As sad as it might be to realize just how deeply racism is ingrained in society, there’s also a strong argument for staying hopeful for a brighter tomorrow—plenty of people have given up their bigoted beliefs. Internet users opened up about what made them change their racist views in a candid and emotionally vulnerable thread on the r/AskReddit subreddit.

What follows are some extremely honest stories about exactly how some redditors shifted their mindsets from seeing others as inferior to being inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming of everyone, no matter their race, creed, or background. We know it’s a sensitive topic, but if you’ve got any similar experiences about people giving up their racist beliefs, you can share them in the comment section below, dear Readers.

Education, experience, and empathy are the light that helps burn away ignorance, hate, and judging people by the color of their skin instead of by the content of their character.

Elizabeth Arif-Fear, an award-winning human rights activist and writer and founder of 'Voice of Salam,' told Bored Panda how we can move past the echo chambers we're in and learn to accept people who are different from us. According to her, what lies at the core of acceptance are empathy, communication (listening, dialogue), and compassion. Meeting people and learning about their experiences are vital. By expanding our social circles, engaging with different communities, taking part in intercultural and interfaith projects, as well as traveling and volunteering, we can expand our worldview and help feed our curiosity, as opposed to remaining in our comfort boxes.

"It's important to meet, socialize, work with and get to know people from a variety of different backgrounds—people from different ethnic backgrounds, age groups, faith traditions, nationalities, etc. This helps us to learn about different views, beliefs, experiences, and values. That's why initiatives in our local area such as volunteer projects, inter-community groups, interfaith projects, and social/youth clubs which enable us to meet as many different people as possible are so important. Authentic travel is also important but not affordable or accessible to everyone. Funded schemes, fellowships, and intercultural exchange programs may offer more affordable and accessible ways to engage," she said.

#1

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views From birth I was raised to be racist in a racist household (VA). I was ignorant. I used the “N” word, antisemitic, homophobic, racist language everyday. My immediate family and extended family all share the same ignorance. At family gatherings if one of my older cousins let slip they were dating someone new, the first question would be “Is s/he white?” Followed by laughter, but the question was serious.

Then I started middle school. 6th grade. On the first day of class I set down my backpack against the classroom wall (like every other student) while we found our desks and had a small Meet & Greet w/ new classmates. I made sure to only speak to the kids (white) whom I knew from elementary school. Our teacher told us to take our seats. I’m 42 yrs old and I remember this like it was yesterday. I picked up my backpack, found my desk, before I could open my bag the girl behind me told me she liked my earrings, her Mom wouldn’t let her get her ears pierced until high school. Then I heard another voice from further behind me say, “Ms. Kay, this isn’t my backpack”. The backpack sitting on this girl’s desk was identical to the one sitting next to my desk. We both opened our backpacks and realized we’d grabbed the wrong bag.

Internally I rolled my eyes in disgust, this girl was a “N”. But I was taught to never let it show. So we met each other to quickly exchange. Her smile was beautiful. She wore glasses the same shape as mine. She wore her hair in a pony tail, just like mine. In our back to school shopping we picked the exact same backpack and we picked the exact same Nikes (pink/white). Her name was Jacinda. I found myself genuinely smiling back to her, and giggling like young girls do. That day she asked to sit together during lunch, and we sat beside each other for lunch every single day of middle school. She was my very first best friend. Jacinda taught me about her Sunday School classes (my family never attended church), we talked about everything important in the life of middle school girls. She wasn’t allowed to attend my birthday parties, and I wasn’t allowed to go to hers, but we always celebrated together at school. I loved her so much. When it was time to go to high school I continued in public school and her parents chose to homeschool her. I thought homeschooling was the coolest idea. Jacinda was (is) brilliantly intelligent. God, she was going to do great things for this world. Long before the age of social media, we lost touch sadly - but I still think of her often. After meeting Jacinda I never used another racist or derogatory word. Meeting Jacinda changed my life for the better.

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Kirsten Kerkhof
Community Member
1 month ago

Jacinda, wherever you are: someone is waiting for you!

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#2

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views When I was wounded in Iraq two white guys stepped over me (one literally stepped on my back) to get themselves to a safer place. A black guy picked me up like I was a child, carried me to safety, and held my hand until a medic got there.

