Hello everyone. I feel I have to share here.
This article disgusts me. It disgusts me because it is racist and bigoted and insinuates that black people somehow hold less value than other human beings. It disgusts me because it insinuates that I must be afraid of people because of the color of their skin. It disgusts me because...much of it is true. It makes me feel horrible that I have to live my life with the knowledge that I carry prejudice with me. It makes me feel horrible that I feel I must do so to protect myself and my family.
There are certainly things that are unfair and probably untrue in the article. There are mitigating factors, unmentioned variables, intellectually dishonest generalizations without a doubt. Yet, at the most basic level I cannot disagree. You see, I was brought up in liberal California in a multicultural environment, taught to value others equally (well, in actuality I was constantly encouraged to value other ethnic groups more than my own). I was TOLD (not taught) to look past labels and refrain from blanket generalizations. I grew up without a shred of racial prejudice, as pretty much every single friend I had was of a different race or ethnicity. I read about racism in books and never heard a white person use the "N" word until I saw the movie Mississippi Burning. I didn't UNDERSTAND racial prejudice. It was a completely foreign concept to me.
My best friend was black. When we were 15 he started to hang around people that looked more like him and less like me. Once in chemistry class I was being harassed by a group of 8 or so black students (throwing things at me, verbally insulting me, knocking my books to the floor). He was there. He didn't do it, but he was there. Well, one of them went too far and slapped the back of my head. I turned around and knocked him out with one punch (he was a lot smaller than I was). A small riot broke out, but I was escorted from the room and sent to the office. When I was walking home that day from school, an even larger group of black kids confronted me ans surrounded me. At their urging, my "best friend" - the boy who two months earlier had launched rockets with me in the abandoned field across from the park, the boy who had encouraged me to talk to my first girlfriend, who had spent countless hours with me shooting hoops in my front yard, who had played GI-Joe with me - walked up to me and punched me as hard as he could in my throat. As I lay on the ground gasping for air he and his friends took turns kicking me in the head, ribs, neck, back. They also spit on me and called me every racially charged epithet they could think of.
Since that time I have had a different perspective. That race does matter. It shouldn't, but it does. The only person to ever steal from me was black. The only person to pull a gun on me was black. The only person to assault my 5'1'', 105 lb. wife was black (she had the nerve to park in "her" parking spot). The only person to try and carjack my mother was black. As a waiter in college, I learned that black customers were far more likely to be abusive, rude and disorderly and would almost never leave a tip. As a young adult I learned that any common dispute with a black person could immediately turn into a physical confrontation even if no such confrontation was warranted. As a businessman I have learned that black customers are far more likely to cause disputes, complain about service and not pay their bills. As a husband of a teacher I have learned that black parents are far more likely to be incarcerated, less likely to care about their children's education, more likely to become physically confrontational with teachers and administrators. As a neighbor I have learned that black individuals are less likely to take care of their house, their pets and their children. As a citizen and taxpayer I have learned that blacks are far more likely to demand something for nothing and less likely to feel shame at relying on the system.
These aren't things that were instilled in me from others. This is my life experience. I don't want to be this way, and I actively try to give everyone a fair shake. I actively have to fight my first instincts and be fair to everyone. I do have black friends and none of them fit any of the above stereotypes. The thing that is crazy is that they have a lot of the same fears I do. I have children and, while I won't have "the talk," I will certainly prepare them to survive in the real world. They are still young and I don't know how I will teach them some of my life's lessons without making them blanket racists, but I will do my best. I can tell you I would rather have them be alive than naive and dead.
Does that make me a bad person?
Only if you have a low IQ. </sarcasm>
But seriously, we ALL learn from experience. And those stereotypes that people hate, they don’t start in a vacuum.