For the typical white, middle-class, college-aged American, the concept of con­temporary racism seems foreign — or even extinct. But for one TCNJ student, the bitter reality of racial prejudice in America today has become a fact of life. A short while ago, Aaron*, a student raised in a conservative Jewish household, began seeing an African American girl named Jessica. After happily dating for a few weeks, Aaron called home to tell his family the pleasant news: he was in a new relationship.

He never could have anticipated his mother’s reaction.

“It was nauseating,” Aaron told The Perspective. “She said, ‘I don’t want you in my house; I don’t want to pay your tuition; I’m cutting you off; I want nothing to do with you.’

Aaron is “a white Jewish boy,” his mother lashed, “and should be sticking with his own.”

Aaron said, “she feels like I’ve somehow betrayed our people, like I’ve spat on the graves of our ancestors. It’s not something I feel like I could combat with logic. It’s emotion; it’s ignorance; it’s hatred. I’m not going to be able to sit down with her and talk her out of it.”

Aaron’s mother, however, claims not to be a racist. “I’ve worked with black peo­ple,” she reportedly said to her son. “I don’t dislike black people. But I don’t want them in our family, and I’m disgusted by the thought that our son is with one.”

Recalling a dispute he and a professor had had not long ago, Aaron reflected: “He was telling me ‘You’ve been sheltered; you’re white; you’ve never experienced rac­ism. You don’t know what racism is.’ I said by and large, racism was dying out. But then I come home and find out it’s in my own house.”

“Looking back,” Aaron added, “he was right.”

“I’ve been sheltered from it most of my life by virtue of being a white, Jewish boy,” Aaron said. “But there is more hatred in society and even within my own walls than I ever could have possibly conceived.”

“Our relationship is never ever going to be okay with her,” he said, “but Jessica and I are going to stay together. I love my mom as much as the next person, but if respect for her means I have to accept racism into my heart, I’m not going to do it. I do not want that to be a part of me.”

He explained further, “I’m sickened by it; I’m sickened that the woman who birthed me thinks this way. I cannot bear the thought that I came from a racist mother. That’s in me now – that hatred is in me. Even if I don’t think that way, whatever it was about her upbringing, her life experience – that’s in my blood.”

“Remnants of racism still exist in society,” Aaron concluded. “And they need to be pointed out and fought wherever they are found.”

*Names changed


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Lindsay Sharvert,

    Great Article!!!
    and my opinion…you’re both wrong. Mommy is not racist, but she is wrong for two reasons. No parent should ever cut their child off. Thats always a heartbreaking error. And secondly because, her anger will only force Aaron and Jessica closer together. When they fall out of love they will stay together out of Adversity, which always leads to a nasty divorce.
    Aaron, you’re also missing the big picture, which your mother sis not properly articulate. Marriage is difficult. It is filled with love and hate and peace and confrontation. As long as you want the same things and the good out weights the bad, your relationship will be great. The second the confrontations and hatred take a slight advantage, the marriage is over. Religion (even if you’re not religious) is a big part of life and marriage. Especially Judaism which has evolved into a way of life and a separate Culture. Even if you become Atheist, you will not be able to shed your Jewish identity. And Jessica will not be able to Shed her African American identity. As long as this discrepancy exists, your marriage is more then likely doomed. Marriage is better within cultures because its exponentially easier. Its also better for the children, who would be conflicted by the teachings of two cultures or ideologies. Now they can share one. For all these reasons and more your mothers intentions are valid but her response was not. Keep it Jewish for your marriage sake, for your children’s benefit and for the Future of your people!

  2. wow.i am a black male and i get that sort of thing.i live in namibia (was born during apardheit).growing up with white and black friends proved difficult at times because sometimes i would be excluded from parties or activities where all my caucasian friends would go on.the reason that i got was (and this came from their parents,obvoisly)that they don’t feel comfortable around black people because a friend of theirs was murdered by a black man,raped by n black guy.it would always be something in that line.
    so if you allow your mother to see in time that jess is not the enemy she thinks,all will be well me thinks lol


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