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Former Racists Explain What Made Them Change Their Perspective

Racism has unfortunately been a part of the fabric of our United States history and some Americans have recently become more emboldened to reveal their bigotry.

But among them, there have been instances of prejudiced individuals who turned a corner and dispensed with their hatred towards people based on their skin color or ethnicity.

These people eventually realized in the grand scheme of things as a part of humanity, we are not all that different.

Curious to hear from those who came to see the light, Redditor Gamerbrineofficial asked:

"Former racists of Reddit, what made you think the way you do and how did you get out of racism?"

The world of entertainment can be very educational.

Exposure To Black Sitcoms

"I come from a non-practicing Christian background and grew up in a small town where everyone was white as well. Though I never personally experienced outwardly racist sentiments from my family, I did not personally meet someone with different skin color than mine until I was 19."

"That's 19 years of development and never personally interacting with someone of a visibly different race. There was 1 black family that moved to my town when I was about 11 and I found out years later they sadly had to move due to racism. I'm sure that was very isolating for them."

"Thanks to a weird, archaic, low-tech device called a 'television' I was exposed to African Americans by way of Family Matters, The Cosby Show, and 21 Jumpstreet. Carl Otis Winslow's outbursts cracked me up. I never much cared for Urkel and his antics, Carl was my 'average dad next-door' hero. Theo Huxtable was an early tv crush, and as I got a little older, I adored Judy Hoffs! She was the coolest cop chick on tv and wanted to hang out with her at that modified church headquarters."

"I still watch the show just for her character, and to recognize filming locations and scenic backdrops from Vancouver. Not to mention some of my favorite vocalists are Mixed Race/African American/Jamaican or from the Bahamas."

"Through the entertainment I consumed, I just accepted that there are people out there, vastly different than myself that I was always curious about them. I just always assumed people who weren't having vile racist poison poured down their gullets and had access to cable, movies, and MTV would experience different people the same way."

"It's nice to know there's hope for people to come out of that. I'd like to believe that racism, is one small jagged fragment of the human condition that has never taken hold in my mind and I hope it never does."

– AwkwardRadish3820

What Rap Artists Have Taught

"My parents were both closet racists (racist behind closed door/out of earshot) but we were taught other races couldn't be trusted as kids. I can remember my mum deliberately not inviting a Pakistani kid to a birthday party that sort of thing."

"I was stereotypical angry white kid, around 15yo I started listening to Eminem that progressed into black artists I heard him duet with."

"I genuinely give credit to rap music for making me realise my parents were wrong. Biggie, Snoop, Dre, Kanye and 50cent opened me up to a different path in life which ended me up with a Japanese partner so all's well that ends well."

– butwhywouldit

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone getting acquainted with another who does not look like them to find a connection.

A Life-Changing Event

"Not me, but my dad was quite racist to the local native group. My dad was a woodsman and felt the native land agreements were unfair, and didn't agree with their hunting and fishing rights/treaties."

"At age 18 during my last year of highschool I was doing a lot of community volunteer work and my dad helped out managing a youth program with me. The parent group above us arranged for an event at the local reserve."

"My dad begrudgingly went with me to the event to supervise the younger kids."

"It was a transformative experience for him. We were invited to take part in a drum circle, did a bunch of ice breaker activities, listened to talks, met elders, and were served amazing food."

"The band gave my dad a t-shirt and he proudly wore it so often after that, someone actually asked him if he was native. (he does have darker skin colouring from being outside but is still as white as they come)"

"Now my dad speaks out a lot against racism directed at native/indigenous folks. He's become very passionate."

"On the one hand I'm really glad he improved but on the other I think it's sad he needed a personal experience of such magnitude to have empathy. It places the burden on THEM to educate US. But I suppose it's still better than him being racist the rest of his life."

– HFXmer

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The Platypus Analogy

"Let's pretend you’ve never seen a platypus. But you’ve heard about them. You’ve heard that they have a bill and webbed feet. You’ve heard that they lay eggs. You’ve heard that they have a tail like a beaver. But you, yourself, have never seen one. You take for granted that these things are true because EVERYONE around you says they are."

