Today I came face-to-face with racism. Racism in all its ugliness. Racism that thought that, because I am white too, I would agree with its sick ideology. The 30 second conversation I had today about race and racism changed me significantly. Educated me.
This blog is about hunting dog training. Usually. And I will return soon to that subject matter. But what happened today really disturbed me.
I went pheasant hunting today. I was there with Zeke, an 11 month old pup that I have helped train. This was to be the day that all his training would click and come together for the 11 month-old pup. I was pretty excited to see what would happen.
Zeke is a Llewellyn Setter. The Llewellyn is a sub breed of the English Setter. Think of it this way: There is one species of dog, just like there is one species of human. Within the species, there are races. This is what dog breeds are. Within a race, there is even more specificity. Think of a Caucasian person. His or her origins may be from Norway or from Italy. But both are white. This is what a Llewellyn is. A more specific description of an English setter.
Zeke's owner (Gregg) and I go back and forth concerning his dog. Gregg always announces his dog as Llewellyn and I correct him and say he is an English Setter. We are both right, but this teasing is part of our friendship.
Today, we met an individual who asked the question about Zeke: "What breed?" Gregg and I did our schtick. The stranger looked at us as one would who doesn't understand the inside joke. I told this stranger the following analogy:
It is kind of like saying that person is not human, he is black. Llewellyn is to English Setter as black person is to human being.
This person's reply:
Well, that isn't a good analogy. I don't think black people are human. God royally f**ked up when he made black people.
My mouth hung open. I said nothing. I was stunned and I walked away. I am disappointed in myself for not saying anything. For not correcting this idiot. For not punishing this moron. But I was too stunned to do anything.
I learned something today: racism is alive and well in the U.S. Perhaps you knew this; I did not. This was news to me.
Apparently, I live a sheltered life. My friends do not think this way. My church does not think this way. I do not think this way. I thought that racism was drastically reduced in the U.S., because in my microscopic world it does not exist. I was wrong.
Let me be very, very clear:
If you think members of a different race are sub human, you are wrong and you are a moron. I will tell you this to your face. I will no longer be stunned. I will no longer be silent.
If you are a white person living in the U.S., please understand that racism is alive and well, even though you do not see it.
If you are a member of a minority race, please understand that not every white person thinks this way. I do not think this way. My friends do not think this way. My church does not think this way.
As for this yahoo who I had the displeasure of meeting today...he is not a bigot because he is a hunter. He is not a bigot because he is white. He is not a bigot because he is male. To reduce his bigotry to a classification or association is bigotry as well. Not all hunters/white people/males think this way. He is the way he is because either a) his parents didn't raise him right or b) he didn't listen to his parents. Simple as that.
(12/15/2013) Update: A commenter below took umbrage with a phrase I used. Said it made me a chauvinist. The commenter could not explain why this was sexist, but I spoke with others who could explain it to me. So, for their sake and for the sake of all mothers out there, I rephrased it. So, if you read comments and some of the comments do not make sense, it is because they refer to an earlier version of this entry.
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