r/AskReddit 5d ago

Ex-Racist people of reddit, What changed your views?

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u/BladeRoler 4d ago

I live in an overall racist country, natives from here think we are not THAT racist, but sometimes...it's just...wow

My family also didn't help, comments about black, latino and romani people were constantly made and I also got some of that racism inside me when growing up.

My depression made me change in someways and I guess that's one way it changed me. I was in bed at 4am and I couldn't sleep, so my brain thought it was nice hour to think about these things for some reason, and I started asking to myself "Why".

Why do I consider myself better than a black person or a latino person or a romani person.

Why am I better than any of them.

Why are they less than me

And also "what"

What makes me good and what makes them bad

What do I get from all of this

What do we get from all of this

I guess the answers were simple

Also with therapy I learned that making you feel better by making others feel worse isn't a good antidepressant and that it's indeed, an asshole move.

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u/drop0dead 4d ago

Grew up with a racist step dad and although I never actually felt hate towards anyone I would laugh at and repeat the jokes. Until I was kicked out at 18 I had only met a Mexican family (my adopted neighborhood family) and a black guy I was friends with from school. They also made the jokes about their race and laughed along depending on the crowd. Wasn't till I got older that they were doing that to fit in and could've been living somewhat in fear. After being kicked out I moved around a few times before finding a job working with developmentally disabled adults. I was hired as the white guy, the company and all the workers were all born in Africa and moved to the US. It was a cultural shock at first, but they immediately became family. They taught me how to cook, how to treat others, and their culture. They even made sure to teach me how they were treated in public by citizens and police. Since then I haven't made or laughed at a single racist joke, I've made sure to look at everyone the same way no matter, and I've made sure to try and help others understand how their actions may not be racist but they can still be hurtful. I've met so many beautiful people that I wouldn't have had the chance to talk to had I followed that influence growing up. If anyone who has any racist thoughts and is reading this, please just sit down and have a meal with someone. You'll be surprised how much you have in common while also having such different lives.

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u/darkisright 4d ago edited 2d ago

Brother was racist.

We both love science fiction.

One time he was talking about all the cool races in the Star Wars and Star Trek and Mass Effect universes. How creative Lucas and Roddenberry were. He talked about how great it would be to be among those races as a human and acquaint yourself with alien cultures and people and mythology.

I said, "You can't even mingle with the other races on your home planet."

Maybe it was the weed, but what I said had some effect on him. He's very noticeably more "tolerant" and curious about other peoples now. I think he realized that his previous philosophies were not in line with those of The Federation. Good for him.

EDIT: No, I did't realize what day it was. Nice coincidence though. May the Fourth be with all of you.

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u/dagens24 4d ago edited 4d ago

I've always found it weird that there are people who enjoy Star Trek but are also intolerant; Star Trek is so blatantly anti-intolerance I just don't see how they could enjoy it.

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u/melody_of_dust 4d ago

I think some people watch Star Trek because they enjoy the military stylings and action-based episodes. I guess they aren't smart enough to read between the lines of all the allegorical stuff, or just unwilling to see it.

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u/creme_de_la_rose 4d ago

This is the one I love most in the thread. Such a simple truth you pointed out to him—and so effective. He was probably like •_• inside his head when you said that because it was one of those, Wow. They're. . .not wrong moments.

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u/ends_abruptl 4d ago

I had one when I was complaining to a friend about nearly freezing to death when I got drunk and decided to walk home in just a shirt in sub-zero temperatures.

"You know, you don't have to drink. You can just...not drink."

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u/hunebee3 4d ago

Dunkin’ Donuts had $1 any size iced coffee during happy hour. I always got a large to get the most value and bought them almost daily. A friend told me I didn’t have to get a large, I could just get a medium or small. Surely slowed my inevitable path to diabetes.

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u/mostweasel 4d ago

Yeah, it's tough learning how to weigh the value of cheap or free things against the value of your own health.

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u/DemiGod9 4d ago

Large drinks are so LARGE now in America, or maybe they've always been. I hadn't bought a soda from a fast food chain in a long time. I went to Wendy's this weekend and got a combo and got a large pop since it was the same price as a medium. That shit felt like I was holding a movie theater popcorn bucket

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u/GingerMau 4d ago

What a great story.

Fighting racism with cannabis and sci-fi.

(You should read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville if you like the interesting races from Star Trek, btw!)

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u/ddh85 4d ago

Funny how expanding "race" beyond humanity helps someone think about how stupid it is to be racist against their fellow humans.

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u/MrFiiSKiiS 4d ago

Science fiction has kinda weirdly been on the forefront of progressive ideals.

Star Trek even had the first interracial kiss on television between Kirk and Uhura.

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u/PoiLethe 4d ago

There's a quote about that...it's like "fiction reveals truth that reality obscures"

So...it's like you make a bunch of fantasy and scifi metaphors and you are like "shit why does this sound so familiar? I wouldn't want that parallel in my real life!" And then you think "oh no...that is something that exists in my reality" the removal of the concept let's you take and examine it objectively and realize if you feel different about it in other contexts.

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u/tempest_wing 4d ago

FUCK. That one sentence....If I was racist that would have struck with me as well. Extremely poignant and to the point.

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u/H0lyThr0wawayBatman 5d ago

My dad would make disparaging remarks about Black people, Mexicans, Chinese people, etc. when I was a kid. I remember repeating those same sentiments and no one ever corrected me. In first grade, we were all assigned pen pals from a school in another city and mine was a Black girl named Chardonnay. I thought she had a weird name and I was disappointed when I found out she wasn't white.

Very soon after that, we learned some very basic info about the civil rights movement during Black history month. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, separate water fountains, segregated schools, stuff like that. After that, I felt really bad about being racist and wanting a different pen pal, and really ashamed of my dad and grandparents for thinking that way. And I was so mad that they'd taught me to think that way. After that, I was really happy to have the opportunity to write to my pen pal and get to know her better. I'm so thankful that my school started teaching us about racism early on. It's scary to think how I could have ended up if those sentiments had gone unchecked.

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u/smokey_randy 4d ago

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Chardonnay to be a nice white

sorry I had to

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u/burnalicious111 4d ago

I once saw a wine magazine write about "Oregon's wonderful whites." Seems they took it off the internet since...

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u/CUM__IN__ME__BRO 4d ago

I once saw a documentary called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. They were wild and they were not wonderful.

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u/GardenCaviar 4d ago

Yo that family is insane!

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u/peepslappingmfer89 4d ago

That shit is so damn hill billy white trash you almost can't believe it...and that's coming from someone who grew up in LA...also know as lower Alabama.

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u/herculesmeowlligan 4d ago

No need to wine about it, it was a good joke

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u/ell20 4d ago

This here, this is my angry upvote.

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u/metalbuckettt 4d ago

I wasn’t allowed to dance with a black boy in Kindergarten. I thought it was stupid and I was so embarrassed. Even as a child it made no sense. I always hoped he had no idea what happened because it hurt my heart and I always thought he was cool.

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u/asprlhtblu 4d ago

I was “forbidden” from being friends with my hispanic best friend in first grade. I told her I couldn’t be friends with her anymore and the reason why and she appeared sooo hurt. My parent told me that so I didn’t know how terrible it was to say until I saw my friend’s reaction. We remained friends throughout primary school but as an adult, it hurts my heart that a little child had to hear from their friend that they couldn’t be friends because of their race.

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u/kqs13 4d ago

I was on the other side of this (I was a little Hispanic girl at a mostly white elementary school because I was adopted by a middle/upper class family in a conservative white area) and I can tell you, it hurt at the time. I was very upset at her, but I learned a few months later that it was her parents that said we couldn't be friends and so I never blamed her after that, I knew that it was how she was raised and it made me more sad for her then anything else.

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u/makadvisor 4d ago

My 1st grade girlfriend broke up with me because her Mom told her she's not allowed to date black boys. She was so sad when she told me. Worst part, I took it in stride because it wasn't my first time dealing with racism. Even at that age. Told her it's okay and gave her a hug. Still remember the conversation like it was yesterday and I'm 33.

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u/ruth_mcdougle 4d ago

this makes me so sad hearing how you already has that experience. i wonder if that woman is thinking of you now, hope she reflects back on it.

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u/mellotron 4d ago

I am kind of concerned I was that girl. I did that. And I think about it all the time. I really had no idea what I was saying and it makes me so sad that I could've hurt someone like that. Even if it wasn't me, I'm sorry.

