Allison Bachner

I live in a small suburb around Boston, which has a population that consists mostly white residents. While I know that racism exist in our society inevitable, an experience over break with someone I new from home was quite a surprise when he started making some more blatant racial comments. This boy, from my hometown, is my age and is now attending school in a very different environment at West Virginia University. However, he started talking about black people and using the N-word  and speaking quite angrily. He said that black people at his school, out at night, would just go up to him and people he knows and start fights because they are white. So I suppose West Virginia, the atmosphere, and this new experience of violence toward him from black people had created this new hatred. I was really thrown aback and could not really believe, especially because I knew him personally before and because of what we have been learning in class. So I talked to get to the bottom of his anger. I tried to change his mind. While violence is never acceptable, I tried to tell him that we have never been the recipients of racism. We have always been the majority, in the US as a whole as white people and especially in our little suburb. Also, that growing up in West Virginia, let alone in the North, as an African American and exposed to discrimination and racism by white people, it is not surprising that they might have anger toward white people. That I can only imagine the racist views in West Virginia, seeing that the seemingly accepting, non-racist boy from my town could go to school there for 1 one and develop that same hatred. I also told him that if a white person came up to him and beat him up or picked a fight that he would never develop hatred for all white people. That his experience in West Virginia does not justify hatred toward black people and does not mean all black people are violent and hate white people. He told me I just don’t understand because I go to St. Lawrence and am unthreatened and not exposed to what he has seen.It was a really emotional discussion and I tried my hardest to change his mind/ his way of thinking. I am not sure how much I got through to him, but I really think that this coarse has given me the tools to defend racism and has open my eyes to the reality of different forms of discrimination based on ones race, sexuality, and identity.