How You Can Make Racism Unacceptable

When I watched the murder of George Floyd, I cried, then I became angry. Really angry. Legislation is overdue and critically needed, but racism is a systemic problem. We have to root it out from our personal, social groups. You can make racism unacceptable. Black Lives Matter.

My husband, Danny, and I went to a peaceful protest in Boulder, Colorado.

Have you read Lord of the Flies?

In Lord of the Flies, a bully becomes a leader of a pack of stranded boys and slowly dehumanizing one of them. In the end, (SPOILER ALERT) the entire group attacks the poor kid. This book was written in 1954 by William Golding. It won the Nobel Prize.

The book is about groupthink. When people band together socially there is a human need to fit in. It’s ancient. In our DNA. Our survival used to depend on being a part of a tribe. Not anymore, but that hasn’t stopped people from avoiding conflict to be accepted into a group.

The problem arises when, according to Wikipedia, the group has a tendency among its members to agree at all costs.

Have you ever been out for dinner when someone gossiped? I bet everyone leaned in. Some might have even shared similar stories to support what the gossip was saying. People want to relate and build friendships. If anyone felt uncomfortable about what was being said, they probably didn’t call the storyteller out in front of everyone. That would cause a scene. You might not get another invitation to dinner. That’s groupthink at play. Now, imagine someone making a racist remark. Would you have the guts to say something?

Don’t accept racist comments as the status quo.

Don’t let groupthink take over in a hateful way. Now’s the time to take a stand. We need to change what’s acceptable. Stand up to racism.

If someone says something racist, don’t ignore it.

Start a discussion. If the person won’t back down, maybe you should rethink your friendship.

If everyone takes these simple steps, maybe George Floyd’s death won’t only depend on legislation to make a difference.

What about All Lives Matter?

That equalizes the problem. Racism is about treating someone with inequality, discrimination, and prejudice because they think their race is superior. George Floyd died because he was black.

We can make a difference.

The people who believe that Black Lives Matter need to become outspoken. It doesn’t take a majority of numbers to sway a group. Imagine, rooting out the core of racism by taking a stand that racism is unacceptable. A racist would think twice before speaking their mind.

It will never be a perfect world. There will always be narrow-minded hateful people in society, but we are already on our way. People are talking about it. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Don’t look the other way and pretend you didn’t hear a racist comment.

I have spoken up against racism. It’s hard and there’s fallout.

Your time will come too. Don’t be silent. Looking the other way accepts racist comments as the status quo. We can change the groupthink. It starts by speaking up.

Have you ever had to take a stand against racism? Did you protest? Were you angered by the video of George Floyd’s death?

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57 thoughts on “How You Can Make Racism Unacceptable

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  1. I have a friend that I’ve known for over twenty years. We were driving somewhere together, several years ago and she was talking about a driver who had cut her off once. Then she dropped the “N” word. I was stunned. I’ve never been able to spend much time with her since then, but I wish I’d had my wits about me and said something. Now I’m determined and if I ever was present when something was happening like what happened to George, I’d throw myself on that cop and bite him like a bulldog.

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    1. Me too! It’s super shocking in the moment. The fact that you distanced yourself says it all. Actions speak louder than words anyway.

      I didn’t react right away either, but we had a come to Jesus moment later. It’s not fun, but I’ve never been prouder of myself.

      Thank you for sharing, Zannyro!

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      1. I marched in DC a few months back and that was one of my proudest achievements…flew there by myself and as I walked Pennsylvania Ave. I just kept thinking, all of the feet, all of the fascinating, great people who have marched this street, this is my moment to follow in the footsteps and add mine to the fight for Justice. A silly, melodramatic sentiment, but I was honored to be there.

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          1. LOL, thanks! I hear that all the time, but I fly by myself, or should I say ‘did’, a lot. I just felt like I had to go, right then.

