My Own Silence Offends Me


My friend is a racist. A blatant, outspoken, over-the-top racist. And the list of infractions is long. But, I haven’t called him out on any of it yet. So far, I have simply observed while he makes sweeping statements on his website, in his blog, and in person about the social intelligence and violent tendencies of others based solely on their skin color. Or posts racial jokes. Or links to purchase T-Shirts that offend people of other ethnic backgrounds. I know that you are probably thinking that I’m incredibly irresponsible for this.

I let him do this because it seems too hard to confront him right now about this racial intolerance and bigotry. Any attempt would result in outbursts and a veritable uprising amongst his equally bigoted friends. My own choice thus far makes me sick to my stomach but I haven’t seen many options under the circumstances. So, I distance myself and avoid the conversation. Nothing gets better. In fact, my silence makes it worse. I know this.

There was one conversation a follower posted on his website recently that caught my attention because it was different. It boldly and gracefully invited discussion about race, diversity, and partnership. But, when I clicked on the link to read more the dialog had been removed and replaced with the simple word…”NO”.

‘NO’what? No, we can’t talk about this? No, we’re not willing to move forward. NO WHAT?!

And then the violent, racially based allegations continued in the string.

One more thing.

This friend happens to be black.

His bio acknowledges that he might actually be prejudiced. But does this mere acknowledgment give him permission to continue to hurl racial slurs and disrespect into the ether…simply because he is black? The political dialog is clear that I have no right to do so simply because I am white ~ and I agree with that.

Right now you may be carefully examining your own biases because, all along, you thought I was talking about a white man. You may be throwing up your hands because you have no idea what to do any more. Or perhaps cursing me for using my white privilege to try to twist something yet again to make a black man look bad. But, in this case his blog exists. It speaks for itself. He is making himself look bad without any of my help or privilege at all.

So…would you have me turn a blind eye to a racist based solely on skin color? Isn't that what brought us here in the first place? I’m afraid I cannot because that would make me a racist, too. And, for the record, I have no hesitation whatsoever in having this conversation with the white racists I know. With that, I am preparing to have a conversation that probably won’t go well.

Think about it.

That’s all I’m asking.