We’re pretty good at recognizing explicit racism and bigotry when certain groups are targeted. We are pretty good at seeing racism against people of color, especially African-American/Black people. We see it pretty well when it’s pointed at Jews also. But sometimes it’s harder to see. A way to check is to change the subject of the discussion to a black man, or a Jew, and see if it sounds any alarm bells. Here’s one that I posted on Facebook yesterday:
I think this is important. I think we need to try to see things this way. Here’s the thing: nobody (almost nobody) wants to think of themselves as a bigot. When confronted with the possibility that they might have some bigotry, or bigoted thoughts, they defend those thoughts vehemently. It’s the natural response. It’s a very good sign, and it’s comforting to me that people, for the most part, don’t like being called bigots or racists. I know I don’t like facing my own biases (see older posts here and here ). People like being called smart and energetic and kind and thoughtful, even if they don’t believe it’s true, but they hate being called bigots and racists, even if they don’t think it’s true. My hope is that the second thought might be slightly less bigoted, and the third even less. Unfortunately, the more this kind of bigotry is voiced, the more normal it seems, and the situation I hope for becomes less and less likely. But it all requires introspection, and that seems to be hard for some people.