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  2. Great words Susie and all so true. It really is about the silent majority standing up to the loud, outspoken minority of ignorant racists. The world will never be perfect but the least we should all be able to expect is for every person to be treated equally with equal respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “It really is about the silent majority standing up to the loud, outspoken minority of ignorant racists.” Your words gave me shivers, Jonno! You should share your words on your blog. Well said, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Actions speak louder than words.
    A good deal of behavior is regional – not all (of any race, creed or color) were raised the same way.
    Some were raised to treat others as you yourself wish to be treated, some (of all races, creeds and colors) were raised to hate.
    As the country become more uniformly diverse, change will happen. Hard for people who only see people like themselves to come close to understanding what others go through. “Walk a mile in another’ shoes” deal.
    Somehow major disasters erase all the preconceived concepts about other – people start being human…seeing there is more in common than not. We see that after hurricanes and floods around here
    Would hate to think it will take major continental plate shifts or an asteroid to jar people to stop being stupid like high school cliques.
    Cheered to see you reference “Lord of the Flies”. I too worry about group think.
    School here used to start conversations about bullying, discrimination, and race with that book along with “Animal Farm” and “1984”. Polite conversations – about fiction – discussions weren’t threatening or uncomfortable…I mean it was about not real characters…which then lead to current events. Real conversations. Of course that was here. A very diverse area for a long time.
    A minority majority city since the 80’s or longer. Pretty much equal amounts of Black, whites, Hispanic/Latino/Mexican (yeas they are all different) with a large group of “Others” forming the last quarter of the population. Like a family there are arguments, but people can get along if they try.
    That’s the key. Try.
    Yes, conversations. Yes, don’t sit by quietly, but address with dignity and quiet strength when you see something.
    MLK was a follower of Ghandi and peaceful protests – despite everything.
    A large group from UT and the Houston Jewish community march with him. In Selma and other places. ( I did my share, but parents insisted only in state) That’s been forgotten. All marching for peace and equality for all. My oldest cousin was murdered because she stood up and marched with MLK. Case is still open if anyone wants to confess.
    It’s personal to me. To me, all lives matter. Tiny steps. Will. Keep moving forward. Then someday all will be free
    Be strong. Be kind. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Phil for your amazing words. You should post this on your blog. I am saddened to hear that your cousin was killed while marching. And the case is still open??? OMG.

      Racism touches everyone in some way. I’m grateful to have a blog for a platform. I had to say something! The racism I experienced came from someone who lived in a huge diverse city. What blew me away was hearing the remark as if I would agree with them. I’ve always been on the outspoken side of things, but even I was shocked into silence and had to regroup before I had a conversation. One of my proudest moments.
      Peace to you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She may have “resided” there, but doubt if she really “lived” there – outside her own little world and comfort zone. True of so many.
        We have civil rights attorneys as well as doctors in the family. (one grandmother the first woman admitted to UTMB medical school and great grand mother the first non fluff, serious reporter for a major East Coast news paper) We take the virus and civil rights issues very seriously.
        My dad picked cotton as a little child – money was scarce. They hunted animals for the fur trade – to survive. Backwoods. No running water. When he mentored underprivileged kids, they knew he knew.
        I’ve avoided weighing in much on this because it is personal and I’m so frustrated what progress made may be lost.
        I hit clear bias at about 5th grade on a picnic outing put on by the science research group dad was with near Boston at the time. I grabbed one of the other kid’s hand and said “Oh, let’s sit in the very last seat on the bus ’cause it bounces the most.” Her mom jerked her hand away and shoved her into a middle seat. A few minutes later, Brother whispered “It’s because the black family is sitting back here” To which I was confused – as the only difference I saw was the family had boys and no girls. That day change things., Confronted the hypocrisy of words but “not in my back yard” actions.
        It used to be going to college/university meant encountering people with opinions opposite from you, but being strong enough in conviction to talk- really debate with specifics and facts and references – different ideas. Sometimes just agree to disagree and still be friends. There you fine tuned your beliefs so when out in the real/work world you could have things to say when encountering shocking ignorance or tirades that were strictly emotion and based on nothing. You had already seen it and practiced responses. Polite, but firm and intelligent ones ( or you would have been slammed and laugh out of the groups in collegeI don’t think students today are given that – exploration of all thoughts. And how to counter to support your own.
        Some of that old bunch did discard patience and turn to the anarchist groups known for violence. Others found ways to quietly work for change. I remember one late conversation before a planned march with Leeland (who became a Congressman. Some stories there.) about it might take awhile but the best shot for change was getting into the system and working on the inside: in education, in the neighborhoods (small things add up) and in all levels of government. Teach equality, work steadily towards it, and realize the old concepts die off as generations do.
        Patience is not everyone’s belief, though. But slow change endures, forced change only breeds hate and a slide backwards.
        Oh, well, old ancient one’s musings here.
        I know you did yourself proud. You’re Wild Rider! Onward with grace and will ( and Sam and Joe and the others if they want to go along…that’s a joke…just in case some didn’t realize. It’s who I am. HAHA)
        Peace and hope

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        1. Such great points. Babies aren’t haters. If they are taught to see life through a racist lens, they may have knee-jerk reactions to events that shape their lives and how they react to others. My hope is that we can tip the scales where even more people will have zero tolerance for idiotic prejudice. A wild rider can dream!

