My Turn

What is racism?

By Pamela Harris
Posted 1/10/20

I truly thought things were getting better until I ran into racism out in the open here in Taos.

I was talking to a new acquaintance, who is a person of color. We found we had many things in common, including our professions, when a man rounded the corner and started mumbling, then raising his voice said, "Damn n---ers," and walked on.

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My Turn

What is racism?

Posted

I truly thought things were getting better until I ran into racism out in the open here in Taos.

I was talking to a new acquaintance, who is a person of color. We found we had many things in common, including our professions, when a man rounded the corner and started mumbling, then raising his voice said, "Damn n---ers," and walked on. I turned to my new acquaintance and found her very upset. I failed to turn around and confront the despicable racist who upset both of us because I wanted to be of support to the woman I was talking to.

The behavior I had just witnessed demonstrated a personality that is sick and evil. It is the type of behavior that lacks moral, ethical and humane respect for others. It is a behavior that appears to be coming out in many forms, from bullying to murder. We need to find the roots of any acceptance of this kind of behavior and start stating how unacceptable it is.

We all have so much to learn from other cultures, races and religions. We don't have to change our culture, become a different race or religion, but we can hold a mirror up to our own faces and look at what we do, say and are - and learn from others by appreciating differences.

This happened not long after another Anglo I know told me I would never be Hispanic. I was shocked and answered by saying that my community is largely Hispanic and they are my neighbors and friends and I enjoy my community. I feel very lucky to live in the community where I reside. I truly feel sorry for people who think they are superior in one way or another.

This was followed by a gathering where people of many faiths and backgrounds came together for peace. It was called Peace Hanukkah. It has been held in this community for 17 years. It was wonderful to be part of the gathering. We need to learn to be humane. We are all humans.

Pamela Harris lives in Arroyo Hondo.

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