Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Yeah, I know it sounds cute, even contrived. I’ve heard the term before so I won’t take credit coining it, but I like it. Erase racism. I have many opinions on the subject, most of which boil down to: I have no tolerance for racism. There is nothing anyone can say that will justify their feelings of separation, segregation, elitism or full blown prejudice to me. Not when it’s based on hate of other people, or simply because of who they are.

In my opinion, we are all one race: human. (Until we boldly go where no one has gone before – I’m a sci-fi geek. It could happen!)

I’ve never met a black, white, red or yellow person in my life. I’ve met lots of brown, tan, mocha, pink, almond, cream blends, but never straight primary colors. Crayola does a better job of providing skin tones. Come on, who didn’t use peach, atomic tangerine or burnt sienna crayons when they were coloring people when they were kids? Actually, I used blue violet, silver and forest green just as often. Yes, I always colored within the lines. Anyway, I’ve got a lot more brown in my skin than I do white. The older I get, a variety of new colors seem to be appearing in my skin (something to look forward to kids). My long-winded point: we are all of color.

According to the US Census, I am a Roman Catholic Caucasian male of the following nationalities: Italian, Greek, English, French, German, Irish, Welsh, Scottish. I am trying to learn about all eight of my countries, and the family that came from each. Yes, they’re all European. Because of the kinship I feel with so many people, I’d also like to think there is some Native American, Latino, African, Island, Asian and Baltic heritage, but I haven’t traced my full family tree yet (AKA really found out who slept with who over all these years). I can guarantee this list will grow.

I think it’s important to celebrate our differences without excluding others. It’s important to know your roots, your ancestry, your history, your family, your faith, where you’ve come from, and your traditions to be part of something bigger than yourself. It’s also important to share all of those things with as many people as you can. And there’s the key. Embrace what makes you different, and share it.

I have learned so much about “other” people by sharing meals, talking to their grandparents, attending milestone events and religious ceremonies, celebrating holidays, and simply talking about things. My roommates and I used to celebrate Christian and Jewish holidays together. I was honored to attend the Passover seder (meal) with the family of my best friend (Victor) shortly before his grandfather's passing - also my first (and last) experience with horseradish. I've attended weddings and funerals from so many different faiths and cultures, including my own, and I've learned something every time.

I've also been fortunate enough through family and work to leave American soil and experience lands, languages and cultures in different countries. At first I was nervous, going off into the unknown, but now I can't get enough. Travel is something I now cherish when given the opportunity.

I'm rambling now. If we step out of our comfort zones once in a while, share our differences, and celebrate them together, maybe we won’t feel the need to separate, or fear, or even hate.

Just my thoughts. Sorry if it’s too bleeding heart. No I’m not. Kumbaya.


One Wink at a Time said...

Mike I can't believe there are no comments on this awesome piece of wonderful. I think part of the reason that racism still exists is that people don't talk about it.
I feel exactly as you do but couldn't hope to put it into words as you have. What a glorious world we would live in if everyone would/could allow themselves to open their minds and hearts as you have.
I can't believe how many times every single day that I see some sort of racism displayed and it never fails to sicken me. I am always compelled to confront it and the few times that I haven't, for whatever reason, I was disappointed in myself. It should never be allowed or condoned.
Tolerance is a great teacher, is it not?
You got Heart, my good man.

Mike said...

Thank you for such kind words, Linda. Tolerance indeed. I wrote this almost four years ago, when the blog was very young, there was no Facebook or Twitter, and many of these posts just sat in the internet ether, waiting to be read. Writing my thoughts is easy. Living them takes much more. I too have more times when I felt I should have said or done something than actually speaking up. But I remember vividly when I did. I reposted this after having a conversation last night with my girlfriend's son, who was saying many of these same things. It was connecting and refreshing. And it was all sparked by the story yesterday about the Louisiana judge denying a marriage license to an interracial couple. Just a reminder that we still have a long way to go. The overwhelming intolerance of his judgment, did give me some hope. I really appreciate the time you take to read my blogs and offer your comments, Linda. You got Hear too, my good lady.