I'm an old lady, I've watched the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, the gay community moving forward, the first man to walk on the moon, electric cars and the election of the first non-politician elected President. I've seen the Korean War, the Viet Nam debacle and all of the fighting in the Middle East. What have I learned? Today, if you don't necessarily agree with everything someone espouses, you're immediately called a racist, a word that leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth except those that throw it around as if it were nothing.
If you're white you have no right to respect Dr. King, you're just a racist. If you're white you have no right to object to football players taking a knee, you're a racist. If you're white you have no right to respect first responders, you're a racist. If you're white you have no right to be upset with the Black Caucus, you're a racist. If you're white you have no right to have a sour opinion of previous administrations, you're a racist. I'm sick and tired of listening to this dribble because when a real racist (most likely the one calling others by that foul name) wears out that accusation what then determines an honest to goodness racist? Remember the boy who cried wolf?
I'm white, I'm proud of it. I have opinions and ideals, the Constitution promises me that right. To the real racists I say this, get over yourselves. Everyone, black white and brown are sick and tired of listening to your racist stories over and over again. Quit living in the past and join the 21st century, you can't change yesterday but you can honestly do something positive to impact tomorrow. I am anti-racist...what are you?
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I have seen the disco era come and go. I have seen an actor be elected president. I have seen the Berlin wall be torn down. I have seen the first Black president be elected not once, but twice. As a 45-year-old black man who was born and raised in the Deep South only eight years after the Jim Crow laws were repealed, I totally understand why the word “racist” bothers you.
Please be proud of who you are and where you have come from. You have a story that could bless someone else. But tell me how many times have you experienced being treated unfairly because of the color of your skin? How many times have you walked into a store only to be followed and watched? How many times have you been refused service simply because you were a different race? I am sure of the answer to all of these questions.
What I don’t understand is how someone with your wisdom is able to see an NFL player kneeling during the anthem as disrespectful to our flag and military but the very thing that he is actually protesting is not. I agree that you have the choice to disagree with what that player does, but are you clear on why he did it? Do you even care? I realize that Colin Kapernick kneeling to protest the unnecessary murders of men with brown skin does not directly impact you, but please understand that the same constitution that gives you the right to disagree with him also gives him the right to “peacefully protest” any way he chooses.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that when the constitution was written, it really was not including my ancestors seeing that they were only seen as 1/3 of a person. We truly didn’t get that full right until 188 years later. It just took a while for those things to take effect I guess, but I realize that did not affect you either.
We constantly hear the stories of racism over and over again simply because the truth is they are still happening. No, it’s not the literal “lynchings” that you once heard about, but it’s truly just another form. If you want to move forward and put the past behind you, each individual has to begin with where they are. Reach out to someone of another race and have a real conversation about what they have experienced in their life. If you can look around and take a serious look at our world and not see a problem, I don’t think it would ever be possible for you to understand why you hear that word so much. Living in the 21st Century is difficult to do when everything around you still has a 1776 mindset.
Eric Terry, Sr.