Allegations of racism are prevalent in society today. Depend upon the fact that every time you hear of someone charged with being racist their response will be the same, “I am not a racist!”
Those making the allegations are left to wonder, “How could this person not recognize their words or behaviors as racist?” The logical conclusion is to recognize that this person is in denial.
Is it possible that people who look at the world through racist eyes have no idea they are doing so?
Yes it is. Much of our childhood programming resides in the subconscious or unconscious realms of our mind. The visceral reaction that some exhibit to those of other races seems to be a normal response to them, much like tying ones shoes to avoid tripping over the laces. It’s a no-brainer. They simply don’t notice that their reaction is tinged by long held notions of their own superiority or sense of privilege.
So are these people doomed to a life of clueless distaste and suspiciousness? Of course not. Since racism is learned it can be unlearned and replaced with new, more functional, less judgmental beliefs.
To prompt this conversion skip the part of the conversation where you allege racism and ask the person a few thought provoking questions to help them notice that their response to people of another race is harsher and more condemning than it is for people of their own race. Don’t expect that they will experience an instant “ah-ha” moment and clearly see the error of their ways. Be content to plant the seeds of enlightenment and be patient.
Perhaps one day you will notice a difference in their attitude towards other races. When that day comes congratulate them and express pride in their ability to manifest positive change.