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I am just finding out now, at 61, that some of my friends are racist. "Simmering racism" is what I call it; where they do not believe that they are racist but demand that (pick a culture depending where you live) people from India speak English when they are out and about with their friends, for example, or, if they move into my friend's neighbourhood, that they leave all their culture and customs back in their home country. I'd blame it on Trump's administration normalizing racism, but we are in Canada and are affected, granted, but not as much, by his hate.
Did I choose my friends poorly 40 years ago? How did I not know all these years about this? They can't have suddenly become racists, can they have? I am devastated.
Do you have similar stories about finding out that your friends are racist?

mauxjen 4 May 31

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I don't know of any friends that harbor views like that and hope none of them do.

On a different note, every time I hear someone speaking a different language I don't think "they should speak English", I always think "Hmm, I wonder what language that is?". Unfortunately, I don't speak anything besides English, and barely that some days.


Probably limit contact with the racist friends? Im not an expert but at my age I have no time to waste on jerks and ignorant people.


Yep. It's not just you. They're coming out of the woodwork. One example I have is 2 friends I've known for 43 years, who happen to be brother and sister. They were always pretty tight, always lived in the same town. But over the past decade or 2 (starting about when the sister hooked up with and married a Republican) they started not hanging around together nearly as much. Now it's just getting together for holidays mainly. When I go to that town to visit, I often make a point to visit both of their houses. It's like night and day. With the sister I just make it a point to not talk about anything the least bit political. When I visit her brother, we are always on the same page. He's said to me "I don't know what's happened to my sister." So yeah, even within families these disconnects are happening. Nature/nurture. Sometimes the chemistry within has more control than the environment I guess. Who knows...?


I typically go in assuming that all white people are racist, to varying degrees, myself included. I don't know how we can live in the society that we do without at least subconsciously absorbing some racist ideas.

How well the friendship works out depends on how willing they are to acknowledge any racist tendencies when it is pointed out to them, and if they're willing to put in the effort to address these tendencies. I'm not going to maintain a relationship with someone who affirms their or my racism or thinks improvement in this area is unnecessary or too silly/PC

Same deal with sexism. You aren't gonna find any man or woman who hasn't any ingrained sexism at all.

Good people do better when they know better, and are open to knowing better.

@archer5691 Conservatives be like:



One does not merely 'become' a racist. Usually it is found that they were taught this behavior at an early age, generally by family associations and other outside influences such as peer group pressure. For many I suspect that it is suppressed for a long while, then something happens that validates or empowers them and it comes out -- but it was there all along.


Trump really opened the door on how pervasive racism is in America. I find it incredibly depressing. As long as racism exists at this level, especially the institutional racism, everything else this country does that is positive DON'T MEAN SHIT!


I've worked on every continent except Antarctica. I've worked in dozens of cultures and countries. I've found that there are racists and "culturalists" in all of them. I believe it can all be traced back to tribalism. Fear & distrust of "those not like us".


I helped a family come up from Hurricane Katrina who are Afro-American. I have always been in the kids lives and they call me their "grandfather" since I do things with them and try to be as supportive as possible. Started dating a lady about 4 years ago and the N word started slipping out twice. I would never have pegged her as racist. But we talked and then she thought it was weird I was helping out the family. Sigh. I was told people were talking about it. Well, f...them. Oh, and she was churchgoing to. I backed away gracefully but I know that even though it is 2018, people's innate beliefs die hard.


I think it's that slowly over the years it became taboo to speak racist stuff publicly in the white community. That doesn't mean they weren't racist, it was just hidden. Somehow a lot of those hidden racists had that taboo broken by Trump. Feeling a new sense of freedom to express it they exploded with all this repressed hatered they kept inside. Now you can see then ugly side they now proudly parade. I was saying that this exsisted for many years. I knew because most of my family are like that. Many look at me and assume I'm the same so many have expressed their views way before Trump or Obama ever came around. Obama is what primed the charge for them. It wasn't so much that he was black directly though. The lies the right made up were just way more effective at pissing them off because they were racists. That made it easier to inflame them because he was a black man. This laid the groundwork for Trump's racist views to strike the perfect tone with them. I wish I didn't have this insite but leaving in southern Indiana has made me well versed in racism.


Use kindness to show them how people or any race, color, religion should be treated. That said, I would not accept any form of racism in front of me at any point. Having a good friend who is racist must be a difficult situation for you. I'm sorry for that. I hope that you can manage to keep a healthy relationship with them. But if they are hurtful, maybe reconsider? I don't know. A very interesting situation.


Almost all of us are at least a little bit racist. I would admit that if I'm walking down a dark urban alley in the middle of the night and a stranger approaches, I would feel more at ease if the person is white. However, we humans have evolved to understand intellectually that racism is not a particularly bright path to follow, and the best of us do our best to raise above this innate trait and do what's best for community.

godef Level 7 June 1, 2018

I think we are blacks and whites and others too I like the work done by jane Elliott brown eyes vs blue eyes very enlightening and true makes you look at how we see racism

I agree entirely. I sort of feel guilty I don't do more to combat my internalized racism, but I have some personal issues that take all my energy. I identify as oppressed and marginalized myself, so just don't have the resources to devote to the issue.


I cannot speak for your country, but it would be nice to know the primary spoken language of a country before visiting or moving there, and there is nothing wrong with that. I worked at one job years back in customer service, and it was most frustrating trying to communicate with those who did not speak english, and being that english is the primary language of the US I was not about to learn another language on the spot.


Have you had a discussion with them to show them how their view points are damaging?

Mea Level 7 May 31, 2018

For most people who are racists, you are attempting to challenge core beliefs that are so deep in their psyche that it is almost impossible to change. Most get defensive and make it hard to carry on a logical conversation.

