Truth be told, I feel a little detached from overt racism. My wife is Asian, I live in LA, and I have clients, friends and colleagues from anywhere/everywhere. This is no proclamation of perfection, mind you. No one is imminently free from cultural or racial bias, and to proclaim oneself as being somehow completely free from the effects of your environment is to become borderline delusional.
But on a day-to-day basis, I don’t have a lot of ‘hands-on’ contact with overt racism. I could be wrong, but outside of one incident involving a mentally challenged woman on a LA city bus who almost got her ass kicked by the driver, I think I’ve never actually heard someone use the n-word in anger (thank God).
To be clear, I am not saying discrimination and racism is less of a problem than anyone is saying it is, nor that it is not going on. It is. Just not in my little circle. I grew up in a small homogenous community in PA, but when I was young, my family seemingly never paid any attention to racial or religious differences. The “us versus them” mentality simply did not make it into our family. Blissfully ignorant could be one way to describe it, unfortunately.
But every once in a while, now, the dark reality of racism in the United States crashes through the television or computer screen, and I profoundly realize that my shiny happy blissful little United Nations type world, with everyone holding hands and singing “It’s a Small World After All…” is not true reality. We live in a world where some people view others as less worthwhile human beings, because they are different.
Today’s reality check comes from Chicago, IL, where some guy apparently went on a racist tirade in a Starbucks, started calling African Americans ‘slaves’ because a drink got spilled on him. I watch the video, and I don’t even know what to say. We live in a country where a little anger from a spilled drink is enough provocation for someone to peel back the veil of civility like that? WTF?
I could fill five paragraphs filed with disdain for the racism displayed by this idiot. I could explain the USA did not become successful in spite of diversity … diversity is the #1 reason America became successful … that exceptional people with exceptional talent and come to the US from everywhere, all types, all kinds, to fulfill dreams … and THAT is what propels us forward. It’s not bullshit, it’s true. Diversity made America successful.
But someone driven by that deep of hate, isn’t going to care what I have to say on this topic.
Shame on him. [BLEEP].