I, Racist
John Metta

Sir, thanks for this wonderful article. I remember being called a racist in college back in the 90's and it pissed me off. I was in my 20's and I knew I wasn’t a racist, my parties had more non-whites than whites (how could I be a racist?), I was angry and offended that such a progressive guy like me would be thought of as a racist. I wrote an editorial in my school newspaper about accepting white privilege as an advantage and just roll with it, it’s my life, if my friends of color didn’t think I’m an ally, fuck ‘em, I’ll just use the system to my advantage. Damn, how could I be racist when I recognized white privilege?!

Then I started paying attention and this article expresses it perfectly. I started to recognize that regardless of my own actions, racism is still highly pervasive. It’s insidious because it’s not a bunch of white people in hoods burning crosses, it’s systemic abuses by a system completely designed by whites for the benefit of whites. And even worse, even direct racism isn’t seen as direct racism by most of our white nation. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t completely understand race and racism. I can’t. But what I can do is not react but rather try to understand. When Baltimore erupted in protest I didn’t react. I asked myself what would it take for me to throw bricks at a cop. I asked myself what would it take for me to loot a store or burn down a building. And what I learned is that I too have a line and it made me understand that those involved in civil unrest had reached their line. I got angry again, but for all the right reasons. An entire community was so angry, pushed so far by the system, they felt they had run out of options other than fighting overt aggression with overt aggression. It was revelatory. I was not sympathetic, I was angry right along with the protesters, I wanted to throw a brick at the system that systematically chooses winners and losers and then blames the losers for not winning. I’m ready to throw bricks.

If I was called a racist today I wouldn’t get angry, I would simply ask how can I help? What can I do to change the world for the better? Am I a racist? Maybe, but I’m trying to learn and understand and hopefully throw off the shackles of ignorance that allows our racist system to continue. It’s hard, but many of us are trying. Hopefully many of my friends will read this article and also try to understand because fundamentally that’s why change hasn’t happened sooner, us white people simply don’t understand but we pretend to, our fallback has always been: I’m not racist I have parties with more non-whites than whites, but what we fully need to understand is that it’s time for all of us to start hurling bricks, our personal feelings be damned. I’d rather be called a racist with a brick in my hand than be perceived as an ally because I throw a party with a diverse audience.

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