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troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Neither compassion nor hatred have color or race. We choose which one we feel. So please people, choose wisely

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#3

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Brother was racist. We both love science fiction. One time he was talking about all the cool races in the 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' and 'Mass Effect' universes. How creative Lucas and Roddenberry were. He talked about how great it would be to be among those races as a human and acquaint yourself with alien cultures and people and mythology. I said, 'You can't even mingle with the other races on your home planet.'
Maybe it was the weed, but what I said had some effect on him. He's very noticeably more 'tolerant' and curious about other peoples now. I think he realized that his previous philosophies were not in line with those of The Federation. Good for him.

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
1 month ago

I love that Science Fiction turned someone around

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According to Elizabeth, community projects, local volunteering, and travel (where possible) can teach us a lot not just about other people but also about ourselves. "If we only ever meet, see, and talk with people of exactly the same backgrounds we miss out on the varied nuanced diverse experiences of life. In such a context, we can't work to understand other people's needs, wants, views and experiences as best as possible. We're all neighbors and our diversity should be celebrated."

The human rights activist had a few suggestions about what we can all do to make our lives more diverse. Joining a social club or an online group is one way to go about it. Meanwhile, she also said that post-Covid travel somewhere different can also help break up the monotony of our lives. "Learn a new language, volunteer at a non-profit organization supporting people from different backgrounds, and go out there and meet people and visit places (when safe to do so!)," she said, pointing to the vast possibilities we all have to expand our minds and the size of our hearts.

#4

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views The Army forced me to live with black people. Turns out I didn't hate anyone, I was just afraid of what I didn't understand and had some very stupid notions passed on to me from my dad and his dipsh*t friends.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to understand a greater sample of people than my tiny home town afforded me.

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Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
1 month ago

It is true. The more you know/experience, the more you realise... we are all the same...

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#5

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Not me, but my best friend’s parents. They told her not to touch me because she would get my “skin disease” (I’m a brownie and at the time we met I was 12). They didn’t want us to be friends, but I would always be kind and polite to them, full well knowing how they felt about my skin color. One year my friend (at this point best friend) was having a sleepover birthday party and her parents said I could come, but couldn’t sleep over. My friend canceled her party and her parents must have felt like complete s**t because they started to talk to me more and more after that. We have been best friends for almost 30 years now. Her parents came to my wedding, they send me a Christmas card every year, they call me and ask how I’m doing, and they invite me to their get togethers. I’m glad they came around and am proud of them.

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Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
1 month ago

Open heart...

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#6

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views My dad would make disparaging remarks about Black people, Mexicans, Chinese people, etc. when I was a kid. I remember repeating those same sentiments and no one ever corrected me. In first grade, we were all assigned pen pals from a school in another city and mine was a Black girl named Chardonnay. I thought she had a weird name and I was disappointed when I found out she wasn't white.

Very soon after that, we learned some very basic info about the civil rights movement during Black history month. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, separate water fountains, segregated schools, stuff like that. After that, I felt really bad about being racist and wanting a different pen pal, and really ashamed of my dad and grandparents for thinking that way. And I was so mad that they'd taught me to think that way. After that, I was really happy to have the opportunity to write to my pen pal and get to know her better. I'm so thankful that my school started teaching us about racism early on. It's scary to think how I could have ended up if those sentiments had gone unchecked.

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Watching
Community Member
1 month ago

That's a wonderful story. Good for you.

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Redditor Aura0_0’s viral thread got over 44.8k upvotes, was declared one of the most recent top awarded posts, and got more than 9.2k comments. This shows just how important the topic was to redditors everywhere and how many wanted to share their very personal life experiences.

Earlier, I’d spoken about what we can all do to end racism with Betsy Faulkner, who had made a poster on how everyone can support BLM and people of color. Betsy told Bored Panda during an interview that reforming the system in the United States to make it more equal for all citizens won’t be an easy task. According to her, the US justice system was not designed to protect people of color, at least initially.

#7

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views My grandma grew up in Virginia in the 1900s. Being racist is just the default setting. Nana loved her family more than anything, though. So at one point in the late 1980s, she met her first not-100%-white grandkid, and discovered she still loved him.

She made astounding late life progress accepting that darker skin toned people were not only people, but family, friends and welcome in her house.

JerricaPickney , unsplash Report

Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
1 month ago

Usually the hardest time... good one granny, too bad you had to wait til you were related tho...

