My Name is Rachel and I’m a Racist
The American Heritage dictionary defines a racist as a person who “believes that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others”. While I certainly don’t consciously believe this, what about an unconscious belief because of being raised in white privilege? Doesn’t this count? Speaking simply about my racist attitudes and behaviors feels like it is skirting the issue, putting a nice face on the more embedded problem.
At a very early age, I was very carefully taught and conditioned. Being from a “good” Quaker family, it was easy for me to deny any part of this problem. Of course prejudice is wrong. And after all, Friends were on the forefront of the civil rights movement. Yet white privilege has affected the very structure of my mind. I viewed white practices, customs and attitudes as the norm against which others were to be compared. My spirit requires that I now struggle with the results of these attitudes and having entitlements that are not enjoyed by other groups, including:
- Still looking at faces of my society’s leaders and seeing almost all people of my race;
- Having my race be the source of all the art and music “Great Masterpieces”;
- Being taught in school about all the famous explorers, philosophers, leaders and inventors who happened to all be members of my race. The list goes on.
Although I have been slow to precisely name my addiction, I have been in recovery for some time now. I am working very hard to make amends for this aberrant behavior. I try to promptly admit it when I am wrong. Just as important, I am seeking through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with “G-d” and bring this divine energy to hopefully effect a solution both within my heart and the world. I look forward to someday reaping a harvest of joy, Light and Oneness.