The often-hushed issue of Racism is never cold

I am a racist. And I hate it. I have a strong bias towards my personal ancestry. No one likes to talk about it and those who bring up the issue of racism are often criticized for spinning the topic in a fashion that reciprocates more ignorance. What is wrong with conscience-building discourse? The dichotomy of peace and tolerance against violence and prejudice is a charming characteristic of our human heritage.
So why shoot the messengers? The culprits are the people who are so often offended by any discussion on racism. Their problem is that they rationalize denial. Any conversation where the individuals involved are forced to step back and to honestly look at how they sometimes act or think based on race is productive. I have never encountered anyone in my entire life that is not a racist to a certain extent. We are all proud of our heritage, even if, at times, it was shady.
Therefore, the issue is never cold. I am a white male from South Carolina (a state with a longstanding history of stubbornness) and I grew up in a family that formerly did not approve of interracial dating (if there really is such a thing by broad definition). One of my friends from childhood still uses the word “nigger” in the opposite fashion as rappers do. I have encountered this level of ignorance in northern California (as neo-hippie liberal as it may be) and in southern Maine. I am not convinced that racism is centered in any particular area in the world. It is pretty much everywhere. So, save the critiques about fueling the problem by talking about it too much. This is and will continue to be a problem that is relevant to the history and to the future of the human race.
One alarming consequence of human cloning is the possibility that a new form of prejudice will be born in the future against a minority of cloned humans. So before we criticize folks like Al Sharpton for following controversy around the nation with cameras all in the name of oppression, let’s take a second to realize that the principles the Reverend stands for are the same principles that the framers penned into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: “We the people.”
I am racist. I don’t like certain people because their ancestors were very different from mine. Yet, I am an American (for better and for worse) and that means that I believe in the people, not my people.

Alex Saleeby can be contacted at claysaleeby@hotmail.com.

February 28, 2003


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