Recently, as I was driving from the airport to my home, I was listening to a call-in radio program hosted by an African American minister who is working to improve race relations. He was gently reminding us that throughout our history black people have suffered tremendously as a result of racism. There are very few who would doubt the accuracy of his observation.
What many people do not realize, especially those Caucasians who are guilty of racism, is the fact that they, too, are suffering in an entirely different way but, nonetheless, suffering because of the racism they practice. Incidentally, racism is a two-way street. There are people from all races who are racist and in 100% of the cases, it is wrong. For this article, however, I wish to direct your attention primarily to the extent to which many white people suffer as a result of their own racist beliefs.
Several years ago, Ralph McGill, who wrote for the Atlanta newspaper, pointed out that a white person damages himself because he is captive to a destructive character trait. A racist attitude signifies a lack of knowledge and sometimes even hatred. At best, it indicates ignorance and a closed mind which would mean there is little room for love, compassion and understanding. It's basically true that the person who is ignorant and filled with hatred will find it impossible to carry that burden around and have the freedom to be the best person he or she can be. This racism prevents him from expanding his base of friendship, contacts, and the rich heritage that every culture carries. He misses out on some of the best relationships that are available. Ultimately, it's more than just a cliche that "acid eventually destroys the container which carries it." Prejudice is a heavy burden to carry. When we rid ourselves of that destroyer, it will be much easier to make it TO THE TOP.