Systemic racism seems to be a term the Left likes to toss about these days. “It’s in our DNA,” many Democrats claim. We’re born racist. Oprah once claimed that racism will end when all the old white people die. If we say nothing, Whites are labeled racist by default. If we deny it, we’re racist because that’s what a guilty person would do—deny it.
I grew up in the sixties, so I’m an old white person. Let me tell you about my experiences with racism.
My maternal grandfather was racist. I hated that part of him. I knew he was wrong. But it didn’t mean I loved him any less as a grandparent. He had other admirable traits. I could’ve learned racism from him but chose not to. I judge people on their actions, not the color of their skin.
Maybe the first time I ever encountered Blacks was in 1967, the year of the riots in Detroit. I was 12 years old and scheduled for surgery to repair a hernia. I recall laying in my first-floor bed in what was then Art Centre Hospital in Detroit, watching the National Guard drive past my window, which overlooked Woodward Avenue.
I feared one of my nurses, not because she was Black, but because of what she was going to do with that bag of water connected by a hose to a nozzle that looked, to me, as big as a Louisville Slugger.
I shared my room with a young African American kid who may have been three or four years younger than me. He had a dazzling smile. Neither of us saw the other for our skin color. We laughed, talked sports—Charlie Sanders was his favorite Detroit Lion. We played War (the card game).
That was fifty years ago. Once in a while I wonder whatever became of him, what he did with his life. Maybe he became a football player, or a basketball player. Maybe he became a businessman. Sadly, I can’t recall his name; but I doubt we shared our last names anyway.
I’ve worked with Blacks all my adult life. I smoke cigars with Blacks at my local cigar shop. One of the lessons I’ve learned, perhaps the most important lesson—and this is contrary to what the mainstream media insists on feeding America—is that Blacks don’t want to be treated as Blacks. They don’t want me to tiptoe around them and watch everything I say and make allowances for them. They simply want to be treated as men and women.
Our eyes don’t lie. I see their skin color as surely as they see mine. But I don’t see them for their skin color. I only care about the jobs they do, that they are good parents to their children, and good husbands and wives.
A few years ago, I rode up a garage elevator at a Detroit casino with a young man who wore a hoodie. It was pulled up over his head to cover his eyes, and his hands were in the kangaroo pocket. I felt uncomfortable. He was Black, but it wasn’t his skin color that left me feeling unsafe. He could’ve been Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, or White, and I’d have felt the same way. If I was guilty of “profiling” him it was only because of his attire and the fact I couldn’t see his face or his hands.
Several years ago, I read a news item about a World War II veteran who was mugged outside a liquor store for the twenty dollars he had in his wallet and left for dead on a sidewalk. It didn’t matter to me that the news story identified the assailant as an African American. He could’ve been Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern or White and I’d have been just as outraged.
There are good people in this country and bad people, skin color notwithstanding. I’ve shared brief moments with people of all skin color for whom I didn’t much care. And others I loved liked a brother or a sister.
So, when the eight percent of far Leftists making all the noise and Democrats insist on stoking the fires of race division in America, and the media who reports that racism in America is systemic, I say, “Bullshit.” Show me the evidence.
People of all races from all over the world risk their lives to come to this country, not because it’s racist, but because it’s not. Because it offers opportunity to all people of all races.