Former Racists Share What Made Them Reevaluate Their Thinking
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.
Reddit user u/Quanris asked:
"Ex-racists of reddit, what made you change your mind?"
I went away to college.
I was a kid in a racist family. N-bombs were thrown around the dinner table regularly. I had really only met a few African Americans in my whole life. I was also the first in my family to go to college (other than my brother to seminary for the cult my family is in which I don't count).
My friend Richard REDACTED was my first "black friend". I think he only liked me at first because he had a crush on my friend Amy and she would always be at my parties. But we ended up friends for 4 years. I'm naturally sort of empathetic and am good at putting myself in other's shoes.
It just sort of dawned on me very early on that I wouldn't speak or act that way if he was around so I just decided I should never act that way. It took me a little while to forgive myself for being garbage, but I was a kid and literally didn't know any better.
I haven't talked to Rich in over twenty years. I moved 3,000 miles away after college and as you might expect from his name - it is basically impossible to google him.
If you are out there Rich - thanks!
My grandma grew up in Virginia in the 1900s. Being racist is just the default setting. Nana loved her family more than anything, though. So at one point in the late 1980s, she met her first not-100%-white grandkid, and discovered she still loved him.
She made astounding late life progress accepting that darker skin toned people were not only people, but family, friends and welcome in her house.
My whole family is quite racist. When I was little I was trying to wrap my head around the rules of the world, so I thought it was as simple as different teams. Blacks vs Whites was just like the Red Sox vs the Tigers. Then my grandmother starts going on about how horrible Polish people are and how I'm never to talk to them. So I'm psyched! Screw those Polish people, whatever color they are, we're mortal enemies. Then she points out our Polish neighbor to me. But... she's white.
I point out to my grandmother that she's white so we're on the same team. My grandmother says no, that she's a mix-breed. I point out that my great granddad was a Shoshone Indian and that I'm a mix-breed. She says that doesn't count.
That's when I realized she was just making up the rules and I wasn't going to play games with someone who couldn't stick to the rules.
I never made the choice really to be racist, but I grew up in South Mississippi and my family wasn't overtly racist, but they were the kind to say racist things behind closed doors and didn't allow us to watch TV shows such as the Cosby show or Fresh Prince and definitely no rap music in the house.
I absolutely fell in love with a lot of black artists in the early 90's, I loved the hip hop scene at the time and Fresh Prince was the best sitcom on television! I played football with 80% black guys and worked at Popeyes chicken with over half the staff being black. I guess you can say my own real world exposure despite their attempt to shelter me changed me.
I cringe at some of the vernacular I used in my early youth, as the N word was the same as "black" in my house, I literally was not raised to know that was a bad word. I'm glad that from the age of maybe 12 on I learned to love all people on my own.
I definitely had a stereotypical idea of how a group of people is because of the action of the few or because what I have seen on the media. What made me change? Well, I saw a video of a writer named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she spoke about the dangers of the single story and that video changed my life and it opened my eyes. Check it out on YouTube and read Chimamanda Ngozi: Dangers of a single story.
I absolutely adore that woman. She's everything I want to be when I grow up ( being 20 feels like still being 15, mostly confused and waiting for the real grown ups to make decisions). Check out her book Americanah, it's so good.
My uncle used to be the most racist person I knew and it drove me crazy, but he is an "old white man and set in my ways". Is what he would say when confronted. It all changed the day his great-granddaughter was born. His granddaughter had married a black man and he was unaccepting until that baby was born. She had him wrapped around her pinky finger from her first breath.
Since then there are several mixed children in the family. It's awesome to see the difference in his behavior. He genuinely loves them all and accepts the racially different spouses of his grandchildren and their children. If he hears anyone being racist he shuts it down.
I grew up in the deep South. I mean, twenty years of my life was spent on the same exact street that my family has lived in for over a hundred years. I went to public school; K-12. So I basically grew up with the same people around aside from the occasional new student who made the questionable decision to move there. When we all graduated, we all went to the same exact community college.
I just got tired of it. I made the decision to move North to go to college. One of the first courses I took was a sociology class about our country's perspectives on different races.
