You Need A Wakeup Call: Why Society Needs To Call Out Our Racism

I remember having a very candid conversation with someone who I still consider a friend. He holds the ability to hire and fire people with just a few words and a signature on a piece of paper. What an awesome amount of responsibility for any human being to have and yet, we know that these people are out there in the world.

Me, Taking a Break from Calling out Racism and Bias..including my own.

We were at a point in our relationship where I could be candid and ask him a myriad of questions pertaining to his job, politics, and even race. I had learned that he worked in a nearly all white environment. This is typical of how America operates so this isn’t out of the norm for most people.

“Do you ever want to hire more Black candidates?” I asked.

“Oh sure. Of course,” he said with a smile. He patted himself on the back for his ability to push race aside and only look at what each person would bring to the company individually.

“Oh that’s good.” I said.

“Yeah. I try not to look at race,” he said, which suspiciously sounded like, “I don’t see race.”

“What seems to be the problem when hiring Black workers?” He looked around with a furtive glace in the beginning, as if someone was listening in on our conversation.

“You see, many of them simply aren’t qualified. They come in, dressed nice, speak nice, talk nice, but in the end they don’t have much education and I don’t see much justification in hiring them,” he said, popping some food in his mouth.

“I see. So they just aren't up to your standards?”

“The company’s standards…” he quickly clarified.

“Do you have any other white employees that don’t have degrees?” He began to squirm.

“Well sure, there are a few but not many. Besides, we can teach them…I mean, we can train them. It’s not that big of a deal.” I was completely lost.

“Wait, can’t you train the Black people too?” I asked. His face began to darken.

“Wait, you’re turning this into something that it’s not.”

“I just want to be clear that I understand your position,” I pleaded.

“Well, it’s just not like that. Some of these people coming in the door have degrees that I can’t do anything with. I just can’t justify hiring them. Perhaps if they go back to school and get a degree that they can actually use.”

“Well…”

“I know what you’re going to say and the answer is, yes. But again, some of the white people I can train. They’re gonna get it faster. I don’t have to sit there and explain the same simple concepts over and over again. It has nothing to do with race. I understand that Blacks have been at a disadvantage for a long time, but that does nothing to help me today when I need someone to fill a position. I need to get the best man possible.”

He just couldn’t see past his few experiences he may have had with a few Blacks had already colored his experience of them. He knew that when he came into proximity with a Black person in need of a job, he had already pegged them as not qualified for the position. However, when he saw White candidates in the same position, he saw them in a way that was remarkably different. He was much willing to “work with them” in order to make the business relationship work.

Mind you, he hadn’t been in this position long. He was jaded within months of getting this particular position. I’m sure his life experience as well as his experience hiring people for his company’s firm all melted together to basically keep his place of employment nearly free of Black people. Is my friend racist? I don’t believe he is. However, he is victim to the same bias and prejudice that Black people have been screaming about for decades. Based on many white people believing that they aren’t racist, therefore have no work to do in regards to their own beliefs, will just perpetrate more of this behavior.

I let my friend know this and we had a huge argument. We fought like cats and dogs, to the point where I was ready to never speak to him again. Somehow, we moved past it but it stayed in the back of my mind that my friend was willing to remain willfully ignorant.

Why?

Why is he and millions like him unwilling to challenge their assertions and beliefs about other groups of people? These are not bad people. However, they tend to believe that racism is equated with the KKK and neo-Nazi groups. They don’t really understand that racism is not just shaving your head and singing Happy Birthday to the Fuhrer. They simply can’t see past the fact that they contribute to the climate that we have today where bigotry runs rampant. When they speak about Latinx individuals, they speak of the words “truth”. This is how they are. I wish it weren’t so, but this is how it is. It’s reality. When they speak about Black people, they speak of how they are from their own personal experiences, as limited as they may be.

“I was willing to stick my hand out. I wasn’t racist before, but I’m definitely racist now!” One woman said after an unpleasant conversation with me. I called her out on her BS with regards to race and she didn’t like it one bit. Instead of just accepting the fact that she didn’t like me, she had to bring my race into the conversation and said that it was the reason she was racist.

Seriously?

Many of you are simply unwilling to challenge your beliefs. Many of you are simply unwilling to believe that you may have racist tendencies. There is a difference you know. A person can say something racist, but not necessarily be racist. I think many people hear that if you call something they say racist that you’re calling them racist. Just because one may say something that is racist, it doesn’t mean that they are racist. However, many people sadly shut down at this point and no longer want to do anything else to look inside themselves to affect change. Our massive egos always get in the way, when it comes to issues such as race, sex, and other very important topics. We simply can’t handle it when criticism is dished out to us, but we can certainly point the finger better than we can handle the finger being pointed at us.

FACTS.

My friend just hired another Black candidate. He couldn’t stop smiling, as he was so excited he was able to find a candidate that would finally show me that he wasn’t a racist and that he was simply looking for the best candidate for the job. That he simply wasn’t hiring someone on the basis of race and that race didn’t even factor into his decision, despite the fact that he couldn't wait to tell me before the interviewee’s seat got cold.

It’s just sad that he constantly has to tell himself that over and over again for him to be able to believe that.

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supermodelsonya

supermodelsonya

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