I am a 66-year-old white man who has seen and known racists who are white, and I have a question I’d like to ask them.
Now, how things and people come to be (and why) are not matters I am degreed in. I am, however, fortunate, if that’s the right word, to have lived a life in which I’ve not had the yoke of racism hobble my character. However, I’ve seen white racists and known white racists and, I have a question I am bound to present respectfully, because people are free to be bigoted if they want to be.
I have a memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asking an audience, angered by an attempt a white man in his fifties had just made to punch Dr. King, and I paraphrase honestly. “If you had been told, every day of your life, for more than fifty years, the blacks were bad, what would you believe?”
And there it was, the beautiful thought-clarity and spiritual sense of justice of Dr. King, pointing out a salient, heartbreaking reality.
All bigotry is learned.
Back to my question for white racists. Clearly, one of the basic tenets of white racism is rooted in the believe you are, because you are white, in some way superior and preferable to the black and brown races. In short, the lighter skin reflects a human value you believe is lacking in black and brown races.
And so, to my question.
If white people are superior to black and brown people, because they have lighter skin, then someone needs to explain tanning to me?
All those white folk out there on the beaches, trying to do what, get a tan. They are trying to get darker.
When is the last time anyone heard a black or brown person say, “Oh sweat, look at the time, I need to rush down to the Pale-ing Salon, see if I can’t, lighten up a bit.”
Here’s a fact. Bigotry never defines reality accurately.