It instantly opened my eyes to how racist I truly was. I had been raised in it, genuinely brainwashed into the ignorant thinking that rule racist attitudes. I had never even stopped to ask myself if I were a racist until that class. It was then that I came to the hard conclusion that I was racist, homophobic, and sexist (I'm female and I had some harsh attitudes toward how a female should behave/dress/etc.).
I'm ashamed of the things I used to think and the disdain I used to hold toward other people. But admitting to being wrong is the first step toward progression. I'm very glad that I took that class and that I realized my harmful behaviors. It's something I think back to constantly and consider it as a turning point in my life.
College roommate was Muslim. Definitely was not a terrorist. Kinda already knew my paps was wrong about that but when you live with someone for an entire year it takes you from "kinda already knew" to "holy sh!t that way of thinking is fucked up".
I'm Asian and I grew up kind of resenting my parents for being different than my classmates' parents and I hated that they didn't know how to speak English. I had to translate for them all the time, call phone companies, go to the dmv with them, translate documents, etc and I grew resentful.
So when I was in elementary school I told them that I wasn't Korean but that I'm a full fledged American and I wasn't going to speak Korean anymore. I also hated interacting with other Asians that reminded me of my parents. aka textbook internalized racism.
It wasn't until middle school when I had a teacher that validated my culture and actively tried to communicate with my parents that I realized that bilingualism is an asset and something I should be proud of.
Now I'm going into teaching and have done some translating work on the side. People say my Korean is super fluent for an American born Korean and I really have my parent to thank for that. Now I'm super regretful for hurting them like that.
Sesame Street. I'm not even joking.
Was raised in a slightly racist household in a pretty racist state.
Seeing kids of all colors playing together made me wonder why my mom wouldn't let me play with certain people.
It kind of snowballed from there.
edit: I am so happy that my top post is about Sesame Street's fight against racism!
People Share Their Most Bone-Chilling 'Let's Get The Hell Outta Here' Experiences
Sometimes you just get a vibe or a tingle down your neck that you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It can be wise to trust this gut instinct, as we learned from many in the Reddit community.
Often those goosebumps or the voice in their head actually saved them from serious harm.
It all started when Redditor throwaway_district9 asked:
"what has been your most bone-chilling, hair-raising, "Let's get the hell out of here" experience?"
A Frightening Weekend
"I don't tell this story often but this seems like a good place. Back in college I used to drive up the Oregon coast on weekends, then just crash in my car when I got tired. I woke from a nap in the driver's seat and something just didn't feel quite right. It was just dusk and the light was fading pretty fast."
"I yawned and stretched and as I did so I turned my head to the side and just caught a face ducking down below my rear passenger window. I went to hit the lock button just to make sure and in my panic I accidentally unlocked the doors briefly and then locked them again."
"I stared at the window for a few minutes, knowing that someone was crouching just out of sight. Eventually, I started the car and thought I heard a scuffing sound. Whoever it was didn't reappear, but that was enough for me. As I noped out of there and pulled out back onto Highway 101, I glanced back and a bald figure in a red t-shirt with something wrapped around his face booked it into the woods on the side of the road."
"That was the end of that weekend trip. I drove the two hours back to my dorm room, white-knuckled hands locked on the steering wheel. I had to pull over a few miles down the road though to deal with the adrenaline shakes."
What Could It Be?
"Me and a couple of my friends were walking around at night when we were around 11 or 12 and I specifically remember all of us feeling like something was off and we started joking about someone or something getting us and saying to each other we’re not afraid of anything. Then we heard a raspy growl that we all agreed had to be a mountain lion."
"All of us were in a dead sprint to my house, scared sh*tless as soon as we heard it. I didn’t live in a place where they usually are so people mostly didn’t believe us, but shortly afterwards and after some more sightings, a mountain lion was caught just 10-15 miles from my home. In hindsight it definitely wasn’t very close to us and we didn’t actually see it, but we definitely exaggerated and acted like it was right next to us."
Not So Abandoned
"A friend and I were exploring an abandoned factory in North Philadelphia about 8 years ago, and when we got to about the third floor...I discovered a booby trap in the stairwell."