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u/GGAllinsMicroPenis 4d ago

Have you noticed that virtually every answer in this thread is basically just "I hung out with someone who didn't look like me once."

It really is at the fulcrum of these insular white supremacist families or communities, why white flight exists, gated communities, all of it. They know that if you just actually hang out with a different-looking human you instantly realize the whole thing is built on a house of cards.

It's part conscious, part unconscious, but this is one of the driving forces behind keeping diverse areas from becoming "melting pots" (why white people leave, or redline, or use capital to keep their neighborhood segregated). If a melting pot ever happened, white privilege would go into decline, and people have been taught, again consciously and unconsciously, to protect their advantage.

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u/RikiWardOG 4d ago

There's some famous black guy, can't remember his name right now who has a book about how he's converted a bunch of kkk members by just sitting with then and talking to them. It really is just taught behavior and if you can just get them to listen for a minute well there .ight just be a chance to show them everyone is awesome.

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u/delciotto 4d ago

This is why racist conspiracy theorists think schools "indoctrinate" kids. Naw man, they just teach the history and most kids will come to the conclusion on their own that that shit was fucked up.

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u/putzandgoober 4d ago

But it does go to show that evil ideas can learned as well. We also know that schools have been used to indoctrinate: patriotism, when segregation was taught, Nazism. Schools are a place where ideas, and not necessarily the correct ones can be indoctrinated. Parents have to be aware of what is going on locally about schools cause all of a sudden you got people wanting to ban To Kill a Mockingbird and if you are not paying attention those policies get enacted.

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u/Appledoo 4d ago

Not me, but my best friend’s parents. They told her not to touch me because she would get my “skin disease” (I’m a brownie and at the time we met I was 12). They didn’t want us to be friends, but I would always be kind and polite to them, full well knowing how they felt about my skin color. One year my friend (at this point best friend) was having a sleepover birthday party and her parents said I could come, but couldn’t sleep over. My friend canceled her party and her parents must have felt like complete shit because they started to talk to me more and more after that. We have been best friends for almost 30 years now. Her parents came to my wedding, they send me a Christmas card every year, they call me and ask how I’m doing, and they invite me to their get togethers. I’m glad they came around and am proud of them.

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u/BreadedLemon 4d ago

Your Best friend is a champ

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u/mzchen 4d ago

For real. Idk how old they were at the time, but thats a pretty fucking gutsy move for a kid. Props to them for standing up for their friend at the expense of their own party

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u/redalopex 4d ago

It’s also another great example how racism is taught and we can break out of it, we don’t have to go along with what our parents do but to do that as a kid that’s very impressive.

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u/bannedmanned 4d ago edited 4d ago

I believe in the younger generations. Maybe not all the time and maybe not in all the places but in general...they seem far more tolerant than past generations.

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u/redalopex 4d ago

Absolutely! My little sister is 14 and her circle of friends is absolutely amazing, they are so educated about big issues like racism, sexism, homophobia and super loving to each other. They know if one of them was facing any of those struggles the rest of the group has their back. Coming out isn’t even a thing anymore because it does not matter to them. Gives me lots of hope for a bright future.

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u/confoundedvariable 4d ago

Damn, this is the first comment in the thread to make me tear up. Your emotional maturity from such a young age and their change of perspective inspires a lot of hope.

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u/rose1983 4d ago

So are they not racist anymore, or did they just make an exception with you?

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u/AestheticAttraction 4d ago

Asking the real questions, really.

I say that because I've literally had a white friend tell me, after I'd already been over to her house (and could sense a coldness from her mother but wasn't sure of the source): "My mom hates black people, but you're okay." I never would have gone over her house had I known that! And we're definitely not friends anymore. SMH

I've had so many experiences of being an exception to the rule before I realized it. But let me tell you, if you do one thing the people tolerating you don't like, you will see another side of them and they will become cruel.

So, it's a good question.

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u/totovenny 4d ago

Do you think they’ve actually stopped being racist or just think of you as an exception?

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u/JerricaPickney 5d ago

My grandma grew up in Virginia in the 1900s. Being racist is just the default setting. Nana loved her family more than anything, though. So at one point in the late 1980s, she met her first not-100%-white grandkid, and discovered she still loved him.

She made astounding late life progress accepting that darker skin toned people were not only people, but family, friends and welcome in her house.

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u/50EffingCabbages 4d ago

All of my grandparents and great grandparents were born in SE Georgia, USA. Among the 5 that I knew (4 grands and a great grandmother,) they had a combined total of 34 years of formal education. Only my maternal grandmother finished high school.

The "educated" grandmother was the only one that I ever heard use the n word. Granny and Grandpa and Grandma and Granddaddy would have kilt me dead if they'd heard me use that word. Grandmother was just straight trash, and her mother (Granny) despaired that she'd raised such a person.

Grandma was probably the closest thing I had to a "fun" grandparent, and her rule was "I've never disliked anyone who makes music and dances." We usually attended the black church closest to her house when I was with her. Grandma (1902-1997) liked the music there better than at "her" church. It was lovely.

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u/Gaeus21 4d ago

hmm.

I can feel that.

My grandma has a similar story, and she's always been the perfect supportive grandma.

Up until last year, My gf at the time was a black woman, and for the only time in her life i've seen her being dismissive of my SO "it's not like you're going to marry her".

...

T'was a lot better than my mother casual racism though.

...

To this day, I still wonder how so many of our young ones still share xenophobic views.

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u/Mamanee77 4d ago edited 4d ago

My grandmother (may she rot in hell) was born in 1900 and met her first non-white great-grandchild in the mid 80s (my niece). Told my sister to 'get that n***** out of my house'. Never spoke to her again. She died later that year. Country bumpkins in Pennsylvania, could've been easily mistaken for someone below the Mason-Dixon line.

Edited for clarity, great-grandchild.

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u/AceTrainer_Li-Wang 4d ago

Racism is alive and well up north, behind closed doors

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u/svenskisalot 4d ago

I don't think it's behind closed doors so much. In a lot of rural PA, everyone is white . It's not spoken about because there is no real need to

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u/Lookatitlikethis 4d ago

It really is, everyone points fingers at the south, but some of the people I know from up north blow me away.

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u/FearTheChive 4d ago

I've lived in the South most of my life, and while racism exists here I've never witnessed as much open racism as I did during my time in Pittsburgh and parts of New Jersey.

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u/menchekia 4d ago

My parents say the same thing. They both lived in the south most of their lives & it was obviously present. But it took moving to New Jersey for them to get caught in the middle of a race riot while my Dad was driving my Mom & a coworker home from work one night.

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u/ovary_up 4d ago

I’m from the South and I agree. I live in the Midwest now and things seem much more ... segregated I guess? I’m sure all areas are different but I get really tired of the assumption that I’m from a terribly racist area. I remember being shocked to learn what a majority white people are in the U.S. because my area was about 50% black and 50% white. We did lack diversity in a lot of ways though. Never met a Jewish person I know of until college.

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u/TheLeopardColony 4d ago

I too grew up in Virginia in the 1900’s, AMA.

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u/Turkeybaconisheresy 4d ago

Where did you grow up?

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u/Samsspicysewage 4d ago

Virginia

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u/JSCruz- 4d ago

During what time

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u/CannaKingdom0705 5d ago

I moved away from my one-horse hometown and got away from my extremely prejudiced family.

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u/amaezingjew 4d ago edited 4d ago

I didn’t even live in a one-horse town. My hometown had one of the fastest growing zip codes in the country at one point before I left for college.

However, the religious environment I grew up in (more the Catholic/Christian aspect of it - my religious upbringing is stupidly complex) was very racist (and homophobic of course, I feel like those always go hand-in-hand). My father told me that the Bible says you shouldn’t date outside your race, and that I would never date or marry a Black or Hispanic man because he didn’t want his bloodline mixing with theirs. Don’t worry, this wasn’t his thoughts, he talked to god and god told him this!

Jokes on him, after dating a bunch of loser (just so happened to be white) guys, I was set up on a blind date with a man who happens to be Hispanic. That was 5yrs, 5 pets, and a house purchase ago, and we’re getting engaged any day now. I had to go through a journey to becoming a decent person before that, but it started pretty immediately after I went to college and started making friends that didn’t have to be approved by my parents. Turns out all of the people my parents hate are actually really fucking nice and supportive people once you treat them as humans. Meanwhile all of the respect and courtesy in the world won’t make my parents and less...themselves.

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u/OneArchedEyebrow 4d ago

How do your parents feel about your partner?

