I’ve thought long and hard about this post. I’ve decided to write it.
Here’s the point. If you make a racist statement, or write a racist thought/comment/e-mail, it is because you harbor some racism. If you have a racist thought, it is because a part of you is…racist.
Here’s the catalyst: the racist e-mails from the Sony executives. (Here’s just one of many places to read some of the details, from Business Insider).
Here’s a description of the context (I choose not to include the actual e-mails):
Before Sony Pictures co-chairwoman Amy Pascal attended a breakfast organized by DreamWorks Animation head and Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg, she sent an email to movie producer Scott Rudin and wondered what she should ask Obama at the event.
We see a lot of “I did not intend this to be a racist thought” explanations these days. (Have you read about the Hooks ISD Board Member who recently resigned, for his “non-racist-intended” use of a KKK image. “He said that he was not racist.” I think that a person who puts up an image of a KKK member on his own Facebook page is definitely racist; don’t you? Read about this here).
Now, I am a fan of practicing civility. You know, don’t put unto words, whether in conversations, or e-mails, your worst thoughts.
But, I am also a fan of the serious work of introspection. And I have an observation.
If you think it, even if you stop yourself from saying it or writing it, your very thoughts still reveal the truth of what you are. If you are honest with yourself, you cannot hide the truth from yourself.
And, here is a very uncomfortable truth. We are a nation with plenty of people who are still quite racist.
Yes, Mr. Rudin and Ms. Pascal have apologized. Here’s Ms. Pascal’s apology (read more here):
“The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am. Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”
I suggest that these e-mails were in fact “an accurate reflection of who I am.” Those thoughts came from somewhere – somewhere inside of her. A racist heart and mind produces such racist e-mails. They had to come from somewhere, didn’t they?
I accept and believe that she does not want to be that kind of person. But, she is that kind of person – or, at least, she was when she wrote those e-mails.
This is a business issue, but also a societal issue, a personal issue.
I think it’s time to have a total zero-tolerance policy for racism in all of its forms in our society – a zero-tolerance for such spoken or written words, starting with a zero-tolerance policy within our own hearts and our own thoughts.
I don’t often quote scripture on this blog, but this time, the truth of one line is unavoidable:
“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Jesus of Nazareth, Mathew 15:18).