Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Up From Racism

Tim Parrish on how he almost became a Dylann Roof and how he managed to extricate himself from his own corrosive racism. A good and instructive read. He mentions that it's a demon one never completely escapes:

On my worst days, if a black person does something I don’t like or reinforces a stereotype still lodged in me, the N-word comes to mind quickly and sharply. Then I have to gather myself, bring reason to bear, once again dredge up the roots of these thoughts, and once more disconnect racist wiring laid in me since my childhood and recharged today by white institutions and media.

He thinks racism is a curable or at least treatable disease:

What about young men like Dylann Roof? Was there a method to point him down a different road—one that didn’t end with him looking for an hour at individual people’s faces, talking with individual human beings, doubting his intent, and yet still pulling the trigger time and again? Perhaps with sustained mental health support, perhaps with stricter gun laws, perhaps with someone to show the lies and warped conclusions of right-wing propaganda, he would have turned.

But in our country such resources and laws are shamefully lacking, especially for an isolated, young man with limited means. For Roof, the questions are the same as those regarding other mass shooters. But the more pressing questions concern people like my former racist mentor, who blaze against anything progressive.