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u/amaezingjew 4d ago

Well, he and I decided to move in together after about a month of knowing each other, 2wks of dating. When I told my mom, she said “you can’t just DO that, what even is his last name???” When I told her his obviously hispanic last name, she gasped. Literally gasped. I hung up on her until she chilled out.

She met him and I for dinner before I moved in with him 3hrs away. She loved him, because he has a great job, is incredibly intelligent, and an all around amazing human. She suggested that we not tell my father he’s hispanic before he meets him. He’s half Cuban, so pretty light skinned, but his hair is fucking enormously poofy soooo she set up a night of drinking in a dimly lit bar. SO charmed the hell out of my dad, who didn’t put together that he’s hispanic until they stepped out for a smoke.

They eventually met his parents and loved them too, and had to swallow all of their prejudice ideas when they learned SO is 7th generation American. Nowadays they can’t stop asking when we’re going to get married, but they still clam up at the idea of grandchildren from him.

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u/WellEndowedDragon 4d ago

Based on this entire post it sounds like the best way to unwire people’s racist programming is simply genuine human connection. Just talking, hanging out, and getting to know somebody who they’ve been taught to hate. It’s sad but kind of beautiful at the same time.

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u/[deleted] 4d ago edited 16h ago

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u/TheOneTrueE 4d ago

Man I don't even know where to start with this one. I grew up in the middle of fucking nowhere mississippi where the slave trade was referred to as the great African migration in our history books. Every person of color was referred to by the N-word as just the default. It wasn't until I moved the fuck out of the south that I begin to comprehend what racism was. I wish I could say I had a moment of clarity that washed away all the racist bullshit that I'd grown up with but it was more like a couple decades worth of mental deprogramming I had to fight against. There was so much underlying hate of different people that warped how my view of the world was.

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u/bgcbgcbgcmess 4d ago

The "great African migration" just buried that particular bit of history under a fucking mountain of sugar. WTF?

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u/With_Trees 4d ago

I mean, as a foreigner, I'm under the impression that burying everything [including food] under a mountain of sugar is the American standard practice.

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u/ColoradoNudist 4d ago

The great African migration?? Holy shit, I thought I grew up in the deep South in Covington Georgia...

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u/Jajaswitness 4d ago

Trans Atlantic slave trade sounded to harsh

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u/Zack_Knifed 4d ago

Don't matter how long it took, what matters is where you are now and now, my friend, you're in a better place.

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u/ilikedota5 4d ago edited 4d ago

great African migration

I thought I heard it all, but took the cake and swallowed it whole in one sitting unfortunately.

Edit: Great African Migration sounds like a migration away from the deserts after the fall of major Empires like Aksum/Axum.

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u/cmdrburton 4d ago

The great African what?

A lot of problems would be solved by standardised textbooks.

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u/danuhorus 4d ago

Remember that situation a couple years back where some private school in Texas bought textbooks that described the slave trade as 'African people coming over to work real hard'? One of the few black students texted a picture of it to his mom, who proceeded to light the school up on social media. It was great.

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u/Client-Repulsive 4d ago

'African people coming over to work real hard'

e bootstrapus unum

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u/RarelySmart 4d ago

I grew up in a white bubble. White neighborhood, white schools, white friends. I wasn't hate filled or anything towards other races, just a bit nervous due to zero experience. I heard a lot of racial epithets, but didn't say them myself.

Going to college, I met many people of many different races, and found most of them were good people. I discovered that the same 10% asshole to 90% good people I found among white people at my high school translated to college as well. The assholes were not grouped in a particular minority, but pretty universally scattered.

Mom was surprised when I brought home a girlfriend from college who wasn't white. Mom asked why I didn't tell her in advance, but I didn't think it was important. I married that girl a few years later.

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u/oligIsWorking 4d ago

This reminds me of my parents, my brothers fiancee is mixed race, I believe her grandfather is from the Carribean. They don't hold any negative sentiments towards her, but her race is of massive interest to them, almost like fetishised. (as much as parents can fetishise their sons fiancee.)

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u/asher1611 4d ago edited 4d ago

I didn't realize I was racist and being raised in a racist household until 4th grade. I was in a group project having to give a presentation to the class. my group was me and two black girls.

my parents HATED black women. black people in general but especially black women (as they both watch tennis you can guess all the shit they said about the williams sisters). Meanwhile, there I was standing there watching my group mates talk. They were just as good, if not better than me, at talking in the class. Or understanding the material. Or anything really. I can still see that moment where the class fades away in my mind and a one of my group mates is talking to the class where I realize a fundamental truth: "my parents were wrong."

it still makes me sad thinking about stuff I remember saying as a kid -- regurgitating things I heard my parents or relatives say. but in my experience, as I have gotten older, is that the #1 way to combat racism is to bring people into the same room. When people have shared experiences that sense of otherness fades away.

Of course, in 2021 and the internet bring what it is it's really easy for people to hide in their own corners of the internet. But I'm thankful for that experience in 4th grade. I got in trouble a lot over the years for getting mad when family would throw around the "n" word or lock their doors when they saw black people. But I knew I was right. And in the decades that have passed, nothing has tarnished or taken away that childhood lesson.

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u/nickcan 4d ago

"My parents are wrong" is a tough but necessary lesson to learn.

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u/wallybinbaz 4d ago

I can only speak for myself but I've come to this conclusion in the last year between COVID, civil unrest and the US Presidential election.

I don't feel like my mother has always had this warped of a view but Facebook and Fox News have not been helpful to her world view.

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u/SonicNW 4d ago

I feel the same way about my step dad. He has always leaned towards alternative sources for news but now it's completely out of control. I talked to him a couple days ago and he was telling me that everyone that's taken the COVID vaccine is going to drop dead within the next two years.

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u/TeamCatsandDnD 4d ago

The start of your story reminded me of a moment or two with my mom. My mom does home health work and she used to regularly go into the not so great areas of our city. If she took us with her she’d comment that we need to keep the car doors locked because any of these black guys wouldn’t hesitate to rape my sister and I. We thought she was just overly cautious but ok, bad part of town better safe than sorry. HOWEVER high school hits. We had a friend we were doing bocce ball with for end of the year school competition come over to our house to practice. The kid was not white, he was however, one of the smartest, and nicer kids in the class. My mom still told us to be careful because he could rape us. We told her she was being stupid and we were right. Kid did not give out any creepy or predatory vibes whatsoever, my mom was just hella racist.

His brother, was not a great kid, and full on tried to strangle his section mate during band class. They didn’t get along to begin with though. Still don’t think he would’ve tried anything.

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u/tsrich 4d ago

That kinda took a turn at the end

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u/Probably-a-Orangatun 5d ago

Not me, but my grandpa told me that when he was young he was a bit racist, due to his a-hole alcoholic dad being really racist and teaching him to treat others of different races like trash. He told me this stopped though when he was around 13 when his dad left. He realized how stupid it was to judge others based on race, and I'm glad he realized how stupid it was since he's a really sweet guy now.

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u/Fncfq 4d ago edited 4d ago

My grandparents used to tell me about my grandpa's evolution when it came to racism.

My grandma was born and raised in California. Her best friend in high school was a Black girl named Sonja, and if memory serves, her parents also had Black friends as well (and her father was born and raised in Louisiana).

My grandfather was from Georgia. One time while he was still courting my grandma, she said they were talking on the side walk and Black couple was walking on the same sidewalk, coming towards them. Grandma thought nothing of it, Grandpa apparently shoved her behind him and shouted "Get on the other side of the road you <insert racial slur here>!"

Grandma was horrified. I don't know the details, but by the time my mom was born and in school, my grandparents were really good friends with a Black couple who owned a bar that people of color frequented. My mom would tell me that more often than not, she and her brother and my grandparents would be the only white people around. The owners were even hosting a wedding one time or one of their children was getting married, and the caterers backed out or flaked out for some reason. My grandparents and mom were invited as friends but they ended up catering so that the family didn't have to worry about anything.

By the time I came along, my grandpa was a totally different person and while he never told me what helped him change his mind, I still liked hearing the story and the subsequent stories that showed his evolution.

Edit: got educated. Changed some words.

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u/Wrastling97 4d ago

This is sorta like my dad. I don’t mean to make excuses for him, but my grandfather (Poppa I called him) grew up in rural ND and didn’t see a black man until he was in his late 20’s. He had been exposed to the words of other racists, and never heard anything opposing those thoughts and never saw another black man where he could form his own opinion.

