Racism is the discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping on the basis of perceived, or actual, race and/or racial identity. Racism can often lead to the belief that race is the number one determining factor of human traits and capacities and that racial differences create an intrinsic superiority of a particular race.
James A. White Sr., a coach, mentor, and trainer who is dedicated to sharing his experiences, insight, enthusiasm, and passion to impart his message with all people, talks about his experience as an 18-year-old person of color in the 1960s joining the Air Force and relocating his family to Mountain Home, Idaho. He reflects on the past 53 years from his first experience with discrimination and the struggle of being rejected out of apartments, motels, and trailer parks. He then connects these experiences with his current struggle to provide counsel to his grandsons facing the same bias in the 21st century.
This talk with TedxColumbus was the first time he’s shared this provocative and heartbreaking story in public after his decision to be silent no more.
“I want to appeal to Americans. I want to appeal to their humanity, to their dignity, to their civic pride, and ownership; to be able to not react to these heinous crimes in an aversive manner. But instead, to elevate your level of societal knowledge, your level of societal awareness and societal consciousness, to then collectively come together to make sure that we speak out against and we challenge any kind of insanity that makes it okay to kill unarmed people, regardless of their ethnicity, regardless of their race, regardless of their diversity makeup.
We have to challenge that. It doesn’t make any sense. And the only way I think we can do that is through a collective.”
-James A. White Sr.
Let us ask you this:
- What are your typical initial/first thoughts when you see someone who has a different race or ethnicity from you? Do these first thoughts align with what you believe to be true about all people?
- What is your current experience with racism? Have you, or someone you know, ever had a lived experience with racism? If yes, what impact did it have on you?
- Reflecting on the TEDx Talk, how does the message impact you? Your environment/organization?
This month, we would like to remind you that race and/or ethnicity does not define a person’s capabilities and attitudes; thus, it should not affect the opportunities that are being offered to them by society. Racism is a plague that continuously affects our communities, and we need to stand up and take action against it.
Every moment is an opportunity to continue learning and reflecting. There is always room for growth in ourselves, and in our communities.