Robert Lobell: Owning one’s unconscious racist attitudes |

Robert Lobell: Owning one’s unconscious racist attitudes

Regarding the op ed piece, “Racism within ourselves” (Bill Drake, The Union, June 20), “Between 1917 and 1943, 21 commissions were appointed to investigate race riots … and to seek structural changes, but none of these commissions led to anything substantial. The point of such commissions is for the government to appear to be doing something, while actually doing nothing” (New Yorker, June 22).

In order to make a difference, we Caucasians need to personally go deeper than mere commissions. Even though I was raised to believe that everyone is equal, and was involved in the Civil Rights movement, I noticed to my surprise that I harbored unconscious racist attitudes — such as thinking that Black individuals are unintelligent because of the way they speak, or of my sexual preference for white women, or of my feeling intimidated by muscular Black men.

Such attitudes serve to confirm the entrenched belief that African Americans are somehow, in some way, less than fully human, who are seen as “people-of-color” rather than simply as people. That is, prejudice and discrimination inevitably take place when we fail to see the innate humanity in others. This is the deeper meaning of Black Lives Matter.

Robert Lobell

Nevada City

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