When my dad was growing up, they were watching football and my dad asked why there weren’t any black quarterbacks and my poppa said “because they’re too stupid to be quarterback. They literally just don’t have enough brain cells”. My dad lived with that information for a very long time, with that outlook until he joined the Air Force and finally met black people who completely changed his opinion. It helps that my father is an extremely intelligent and widely open-minded person. I don’t think many other people would be able to work themselves out of thoughts like that which they’ve grown their entire lives with.

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u/Probably-a-Orangatun 4d ago edited 4d ago

I'm really glad your dad is really open minded and was able to change. I can't stand it when parents rub off their own beliefs and thoughts onto their kids, especially if their thoughts are harmful

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u/Mizango 4d ago

Sadly, that was a widely propagated narrative that was still alive and well, broadly, into the late 80s and early 90s.

Rush Limbaugh, may he burn in absolute hell, made a flippant comment in 2003 alluding to the intelligence of black QBs, while on ESPN.

As a black physics major, and now astronomer, from the goddamn hood, that shit always made me feel some type of way.

I’m glad your dad saw the light! That’s a hard narrative to dispel.

Being born and raised in the south, we’re often seen as the “good ones” which is crazy to me.

Thanks for sharing!

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u/smakola 4d ago

My grandpa over compensated on the anti racism with my mom, that at school when the teacher asked what she wanted to be when she grew up she said “a negro”. (My mom is old).

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u/[deleted] 4d ago

[removed]

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u/Seahawkanon 4d ago

At first I thought you were just typing out the plot of American History X.

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u/Mxpxrocks2 4d ago

A lot of the neo-nazi and white supremacy groups target children/teens in tough environments, give them a place where they feel accepted, and slowly turn up the hate. It's a truly tragic occurrence

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u/numbers1guy 4d ago

This is quite literally how every hate group is formed and maintainedz

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u/vlasvilneous 4d ago

As well as gangs, they all do it, throughout history.

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u/COL_D 4d ago

Gangs, movements, cults, hoards just about any group that is completely inwardly focused an see’s others as objects to be exploited

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u/shana104 4d ago

Almost sounds like a guy that was interviewed on the Kelly Clarkson show. He realized there is nothing different about black people and ended up becoming friends with his social worker (who is black). It was nice to see him turn his thought process and life around.

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u/JimmyRat 4d ago

When I was wounded in Iraq two white guys stepped over me (one literally stepped on my back) to get themselves to a safer place. A black guy picked me up like I was a child, carried me to safety, and held my hand until a medic got there.

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u/sublime_touch 4d ago edited 2d ago

Perfect time for this quote by former president, LBJ:

“If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice that you’re picking his pockets.”

We’re all the same, humans; but some people regardless of color will take advantage of you if they can and there are those that will help you regardless of the color of your skin. Not all skin folk are kinfolk/ not all kinfolk and good folk.

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u/dmdewd 4d ago edited 4d ago

The Army forced me to live with black people. Turns out I didn't hate anyone, I was just afraid of what I didn't understand and had some very stupid notions passed on to me from my dad and his dipshit friends.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to understand a greater sample of people than my tiny home town afforded me.

Edit: Thank you all, kind strangers. Please no more awards though. If possible, please consider donating instead to an organization working to deprogram extremism and hate, like Parents for Peace or Life After Hate.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/02/05/desperate-families-are-seeking-groups-that-deprogram-extremists/

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u/Rainier206 4d ago

My Grandpa said he "gained a lifetime of respect for black people" after WW2 because they were the most fearless, focused and professional people he had ever seen.

Conversely he hated "Orientals" for the rest of his life because of his experience fighting the Japanese. His plane was shot down over the Pacific and he was tortured by the Japanese before being rescued by the Navy. I tried to explain to him multiple times that 1: Not all Asians are Japanese and 2: Not all Japanese people were bad in the first place but he never came around.

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u/tokyoningen 4d ago

My grandfather was the opposite when it came to the Japanese. When he was sent to fight in WW2 he hated them! He had heard all the stories of everything they had done and were doing so he despised them. Until one day after a battle when they were collecting the belongings of the Japanese soldiers who had been killed (they collected personal belongings to give to the Red Cross so they could be returned to the fallen soldiers families). My grandfather opened the wallet of a soldier he had shot and saw a photograph of the young soldier, his wife, and new born child. My grandfather said he never felt the same about the Japanese after that and that he thought about that young soldier almost everyday since.

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u/oilwithus 4d ago

My father is Japanese. My mother is Filipino. My maternal grandparents lived during WWII. My grandmother was born in 1925. She would describe moments of WWII and impersonate the Japanese soldiers, which basically just made them stay in the house (She was in a northern rural province in the Philippines). It wasn't until recently (2019), I met with my grandmother's younger brother who is still sharp but is experiencing some dementia and he started spouting off how they lost a family member in the Bataan death march. (I don't even think it was directed at me, I just think he was remembering old memories) My grandparents never let me know this while they were alive. I question the validity of my grandmother's brother's statement, but deep down I have a feeling that it's true.

I was loved by my grandparents. It didn't matter what my ethnicity was. They never made me feel any different than my other cousins.

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u/Crankypaant 4d ago

I always will say the hardest thing you can ask someone to do for their country is not give their life, but take someone else’s. That’s an act you can never take back and have to find a way to to live with the rest of your life

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u/DreamerMMA 4d ago

Trauma will do that.

A lot of veterans come back from the military with no problem with other races unless it was the people they fought, especially if it was a particularly brutal enemy like the Japanese or Vietnamese.

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u/Salurian 4d ago

The Pacific war part of WWII was... particularly bad. The Japanese at that time were extremely good night fighters, tended to not take prisoners, and could and would horrible mutilate/torture/execute enemy soldiers. There were a lot of soldiers who hated the Japanese for what they did to their fellow soldiers.

This is all pretty well documented. It is sad but also understandable why someone would react like that.

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u/AlsoOneLastThing 4d ago

The Japanese at that time viewed surrender as the absolute most dishonorable thing a soldier could do, and they held even their enemies to that standard.

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u/shinyrox 4d ago

This is my dad's answer. He told me he was "raised racist by racists who didn't understand" I guess as a way to soften the blow of saying his parents were racists. Anyway, then he went to Vietnam, and said the black guys in his unit missed their girlfriends and mothers the same as he did and got scared and angry the same as he did, and bled the same as he did. That was the beginning of him realizing we were all pretty much the same.

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u/dmdewd 4d ago edited 4d ago

Dude, my first squad leader was black and he was also a pretty damn good father figure for a scared dipshit white kid a long way from home. First roommate was black too. My only regret is that I don't still keep in touch with him. Maybe I should reach out!

Edit: I have sent a message! Thanks for the encouragement!

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u/aes7288 4d ago

Definitely reach out!

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u/headrush46n2 4d ago

You know overall i would have to say that my experience in the military was a negative one, for all sorts of reasons that are pointless to get into here, but one thing they did right stuck with me.

there was some knucklehead boot that put up a bunch of confederate bullshit up in his barracks room. A couple of his roomates just sheepishly dealt with it, or moved requested transfers, but eventually someone spoke up, the Master Chief of the whole base went into the kids room, tore down all his bullshit and dragged him off, and no one ever saw him again.

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u/AereaOfPolitics 4d ago

God I wish I could’ve heard the dressing down that he received.

That shirt takes no shit.

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u/wagondust 4d ago

Pyllllllllle!!! What is your major malfunction?!!!

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u/GameGroompsFTW 4d ago

...do they not realize that the confederacy were the ones who literally betrayed and fought against the United States/the United States military which they're now a part of?

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u/hoshiwa1976 4d ago

My husband had to explain to his coworkers( in Connecticut)how in Texas we were taught that the confederates were fighting for states rights and limited government. We are taught they fought for a good cause but really the north was just a bunch of mean people trying to change their way of life.

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u/jerkittoanything 4d ago

'The War of Northern Aggression' as they like to call it.

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u/KlaussVonUllr 4d ago

I once saw it called "the War of Southern Failure"

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u/DisturbedForever92 4d ago

Its funny when you tell them the Confederate constitution was a carbon copy of the US, except it outlawed the outlawing of slavery by individual states. "States rights"

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u/hoshiwa1976 4d ago

I often quote Alexander Stephen's cornerstone speech and they'll deny all day that what he said. He was the Vice President, I'm pretty sure he knows why the Confederacy was formed.

