While it takes a lot of courage to own up to one's problematic past and make a conscious effort to be better, it benefits entire communities.
One of the most beautiful and inspiring traits of human beings is our ability to learn from our mistakes and change. While it takes a lot of strength and courage to own up to a problematic past, atone for our errors and make a conscious effort to be better, it is all worth it in the end as it benefits not just the individual but also their community. Some Reddit users vouched for the same a couple of months ago when they responded to this query posted by u/Cursed_Salad97 to the r/AskReddit: "Former racist people of Reddit what changed your opinion?"
Here are the top 24 responses:
"My uncle by marriage grew up with racist parents, but one day when he was 20 he fell asleep at the wheel after working a double shift and rolled off the side of the road into a ditch late one night.
It was a country road in nowhere Upstate New York and the only other person on the road at the time was a Puerto Rican man also getting off work. Pulled him from the car and drove to the nearest gas station to use the pay phone (way before cell phones existed).
My uncle survived thanks to that man. His car caught fire shortly after. My uncle was so touched by this man's kindness he vowed to help the man as much as could. Until my uncle's death from cancer in 2013 they remained friends. I remember hearing the story during Thanksgiving one year when I was younger and not really understanding what racism was." — Lelio-Santero579
"I was raised in a really small, rural town, so it was casual racism constantly. I fell into the rhetoric, unfortunately. What changed me? Just living and traveling and listening and trying to understand." — 734PdisD1ck
"Not me but my dad's story. In the 1970s my dad was in elementary school said he had always thought African Americans were just different. So one day he’s standing in line, and there was two African American brothers standing behind my dad when my dad turns to the younger brother and calls him a racist term (I don't remember which one). The older brother turns to my dad winds up and punches him straight in the face. He said he was bleeding, it hurt like hell, and he was crying but ever since that day he knew they were just like everyone else because that’s exactly what he would have done." — soccerdome2
"I grew up in a family that was extremely racist towards African Americans. Especially they would always rant about how AA customers at their jobs are always rude and too lazy to clean up after themselves.
After I got a job myself, I realized that it seems like every races are the same. Some are rude. Some are lazy. MOST people are nice regardless of the color of their skin.
I just find it unfair how my parents specifically targeted AA people I’ve experience just about the same about of 'rudeness and laziness' from the other races." — lionprincesslioness
"In Grade 5, I learned about the Holocaust and saw a film showing how a typical Jewish family experienced it from beginning to end.
Let's just say the ending left me mortified... And through listening to how adults and even celebrities portray themselves in public, I started accepting the fact that all races have good and bad apples but the bad apples need to own up to their bigotry and learn to live with one another. Enough excuses." — Rangeless
"I don't think I was ever racist, but as a little kid I was scared of other races. Probably because they weren't very common in my life. It didn't come from a place of hatred though. But then I watched the first Pokemon movie and Meowth said something I've always remembered...
'We do have a lot in common. The same earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what's the same instead of what's different... well, who knows.' And since that moment, I stopped being scared of other races.
It's true as well, we should stop looking at what is different and start looking at what's the same. However, I will say that the differences in people, culture, so forth, is something to be celebrated as well." — XBakaTacoX
"For me, what really changed it was growing up and having good friends that cared enough to see the person I could be, even though I was an unbelievably nasty racist POS. Through many conversations, interactions, and even arguments, I grew up as a person into who I am today. I’m still not the greatest person on Earth, but I’m still working to be the best I can be." — BlackjackAce57
"I grew up being taught that black people can be just as successful as white people if they only worked harder. Once I started to learn about systemic racism and cultural capitol, my eyes were open to the crazy obstacles put in the path of people of color at every turn.
I was more of an ignorant racist than a hateful racist. I never had any animosity towards people of color. I just didn’t realize what the world was like for them for a very long time and thought they just had to 'work harder.'" — MagnusCranmegranate