First brush with racism

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  • #2411

    Lisa22819
    Participant

    To people of various backgrounds: When and how were you introduced to racism? I was about six when my family relocated to a teeny, tiny Midwestern town from another city, also in the Midwest, when I first encountered racism. My cousin and I were at a park (in the teeny town) when she told me some things the neighborhood kids would say to her. She kept telling me they were prejudiced, and I had no idea what she was talking about. That all changed when a little blond-haired girl approached us and said, “My mom said all black people are losers.” This blew my mind. Later that day an older boy, Travis, came to the park and called my cousin and I “niggers.” I had never heard that word before but knew it was something nasty and disrespectful, and I was very hurt. We ended up living in that town close to 10 years, and my siblings and I endured much racism and hostility, but we always knew we belonged and could live anywhere we wanted. It made me a strong individual. Oh … did I mention Travis became a friend?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Lisa22819, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, City : Gaithersburg, State : MD Country : United States, 
    #16318

    Lucy22463
    Participant

    When I was about 10, my family moved to a new town. I became friends with a girl in my class. She invited me to her house after school one day, and when I was over there I saw a book on the table about Martin Luther – the Protestant. I thought it was about Martin Luther King Jr. and made a comment about him. She told me who Martin Luther was, that the book was about him, and her father would never allow her to have a book about MLK Jr. The idea that someone would forbid their child from reading about MLK Jr. was incredible to me. She said that her father did not like blacks and he thought they should all go back to Africa. I couldn’t believe it, so when her father go home, I asked him for myself. This launched him into this tirade about blacks that went on and on. He said terrible things. I was so shocked to be face to face with someone who actually believed those things that all I could do was run out of the house. I went home and never went back.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Lucy22463, Gender : F, Race : Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Age : 26, City : San Jose, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #23628

    K-Miller
    Participant

    I feel bad because of a remark about race I made a long time ago in an innocent manner. I used to live in New England, and it was very rare to see black people. I saw a black woman shopping in a store – I must have been about five and was really fascinated. I went and got my mom and said loud enough for the other woman to hear, “Mom, there is a real black person here.” Of course the woman turned around and my mom apologized profusely.

    User Detail :  

    Name : K-Miller, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Asian, Age : 36, City : Balitmore, State : MD Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #34424

    Joonas J.
    Member

    I try to avoid racist thoughts and ideas, but I live in a country that unfortunately has deep racist roots. This doesn’t show as much in direct violence, but more in attitudes in general. Finns haven’t had much dealings with people of other races, except for Gypsies, who are still much hated all over the country. They are viewed as treacherous thieves and bandits even today. Another group that suffers from racist hate is the Somalians, who came here about a decade or so ago as refugees of war. They came here from a war-torn country, only to suffer from racial prejudices.

    Finnish racism doesn’t, in my opinion, involve seeing people with different racial backgrounds as intellectually inferior, but more as untrustworthy bums, robbers and rapists who are here only to live off our social security system, or in other words, on the tax money of ‘proper, honest Finns.’ This prejudice is unfortunately too often fed by headlines in our local papers, such as ‘a 23-year-old man with an African background’ raped, robbed or mugged a white Finn. It seems that our unacceptance feeds this lawless behavior, which in turn feeds our prejudices. It is a vicious circle, and it makes it hard for honest immigrants to make a living. I’m not even mentioning the local skinheads’ activities, who went underground a couple years ago, but you can imagine the worst times.

    As a native Finn, I have no problems living in my own country, but I meet prejudice almost daily. There is hope, though, in our children. Perhaps they will learn to live without lessened ideals.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Joonas J., Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Lutheran, Age : 20, City : Vantaa, State : NA Country : Finland, Occupation : Med student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #23863

    Romy29616
    Participant

    I first encountered it as a child (of course), when I was playing at a playground. I think I was about 5 or 6 at the time. Two older kids came up and took one of my toys away, and when I stood up to protest, I immediately got pushed back down and told ‘What are you gonna do about it, Chinky?’ And every so often, I’d get challenged to a fight because I HAD to know ‘kuh-ra-tee’. I was, of course, ashamed of being ‘different,’ but as I grew up, I grew out of that line of thinking — courtesy of the friends I made who were curious about my heritage, rather than afraid of it. And I eventually DID learn martial arts anyway 🙂