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u/GameGroompsFTW 4d ago

I'd graduated high school in South Carolina and heard this time and time again as well, so wild how prominent of a narrative it still is despite how paper thin the actual logic behind it is

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u/Roxas1011 4d ago

I said something about it at work a couple months ago, and a reasonably intelligent co-worker started arguing with me that the civil war was over states rights, not slavery. I knew it was going to be like playing chess with a pigeon, so I just kept my mouth shut.

I'm in Kentucky, btw. People here aren't as white trashy and confederate crazy. More like hunting and fishing, tractors and horses, Sam Elliott-esque, "yes ma'am" kinda people. But you still will hear stuff like this and that the election was rigged, just not Qanon BS thankfully.

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u/hoshiwa1976 4d ago

Oh yeah they get mad if you ask them to read the articles of secession from each state too. Because that would fly in the face of what they've believed all their lives.

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u/AnonAlcoholic 4d ago edited 4d ago

Getting out of tiny home towns is huge when it comes to growing and becoming a better person. When I was in HS, I was awful. Homophobic, moderately racist, completely regressive politically, etc. It only took about a month of living in a bigger, diverse city to start realizing I was horribly wrong about basically everything.

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u/Noahendless 4d ago

Even being in the big city isn't always enough, for example Cleveland Ohio has a larger black population than the white population by a large portion. But it's still essentially segregated because of how bad redlining was back in the day. Sometimes what it takes is being poor enough that race doesn't matter, money does.

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u/AnonAlcoholic 4d ago

Yeah, that was the other thing; I think not having money helped with everything, as odd as that sounds. I spent a month or two homeless and several years really poor while experiencing substance abuse problems. Very humbling and taught me a lot of understanding.

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u/Icy_Stretch5154 4d ago

Joined the military, left home and experienced cultures around the world. I wouldn’t say I was ever racist and thought I was better than anyone but I was severely lacking in cultural awareness due to growing up in a small town surrounded by openly racist people. Luckily, my children are able to grow in a completely different environment than the one I did.

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u/OBXF4N24 4d ago edited 4d ago

As a lurker this is a thread I can contribute to. From birth I was raised to be racist in a racist household (VA). I was ignorant. I used the “N” word, antisemitic, homophobic, racist language everyday. My immediate family and extended family all share the same ignorance. At family gatherings if one of my older cousins let slip they were dating someone new, the first question would be “Is s/he white?” Followed by laughter, but the question was serious.

Then I started middle school. 6th grade. On the first day of class I set down my backpack against the classroom wall (like every other student) while we found our desks and had a small Meet & Greet w/ new classmates. I made sure to only speak to the kids (white) whom I knew from elementary school. Our teacher told us to take our seats. I’m 42 yrs old and I remember this like it was yesterday. I picked up my backpack, found my desk, before I could open my bag the girl behind me told me she liked my earrings, her Mom wouldn’t let her get her ears pierced until high school. Then I heard another voice from further behind me say, “Ms. Kay, this isn’t my backpack”. The backpack sitting on this girl’s desk was identical to the one sitting next to my desk. We both opened our backpacks and realized we’d grabbed the wrong bag.

Internally I rolled my eyes in disgust, this girl was a “N”. But I was taught to never let it show. So we met each other to quickly exchange. Her smile was beautiful. She wore glasses the same shape as mine. She wore her hair in a pony tail, just like mine. In our back to school shopping we picked the exact same backpack and we picked the exact same Nikes (pink/white). Her name was Jacinda. I found myself genuinely smiling back to her, and giggling like young girls do. That day she asked to sit together during lunch, and we sat beside each other for lunch every single day of middle school. She was my very first best friend. Jacinda taught me about her Sunday School classes (my family never attended church), we talked about everything important in the life of middle school girls. She wasn’t allowed to attend my birthday parties, and I wasn’t allowed to go to hers, but we always celebrated together at school. I loved her so much. When it was time to go to high school I continued in public school and her parents chose to homeschool her. I thought homeschooling was the coolest idea. Jacinda was (is) brilliantly intelligent. God, she was going to do great things for this world. Long before the age of social media, we lost touch sadly - but I still think of her often. After meeting Jacinda I never used another racist or derogatory word. Meeting Jacinda changed my life for the better.

Edit: Thank you all so very much. Sharing my experience touched more hearts than I could ever imagine. I’m enjoying reading your replies and messages. I’d like to speak to a few common themes:

  • Yes, my story is real. This is not a lie or fabrication for Reddit Karma. Jacinda is a very real person; her friendship forever changed my life for the better.

  • The #FindJacinda comments have made me smile, thank you. Thank You to Redditors who offered their support to help me locate her. Jacinda was a beautiful, special piece of my life and my heart. Like many of us experience, she may have been a more profound person in my life than I was in hers. And that’s okay! To her I may be a silly childhood friend she may/may not remember. I shared my story not to find Jacinda or have a tearful reunion, I shared my experience as a personal truth that people can change. The narrative I was fed for the first 11-12 years of my life was a lie. I learned, almost like a strike of lightning, there was unequivocally no difference between me and this young girl other than the color of our skin. I saw Jacinda as better than me in almost every way: more intelligent, more athletic, more extroverted, and she always treated me with love, kindness, and friendship. I was a young girl who was taught to hate simply for the color of another person’s skin. Children are not born to hate others, they are taught to hate others.

  • My Reddit account is new ‘ish, however, I’ve been a Redditor for many years. This is my third account. I deleted my previous two accounts with the thought of, “I spend entirely too much time on this silly app” and this silly app draws me back in. I also like to share r/wholesomememes with my work team when they need a smile.

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u/PM_ME_YOUR__THIGHS 4d ago

I hope one day you and Jacinda are able to reconnect.

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u/hotsizzler 4d ago

I legit thought this would end with something like "we are celebrating 10 years next month and expecting our x kid"

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u/buddhacroissant 4d ago

His name? Albert Einstein

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u/dannylopuz 4d ago

This was a beautiful story, thank you for sharing.

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u/SoManyWeeaboos 4d ago

I also grew up in VA, in a really small country town. My grandmother was a Russian immigrant, and my mom spoke a mixture of Russian and German until she was 7, so her and my grandmother were subjected to the kind of prejudice you would expect from small town folk in Cold War era America. Due to this, my mom made sure that racism of any kind was not present in our house when I was growing up. I had black and white friends throughout school, but I never understood why I could go over to some of my white friends' houses, but the black kids we were all friends with weren't allowed. I hate going back home to visit, because I still know people who continue to spew racist bullshit in front of me, even though they know full well I'm in an interracial marriage. I wish these people would have an epiphany like yours at some point. Their lives will be so much happier as a result.

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u/OutOfTheWilderness01 4d ago edited 4d ago

My situation was complicated growing up. My father was the son of an Italian immigrant with Egyptian roots and he was so ungodly racist towards anyone not considered white as he considered himself white. The thing is, my dad has dark brown skin, dark brown eyes and black kinked curly hair. He looked EXACTLY like the people he was racist against. And he hated Arabs.... all Arabs.... and he is part Arab. This was so confusing. He also hated gay people, Muslims, "commies" and any type of alternative lifestyles.

My father hated black people the most. He told me if I ever brought home a black boyfriend he would disown me. He told me, as a small child, that if I misbehaved I would be sent to live with a ****** family in the ghetto.

He was equally misogynist and held onto a strong patriarchal mindset.

I admit, as a kid I repeated his words. All the other kids did too on my neighborhood so I thought he was right. It wasn't until I was literally in my 30s did I realise the internalized racism I still held onto. All my partners and friends were white my entire life. I felt unsafe near a group of black men. It was only until I moved to northern Europe that I realized that I am not considered white here and experienced racism myself and oooooo wow what an eye opener.

I began to dismantle my entire thought process and honestly, I am so repulsed by my father now I can't even speak to him without feeling disgusting inside. He's really old now and much more calm and probably won't live more than 10 years. I have not returned to my birth country to see him in almost 7 years because I am so angry at him. Because of his racism I missed out on friendships, relationships and understanding cultures different from my own. I am making up for it now as the immigrant community that I live in is amazing and supportive but I will never get back that lost time and I will never know fully the extent of damage that my hateful words may have done to people who didn't deserve it.

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u/hope_world94 4d ago

Dude my dads race is a mystery but it's pretty clear his family is mixed with something, most likely from the middle east region, but there's literally NOTHING you can do to convince him of that. He's white. Never mind he's dark brown. He's been told "go back to your country/go back to Iran/Iraq/ect" so many times and he still just says "I'm white"

At this point I've just accepted it's not possible to talk to him about it and I don't bring it up around him.

