I grew up with a deeply bigoted father and, as a result, I internalized his bigotry. I carried that bigotry into the Army and later when I started college. Therefore, I know bigotry and racism intimately, as well as how to overcome these attitudes because of interactions while in the service and college. That’s when I began to examine my beliefs about many things.
There were many interactions in the service and college that challenged my attitudes and beliefs about race, religion, and ethnicity. But my real epiphany came when I started practicing and teaching. That necessitated continuing research to expand my knowledge while bringing me into relationships with people about whom I had many preconceived ideas.
It’s clear to me from reports and observations of that racism is central to Mr. Trump’s appeal. If you are one of the millions of his followers, I strongly urge you to reevaluate your beliefs and attitudes to determine how much longer you can remain loyal to such a political movement. To do so will require courage, spending time with people unlike yourself listening to what they have experienced and reading about the history and experiences of various groups in America.
We are at a critical time in our history making it urgent that we be more open to information we have previously ignored or suppressed. Mr. Trump has appealed to our worst instincts but we can resist that siren call. Now is the time, for the sake of our country.
Albany (Sept. 29)