"Basically it was a trip wire that swung an axe down from the ceiling."
"Right as that fully set in, we heard someone from up above shout "YO!""
"Time to go."
"I've never covered that much ground so fast. I think we were two or three blocks away before we realized we were riding each other's bikes."
"When I was 16 I had a pickup truck and my parents asked me to pick up some new furniture on the way home. As I’m driving home it starts pissing rain and I was worried the furniture would get destroyed, so I pulled over on the side of the road under an overpass to wait it out."
"As I’m waiting, another car pulls up behind me. An overweight bald man steps out and begins walking towards my car. I tell him I’m waiting for the rain to stop so I don’t ruin the furniture for my parents."
"He was acting very odd and telling me he would help me out as he was fingering his belly button. I was creeped the f*ck out."
"He says one minute he has to grab something to help and leans into his car window. All of my alarm bells are going off so I figured f*ck it and just sped off furniture be damned."
"So glad I did, who knows what would have happened"
Volunteer To Prey
"My wife and I were on a search mission for some missing fern pickers. We were volunteers with the local search and rescue (SAR) team. We decided to stay in the search area that night and had built a pretty nice fire. We were sitting there and it was about 0200, hoping this dude would wander into camp."
"I had heard animals around us throughout the night. No surprise, we're in the middle of the woods, I'm used to animals stalking around outside my camp."
"I knew there were two animals, one one each side of us. It was at about that point when we heard a bird chirp. It came from about the place I figured one of the animals were. Then another, from the opposite side."
"I immediately realized we were being watched and stalked by at least two cougars. We very quickly climbed into the back of my truck. It's got a camper shell and is outfitted for truck camping."
"Driving Uber one night a couple years back. I picked up four guys from a club, listening to them talk I realized that two guys (one of them ordered the ride) had met the other two at the club and were on the way to get drugs from one of their cousins."
"There was an odd vibe, some of the conversation didn't seem the most linear, and I was hyper-aware that these drunk dumba**es were heading with two strangers to a drug deal. And I was the one driving them."
"I did not want drugs in my car, and I was very aware that we might be on the way to an ambush. If we'd been heading anywhere remote or sketchy I had to figure out how to end the ride."
"The two wannabe dealers kept trying to get in touch with their cousin via cellphone, went to an apartment just off a main street, and after both had gone into the building I just said "should be leave?" to the guys and we did. I still don't know if it was just a ploy for a free ride, guys too drunk or dumb to pull off a basic drug deal, or something nefarious that didn't finish."
Trust Your Gut
"I was in an upstairs lab in med school, just a friend & I practicing surgical skills. There was a main enclosed staircase down to the lobby/classrooms & a weird outdoor stairwell that nobody ever used except in fire drills. It wasn't a fire escape, but the old main entrance to the lab classroom. When I put my hand on the door handle to the main stairs, I was FILLED with a weird sense of "Get out! Not that way!" Just absolute fear, I felt trapped & anxious. For the first time in 3 years, I said "Let's take the outdoor stairs..." My friend had literally no idea there even WAS another exit."
"The next day we found out that at the exact time we were taking the outside stairs, one of our classmates was pulling a gun on the admin & students in the lobby at the base of the main stairs. He'd been kicked out of the program for his grades & snapped."
"My friend still talks about it & tells people to always trust my instincts. I actually asked her to stop telling people, because I felt so weird about it. I'm sure I just heard something in the distance that gave me that feeling, but Gavin de Becker would be proud!"
"One time I was out in Colorado with some buddies hiking near the top of a mountain. Some bad weather started to roll in but the top was only 15 mins away so I went ahead while they went back down. As I was getting to the top I felt static in the air and the hair in my head started to stand up. I immediately started to panic cause I thought I was about to get struck by lightning so naturally I ran down without ever getting to the top. I’m not sure if I was gunna get struck but I sure as hell wasn’t sticking around to find out."
"Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, on a trail I knew pretty well. I was leading a group of kids, maybe twenty or so middle school aged children from the camp where I worked."
"I turned a corner and saw a jaw bone of a deer. Pretty cool, showed it to the kids. Didn't have any flesh on it, so I assumed it was pretty old."
