People Share the “Everyday Racism” That Doesn’t Get Talked About Enough
It’s a sad fact of life that racism runs rampant in American culture and pretty much everywhere in the world.
And even though we’re going through a major reckoning in the U.S. right now about our country’s racist past, there are still so many small acts of “everyday racism” that some folks casually do and say.
It’s pretty hard to believe it still happens in 2020, but here we are.
Let’s take a look at what people had to say about everyday racism.
“My freshman year at the University of New Hampshire, while watching Rent with friends and peers, a non-Black person of color commented on Rosario Dawson’s appearance by stating, ‘She’s pretty cute for a Black girl,’ while I was sitting right beside him.”
“While eating lunch with white college friends, one guy was discussing Jon ‘Bones’ Jones’ chances in an upcoming fight and said, ‘I see him on all fours, so I think he’ll probably monkey his way out.’”
“My junior year at Syracuse University, a non-Black person of color used the N-word when speaking about Black me.
He then told me that I was ‘not like other Black people,’ and then tried to apologize for his racism by blaming his grandmother for his upbringing.”
“I was in the car with a white friend while he was on a speaker call with his sister.
She was talking about her date for an upcoming formal and said, ‘Don’t worry, he’s not Black. He’s just brown. Don’t freak out. I think his mom is, like, half Mexican or something.’
My white friend then changed the subject.”
“During my first full-time job in Syracuse, when I was the only Black employee there at the time, one white employee frequently used the N-word.
Another said that Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance was similar to the KKK. Another said that Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t be complaining since he plays a sport that is celebrated by all.
Another nicknamed me ‘token’ at a Buffalo Bills tailgate.”
“I work as a bank teller and normally there would be no problem with that, but I am a Black woman.
There is a moment that will always stick out to me, and that was when a woman asked to speak to my manager. She proceeded to talk in front of me and ask him what the bank would do if I decided to steal all of her information and buy myself a new car.
How could she know what I would do with all of her private information?
I had to sit there and listen to my manager reassure her that her information was safe, because I’m Black.”
“When I was around ten years old, my cousins and I were spending the summer at my great-grandma’s in the South.
We walked to the neighborhood corner store in a group one hot day to get snacks and juice. As we are walking up, we see a group of non-Black kids, clearly together, come out of the store all at once.
When we tried to enter, we were told we could only enter two at a time. When we asked why, the owner made us get out and threatened us. When we came back with adults, the owner accused us of stealing.
My family never shopped there again. I cried the whole way home. Not because I was sad but because I was angry. And so were my cousins and aunts.
How do you terrorize kids and criminalize them because of their skin color?”
“I can remember being in eighth grade and waiting in the lunch line to get my food when a kid called me a Chink.
That same kid would stretch the corners of his eyes every time I saw him during lunch. I was embarrassed, so I pretended I didn’t care when I really did.
One day, a teacher saw him doing the ‘Asian eyes’ at me and yelled at him. During my next class, I was called down to the principal’s office.
The principal asked me what happened and if I was upset by what happened, not knowing this was going on every day I saw this kid at lunch. I lied and told the principal I was unbothered, even said we were friends.
I was too embarrassed to show any feelings.”
“During one lunch period in high school, a teammate and someone I considered a friend announced to our entire friend group that my hair texture reminded her of the homeless man who always walked around town.
Like his hair, mine reminded her of a bristle brush.”
“When I was a junior in high school, I sat with three girls at lunch. Two of them I wasn’t very fond of, but one was my best friend growing up.
One of the girls, in particular, liked basketball; if we didn’t stop her, she would spend the entire lunch period talking about the sport. One day her team lost, and as she angrily recapped the match, she said, ‘Those n**gers just couldn’t figure out how to play the game.’
I was shocked. I remember standing up, cursing at her, her crying, everything going black, and then somehow I was in the bathroom. After that, the girl texted me a few apologies and tried talking to me, but I ignored her and avoided sitting with that group all together at lunch.
The most hurtful part of that entire situation happened a few weeks later. The girl who was one of my best friends pulled me aside to say that I needed to let the situation go because the girl who said the N-word apologized.
She said: ‘You can’t be mad at everyone who says something you don’t like.’””
“Going to a Catholic school for the first eight years of my life meant that I was one of the few students of color in my classes.
In the fourth grade, I remember being called the N-word by a white boy. When I told an adult, only an apology was given by the boy.
His dad was a cop, and I still feel that had to do with why nothing more happened.”
“As a senior in high school, there was a rule my white English teacher created. If she deemed you had completed the class with a good enough grade, you did not have to take her final exam.
She made my Black male friend and I take her exam. We both failed. We talked to her after, questioning why we were the only ones in her class to have to take the final. She repeatedly told us that we were only good athletes and not smart enough for her class or college.
Immediately after our graduation ceremony, she insisted on sending congratulations to all her white students on graduation day…but didn’t for myself and my friend. Instead, she sent an email to our parents and us expressing how we failed her exam and didn’t have the academic tools to succeed.”
““I was at a Georgia waterfall with my boyfriend, and a man with a large Confederate tattoo loudly told his daughter to stay away from us.
He walked up a steep hill and back down to avoid walking past us because we were sitting along the path.
Then he watched us the entire time.”
Now we want to hear from the readers out there.
In the comments, tell us about your experiences with everyday racism.
We look forward to hearing your stories.