Do you know what racism feels like?

How many of us know what racism feels like? We may understand what racism is. However, do we actually know that feeling of racism, which is hatred,  prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior?

I know what racism feels like. I experienced many different forms of antisemitism during my childhood and as an adult,  just as my family members and my ancestral family members experienced. “But you don’t look Jewish. You have red hair, fair skin, and freckles on your little nose.” has been a recurring comment throughout my life.  

I pondered what racism feels like, yesterday on Martin Luther King Day. It was a national holiday in the United States to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the civil rights movement’s best-known spokesman and courageous leader, on what have been his 89th birthday!

I am deeply disturbed as I read about race and prejudicial issues in the newspaper and see news stories on television when people act out their racism, lack of acceptance, and/or abusive behavior toward others who do not look, act, pray, and live differently than they do.

I thought about and learned more about what racism and hatred feel like when I recently read, My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King, as told to the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.

I have been thinking and understanding more about racism, as I have been reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah for my non-fiction book club.

When I present What Color Is Your “Educator” Brain?® programs, What Color Is Your “Student” Brain?® programs, and What Color Is Your “Parent” Brain?® programs, I also think about racism. That is because I include a YouTube video of Mandy Patinkin singing the thought-provoking song Carefully Taught from the South Pacific the musical. My program attendees are usually shocked when they hear the music composed by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, which premiered in the exclusionary time of 1949.

We may not have experienced or know the same type of racism,  prejudice, or hatred as another person or group of people, but we can educate ourselves to understand how they feel, have compassion for others, and do our best to extinguish hatred and abolish racism.

May we all learn from and teach, Holocaust survivor, Eli Wiesel’s profound words: The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Let each of us be more loving and compassionate, not indifferent, to others. 

Each of us can work toward to eradicating the feelings and experiences of racism by also following Martin Luther King’s encouraging words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


Don’t forget about the FREE Chapter,#7 Your Romantic Relationships, from my original What Color Is Your Brain?® book, which you will receive when you sign up for my Sheila’s Brain Blog section at the bottom of my homepage!

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  1. Karin Follmer on January 20, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you, Sheila. Very thought provoking!

    • sheila on May 6, 2020 at 4:46 pm

      Dear Karin, I just saw your comment. Please forgive my delayed reply. Your are most welcome for my thought provoking blog post! Thank you for your comment!

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