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#8

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I used to hate white people like A LOT for no reason. I would always think they were evil and monsters. I was absolutely disgusted when I went to school and saw black people hanging out with white people. Until I realized the beauty in how they didn't care about the color of each other's skin. I felt so ashamed of judging someone because of their race. Now I treat white people the same as everyone else.

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Watching
Community Member
1 month ago

Well we love you too. :)

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#9

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views My great aunt and I had a conversation before she passed away. She lived her whole life in New Zealand, and admitted to me that she was racist against the indigenous people of New Zealand. Way back in the day, her and her husband bought a house on what, they didn't realize, was Maori sacred land. They were the first people on the street, but it was eventually filled up. Over the years they had lots of run ins with the elders, and even protesters. This tension only worsened her ideas of Maori people.

(Her and I are both spiritual/religious people, and had already talked about our respective beliefs a bit) She said that one day the Holy Spirit told her to learn the Maori language. She said she resisted the thought for a long time, but eventually decided to.

Learning the language connected her with Maori culture, and more importantly, directly with Maori people. She learned to love their culture, and continued going to lessons for the remainder of her life.

They also demolished their house, and built a new house down the road. So if you're ever in New Zealand, and find a street where the house numbered 1 is planted firmly between three and four, you've found the house of my family; too stubborn to change their house number, but willing enough to knock over their old one for people they didn't know.

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NgatiDreadz
Community Member
1 month ago

Tautoko (support) this korero(comment) so much love and respect to your kuia (nanny) when you learn the language of my people you not only learn the language but our customs and beliefs as wel I'm glad we rubbed off on her in a good way one love to all my kiwis

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“Racism is taught. Therefore we must unlearn these deep-rooted harmful stereotypes and attitudes and stop teaching our children such hatred. We need to stop allowing our family and friends to carry this negative attitude and educate one another to treat people with equality,” she said.

“Listen to their stories and make them feel important like they deserve. This isn’t just in the eyes of the law but in the streets, in homes, schools, locker rooms, and in every walk of life,” Betsy told Bored Panda. However, she added that this isn’t enough: real change, in her opinion, won’t happen until “racist leaders” stop being voted into office at the various levels of the local and federal government.

#10

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I know this isn’t the exact question, but I was raised in a strict military Republican household. Though my family wasn’t raciest, they were extremely homophobic and beloved women belong in the home and in their place.

They would make fun of lesbians and gay men throughout my whole life, speak poorly of women working outside the home.

When I was 18 I met a guy at my local coffee shop in a very red town/state. I couldn’t decided if I wanted to date him or take him shopping and hang out- he was just super cool we made plans and later ate hot wings and drank wine. I had never felt more myself than when I was with him. I had to forgot any financial adult backing in college because my new “lifestyle” didn’t meet my families ideas. This was absolutely ok with me and I charged through challenge happily while accumulating debt.

Turns out he ran away from his home and was cut off from his family for being gay. He became my roommate for more than 9 years and my best friend in the world. (And my room mate I mean I always had a place for him to stay in my own home and he always seemed to move right in in the most natural way possible- literally he just was always there in my home through every stage of life for a decade)

He introduced me to the gay community and as a female, instead of getting harassed at a club, I could go out dancing with him and have a blast and be safe all night. He became my family and closest confidant over the years.

My family didn’t take kindly to this friendship, nor did they like that I became a business owner. They no longer speak to me and I am so happy to be the black sheep.

Anyway, I’m so so so glad I met him, and he changed my life. I would have been comfortable in my conservative bubble and probably never questioned my views. His friendship made me open my eyes to not only the world of possibilities but also my own views of what I was raised with- he challenged me and made me a better person and I’ll always be grateful for the absolute gift he gave me. Because I was now a safe person with views different than what my small town was used to, I became a safe friend for people to come out to. And my god it’s been the honor of my life to grow, find acceptance, and apply acceptance blindly.

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Bow, I’m a Slytherin
Community Member
1 month ago

I’m not crying.

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#11

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I don't think I was racist - but I do think I was a part of the problem.

I didn't understand racism and thereby passively condoned it. For example - I was convinced that black men being killed by the police was really a police-reform issue, and not a systemic racism issue. This is, looking back, the most dangerous type of racism.

What changed was the George Floyd murder video. As a white man, I've been mistreated by police but I have never... ever... ever... felt like "you know they just might kill me" and that is, in summary, my idea of white privilege really is in America. That someone could be killed, on video, in broad daylight, with witnesses begging for his life - and the police felt confident it would work out just fine - is systemic overarching racism that flows through the heart of this country.

