I grew up in a small white rural farming community. From what I saw, everyone thought it was “cool” to be racist. Johnny Rebel music was a common thing in my town, kids would blast it driving around town or into school. Naturally, my friend group had these same views.
It wasn’t until my Junior year of college that I started to realize the company I kept was terrible. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be around them and they weren’t the kind of people I admired.
I wanted to be a better person and that started with accountability. I used to tell myself that it was ok to laugh at the jokes because I didn’t actually feel that way. But that wasn’t ok! If I didn’t actually feel that way, why was it acceptable for me to laugh? It’s not funny and it never was.
I firmly believe how you treat other people is the ultimate testimony to who you are as a person. I try to be the best person I can be through kindness, empathy, and respect.