Offensive Language

This is written for my family. It contains offensive language. If it offends you then it offends you. 

I am tired. I am tired of the violence. I am tired of racist people. I am tired of the lies being told by our racist president. I am tired of ignorance. I am tired of straw man arguments and being told there are two sides to everything. I am tired of so many things. 

To set the record straight I have thought, said and done racist stuff. I see myself as a good person yet my history is my history. It is my job as a human being to be a better person and to change for the better.

Disclaimer – I am going to use racial slurs but not to promote these words but to put it on the factual record. To everyone who is not white I apologize for the hurt I have caused. I use the actual language to own up to it and I do not want to offer a lame euphemism for anything. If this is vetted by social media at some point I ask you to consider the context in which this is written. This is Doug Marshall, a white man, taking ownership of his past, taking ownership of his white privilege past.

Here are a few examples of my racist history. 

When I was a child I would participate in a selection process with other kids;

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

Catch a nigger by the toe

If he hollers, let him go

Eeny meeny miny mo 

My parents told me I should say “tiger” but I don’t remember them explaining to me what the problem was. This is my earliest recollection of my racism. 

My maternal grandmother (Nanny) often read me the book “Little Black Sambo” when I was a child. Nanny was kind hearted and being so young I was not an active racist however the book did plant some seeds.

In Junior High School in New York City my group friends often joked with each other about our ethnic heritage. We regularly called each other Spic, Wop, Polack, Kraut and because my origins were from Scotland and England they just called me Mutt. We did not have black friends in our circle. 

I do not believe I ever called an African American a nigger to their face. On occasion I used it to refer to them though. That’s being a coward. Something deep inside knew it was wrong even though I was not aware it was used as a term to put them in “their place.” I know better now.

When I was young I did not believe an African American man had the intellect to be a quarterback in the National Football League. Where did I get that idea? Many people thought it. On TV it was not what they said it was how it was said. The message was delivered and it was what I believed. That was around 1969, 1970 or 1971 when I first became interested in football. Today it is intensely evident I was stupid, ignorant and wrong.

In Canada our family used to tell Paki and Newfi jokes. The latter bothered Nanny because she had family from there. I thought she overreacted but we laid off those in her presence.

The church I grew up in struggled with racial issues in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. It did not know what to make of the Black Power movement and thought of Black Evangelicals as “Black” Evangelicals.” I have written proof of this from a letter in 1982.

Every church I’ve been associated with has never actively confronted racism. That is White Privilege. 

In the same church we held our missionary family to The Belgian Congo in high regard. These black people needed saving and it was our lily white obligation to make sure it happened. Red and Yellow, Back and White, all are precious in his sight.

I only had black friends because we played on the same sports team. In ninth grade I ran for student body president and won. The girl who ran against me was black. She would have made a much better president. But I was white and pretty much the whole school was white. I saw her as loud and defiant. She should have known her place. Where did that come from? I am trying to remember her name. Deep down in my soul I knew I was wrong for running as the great white hope. 

If there was one moment I could change, just one, I wish I could go back to Junior High in 1973 and tell the student body that my opponent should be elected Student Body President. I remember knowing at the time it was what I should have done. White Privilege won that day.

The black students in my school had a long bus ride back to where they lived.

In my twenties I once had an argument with a pastor in New York about how it was wrong for a person to marry outside of their race. For the record he said it was wrong. I argued the other side. But I did think of white women who dated and married black men to be promiscuous. Really? Why did I think that way? It is because I saw an African American person as a different kind of human? I was not any different from him.

And also in my twenties I sometimes labeled babies at niglettes and chinklettes. This was not an innocent thing although I thought nothing of it at the time. It simply lifted me a little above a person of another race. Imagine if a black person referred to my son as a vanilla pop.

My friends are white. Most of my interactions are with white people. I belong to West Seattle Golf Course. It used to exclude minority people and when the City of Seattle made it illegal the club figured out a work around. This was many years ago. It has long since changed and our “club” remains mostly white.

In my adult years I have failed to confront white friends when they used racist language in conversation. This is White Privilege. I have participated in the effort to put others in their place by not saying anything.

I did not see the harm in the symbolism of The Confederate Flag. I did not see harm in the symbol of the noose. Seriously, this is how blind I was to these symbols telling people of color to know their place.

All of these experiences have been in the shadows. None of them are overt.  

And I am writing this now while people protest because they are tired of the killing of men and women. Should have writing this long ago. This is my work to do. I’m not telling anyone else what to do. My work is to be Anti-Racist. The work is not only to be personally less racist. The work is to fight against racism and be Anti-Racist in all its forms.

There is no way I’ve remembered everything but I have searched my memory for a long time about these things. 

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