Passively condoning that is still racism.

method8888 , wikimedia Report

Angela Brisebois
Community Member
1 month ago

This. Nailed it.

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#12

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views My grandfather was incredibly racist; Kicked his daughter out of the house for falling in love with my father, a black man. He assumed, if he cut her off, she’d be desperate enough for food and shelter to ditch my father. Didn’t work out that way.

But, of course, that changed when my older sister was born. Because hatred is powerful, but something is more powerful. Not love.

Ribs.

My father cooked ribs to celebrate the birth of my sister, and my grandfather - Who had been browbeaten by my grandmother into visiting to meet his granddaughter - Smelled the ribs. And he wanted to try them. Apparently, he declared “If these n*** can cook like this, maybe they’re worth a damn.”

So, it became a ritual. He started coming over twice a month to eat dad’s ribs, and in the process, was exposed to more and more black people. He ended up apologizing, and came ‘round. All due to the power of ribs.

Twitchcog , unsplash Report

Guido Pisano
Community Member
1 month ago

LOL

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“My political opinion aside, nobody can deny that a large majority of politicians have been openly racist and this needs to stop. What example does this set for our children? The simplest solution, however, is to treat everyone, regardless of race, with respect, dignity, and love. When we all master that, the world will be a much better place,” she advocated for humanitarianism and radical empathy for everyone.

In Betsy’s point of view, those who are privileged (whether the privilege is based on being rich, white, or something different entirely) can help those who have none or very little. She noted that voting and exercising your political rights are the best ways to enact change.

#13

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Left the church and my conservative family.

Started examining myself closely.

The really tricky thing about being a racist is that you never think you're a racist at the time. In the moment you feel like you're just "quoting statistics" or "calling it how it is", etc.

It takes a lot of work to actually stop, look at yourself, and then dig that ugly racist worm out of your heart.

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kasa alex
Community Member
1 month ago

And I am glad you did it

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#14

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views My dad was racist. I was raised in a toxic environment and I guess some of his ideologies rubbed off on me. He was also violent when alcohol was involved, which was a lot of the time. Police would often arrest him to just get him in a cell for the night for being disorderly.

On one occasion, the police turned up, one of them came into my room and sat with me as they dealt with my dad. He asked how I was, who I could talk to, etc. He was from a South Asian background. He was very kind to me and did his best in calming me down and giving me advice on dealing with this stuff. I was only about 15 at the time. As they were pulling my dad out, that same police officer was attacked by my dad after breaking free from another officer, breaking the officer's finger in the process, whilst also hurling verbal, racial abuse at him. It wasn't long after the London bombings so you can imagine what was said. My dad was also an electrician in Russell Square at the time, close to one of the blasts. The officer didn't react, probably knowing I was watching the commotion from my room or the fact he was a decent human being.

My dad was convicted of multiple offences against a police officer as well as a hate crime. The only silver lining was as my dad was being sentenced, the prosecutor was a black man who casually read out the testimony of the arresting officer of what my dad said that night. The prosecutor could barely keep a straight face, watching my dad hold his head in shame, dressed in plastic overalls because he thought stuffing his clothes down the toilet of his jail cell and flooding the place would be funny. He got community service, probation and was required to attend rehab. He relapsed a a few years ago and can barely walk or talk because of multiple strokes from continued alcohol dependency.

The people responsible for protecting me from my dad were people of colour. That sure as hell changes your perspective on things even if you have the slightest ignorance towards another race.

TL;DR: Dad was a violent racist dressed in prison overalls, sentenced by educated black guy in suit.

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Not Proud British
Community Member
1 month ago

Hey, hope you're doing ok?

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#15

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I’m black, and was essentially taught not to trust whites. My dad was from 60s Detroit and I learned that from him. I wasn’t vocal about it, but I certainly treated them different. When I joined the Army, I left my foot locker unlocked and my sh*t was tossed everywhere. It was my older white bunk mate that I NEVER TALKED TO who picked up all of my sh*t and put it back in my locker neatly. Dude practically took care of me the whole time I was there, I was just a sh*tbag teenager with zero responsibility. At first, I considered him an exception and slowly backed off my belief in that regard.

Character, not color.

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

It only takes one person to open your eyes. That man saw something of value in you.

