As sad as it might be to realize just how deeply racism is ingrained in society, there’s also a strong argument for staying hopeful for a brighter tomorrow—plenty of people have given up their bigoted beliefs. Internet users opened up about what made them change their racist views in a candid and emotionally vulnerable thread on the r/AskReddit subreddit.
What follows are some extremely honest stories about exactly how some redditors shifted their mindsets from seeing others as inferior to being inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming of everyone, no matter their race, creed, or background. We know it’s a sensitive topic, but if you’ve got any similar experiences about people giving up their racist beliefs, you can share them in the comment section below, dear Readers.
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Education, experience, and empathy are the light that helps burn away ignorance, hate, and judging people by the color of their skin instead of by the content of their character.
Elizabeth Arif-Fear, the founder of ‘Voice of Salam’ and an award-winning human rights activist and writer, told Bored Panda how we can move past the echo chambers we’re in and learn to accept people who are different from us. According to her, what lies at the core of acceptance are communication, travel, and volunteering, which all help make life feel far richer and help feed our curiosity than if we remain in our comfort boxes.
“It’s important to meet, socialize, work with and get to know people from a variety of different backgrounds—people from different ethnic backgrounds, age groups, faith traditions, nationalities, etc. This helps us to learn about different views, beliefs, experiences, and values. That’s why authentic travel is so important, as well as initiatives in our local area such as volunteer projects, inter-community groups, and social/youth clubs to enable us to meet as many different people as possible,” she said.
From birth I was raised to be racist in a racist household (VA). I was ignorant. I used the “N” word, antisemitic, homophobic, racist language everyday. My immediate family and extended family all share the same ignorance. At family gatherings if one of my older cousins let slip they were dating someone new, the first question would be “Is s/he white?” Followed by laughter, but the question was serious.
Then I started middle school. 6th grade. On the first day of class I set down my backpack against the classroom wall (like every other student) while we found our desks and had a small Meet & Greet w/ new classmates. I made sure to only speak to the kids (white) whom I knew from elementary school. Our teacher told us to take our seats. I’m 42 yrs old and I remember this like it was yesterday. I picked up my backpack, found my desk, before I could open my bag the girl behind me told me she liked my earrings, her Mom wouldn’t let her get her ears pierced until high school. Then I heard another voice from further behind me say, “Ms. Kay, this isn’t my backpack”. The backpack sitting on this girl’s desk was identical to the one sitting next to my desk. We both opened our backpacks and realized we’d grabbed the wrong bag.
Internally I rolled my eyes in disgust, this girl was a “N”. But I was taught to never let it show. So we met each other to quickly exchange. Her smile was beautiful. She wore glasses the same shape as mine. She wore her hair in a pony tail, just like mine. In our back to school shopping we picked the exact same backpack and we picked the exact same Nikes (pink/white). Her name was Jacinda. I found myself genuinely smiling back to her, and giggling like young girls do. That day she asked to sit together during lunch, and we sat beside each other for lunch every single day of middle school. She was my very first best friend. Jacinda taught me about her Sunday School classes (my family never attended church), we talked about everything important in the life of middle school girls. She wasn’t allowed to attend my birthday parties, and I wasn’t allowed to go to hers, but we always celebrated together at school. I loved her so much. When it was time to go to high school I continued in public school and her parents chose to homeschool her. I thought homeschooling was the coolest idea. Jacinda was (is) brilliantly intelligent. God, she was going to do great things for this world. Long before the age of social media, we lost touch sadly – but I still think of her often. After meeting Jacinda I never used another racist or derogatory word. Meeting Jacinda changed my life for the better.
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Brother was racist. We both love science fiction. One time he was talking about all the cool races in the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Mass Effect’ universes. How creative Lucas and Roddenberry were. He talked about how great it would be to be among those races as a human and acquaint yourself with alien cultures and people and mythology. I said, ‘You can’t even mingle with the other races on your home planet.’
Maybe it was the weed, but what I said had some effect on him. He’s very noticeably more ‘tolerant’ and curious about other peoples now. I think he realized that his previous philosophies were not in line with those of The Federation. Good for him.
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The Army forced me to live with black people. Turns out I didn’t hate anyone, I was just afraid of what I didn’t understand and had some very stupid notions passed on to me from my dad and his dipsh*t friends.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to understand a greater sample of people than my tiny home town afforded me.
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According to Elizabeth, travel and volunteering can teach us a lot not just about other people but also about ourselves. “If we only ever meet, see, and talk with people of exactly the same backgrounds we miss out on the varied nuanced diverse experiences of life. In such a context, we can’t work to understand other people’s needs, wants, views and experiences as best as possible. We’re all neighbors and our diversity should be celebrated.”
The human rights activist had a few suggestions about what we can all do to make our lives more diverse. Joining a social club or an online group is one way to go about it. Meanwhile, she also said that post-Covid travel somewhere different can also help break up the monotony of our lives. “Learn a new language, volunteer at a non-profit organization supporting people from different backgrounds, and go out there and meet people and visit places (when safe to do so!),” she said, pointing to the vast possibilities we all have to expand our minds and the size of our hearts.
When I was wounded in Iraq two white guys stepped over me (one literally stepped on my back) to get themselves to a safer place. A black guy picked me up like I was a child, carried me to safety, and held my hand until a medic got there.
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My dad would make disparaging remarks about Black people, Mexicans, Chinese people, etc. when I was a kid. I remember repeating those same sentiments and no one ever corrected me. In first grade, we were all assigned pen pals from a school in another city and mine was a Black girl named Chardonnay. I thought she had a weird name and I was disappointed when I found out she wasn’t white.
Very soon after that, we learned some very basic info about the civil rights movement during Black history month. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, separate water fountains, segregated schools, stuff like that. After that, I felt really bad about being racist and wanting a different pen pal, and really ashamed of my dad and grandparents for thinking that way. And I was so mad that they’d taught me to think that way. After that, I was really happy to have the opportunity to write to my pen pal and get to know her better. I’m so thankful that my school started teaching us about racism early on. It’s scary to think how I could have ended up if those sentiments had gone unchecked.
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Learning about people by talking to them instead of listening to what my family had to say about them
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Redditor Aura0_0’s viral thread got over 44.8k upvotes, was declared one of the most recent top awarded posts, and got more than 9.2k comments. This shows just how important the topic was to redditors everywhere and how many wanted to share their very personal life experiences.
