Let me start by saying that I am fairly racially ambiguous, but I am clearly “not white.”
I also grew up, and live in, a very liberal, progressive part of the world so my experiences will be vastly different from what a person would experience in other parts of the world.
Racism exists. There is no denying that. However, I feel that too many people jump to racism as a conclusion with no evidence. Just because a person is an asshole/rude/mean to a person of colour or ethnic minority does not mean they are racist, maybe they are just an asshole.
I struggle to empathize with people who insist that racism is the cause of negative interactions without any other information to go on. Is there a pattern of shitty behaviour towards minorities? Maybe, but often in isolated incidents past behaviour is unknown…. so we cant just assume racism.
Is it overt? Does the person say something that is explicitly racist? No….? Then we can’t jump straight to racism.
Personally, I have never felt that I have been treated differently because of my race (and I look most like a very marginalized type of people – although, I am actually something different). I have had negative interactions with people, and later, while recounting these interactions to others, some people have suggested that they were racially motivated. I have never assumed that, if anything I just assume the other person is an asshole. I mean, it’s possible they are a racist asshole, but I can’t confirm that and it isn’t safe to just assume that.
I have had this conversation with a lot of people. Most people seem to agree with my perspective, yet, there continues to be a persistence in jumping to racial motivation. Emotionally, it is easier, it makes sense, racism allows people to blame others rather than look at their own behaviour.
I believe that if we look at each of these interaction critically, and determine which ones are actually racially motivated, it will be easier to stop or minimize racism. We would be able to deal with individuals, organizations, or policies that are racist rather than dealing with things that might be racist.
I am sure there have been times that I have been treated differently because of my ethnicity…. But that is not the reason I jump to. And I am glad that it’s not, if it was, it would be so easy to be angry at the world. To have little faith in humanity…