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What’s more, holding those in power accountable, protesting when needed, and supporting POC businesses are also ways in which the privileged can help make the world more of an equal place. But at the heart of everything is education and being exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking.

Without leaving your social bubble and political echo chamber, you’re living in a world that’s very narrow and just a caricature. You owe it to yourself and to everyone else to leave your comfort zone and confront every single view that you hold. It’ll be painful, but it’s the only way to grow as a human being.

#16

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Learning about people by talking to them instead of listening to what my family had to say about them

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Eva the Egg
Community Member
1 month ago

I totally agree

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#17

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I didn't realize I was racist and being raised in a racist household until 4th grade. I was in a group project having to give a presentation to the class. my group was me and two black girls.

my parents HATED black women. black people in general but especially black women (as they both watch tennis you can guess all the s**t they said about the williams sisters). Meanwhile, there I was standing there watching my group mates talk. They were just as good, if not better than me, at talking in the class. Or understanding the material. Or anything really. I can still see that moment where the class fades away in my mind and a one of my group mates is talking to the class where I realize a fundamental truth: "my parents were wrong."

it still makes me sad thinking about stuff I remember saying as a kid -- regurgitating things I heard my parents or relatives say. but in my experience, as I have gotten older, is that the #1 way to combat racism is to bring people into the same room. When people have shared experiences that sense of otherness fades away.

Of course, in 2021 and the internet bring what it is it's really easy for people to hide in their own corners of the internet. But I'm thankful for that experience in 4th grade. I got in trouble a lot over the years for getting mad when family would throw around the "n" word or lock their doors when they saw black people. But I knew I was right. And in the decades that have passed, nothing has tarnished or taken away that childhood lesson.

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Priscilla Reshell
Community Member
1 month ago

well good for you i hope your family learns as well

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#18

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views A guy I worked with said he was neo-nazi as a teenager, and ended up in prison somehow. He hated jews for some reason, and blacks. He was never clear on why, just that he had so much hatred in his heart, and that was his outlet. He was in prison for many years. I think he almost killed somebody by beating them up. So, many years later and in prison there was a mentor type staff there, and this one lady was so helpful to him, and she cared about him so much that it really started to get into his head the idea of being a positive person. Then, he learned that she was Jewish, and he said he couldn't believe she was so kind and caring despite the fact he was a claimed neo-nazi. From that day he swore to be a better person, he learned his lesson. He's a pretty great guy these days, doing his family thing and making sure his son grows up with lots of love and all that he didn't have. Really remarkable, great guy.

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kjorn
Community Member
1 month ago

i love to hear stories of people who grow up mentally

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#19

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I grew up in a white bubble. White neighborhood, white schools, white friends. I wasn't hate filled or anything towards other races, just a bit nervous due to zero experience. I heard a lot of racial epithets, but didn't say them myself.

Going to college, I met many people of many different races, and found most of them were good people. I discovered that the same 10% as**ole to 90% good people I found among white people at my high school translated to college as well. The as**oles were not grouped in a particular minority, but pretty universally scattered.

Mom was surprised when I brought home a girlfriend from college who wasn't white. Mom asked why I didn't tell her in advance, but I didn't think it was important. I married that girl a few years later.

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Truth Monster
Community Member
1 month ago

Not being exposed to other races on the daily doesn't make you racist.

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#20

My first name is one of the top five female African American names in the US. I’m whiter than the little mermaid. Everyone always thought it was funny that I was a white girl with a black girls name, and I just rolled with it, it wasn’t a big deal.. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t. I would throw around causally racist stuff all the time because I thought I could. I never understood what people meant when they were talking about when the term “institutional racism” until I got out of the army and started sending resumes in. I never got call backs, so I decided to start taking my resume in to places in person instead of doing the online application that’s so prevelent nowadays, and for every resume that I dropped off in person, I always got a call for an interview. If I applied online, to the same place with the same resume, but a different phone number, I never got called back. If I sent the same resume to the same place using my first initial and last name, I got a call back.

This s**ts real and it’s so damaging and demoralizing.

Severe-Two-7435 Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
1 month ago

When my husband returned from Nam he and his friend put applications in everywhere with no success. One place his friend said he had to go back because he forgot some information, they walked back in , told the lady and she said, "OH, OK," then reached into the trash can and handed him his application. They started asking questions about why and found out vets weren't welcome.

