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Welcome to the third installment of the racist trilogy.  It’s Return of the Racist and I promise no Ewoks, which were racist as hell.  I don’t have time to get into that right now, but trust me, raaaaaciiiist (said sing songy).  Despite the titles of episode one and two, OK, you actually are racist (roll credits).  You are not only racist, but your racism can be scored.  Do you know your Race Credit Score (RCS)?  This blog and the URL home of this blog were inspired by a friend of mine.  She was concerned that asking me questions about race and race relations would be offensive and cast her in a negative light.  I informed her that she had a very high RCS with me and like Experian, she would have to do a lot of negative things to significantly lower her race credit rating.  Then it got me thinking, what if you could find out your RCS, kind of like on a website called racecreditkarma.com (roll credits).  Thanks to her and others, a blog is born.  Or in my case, reborn.

So, how would it work?  I would love audience participation on this one.  If you have ideas, please feel free to comment.  But, I’ll go first.  Similar to a credit in real life, most adults have some sort of credit rating.  So, everyone has an RCS, meaning everyone has a level of racism.  For those of you that don’t see color, you don’t have a score at all, and just like in real life, having no credit is worse than bad credit.  My first thought is how long have you gone without making a racist joke or snide comment?  This would be similar to on-time payments and would have a major impact on your RCS.  How many accounts do you have?  Or how many friends do you have on the color spectrum?  Are they accounts that you never use, or do you have a history with any of your more colorful cards?  Any bankruptcies in your past, such as usage of the N-word.  And of course, the myriad of minor impacts on your RCS, such as calling someone by the wrong name because you thought they were the “other black guy”, going up to a minority and saying, “Do you work here?”, showing the not-so-veiled look of surprise when you find out that the black woman you are talking to is a doctor, and the ever popular, “Do you know the other minority that I met a year ago because you all belong to the same network?” question.

The reality is that many of us care to know just how racist we really are.  And perhaps an even greater reality, many of us don’t care to know how racist we are.  It is kind of like the millions of Americans that don’t care to know their credit score.  They just want to live life as if everything is OK and then become surprised when they can’t get a loan to buy that house.  What?  Me?  That can’t be true?  But I have 10 credit cards and I’ve only been late on them a few times.  Well, guess what?  You’re racist.  Whaaaaaaat!?!  As I mentioned in the previous blog, we all have biases in some form or another, but what we don’t realize is these biases make us racists.

We are a society of lines.  We encourage each other to get as close to the line as possible.  We tell stories of near death experiences, and times when we almost asked that fat girl if she was pregnant and we love these stories.  These stories keep us at the edge of our seats.  But when we cross the line, we get crushed.  No one gets mad at a great tackle, but we balk when someone gets hurt.  What did you think was going to happen?  You can’t be negative, biased, tell the “harmless” race joke, or discount someone’s worth because of the color of their skin and expect to escape the racist designation.  Time and time again people behave in such a way that makes certain groups feel lesser and become offended when called a racist.  Really?  So what do we do?  I’m sorry, I like the analogy.  You need to know your Race Credit Score.  Are goal should NOT be how close we can get to the racist line, but our goal should be to be as far away from being racist as possible.  This might mean that you can’t tell that joke that you think is sooooooo funny, because we are going to start caring about how others feel.  I know it’s scary baby birds, but Daddy is going to chew it up and spit in your mouth to make it go down easier (How do you like that image?  I love it!)

Here are some factors to help you determine your RCS (I don’t have time to rank them, I wish I did, but I neither have the time nor the energy to give them their respective point values, but once again, I welcome your input on this list):

  1. Eye contact – When you address a mixed group (various races and genders) do you give everyone equal eye contact?  You have no idea how many times I have been in a group setting, the only black person in the group, and the only person not receiving eye contact from the speaker.  Or conversely, receiving ALL the eye contact.
  2. Assumption of Power – When given the opportunity to choose a person of power, in other words, who among this group is either most likely to know the answer to my question or the leader of this organization.  You assume the minority is not in a position of power.
  3. Mistaken Identity – Do you believe, or by your action prove, that we all look alike.
  4. Relationships – Are you likely to shy away from interracial friendships.  I also include talking to a black person because you are overly trying to be their friend.  Trust me, this is not good for anyone.
  5. Negative/Dismissive Language of Any Kind – <You don’t care about other people’s lives.  They are blowing it out of proportion.  They don’t know me, I’m not racist.  It’s just a joke.  Why can’t they just let it go.  Maybe it’s their fault, did you ever consider that.  It’s not everyone, and it’s certainly not me.  I wish they would just shut up about all of this. Why are they so angry?> Have any of the above phrases crossed your mind or come out of your lips?
  6. A Lack of Desire to Be a Part of the Solution – Do you want to help, or do you just want to be proven right?

I could go on and on, but this blog is getting long.  If you struggle with any or all the above, your score has taken a hit.  So, how can you raise your RCS?  I could go on and on about this as well, but I have chosen to sum it up in one, hopefully, great sentence.  I’m even going to capitalize it for emphasis:

ANY BEHAVIOR BY WORD OR DEED THAT YOU ENGAGE IN THAT AT IT’S HEART IS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE OTHER GROUP’S PERSPECTIVE WILL RAISE YOUR RACE CREDIT SCORE.

I am not asking you to be black , Mexican or Asian.  You don’t need to start wearing a dashiki to work.  I just want you try to understand my and others’ perspectives.  If you interact with me in a way that shows your true desire to know where I’m coming from, than there’s not a mistake you could make that would make me lose respect for you.  We would grow together, and both of us would come out better people.  Don’t ignore your racism.  Look at it.  Examine it.  Get to know it.  Then, and only then, can you know how to be truly far away from it.


Insert bad transition here …

I lost a Pikachu the other day, and I can’t let it go.  I mean, I can’t let go the fact I lost a Pikachu.  I had a lure and incense going.  I was at the local library.  It showed up and I was soooo excited.  I tried two Pokeballs and it kept getting out.  I used a raspberry and on my third try it was in the Pokeball forever and ever, and ever… and as I anticipated the “Gotcha”, it became clear to me that the program froze.  Denied.  I still haven’t let it go.  I have a problem.

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