Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why didn't someone tell me?

Well isn't this refreshing?

I just found out that after nearly 37 years of life I am a racist.

Who would have thought such a thing was possible? After all I have never judged people for their skin color, culture, or religion. If you're nice to me, I like you. If you respect me, I respect you. For me, it's that simple.

So imagine my surprise when my professor tells me that some "expert" in the field determined that people who don't have "people different from them" in their inner circle of friends are racists.

In my circle of ten closest friends, there are no muslims, blacks, or asians. This doesn't mean I don't like muslims, blacks or asians. It's just that I don't have many close friends but the people I care about the most are Susan, Jeanette, Deb, Jenn, Kaley, Val, Gina, Diana, Mike, Elizabeth and Connie. Though we don't keep in touch every single day and some I haven't seen in many years, we're still connected. These are people who make my life so wonderful and richer in knowing them. They are all wonderful people and diverse too in their backgrounds including careers, education, economic status, and heritage. There's even diversity in our ages.

I don't like my circle of trusted people to be too big and the only criteria is what I mentioned earlier. How you treat me and how you treat others means more than your skin color. I find that it's really time consuming to tell more than a couple of people my life story, and well, I just have a hard time making really close friends because I have a hard time committing to spending a lot of time with them. My closest friend Deb will tell you that, we've known each other 10 years now and while we are good friends we just don't spend enough time together, what with working full time, being married and all that goes with just "life".

For me, when I make a friend, I don't feel like checking off boxes when getting to know someone. I don't say "Oh wait, I choose you to be my friend because you meet all the criteria that would take me off the list of racist white chicks" or "sorry I can't be your friend because you're just too damned white" .

Give me a break. Yes, it's cool to have a diverse group of friends but diversity comes in ALL forms. I don't look at people's color, religion or any of that when I am someone's friend, it just happens.

Something bugs me about this whole diversity thing. Some would say I have too many "white" friends. But..what if one of them is Jewish? What if one ofthem is a white South African? What really does skin color have to do with diversity?

One word: Nothing.

14 comments:

  1. My dog Buster is racist. He doesn't like black people. I've counselled him on this but he refuses to listen.

    Unfortunately this is true but I think it's because we got him when he was a year old and we think he was abused by his original owners who might have been black.

    On the good side, his circle of friends includes everyone else who possesses a crotch.

    As for me, well, the circle of Marine Officers is dominately white males but the SNCOs are overwhelmingly minorities of all kinds. You had mentioned that you were a vet so you'll understand that they are all green so it doesn't matter.

    My father was one of the most racist people I ever met (and a hipocrite since he married a Mexican and now a Ecuadorian). We've had it out when he mentions something degrading because Marines from all races have been pivotal in my career.

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  2. I totally got your point. I know plenty of military spouses who surround themselves with nothing but well..military spouses, and in that circle it's always the same thing ya know? I've seen military spouses say "I have to find other friends" because the friendships just don't offer more than the same old thing, know what I mean? I think it's important to have diverse friends but I think it goes far beyond color to something as little as just a different way of thinking. Life would be boring if I surrounded myself with political independents such as me, but I have liberal and conservative friends, friends who are professionals and who are students, friends who are civilian and military, now they're friends, but not close friends. Nope, those I count on one hand..Deb, Val, Gina, Connie, Diana, I think that's it. They're all white. Shame on me.

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  3. I think professors sit around and make up these profound ideas just to get a rise from people.

    I wouldn't worry about it much.

    I like PEOPLE.

    If someone is a good person and I enjoy them...cool.

    Some people are jerks and I dont like them.
    There are jerks in all races.

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  4. I have a black girl and an Asian girl who are close friends of mine yet sometimes I still feel like I'm a racist.

    I agree with Novak - sometimes they just need to get something published to get tenure

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  5. That's ridiculous. So ridiculous. Wow, what a generalization for someone to make. I agree with you. Diversity has very little to do with ethnicity.

