"Just because you have an Asian wife, you're not racist?"

Really? That's what you got from my article? Did you even read it all the way through? I included that anecdote about her to show my own mother and grandmother, as racist as they were towards Black people, were even more racist towards Asians.

I strongly agree with you that the fact that I married an Asian does NOT mean I'm not racist. I've seen it myself. But it appears, sir, that as soon as you read the first sentence of my article, you assumed that I was (probably) like Mark Zuckerberg…and that you summarily dismissed the rest of the article as a direct result.

You're a veteran…so you should instinctively know the danger implied by the word "assume".

My article, sir, was about how my family and I never realized that we were racist at all, how I discovered our racism for what it was, and how I was able to turn my back on that racism and on a family tradition stretching back at least as far as the Civil War. That's the journey alluded to in the title.

Do you know what it's like to turn your back on your own family, your own mother? To have to watch your wife and your own children (as later happened) look at your birth family and tell you later, "Wow, they're really racist"?

Maybe you do know what that's like. Even given your bio (including who your dad was), I simply cannot know whether you understand what that's like.

But it does suck.

I'm sorry that I haven't magically transformed myself into your perfect idea of what someone like me should be, or that I didn't say everything just the way you thought I should say them. But perhaps you should realize that considering where I came from, and considering how deeply racism ran in ALL my family and friends in Mississippi, I've come further than most.

Does that journey compare at all with what each and every Black person has faced, regardless of how much money they grew up with? No. Of course it doesn't. I don't pretend otherwise.

If you haven't done so, I strongly encourage you to not just travel the world (as you apparently have), but live in a third-world nation, make a home there out among the people, away from the touristy areas (and not in a conflict zone where life is cheap). Learn the language, and get to know the locals, even including the squatters. Sincerely treat them with courtesy and respect, and learn from them. I did. I deliberately sent both my sons to school there (less drugs, NO guns). No, I didn't "go native" - I don't do cultural appropriation - but yes, I had white privilege - I can't get away from that. But my grandchildren won't...and that's fine with me.

But perhaps all that's not good enough for you. After all, since I'm a White guy who married an Asian girl but still talked about racism, I must be a "fake woke person", right?

Racism, as inexcusably bad as it is in America, is not just a Black-and-White thing, nor it is just an American thing. It's bigger than that. That's why I made the above suggestion, that you go live in a third-world nation, out among the locals, away from other expats. Doesn't have to be in Asia - most third-world nations would teach you the same lessons, and give you a bit more perspective. I say you need perspective, because if you really understood their lives (in poverty worse than anything here in America) and if you understood the role that prejudice (of which racism is but a subset) played in their everyday lives, you probably wouldn't be so quick to assume falsity on the part of a White person who married an Asian yet has the temerity to discuss racism.

Don't get me wrong. It is good and right - repeat, good and right - to rub American Whites' noses in the crap we've done for centuries. Keep doing it - we need the reality check, and hopefully more of us will own up to what we have done (and what too many continue to do).

But it is *equally* as accurate to remember that racism isn't just a White thing, but a *human* thing...and there's a great deal to learn about what other races and ethnicities elsewhere are facing even today.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you're concerned about America, so I'm not supposed to even mention those other people on the other side of the planet. But I still recommend that you widen your own perspective.

Lastly, a challenge: (1) After allowing for differences in culture and religion, people are pretty much the same all over the world (regardless of race or ethnicity), and (2) in America, Whites are the most racist, commit the most racism, and commit the most egregious acts of racism.

I say that both those statements are absolutely true, and that they do not conflict with each other. Can you disprove my claim, or - if you actually agree with my claim - how could I possibly be right?

I suspect you'll probably choose to ignore the challenge…but maybe, just maybe it piqued your curiosity.

Written by

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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