By Mary Fahnestock-Thomas, Hamilton
Nice people are not racist, right? And most of us think we’re nice people. So why all this ruckus?
Because however nice individuals may be, large groups of people who want to make money and protect their interests tend to make policy — like declaring that neighborhoods that are not all white are not good value, like not hiring people whose names are different from theirs because they’re hard to say and therefore somehow dubious, like limiting the number of non-white students admitted to a university each year, and so on.
I’m finally beginning to realize that reparations are in order perhaps not primarily for slavery, which was longer ago, but for the many ways our primarily white and ostensibly Christian society has actively stood in the way of non-white progress and then blamed it on those very non-whites. We have basically held them down and brutalized them. Oh, not you, and not I — all of us, all parties, because of the system we have supported for so long.
So not being racist is not enough. It is too passive to make a difference. Change requires that we be anti-racist — that we talk and read and learn what’s been going on for so long and finally commit to doing something about it, to using our own lives and resources to show that we do, in fact, believe that all human beings are created equal.
That’s what our country is supposed to be about. Anti-racism: look it up.