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#21

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Man I don't even know where to start with this one. I grew up in the middle of f**king nowhere Mississippi where the slave trade was referred to as the great African migration in our history books. Every person of color was referred to by the N-word as just the default. It wasn't until I moved the hell out of the south that I begin to comprehend what racism was. I wish I could say I had a moment of clarity that washed away all the racist bulls**t that I'd grown up with but it was more like a couple decades worth of mental deprogramming I had to fight against. There was so much underlying hate of different people that warped how my view of the world was.

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James016
Community Member
1 month ago

"great African migration" - Holy s**t!!!

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#22

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Not me, but my grandpa told me that when he was young he was a bit racist, due to his a-hole alcoholic dad being really racist and teaching him to treat others of different races like trash. He told me this stopped though when he was around 13 when his dad left. He realized how stupid it was to judge others based on race, and I'm glad he realized how stupid it was since he's a really sweet guy now.

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deanna woods
Community Member
1 month ago

Your grandpa seems like a great man.

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#23

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I never thought I was racist until I started going to the bars. If a white dude was hitting on me, I’d usually accept a drink and politely turn him down (or not) later that night. If a black man did the same, I got really uncomfortable and would just ignore them completely.

As a young white girl, I was taught that black men were dangerous sexual predators. This is something I carried into my adult life. One night, among many nights where I went out with my friends, it randomly occurred to me that I reacted to black men immensely different than white men... for doing the same exact thing. I didn’t know why, but I decided that night that I wasn’t going to do that anymore. It led me to realize many other odd racist things I did in my day to day life, without even realizing I was doing them.

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Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
1 month ago

Better late than never. Better, never at all.

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#24

Not racist but colorblind, might be just as bad. Assumed that the world was as I saw it, a white kid from a working class NYC suburb. I was opposed to anything that tipped the scales, used to say that the media is the last source of racism and things like the Black Lives Matter movement were about division. Never had an ounce of hate in me, and I love knowing that this world is full of different people because I love learning new things. Because, I don't know anything.

My son was born in Dec of 2019. While spending long late nights putting him to sleep that winter and spring I did a lot of reading. I was terrified of being a new dad, and I was terrified of what this pandemic could do in the years ahead. So I was humbled. And I sat in the discomfort and sadness of 3 more executions of POC that spring. And I had a lot of quiet time to think about the world my son was going to grow up in.

In my dad group here on Reddit, I read other dad's like me, but not like me, tell their stories and their fears, of raising children of color in this world.

That's when I knew this color blindness is bullsh*t. I need to start listening. I need to start acknowledging and respecting our differences. I need to think a lot more about what my place in this system has been, and what I want it to be.

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Tina Smith
Community Member
1 month ago

Just want to say I like your post. Based on what I've just read, you're child is lucky to have you for a father.

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#25

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views My whole family is quite racist. When I was little I was trying to wrap my head around the rules of the world, so I thought it was as simple as different teams. Blacks vs Whites was just like the Red Sox vs the Tigers. Then my grandmother starts going on about how horrible Polish people are and how I'm never to talk to them. So I'm psyched! Screw those Polish people, whatever color they are, we're mortal enemies. Then she points out our Polish neighbor to me. But... she's white.

I point out to my grandmother that she's white so we're on the same team. My grandmother says no, that she's a mix-breed. I point out that my great granddad was a Shoshone Indian and that I'm a mix-breed. She says that doesn't count.

That's when I realized she was just making up the rules and I wasn't going to play games with someone who couldn't stick to the rules.

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Marcellus the Third
Community Member
1 month ago

Like teams? Yeah those Polish are horrible, but not as bad as Red Sox fans!!! I don't get it; I've never understood 'supporting' any teams local regional nor national.

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#26

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I saw (and still see) how miserable my older family members are because they continuously judge and hate everyone. They have no friends. It’s pathetic.

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Arthur Waite
Community Member
1 month ago

We hear a lot about how our generation needs to honor and cherish the Elders, because they're such a source of 'knowledge and wisdom', from having lived so long, through the wars and depressions and so on. But what I usually find is a lot of bigoted, racist, religion-based drivel and hate. Opinions don't change, what causes change is people dying.

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#27

I honestly used to be kind of racist against, like, fresh off of the boat Asians when I was younger. I don’t even remember why, I think I just had some weird run-ins and they had really poor English and I was an idiot.

