White People: I Want You To Understand Yourselves Better
Ijeoma Oluo
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I doubt that I can surprise you — My son who is black thinks I’m the whitest person on Earth. And he’s not wrong, but consider this.

I’ve traveled the world. I’ve visited probably fifteen or twenty countries in every content of the Earth, some for long periods of time. One thing I discovered is that people are pretty much the same everywhere. Their biases, their bigotry and intolerance (and their grace) is little different wherever one goes.

One thing I noticed though, is that conversations like this simply don’t happen very often in other places. If one is in Japan and American? One is a “gaijin” period. I’ve had washroom attendants in Egypt show me how to wash my hands after eliminating because they “know” foreigners are filthy infidels. I was almost beaten up in an English bar because one of my companions was black. I was taken for a ride in a bazillion cab until I started asking “where are we going “ in Spanish (they speak Portuguese, but he understood me a little.)

The point I’m trying to make is, yes. In the US we harbor a lot of racism. Our first black president was treated shamefully because he was black. Black people are gunned down on the streets because being black puts people in a negative bracket if an officer is dealing with one. These things are all true.

If it’s any consolation, we can at least talk about such things in the US. Most of those other places? There is no discussion. Perhaps we have a long way to go before the concept of race becomes as quaint as horse-drawn carriages. But at least we are moving! Discussing things brings change. A little anyway. It’s not much, but perhaps it’s more than most?