You could just as easily be describing rural Michigan, where I live. Things are so segregated up here that middle-class white people rarely even have a chance to think critically about racism.

Why? They almost never have Black friends and neighbors.

When they do run into a Black person, they often feel proud of themselves for treating those people kindly and equally.

Of course, that feeling of pride is itself a symptom of deeply ingrained, systemic cultural racism.

Having the tough conversations about laws, rules, and regulations needed to combat systemic racism is really hard, because white people up here don’t recognize racism when they see it.

Nor do many truly understand the harm of American racism. Most people up here have never been close enough to Black people to understand the tough challenges they face, the obstacles our society puts in their way.

So we’re in a kind of a catch-22 up here. We are sort of naturally segregated. And we’re segregated because of historic racism. We stay segregated because of current racism.

Staying segregated reinforces racism.

That all sounds very discouraging, and of course it is. But I guess all it really says is change is not going to come from rural parts of the United States.

And I guess we all knew that already.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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