Earlier, I’d spoken about what we can all do to end racism with Betsy Faulkner, who had made a poster on how everyone can support BLM and people of color. Betsy told Bored Panda during an interview that reforming the system in the United States to make it more equal for all citizens won’t be an easy task. According to her, the US justice system was not designed to protect people of color, at least initially.
Not me, but my best friend’s parents. They told her not to touch me because she would get my “skin disease” (I’m a brownie and at the time we met I was 12). They didn’t want us to be friends, but I would always be kind and polite to them, full well knowing how they felt about my skin color. One year my friend (at this point best friend) was having a sleepover birthday party and her parents said I could come, but couldn’t sleep over. My friend canceled her party and her parents must have felt like complete s**t because they started to talk to me more and more after that. We have been best friends for almost 30 years now. Her parents came to my wedding, they send me a Christmas card every year, they call me and ask how I’m doing, and they invite me to their get togethers. I’m glad they came around and am proud of them.
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My dad was racist. I was raised in a toxic environment and I guess some of his ideologies rubbed off on me. He was also violent when alcohol was involved, which was a lot of the time. Police would often arrest him to just get him in a cell for the night for being disorderly.
On one occasion, the police turned up, one of them came into my room and sat with me as they dealt with my dad. He asked how I was, who I could talk to, etc. He was from a South Asian background. He was very kind to me and did his best in calming me down and giving me advice on dealing with this stuff. I was only about 15 at the time. As they were pulling my dad out, that same police officer was attacked by my dad after breaking free from another officer, breaking the officer’s finger in the process, whilst also hurling verbal, racial abuse at him. It wasn’t long after the London bombings so you can imagine what was said. My dad was also an electrician in Russell Square at the time, close to one of the blasts. The officer didn’t react, probably knowing I was watching the commotion from my room or the fact he was a decent human being.
My dad was convicted of multiple offences against a police officer as well as a hate crime. The only silver lining was as my dad was being sentenced, the prosecutor was a black man who casually read out the testimony of the arresting officer of what my dad said that night. The prosecutor could barely keep a straight face, watching my dad hold his head in shame, dressed in plastic overalls because he thought stuffing his clothes down the toilet of his jail cell and flooding the place would be funny. He got community service, probation and was required to attend rehab. He relapsed a a few years ago and can barely walk or talk because of multiple strokes from continued alcohol dependency.
The people responsible for protecting me from my dad were people of colour. That sure as hell changes your perspective on things even if you have the slightest ignorance towards another race.
TL;DR: Dad was a violent racist dressed in prison overalls, sentenced by educated black guy in suit.
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My grandma grew up in Virginia in the 1900s. Being racist is just the default setting. Nana loved her family more than anything, though. So at one point in the late 1980s, she met her first not-100%-white grandkid, and discovered she still loved him.
She made astounding late life progress accepting that darker skin toned people were not only people, but family, friends and welcome in her house.
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“Racism is taught. Therefore we must unlearn these deep-rooted harmful stereotypes and attitudes and stop teaching our children such hatred. We need to stop allowing our family and friends to carry this negative attitude and educate one another to treat people with equality,” she said.
“Listen to their stories and make them feel important like they deserve. This isn’t just in the eyes of the law but in the streets, in homes, schools, locker rooms, and in every walk of life,” Betsy told Bored Panda. However, she added that this isn’t enough: real change, in her opinion, won’t happen until “racist leaders” stop being voted into office at the various levels of the local and federal government.
I didn’t realize I was racist and being raised in a racist household until 4th grade. I was in a group project having to give a presentation to the class. my group was me and two black girls.
my parents HATED black women. black people in general but especially black women (as they both watch tennis you can guess all the s**t they said about the williams sisters). Meanwhile, there I was standing there watching my group mates talk. They were just as good, if not better than me, at talking in the class. Or understanding the material. Or anything really. I can still see that moment where the class fades away in my mind and a one of my group mates is talking to the class where I realize a fundamental truth: “my parents were wrong.”
it still makes me sad thinking about stuff I remember saying as a kid — regurgitating things I heard my parents or relatives say. but in my experience, as I have gotten older, is that the #1 way to combat racism is to bring people into the same room. When people have shared experiences that sense of otherness fades away.
Of course, in 2021 and the internet bring what it is it’s really easy for people to hide in their own corners of the internet. But I’m thankful for that experience in 4th grade. I got in trouble a lot over the years for getting mad when family would throw around the “n” word or lock their doors when they saw black people. But I knew I was right. And in the decades that have passed, nothing has tarnished or taken away that childhood lesson.
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Left the church and my conservative family.
Started examining myself closely.
The really tricky thing about being a racist is that you never think you’re a racist at the time. In the moment you feel like you’re just “quoting statistics” or “calling it how it is”, etc.
It takes a lot of work to actually stop, look at yourself, and then dig that ugly racist worm out of your heart.
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Not me, but my grandpa told me that when he was young he was a bit racist, due to his a-hole alcoholic dad being really racist and teaching him to treat others of different races like trash. He told me this stopped though when he was around 13 when his dad left. He realized how stupid it was to judge others based on race, and I’m glad he realized how stupid it was since he’s a really sweet guy now.
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“My political opinion aside, nobody can deny that a large majority of politicians have been openly racist and this needs to stop. What example does this set for our children? The simplest solution, however, is to treat everyone, regardless of race, with respect, dignity, and love. When we all master that, the world will be a much better place,” she advocated for humanitarianism and radical empathy for everyone.
In Betsy’s point of view, those who are privileged (whether the privilege is based on being rich, white, or something different entirely) can help those who have none or very little. She noted that voting and exercising your political rights are the best ways to enact change.
I saw (and still see) how miserable my older family members are because they continuously judge and hate everyone. They have no friends. It’s pathetic.
My great aunt and I had a conversation before she passed away. She lived her whole life in New Zealand, and admitted to me that she was racist against the indigenous people of New Zealand. Way back in the day, her and her husband bought a house on what, they didn’t realize, was Maori sacred land. They were the first people on the street, but it was eventually filled up. Over the years they had lots of run ins with the elders, and even protesters. This tension only worsened her ideas of Maori people.
(Her and I are both spiritual/religious people, and had already talked about our respective beliefs a bit) She said that one day the Holy Spirit told her to learn the Maori language. She said she resisted the thought for a long time, but eventually decided to.
Learning the language connected her with Maori culture, and more importantly, directly with Maori people. She learned to love their culture, and continued going to lessons for the remainder of her life.
They also demolished their house, and built a new house down the road. So if you’re ever in New Zealand, and find a street where the house numbered 1 is planted firmly between three and four, you’ve found the house of my family; too stubborn to change their house number, but willing enough to knock over their old one for people they didn’t know.
