The Day Discrimination Became Real To Me

June 30, 2014
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Discrimination, if you asked a room full of people if they had been taught about discrimination, most would say “yes, about a thousand times”. In school, I can say the same is true for me, but none of those lessons (including the heart-breaking true stories, and the jaw-dropping attitudes) taught me about true discrimination. Sure, they had an emotional impact on me, but I didn’t understand or wasn’t mature enough to truly take to heart. That all changed.
I live in an upper middle-class town, in one of the wealthiest countries, in one of the richest state, not the most racially diverse place. And I never saw any discrimination in person.
My cousin is in the armed forces, she was leaving for deployment in a month or so, and my family went to visit them. The dad of her husband was there, a disheveled-looking man, smelled of smoke, and wasn’t educated (in the sense of schooling). He had grown up on a farm, and had single-handedly brought up four kids. They never had money, but from his stories, they seemed decently happy. This Caucasian male wasn’t a character I was used too. Anyway, sitting in a Super 8, the dad went on a racial slur, saying how African-Americans were uncivilized people and were completely under him. I sat there in total shock, how could anyone say that?
In that moment, discrimination became real to me; I witnessed hatred for a whole race, and something I hope I never see again.

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