That’s what my mother used to say, anyway. I’m not sure I agree with her.
I was listening to one of the local talk radio programs last week (I think it was), and the topic was—as it so often is these days, it seems—race. A woman called in and said she wasn’t raising her daughter to be racist, but she knew some older people who were, and she excused it because it’s “just the way they were raised.”
I’ve heard that line before, and you know what? It’s bullshit.
My father was racist. Bizarrely so. He flipped out and threatened a guy I had a flirtation with because he was Mexican (and hated my sister’s second husband for the same reason), but used Eddie Garza as an alias from time to time. He was long-time friends with a black man, but used the word nigger like he did beer, and generally held anyone who was not white in serious disregard. (Made even odder by the fact that he wasn’t fully white himself.) The way he was could, I suppose, be explained by saying “That’s the way he was raised,” and though it might be true, I never saw it as justification. Of course, my father was also an abusive alcoholic, so really the whole racist thing was just icing on the cake.
Really, though, I have never met a person of whom I thought “You know, they’re so nice, but they’re kinda racist.” Every racist I’ve ever run across (and there haven’t been too many, honestly) was an asshole on several other levels too.
Even lacking that, I fail to see “that’s how s/he was raised” can possibly be an excuse for racism. ‘Cause you know what? There were a whole bunch of white people who were active in the Civil Rights movement who were raised that way too. Certainly not everyone in the US was uniformly racist, but the bulk of people now are not, and given that racism was institutionalized to a great extent in this country until the 1960s there is no doubt in my mind that there has been a weather change. Which means that there are a LOT of people out there who were raised “that way” who saw it for the bunk it was.
Of course, as has been noted time and again, the race card is played to shut people up when they disagree with you. This is a Leftist thing 99.9% of the time, from what I have seen. You aren’t allowed to question anything, to point out any differences in race. If you do not repeat the tired college meme that race is a purely social construct and differences go no more than skin deep, you’re a racist. If you don’t get outraged at a picture of clearanced black Barbies at Wal-Mart, you’re a racist. (And God forbid you point out that Mattel just changed the look of its black Barbies so that they look more, well, black and that’s why those were on clearance when the white ones weren’t.) Dare speak out against race-based organizations? Racist. Note that AIDS is far more prevalent amongst black people? Or that Mexican girls are more likely to be teenage mothers? You got it. Racist. Holy hell, I actually got in trouble once in an online discussion when I said I was surprised the Beltway Snipers were black because white folks are much more likely to be serial killers. Racist! For not acknowledging blacks’ ability to be multiple murderers.
And then people wonder why race relations in this country suck.
This is why: You have people excusing current racism based on past racism. You have others throwing the word racist around in order to squelch dissent, and still others who are so afraid of being called a racist that they won’t stand up and argue the issue.
It needs to stop. No one is being served by the current state of affairs.