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I wasn’t an actual racist per se but I definitely had a stereotypical idea of how a group of people is because of the action of the few or because what I have seen on the media. What made me change? Well, I saw a video of a writer named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she spoke about the dangers of the single story and that video changed my life and it opened my eyes. Check it out on youtube and write Chimamanda Ngozi: Dangers of a single story.
What’s more, holding those in power accountable, protesting when needed, and supporting POC businesses are also ways in which the privileged can help make the world more of an equal place. But at the heart of everything is education and being exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking.
Without leaving your social bubble and political echo chamber, you’re living in a world that’s very narrow and just a caricature. You owe it to yourself and to everyone else to leave your comfort zone and confront every single view that you hold. It’ll be painful, but it’s the only way to grow as a human being.
My whole family is quite racist. When I was little I was trying to wrap my head around the rules of the world, so I thought it was as simple as different teams. Blacks vs Whites was just like the Red Sox vs the Tigers. Then my grandmother starts going on about how horrible Polish people are and how I’m never to talk to them. So I’m psyched! Screw those Polish people, whatever color they are, we’re mortal enemies. Then she points out our Polish neighbor to me. But… she’s white.
I point out to my grandmother that she’s white so we’re on the same team. My grandmother says no, that she’s a mix-breed. I point out that my great granddad was a Shoshone Indian and that I’m a mix-breed. She says that doesn’t count.
That’s when I realized she was just making up the rules and I wasn’t going to play games with someone who couldn’t stick to the rules.
A guy I worked with said he was neo-nazi as a teenager, and ended up in prison somehow. He hated jews for some reason, and blacks. He was never clear on why, just that he had so much hatred in his heart, and that was his outlet. He was in prison for many years. I think he almost killed somebody by beating them up. So, many years later and in prison there was a mentor type staff there, and this one lady was so helpful to him, and she cared about him so much that it really started to get into his head the idea of being a positive person. Then, he learned that she was Jewish, and he said he couldn’t believe she was so kind and caring despite the fact he was a claimed neo-nazi. From that day he swore to be a better person, he learned his lesson. He’s a pretty great guy these days, doing his family thing and making sure his son grows up with lots of love and all that he didn’t have. Really remarkable, great guy.
I used to hate white people like A LOT for no reason. I would always think they were evil and monsters. I was absolutely disgusted when I went to school and saw black people hanging out with white people. Until I realized the beauty in how they didn’t care about the color of each other’s skin. I felt so ashamed of judging someone because of their race. Now I treat white people the same as everyone else.
I never thought I was racist until I started going to the bars. If a white dude was hitting on me, I’d usually accept a drink and politely turn him down (or not) later that night. If a black man did the same, I got really uncomfortable and would just ignore them completely.
As a young white girl, I was taught that black men were dangerous sexual predators. This is something I carried into my adult life. One night, among many nights where I went out with my friends, it randomly occurred to me that I reacted to black men immensely different than white men… for doing the same exact thing. I didn’t know why, but I decided that night that I wasn’t going to do that anymore. It led me to realize many other odd racist things I did in my day to day life, without even realizing I was doing them.
I grew up!
As a child, I lived in the southern US and my parents – and the whole society – was racist. The only Black people I came in contact with were maids, gardeners, janitors. Schools were segregated. The only Asians I knew owned Chinese restaurants and we didn’t socialize with “them.”
As a child, I figured that adults must know something about these Black people that I didn’t know because they seemed OK to me. When I grew up, married and left the South, it was HOLY S**T! WTH had I been living with?!
So when I read about racist parents producing racist kids… I think… “Not necessarily….”
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I grew up in a very small town in Iowa. Couple of hundred people. All white. So I guess I was raised not to discriminate against people that were different from me because we were all the same. Once I got older and moved to the city, oh yeah. Racism is alive and well in Iowa. I didn’t fall into that trap. I didn’t understand it. Ended up in Alabama. My best friend was black. We just had the same sense of humor and liked the same things. I credit him with my kids being non racist. He would crack jokes about racial things and they would be shocked. As they got older they just rolled their eyes. Funniest thing was one of my daughters date shows up and he opens the door and introduced himself as her dad. He moved to Michigan. I miss Charles.
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Man I don’t even know where to start with this one. I grew up in the middle of f**king nowhere Mississippi where the slave trade was referred to as the great African migration in our history books. Every person of color was referred to by the N-word as just the default. It wasn’t until I moved the hell out of the south that I begin to comprehend what racism was. I wish I could say I had a moment of clarity that washed away all the racist bulls**t that I’d grown up with but it was more like a couple decades worth of mental deprogramming I had to fight against. There was so much underlying hate of different people that warped how my view of the world was.
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Moving out of a prodominently white neighborhood and meeting people of differences races and back rounds. Realizing they are just people like you trying to live their lives.
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Joined the military, left home and experienced cultures around the world. I wouldn’t say I was ever racist and thought I was better than anyone but I was severely lacking in cultural awareness due to growing up in a small town surrounded by openly racist people. Luckily, my children are able to grow in a completely different environment than the one I did.
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I grew up in a white bubble. White neighborhood, white schools, white friends. I wasn’t hate filled or anything towards other races, just a bit nervous due to zero experience. I heard a lot of racial epithets, but didn’t say them myself.
Going to college, I met many people of many different races, and found most of them were good people. I discovered that the same 10% as**ole to 90% good people I found among white people at my high school translated to college as well. The as**oles were not grouped in a particular minority, but pretty universally scattered.
Mom was surprised when I brought home a girlfriend from college who wasn’t white. Mom asked why I didn’t tell her in advance, but I didn’t think it was important. I married that girl a few years later.
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My situation was complicated growing up. My father was the son of an Italian immigrant with Egyptian roots and he was so ungodly racist towards anyone not considered white as he considered himself white. The thing is, my dad has dark brown skin, dark brown eyes and black kinked curly hair. He looked EXACTLY like the people he was racist against. And he hated Arabs…. all Arabs…. and he is part Arab. This was so confusing. He also hated gay people, Muslims, “commies” and any type of alternative lifestyles.
My father hated black people the most. He told me if I ever brought home a black boyfriend he would disown me. He told me, as a small child, that if I misbehaved I would be sent to live with a ****** family in the ghetto.
He was equally misogynist and held onto a strong patriarchal mindset.
I admit, as a kid I repeated his words. All the other kids did too on my neighborhood so I thought he was right. It wasn’t until I was literally in my 30s did I realise the internalized racism I still held onto. All my partners and friends were white my entire life. I felt unsafe near a group of black men. It was only until I moved to northern Europe that I realized that I am not considered white here and experienced racism myself and oooooo wow what an eye opener.
