The day I understood racism

James Jordan
Mar 6, 2019 · 5 min read
White privilege is a real thing. Photo by pixabay

Racism, or privilege, is an abstract idea until you experience it

“Why didn’t my story get in the paper,” I asked my editor as I looked at the front page.

It was just a simple story about the first baby born in the county that year. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Why should I care if it got left out? But I did care because at that moment I finally “got it.”

I didn’t forget. This was my first real experience with racism, and I finally understood what black people meant when they said: “that’s just how it is.”

Unsplash Photo

My first job after college found me in a small town in Arkansas

I got into sports writing and photography by accident. I thought of myself as a feature writer, but I soon learned in the real world of small-town journalism that you have to do everything.

Sometimes they would talk about the injustice of some kind, and they would shrug and say “that’s just how it is.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I found out over the next few months.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash
Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

The paper had this promotion for the first baby born at the local hospital in the new year. Several merchants were in on the deal, and the couple would get a story in the paper and all kinds of gifts from the participating merchants.

So the first of the year rolled around, and there was no news from the hospital. This was a small town, so there were not babies being born every single day, but by around the fifth day of the new year we were getting suspicious.


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