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Have I experienced racism in America?

Courtesy of Samuel Sey

A white man in a pickup truck stopped next to me on the side of a road in a small town in Ohio and yelled at me.

It was around midnight, and I was in the middle of a short walk from my in-law’s to the house I was staying at before I married my wife.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the town is in a county with a history of KKK members. The incident happened only a couple of weeks after I moved from Canada to America.

Prior to that, woke people claimed I would change my mind about America and critical race theory soon after I moved to Ohio. According to them, since racism is supposedly systemic and prevalent in America — a short walk by a black man in America, especially at midnight in MAGA country, is sure to attract racist white people.

However, I haven’t experienced racism in America. Not on that night and not on any other day.

The white man in the pickup truck didn’t stop next to me to harm me. He stopped next to me because he thought I needed help.

He didn’t yell what some might expect. Instead he yelled, “do you need a ride?”

He was offering me a ride because it was a cold, snowy night — he didn’t know I’m Canadian.

In fact, he didn’t know me at all. I was a stranger to him, probably the biggest stranger he could find that night in his town. I didn’t share his skin color or even his nationality. But he kindly offered me a ride.

Of course, racism isn’t a myth. Slavery in America has been abolished. Segregation in America has been abolished. But racism can’t be abolished. Racism is perhaps more common than some people think. 

That white man’s kindness doesn’t eliminate other people’s real experiences with racism. I haven’t experienced racism at all since I moved to America, but that doesn’t mean other people haven’t experienced it over the last year or over their lifetime.

In fact, I visited the site of the white supremacist mass shooting in Buffalo last summer with my friend Mark Hamilton, the pastor of Faithful Stones Church — the church is just steps away from the scene of the crime.

Nevertheless, whether it’s in MAGA country in Ohio, inner-city Buffalo, Appalachian small towns, or rural towns in Kentucky or Georgia — I haven’t experienced racism in America.

It’s interesting, my white wife and I have received disapproving looks from other black people in Toronto, Canada. However, though we’ve held hands in rural towns in states where interracial marriages were illegal just decades ago: we haven’t received a single disapproving reaction.

Racism isn’t nearly as common in America as woke people claim it is. In fact, America seems to be even less racist than I thought it was.

This doesn’t mean I won’t experience racism in America. I’m sure I will. I experienced racism in Canada, so why wouldn’t I experience it in America? Racism can become less common, but it’ll never be canceled — not until Christ returns.

But as of right now, after just over a year of living in America, I haven’t experienced racism.

Originally published at Slow to Write. 

Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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