Have you ever been racist?
Yhanks for asking.
Here was my answer to a recent similar question:
The song "You Have to be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific teaches an inspiring point of view, that we are all born not being racist, and that as long as we don't teach racism, it will fade away.
Research on bees, ants, monkeys and chimpanzees suggests that that song may be a little bit optimistic. Many species are clearly born racist. It is not entirely clear whether we are one of those species, and human non-racist behavior is learned, or if we are more like dogs, who seem to be naturally all-accepting.
Whatever the natural state of the human is, it is clear that we all learn lessons of all kinds from parents, teachers, peers, and society as a whole. Some of those lessons tend to be inclusive, and some tend to be divisive.
I remember one time coming home from church, when Pastor Aanestad had held forth on the importance of keeping the races separate, my parents gave us kids the opposing sermon, noting that there is no actual Biblical support for his sermon, and plenty of examples of virtuous people marrying outside their tribes.
With all of that as prologue, I guess that the best I can say is, I try not to be racist. Sometimes, I find myself asking what I would do if I were racist, and what would I do if I were not. Then I try to make the latter choice.
Maybe the most we can ask of ourselves is that we should pretend not to be racist, with sufficient verisimilitude to convince the succeeding generations.
Q: Are you racist?
Q: Have you ever been racist?
I'm sure I held racist views out of ignorance when I was younger, but I don't recall calling anyone by any slurs or not talking or hanging out with anyone because they were a certain race. I was exposed to a lot of racist views against black people due to my dad and his extended family, but what I heard also flew in the face of what I learned when I hung out and talked with black kids at school when we moved to Florida. During third grade, one of my best friends at school was Elijah, a black kid who had been pretty badly burned in a fire when he was a toddler. Dude was funny and was always up for a game of kickball, even if it was just the two of us. So I quickly discovered that my dad's views were his problem, not mine.
Sadly, that kind of continues today as far as he's concerned, although now his animosity is towards Hispanics since he lives in Texas.
No. Not because I'm not. Rather because I try to engage my brain before I engage my mouth. Racism is not what you feel, it is what you do. Every human has prejudices. Unlike most other species we recognize differences among ourselves. Dogs all see just another dog. They don't recognize different breeds. It's just another dog (one reason why they are better than us). Humans tend to focus on differences. Perhaps it's part genetic, but certainly much of it is learned behavior.
So given that we are cognizant of "not like me," when we act upon that through our words and deeds it becomes racism. Whether it's crossing the street because of who is coming down the same side of the street or giving preference to those who are like us, it's racism. It is difficult to overcome implicit bias. It requires much effort to do so. But overcoming explicit bias is much simpler in that it just requires us to be conscious of, and having consideration for, others and rejecting stereotypes. We used to call it manners.
No. Though being a white male, I am constantly accused of it, or being "privileged" (which is a form of racism itself).
Yes, because I did not have my wallet with me and was on my way to a meeting and thus couldn't give the beggar money or explain why not. He cussed at me and said that it wasn't 1994 any more, which was mildly amusing because that was the day the ANC won the elections in SOUTH AFRICA. Not only has Namibia been independent since 1990, but our fight for freedom was against, you guessed it, SOUTH AFRICA.