I began to dismantle my entire thought process and honestly, I am so repulsed by my father now I can’t even speak to him without feeling disgusting inside. He’s really old now and much more calm and probably won’t live more than 10 years. I have not returned to my birth country to see him in almost 7 years because I am so angry at him. Because of his racism I missed out on friendships, relationships and understanding cultures different from my own. I am making up for it now as the immigrant community that I live in is amazing and supportive but I will never get back that lost time and I will never know fully the extent of damage that my hateful words may have done to people who didn’t deserve it.
Grew up with a racist step dad and although I never actually felt hate towards anyone I would laugh at and repeat the jokes. Until I was kicked out at 18 I had only met a Mexican family (my adopted neighborhood family) and a black guy I was friends with from school. They also made the jokes about their race and laughed along depending on the crowd. Wasn’t till I got older that they were doing that to fit in and could’ve been living somewhat in fear. After being kicked out I moved around a few times before finding a job working with developmentally disabled adults. I was hired as the white guy, the company and all the workers were all born in Africa and moved to the US. It was a cultural shock at first, but they immediately became family. They taught me how to cook, how to treat others, and their culture. They even made sure to teach me how they were treated in public by citizens and police. Since then I haven’t made or laughed at a single racist joke, I’ve made sure to look at everyone the same way no matter, and I’ve made sure to try and help others understand how their actions may not be racist but they can still be hurtful. I’ve met so many beautiful people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to talk to had I followed that influence growing up. If anyone who has any racist thoughts and is reading this, please just sit down and have a meal with someone. You’ll be surprised how much you have in common while also having such different lives.
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I know this isn’t the exact question, but I was raised in a strict military Republican household. Though my family wasn’t raciest, they were extremely homophobic and beloved women belong in the home and in their place.
They would make fun of lesbians and gay men throughout my whole life, speak poorly of women working outside the home.
When I was 18 I met a guy at my local coffee shop in a very red town/state. I couldn’t decided if I wanted to date him or take him shopping and hang out- he was just super cool we made plans and later ate hot wings and drank wine. I had never felt more myself than when I was with him. I had to forgot any financial adult backing in college because my new “lifestyle” didn’t meet my families ideas. This was absolutely ok with me and I charged through challenge happily while accumulating debt.
Turns out he ran away from his home and was cut off from his family for being gay. He became my roommate for more than 9 years and my best friend in the world. (And my room mate I mean I always had a place for him to stay in my own home and he always seemed to move right in in the most natural way possible- literally he just was always there in my home through every stage of life for a decade)
He introduced me to the gay community and as a female, instead of getting harassed at a club, I could go out dancing with him and have a blast and be safe all night. He became my family and closest confidant over the years.
My family didn’t take kindly to this friendship, nor did they like that I became a business owner. They no longer speak to me and I am so happy to be the black sheep.
Anyway, I’m so so so glad I met him, and he changed my life. I would have been comfortable in my conservative bubble and probably never questioned my views. His friendship made me open my eyes to not only the world of possibilities but also my own views of what I was raised with- he challenged me and made me a better person and I’ll always be grateful for the absolute gift he gave me. Because I was now a safe person with views different than what my small town was used to, I became a safe friend for people to come out to. And my god it’s been the honor of my life to grow, find acceptance, and apply acceptance blindly.
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i’m half korean. White side of my family is a bunch of rednecks. Went through a phase as a teen where I was racist to other minorities. I think I became self-aware when we were watching college basketball and my dad pointed out that every conceivable ethnicity was on one team. My grandpa said “all n*****s to me”
That’s when it hit me. If i were not blood-related they would all view me the same.
When I was in kindergarten I had a crush on a friend of mine who was black, my parents would tell me to be careful around him and not to get attached bc he would probably grow up to be a criminal because he was black. I remember being confused, bc nothing seemed to justify that. Even stranger is that thinking back on it, he never looked down on anybody for it per se, it was more like a fact. Like “I respect you, but it sucks this is all you’ll ever amount to”. (His reasoning from statistics he found or something idk) My dad loved his dad though and I think called him an exception, his dad was the gym teacher at the middle school my dad wanted me to attend.
Anyway he’d said this often enough and repeated the jail statistic that I was wary of most (specifically black) men I’d see by the age of 8 for no good reason. Years later I was maybe 13 and I’d checked in with the same kid from kindergarten and he was the same super sweet kid I remembered and I realized I didn’t feel any different about him. I was never scared of him, and honestly thought if anyone was going to grow up to be a super successful guy it would be him. (Another thing my dad told me was that he would be stuck below the poverty line, a yucky thing to say)
It sucked to realize I’d seen every black man I encountered as a criminal or future criminal, and my friend was the exception. It still really sucks to think I’d been gripped by that mindset. Anyway it took a bit to let go of the irrational fear, but by that point I knew it was irrational which made it so much easier. On a lighter note, when I first met him I immediately assumed everybody was made of chocolate. For instance, I was white chocolate, and tbh I was jealous at first bc I liked milk and dark chocolate better and assumed he got the better end of the bargain. He is, also, still a super snazzy guy.
I read ”The People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn. Two chapters in and I could feel neural pathways start to change in my brain, and I haven’t stopped challenging my bulls**t since.
I was raised by racist grandparents so a lot of that was ingrained in me early on, but I also got out of it super quick. I became friends with a black boy back in 4th grade and I immediately had a lot of questions for my family. Their answers didn’t make sense to me even at that age so I pretty quickly learned that all the racism was completely made up bulls**t.
Don’t talk to my family much anymore.
When I was a teenager, sitting in a room with a bisexual half-black half-Jewish man and a straight all Jewish white man…
We’d sit around telling the most god-awful racist jokes you can imagine. Including both Black and Jewish jokes. The same session would include dead baby jokes and Quadriplegic jokes.
Today (39yo), I’d still tell the others, but I’ll be damned if I retell those old race jokes. That sh*t is not okay.
I think there’s a realization you have one day where jokes are the sandbox for actual racism to grow up in. It’s kind of a “safe space” for racism. An incubator.
Just nip that s**t in the bud right away. And be the kind of person who shoots your friends down when they wanna engage with that.
“It’s only jokin’ man.”
I get it. But you never know who is germinating seeds in their soul with this stuff ya know?