          Liked by 2 people

  4. We were watching Obama speak and my step mother who was visiting said “You want to listen to that negro?” We reminded her that he was the president of the United States. Unfortunately she was far too old and set in her ways. You can’t change people I’m afraid. I always tell racist people that they are missing out by not getting to know black folks. Or Chinese folks or Mexicans.

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    1. It’s sad but not hopeless. Much of racism comes from ignorance like you mentioned. I see a wave of enlightenment in our future. Call me an optimist.🤞

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jan!

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  5. I do not agree with his being killed. But from what I’ve learned George Floyd was a drug addict, armed robber, spent prison time to harming over people, and braking the law, he put his loaded gun pushed to the belly of a screaming frightened pregnant woman threatening to shoot her and her unborn baby within her. He passed counterfeit money. He’s far from my type of hero. and all the looters and rioters riding on the sympathy coat tails of peaceful protesters after destroying property of those whom were just struggling like everyone else to survive Covid – 19 and waiting to get their lives back together. Did you eat at or shop at any of those places the BLM rioters destroyed We did. Nope, George Floyd was not my type of Hero at all. You may not agree with my comment, but thank you for taking the time to read it.

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    1. To Brock: Floyd was no angel but neither was the cop on his neck. He had multiple infractions on his job record and repeated them with impunity. We know there are good cops but not good enough to oust the bad ones. Perhaps the police union should go as the air traffic controller’s union that Reagan busted. Don’t be so quick to assume “rioters” destroyed shops. It’s just as likely agent provocateurs of our own clandestine undercover government to discredit, demoralize and neutralize peaceful protests.
      To Susie: Your post was well thought and excellent. So much so that I had to keep reading through the comments, even to make my own!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This was such a good share Susie. Glad you and Danny participated in something powerful that helps increase awareness for others. Having so many here and it’s good to see the collective get bigger and more supportive. Awareness is finally leading to uncomfortable conversations that some people won’t have that eventually leads to education that leads to mobilization that leads to change. Thanks for posting. Stay safe.

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    1. Thank you, Guat.
      The conversation has started, which was half the battle. Now comes the hard part in adhering to these values and questioning others when racist remarks occur. I’m so thankful that it has only happened to me twice in my lifetime!

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  7. You’re right in saying that we can root out racism by speaking up–even if with our one small voice! I read somewhere that for people of different races to get past stereotypes and racist ideas, they must work together for a common cause–whether for pay or not. So much of our country and institutions are still segregated, for all intents and purposes (gentrification, lack of economic opportunity, etc.) that many Americans don’t have the opportunity to work with people who look different than they do. Growing up in rural OH, that was my experience, so it wasn’t until college, really, that I had the opportunity to truly know and become close friends with non-whites. I feel blessed my boys don’t have to wait to experience a diverse group of friends and schoolmates–hopefully a foundation for a very accepting and inclusive future!

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    1. Well said, Rebecca! You should post this on your blog. I can see how employment can be an equalizer. Racism has always shocked me, mostly because the person felt comfortable enough to say it out loud.

      I think most racism is taught and impressions are made early in a child’s life. My parents raised us to be respectful to everyone. My mom still has friends who are different races. To me, this whole subject of being judged by the way a person looks is beyond reason. I’m scratching my head to make my point more emphatic, but I have no words for how ridiculous this is to me.

      Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Really well stated, Susie. It breaks my heart to see what has happened. It is much harder to distance yourself from narrow minded people when they are related to you. I remember how stunned I was the first time I heard my brother-in-law say something racist. He was married to my sister and raising her children. We have had words on several occasions but I can’t totally cut myself off from them. My sister is finally taking a stand with him since George Floyd’s death. The real shocker for me was finding out, perhaps “realizing” that my father was a racist. Over the years there were little things, jokes, comments that other people would laugh at that I didn’t quite get but when I was around 20 I went to Puerto Ricco for a visit with family that was living there. Because my brother & his family lived there I was more involved with the locals than if I had just gone as a tourist. They lived in a University town and I went to lots of parties with young people and met some wonderful people. We kept in touch on my return and I was expecting a visit from one friend. As a redhead having a tan was not the norm for me. I was either neon white or neon red. Somehow I had managed to get the first tan of my life while I was there. I was determined to keep it up. My little top floor apartment did not afford me a comfortable spot for tanning. I use to lay on the roof while hanging onto the window frame. So I started going home to my parents place to lay in their backyard when ever I had a chance. One day my step-mother came out with a pitcher of water for me and said your father wants to talk to you. I went inside and he sat me down. He looked me straight in the eye ands asked me, “What colour is this boy that is coming here?”. I was startled to say the least. I said , “Excuse me?!” He repeated the question. I said, “What difference does it make?” He repeated the question. I repeated my answer. He went into a ramble about me never having spent so much time getting a tan before. I told him I had never had one before. He asked the question again and I responded the same again. The moment in your life when you realize someone you love and has always been your hero is not the person you thought they were is crushing. Somehow I managed to keep looking him in the eye as we volleyed back and forth even though all I wanted to do was throw up. He was finally so angry, he told me that if this “friend” was black that I was not to bring him there and he would not step foot in his house. I told him that was fine with me because I wouldn’t be spending any time there either, and I left. I went home and cried, threw up, got angry, cried some more. I did not go back to my father’s home for a very long time and things were never the same between us. He never did find out that my friend was a white boy, not black.
    Wow! I think a just spewed all over your blog here. It just came up and out without any control. I hadn’t thought about it in years. I should have though.

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    1. I’m so glad this was cathartic for you! That’s what blogging discussions are all about and you’re in a safe space. That must’ve been crushing. I would have stood up to him too. But I think we may be in the minority. You did the right thing! It’s time for EVERYBODY to do the right thing.

      By the way, I bet you rocked that tan with your red hair. Gorgeous!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m one of those conversationalists! Now, statewide legislation is taking place. There’s a lot of news about it in Colorado and new laws are expected to be signed this week. Businesses are changing their policies and there has been a lot of fallout, which is exactly what’s been needed. Change is happening!!!

      Thanks, Jay!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great to see “whites” join “blacks” in the fight against racism! I think imperialism should be added in the chant.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Engrking!

      Racism has always been a dealbreaker for me and I grew up in predominantly white Madison, Wisconsin and then moved to Boulder. To me, it’s outrageous that anyone can think they’re superior to another based on color, sexual preference, or what they look like in general. I hope this time, people make it unacceptable when they hear comments in their social groups. It’s hard but necessary. Read the comment from Silk Productions above. My friend Michelle wrote about her dad.

      Thanks again!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  10. It saddens me in this day and age when we’ve come so far that we still have so far to go. I wish George Floyd hadn’t died, but since I can’t change that. I hope his death wasn’t in vain. I hope real change comes from the situation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Legislation is being passed all over the country and there have been monumental shifts in business policy. Fallout, firings, and resignations have created the opportunity for real change. Every single one of those anti-racism actions are because of George. I’m super excited for the future but we also have to stop racism in our small communities. Each of us has the ability to make a difference.

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. This was a very good post.

    I’ve found that many folks are reasonable and apologetic when you point out why something they said was racist (or sexist, homophobic, etc).

    The ones that double down or turn it into a fight are the folks that I have trouble with. I’ve never been able to get them to see what was wrong, so they’re on the periphery of my life at absolute best these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am a short black man that always dreamed of finding myself around the white. Have removed that thought of racism between the white and black. It’s just colored we all have the same blood cells vein liver lungs kidney etc. In my country white it’s even more protected than we that even have the country. We should leave these hatred behind us, because it won’t lead us any where. We are only keeping it for our children to come. The time to get stop it its now not later but now. Love conquer it all.

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  13. Great post. You’re right, taking a stand and speaking up do some good and advance the cause, regardless if it’s just from one person or a small group. And I sure hope that the conversations and actions happening this time around bring a huge leap towards progress..It’s been going on for far too long..

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