"I grew up in a super tiny farm town in the middle of nowhere. All 300 people in the town were white. My parents were racist. My friends were racist. My friend’s parents were racists. Even the vast majority of teachers in our k-12 school grew up in or around my town, and were racist."

"Guess what? With literally every single person around me telling me that black people were inferior, i thought black people were inferior. I took for granted that it was true, because it seemed unlikely that EVERYONE was wrong. Just like I currently take for granted that a platypus lays eggs."

"When I was 10 I went to a summer camp a few hours north of me. There were black, hispanic, and asian kids there. Hell, I even shared a cabin with a black kid. I honestly thought I would get attacked at night."

"By the end of the third day of camp, I realized that other than talking a bit different, my black cabinmate was no different than my white cabinmates. And the talking a bit different thing didn’t bother me. I had family from other parts of the US that talked different from me, and it didn’t matter much."

"This started a slow but steady realization in me that maybe my parents were wrong about things, and maybe people were just people. I’d like to think that I treat everyone with the same level of respect today. I sincerely hope I do, anyway."

"Still not sure about platypus though."

– awesomecubed

Former skinheads shared their stories of when they turned a corner.

Sense Of Belonging

"I was skinhead adjacent during high school. It offered me identity and a sense of belonging and purpose. Started becoming more extreme, identifying more with the idea of white oppression by 'the Jews.' "

"Then I had this sudden realization that my best friend was a Jew. And his family offered me more acceptance and belonging than I’d ever find in the movement. It was an amazing aha moment. To think that I was teaching myself to hate the people who showed me the most love was a little heartbreaking but it was an important moment in my life. I’ve never looked back."

– I_been_some_places

A Heart To Heart With A Cab Driver

"I was/am a skinhead too. I posted my experience before."

"My story is a bit different from the others here. I was a skinhead since I was a kid..about 13. We ran in a gang and listened to both racial music and also non racial music. We were a bit mouthy etc... about race, but the place we grew up in was totally White. There was one Chinese lass out our whole school..about 1,200 people. It didn't take me too long to realise that the 'they took our jobs' talk was a load of shite as there were no ethnic people..and no jobs. So I did grow out of the racist thing myself pretty quickly."

"It was only really when I went to university that I actually encountered different races. I got to work beside Black and Asian guys, played football with Africans and Greeks and generally had a great time and met great people who I still keep in contact with."

"I think even though I didn't consider myself racist..I couldn't imagine me having Black friends..or going on holiday with a group that included several Muslims, which I did do a couple of years back."

"Wee funny story before I end about prejudices. I went to live in another city, and was just to anyone. One night I got a cab. The driver was a Muslim in full Pakistani cultural gear. Skull cap, long gown etc. I thought, people are people and have the right to do or dress how they want, but I don't think we are going to have a lot to talk about, not much common ground. I gave him my address and sat back to chill out."

"Guy turns a Scot? I said yeah mate. Then he starts chatting about when he first came to England in the 60s before the majority of Pakistanis, he used to get picked on at school. The other guys who were picked on were Scots and Irish. So they formed a gang of the eight of them."

"From that day they could go watch football, go out at night, and generally stick up for each other. He said, that was a long time ago, and I still get a shiver when I hear Scots or Irish accents. Now he teaches kids at the mosque not to dislike White Christians, and the best ways to mix and interact. We sat for 20 minutes when we arrived at my house and just shot the breeze."

"I think that's when the last bit of bigotry left me."

– Allydarvel

As many of these Redditors shared, a lot of ignorance stemmed mostly from people living in homogenous societies or communities, or they were falsely informed about different cultures or ethnic people at an impressionable age.

Have you ever imagined how much we can all achieve together as a human race? The possibilities are endless and I can only see them as nothing but positive.

Although we still have a way to go in this country for peace, I refuse to give up hope for our humanity.

We all just need to tap into the good inherent in all of us. At least this is my grown-up Christmas list.