My dad was a Neo-nazi and raised me to believe anyone who wasn’t purely white is inferior. I lived in a very rural area and never met anyone who wasn’t white so I never had any reason to think he wasn’t right. As I grew up, my town diversified and gained a lot of people who weren’t white. I got to be friends with a lot of them and met their parents and realized my dad was absolutely full of sh*t. As I’ve grown I’ve realized he’s the most toxic individual I’ve ever met, for way more reasons than this, and have completely cut him out of my life. Im still pretty uneasy about it at times but I know it’s for the better. I still get called out as a racist every once in awhile and I guess it’s pretty deserved due to my upbringing and actions therefore, but I like to think I’ve drastically changed for the better and even though I catch myself falling back sometimes, I like to think I’m decently open-minded and definitely not stupid enough to think someone’s skin color defines their character.
I was never knowingly or intentionally racist, but when I was going into college I was ignorant, bitter, and certainly not on a good path. I had a roommate in college who was a person of color, who really helped me understand and put into context a lot that I had been ignorant about.
My immediate family was “we’re not racists, but…” and my extended family was outright trailer trash racist. I was raised to kind of believe, “we’re not racist. Just superior.” In my teen years, the hypocrisy of it really started becoming apparent. Certain people were the way they were because it was just inherent of their culture, ours were the way they were because they were unlucky, didn’t have the same opportunities, and it was understandable that they’d feel the urge for escapism or lashing out. Lol. My feelings on the subject really grew when I had kids of my own, and I just started thinking about how f**king random life- dictating details are. Where you’re born. What color you are. Your gender. Sexual identity. And how I did nothing to make my kids white and male in the southern US. Life just happened that way. And then I started thinking, what if they weren’t. What if they faced the same everyday bulls**t that millions of other people in this country do. What if I had to live with the real fear that they’d be walking to the bodega one day for an Arizona and some skittles, and were murdered by f**king cops. And I taught my kids to think, more than I was raised to.
My grandfather was incredibly racist; Kicked his daughter out of the house for falling in love with my father, a black man. He assumed, if he cut her off, she’d be desperate enough for food and shelter to ditch my father. Didn’t work out that way.
But, of course, that changed when my older sister was born. Because hatred is powerful, but something is more powerful. Not love.
My father cooked ribs to celebrate the birth of my sister, and my grandfather – Who had been browbeaten by my grandmother into visiting to meet his granddaughter – Smelled the ribs. And he wanted to try them. Apparently, he declared “If these n*** can cook like this, maybe they’re worth a damn.”
So, it became a ritual. He started coming over twice a month to eat dad’s ribs, and in the process, was exposed to more and more black people. He ended up apologizing, and came ‘round. All due to the power of ribs.
Not really a racist learning the error of his ways, but a turning point about race in a family member’s life.
My grandfather grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. And when he was a kid in the late 30’s he and a friend of his were playing by a river and the friend fell in and started drowning. My grandfather couldn’t swim so he ran to the road to get help. Cars kept passing by and not stopping for a young boy crying for help, until finally a car pulled over. It was a young black couple and the man jumped in to save my grandfather’s friend. They were able to pull him out, but unfortunately the friend died. My grandfather told me that is why he doesn’t think any race is inferior or superior. Because this young black couple were the only ones to pull over and help a young white boy crying for help.
I wasn’t the sort of racist that you think of when you think”racist,” but I did do things that were driven by negative racial stereotypes, mostly the idea that racialized people are somehow fundamentally different from me. For example, I never watched TV shows with predominately Black casts because I assumed I wasn’t like “them” and wouldn’t enjoy or understand the show. I assumed their lives and experience must be so different than mine that I wouldn’t “get” the show.
I don’t really know where the idea came from, to be honest. Maybe just the world’s tendency to turn people who look different into “others.” I grew up in a small town with literally two non-white families, and that attitude of racialized people being different was pretty prevalent, in subtle and overt ways.
It was just a matter of getting older and recognizing that racism in myself. I learned to notice when I was subtly shying away from something, and understand that a) it’s super sh*tty to assume that I don’t have anything in common with someone because their race or culture is different than mine, and b) distancing myself from them is a sh*tty solution to my sh*tty assumptions.
Grew up in a town that was 99% white.
Wasn’t any more racist than 1980s television.
Joined army to escape home town.
Became rather racist due to quite unfair treatment of the three white guys in my unit.
Met a bunch of people who weren’t from the worst possible home and economic situations. Learned that it’s not color or race, but behavior… and 1980s TV was actually quite racist, it was just invisible until you see it. kinda like bad kerning
I had a really bad roommate who was a recent immigrant from a specific country, and he was the only person from that country I had yet met. After moving out, when I’d meet people from that country I’d notice myself thinking derogatory things about them for no reason. Getting to know a wider variety of people helped, and therapy (CBT) helped, but I still occasionally slip into old habits. It gets easier every day, but it takes work every day.
I didn’t fully understand the reason behind Black Lives Matter. To me, of course they mattered, so why did they need this protest to happen? I assumed it was just a group of whiny people who wanted more than what they originally asked for and I brushed their issues off.
It wasn’t until I started really listening that I realized just how bad it was for them. The videos of them being beaten and arrested over something I’d only get a warning for. I didn’t realize how much privilege I had and everything, all the pride protests and why they didn’t want the police involved, it made sense.
I was raised with a very racist mother. She would make comments about how you had to “keep the races pure” and that mixed race families were disgusting and against god. I was also told that homosexuality was a carnal sin and just sick deprived behavior.
I grew up believing what my parents told me, but I rewrote the book on all my beliefs by my early to mid 20s. I completely support gay rights and have many gay friends, and I take strong stands against racism whenever it comes up. I look at my beliefs back then, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
That’s the main reason I am strongly against cancel culture. Not everyone had perfectly progressive parents that educated them correctly so they wouldn’t make an ill-advised tweet 15 years ago that prevents them from getting a job today. My parents taught me religion, homeopathy, homophobia, and racism. I unilaterally reject all four of those now, but I only knew what I had been taught when I was 18 years old. It takes time to re-educate yourself, and you aren’t born being correct. The first time I heard about people getting in trouble for blackface in a Halloween costume, I couldn’t understand the issue. It’s a Halloween costume. People wear makeup and dress as other people right? Then someone had to explain to me the history of it, and it made sense that it was a very offensive thing to do. Without that knowledge, I could have been at a Halloween party with a picture of me with makeup on that would prevent me from getting a job today, 20 years later. (For the record, I never did blackface, but I didn’t even know it was bad until about 10 years ago)
IMHO cancel culture is just elitism. You had good parents, and you punish everyone who didn’t.
