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Thursday, December 9

Am I racist?

I found myself asking myself this question today. Like most things, I decided to ask you. Don't worry, it's just rhetorical. I was shopping at a diamond store today, never mind you why (ok, pinky ring for me!). As I walked around I noticed two young and fit black guys (sorry, I am not a big fan of the term African American... and it takes way too long to type) who were in athletic wear. We were about 10 minutes from the Broncos HQ and practice facility, and my first thought was 'those must be Denver Broncos players'. That was my first thought. My second thought was 'Why? Does everyone who is young and black and successful have to be an athlete? Can't black people succeed in your corporate world too, you cracker?" So then I wanted to see if they were, because I am a huge Bronco fan and figured I would recognize them if I got a long enough look.

Good news, I realized that would be a bad idea. It wouldn't be polite to stare at two black gentlemen in a jewelry store like 'what are you doing here'. I still feel very confident they were Broncos, because I see them often around the Park Meadows area because their facilities are very close by. The thing is, I saw two rich young black guys... and assumed they were pro athletes. Is that racist? I fear it is.

Ok, scenario two. This summer I was in Dallas attending the Clapton Crossroads guitar festival thing. After one of the shows we got lost in a fairly poor neighborhood looking for food. It was about midnight, and every place we saw that looked open and service food was crowded with young black guys hanging out. I remember feeling uncomfortable with stopping there, so we moved on. Here is what I was honestly thinking at the time: I have no problem with blacks, they are not different people, this isn't even an issue. But... what if they have a problem with me? That was the justification I had for pussing out and fleeing. I was afraid I would get hassled just for being a white guy.

now I know I'm not racist like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly... but these run-ins make me think? Am I a little racist? Is it unconscious racism? Are we all a little racist whether we like it or acknowledge it or not?

I'd be interested in your thoughts. Thanks for indulging me and have a great Thursday! We'll see you in line for the Fives tomorrow.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First one - no, you said they were in athletic wear and big. You said the store was near the Broncos facility.
2+2.
Had you said or thought "Hmmm, are they gonna rob the place?" Then that would be different.

Second, since you asked. Again no.
Strange place, crowd of strangers, night time.
I'd be somewhat apprehensive no matter the color - and I think that's what happened with you.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Grainger said...

First...

Of course you are a racist to some extent, we all are. It impossible to watch television, read a paper and search the internet in the media driven society and not be affected by how african americans are portrayed, both good and bad. Keep in mind, during the 80's, thanks to Bill Cosby we all thought black people wore loud sweaters walked funny. Minorities are equally biased and though Archie Bunker was the architypal suburban yutz during the seventies.

Second, I do not believe people are as racist so much as they are economicist (my word). Strange how I do not fear the black man in an Armani suit, in fact, I kind of like Johnny Cochran and OJ Simpson. It is when they are sleeping in gutters in camo gear and approach me for money that I get concerned. It is not their color which drives my fear, it is their desperation, and that my friends is color blind!

Scott (your bro)

9:43 PM  

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