To the editor:
I hate white supremacists.
Even so, a seed of me is in that camp.
I despise Neo-Nazis.
Yet my conscience condemns me.
In struggling with grief and anger about the atrocities in Charlottesville, I have uncovered a racial bias in my heart that distresses me.
I feel uneasy on a bus with a majority of African-Americans — even though I lived for six months with a Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Iranian, German, and Dutchman without a twinge of discomfort.
I hold my bag tighter passing an African-American homeless person than a Caucasian homeless person.
I have pretended to talk on my phone at a Subway stop because I was afraid of the African-American people around me — even though when I was lost in Brussels, I walked up to multiple international strangers asking for directions.
I have ignored greetings, avoided eye contact, paid for taxis, left bars, called friends, crossed the street, all because of some discomfort born of a snap judgement based on skin color.
Yet every friendship I’ve had with a person of African-American descent has been a positive part of my life.
I don’t know where I learned this distrust. If I could cut it out, I would.
Even if my racial bias is nonviolent and seemingly innocuous, I am not blameless. And condemning racists, while right and just, also heals nothing. I truly believe healing can only begin when I confess I am part of the problem.