There's a right way to talk about race, and then there's a wrong way.

There's a big lie about racism that not everyone realizes.

FACT: Good people can say racist things. It doesn't mean they're bad people.

It means they haven't thought through the words that came out of their mouth. As "Avenue Q," the twisted puppet musical on Broadway, sings, "Everyone's a little bit racist." Understanding that words have meaning and that the words you say might be insensitive — and that just maybe, if you stepped back and learned from it, you could come out the other side more thoughtful — that's an OK thing.


Racism isn't just for crazed country folk in the Georgia woods. (Frankly, I have some delightful country in-laws in the Georgia woods who aren't racist and wouldn't appreciate people trying to pigeonhole them based on their geography.) Racism exists among upper-class liberals in the Northeast and poor western farmers and in congressmen and in talk-show hosts and, well, everywhere. Because racism isn't the province of a single group of people. Bad people don't have a monopoly on it.

As Jay Smooth puts it in this video:

That assumption that only a cretin or a monster or a bad person would ever be racist or sexist or harbor any sort of bias or prejudice, that right there is the big lie. There is nothing that does more to perpetuate injustice than good people who assume that injustice is caused by bad people. That's just not how being good works and that's not how being a human being works.

If you'd like a really thoughtful take on the Oscars and race, I highly recommend watching Jay Smooth lay out how reasonable people can and should think about racism and how to help stop perpetuating it.

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You could share this and try to have some thoughtful discussion on your wall. Don't make assumptions. Hear people. Talk to them.

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