Having my own children. And then seeing some old paintings/depictions of enslaved children being ripped from their mother’s arms and sold. Just imagining their pain.
I grew up in the South (Of the USA) and never realized that my family was racist. I knew that jokes were made and all but I thought they just made them to be funny.
In 6th grade I accidentally called a black girl a slave (I would joke that way with my brother) and had one of my first “Oh S***!” Moments. I still didn’t think I was racist and just was more careful of what I said. I had black friends and things were a lot better after that.
As I got older I realized that I still has work to do and have been working on it for years.
One of the most helpful things for me was taking a college course that was entirely about race/ethnicity and human diversity. We spent a few weeks just learning and realizing that race/ethnicity is a purely social construct because homo sapiens are too young of a species to have enough diversity for it to matter.
Tldr: Science and realizing that my family was racist and it had influenced me.
I mean as good as all this is you really can’t just decide one day to not be racist, it’s a long continuous process of identifying prejudices and eliminating them. You can call yourself anti racist and still commit micro aggressions every day
First off, I never thought of myself as racist until I looked back on. But being raised in western ky where your surrounded by white people and a handful of POC will do that to you. My big aha moment was when I was in college. I had a black friend in my fraternity who just looked over at me one day and was like I got to get out of southern indiana. And I was like why? He was like dude it’s just way to normal for people to racist around here. Me being the dumb naive 19yo that I was retorted with oh it’s not that bad at least it’s not ky. And he looked at me and said thats exactly the point. People don’t even realize their racist including you. I was a bit taken a back by this and as is tradition was like I’m sitting here talking to you. His response to that was you have a conderate flag hanging in your apartment. That means alot to black person. The conversation went on for a while where he basically pointed out everything I did that was racist. After that conversation I did alot of soul searching and realized that while I didn’t think I was racist and frankly didn’t want to be thought of as racist, I kinda was. That conversation completely changed me as a person and for the better.
I grew up in a small midwest town with only white people and parroted a lot of the dumb bulls**t I heard despite never actually meeting a person of color until college. Luckily my dad is a easy going guy who loves everyone and as soon as I left the small toxic town what I learned from him kicked in and when I actually met people unlike me all of my preconceived notions faded away. I ended up being friends with people of all colors and creeds. Literally all it took was exposure to a different environment and I quickly loved people for people no matter their appearances or backgrounds.
I’m black, and was essentially taught not to trust whites. My dad was from 60s Detroit and I learned that from him. I wasn’t vocal about it, but I certainly treated them different. When I joined the Army, I left my foot locker unlocked and my sh*t was tossed everywhere. It was my older white bunk mate that I NEVER TALKED TO who picked up all of my sh*t and put it back in my locker neatly. Dude practically took care of me the whole time I was there, I was just a sh*tbag teenager with zero responsibility. At first, I considered him an exception and slowly backed off my belief in that regard.
Character, not color.
As you mature, you sometimes come to understand that things you once thought were badass, were actually pretty dumb-assed.
Just getting older and realizing they aren’t (all) like that. I wasn’t raised to hate anyone particularly, but life experiences and nearly getting dragged into gang bullsh*t- and the behavior I was exposed to as a result- gave me a deeper hatred of blacks than anything else.
Now that I’m older, I don’t hate anyone for their skin color. What was it MLK said? Something about judging by the content of their character? I can’t remember the specific words, only the sentiment.
I still loathe those behaviors more than words can describe though.
My husband grew up in a conservative racist white Christian area. He really didn’t know better than to say the stuff racist say but didn’t really believe anyone suffering was bad necessarily. He stopped repeating the racist stuff after he joined the marines, moved away from his one horse town and had his horizons broadened.
One thing that he still had was prejudice against Muslims. Being from a strict Christian household and then going to war right after 9/11 didn’t do him any favors in that aspect. A few years after we got married we ended up moving to a major US city. We lived in an apartment complex with a plethora of people from all walks of life, including a Muslim family. When school started one of our kids shared a class with one of their kids. The first time my husband saw the mother she had a bundle on her chest walking toward the bus stop with her kid. It was a fresh newborn baby. Now, my husband is an absolute sucker for babies. He loves them. He was taken by this tiny little black haired infant. I became friends with the mom and she invited us over for tea. We learned they were Muslim and they taught us so much. My husband spent hours talking to the dad and learning about their culture and beliefs. That was the turning point for him. These people were so kind and welcoming and were basically the opposite of everything my husband had been taught. It kind of threw him into sort of an existential crisis…but in a good way.
I grew up in a very tiny farm community where:
1) My parents were racists 2) My friends were racists 3) My friend’s parents were racists 4) Most of the teachers in our tiny K-12 public school grew up in our town and as a result were racists 5) Even the priest was racist 6) Every other possible role model was racist.
But worst of all
7) There were exactly ZERO non-white people around.
As a result, I grew up believing what everyone around me said about black people being an inferior race.
What changed my mind? After I got to my teenage years I started to expand my social circle to include people not from my home town. This caused me to become exposed to people of color for the first time, and it didn’t take me long to realize that there wasn’t much difference, outside of cultural differences. But even then, my family from the city had cultural differences, and they were white like me, so race had little to do with it.
I have a 2 year old daughter now, and hope to raise her in such a way that she has exposure to different cultures, races, ideologies. I think that goes a long way to making people more compationate and kind.
I moved away from my one-horse hometown and got away from my extremely prejudiced family.
As a young kid, being raised by my old school grandparents who still called black people Ne**os and looked down upon native people, I thought that was normal as a kid. One day for a school field trip though, we went to a native reserve, went to a giant log house and watched a traditional native ceremony of some sort. It was actually really interesting to see in person and made me realize that they werent all drunks and gang members as my grandparents had portrayed them to be. This experience made me think different about all races, and I one day confronted my grandparents on it. They stopped using the N word after that so I hope I made some impression on them.
Nowadays, racism makes me cringe, I hate it. As a white guy, ive only ever experienced against me a handful of times, but those few times made me appreciate the much worse things many others go through simply because they are born a certain color.
This will be buried, but I inherited a lot of poor opinions and behaviours from my Dad and his family. It took me way too long to break out of that way of thinking.
There’s two key moments in my mind that were “Wait a second, this isn’t right.” sorta moment.
First, I was walking down the street in a nightlife/food area. A car drives past an Indonesian restaurant with a man hanging out the window who screams “GOOK!” at the workers. I remember thinking that it was just kinda f**ked up, they were just doing their thing.
