Daniel Radcliffe, who will eternally be know for playing “The Boy Who Lived” aka Harry Potter, recently did an interview where he addressed having racist friends and stated that he doesn’t agree with their thoughts but remains friends with these individuals.
It raises the question about privilege and the “white ally” as well as not addressing racism head on.
Personally, I agree with Mr. Potter because you can have all the conversations you want with a person and engage in a dialogue about the issue, but you can’t make them drink the potion to magically fix the issue.
As a white male, I am the definition of privilege and on top of that I grew up in privilege.
I also went to public school and interacted with other students who were less fortunate than I, who came from families different than mine, who lived in areas that were not safe, filled with violence and uncertainty.
These individuals did not want to be products of their environment and welcomed conversation about our differences.
I am also a Jewish American and I do know that anti-Semitism still exists and I have encountered it many times before but instead of getting angry about it or writing a person off, I try to bring about a dialogue to understand where it comes from.
It has been drilled into my head since I was a child the history of my people, my ancestors and those of my heritage who have been slaughtered time and time again because of our beliefs.
It is about the education that comes as a follow up to the racism and anti-Semitism that is what matters.
Don’t be a bystander. Ever.
No one person can ever say they have never made a racist remark in their life because that is a fallacy through and through.
I do believe as a society though we have become so afraid of offending individuals and those who are not considered to be the “norm” that we continue to build the schism that divides our society.
It is entirely possible to remain friends with people who make remarks that may be deemed racist and that can be offensive.
Is there a line that should never be crossed?
These types of topics should bring about civil discourse and provide learning opportunities for all to engage and be a part of a larger conversation.
I look at Donald Trump as an individual who uses rhetoric that is meant to rule up those he is speaking about, riling up his supporters and those who believe what he has to say, who might not be exposed to those different from them, and it provides opportunity for racism to grow and become a much larger conversation.
The problem I have with the conversation about racism and deeming someone racist is that it often turn them into a target and gives them a stigma.
I have plenty of friends many who I disagree with and many who disagree with my opinion and statements, but we don’t throw away a friendship over that.
It is the understanding that we accept one another’s beliefs that continues our friendship.
It is the role of the parents and educators both at home and in school to teach about acceptance and understanding to give children the proper building blocks to grow and be more well rounded members of society.
It is up to the parents and educators to mold the future generations and teach them right from wrong but to also be understanding of those who don’t align with their views and values.
I look back at the history of this country and the American people have been a people who have longed for their own identity, their freedom and the right to live how they want without the constraints of religion or government.
As a people, we have progressed backwards in my opinion because we let our religion and our politics blind our views of the world, blind our ability to decipher the truth and bring about actual change.
We’ve become a society divided with a very black and white view of many issues.
As a member of the current society I am living in, it is my duty to engage with those who I come in contact with, whether they are coworkers, classmates or peers and learn about them, engage in conversation with them and allow them to share with me their life experiences.
It is up to the individual to decide whether or not they want to continue a relationship of any kind with an individual who may in fact say very racist things.
Together a community, as an educated and progressive society need to bring a better understanding of our differences and do our part to combat the true hate that is experienced by many.
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