Being a recovering racist


I’m a recovering racist – and will always be a recovering racist.  I was born into a racist world in 1946 and was conditioned to be a passive racist by the time I was 3-4 years old.  Over 450 years racism had simply become embedded in almost every aspect of American life, so it naturally became embedded in young children.  The exceptions are few.  I was no exception.  

Racism: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

I’m not responsible for becoming a racistbut I am responsible for recovering from that early conditioning and committing to countering racism.  I had no choice as a kid.  I didn’t even know there was an issue or a choice to be made.  But I’m not a kid anymore – and I know better.  


I’m late to making a serious commitment to countering racism, and I have regrets about that, as well as knowing that I will never completely free myself of racism.  But my focus is on what I can bring to the challenge now and committing to action.  I feel some guilt about being late, but that isn’t going to get in my way or cause me to turn inward to “deal with my guilt.”  It’s just motivation to focus on the qualities and competencies I can bring to the challenge – and act. 


I’m describing the experience of 99% of the White people over 40 (and probably younger).  There is a range to the depth of the racism that was instilled in us, but only a very few people escaped due to extraordinary families and life situations.  Very few.


The challenge is taking on responsibility, not dealing with guilt.  The challenge is to take on the responsibility to act to counter racism – bringing the talents we have developed to bear on the issue of the age for America.  Racism has been built into every facet of life in America over the last 450 years and as kids we had no chance and no ability to avoid being infected.  We can feel guilty about being late to becoming aware and educated and committing to action.  But that’s about it.  That guilt can be turned into energy to invest in making a difference now.


This site is designed to help do that.

“Each person has inside a basic decency andgoodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, 

he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needsmost. It is not complicated 

but it takescourage . . . to listen to his own goodness.”

– Pablo Casals