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When I was in seventh grade, I had aspirations to be a poet. I made a Mother's Day card for my mom with a cute (but now, cringe-worthy) poem inside, and a hand-drawn picture of a rose that took me hours to perfect.

A friend saw the card and said they wished they could do the same. Then suddenly, she asked if she could buy the card from me. I said no, since I needed to give it to my own mother, but I said I could make her a copy. From there, my friend got the idea for me to make copies of the card to sell. I went along with it, mostly because I didn't think it would actually work.

Turns out, it did. After making sure people would actually be interested, we went to the library after school and made several color copies of my card for 10 cents each. The next day, we sold each card for $1. Not only did we make enough money so that my friend and I could both afford to get our moms an actual present in addition to the card, but we had enough leftover to put us over the top for the money we needed to buy the matching faux leather jackets we'd been wanting all year.

The next year, many people who bought cards asked me to do it again, so I did. Once again, we made a killing. We didn't try to do it again once we got to high school, but it was definitely fun while it lasted.

When we tell people this story, they think it's a pretty crazy money-making scheme. Maybe it is, but we're not the only ones who ever did anything like this. Redditors know all about crazy money-making schemes, and are eager to share their own stories.

It all started when Redditor primeiro23 asked:

"What are the craziest ways you’ve heard of people making money?"

Tumble Into Business

"In college, I take a class on how to start & run a small business. Prof tells us to think of ridiculous business models for our fictitious businesses as we will get more out of the class that way. Stupid ideas ensue. Selling paperclips door to door, refilling car gasoline tanks in people's driveways, service to read & summarize the newspaper to executives etc."

"One classmate decides he is going to sell tumbleweed."

"Guess who quits college and started a successful business? Tumbleweed guy. Takes a van to the desert, collects tumbleweed and sells them to Hollywood movie & TV studios who need them. Keeps the tumbleweed in a warehouse and since they never spoil, his only costs are gasoline, storage & a website. He eventually becomes the number one tumbleweed provider to studios around the world, shipping tumbleweed globally."

"Made a heap of money selling what millions of people drive by and ignore every year."

– Accomplished-Fig745


"I did have a job reading and summarizing newspaper articles to the boss. Literally only task I was hired for."

– Draigdwi

"An actual union job in the film industry is reading scripts and summarizing them in short mean book reports."

– Trixiebees


"Heard of crazier, but a guy I know, friend of my mother's, went to Texas 30+ years ago. (we are from Norway), and he noticed every single garden had a trampoline. And it was almost always "jump king" - the circular with blue mat ones."

"So he went to the HQ, bought 10 and took back to Norway. Within days they were sold, and he ordered 50 more, same thing. So he became the only importer and has God knows how many millions to his name today."

– alexdaland

"This IS wild. I went to Norway recently and one of the first things I noticed was that almost EVERY yard had a trampoline in it."

– TrulyMadlyCheaply

Working For A Home

"Back when Dogecoin took off I wrote a guide on recovering old lost wallets and it got so popular I was flooded with requests for further help. Some corrupted wallet files, some lost passwords, etc."

"I have a background in computer science and experience in data retrieval and password cracking, so I started helping people in exchange for a percentage cut (industry standard for wallet recovery). All above board with a contract and everything."

"For a while I was getting new clients every week and making hundreds up to thousands of dollars on every successful recovery (with a fairly good rate of success). The biggest one I ever recovered was a 19 letter long password someone had lost. The work dried up when the price of doge dropped but it got me the down-payment on a house."

– internetpillows

Horsing Around

"A cabbie in Dublin once told me a story about one of his fares who had a brilliant hustle."

"The guy was a sculptor. He would watch horse races, then when a horse won, he'd use social media to contact the owner directly with a digital mockup of a life-sized sculpture of the winning horse. Now, the people who own winning racehorses tend to be very rich - we're talking sheikhs, oligarchs, billionaires. Every now and again, one of these owners would bite, and spend €100,000 euros or so on a statue commemorating their animal's win."

"Dude only did a couple a year, and spent the rest of the time living the good life."

