I know that most people don’t want to be racist. I know that most people get angry when somebody calls them a racist. That’s good. It tells me that they and I share the belief that racism is bad. That makes me happy, and I’m glad we agree that being a racist is not a good thing to be.
President Trump just gave a speech about the wall that he wants to build. I listened to this speech, so nothing I’m saying is filtered by the media at all. This is right from the president’s mouth, to my ears, to my fingers.
He said that many complain that his immigration policies will separate families by deporting some members and not others. Taking parents from their children. But he said that the families who are separated by crimes committed by illegal immigrants are more important, and he listed names of people killed by illegal immigrants.
This is an argument based in racism. It relies on a belief (a racist belief) that undocumented immigrants are more violent, and more likely to commit murder, than the rest of the population. It’s simply not true. Yes, there are numbers floating around showing that, for instance, in 2013, 9.2% of all federal murder convictions were for murders committed by undocumented immigrants. But what you won’t hear by the people saying those things is that 9.8% of all federal murder cases that year was EIGHT cases. Just eight in the entire United States. When numbers are that small, each incident has more weight, and percentages become less meaningful.
The people who like to throw those misleading numbers around probably won’t tell you that 1.5% of people living in the US who were born elsewhere are in prison, compared with 3.3% of people who were born here. In other words, the likelihood of being in prison is higher if you were born in the United States than if you moved to the United States (legally or not).
This is racism. It’s a prejudiced view of a group of people, that uses the actions of a few to define the rest. There is no way to say that it is anything other than racism. I know, for many (I hope for most) it’s unintentional. I know for many who believe these things, they don’t want to see themselves as racists, and don’t want to be racists. But, these are, by any definition, racist views. If you don’t want to be racist, don’t be racist. If you don’t like being called a racist, don’t be a racist.
You can do this. You can confront your own racist views and challenge them. You can critically evaluate what you believe, and actually change what you believe based on facts. You can, really you can, stop blaming race or ethnicity or heritage or birthplace or religious affiliation (or lack thereof) on all the things you blame them for, if you look at the facts, and stop defining a group by a few badly behaved members of that group.
If you don’t want to be a racist, accepting facts will cure you, because there is quite literally zero evidence supporting the racist beliefs that people have.