I do not like black people.
And I also don’t like white people.
Before you just start thinking that perhaps I just hate the world, let me explain something. I do not like “black people,” but I have black friends that I like. I don’t like “white people,” but I have white friends that I like.
Am I making any sense yet?
You see in my family, we were raised “colorblind.” This means that when I meet you, I will not care what color your skin is. I will judge you on how you treat me, and ultimately, how you treat the other people around you. In Dr. King’s words, I will judge you “by the content of your character.” I have met people with black skin that I love dearly. I have also met people with black skin that I did not get along with. The same is true for the people I have met with white skin. It’s all about the individual for me, and I think that generalizing certain groups of people is probably the biggest problem in our society today.
If you had asked me a year ago if I believed that racism was a big problem in the United States, I most likely would have told you no. But today… I’m not so sure. In the last few years, I have seen things that make me wonder. I watched as the whole country passed judgment when a light-skinned Hispanic man shot a black teenager. I watched as people ignored who these individuals were and focused only on the color of their skin. Everybody had an opinion before anybody knew the facts. A few months ago, I watched it happen all over again when a white police officer killed another black teenager. Instantly, the only thing it seemed that anyone could focus on was whether or not the police officer was racist. I saw few who really wanted to know why it happened. People rioted in the streets and demanded the job and sometimes the life of a man who could have possibly been defending himself. Both of those men were found innocent of wrongdoing, but no one cared.
So yes, I think racism is a problem in this nation. But I also think that racism is one part of a larger issue, because we don’t just judge people on the color of their skin. We judge them by the color of their hair. For instance, supposedly red-heads are more fun to be around and blondes are ditzy. We judge others by their clothes. We judge them by the games they play. We judge them by their bank accounts, by their houses, by their cars, by their political views, and by where they live. Our whole life is filled with preconceived opinions that tarnish the way we think about people from before they can even open their mouths. It is just this prejudice that causes many of the world’s problems.
But here’s the truth. Not every white person is racist. Not every black person lives in the hood. Not every blonde is stupid. Not every sloppily dressed person is lazy. Not everyone who plays first-person shooters is violent. I could keep going, but I’m guessing you get the point by now. It’s not about the color of your skin. It’s about who you really are as an individual human being.
Now you can leave today and pretend that you never read this. You can keep living your life letting stereotypes and prejudices affect how you view people. Or, you can choose to believe that every person you will meet is going to be different and has intrinsic worth as a human being. You can learn to get to know someone before you pass judgment on them. You can stop referring to groups of individuals with generalizations. You can do all of those things, but the real question is, will you?