The letter I am about to write is not intended to single out any particular ethnic group. I simply want to share my story and show how society still holds fast to the ignorant past in which racism was quite popular. To this day, it appears that it is still very much alive. I want to reiterate that this letter IS NOT intended to attack any specific ethnic group.
I must share this, in hopes that others will know that racism is still very much vibrant in Paterson as it is around the world. But more importantly, I want to focus on how to deal with racism, in any form, when it arises. The thing we must understand is that racism is based on ignorance. Most of the time, it’s taught to people at a very early age.
So, I’m on a jitney bus coming home from Walgreens. As I approach my desired stop, I immediately say: “Next Stop.” I mean, that’s what you do, right? But I noticed the driver wasn’t slowing down. As the bus neared the stop I started saying: “Next Stop!” I did get louder because he seemed uninterested in following my instructions.
He nearly passed the stop. I walked up to the front of the bus and asked him if he heard me and reminded him that he passed the stop. His response? He decided to call me a FAT NIGGER. I got off the bus – didn’t say anything. I knew his words we’re based on ignorance and I wasn’t about to stoop to that level of obvious ignorance. I was, in this case, the BIGGER person.
I share this story, not to invoke rage in my community, but rather to alert every single community that racism, in any form, is wrong! We need to learn how to look past the skin color or ethnicity of a person and learn to treat them as human beings. After all, the HUMAN RACE is the ONLY race that matters.
Corey L. Teague
School board member