Dear Carol

Am I racist?

 

I am white. Sometimes I don't like black people. It isn't because they are black. It's just that black people have a certain personality, I think, and I don't like it. All of the black people I know have the same type of personality. So it really doesn't have to do with the color of their skin. But does this make me racist?  


-Bad Person


Dear Person, 
 

Well, if an African-American said, “I don't like white people,” would you consider that racist? I would. What if the person said, “White people have a certain personality,” would you whole-heartedly agree? I wouldn't.

 

Consider some famous people, I don't think of Samuel L. Jackson as a wonderful black actor or Tiger Woods as a great black golfer or Oprah Winfrey as the best black talk show host. I think of them as fabulously talented individuals.

 

Blacks don't have a “certain personality” anymore than whites do, to be honest. It's much better to get to know individuals rather than generalize about groups. Stay open-minded and you may someday make friends whom you don't think of as black or as white but as true-blue.

 

You signed your letter “Bad Person.” You aren't a bad person, but prejudging others is a bad habit. Deep down, you know this and that's why you wrote me—so you've already taken a step in the right direction.
 

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BY CAROL WESTON ON 4/7/2014 12:00:00 AM

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