If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
“Man in the Mirror”, Michael Jackson
SIEDAH GARRETT, GLEN BALLARD
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
This is for all my nonwhite readers out there.
I was never brought up to hate people of color. I was taught we were all God’s children. As kids in church, we learned that song with the line, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” We’re all loved the same.
I’m aware of, and repulsed by, the atrocities committed against blacks throughout the long, bigoted history of this country, from slavery all the way to death by police shooting. I’m aware of the second-class treatment you receive in regards to such basic needs as housing, education and employment, and of the injustice of that.
I do not believe in a “superior” race, or class. I believe this whole “white supremacy” thing is bull$#!t. I believe in equality. You should have the same rights as me. You should have the same opportunities as me.
I believe in, and greatly admire, the nobility and courage of people like Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr. I think it’s great this country elected a black man for President of the United States. Twice.
I’ve been part of the problem.
I’ve told the jokes. I’ve attached the stereotypes. I’ve used the derogatory names. (Always, behind your back.)
I’ve looked at you at times with condescension, at other times with suspicion. Even fear.
I’ve actually tried to ingratiate myself to you by talking like you, imitating you. (Got called out for that once, too.)
In short, while being strongly against systematic, institutionalized racism, I myself have been the definition of a racist. Which is something I never wanted to be.
And, it probably won’t surprise you to learn, I’ve treated people of various other races in much the same way.
I actually thought it was, for the most part, harmless. Hey, us white folks get made fun of too, right?
Yeah, that’s really lame, I know.
So, for me to then speak in outrage against the injustice of racism, without first owning what is in my own heart, would be highly hypocritical.
So, I’m owning it. Whatever I’ve said, done, thought or felt toward any member of a race other than my own that was insulting, demeaning or judgmental.
I’ve been part of the problem far too long. I’m ready to be part of the solution.
So, I sincerely apologize for, and renounce, my old racist ways. Though I know changing my attitudes won’t be flick-of-the-switch easy, I’m going to stay with it until my old bad habits are gone and replaced with new good ones.
I’m sure some of you may be skeptical about this resolution of mine, and I don’t blame you. All I can say is, I’m just taking Michael’s advice.
I hope a lot of us do. Nobody is born racist. It’s learned. It can be unlearned.