Friday, August 26, 2005

Closet Racism

So this morning, I was troubled that I might have alienated some friends of DH's by making an honest comment about my experiences.

I was talking about moving from my Southern hometown, which is practically the capital of White Flight, to Washington DC, which is quite possibly the most integrated city I've ever seen (Okay, maybe NYC is more integrated but I haven't spent a lot of time there). I made the comment that moving to such a diverse city was really great, and that it was a really new experience for me. And one of the things I said was that in DC, you can't judge a neighborhood by the color of the skin of the people in the grocery store. Oy. Everywhere else I've lived, including my Northeastern College City and the current West Coast Cities that DH and I have apartments in, is relatively segregated. I remember when I first went apartment shopping in the DC area, I tried to gauge the neighborhoods, in part, by the racial makeup of the neighborhood. Maybe not the most enlightened decision process, but it was the heuristic I was used to.

I discovered that I couldn't do it, and that in fact, that ended up being a good thing b/c DC is a much more interesting, vibrant place than anywhere else I've lived. Realizing that I was even trying to judge neighborhoods by that kind of qualification taught me a depressing lesson about myself, that despite the fact that I had several African-American friends that I knew through work, etc. I was still less tolerant than I would like, but I think I'm a better person now. Not perfect, but better.

2 comments:

Yankee T said...

Good for you! You should be proud of yourself!

feminaformosa said...

Thanks! I was really worried about posting this- I was afraid that I would get all these "You're a racist!" comments.