It was "wrong" , but realtively "normal".
"When I was your age, believe it or not, none of us knew that we even had a racial problem."
I wonder if by "none of us" The Gipper meant everyone in his generation... or just privileged white folk.
Indeed, I imagine he probably didn't have any racial 'problems'. lol
Very few people relate to the world from anything but their own vantage point.
That is quite an admission on the part of Reagan. We like to think highly of ourselves. As Blaise Pascal has noted, self-love cannot “prevent the object of its love from being full of faults and wretchedness: it wants to be great and sees that it is small; it wants to be perfect and sees that it is full of imperfections; it wants to be the object of men’s love and esteem and sees that its faults deserve only their dislike and contempt." I don't think most people thought there was a problem.
....and even that might be an armchair judgment. My brother and I, though raised the same, are of different religious philosophies.
though Reagan was a Christian and Converse likely so --given that his brother wrote the music of "What a Friend We Have..."
I should've added to my previous posting that, like Strumula, I am confused as to how "Christianity" entered the issue. Also, with regard to Reagan's quote (which can be taken several ways), I have known racists. Some, unfortunately have been in my own family. I believe that not one of them would say that they were "racists".
The point of mentioning Ronald Reagan was more to point out a generational blindess. My folks had it....anybody else over 50 out there with similar experience? Subtle, but present.
Oh yes, my grandmother, a gentle old lady who used to be a kindly volunteer social worker in poor urban neighborhoods... she was a racist too concerning blacks, Jews, Italians, Latins, Asians...you name it. But she never thought she was. Very subtly it would come out in 'innocent' comments...she would often proudly claim she was not racist.
I will go out on a limb here and say that we probably ALL are racists to one degree or another- all of us no matter what our race- it's almost a human condition to be wary of those who are different from yourself, and it's certainly rienforced during our upbringings. Most people will emphatically deny that they have any racist traits whatsoever. I admit I have some too and am ashamed of that, but I think that recognizing such things in oneself and trying to overcome or change them is really half the battle.
Yes, Strumelia, you went out on a limb that no one else yet ventured but, of course, you are correct.
We all have certain subtle perceptions or expectations about race and/or ethnicity that are nearly impossible to fully shake away.....and while some may be negative, I don't think they are all necessarily so. Some might even go ever-so-subtly out of their way to be congenial to compensate for what we know has happened in the past.
As far as hatred, however.......I'm not a Psychologist but it seems logical that those who are most likely to possess hatred or fear are those who are insecure about themselves or their standing in life. It has always seemed to me that it is something that should be focused upon more in anti-bullying programs.