I am not racist.
Despite the fact that I grew up in a predominantly white community in North Dakota, I was not unaware or immune to the many racist comments and viewpoints I encountered.
I was not racist when my Louisiana-born Grandaddy would mumble disturbing comments directed toward African Americans, which my young, naive ears were never meant to hear.
I was not racist when I sat in a 6th grade classroom in September 2001 and watched desperate men and women jump from the windows of a building to escape being burned, while my teacher rushed to the front of the room to change the channel to something a little less disturbing for a group of 11 year-olds.
I was not racist when a Marine I knew well insinuated that African Americans in his platoon worked a little less than the rest.
I was not racist when I found myself constantly surrounded by North Dakotans who claimed Native Americans were all lazy drunks who did nothing but take money from the government.
I was not racist when I struggled to understand an African American peer’s vernacular in college.
Racism is a sin. Plain and simple. There is no getting around it. There is no claiming that it is justified. It is a sin. If you claim yourself to be a follower of Christ, yet lock your doors more quickly when an African American is walking by your car, you may consider repenting of your snap judgments. Up until a few short months ago, this was a sin I did not regularly repent of, nor did I see the need to do so.
I truly was not racist. I never noticed the color of a person’s skin. I never cared, believing that a white man and a black man and a brown man were the same, the only separation literally being the color of their skin.
I was not racist.
The first time I realized this statement may no longer be true was shortly after the shooting of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minneapolis. There had been countless shootings of young, black men in the news, the Black Lives Matter movement intensifying with each one. However, I mostly ignored these stories. Of course, I found the loss of life to be sad, but I also could not stand watching the media take the side of the dead man without hesitation, never considering the possibility that the police officer performed a justified shooting. It angered me, so I ignored it.
The story of Philando Castille captivated me, much like it did the rest of the nation. There were different details in this particular shooting which spiked my interest, one of those details being the horrifying video of Philando’s death which was posted on social media. I could not resist watching the media reports of Philando’s death; I found myself praying for both him and the police officer who shot him.
As I learned of the story, racist thoughts entered my mind, as I won’t deny my tendency to give a police officer the benefit of the doubt. However, I continued to shove these thoughts away, knowing they weren’t right and Philando deserved just as much benefit of the doubt as the police officer did. All I wanted to do was hear the facts, just the facts.
Shortly after this shooting, I was sitting in a parking lot with my sleeping boy in the backseat waiting for my mom to get done with her haircut. I chose to waste time by surfing Facebook, and when I looked up out into the parking lot, I saw an African American man walking by my suburban. He had a red do-rag on his head, an oversized white t-shirt with a large gold cross around his neck, black jeans hanging low with a chain in his right pocket, and he walked with a swagger stereotypically given to a black man who is up to no good.
I did not hesitate, nor did I think about what I was doing. While I continued to eye the man, I reached up and locked the doors of my suburban. The moment my doors were locked and I felt safe again, I realized to my dismay that my view of people of different races may be starting to evolve.
Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse from that moment. My thoughts have become more racist and I have begun to notice the color of a person’s skin before I see anything else. This is something I never wanted for myself. It is certainly something I don’t want for my son.
I become a little more racist each time I see the media portray an armed African American as a victim, instead of a criminal. All the while portraying a police officer, just desperately trying to do his job, as a sinister, vindictive murderer. The media will do this before any facts are actually revealed.
I become a little more racist each time I see a group of African Americans supporting a spoiled, naive NFL player while he proudly disrespects my country’s flag, my country’s military, my country’s freedom.
I become a little more racist as a protest builds in intensity just outside my city concerning the rights of Native Americans. Each time I hear one of them hurt a member of law enforcement or vandalized a piece of equipment because they consider themselves entitled to do so just because of the color of their skin, my racism grows.
I become a little more racist when I hear Donald Trump attended a black church in Detroit in order to gain more support of the African American community. I feel like the only one in the nation that recognizes a church being called black is just as racist as if I were to call my church white, which I would never do, despite the high percentage of Caucasian members.
I become a little more racist when I begin to notice the double standard that white people now must face in this nation. The hypocrisy of those of other races who can use violence against police officers, yet the police officers must now think twice before they use any type of force against them.
I become a little more racist when the cold blooded murder of five Dallas police officers is considered a protest when if it were done by a group of white men, it would be considered a massacre.
I become a little more racist when the NFL will not allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear a decal on their helmets honoring these police officers, yet Colin Kaepernick is allowed to sit down in utter disrespect during the National Anthem.
I become a little more racist at the realization that I am not allowed to be racist, but me and my family can be called rich and white while no one even recognizes this as blatant hypocrisy.
I become a little more racist when I finally admit that perhaps, I now have to call myself a racist because of the violence and the entitlement that many of different cultures use against a white person.
I become a little more racist when I realize that perhaps making me into a racist is exactly what the media wants, perhaps it’s even what the government wants.
I know I am a sinner. I know it is wrong to be racist. I know I must now repent of my negative feelings toward those of other races.
I cling to the knowledge that not all Native Americans feel entitled to criminal activity while protesting a pipeline across a river.
I cling to the knowledge that not all African Americans support the violence being done by the Black Lives Matter movement.
I know there are many corrupt cops in our nation that should be fired or put into prison.
I know these things just as much as I know that not all Muslims are terrorists.
I pray that my convictions never weaken enough to begin placing every person of a different race into the same category. It is when we start doing this that we have truly lost.
Violence is not the answer. Entitlement is not the answer. Hypocrisy is not the answer. Your desperate, forceful, and unlawful attempts to eradicate this country of racism and establish equality is doing nothing more than further widening the gulf between my race and yours. We are moving backward, creating a more definite barrier between groups of people based upon the color of their skin.
I can honestly say, at this moment, I have never felt more separate from a person of another race. I have never felt more like we all really just might be enemies, despite my complete naivety of this fact just months ago.
I know this nation has not always been fair to those of other races, but now it is the Caucasian that this nation is no longer treating fairly.
Stereotypes are unfair. Stereotypes are the foundation of racism. I think it is time we all stop proving them to be right. Jesus Christ dictates what is right and what is wrong and He does not change the rules based upon the color of your skin.