Thank you for your response. My issue is time and time again, we learn that these people didn’t just make a casual mistake. They just get caught. They don’t always change either, they just modify their racist behaviors. America’s systems makes it really hard for White people to not be racist, which is why I have an issue with forgiveness. Why bother when an entire caste system is set up for them to continue to be racist.
Racism is complex and I find many White people are able to engage in racist behaviors and still work to “serve us.” They don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m finding more and more people don’t change much when it comes to their racist behaviors, especially when they get older. I have had a couple of friends I had to break up with because they would say racist things, and then try to explain to me how I interpreted their words incorrectly. I simply don’t have time for the mental gymnastics and the trauma. My lack of forgiveness is tied to my Southern roots and the constant bombardment of racism I’ve endured over a lifetime. I won’t even get into the racism my sons endure. I’ve done forgiveness, but it’s old..
Forgiveness is an individual decision, and I don’t believe people should be forced or urged to forgive when America has shown time and time again it’s not going to change. Racism is a way of life, and deciding not to forgive as you said is a form of self-preservation. For me, this is exactly what it is.
Racist White people and White people who do racist things should worry less about Black people forgiving them and worry more about embracing equality, eradicating or decreasing racism, and fixing our institutions and systems which allows them to remain so segregated they don’t know Black face is wrong. Forgiveness won’t change any of those things if they just go back to their worlds with a forgiveness card and their privilege with no repercussions, except a little shame. And for many, their entitlement prevents them from feeling shame.
Show me you’ve changed and perhaps I can forgive you. Asking for my forgiveness without behavior modification is selfish — this type of forgiveness has everything to do with the offender(s), very little with the offended.
For those who feel the need to forgive, by all means do so. I just believe when we forgive so quickly it sends a signal to the world we are okay with being abused, mocked, and mistreated. It somewhat implies won’t do anything to them and we’ll allow the offender to maintain his privilege. Meanwhile, we earn another lash upon our back.
For our own mental health, we need to know it’s okay to forgo forgiving people who do racist things.
Thanks so much for reading.