I have written a tremendous number of words on this site about racism and its resiliency in today's America. Though I don't purport to have all of the answers or even a few of the complicated solutions, I believe that my perspective is both unique and valuable. I am 26 years old, and I'm white. I grew up in a small South Carolina town where required integration was met with creative redistricting, creating de-facto segregation with a primarily "white" high school and a primarily "black" high school. That practice didn't abate until 1995, when our town formed Darlington High School, a mix of the two that caused many parents to pull their kids out of pull schools to put them in schools named after Robert E. Lee, James F. Byrnes, and the like.
I grew up and developed intimate relationships with racists of all stripes. Some made their racism clear, using the n-word with impunity. Others practiced a more socially acceptable form of racism, pepped with words like "colored" and "darkening." I heard all of the jokes, and I have yet to experience a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day that did not include one of my friends thanking James Earl Ray for his work.
Over the last few years, I've done some soul searching on what powered the mindsets of the people I grew up with. What I've discovered is that there are no easy answers. These people and their nefarious mindsets have developed as a the result of environmental factors like poor parenting. They are victims of their own inability to Google, and their mindsets reflect a woefully poor understanding of the world and the people who inhabit it.
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