I am, a Haiku


System leans to me
Too often I have just shrugged
I am a racist

I can’t stand hearing the phrase, “I’m not a racist but…” or “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” Because these statements miss the point. They assume that racism is just an individual thing, and that societal structures have nothing to do with it. You can “not have a racist bone in your body,” and mean that 1, but still benefit from a societal structure which leans toward you.

No, that doesn’t mean your life is a bed of roses or you don’t have to work to earn a living. It means that systems aren’t in place to make sure you have a 100 pound sled to drag after you as you do so. That’s it. That’s what systemic racism is. And when you see people taking active steps to take the 100 pound sled away from people instead of complaining about “special treatment” maybe you could just say, “That’s good. None of us should be forced to drag that through life.”

I need to remember to say that, because this system leans toward me and too often I’ve just shrugged and accepted it. And far too often I still want to. And because of that, yes, I’m a racist.

But the thing about the truth is, it sets us free.

Free to shred a system apart and give my privilege away. So that the things to which I’m privileged become common. Because they should be.

  1. But if you say “I’m not a racist but…” you’re just a racist. I’m not sorry to point that out.