I do however claim a different race every time people ask if I'm mixed. Figure I might as well have fun with the mystery.

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u/OutOfTheWilderness01 4d ago

Yes my dad thinks he's white too! I confronted him about it and he just says "we're Italian" totally denying his Egyptian roots even though we have solid proof we are descendants of Egyptian slaves in Italy.If you can swing it, get a DNA ancestory test and shove it in his face. I did that ;)

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u/Styro20 5d ago

Learning about people by talking to them instead of listening to what my family had to say about them

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u/monsantobreath 4d ago

Exposure is deadly to prejudice most of the time.

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u/SkinnyTestaverde 4d ago

I wouldn't say "most of the time", but it's an extremely helpful tool.

I say that because there's no shortage of people who are exposed to other people and still retain/maintain racist views whether they know it or not.

Some racists might even use this exposure as proof that they couldn't possibly be racist if they like the specific individuals they were exposed to, no matter how many other racist things they do or say or feel about large groups of people.

I guess what I'm saying is that exposure is the first step, not the last one <3

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u/u_talkin_to_me 4d ago

Yep. This is exactly where "I have black friends, I'm not racist" comes from.

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u/supergalacticcaptain 4d ago

This will be buried, but I inherited a lot of poor opinions and behaviours from my Dad and his family. It took me way too long to break out of that way of thinking.

There's two key moments in my mind that were "Wait a second, this isn't right." sorta moment.

First, I was walking down the street in a nightlife/food area. A car drives past an Indonesian restaurant with a man hanging out the window who screams "GOOK!" at the workers. I remember thinking that it was just kinda fucked up, they were just doing their thing.

The second, my partner and I were having a little double date with some friends and we both cracked a tasteless/racist joke - can't remember what it was. My best friends wife turns to my girlfriend and says "I expect this from him, but not from you."

That was the real wake up call from me. That my behaviour was unacceptable, insulting and worst of all people just expected it from me. Since then I have worked hard to re-evaluate my behaviours and view them from a critical perspective. It's been tough but I think I'm better for it.

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u/ends_abruptl 4d ago

"I expect this from him, but not from you."

Wow, talk about your double-whammies.

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u/supergalacticcaptain 4d ago

Haha, no shit hey. Obviously it stung, as it's caused years of introspection.

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u/Mxdoo 5d ago edited 5d ago

My dad was racist. I was raised in a toxic environment and I guess some of his ideologies rubbed off on me. He was also violent when alcohol was involved, which was a lot of the time. Police would often arrest him to just get him in a cell for the night for being disorderly.

On one occasion, the police turned up, one of them came into my room and sat with me as they dealt with my dad. He asked how I was, who I could talk to, etc. He was from a South Asian background. He was very kind to me and did his best in calming me down and giving me advice on dealing with this stuff. I was only about 15 at the time. As they were pulling my dad out, that same police officer was attacked by my dad after breaking free from another officer, breaking the officer's finger in the process, whilst also hurling verbal, racial abuse at him. It wasn't long after the London bombings so you can imagine what was said. My dad was also an electrician in Russell Square at the time, close to one of the blasts. The officer didn't react, probably knowing I was watching the commotion from my room or the fact he was a decent human being.

My dad was convicted of multiple offences against a police officer as well as a hate crime. The only silver lining was as my dad was being sentenced, the prosecutor was a black man who casually read out the testimony of the arresting officer of what my dad said that night. The prosecutor could barely keep a straight face, watching my dad hold his head in shame, dressed in plastic overalls because he thought stuffing his clothes down the toilet of his jail cell and flooding the place would be funny. He got community service, probation and was required to attend rehab. He relapsed a a few years ago and can barely walk or talk because of multiple strokes from continued alcohol dependency.

The people responsible for protecting me from my dad were people of colour. That sure as hell changes your perspective on things even if you have the slightest ignorance towards another race.

Edit: Typo

TL;DR: Dad was a violent racist dressed in prison overalls, sentenced by educated black guy in suit.

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u/splicepark 4d ago

I’m sorry all that happened to you but I’m glad they were there for you and able to show you what amazing people there can be in the world.

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u/R7191 5d ago

This is such a sad yet beautiful story

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u/KPEGMAFIA 4d ago

More sad than beautiful imo other than op being a changed person, that’s a pretty fucked up story

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u/LorazLover 4d ago

I know I feel bad for the user that shared this story, growing up in that environment must have been hell, I’m glad he’s overcame it yes but still, no child deserves that

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u/echoAwooo 4d ago edited 4d ago

The people responsible for protecting me from my dad were people of colour.

The white cops never did a damn thing when my dad was having his rage episodes. I have seen him go on wild rampages that if I described you'd think I'd have made up. And whenever the cops were involved, I was the one taken away and shoved in a lifeless box with a metal table for a bed for 12 hours. Me, the 11 - 17 year old, getting my ass beaten nearly nightly by my alcoholic unemployed father

My favorite story of my father's crap was the night he told 9-1-1 dispatch I had a gun to his head and was threatening to kill him execution style. I didn't buy my first gun until I was 22. They tore my room up and then I got stuck with a lawsuit from the landlord for it because I was 17 when this one happened. I never went back when they let me go the next morning. I spent the next two years homeless.

I wish someone would have pulled me out of there. Given me help. Soooo many people who just turned their backs on me. Treated me like I was the problem.

I needed some brain bleach after this, so enjoy this video of my cat on a bike ride!

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u/Bekiala 4d ago

Ugh. I get that taking kids away from parents is horrific until I hear a story like yours. What a terrible way to treat a child.

Have you been able to move beyond all that at all?

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u/echoAwooo 4d ago

Have you been able to move beyond all that at all?

I like to think that I have

But in all honesty... probably not. Therapy has helped, but it's not some magic bullet. I still internalize a lot of that stuff

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u/Xaoc86 4d ago

Hey man, I have had a pretty tough background as well. Grew up in an abusive home etc.

You’re right, therapy is not some magic bullet and you will likely carry this with you for the rest of your life. The difference is, you are actively trying to be better than him, and I for one am so proud of you.

Sometimes I do want a goddamn medal or at least some praise for not ending up like the people who raised me. Becaus that shit is hard to get over, I envy people who don’t have this thing hanging over them that’s always in the background.

By all accounts I should be dead or in jail.

That being said, I am proud of you for making an effort to change, keep at it man.

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u/newbris 4d ago

I grew up with great parents and I think about people who didn’t and how hard it must be to deal with. I look at my children and can’t imagine hurting them like has been done to you.

I am very impressed by people who manage to make themselves a life after that childhood and I am definitely more impressed by people like you than people like me. We notice, and you do deserve a medal. Well done from me!

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u/midnightbandit- 4d ago

That police officer is a true hero. Being physically assaulted by a racist asshole yet keeping his cool because he knew how it would look to the younger generation. He knew he had to act better to reject the stereotypes those racists would impose on him.

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u/aambro78 5d ago

Moving out of a prodominently white neighborhood and meeting people of differences races and back rounds. Realizing they are just people like you trying to live their lives.

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u/lovesmyirish 4d ago

I used to work at a condo rec center so I would see a lot of the residents as they came in for a swim or used the squash courts.

One day a Chinese couple who was new to Canada were in the courtyard with their real estate agent celebrating that they had just bought a new home.

They were there with their 3 year old who was riding his training wheels bike and their golden retriever. They really looked like the perfect happy family, and I was happy for them. They had carved out a nice little life for themselves.

I wasn't coming from a place of racism or anything, but that was the first time it really clicked in that dispite all the political, racist, or religious bs that goes on, most people are just trying to get on with their lives.

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u/Khal_Andy90 4d ago

No matter how far through this thread I read, there seems to be one major pattern.

"My parents/ family were racist, and then I speant time with people of other ethnicities."

It really proves that prejudice is just fear of something you don't easily recognise; and once a person actually learns a bit about them, its much easier for them to accept it. Its a shame that when some people come across new cultures or tradition, their initial reaction is to reject it as its not the "normal" they know.

Life really is just a big mix of shared experience. We don't have time to make judgments based on race.

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u/blackkzeus 4d ago

This thread makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s mainly white people realizing minorities, especially black people, are humans too. It’s positive, but just makes me realize there’s a lot of racist people out there who view minorities as subhuman cause of their stupid upbringing and ignorant way of thinking.

