Racism in the south. I have to admit it's not as bad as I thought-- think Civil Rights Movement in Alabama in the present age. I'm not getting beaten up. No one's calling me racial slurs.* Don't get me wrong; racism is alive here, but I might have freaked out about to what extent. There's plenty of ignorance here in Alabama and the south and even in California, but living here these pasts months opened up a whole new world to me. I've been exposed to more ignorance and racist comments than I ever did in California, but it's taught me how I can be more accepting of people.
Recently on social media I've heard a lot of "racism doesn't exist anymore". And it saddens me that people don't understand that ignorance and "subtle" racism still is racism. We may be better off than 50 years ago, but we're still not at a good point where everyone is actually treated equally. Living in the south made me realize how a lack of diversity really clouds one's reality of the world. In California, people are vastly more exposed to other people of different backgrounds and cultures. But even now I'm learning that even in California some people are completely incapable understanding the concept of prejudice and racism. It's just not okay make to assumptions about people based on their race or cultural background, no matter how "positive" you think your comments are. I could make a whole long list of things people have said to me that was offensive but were said innocently out of complete and utter ignorance. The point is, though, they made those gross assumptions about me because I was Asian without knowing me at all.
I realize that the misconception is everywhere. There's a great divide between an racism/ignorance and the truth. And that's not exclusive to minorities. I'm rambling, but the bottom-line is, take the time to get to know someone. Please don't assume you know anything about someone because you once met someone of that same race.
*Granted, I'm Asian and part of the "model minority" so even my experiences are hugely skewed compared to other minorities. I have it relative "easy" compared to other people.