December 24, 2020

It’s not my job to Fix Racists—it’s my job to Set Boundaries. 

All the racists I’ve personally known want me to like them no matter how stupid, worthless, or beneath them they think I am.

This is part of their weakness and disease.

It’s a misconception that racism is a result of misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the unknown. Racism is a form of bullying intended to belittle and demean another human being. Racism is never an innocent byproduct of ignorance. Racism is intentional. Racism is sinister.

First of all, I don’t know any happy, loving, kind people who are racists. I understand that even the worst people are not bad all the time. I’m sure every rapist and serial killer can find at least one person who swears they would never do what they did, and that they are in fact good people.

I believe that every person who hates another person based on their skin color or ethnicity lacked something in their childhood. I have always believed hateful, spiteful adults weren’t loved enough, and that they were stunted, stuck, and twisted.

I personally know lots of people who grew up not being loved the way they deserved, but these people didn’t turn out to be hateful. If anything, it gave them more compassion about the suffering of others.

A less than ideal childhood is not an excuse for evil or cruelty.

I’ve always had to live with various levels of racism. Unfortunately, this is a subject in which I have firsthand personal experience.

In high school, I was sick when my English class studied Shakespeare. I did the readings alone. When I was back at school, I took the test and got an A. My teacher made me retake the test because she didn’t believe someone like me, an Indian, could get an A, because not even the white students could understand Shakespeare—she actually told me that.

When my daughter was in middle school, she applied to attend an elite boarding school. Her guidance counselor didn’t want to send my daughter’s grades to the boarding school. She told my daughter kids like her didn’t go to schools like that. Eventually, the grades were sent, and my daughter got in and graduated.

Last summer, a white woman in my community dressed up like an Indian at a Trump rally, and the pictures were posted on Facebook. I live on a reservation in Montana. She told people who were offended to go f*ck themselves. Later, she insisted that she is not a racist. For people like her, this is always their ultimate weakness. They are still human beings, and, no matter how they treat others, they still want to be liked and accepted even by those they don’t respect.

As humans we are wired for connection. We are pack animals. In prison, when people are put in solitary confinement, they can go insane and suffer long-lasting psychological damage.

Often, people—who are haters in some way—will not want to be excluded from groups or from being liked. Even if it’s from people they consider to be less than themselves.

All the people, who have been emboldened by Trump’s hate, who joined the fray of evil, are going to come to a reckoning of some sort. Eventually, the public opinion won’t be openly in support of hate, and they will have to choose between standing up alone for their beliefs or saying whatever they need to say to ingratiate themselves back into normal society—I say f*ck that.

Not only is racism a form of bullying, it’s a form of abuse. For me to think I have to get along with people who would gladly run over me with a car is too much to ask—I can’t. Do I need to respond to hate with more hate? No.

Imagine if racism were some other form of abuse. Instead of a racist calling me names, imagine me as a woman having a man call me ugly names and trying to run over me with a car or threatening my kids with a gun. It would clearly be sick and inappropriate for anyone to tell me that that person is actually not a monster and we just need to get along. I cannot be asked to get along and break bread with violent, dangerous people on any level.

Abusive people need to have backs turned on them. Not out of hate, but out of self-protection.

I am a brown woman. Not once in my life have I ever had anyone besides myself protect me from anything. I had to learn how to protect my children and myself.

One good thing about the current political climate is that all of this rose to the surface. I have a much clearer idea of who the people are who hate me, my kids, my parents, and my cousins because of the color of our skin.

I’m glad I know what I’m dealing with.

If dangerous, hateful, spiteful people actually had people turning their backs on them, they probably wouldn’t change. Abusers rarely do. But some of us would have our reality validated. Some of us would be safer.

It’s not my job to fix broken people. It’s not my job to heal rabid people. It’s my job to set boundaries. If someone hates me for that, so be it. Those people probably already hate me anyway.



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