Racism between and within racial ethnic groups exists everywhere. It exists in our small town of 7,000 on the plains of eastern Colorado.
What we do not experience, however, is racism in its most extreme expressions. The redlining, brutality, and systematic dehumanization we witness in some cities simply hasn’t happened here in anyone’s memory. Our Anglo and Hispanic kids grow up together. There’s some social segregation as they grow older, but friends remain friends for lifetimes. We have a very small African American community whom we know personally and love dearly.
I’m not trying to paint our community as perfect. It is not. Skin color gives advantages to some over others. Racial insult is real, and the achievement gap persists. We have work to do. Nevertheless, I lived in St. Louis for eleven years and owned a home in Ferguson–yes, THE Ferguson where Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson. I feel qualified to say that the reality here in our small town is simply not the same. In fact, an African American man who moved to our community several years ago told me plainly how much he appreciates living here where he can just be known for himself and not only as a stereotyped black man. [Read more…]