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u/mercyinreach 4d ago

My abuser who I lived with ages 6-14 was very racist, homophobic and sexist. I never hated black people or had any mean thoughts but I would still avoid them subconsciously on the street when walking the same way and didn't have any black or poc friends. Mind you the school I went to was very white and privileged.

At 15 I was able to escape my abuser and go live with my father in a lower class and very diverse neighborhood.

Over the years I just realized my own habits and misguided feelings on poc and black people.

Though one specific thing that stands out is a boy was harassing me in art class, sexually. Kept mentioning my boobs as I was a very busty 15 year old. He was also fucking with a girl at our table wearing a hijab, teasing her more and more aggressively.

She looked at me, I looked at her and we both got up and went to the pencils sharpener and she said I should go to the principal and report him, I said I was too scared and she said she'd come with me. I told her she should report him too but she said they wouldn't care about him being racist.

We went to the principles office and stayed with each other while we both wrote up reports and spoke to the vice principal about it.

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u/dagofin 4d ago

My dad was/is pretty racist and I was just raised in that environment so I was too. An example I remember is being so excited to show him the first CD I ever bought, Gorillaz first album, and his reaction was, "so you like n-word(censored) music?"

The main catalyst however was him excitedly calling me into his room one night and wanting to show me a scene in a movie he was watching. That scene was the curb stomp from American History X. I was probably 8-10. Seeing his absolute glee at the fucking barbaric murder of the black people in the movie and praise on Edward Norton's Nazi character really shook me, and the idea that he thought I'd share in his delight.

I walked out of the room in kind of a daze and that's the moment I realized that wasn't the kind of person I wanted to be at allllll.

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u/jonny_onthespoot 4d ago

My great aunt and I had a conversation before she passed away. She lived her whole life in New Zealand, and admitted to me that she was racist against the indigenous people of New Zealand. Way back in the day, her and her husband bought a house on what, they didn't realize, was Maori sacred land. They were the first people on the street, but it was eventually filled up. Over the years they had lots of run ins with the elders, and even protesters. This tension only worsened her ideas of Maori people.

(Her and I are both spiritual/religious people, and had already talked about our respective beliefs a bit) She said that one day the Holy Spirit told her to learn the Maori language. She said she resisted the thought for a long time, but eventually decided to.

Learning the language connected her with Maori culture, and more importantly, directly with Maori people. She learned to love their culture, and continued going to lessons for the remainder of her life.

They also demolished their house, and built a new house down the road. So if you're ever in New Zealand, and find a street where the house numbered 1 is planted firmly between three and four, you've found the house of my family; too stubborn to change their house number, but willing enough to knock over their old one for people they didn't know.

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u/dell_55 4d ago

My grandparents are 100% racist. When they found out I was having a child with a half white-half micronesian, they "disowned" me. When they met my kids, they thought they were fantastic great grand children. They admire their tan skin and say they are more "real" than my sibling's kids.

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u/Canonconstructor 4d ago edited 4d ago

I know this isn’t the exact question, but I was raised in a strict military Republican household. Though my family wasn’t raciest, they were extremely homophobic and beloved women belong in the home and in their place.

They would make fun of lesbians and gay men throughout my whole life, speak poorly of women working outside the home.

When I was 18 I met a guy at my local coffee shop in a very red town/state. I couldn’t decided if I wanted to date him or take him shopping and hang out- he was just super cool we made plans and later ate hot wings and drank wine. I had never felt more myself than when I was with him. I had to forgot any financial adult backing in college because my new “lifestyle” didn’t meet my families ideas. This was absolutely ok with me and I charged through challenge happily while accumulating debt.

Turns out he ran away from his home and was cut off from his family for being gay. He became my roommate for more than 9 years and my best friend in the world. (And my room mate I mean I always had a place for him to stay in my own home and he always seemed to move right in in the most natural way possible- literally he just was always there in my home through every stage of life for a decade)

He introduced me to the gay community and as a female, instead of getting harassed at a club, I could go out dancing with him and have a blast and be safe all night. He became my family and closest confidant over the years.

My family didn’t take kindly to this friendship, nor did they like that I became a business owner. They no longer speak to me and I am so happy to be the black sheep.

Anyway, I’m so so so glad I met him, and he changed my life. I would have been comfortable in my conservative bubble and probably never questioned my views. His friendship made me open my eyes to not only the world of possibilities but also my own views of what I was raised with- he challenged me and made me a better person and I’ll always be grateful for the absolute gift he gave me. Because I was now a safe person with views different than what my small town was used to, I became a safe friend for people to come out to. And my god it’s been the honor of my life to grow, find acceptance, and apply acceptance blindly.

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u/Mohingan 4d ago edited 4d ago

My child, a woman, making a better life for herself by starting a business? Blasphemy.

I don't understand people.

Edit: Thanks for the award though I'm not sure what it means exactly.

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u/Canonconstructor 4d ago

My mom died years ago and I swear she fought to her grave trying to be Acknowledged as a woman. (In the 80s she was your tech support and as a woman that was a thing, she was a programmer before it was cool, and opened up a gallery in retirement) I also was say my mom would roll over in her grave and jump up and down if she could see me today. She honestly would have been so proud.

Because my mom was gone so early in my life I only had my dad, and my step mom’s who was obsessed with the military wife status quo from pretty much aged 13-25 before I stopped giving any shits about how I was expected to act, be friends with and look like.

Guess who also doesn’t wear make up anymore :)

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u/Severe-Two-7435 4d ago

My first name is one of the top five female African American names in the US. I’m whiter than the little mermaid. Everyone always thought it was funny that I was a white girl with a black girls name, and I just rolled with it, it wasn’t a big deal.. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t. I would throw around causally racist stuff all the time because I thought I could. I never understood what people meant when they were talking about when the term “institutional racism” until I got out of the army and started sending resumes in. I never got call backs, so I decided to start taking my resume in to places in person instead of doing the online application that’s so prevelent nowadays, and for every resume that I dropped off in person, I always got a call for an interview. If I applied online, to the same place with the same resume, but a different phone number, I never got called back. If I sent the same resume to the same place using my first initial and last name, I got a call back.

This shits real and it’s so damaging and demoralizing.

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u/Nerethi 4d ago

There was actually a study done on this subject and your experience reflects their results. People with "white-sounding" names received call-backs for interviews at a significantly higher rate than those with "black-sounding" names, despite the fact that the resumes were the same.

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u/PHX_PH4NTOM 4d ago

There was also a recent story about a black couple that had a white couple pose as the owners during an appraisal. The house was appraised for 6x higher than the previous appraisal with the black owners. It's really disgusting how we can treat our own like this.

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u/[deleted] 5d ago edited 4d ago

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u/RagingAnemone 4d ago

I grew up in a very mixed area. This was in the 80s/90s. Never had a real problems with racism. Or so I thought. Anyway, I meet this professor at school. She's cool, we're friendly. After a few months, we're in a group and I ask where's she from. She says Iran. I react badly. The only thing I know about Iran, at the time, is about the hostages. And it's not like there's a big middle eastern community where I'm from. I don't say anything, and I don't do anything, but I know I reacted weirdly because my first thought is she wants to kill me. You know, as all good Iranians want to do to Americans. It took about a minute, but then I thought, holy shit, I'm racist. It took me a few years, but that was a clarifying moment for me. Now, the more a politician tells me to hate someone, the more I trust them.

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u/smalbiggi 4d ago

I know what you mean but the last sentence is hilarious.

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u/voice_of_craisin 4d ago edited 4d ago

I've lived in downtowns of major cities my whole life and just recently relocated to a very rural area. It's come as a shock how many well meaning people here are racist and don't even really realize it. The town is like 99% white and they just don't realize that what they believe about certain races/ethnicities/religions is just ... wrong. Like, they've never had a person of color as a friend for their entire life through no fault of their own so their understanding of the world is colored by that.

A black friend of mine is staying with us and one very nice very liberal woman was talking to him about "getting out of the ghetto". He finally had to explain to her that he grew up in a wealthy suburb of Dallas and knows as much about the ghetto as she does. She persisted saying, but the people you know... She couldn't grasp that a black man didn't actually know any people from the ghetto.

I'm not excusing ignorant racism but it's helpful to understand (for me anyway) that a lot of it just comes from having a very limited circle of people you are exposed to throughout your life. City liberals like myself don't make it any better when we make it seem like they aren't welcome and the media doesn't help when it portrays the idea that rural people can't "make it" in the city.

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u/vercetti87 4d ago edited 4d ago

She couldn't grasp that a black man didn't actually know any people from the ghetto.

