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 myself..talk 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 round..you 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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