The second, my partner and I were having a little double date with some friends and we both cracked a tasteless/racist joke – can’t remember what it was. My best friends wife turns to my girlfriend and says “I expect this from him, but not from you.”
That was the real wake up call from me. That my behaviour was unacceptable, insulting and worst of all people just expected it from me. Since then I have worked hard to re-evaluate my behaviours and view them from a critical perspective. It’s been tough but I think I’m better for it.
I live in an overall racist country, natives from here think we are not THAT racist, but sometimes…it’s just…wow
My family also didn’t help, comments about black, latino and romani people were constantly made and I also got some of that racism inside me when growing up.
My depression made me change in someways and I guess that’s one way it changed me. I was in bed at 4am and I couldn’t sleep, so my brain thought it was nice hour to think about these things for some reason, and I started asking to myself “Why”.
Why do I consider myself better than a black person or a latino person or a romani person.
Why am I better than any of them.
Why are they less than me
And also “what”
What makes me good and what makes them bad
What do I get from all of this
What do we get from all of this
I guess the answers were simple
Also with therapy I learned that making you feel better by making others feel worse isn’t a good antidepressant and that it’s indeed, an assh*le move.
I wouldn’t have classified myself as racist, but I definitely had some racist ideas about native people in my city growing up. There are a lot of native addicts and vagrants but it’s very much a result of a system that’s rigged against those communities.
I didn’t know any of that growing up so when I saw a group of drunk, native people in the park or something, I was generally unimpressed or even frightened. And I definitely applied those feelings to all the native people I came across. It’s hard to change those reactions but we can all identify the bad reactions and try to curb them.
My first name is one of the top five female African American names in the US. I’m whiter than the little mermaid. Everyone always thought it was funny that I was a white girl with a black girls name, and I just rolled with it, it wasn’t a big deal.. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t. I would throw around causally racist stuff all the time because I thought I could. I never understood what people meant when they were talking about when the term “institutional racism” until I got out of the army and started sending resumes in. I never got call backs, so I decided to start taking my resume in to places in person instead of doing the online application that’s so prevelent nowadays, and for every resume that I dropped off in person, I always got a call for an interview. If I applied online, to the same place with the same resume, but a different phone number, I never got called back. If I sent the same resume to the same place using my first initial and last name, I got a call back.
This s**ts real and it’s so damaging and demoralizing.
Parents were old white people so they’d make chinamen jokes,a or complain about bad Asian drivers. Nothing obscene but still racist.
Growing up kids my age were racist bigots who bullied everything they could. This was the real tragedy. I think kids these days are less lkke they were in my day. Tool me a few years to adjust to today’s views. In still not entirely there despite being liberal in a lot of ways.
Not me, but my first roommate out of college who grew up in rural PA told me that watching New Girl made her less racist. Her parents were super racist (and her brother was a literal neo-nazi convicted of a hate crime). But watching the show in her teens and seeing people of a bunch of different races have normal and positive interactions was mind-blowing because her parents literally taught her it was impossible. That opened her up to meeting all different types of people.
Then she went to college and met people from all different backgrounds and became good friends and formed relationships with them. She even ended up marrying a mixed-race man and they’re quite happy with a baby. Her family does not speak to her, but I am certain she’s better off.
I grew up thinking I was not a racist. I didn’t think badly of blacks or Hispanics. But racist jokes didn’t hurt anyone. Then I moved to an area with about a 90% Hispanic population. The little things that weren’t racist, were. The “How many Mexican” type jokes were hurtful and I felt bad. So I stopped. The easy same thing with blacks , Asians etc, etc. was about the same time.
I’m not a racist, but I did change a racist guy’s mind at a bar once (at least, I’d like to hope I did).
He was ranting on about minorities causing problems in America, using all kinds of racial slurs. The bartender repeatedly asked him to stop. I happened to be sitting next to him at the bar. Im a non-confrontational person, so I just kind of ignored his ramblings and watched the TV (there was a football game on I believe). He turned to me and said something along the lines of “can you believe this b***h?” when the bartender told him he needed to shut his mouth or leave.
Then I became a part of it.
I told him that his words were not appropriate and offensive to me. He asked me why does that matter to me as a “fellow white guy.”
Full disclosure, I’m a first-generation American (my father is from Mexico), but I’m very light-skinned and so I do look 100% white. I informed him of this, as well as the fact that my niece is black, and his tone completely changed. He started calling me a sc, w**k, you name it. Told me he wanted to go outside and beat my a* in the parking lot. All because I informed him of my heritage.
I spent the next 20ish minutes trying to show him how flawed his logic was, how he was fine standing next to me, spewing racist crap, and even looked for me to back him up, until he found out that I wasn’t really “white.”
We talked for awhile before the bartender eventually threw him out. While I’m not sure if his mind was totally changed, he did offer an apology for what he said, and for judging me and calling me names. He also ended up buying me a drink as well. I’d like to think that he’s changed for the better, but I never saw him at that bar again. I always wonder how people can just snap like that over skin color/race when the guy had no problem with me as a person when he thought I was just “white”
Its simple really, I was raised in a racist family. Growing up I was kinda racist…. when I actually spent time with people of different races I quickly realized how stupid that is.
I don’t think I was ever really racist but I subconsciously would think that way. I have to stop and remind myself every now and then that I shouldn’t think like that. I never thought I don’t want to be friends with him because he’s black but I would put people of different colors into stereotypes. I’m still struggling with it but I never make decisions based on it. I don’t know if I can ever train myself to not think like that but I have trained myself to notice when I’m doing it and correct myself.
As a WOC working in a highly technical field where there aren’t many POC or women, reading this, I am so touched.
I am left with the message that just being my own special self is perhaps breaking down long-held prejudices/dogma amongst my peers.
my dad used to make awful racist jokes, I just grew up and realized he sucked.
I don’t think I was racist – but I do think I was a part of the problem.
I didn’t understand racism and thereby passively condoned it. For example – I was convinced that black men being killed by the police was really a police-reform issue, and not a systemic racism issue. This is, looking back, the most dangerous type of racism.
What changed was the George Floyd murder video. As a white man, I’ve been mistreated by police but I have never… ever… ever… felt like “you know they just might kill me” and that is, in summary, my idea of white privilege really is in America. That someone could be killed, on video, in broad daylight, with witnesses begging for his life – and the police felt confident it would work out just fine – is systemic overarching racism that flows through the heart of this country.
Passively condoning that is still racism.
I honestly used to be kind of racist against, like, fresh off of the boat Asians when I was younger. I don’t even remember why, I think I just had some weird run-ins and they had really poor English and I was an idiot.
