Racism is a belief; a belief that I can use the color of someone else's skin as an excuse for my hatred, and get away with it.
Racism is believing that I can justify my anger and my angry actions by blaming them on someone else’s skin color; it's believing that my social environment will allow me to think and feel and act out this lie, and it's believing that my conscience will allow it as well.
Racism is imagining a world that doesn't exist and pretending I live in it; it's imagining a world in which the color of a person's skin is more important than the fact that they are a human being and pretending that world is all around me while knowing it's only in my mind. It's imagining that my anger is the result of something other than my own choices.
All of us have experienced mistreatment in our lives; all of us have experienced the sadness and pain caused by mistreatment; all of us have experienced the anger and fear that result from mistreatment. As inappropriate as it is for others to mistreat us, it is even more inappropriate for us to use mistreatment to justify acting inappropriately toward others.
Regardless of the source of our feelings we are responsible for feeling them. We are responsible for feeling them and acting on them in responsible ways.
We live in a world in which events occur suddenly without time to think or feel or act in ways that on reflection we wish we had; one of the ways we temporarily deal with these occurrences is by seeing them other than as they are. When this happens, we need to take the time, after the fact, to think our thoughts, feel our feelings, reflect on our actions, and to recall with clarity what took place.
When we choose not to feel our anger and the feelings of pain, loss, and fear that fuel it, we allow it to build and become hatred. In our culture, where being angry is often equated with failure, it can be difficult to find and make the time to feel it, to understand it, and to let go of it. When we choose not to see things as they are we separate ourselves from the knowledge we need to connect and relate to the world around us. It is our responsibility to do this for ourselves, for each other, and for our society.
Racism damages our society, it damages our relationships with other people, and it damages our relationship with ourselves.
Make and take the time to think the thoughts and feel the feelings that make you angry and find ways of dealing with your anger that don't hurt you or others. It isn't easy, but if we all do it our society and our world will be a happier place to live, and we’ll be able to live in it without pretending we’re somewhere else or someone else.