This is a tale in three parts.
Part The First
When my daughter was born, the very best advice I got was that when she did something wrong, I should never say “You bad girl, why did you do that?”
I didn’t understand why I shouldn’t say that, so my friend explained. He said, “Instead, you should say ‘You good girl, why did you do that?”
“Think about it”, he said. “If you call a child a ‘bad girl’ over and over, what will they grow up to be?”
I immediately understood, took his advice to heart, and followed it exactly.
Part The Second
I was brought up in a household that was anti-racist to the core. It was ruled by my grandmother, who had black friends for her entire life. She grew up in the 1890s as one of eleven children in the only white family on the north side of Lake Arthur, Louisiana, surrounded by “blacks, Creoles, and Redbone Indians” as she said. She would not allow the word “n*gger” to be spoken in her presence ever—she said that all people deserved honor and respect.
In the 1930s, she scandalized the upstate New York town she’d moved to after her marriage. When a black Minister brought some vegetables to her back door to thank her for the assistance she’d given to his struggling parish, she famously said “Certainly I will speak with him, but only if he will come around to the front door and ask for me there.” That didn’t sit well with the local busybodies, not at all. Black people were supposed to “know their place”, and only come to the back door, the servants’ entrance. But she didn’t care what people thought. Black people were her friends, she wasn’t going to change to fit someone’s expectations, and her black friends were going to come in through the front door like everyone else..
And all seven of us, her grandchildren, were brought up by her to like and respect black people. Me, I’ve lived and worked and partied with and loved black people all my life. Inter alia, I lived and worked for 17 years in black-majority countries.
And so, while I am more than aware of my many failings and shortcomings, I know for a fact that racism is most definitely not among them.
Part The Third
Despite my upbringing, despite my life among black people, despite my active support and participation in the Civil Rights Movement as a young man, I can’t tell you how many times in the last five years or so I’ve been personally called a racist. It has come to be the go-to accusation of far too many people for anyone that they disagree with. I’m endlessly told that my opinion doesn’t count because I’m just an “old white man” …
Look, here’s a simple fact. When I was a youth, there were still “Colored” and “White” drinking fountains, hotels, restaurants, beaches, and swimming pools all over the south. In some states, it wasn’t legal for black and white people to get married. And there were almost no black people in positions of political power—almost no Governors, Mayors, Sheriffs, or elected officials of any kind.
However, today there are no segregated drinking fountains or restaurants or swimming pools.
Because white politicians made them illegal.
And it’s no longer illegal for black and white people to get married.
Because white Supreme Court Justices said it was legal.
And there are black elected officials at all levels, Governors and Mayors and Sheriffs and a twice-elected black President.
Because they were elected by white people. Remember, black people are only about 10% of the people who vote. No way that 10% of the voters can elect anyone on their own.
Now, please be clear. I’m not saying that black people had no part in those huge social changes in my lifetime. That would be madness. Black people were a crucial, central, and indispensable part of those changes … but those changes would NEVER have happened without the actions of white legislators and judges and voters.
Yes, there are still white racists, just as there are black racists. But in fact, there is a huge reservoir of goodwill among white people towards black people. It’s why we have black elected officials and a twice-elected black President—because white people care about black people. And deservedly so—we all bleed the same color, we all have the same hopes and dreams, we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.
However, that reservoir of goodwill is not inexhaustible. And unfortunately, there is a loudly vocal minority of both black and white people who are doing their best to destroy that goodwill.
Bearing in mind the example of my daughter, think about what happens when you call people “racists” again and again and again … over time, does calling someone a racist make them less racist?
No way. It creates bad will, it supports racism, and it fosters racial division.
The same is true about the accusations of “systemic racism”. I’ve worked and traveled on every continent … well, except Antarctica. I’ve worked in Tonga, Senegal, Australia, China, Togo, Paraguay, Lesotho, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica, Fiji, Morocco, Solomon Islands, the Gambia, and Vanuatu. And I’ve traveled in and visited Venezuela, Trinidad, France, England, Switzerland, and other countries.
And after a lifetime of living and working and interacting with people of all colors in a host of countries, here’s what I have learned.
The US is far and away the least racist country I know of.
Why do you think people of every color are willing to risk their lives to come here? It’s because they know that here in the US, they have the best chance and their children have the best chance of making it big.
But that reality and that reservoir of goodwill are being eroded away by the race hustlers and the Al Sharptons and the BLM people and the CRT people and the 1619 Project people falsely constantly calling me and others “racists”, and falsely claiming that this is a racist country, and encouraging violent encounters between the races, and promoting racial guilt. If you call the US a racist country over and over long enough and loudly enough … guess what you’ll get?
For example, multi-billionaire Oprah Winfrey is what they call “ADOS”, an American Descendent of Slaves. She’s worth over three BILLION dollars, and I say more power to her—she worked hard for it, she earned it, and she deserves every penny of it.
Now, she was never a slave, and I was never a slaveholder. But far too many people claim that all ADOS people are owed “reparations”. They say that I and other white people should give Oprah some of our hard-earned money, based on something we never did and she never suffered … so please, answer me seriously.
Do you truly think that doing that, forcing me and others to further enrich Oprah, will improve race relations or make them worse? Will it make white people view black people more compassionately, or less so?
And the same is true about calling people “racists”—there is no better way to turn people into racists than to tell them over and over that they are racists. It’s the “bad child” technique I described in Part The First. The Chinese used that method in their “Re-education Camps”, telling people over and over that they were the enemies of society until they eventually believed it and apologized for it.
So please, I implore everyone to work to unite us rather, than to divide us with endless false accusations of widespread racism. Yes, racism still exists. There likely will still be racist people around when my grandchildren are long gone.
But we cannot fight against racism by further dividing ourselves along racial lines. We cannot fight racism by claiming it exists where it clearly doesn’t. We cannot fight racism by reparations. We cannot fight it by falsely claiming that every difference in outcome between groups is due to “racism”.
Seriously, folks. Suppose you have two groups of people, call them Group B and Group W. And suppose you constantly claim that every bad thing that has happened to Group B throughout history is the fault of Group W … just what do you think will happen? Do you think it will make Group W more likely or less likely to support the hopes and aspirations of Group B?
We live in a bizarre time, a time when people are not held responsible for their own actions and situations today, but they are held responsible for what their great-great-grandparents did 150 years ago …
In hopes of a better time, I remain,
A friend and supporter of people of each and every color.