"A hundred feet further down the trail I find another bone. Femur maybe (I specialized in insect populations, not deer anatomy.) This one looked a little fresher. Another ways down, another bone."
"I'm getting a little nervous at this point, so I explain that we should probably turn around and head back. My students all groan that they want to see more dead stuff, but I shepherd them down the train and back to camp."
"Two days later we got a call at the camp that someone had been attacked in the area by a mountain lion. Apparently a mountain lion had set itself up in the caves on the cliffside and it had gotten pissed when someone got too close."
"I'm glad we left the area, even if my students would have loved to see more dead stuff."
Yeah, I would've left too!
Do you have any similar experiences? Let us know in the comments below.
People Divulge The Absolute Worst Excuses Their Ex Ever Gave For Cheating On Them
It's never a good feeling to learn that your partner has been unfaithful.
Hearing this news almost instantly gets your mind racing, wondering what it was which led them to do this.
"Was I not present enough?"
"Have I let myself go?"
"Do they not love me anymore?"
If there's anything that could make you feel any worse than this sad list of possibilities, it's whenever they try to justify their behavior.
Often coming up with the most ludicrous excuses for breaking their partner's hearts, which they somehow thought might actually work or at least earn them a little sympathy.
When the only thing they likely got was an open door and a swift goodbye.
"People of Reddit, what is the dumbest reason your (ex) partner gave for cheating?"
So Much For "Till Death do Us Part".
"'You are dying! Do you really want me alone when you are dead?'"
"I was fighting cancer."
"He also told me that I was disgusting and he felt gross touching me."
"Luckily, both types of cancer are out of my life."- Mr_BigDuck
You Could Have At Least Left A Message!
"'You didn't answer your phone, was I supposed to spend Saturday night alone?'"
"I was at work, and so were you, we worked together you f*cking moron."- sixesand7s
Love At First Sight... Or Not
"She met someone that she immediately saw herself marrying."
"A month after we broke up she moved across the country, got married, called me to tell me she made a mistake, got divorced, moved back home, got pregnant and then got married again."- Zarrush
Gonna Have To Do Better Than That...
"Her response once I caught her was that she was flat-out horny."
"But after I said that’s why you have a boyfriend it was kinda funny how she went dead silent."- PuzzleheadedFarm7417
"He said that he cheated on me because I wanted to have too much sex."
"More than 5 years later I still can't find any logic in that."- Etrixie
So Much For Commitment
"'It's not like we're married'."
"Apparently I can't expect respect from someone who goes from calling me 'love of my life' to blowing her high school shag toy when he comes back to town."- FortGeekCartoons Button GIF by NickelodeonGiphy
It Never Is...
“'It’s not what you think it is!'”
"After I walked in on them making out."
"While she was on his lap."
"Both without shirts."- MrSirChris
Two Whole Weeks...
"I couldn't have sex for two weeks so I could recover from surgery so she thought it wasn't cheating'."- Henchforhire
What The Actual...
"My ex-girlfriend said I forgot you were alive."
"For details, I wasn't in the military, I was at university."- Ali8lyscared star wars GIF by Hyper RPGGiphy
That Only Makes It Worse
"It was his kid's mom so it didn't count."- kittenxx96
"In Sickness And In Health"...Oops!
“'I have needs for sex you aren’t helping me with!'"
"Said to me the day I get home from spending a week in the hospital with kidney failure (lupus)."- EndlesslyUnfinished
We Can Only "Open" Our Hearts So Much...
"Well, I know this guy that was convinced he was in an open relationship, except he forgot to let his girlfriend know.."
"She found out 7 years into the 'open relationship'."
"With multiple women, in 4 continents."
"Oh he also had a book where he'd categorize them."- ProfessionalSpite866Episode 2 Player GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy
"My serial cheater ex-once told me while in a fit of tears."
"'I can't stop cheating, I just have so many issues, my mom lied about Santa when I was a kid and it really f*cked me up'."
"'I don't think I can trust people because of it so I cheat'."- pastelflorist
No One Likes To Be Treated Like A Piece Of Meat...
