While studying in the library a few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between two of my classmates.
They were discussing how the “Mexican” construction workers outside the library were taking jobs away from black people.
I gradually eased myself into the conversation and told them, among other things, that many of their statements were racist. Their response was that black people could not be racist because society was against them.
I tilted my head sideways, like Scooby Doo does when he’s confused, in shock that anyone could possibly believe that.
The late English writer Sydney Smith once said that you should never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. Since it was not reasoned into him, it cannot be reasoned out.
Although I strongly agree with Smith’s statement, I could not wash my hands of the situation.
Those who believe that black people cannot be racist have faulty reasoning.
Racism is wrong, regardless of which race it is coming from.
Having racist beliefs, on the basis that members of other races may feel the same about you is unacceptable.
If you have been discriminated against because of your race, it is natural to harbor some bitter feelings.
However, if those feelings make you hate another race, you are no better than the people who discriminated against you.
When you subscribe to prejudiced beliefs, you fall victim to the same ignorance of every racist.
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “Strength to Love” speech. In the speech King said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
I have seen and experienced racism in my short lifetime, most of it institutionalized. Although it pales in comparison to what previous generations encountered, the remedy for combating it has remained the same.
King said the foundation for dealing with racism is love. I implore my black brothers and sisters to refrain from reciprocating acts of hate.
The Lord deals with evil in his time, not yours.
Jabari Bodrick, 21, is a junior public relations student from Charlotte, N.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.