Rev. John Anderson: Opening Dialogue on Race

A few high school young men of color in the Richmond District share their responses to the question: Have you ever experienced racism? Here's what they have to say.

Youth 1: "I think the police are racist. Half of them take their jobs just to mess with African-Americans or Latins. They try to lock you away forever. Even some judges are racist. Half the police are white and they like having authority over people."

Youth 2: "The way I have experienced racism is when I was going camping with my homies earlier this year. We pulled up at a camping ground in Sacramento where there was a lot of white people. We started to unpack our stuff and set up when this couple asked us if we had any cocaine or weed just because we were black."

Youth 3: "If you are Latino in SF, people automatically think you are Mexican. I have been called a 'stupid beaner' and a 'F___ing spic' by the police."

Youth 4: "One day my class had a sub and she said I threw a globe out the window but I didn't. An Asian person did it and people told her that he did it but she sent me to the principal's office."

Youth 5: "Usually when I walk into a store with a black sweater, I can feel the eyes of the store owners on me. They tend to keep their focus more on me compared to the other people that are also in the store. There is already a sense of prejudgment because of my ethnicity and the way that I look/dress."

Youth 6: "I think white people think they run everything."

Youth 7: "I was denied going to a school." (A caucasian assistant principal did not allow this resident to enroll in the school and the resident felt or at least interpreted his actions as racist.)

Youth 8: "I haven't experienced racism."

Join the conversation. Perhaps you have a story of your own experience of racism, Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism. I invite you to share it with the community, in our next article. You may choose to be anonymous. To help move forward the dialogue on race in our neighborhood, contact John Anderson (pastor at St. John's Presbyterian Church), at [email protected], or Richmond Review editor Paul Kozakiewicz, at [email protected].