“It’s like if you order the same subway sandwich for a year, eventually you’re gonna get bored of it."
"But you try another flavor and when you go back to the original one it’s better than you remembered'.”
"Felt not so good being compared to a 6 inch BLT tbh."- NucularOrchid
Oh, nothing, except commitment and fidelity...
"'She was prettier than you, what did you expect?'"
"We were engaged and had been dating for 3 years."- kathjoy
No doubt all these poor people are grateful for dodging the bullet that staying with these people would have been.
Even if it can't quite make up for the pain and embarrassment these experiences brought them.
History is full of mystery.
There are things we may never know.
That is true, but some answers have to be possible.
Are we looking hard enough?
Humans have murdered, robbed, and pillaged their way all over the Earth.
We've left a trail of unknown scattered throughout time.
This is why history is so fascinating.
There will always be new and obscure topics for documentaries.
Redditor InsertBurnsHere wanted to discuss the world's most unresolved issues, so they asked:
"What is the biggest unsolved mystery in human history?"
The mysteries that haunt me are all murder stories.
When will we find the killers?!
The AbscondedBank Robbery Heist GIF by ADWEEKGiphy
"Who was behind the Gardner Museum heist? Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art was taken, and we have little to no clue who was behind it, and none of the paintings have surfaced."
The Linear Truth
"In 1893, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans purchased some ancient stones with mysterious inscriptions on them at a flea market in Athens. On a later trip to the excavations at Knossos on the island of Crete, he recognized one of the symbols from his stones and began a study of the engraved tablets being uncovered at various sites on the island."
"He discovered two different systems, which he called Linear A and Linear B. While Linear B was deciphered in the early 1950s (it turned out to represent an early form of Greek), Linear A, above, has still not been deciphered."
"There is an entire culture of information that predates much of our history, a window into ancient humanity that is simply locked away from us because we don't know how to read it."
"An active one in the archaeology world is the exact time frame of when humans made it to the Americas. The date keeps getting pushed back with more controversial discoveries that then just turn to evidence as they pile up. It’s a fascinating story to see unfold."
"Yeah I like this one too, I think many of the traces of early settlement are likely submerged. Sea levels were much lower during the ice age and the majority of human settlements are along the coasts so a huge piece of our history is probably lying on the seafloor completely undisturbed and possibly well preserved."
"So the Monarch Butterfly migrates to Mexico and back every year. During the year there are a full 4 generations of butterflies that live and die during the journey. Upon returning back from Mexico, the butterfly manages to find the same trees it's relative started out at despite never having been there."
Dark EnergyLoop Space GIF by xponentialdesignGiphy
"We like to think we understand the universe and that physics is a well grounded discipline, and in some ways it is. However we have no idea what dark matter or dark energy is and yet we think it makes up 27% and 68% of the universe respectively."
The Universe is vast and scary, like the sea.
The EndKimmy Schmidt Netflix GIF by Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtGiphy
"The final words of the emperor Titus were 'I have but one regret'. We don't know and never will what that regret was."
"That most of human history is undocumented and we will never know our entire history as a species. We didn’t start recording our history until 5000 BCE, we do know we shifted to agrarian societies around 10,000 BCE but beyond that we have no idea what we were like as a species, we will never know the undocumented parts of our history that spans 10s of thousands of years."
"We are often baffled by the technological progress of our ancient ancestors, like those in SE Asia who must have been masters of the sea to have colonized the variety of islands there and sailed vast stretches of ocean to land on Australia and New Zealand."
"What is ironic is we currently have an immense amount of information about our world today and the limited documented history of our early days as a species but that is only a small fraction of our entire history."
"I don't know about 'biggest,' but I always thought the Voynich Manuscript was very interesting. A huge book written in an unknown language or cipher that has never been translated or decoded with diagrams of plant species that don't exist. Lots of theories surrounding it, but no definitive answers as to the origins or the content."
Who made it?
"Not sure if it's THE biggest mystery. But the Antikythera mechanism is pretty wild."
"Dated to at least 60BC, possibly as old as 200BC, it's as complex as clockworks that didn't show up until the 1400s, over a millennium later!"
