, but true.

This race thing has become a very confusing and heartbreaking issue to me.  And it makes me mad, really mad, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Side Note: I know that somewhere during this blog (if not already) I will offend someone… not from intention but ignorance.

If you are a black person reading this I will most likely say something insensitive or racist and not even know it.   Please accept my apologies.

If you are a white person… I’m sure I will offend you too.  Some may think that I’m making it a bigger deal than it needs to be and others will think that I should be more accepting and understanding.

The race topic is one of those subjects that top the Pucker Chart.   The Pucker Chart is any topic that when broached makes your butt pucker.  Things like politics and religion fall into the category also.

Personal Historical Context

Uggggh, I detest this full disclosure stuff.  Strangely I am much more embarrassed and ashamed to talk about my past regarding racism than I did talking about the sexual exploration as a teen in the last blog.

Growing up it was typical to use phrases that were derogatory toward lots of groups.  I hate to admit it but I used the “N” word and also derogatory names for other culture groups like the polish, Mexicans (Hispanic now), Indians (Native Americans now), Japanese (Asian now), etc.

I also told jokes at the expense of each of these groups.  Some really bad jokes, very embarrassing.

I am not a racist now… but then again I didn’t think that I was racist then.  Unfortunately that was state of our country at the time.  I am in no way justifying or legitimizing this behavior.  It is just a factor that feeds the complexity of the issue.

Another thing that feeds the complexity of racism is the justification that occurs when humor is used to poke at the differences between groups.  For example, I made jokes about people from the south, Canada, Yankees (not the baseball team), poor people, rich people, Catholics… basically anyone that was different.

I do know the difference between natural fun hearted bantering and harmful jabbing… intent.  Some people may try to make it a finer line than it is, but if you’re honest with yourself you know if there is an edge.

As I stated earlier, I am not racist.  But the reality is I am sure there are things of a racial nature that I am totally blind to.

Now is where I probably get into trouble.  I reflect on the racial division in our city, state and country.  Although there appears to be more opportunity, the divide seems to be greater than in the past.  So as a starting point I thought I would share some things that I feel pretty certain to be true.

I am certain that….

  • Racism is worse in the US than I think it is
  • Racism is not as rampant or bad in the US as some think it is
  • To change racism in our world it must start with me
  • It is my responsibility to be open and work on me regarding what I need to learn about my racism and not anyone else

The rest of the racial issue is up in the air.  I have some beliefs and I want to test those but I cannot say that I am sure about them.

But this I know… I am certain about my intent.  My heart is right even though my head may have some faulty assumptions and misinformation.

I do not want to prolong this topic but I will tackle a few beliefs in the coming blogs to see what I need to learn regarding racism.

See you Thursday.

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