Jim Zachary

By Jim Zachary 

I never feel compelled to say the words “I am not a racist.”

And it wouldn’t matter if I did. 

It is up to the people who are around me each day to determine whether or not I’m a racist.

While I can control how I feel, I cannot control how others perceive me.

I do not get to determine whether or not others consider my words and actions to be racist. 

I am in control of my own conduct.

I am in control of my speech. 

I get to determine what kind of person I am and, in particular, how I treat others. 

If my friends, colleagues or even my enemies consider me to be racist, then rather than deny it, the better course is for me to ask myself, “Why do they feel that way about me?”

What is it about my conduct, my words, my action or inaction that would lead another person to that conclusion?  

Nothing makes people more defensive than the word racist. 

Let’s take racism out of the equation for just a moment. 

If your spouse, family member or a dear friend says to you, “Stop being rude,” what good would it do you to protest by proclaiming, “I am not rude?”

There is a reason they said it.

There is a reason they think it. 

So, as you consider other over self, you pause and think about your words or actions and ask yourself, “Why do my loved ones think I’m rude?”

There is no upside or end game in trying to prove that you are not rude. The only way that you can convince your family that you are not rude is by your words and your actions. 

What we say and what we do is who we are, regardless of how much we protest. 

Denying racism is fruitless and meaningless. 

Do you treat all people with dignity and respect?

Do you value all people? 

Do you care what happens to people regardless of race, creed, color or country of origin? 

Do you consider how your words and actions are perceived by others and impact the people around you? 

Instead of getting mad, please just think about this, the more you protest and proclaim that you are not racist, the more racist you appear to people who are already inclined to think you are racist. 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether or not you consider yourself to be a racist. 

It is all about what the people around you hear you say and watch you do.

They get to decide for themselves what kind of person they think you are. 

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