i don’t want to be a racist

i grow
but it is not
enough
i evolve
but i still have
a million years
to go
i check my thoughts
my actions
my reactions
who am i
i am not
who i am
i do not embrace
change
for the popular
or the political
i embrace change
because
it is
the right
thing to do
to grow
to evolve
to be ready
to work
a million more years
if i need to.

i grew up in an extremely racist area of illinois. a sundown county. my parents were rarely blatantly racist, but it was there. subtle racism right alongside the subtle sexism & homophobia.
my town was white white white. in high school i had a biracial classmate, and we all thought he was very exotic.
i am grateful for things like sesame street and fat albert for showing me worlds other than my small town at a young age.
but it wasn’t enough to stop the programming. the racist thoughts from rooting in my brain.
because, even though i abhor racism, i still have racist thoughts.
i used to use it as proof that i was a bad person, but then i read that what one is programmed through upbringing, culture, & society to think is one’s initial thought in a situation. the thoughts that come after, is that person’s efforts to rewire the programming.
and those little voices are loud & persistent. they don’t tolerate my racist programming at all.
yay for that.
but, holy crap, when will the programming go away? will it ever go away?

the programming also pops up with sexist and homophobic opinions, which i find especially weird since i identify as a bisexual feminist. i guess i shouldn’t be surprised that i was programmed to also hate & judge myself.

i mean, after all, hasn’t this art journal project been all about exorcising those demons?
but i am so incredibly uncomfortable writing about this and sharing it with whomever reads it. i feel like such a bad person.
but i will continue.
it is one thing i can do.
i can change.

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7 thoughts on “i don’t want to be a racist

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  1. I have friends from rural Illinois that are wonderful people but grew up the same. I was lucky to have a lesbian aunt and friends that were unwhite. But no matter how I was raised, I have a distrust of penguins. In fact, I may dislike all of Antarctica. I don’t like this about me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember watching the news as a kid and them talking about Klan rallies in Indiana and Iowa. And accidentally going to Dubuque when one was in full swing. It was always the joke that the South was super racist but I saw more up North than I have in Texas.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand all of this! Small town racist roots here too! Woot, I guess.
    The more I am exposed to something outside of my established norms, the less awkwardness or cognitive dissonance I feel each time. It really is hard to un-brainwash from your childhood training. We’ll always be flawed but we’ll always be improving, too.
    What do they call that, repeated exposure therapy, that’s how you get over a deap-seated fear.

    Liked by 2 people

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