John Sartoris, American Renaissance, May 8, 2021
This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.
My trip down the road to racial consciousness did not, like Saul, include a dramatic encounter with truth. I attended private grammar and high schools at which the non-white student populations were less than 5 percent, so my day-to-day interactions with non-whites was very limited. The only blacks with whom I had regular contact before high school were two school janitors who were friendly and kind to me. The only Asian I knew was a Vietnamese-American classmate. She was one of the best students in my grade. Because I grew up in the Deep South, though, racial differences always were apparent to me, if somewhat in the background.
Explicit racial awareness came mainly from my parents who had come of age during the 1960s and ‘70s. My dad was an Army brat with Louisiana roots who grew up on bases across the country. He spoke of blacks mainly in the context of his childhood athletic experiences. My mom, meanwhile, grew up in Metairie, Louisiana and told vivid stories about the desegregation of her public grammar school, like when a black girl pulled a knife on her while riding the school bus. She also told me about how her mother had her wedding ring stolen from her at gunpoint by a black man at a local grocery store. Despite their experiences, my parents tried mightily to raise “colorblind” children. In fact, my siblings and I grew up thinking our parents were terribly “racist.”
Close contact with blacks for me came from playing basketball. Amateur Athletic Union teams, summer camps, and games at local black high schools brought home to me the fact of racial differences. Even so, I was taught to believe such differences were more or less unimportant and not worth worrying over. Moreover, if it turned out such differences were important and worth addressing, I was taught that they were exclusively the result of environmental causes which could be solved by merely changing the environment. In other words, racial differences were the result of a “lack of opportunity” and/or “systemic inequality,” so politicians just needed to enact policies addressing those issues, and — voila! — equality would reign. This was the mental frame I carried with me even through college, law school, and early professional life.
I became racially conscious, in a serious sense, during the 2016 presidential campaign. Until that time, I had been a more or less standard issue Republican for whom no social problem could not be fixed by a tax cut here or an opportunity zone there. I found Barack Obama’s presidency so depressing, on so many fronts, that I practically stopped paying attention to politics. However, during the 2016 campaign I became very interested to know why journalists hated Donald Trump so much. He seemed to me, after all, to be saying many quite sensible and reasonable things about the state of our country.
In any case, I followed the campaign closely and discovered, one way or another, American Renaissance and VDARE.com. Article after cogent article, stacking evidence upon still more evidence, gradually helped break down the wall of ignorance that had been built in my mind around the real causes of racial differences. Since then, I’ve read everything I can find in an attempt to, as it were, make up for lost time, so as to better understand what is happening to the people who built this country — our people — and why we are fast losing it. Indeed, likely already have lost it.
If you have a story about how you became racially aware, we’d like to hear it. If it is well written and compelling, we will publish it. Use a pen name, stay under 1,200 words, and send it to us here.