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September 9, 2015

I am 58 years old.  I was raised in the City of Chicago.  My father was a racist.  The only thing he was missing was a hood.  He stood up in a bar when MLK day was made a national holiday and said: “We celebrate the other day”.  I always fought against it for as long he was alive.  That experience may be why I am so conscious of my own racism.  My racism is expressed by me making assumptions about people based on their race.  A couple of weeks ago it sneaked up on me.  I was walking out of the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis after staffing the Mayor at the DNC meeting.  I was walking by a van with a satellite dish on it.  There were two young African American men crossing the street and they noticed the van.  I heard the voice, “oh they wouldn’t be interested”.  I pushed passed that and said to them “the DNC was meeting”.  They said “really? is everyone here” “is Hillary here”?  I said yes.  And then they asked, “do you think it will be on CSpan”.

Well it just happened again.  I have a young female client, who is “mixed race” who has an abusive boyfriend.  I assumed without questioning that her boyfriend was black.  Did not even think about it.  Just assumed.  Well I was wrong.  He’s white.

We all make these kind of assumptions all of the time.  This is how racism works.

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