A Letter to Racism

Dear Racism,

I’m writing this letter to you to give you notice that I’m coming after you.  You’re toxic.  Every time I think you’re finally gone, you pop right back up again.  Over the years, I’ve learned to cope with your appearances in private capacities, but apparently some inner reservoir of  boldness has caused you to gain an increasing amount of state sponsorship.

Do you even know what I’m referring to?  No?  Two weeks ago, we were required to read Paul Kivel’s The Culture of Power at work.  How in the hell did you convince a public school district in 2013 that you deserve an audience?

Hiding between the lines of that article, you entered the room to remind us of some challenges that lay ahead.  As it turned out, no amount of wishful thinking on my part would hide the fact that you were just getting started.  Once you focused our attention on our differences, you became the predominant theme of the day.

Let me me clear: I have always despised you.  In the past, however, I thought if I ignored you that you would go away.  That day, you showed me the error of my ways.  I now know that my choice to not give you the attention you so desperately desired caused you to misunderstand me.  You misunderstood my thoughts about being in the “culture of power.”  Allow me to state them plainly:  I know that I should be in the “culture of power.”  Two of your further attempts to infect me that day illustrate your weakness and will help demonstrate how I know that I’m better than you.

First, you said, “You’re going to be dealing with kids whose parents taught them to never trust white people.”  My father never–not ever–taught me such a thing.  On the “Things to Teach Children” continuum “Never Trust (fill in the culture) People” is close-minded and weak.   Ever read Thucydides?  Heard of the US Civil War?  Cultures who think like you die out.

Second, you said,  “To motivate them, I say to my students, ‘Are you telling me you always want a white president?'”  Never have I, nor anyone else I know in the “culture of power,” ever considered skin tone when voting.  A worthy candidate is difficult enough to find as it is.  What possible good could come from adding clearly irrelevant, meaningless criteria?

I guess the mistake is probably mine.  For some reason I projected that because I wanted you to die, you also wanted you to die.  Now that I’ve had the time to think about it for a second, I realize that that would be suicide.  And not many things willingly commit suicide.  But die you must.  So no more will I idly ignore you.  Beginning now, I’m going on the offensive.  I’m coming to kill you.  My weapon is constant, consistent correction.

If you want to survive, grow eyes in the back of your head.  Avoid public places.  If you care for your friends, avoid them.  Don’t stay in any one place too long.  Get comfortable wearing a different size shoe.  I really hope you think I’m joking.  I’m begging you to test my resolve.  Do it.

Your sworn enemy,




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