"It's just such a strange technological anomaly. Who made it? What else did they make and why haven't we found more stuff as advanced?"
Magic TinsVideo Recycle GIF by Jenny LorenzoGiphy
"Why did we all just globally decide that those blue Dutch cookie tins hold sewing supplies?"
"They’re large enough to hold sewing scissors, along with other notions, and made of metal so that the scissors and needles can’t poke through them. Or at least that’s the consensus r/sewing seems to have come to."
My grandma had like 20 of those tins.
Do you have any mysteries to add? Let us know in the comments below.
CW: Domestic violence.
Sometimes family are the ones to avoid most.
That whole blood and water thing is true.
Evil is everywhere.
Even in our blood, our DNA.
It can be daunting to learn that someone you share something so intimate with can be darkness incarnate.
But really, that's probably a statistical truth for all of us.
So how do we cope?
Redditor onlyusemefeets wanted to hear about the worst of everyone's family, so they asked:
"When did you find out that someone in your family is evil?"
The Reddit community rose to the occasion to shed some light on their family skeletons.
Money IssuesWild West Fighting GIF by Buyout FootageGiphy
"When they ripped apart 3 generations of my family almost immediately after my dad died for a measly $37,000. He's a millionaire. That kinda money is pocket change to him."
"When my 11 year old cousin got cancer."
"Her mom and boyfriend were shooting up her pain medicine. My cousin was in so much pain, she told her Doctors. Thats when the doctors stopped giving her mom a prescription and the nurses dispensed her pain meds at the hospital. Unfortunately they could not keep track of medication while at home so they reported it."
"CPS removed her. She died shortly after in foster care. Parents were never charged."
"When my dad died of covid my Aunt tried to say she was entitled to some stuff of his since it belonged in the family. She even called a lawyer on us and it was big deal and my mom didn't need to deal with that trying to raise 3 kids on her own so f**k her. She still bothers us about stuff and all it is like plates and some pictures and some other things."
"Sunken Cost Fallacy"
"My brother's addiction has led to him spinning some ridiculous stories. I'm not sure if he is very convincing or if my father chooses to believe him because of some 'sunken cost fallacy,' or he genuinely refuses to give up. But my brother has told lies and stories about me and my siblings to the point that he's the only child who talks to my father anymore. He convinced my father that I forced him to do drugs."
"But I knew my brother was evil when scared away my sister with physical violence. Last month, he went missing for a weeks only to turn up after flipping his car high on pills. My father doesn't know it yet, but my mother is planning on leaving him because my father chooses my brother over her. No one can convince my father that he's enabling. No one can convince my brother to stop. Hard drugs really destroy entire families."
A New FamilyFrustrated Skip Bayless GIFGiphy
"When he purposely excluded his 4 year old son (from a previous relationship) from his wedding to his new spouse, deleted all photos of his son from his social media, and legally signed away all parental rights. He has since had 2 more kids with said new spouse."
How can parents act that way?
"I don't know about evil, but my dad got remarried and has a kid and stepson with his new spouse. All of that would be fine if he didn't pretend that none of us (offspring from first marriage) exist so he can pretend this family is the first family and we never happened."
"Once this realization hit me, I stopped contacting him, and once I stopped putting in the effort, everything else dissipated. We haven't spoken at all. He does not care in the least. I honestly believe that he wishes we never even existed. He is a failure as a father and as a man."
"When my husband's brother (1 of 5 siblings) said he couldn't make it to our house to plan their mother's funeral because he had to work. Meanwhile we found out he wasn't working because we caught him on ring doorbell entering the moms house to rifle through it while the rest of us were planning the funeral at my house."
"When my ex said 'you've been a godsend, I want a divorce.' I had taken time off from work to take care of her parents. She told me this right before her dad died, and she inherited. She found a boyfriend while I was with her parents. She got the house by declaring I had abandoned it. I was with her parents."
EvilSeason 5 Nickelodeon GIFGiphy
"When my dad tried to throw my 6 month old sister when he was drunk. That man is a monster in disguise"
So many people really need to be screened for their abilities to raise kids.