– escoterica


"Richest guy in a rich town near us makes enormous amounts of money buying Hershey bars and rewrapping them with customised retirement celebration designs or corporate logos to be given away at events. Literally just rewraps them in pieces of paper and doubles or triples his money."

"Every time I try to start a company or invent a better product or something, I ask myself why I’m not just rewrapping candy bars."

– perchance2cream

"F**k man, I think I found my new niche."

– LibertyPrimeIsASage

Slightly Used

"I went to college in a capitol C college town. A friend of mine bought an old school bus, fixed it up and took out all the seats."

"At the end of every semester she would drive around the neighborhood that was the fancier side of off campus living and collect whatever the rich kids were throwing out before they moved / went home for the summer. Flat screen TVs, couches, computers, tables, it was wild to see what people would chuck out and replace the next semester rather than having to deal with getting a storage unit or moving themselves."

"Sold it all on Craigslist over the summer or the beginning of the next semester and made a killing."

– sam_neil

Credit Where Credit Is Undue

"When I worked in a really busy, upscale restaurant my coworker would put all of his cash-paying customer’s bills on his credit card and keep the cash which he used to promptly pay off his credit card."

"He did this all day, every day for quite a while and the points started to add up and he was getting free airfare, etc."

"Worked great for a while until management notice a rise in credit card processing fees with an emphasis on one employee and they shut him down real quick."

– blinkysmurf

We Found Gold!

"My buddy worked his way through college by panning for gold. This was in 2009 in California. Most days he made nothing, occasionally he would come home with a couple hundred bucks worth and I think once he found a night worth over $1k."

– discostud1515

"My cousin had a metal detector when he was in HS. He would go every weekend down to the lake and take it with him on vacation. He found all kinds of things. He did find gold jewelry and would sell it online. He made so much money he bought his own car."

– Content_Pool_1391

Sleeping For The Job

"I knew a woman whose job was literally to sleep."

"A local office building owner wanted somebody on-site 24/7 to be the point of contact with first responders if they ever needed to be called. So they hired her to come in to the building in the evening when the maintenance crew was finishing their work. And she would settle up to sleep for the night in a bedroom they'd set aside for her. In the morning she'd hand the building back over to the office employees and go on about her day."

"No first responders were ever called. It's about the least stressful legitimate job I could ever imagine."

– CaptainTime5556

The Secret

"Back in the 90s, I knew a guy who put an ad in the classified section of the newspaper which read something along the lines of, “For $10, I’ll tell you my secret to making easy money. Send $10 cash to (address) to find out how.” People would send him $10 & he would then instruct them to put a classified ad in the newspaper telling people to send $10 & how to make money."

– freudianfalls

Accident Payment

"I was pushed down the stairs by a teen girl who told me to "pay attention and get out of her way" i ripped my dress during the fall and was getting back up when some guy rushed up to me, apologized for his daughter and handed me $500 as compensation."

– thebrilliantcounc

"LOL - years back, I was in a parking lot during a snowstorm. A guy was trying to pull around me, slid on the snow/ice and hit into my passenger side door. It really and truly was an accident. He was all apologies. We exchanged info - he said to get a quote and he would pay for the damage."

"Well, the car I was driving at the time was a crappy old Ford worth maybe $500. But, I went to a body shop, got a quote on the repair and it was $900. I faxed it to him (this was back in the 90's, LOL) thinking he'd tell me to go through the insurance company and just have the car totaled out."

"To my surprise, I had a bank check for $900 from him in my mailbox three days later. Now, I already owned another car, so I pocketed the $900, sold the smashed car for parts for $300 and ended up with $1200 on a car that was worth only $500 before the accident. I was very glad that he ran into me!"

– Deleted User

Only Feet

"I have a friend who sells pictures of her feet. In heels. Barefoot squishing cake. In mud. She charges extra for special requests. Has strict ‘no go’ rules. Never shows anything above the calf so she can’t be identified (no tats). All proceeds go to her kid’s college fund. Has made enough to fund a PhD."

– NotACrazyCatLadyx2

The things people do for money! But, I guess it works for her!

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