Greenville News



I just want to say a word to all my black readers, black friends and any black strangers who may read this in the future or who I may meet one day.

To the topic of race and racism in the South from the perspective of a straight white male – from Mississippi.

Yes, a lot of us white people in the south grew up hearing and using the n – word in our homes. We were allowed to be racist, even if mom frowned every time she heard certain words. What was wrong was allowed.

And not the kind of extreme racism documentaries are made about. But rather, the subtle sort, the accepted kind in polite society.

But for most of us I suppose where we learned it from was OUR heroes, our mothers and fathers, society, school, church, etc….,

Also,everywhere it seemed accepted, like when a harmless black joke was told it was code for full on racism was allowed, if no one seemed offended.

As time went on we learned how to engaged in it, on differing levels.

Trust me, I know what is said in the South in a room full white people when no black people are present when the subject of race and politics comes up when the “cream of the crop” are having their get togethers.

And also, from poor, frustrated, aggravated and uneducated white people who have never been taught a better way. Their cries seem much more nasty to the ear and also seem, to me, to be more publicly vocal. They don’t shrink at the idea of saying with how they feel and think about things. They seem to have given up on what people think about them. They seem to just say what they believe, be it right or wrong.

Both scenarios could get down right vicious and nasty or subtle and subdued. You learned that you never truly knew what other people’s true colors were, until they trusted you.

Moving on, the situations I just described occurred way too often, I understand that one time is one time too many. But I must say, it doesn’t seem to happen nearly as often now as it used to and not just in the South.

Part of the point I am trying to make is it that it was wrong then and always will be wrong, it subconsciously taught us to dehumanize black people, and to separate is from our brothers and sisters.

The other point I wanted to make was a lot of us grew up, and we saw what was wrong, even if we couldn’t admit it then, for all kind of reasons volumes of books have been written about, we admit it now. And we don’t perpetuate that hate now.

If the aforementioned situations is what some black people mean when they claim “systemic racism” exist in America then I want ups agree with them, however that is really “cultural racism”. We have no laws saying people of any race have less rights than another.

That being said, corruption is everywhere, who knows what a police department in the middle of nowhere’s TRUE laws are for black people, or white property for that matter?

I want my black brothers and sisters to know that I personally, and most white people I have known as an adult, don’t teach our kids to hate you because of the color of your skin. We don’t allow the words we heard in our homes growing up to be used in our homes now as adults.

We teach our kids that everybody is a child of God and he loves us all the same no matter what they could ever do, just like the vast majority of black people I have ever known in my life teach their kids.

Does racism still exist, absolutely, it always will. But please don’t feel like your white brothers and sisters hate you because of the color of your skin because certain people and organizations stand to benefit from us hating each other. It simply isn’t true. Most of us aren’t like that. We are just regular people with regular problems just like you. We have nothing to gain but misery by hating you.

But, to be honest with you, even the most ignorant racist you know would probably like to sit and talk with you and explain why and how they came to believe what they do, no matter disgusting their beliefs may be to you, because they FEEL like a victim in this society too.

Those are conversations that society can benefit from. But we don’t have them, not like in the extreme hypothetical I just gave, but we don’t don’t sit and talk to each other and tell each other how we TRULY feel.

Why? My feelings is it is because everybody is afraid we might say something the wrong way or when we try to admit a hard truth about our selves it might be weaponized against us.

That has to change!

Who wants to start having these talks with me? I have so much to learn, and share.

I don’t think WE can change the world, but maybe we can, but if we are too change the world we have to change OUR community first.

The Washington County Auditor
Independent Investigative Journalist $tommytatumnews

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