    User Detail :  

    Name : Romy29616, Gender : M, Race : Asian, City : Clinton Twp., State : MI Country : United States, 
    #43324

    Ken Lim
    Member

    First, I am amazed there are so few response to this question…I thoiught it would be the most popular seesion in the forum! My first brush came in first grade on the first day. During the morning recess a boy rushed past me, spit on my face, yelled ‘Ching-Chong Chinaman!’ and ran away. I was stunned. I had no idea what it meant, but I knew something very bad had just happened. Other the other end of the experience, in seventh grade I met my first black person who I inadvertently called ‘ boy’ a common word for me and others at the time. I had no idea there was any other meaning than opposite of girl. The kid was in my face so fast I was shocked. He had me up against the wall with his fist on my shirt collar saying ‘what did you just call me?!’ My utter bewilderment and confusion finally convinced him it was an innocent use of the term ‘boy.’ Sam and I ended up being friends and he taught me other words I wasn’t supposed to use. An elightening experience for us both!

    User Detail :  

    Name : Ken Lim, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Asian, Age : 43, City : Cupertino, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper class, 
    #24954

    Jackie
    Member

    I was pretty little (I think preschool), and my mom and I were looking over a map. I saw the country of ‘Niger’ and innocently pronounced it ‘Nigger’. Mom explained to me that this wasn’t appropriate because that term can be used as an insult for a certain group of people. I don’t think the whole concept of racial discrimination really dawned in my mind for awhile after that, though; I lived in a mostly single-race area when I was littler.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jackie, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 23, City : Tacoma, State : WA Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #22730

    genna21636
    Participant

    Mr.Vannta: YOUR country was NOT settled by ‘people of color.’ For THAT, you might be thankful! Unfortunately, I live in a country in which I am reminded DAILY that even though I HAVE NEVER OWNED SLAVES IN MY LIFE, THAT AS A SO-CALLED WHITE THAT I AM A RACIST–BY BLACK RACISTS WHO DO NOT KNOW ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL–AND/OR THAT I SHOULD HAVE TO PAY ‘REPARATIONS’ TO SO-CALLED FORMER SLAVES…. THESE SAME INDIVIDUALS tend to deny that THEY are themselves, RACISTS !

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    Name : genna21636, City : petti, State : NA Country : United States, 
    #26010

    Jonas
    Participant

    -Terve melkein kaima- It is not that simple. Many people in our country have very extreme views about some matters, although they lack the experience. It is very common for people to say that they are anti-racist as they do not live in neigborhoods where Gypsies and Somalians live, and they do not have to face the increasing social tension, racism is said to be only problem for those of lower social standing and poor education, I have met many academically educated people who have very hateful and vile attitudes. And the hatred is mutual, angry young men are eager for violence, regardless of their own skin color. There are groups of young Ethnic-Somalians who are as violent as are the white skinheads. And the gypsies, attitudes are almost the same as in almost every european country. You can not say that you meet prejudice almost daily, you probaply have never been beaten because of your skin color being ‘wrong’ for some neighborhood.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jonas, Gender : M, Age : 23, City : Helsinki, State : NA Country : Finland, Education level : Technical School, Social class : Lower class, 
    #23586

    DaShawn25957
    Participant

    Soon, a majority of those gypsies and Somalians will be stricken with more crime in their communities than you can imagine because of oppresion. I never been to Finland but I can tell you that your crime is nothing like our crime in America’s cities. And it got that way because of centuries of opppresion. If you all make it hard for those people to get jobs, how will they get money for food? By mugging the Finnish man or seliing drugs. On another note, I’ve only met one Finnish person my whole life and she’s married to a black man and they have 4 kids. I just think thats funny.

    User Detail :  

    Name : DaShawn25957, Gender : M, Age : 17, City : Longwood, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : student, Social class : Lower middle class, 
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