I was a racist
June 10, 2020 by Ofir Ramirez-Rios
I was a racist. I thought it was ok. I thought it was normal.
I was wrong. I hope you can forgive me.
I grew up in a society where labeling and humiliating others based on the color of their skin and the shape of their body was expected and applauded.
I was also raised in a racist religion that, from a young age, brainwashed me by telling me I was part of a “chosen kind”, that good people from old were “white and exceeding fair and delightful” and that people with a dark skin were descendants of lazy and evil people. We sang songs about it as kids; we read scriptures about it every Sunday. This is the same church that, until forty-two years ago, openly taught that black folk were lesser beings, undeserving of the full blessings of god.
I escaped that toxic society 12 years ago but disassociating myself from the mormon church and its shameful teachings took me decades. The slow opening of my eyes, years of trying to understand my real place in life and de-converting myself as well as an eventual distancing from friends and family members was not easy—it was very painful at times. But having other friends and other family members —some of them understanding me and some of them supporting me— helped me be strong and learn that I can love others and enjoy this world more than I could ever do under the guidance of a made-up deity.
I happened to be born a white man in Mexico and, in more than one occasion, I took advantage of my white privilege. Now I understand that the color of my skin doesn’t make me any more or any less deserving than every other human born on this planet. I hope it’s not too late for rme. I am not perfect and I know I never will. I admit it, sometimes irrational fears and sad habits still kick in and I often have to force myself to see beyond the package and understand the hearts and the motives of others, to be inclusive and respectful to those who look, walk, speak or think differently than me.
I know I was a racist in my mind and in my heart. I can only hope that those thoughts never led me to do or say something hurtful to others. If I did, please forgive me.
About the author
I am a graphic designer, a linguist, a software developer and a marketer — in no particular order. I am also an avid motorcyclist who's extremely concerned about coming back home in one piece after each ride and spreading the word of safe riding habits among my fellow motorcyclists.
The ideas and opinions expressed here are my own and may not reflect the philosophies of the organizations to which I belong.