Anyways, I remember I had just gotten gas and was back in my truck ready to leave, when I heard an Asian man calling to me with bad English, trying to get my attention. I rolled my eyes out of the back of my skull, rolled down the window, and snapped, what?! In broken English, he told me I’d forgotten to put my gas cap back on.

Took a breath and realized how much of an asshole I was just about to be to this guy for absolutely no reason. Completely changed my perspective. And nowadays, from other life experiences, I have such respect for first generation immigrants who have been able to learn English, even if they speak it poorly. But yeah, I was a d**k for a bit.

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Tuna Fish
Community Member
1 month ago

You weren't a di@k. A di@k would not have realized he was being a di@k. A di@k would have thought he was right no matter the situation. NTD

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#28

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views Grew up with a racist step dad and although I never actually felt hate towards anyone I would laugh at and repeat the jokes. Until I was kicked out at 18 I had only met a Mexican family (my adopted neighborhood family) and a black guy I was friends with from school. They also made the jokes about their race and laughed along depending on the crowd. Wasn't till I got older that they were doing that to fit in and could've been living somewhat in fear. After being kicked out I moved around a few times before finding a job working with developmentally disabled adults. I was hired as the white guy, the company and all the workers were all born in Africa and moved to the US. It was a cultural shock at first, but they immediately became family. They taught me how to cook, how to treat others, and their culture. They even made sure to teach me how they were treated in public by citizens and police. Since then I haven't made or laughed at a single racist joke, I've made sure to look at everyone the same way no matter, and I've made sure to try and help others understand how their actions may not be racist but they can still be hurtful. I've met so many beautiful people that I wouldn't have had the chance to talk to had I followed that influence growing up. If anyone who has any racist thoughts and is reading this, please just sit down and have a meal with someone. You'll be surprised how much you have in common while also having such different lives.

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Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
1 month ago

Ground floor two people clean mind clean heart new world.

#29

My situation was complicated growing up. My father was the son of an Italian immigrant with Egyptian roots and he was so ungodly racist towards anyone not considered white as he considered himself white. The thing is, my dad has dark brown skin, dark brown eyes and black kinked curly hair. He looked EXACTLY like the people he was racist against. And he hated Arabs.... all Arabs.... and he is part Arab. This was so confusing. He also hated gay people, Muslims, "commies" and any type of alternative lifestyles.

My father hated black people the most. He told me if I ever brought home a black boyfriend he would disown me. He told me, as a small child, that if I misbehaved I would be sent to live with a ****** family in the ghetto.

He was equally misogynist and held onto a strong patriarchal mindset.

I admit, as a kid I repeated his words. All the other kids did too on my neighborhood so I thought he was right. It wasn't until I was literally in my 30s did I realise the internalized racism I still held onto. All my partners and friends were white my entire life. I felt unsafe near a group of black men. It was only until I moved to northern Europe that I realized that I am not considered white here and experienced racism myself and oooooo wow what an eye opener.

I began to dismantle my entire thought process and honestly, I am so repulsed by my father now I can't even speak to him without feeling disgusting inside. He's really old now and much more calm and probably won't live more than 10 years. I have not returned to my birth country to see him in almost 7 years because I am so angry at him. Because of his racism I missed out on friendships, relationships and understanding cultures different from my own. I am making up for it now as the immigrant community that I live in is amazing and supportive but I will never get back that lost time and I will never know fully the extent of damage that my hateful words may have done to people who didn't deserve it.

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Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
1 month ago

Now take the next step, call your father, love him even though he wasn't the rule and regulation. standard model of a Daddy, finish cleaning out your pre consieved notions of right and wrong and make it all the way to the finish line with,"I love you anyway ,in spite of or just because." Let him see how much better life looks from your view.

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#30

Reformed-Racists-Reveal-What-Forced-Them-To-Change-Views I grew up in a very small town in Iowa. Couple of hundred people. All white. So I guess I was raised not to discriminate against people that were different from me because we were all the same. Once I got older and moved to the city, oh yeah. Racism is alive and well in Iowa. I didn’t fall into that trap. I didn’t understand it. Ended up in Alabama. My best friend was black. We just had the same sense of humor and liked the same things. I credit him with my kids being non racist. He would crack jokes about racial things and they would be shocked. As they got older they just rolled their eyes. Funniest thing was one of my daughters date shows up and he opens the door and introduced himself as her dad. He moved to Michigan. I miss Charles.

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BensMom
Community Member
1 month ago

The next-to-last sentence has me confused.

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