An Open Letter to Racists

Dear Racists,

Hello. Although we’re not on a name to name basis, I’ve seen you around a lot lately. You probably encounter women like me all the time, but pass us by. No matter. I was hoping to have just a minute of your time. There are lots of things we need to discuss.

Thanks to Paula Deen’s scandal and the George Zimmerman trial, we’ve all become painfully aware that racism is alive and well. Don’t get me wrong. Most people knew that racism never died. It hangs around like a dark cloud occasionally pouring down heavy sheets of rain upon us. We saw it when Trayvon Martin was murdered. We saw it when 12-year-old  Autumn Pasquale was murdered by two black teenagers. We saw it when President Obama was elected twice.

Like most things, the tension faded with time. However with these recent scandals and the trial on the news, racial tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. It’s so hard to see some of the comments you leave on news articles and blog posts. It’s hard to stomach some of the tweets and Facebook statuses you are sending out. It hurts my heart and angers my soul that race is still something that people would hold against others.

I’m angry about what people are saying about the George Zimmerman trial. I’m angry at what people are saying about the Paula Deen scandal. I’m angry that minorities, especially black people, still have to try to educate people about these issues and try to get them to see things from our point of view.

In light of that, I just wanted to make a few clarifications/rebuttals to common arguments and comments I’ve been seeing and hearing.I’d like to clarify that I do not speak for all black people and minorities. We all have differing opinions. I am only speaking for myself and from my point of view. 

Racism vs. Prejudice 

A lot of people use racism and prejudice interchangeably. However, they are not the same.

Racism is a type of prejudice. It is the belief that one race is superior to the other. Racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce inherent superiority of a certain race. Prejudice, on the other hand, is having a negative attitude towards a certain situation or group. It is when you prejudge a situation or person when you don’t have all the facts.

So what’s the difference and why is racism a big deal? Racism and prejudice are seemingly the same beast. After all, racism is a form of prejudice.

While this is correct, there’s more to it. If a group of people just hate on another (be it the color of their skin or their sexual orientation) without doing or keeping anything from that group of people then that’s just prejudice. However, when you mix prejudice and power and use it to form laws, bias, and social boundaries to oppress others then you have racism.

See the difference?

Reverse Racism

Reverse racism does not exist. Although you may be put in an unfortunate situation where you are discriminated against or treated unfairly, it isn’t racism.

Remember, racism is when you have power to impose biased laws, views, and boundaries to oppress others. How can black people or other minorities be oppressive on a large-scale?  There are approximately 6,900 colleges in the United States. Only 106 of them are Historically Black Colleges. Out of 435 voting members there are 40 black congressmen. Out of 100 senators only 2 are black. Out of 122 sports teams only one is majorly owned by a black man. Although black owned businesses are on the rise, only 100,000 employ other people. Only 14,000 of those gross a million dollars or more per year.

We live in a culture that has a Eurocentric worldview. Anything that isn’t that way is outside of the norm.

While any form of discrimination or prejudiced is unfair and unwarranted, there’s a difference between that and racism.

Media Bias

I’ve heard claims that the media is biased against whites. I don’t believe this is so. A white actor or actress can be anything they want to be.  Flip through the television right now. What do you see? Still not convinced? Johnny Depp plays a Native American in the Lone Ranger. Case closed.

It’s different for African Americans. Comic book fans went ballistic when Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in Thor. They had another fit when Michael B. Jordan was considered for the role of Johnny Storm. In addition to the old stereotypes of black men and women they are now faced with new ones such as being drug overlords, evil, deviant, welfare and drug dependent, gangsters and thugs, independent women or angry women. 

Where’s the bias?

Black people say the n word all the time. They call each other the n word all the time. Why can’t white people?

If someone jumped off a bridge with no danger present, would you? If someone repeatedly ran into a wall until they cracked their skull would you? If someone covered themselves in bees and honey would you? Precisely.

As far I’m concerned,no one should say the n word. Although black people use the n word as a term of endearment, it isn’t. By saying it all the time we’re sending out a message that it’s not a taboo word anymore. Still is in my book. And adding fuel to the fire and the stupid justification of saying it.

Although the definition of a “nigger”  is an ignorant person of any race, it was primarily used against black people. So when you use the n word and say that it isn’t about race, think again. We all know what you meant.

If black people can call us honkies and crackers and rednecks why can’t I call them the n word?

Thanks to the George Zimmerman trial, I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot of this one. Even one of the major news outlets did a special on if cracker or the n word was the more derogatory term. Note to that news outlet: if you can’t spell out the word on national television then it’s probably worse.

I don’t condone the use of these words either, but just like black people use the n word all the time, white people use these terms a lot too making it seem okay.

Don’t white people proudly proclaim themselves to be “rednecks”? Didn’t country singer Gretchen Wilson write a song called “Redneck Woman”. Wasn’t it a hit? How about Tracy Lawrence’s You Can’t Hide Redneck or Billy Ray Cyrus’s Redneck Heaven
or even Alan Jackson ‘s It’s Alright To Be A Redneck?  Didn’t rapper Macklemore say “Damn! That’s a cold ass honkey.” in the song Thrift Shop?

The other side of the coin is you don’t hear things such as “sorry dear, I can’t date you because you’re a cracker.” or “what a dumb honky! You can tell he isn’t educated from the way he talks” or “you’re not like the other rednecks. You’re a good redneck.” or “I have a white friend. Do you know her?” all the time.

The point is if you find it hurtful to be called a redneck, honky, cracker or even white, then don’t do the same thing to a black person.

There are way more important things to worry about than race. We should be worried about the economy, the NSA, voter suppression laws. We should be worried about making the world a better place for our children.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is. We all bleed red. Our muscles and bones are the same. All that should matter is if your a good person or not.

Thanks for listening.


A young black woman.

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Racists

  1. Thanks for helping to educate us all.

    A good example of your point is that I am white and if anyone has ever been prejudiced against me because my skin I’m not aware of it.

    I actually feel sorry for racists. They must feel pretty bad about themselves that they have to keep putting down other people to bolster their own sorry self-esteem. Not to mention living their lives experiencing hatred all the time. See this post: “Why I Left the KKK”: One Man’s Revelation

    1. Hearing all the racial comments lately has been maddening, especially if you’re not used to being bombarded with it daily. I don’t really understand how people can be so hateful, especially over something as petty as the color of someone’s skin.

      I loved your post, especially the last sentence. When we work to harm others we harm ourselves. I couldn’t have said it better.

  2. Thank you for posting this! I concur with every word. I do not use the ‘N’ word and don’t like it used by Black people. Some people say that they use it to take the sting out of it. There is no way that the ‘sting’ can ever be taken out of that word. If people read about the history of that word and how it originated, how then can they turn around and use it? It makes no sense to me. And yes, you are so right, we need to be concerned about this sluggish economy especially as Black people have not ‘recovered’ from the Great Recession. We need to be focused on the loss of so many human and civil rights. Where this country is headed, I do not want to go.

    Thank you again! Great piece!

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