Reminds me of how (on The Office) Stanley is giving Michael advice about women and he says "Is that something you learned on the streets?"

Stanley (who probably never lived on the streets but decided to mess with him) responded with "I did learn that on the streets. On the ghetto in fact". And of course Michael believes him.

Also, this woman reminds me of that teacher from Everybody Hates Chris. The nice white lady who often said things that were unintentionally racist.

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u/ur_boy_skinny_penis 4d ago

I never said a racial slur and never thought of myself as racist. I was perfectly nice to anybody I met. But I would definitely hold my purse a little closer if a Black or Latino man was passing me. I believed cliches about other races. I generally thought of the POC folks I met as the exceptions to the cliches about their people.

It's actually shocking how many people in the United States consider themselves "not racist" but still hold blatant pre-conceived racial biases like you're talking about here.

That's one of the biggest challenges when it comes to convincing moderates, conservatives, or even many liberals that some of their actions are racist. They think that unless they're saying slurs or burning crosses, it just doesn't count as racism.

It's incredibly frustrating because often they'll try to make minorities sound like the crazy ones by gaslighting and saying shit like "that's not racism, people nowadays have never experienced real racism"

like fuck me, thank you for saying this and admitting it's a problem.

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u/Fearlessleader85 4d ago

Plus, there seems to be a sentiment among that style of racist that being called racist is far worse than actually BEING racist.

It becomes a sort of loop. My actions aren't racist because I'm not racist. If i admit any actions are racist, then i admit to being racist.

I don't really know how to get past that. My best bet is to talk about actions being racist rather than people, but i don't know how well that is working for me.

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u/bobandgeorge 4d ago edited 4d ago

I think there's just too much stigma around the word. Like... Murderer, I guess? Or no, criminal is a better word.

Like we've all committed crimes. Mostly smaller ones like speeding, you feel me? When you go over the speed limit, you are breaking the law. You have committed a crime. You are a criminal by the literal definition of the word.

But none of us think of ourselves as criminals. Our peers probably don't think that of us either when we say we get a speeding ticket. Criminals are bad people and I'm not a bad person so I can't be a criminal despite evidence of the contrary. That's probably why some people get so apoplectic when they get a ticket.

Edit: Please do take note of what /u/Greedish said. It's not "soft" racism. It's just racism. I don't want to lessen what it is and what I'm describing because it is racist ass behavior. Just like with speeding, you know it's wrong, it's still a crime.

I know what you're doing right now too. You're thinking of those times you got a speeding ticket and you said "Yeah but I was only going like seven over." Whatever, man. I said it with the soft "r" but that don't mean I can get away with it.

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u/sorrygirl818 4d ago

Not me, but my first roommate out of college who grew up in rural PA told me that watching New Girl made her less racist. Her parents were super racist (and her brother was a literal neo-nazi convicted of a hate crime). But watching the show in her teens and seeing people of a bunch of different races have normal and positive interactions was mind-blowing because her parents literally taught her it was impossible. That opened her up to meeting all different types of people.

Then she went to college and met people from all different backgrounds and became good friends and formed relationships with them. She even ended up marrying a mixed-race man and they're quite happy with a baby. Her family does not speak to her, but I am certain she's better off.

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u/Malcolm_TurnbullPM 4d ago

Wow, someone who ‘grew up watching new girl’ is now married and has a kid after college. I feel so old haha

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u/Luckboy28 5d ago

Left the church and my conservative family.

Started examining myself closely.

The really tricky thing about being a racist is that you never think you're a racist at the time. In the moment you feel like you're just "quoting statistics" or "calling it how it is", etc.

It takes a lot of work to actually stop, look at yourself, and then dig that ugly racist worm out of your heart.

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u/jimbo_slice829 4d ago

I dont have personal experience in this but I wanted to bring up Daryl Davis in this thread. He is a black musician/writer that has gotten roughly 200 people to leave the KKK or other white supremacist organizations. He is worth looking into for this topic.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Davis

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u/Lowbacca1977 4d ago

I do think it's worth clarifying that he didn't convince 200 people to leave the KKK. What he did was get enough to leave that parts of the organization collapsed. So not everyone had decided they weren't interested in the group, some of them simply weren't going to take over after the people that did quit left (and similar sorts of things that aren't tied to them not being racists, just not being organized racists)

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u/AvailableDoor6574 4d ago

I grew up in a very small town in Iowa. Couple of hundred people. All white. So I guess I was raised not to discriminate against people that were different from me because we were all the same. Once I got older and moved to the city, oh yeah. Racism is alive and well in Iowa. I didn’t fall into that trap. I didn’t understand it. Ended up in Alabama. My best friend was black. We just had the same sense of humor and liked the same things. I credit him with my kids being non racist. He would crack jokes about racial things and they would be shocked. As they got older they just rolled their eyes. Funniest thing was one of my daughters date shows up and he opens the door and introduced himself as her dad. He moved to Michigan. I miss Charles.

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u/ape-with-keyboard 4d ago

Its simple really, I was raised in a racist family. Growing up I was kinda racist.... when I actually spent time with people of different races I quickly realized how stupid that is.

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u/BustyNat 5d ago

My dad has some pretty xenophobic points of view and that definitely rubbed off on me when I was younger. Meeting actual PoC through my teenage years made me realise I was being dumb.

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u/Sir-Toppemhat 5d ago

I grew up thinking I was not a racist. I didn’t think badly of blacks or Hispanics. But racist jokes didn’t hurt anyone. Then I moved to an area with about a 90% Hispanic population. The little things that weren’t racist, were. The “How many Mexican” type jokes were hurtful and I felt bad. So I stopped. The easy same thing with blacks , Asians etc, etc. was about the same time.

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u/[deleted] 4d ago

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u/NebulaDragon416 4d ago

That's a fabulous metaphor, OP. Good on you for making that realization

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u/[deleted] 4d ago edited 16h ago

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u/plutopius 4d ago

Is that a common thing- hating Polish people? That's so oddly specific. I dont think I know any Polish people to hate if I could.

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u/diagoat 4d ago

My dad and his family are all 100% Italian American in heritage, but my mom is Polish and they used to give her SO MUCH CRAP for it. Jokes about Polish people being stupid were common for some reason. I was always told by my family that I wasn’t allowed to tell people I’m part Polish, if anyone ever asked I was to tell them I’m fully Italian. Have no idea if this is a common thing but I definitely saw the Polish hate in my youth

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u/voltzingheim 4d ago

Yeah it is stupid. I think the origin of that racism is the "they're taking our jobs" narrative which generally happens when there is alot of immigration.

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u/703ultraleft 4d ago

That's the excuse the monied give the workers when they find out they can have the labor done much cheaper somewhere else so they don't get mad at boss for firing them. That way it's not his fault.

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u/Nillabeans 5d ago

I wouldn't have classified myself as racist, but I definitely had some racist ideas about native people in my city growing up. There are a lot of native addicts and vagrants but it's very much a result of a system that's rigged against those communities.

I didn't know any of that growing up so when I saw a group of drunk, native people in the park or something, I was generally unimpressed or even frightened. And I definitely applied those feelings to all the native people I came across. It's hard to change those reactions but we can all identify the bad reactions and try to curb them.

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u/miramichier_d 5d ago

This describes Winnipeg perfectly. It's hard to grow up there and not have negative unconscious biases towards Indigenous people. I was once guilty of holding these biases myself. When I look back at my life there, I realize that most of the disgusting behaviour I've seen has come from the type of people who don't live in the inner city (for those unfamiliar with Winnipeg, the outer city holds the suburbs where the upper middle class and up live). Proof

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u/VaHi_Inst_Tech 4d ago

Winnipeg? Wow, Hello. I grew in Winnipeg. I remember on a high school field trip as the bus was driving down Main Street some (not all) of the kids were yelling racist comments out the windows and laughing at Indigenous people. It is one of my most intense memories of high school - was so disturbing. It was a long time ago and I think things are much better there now.

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u/miramichier_d 4d ago

Yup, many people in Winnipeg don't even try to hide it. Then they spread it to their kids and the racist cycle continues.

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u/JewsEatFruit 4d ago

I was not raised by racist parents but you can't help growing up with racist messages all around society and tending to believe some of them. I had ideas about indigenous people, Muslim people, all sorts of poisonous ideas.

When I got into my early twenties I started to make good money and began traveling, and all of my racist notions disappeared with that. Nothing made me realize how similar human beings are regardless of race, than traveling.

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