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  6. Isn't it now?

    In defense of my professor, I've known her since 1993 and she is a good friend and mentor, and it wasn't she who came up with this, she was telling us about something she had read. She has enlightened and taught me more than anyone I have ever known outside my parents and grandparents.

    Every college should have professors like her, she's been at it for more than 20 years. Her students graduate with high marks, they are successful and they have a good grasp of "theory" which just isn't taught anymore. I know how you guys feel about professors spouting this sort of thing, I just wanted to defend her because it wasn't her who came up with this crazy idea--she was telling us some famous psychologist (or was it sociologist) did. But I agree, that person who came up with it is crazy!!

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  7. Anonymous2/23/2006

    Okay Jess, I have some great news for you. You are not racist. Remember back in high school when we did our family tree for history class. Mr. R went through the census books to see if he could find any of our relatives. Well, he pulled me out in the hall to tell me my great, great grandmother was black. No, I am not making a joke. So you see you do have a black friend in me! That is if you can over look my lily white skin ;)

    And to viper, I once had a yellow dog who ran off all yellow dogs, but mated with every black dog in the neighborhood. What was up with that?--ST

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  8. now how the heck did Mr. R find that out? I don't remember that project. Hmm must have been one of my "I don't give a damn" moments LOL!

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  9. Anonymous2/23/2006

    He just got the local census books from the county courthouse. Apparently my family has been hanging out in these parts for years. I saw him at a football game this year and he still has a copy of my family tree. He is supposed to be getting it to me, but so far I haven't seen it. I would really like to get my hands on it, since my grandmother who gave me all the information has passed away and I'm not exactly on speaking terms with that side of my family. (Long story) It is also really funny, since it is on my Dad's side and they are all EXTREMELY RACIST. I could just see my papa rolling over in his grave. Sometimes life is just too funny. God must have a great sense of humor.--ST

    PS. Robert didn't do that project either. I think it was for extra credit.

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  10. That is really neat. Hey you know I am really into genealogy. DH and I are really good at research so if you ever need help, we're your people to ask! I should give you my tree sometime, it's pretty awesome!

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  11. Anonymous2/23/2006

    Maybe when Lauren graduates I will start my geneology. It's very interesting but I think it could consume a lot of time. I know one of my grandmothers was French and there is some Irish in there somewhere. Then, of course there is the African American and who knows what else. I think maybe I'm a mutt :) --ST

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  12. Actually, from my experience, Asians too keep just to their community, in that sense we are more rascists.. but amen that I have a reallly diverse circle of friends... as you said, one does not choose your circle of friends based on a checklist of skin colour and religion... I personally hit it off with most whacky extroverts irrespective of colour or religion, I guess your circle is limited on account of likemindedness amongst those in your circle rather than anything else.

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  13. The funny thing is that my circle isn't at all limited by likemindedness. My friends are as diverse as it gets, like I said, their background, education, wealth status, sexual orientation, marital status, even heritage, and where they're from all differs. If someone wants to tell me my circle isn't diverse because it lacks color, well that's just crap. There's quite a diversity of heritage in these friends of mine. If you want true diversity in color, religion, and everything else, your circle would be so big you couldn't stand it.

    People might look at my circle of close friends and say "oooh they're all white" and that's IT, with NO, absolutely NO idea of the heritage and intricate background of each of those individuals. They wouldn't "see" one is gay, one has Colombian parents, one is a former Cuban refugee, and one has a great grandmother who was black. No, they wouldn't "see" any of that because all they are looking at is COLOR.

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  14. I have to agree that diversity has nothing to do with ethnicity, but try to tell our schools that. Oh, and the people who hire based on "quotas." I have an incredibly diverse group of friends, but they are all of the same basic ethnicity. That certainly isn't by design, it just IS.

    I keep hoping that in the not-too-distant future these things just won't matter anymore. My kids are 5 & 7 and to them skin color is the same as eye and hair color. It comes in lots of shades, no biggie.

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