@yamaha45701, that's fair. That's the case with most views people hold that they're passionate about. I still think it's a worthy conversation to have though, especially since the OP considers them friends. Having genuine one on one conversations with people you care about is a much better way to change someone's view point than a stranger having that conversation with them.


It sure comes out in strange ways. I have a coworker who claims to be a liberal. She mentioned the Miss Black America pageant and asked me if it bothered me. I said, no, why should it bother me? She said "that they have to have their own pageant". I still can't wrap my head around why it should bother me who has a beauty pageant or what if they have one that excludes other races? The entire purpose of a beauty pageant is to exclude everyone but the most beautiful, its utterly based on superficial exclusion. Geez, I was an average looker in my youth and never would have been included in a beauty pageant, now that I'm elderly and fat I really can't fathom why any of it would pertain to me in the slightest! I mean, coworker is no spring chicken either, that ship has sailed for her too, so why the heck does it matter? I guess the only answer is that we are in the south and how dare someone black exclude someone white from something that has nothing to do with them anyway? Crazy what goes on in some people's heads.


I understand what you mean. I hate that kind of insidious, subtle racism that rears its ugly head every now and then.


You know what was really difficult? I used to work as a waiter and bartender at a lot of restaurants around Connecticut. Black people tipped poorly, almost every time I had a table of black people the tip sucked. Some white people did too of course, but the statistics were huge that black folks didn't tip well. It is really hard to say that and not feel racist. Now that I'm out of that line of work I can look back and know that socioeconomic factors had a lot to do with it. The fact that it is harder for their demographic to make higher wages along with the fact that we are all told that blacks and whites should look at each other differently were big reasons as to why they didn't tip me (a white male) better. But it was hard at the time to not become racist.

My point is, experiences often will cause racism. There are reasons that black people tipped me (a white male) less, but at the time I knew that a table of black folks would tip me less and I wanted to blame them, not all the factors leading up to it.

not only do blacks as a rule not tip well they run you to death more butter water ice another roll and they do I with an attitude and don't get those heavy black women dressed to the nines hats and all they are the worsr

So honest.


What I find is that most of those people who sound racist aren’t really all that racist. If you pay attention to their actions you see that they are caring people who treat all fairly. I guess what comes out of their mouths is just shallow, learned behavior in most cases. Sometimes they just enjoy pushing our buttons.

IMO, the most invidious behavior is covert. Many people feel uneasy around those who are different, and they try to cover up their feelings. Blaming or demonizing them will get you nowhere—they can only change through personal experience. For me that experience was the army. For young people of today it is contact with their classmates.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Canada is a great country, aye? I love Canadians!

William, if they sound racist then they ARE racist. No splitting hairs here. It doesn't matter that they are caring. I doubt very much they are treating people equally if racist shit is coming out of their mouths. And this shallow learned behaviour? Work on and it and change it. "Oh well, I guess that's the way it is. It is what it is." Lazy and ignorant. My two friends that have made racist comments are white women in their fifties and they are not stupid. They can stop this kind of talk. They just choose not to. They also don't think they are racist.

@mauxjen I was just basing it on a couple of local people that I know. I know for a fact that they aren’t truly hateful—they seem to be very popular in the Black community because of their benevolent actions.

It sounds like your two friends are actually hateful racists. If I were in your place I would probably avoid those people. I’d be embarrassed to be associated with them. You might get them to change their speech habits, but IMO any real change has to come from experience. If they got to know some Blacks maybe they’d realize that their earlier judgments were mistaken.


I understand completely! Both of my parents are 72. My father rerers to Obama as a "nigger mutt". His words, not mine. For people in and around your age, I think it was ingrained into their minds. Around here, if you are white, Chatholic, and of European decent, you are superior to any one else! My mother was married to two Mulsims before she married my dad. Neither can stand them. Going back to point, my father has a book (probably from the late 1940's) called "Little Black Sambo". I've read the "childrens" book, but it breeds hate. My ultimate point is that I don't think you made bad friends 40+ years ago. People were just raised that way. If you ask them about racism, they will probably say something like "I'm just old-fashoned",or some crap like that. They learned it. They can unlearn it too! My hate is blind!

I found that a powerful intelligent black man really hit a lot of white people's insecure buttons. Keyword being intelligent. They'll hold up Ben Carson as an example to prove they're not racist because a black man who feels whites are superior is acceptable.


I abhore racism and prejudice- That is, where they are defined as collectively denigrating, with serious intent, any person or group of people on the basis of ethnicity or belief. i am happy to live among and celebrate the diversity of humanity in all its forms. However, folks are sometimes shocked by the fact that i can laugh and moan at racist and prejudicial humour, as I believe that it is actually highlighting the rampant idiocy it reflects. Some of that shit is damn funny, whereas racist and other prejudicial intent never is.


I find that it is a ‘mixed bag,’ among my friends and even family! It is baffling to me as well, how people can so easily put down another ethnic or culture of people! I have always delighted in knowing people from different backgrounds and experiences! But, this kind of hate turns me off and it seems to be everywhere...that I never saw before! Anger at a situation is not what I is hate for a certain kind of person! This can’t be normal?


Know exactly what you're talking about. Seriously considering doxing.


I hear what you are saying @mauxjen because you led your post with your age and yes, you and your friends have lived long enough to have had positive and negative experiences/ influences, societal entitlements/ empowerments/failures/ injuries, so after years of camaraderie, evolution has happened. But, your consciousness in humanity may have been heightened by some passages in time. You more than anyone can admit your own reality.


Ive had to give up a friendship from childhood because of racism. From the use of the N word to complaints of my daughter taking her mixed race kids around too many black people.


When they get older they have to find something to occupy their tiny minds ?

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