I had a major battle on Amazon about a book I said was racist. A lot of people said “No, it isn’t. The author is an avowed Boston liberal.” I’m sure he said he was and he probably believes it’s true, but he wrote like a racist. Every time he mentioned someone of color, he referred to his or her color.


Tears never ran down their cheeks. The tears ran down their black cheeks. The didn’t have hands. They had brown hands or black hands. Not once were the Natives of the region — somewhere in or around Guiana, I think — ever mentioned without in indicating their race. Their name might be forgotten, but never their race.

That is racism. Call it whatever you like. It is what it is.

Passive? Probably insofar as those who feel that way rarely attend racist rallies or carry fascist flags. But these are the friends who would never visit us when we lived in a Black neighborhood because they were sure they would be mugged or shot by our neighbors — most of whom were police officers, one of whom was a guard at a city prison, and two of whom were Sheriffs.

We had less crime there than we had while living on Beacon Hill. Far less. No one broke into our house or vandalized our cars. No one stole our cars (both of which were stolen while we lived on Beacon Hill) or tried to swipe things from our deliverers. Racism isn’t only the white-hooded, marching and shouting kind. It’s an attitude. A belief that says that dark-skinned people are more violent, predatory, and criminal. Different in bad ways. Dangerous. Gun-toting. The kind of “passive ‘I’m really a liberal’ ” racism that’s so easy to pretend doesn’t exist.

Without significant attitudinal changes, it will never go away.


Racism runs deep in this country. North, south, east and west and without regard for ethnicity or political agenda. You’ll find it in your household, your neighborhood, your church. Your “liberal friends” who won’t go anywhere that isn’t known as a “white” neighborhood. These are the people who prevent non-white people from being promoted at work, from getting scholarships, from getting into management positions.

The ones who are constantly complaining about “equal opportunity” ruining their work are because dark-skinned people are stealing their jobs. The same morons who never consider they don’t get promoted because they don’t work hard enough and aren’t very good, either. The same people who bitch that “political correctness” is keeping them from calling people “n#gg#rs.” Who would use that word — with or without political correctness as a measure?

Red lights in Roxbury

These folks are cops and judges. Office managers. Parole officers. Social workers. Teachers. They are your drinking buddies, the barkeeper, and the kids your kids play with. The first step to making this problem begin to go away is to figure out where you stand on this matter. Are you a racist? A nice, quiet, suburban racist? Are you? Think about it. There has never been a better time to take a good hard look at who you are and where you really stand.

Get back to me on it.

Categories: American history, Crime and Cops, Home, Personal, Photography, Racism and Bigotry

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Lots of food for thought… Sharing so more of us can think a lot about it. Thanks!


    • People think they are liberal because they don’t bond with Nazis. But it isn’t that simple. There’s a frustrating lack of understanding among “white suburban liberals” that saying your liberal, but refusing to go into a mixed neighborhood or worse, and entirely black one, is ALSO racism. That they way they refer to people of color means something. They simply do not get it. They don’t understand why some racist jokes are funny to the people who ARE that race, but as for you? Shut up, please. You don’t get to go in that door.


      • Bingo–It’s something I’ve had to contend with for a couple decades. It’s easy to be a liberal ally on the sidelines, when you’ve never been around very many minorities in your life, when your simplistic “let’s get along” views haven’t had to deal with actual people in the real world. When you’ve never had someone challenge your views because you’ve never advertised them or it’s just not discussed. That was my life forever.

        I wondered about the racism thing, and I was another white American who figured racism was dead because Obama got elected. Yeah, I swallowed that tripe like many my age. But that peeled off a sorry layer of my world that I never knew existed. Suddenly, all these people I’d known my whole life went from the occasional racist joke to a constant stream of racist thoughts. I wondered where the hell it had come from, and cringed every time I heard the phrase “those people…” because I knew it NEVER indicated anything positive.

        When I got an opportunity to do some off-site teaching and reading help in Galveston a few years ago (I’m closer to the Houston metro area), my dad expressed a lot of concern because there’s a large black population down there and it would be dark when I left. But the mileage made for a great paycheck and I wanted to help, so I went. The location was in the middle of the historically black part of town. I was mostly nervous in those early days, largely because I’d barely been to Galveston and was not used to driving up and down “one-way” roads and checking my maps a bunch of times. But I got used to the drive and would get comfortable enough to show up earlier, take my time taking in the sights, finding new routes in case of traffic issues and hang out in some coffee shops. I met plenty of nice kids and parents out there, and some helpful folks who thought I had car trouble one time (there was a lot of construction and a rainstorm earlier in the day, and I was just checking my tires to make sure I didn’t run over any sharp debris). I helped someone else jump their car. No problems, no worries.

        And I shed a bit more of that implanted fear the more often I went down there.


        • That’s really how diversity works. Familiarity makes what was “strange” quite normal. I was very insistent that we move INTO a mixed neighborhood. I wanted him to grow up understanding that not everyone looks the same. I wanted him to be able to accept everyone and anyone he liked without worrying about whether they were “acceptable.”

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As you say “Without significant attitudinal changes, it will never go away.” So what we, as individuals CAN do (in my respectful opinion) is rale against racism and root it out in our own small ways as often and as loudly as we can. No-one who knows me spouts racist garbage in my hearing. They know they’ll get a really harsh reaction if they do. I have no idea why race or color of skin or any of it is still important to people. We’re ALL PEOPLE. Look past the outward markers and see what’s inside a person FIRST.


    • Basically, that’s what I do. Garry less so, though he is changing in that regard. For years, he had to shut up about it because he was on the job, but now, he isn’t and there’s no boss to tell him he has to be polite to those assholes.

      The problem is, you can get those people to not say anything to you, but have we changed anything really? They really don’t think there’s anything wrong with what they’re doing. They don’t see it. I’m not sure they are capable of understanding.


  3. It exists and I don’t know how to change things other than to stand firm on these issues.


  4. It is hard to grow up white in the US and not soak up some racism. I think the big thing is that some recognize it and try to improve themselves, but many are, “Who me? I never say the n-word and hate the Klan, so not me…”


    • That’s it in a nutshell. Go visit any friends in nice, white, well-to-do suburbs and they are ALL liberals. Never wore that white sheet, never use racist language … but will never go into a store in a non-white neighborhood either. OR hire non-white people for better-paying jobs because “they don’t fit in.” Whatever that means.

      Liked by 1 person

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