We All Know How it Feels to be Discriminated Against

I grew up in a very racist environment. I spent four and a half years of my childhood in the Philippines. Being white — much less an American — was a strike against me. We lived off-base, so we constantly had to deal with the racism (or perhaps angst) towards Americans.

When I moved to Las Vegas when I was ten, the situation wasn’t any better. My brother and I were a very small minority in a neighborhood that was primarily black and brown. I still felt the racism, but I didn’t think too much about it. It didn’t really bother me a whole lot that I went to a mostly black school where I was called “cracker” all the time even though I was also half Mexican.

My story isn’t unique however. We all know what it is like to be discriminated against. Just think back to when you were a kid. You weren’t allowed to go to certain stores because of your age. You also were looked upon with a suspicious eye in various stores because of the potential of shoplifting.

What about appearance? When I had long hair, I got the most horrible service at restaurants. What about somebody with a bad case of acne, or someone with a lot of tattoos? What about someone who is overweight, or speaks with a unique accent?

What about at church? Did you ever feel like you didn’t belong? Perhaps it was because you didn’t.

The Reason I Don’t Buy the Racist Argument

There will always be some form of racism and discrimination. There is no innocent race, gender, or religion. People may have a valid point when they say that racism is targeted more towards a particular race. However, I don’t like it when those same people use the racism felt as a crutch for doing something that another race simply wouldn’t be able to get away with.

Here is a quote from an article I stumbled upon yesterday:

Too often I see blacks slather and rant at white people, use racial slurs, make attempts to intimidate whites using stereotypes they perceive that whites believe for their own racially based gain. I don’t see any organizations of blacks that actively seek whites to fellowship to help heal the undercurrent and unspoken closeted fears. Instead, all I see are blacks who make it quite clear that they have no interest in solving race problems.

I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s overall point, but I have personally experienced what the author describes: a race or a religion using past wrongs to commit current wrongs.

I don’t think that blacks are more racist than whites. I believe that there needs to be a time for healing and adjustment.

My co-worker at work (who prefers to be called an African-American) told me that his generation was the first one to grow up without any systematic racism. In other words, the racism wasn’t embedded in the country’s laws at the time of his birth. However, there was a deep distrust (of white people) that was passed down from his father to him. Eventually, my co-worker came to the conclusion that not all white people are bad.

The point here is that there is really only a one generation separation from the systematic racism that was only ended in the sixties and seventies. I do feel that time will heal all wounds, but it is important to remember what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. For example, after September 11th occurred, it was important to remember how the United States reacted towards the Japanese living within its borders.

Conclusion

Certain races or religions will use past wrongs to define current behavior. This is just adding salt onto the wounds and not aiding in the healing process that needs to take place. The United States of America has a sad history of systematic racism. First it was against the Native Americans. Then it was against the Mexicans. Then the Africans. There are still many aspects of racism present in this country.

We all know how it feels to be discriminated against. We all know what it feels like to be scrutinized and judged based on race. No race, gender, or religion is immune from discrimination. In that regard, we are all equal.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Ron,
    Suggestion, please. I am almost 100 pages into a new book which I am writing and I very much want to interview people from all walks of life regarding their experience of being discriminated against. I do not want statistics, I want to know how it felt in their hearts and souls, did it change them and their direction in life and if so, how did it change them? Please advise. Thank you so much.
    Regards,
    Mary Byrne

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