You know that feeling when you realize that you’re something, someone, you never thought you were or could ever be? I felt that tonight.
I am racist.
It’s funny, I’d always thought that I was, if not the most politically correct person ever on the face of the Earth, at least someone who wouldn’t go around putting her foot in her mouth, but I was wrong. I am not colorblind, like I’d always assumed I was. And honestly, I did think I wasn’t. I honestly did think color never mattered. But little did I know, preconceptions like that had been festering in me all this time, just waiting to rear their heads. It’s insidious, it’s unimaginable, it’s terrifying to think that I’m a person I never knew I was.
I committed the world’s worst faux pas. I said something I can’t ever take back, can’t ever erase. I’ve pigeonholed the world, and now the world pigeonholes me.
I’ve been branded a racist. Not just by others, but by myself. I admit it. No amount of justification, no amount of rationalization, no amount of “Oh, it’s not so bad, they’ll forget it soon enough” from friends trying to cheer me up is going to make it better.
It will never be better. And that’s not even the worst thing about the situation. Twining with the shame and regret is embarrassment; not of having said something awful, but having said something awful in public. Wondering what everyone must have thought. Wondering how everyone is going to see me from now on. I care more about what people are thinking about me than about the fact that I had said something grievously wrong.
To everyone who had the misfortune of being there tonight, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for saying what I said. I’m sorry for not thinking. Even if none of you will read this, I’m sorry. Apologizing doesn’t make it better, I know that, but I hope it shows that I realize my mistake. It won’t ever happen again, I will strive to make sure it doesn’t.
Tonight I learned that I’m racist. Tomorrow I will try my best not to be.