Anyways, I remember I had just gotten gas and was back in my truck ready to leave, when I heard an Asian man calling to me with bad English, trying to get my attention. I rolled my eyes out of the back of my skull, rolled down the window, and snapped, what?! In broken English, he told me I’d forgotten to put my gas cap back on.
Took a breath and realized how much of an asshole I was just about to be to this guy for absolutely no reason. Completely changed my perspective. And nowadays, from other life experiences, I have such respect for first generation immigrants who have been able to learn English, even if they speak it poorly. But yeah, I was a d**k for a bit.
I’m not racist, but I used to be islamaphobic. I then met 2 of my friends and saw how Islam really was and changed
I was in college and I thought racism was solved. I said that to a black girl in my major, and she just turned to me and said no it’s not, you just don’t see it, or something to that effect.
I guess I was well on my way to not being racist anymore by that point just by getting away from my tiny town I grew up in. But, the amount of embarrassment I had in that moment as a 20 year old kid, I will never forget it as long as I live.
To me, if someone who is black tells you racism isn’t solved and still exists, you do a double take, and take stock of your view point.
It’s been a gradual process over ten years for me to recognize the implicit bias and racist views society has taught me. But I try really hard to recognize it now and check myself.
As a child I remember not liking other children who weren’t white. It wasn’t taught by my parents, they were always accepting of everyone. Still not sure what was the root of it. If I had to guess it was either television or just ignorance. But before 7th grade I met a kid at my summer camp and we instantly became best friends. I think pretty much over night changed my mind on the matter. He taught me so much about black culture, and it really changed my point of view. We’re still best buds 17 years later.
Meeting and working with black people and hispanics.
I was raised by racists, grew up in an all white suburb, went to all white private schools.
I see race as a non-scientific category, however, I was raised to mistrust European-American people. My parents (African-American), all of my neighbors, and family friends, suffered deeply from the racism (1960’s – Los Angeles, Ca). I was in my late 30’s before I had my first inter-cultural friendship. That friendship did not survive because of extremely different views about pets (I have pet allergies) but I came from that friendship understanding that she was kind, fair, and knew how to be a great friend. That first intercultural friendship left me open to develop what has become my dearest friend, Stacy. We can talk about anything and maintain respect or set it aside and come back to it, if it’s a hot topic. We have made each other laugh to tears too many times to count. We trust each other. The internal work that my intercultural friendships demanded, improved every friendship in my life, including mine with family members. As I have aged and enjoyed friendships with many different cultures and ethnic groups, my heart has opened to accept and extend kindness to all human beings. Something I have also come to understand is that European-American Immigrants were also deeply damaged by African enslavement and European-American Immigrant Supremacist ideologies that are heavily woven into American culture. Untangling this damage will take time and much forgiveness but I’m hopeful and I know that it will be very much worth the effort as we move forward.
I realized white people today aren’t responsible for slavery.
My abuser who I lived with ages 6-14 was very racist, homophobic and sexist. I never hated black people or had any mean thoughts but I would still avoid them subconsciously on the street when walking the same way and didn’t have any black or poc friends. Mind you the school I went to was very white and privileged.
At 15 I was able to escape my abuser and go live with my father in a lower class and very diverse neighborhood.
Over the years I just realized my own habits and misguided feelings on poc and black people.
Though one specific thing that stands out is a boy was harassing me in art class, sexually. Kept mentioning my boobs as I was a very busty 15 year old. He was also f**king with a girl at our table wearing a hijab, teasing her more and more aggressively.
She looked at me, I looked at her and we both got up and went to the pencils sharpener and she said I should go to the principal and report him, I said I was too scared and she said she’d come with me. I told her she should report him too but she said they wouldn’t care about him being racist.
We went to the principles office and stayed with each other while we both wrote up reports and spoke to the vice principal about it.
I grew up in a hugely diverse group of relatives and friends so racism wasn’t a thing I even knew existed until I hit 12 ish and it honestly baffled me. People are f**king stupid.
My dad was/is pretty racist and I was just raised in that environment so I was too. An example I remember is being so excited to show him the first CD I ever bought, Gorillaz first album, and his reaction was, “so you like n-word(censored) music?”
The main catalyst however was him excitedly calling me into his room one night and wanting to show me a scene in a movie he was watching. That scene was the curb stomp from American History X. I was probably 8-10. Seeing his absolute glee at the f**king barbaric murder of the black people in the movie and praise on Edward Norton’s Nazi character really shook me, and the idea that he thought I’d share in his delight.
I walked out of the room in kind of a daze and that’s the moment I realized that wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be at allllll.
Not racist but colorblind, might be just as bad. Assumed that the world was as I saw it, a white kid from a working class NYC suburb. I was opposed to anything that tipped the scales, used to say that the media is the last source of racism and things like the Black Lives Matter movement were about division. Never had an ounce of hate in me, and I love knowing that this world is full of different people because I love learning new things. Because, I don’t know anything.
My son was born in Dec of 2019. While spending long late nights putting him to sleep that winter and spring I did a lot of reading. I was terrified of being a new dad, and I was terrified of what this pandemic could do in the years ahead. So I was humbled. And I sat in the discomfort and sadness of 3 more executions of POC that spring. And I had a lot of quiet time to think about the world my son was going to grow up in.
In my dad group here on Reddit, I read other dad’s like me, but not like me, tell their stories and their fears, of raising children of color in this world.
That’s when I knew this color blindness is bullsh*t. I need to start listening. I need to start acknowledging and respecting our differences. I need to think a lot more about what my place in this system has been, and what I want it to be.
Not an ex-racist, actually I’m black and know a COD youtuber named Drift0r. Been watching him since the Modern Warfare 2 days and he’s very open on the fact that he used to be on some racist s**t as a kid. But like any ex-racist, his world view opened up and you can see the difference (because he even brought his own evidence of it). At first I thought it’d turn me off from his content but he clearly regrets it first off, second off, he’s an example that people are redeemable from past perspectives as long as they find themselves in headspace and time where they begin to see the world for what it really is, or supposed to be.
My dad has some pretty xenophobic points of view and that definitely rubbed off on me when I was younger. Meeting actual PoC through my teenage years made me realise I was being dumb.
I was not raised by racist parents but you can’t help growing up with racist messages all around society and tending to believe some of them. I had ideas about indigenous people, Muslim people, all sorts of poisonous ideas.
When I got into my early twenties I started to make good money and began traveling, and all of my racist notions disappeared with that. Nothing made me realize how similar human beings are regardless of race, than traveling.