Jorge Eugene Moran is an actor, director, and owner at jorgemoran.com. He is also a self-described anti-racist. In this interview, the discussion covers his experience with racism at Bass Pro Shop, his views on race, why things are the way they are regarding race, and the way things should and can be according to him. Included in the interview are links by Jorge and his own 7 Steps to White Racial Responsibility as he sees them.
You were at a Bass Pro Shop recently and encountered racism by someone working there. Walk us through what happened.
I recently got my blood pressure up while I was in a Bass Pro Shop store (a large retail hunting fishing chain). I was looking at getting another gun with a laser on it.
A very pretty young white female associate was helping me look at guns in the bass pro shop. She was unusually helpful knowledgeable and personable. We started talking about gun control when she shocked me by stating and I quote "I don't think any n***** should be able to buy one". I questioned why she said that word and she explained that, "she's an English major and that the word n***** just means ignorant person". I replied, how do you think it makes black people feel when you say that word? She said, her friend was black and she uses it all the time in front of her (very doubtful).
So I then said, there's some black customers over there at the counter looking at some rifles let's go ask them how they feel about your use of the word? She started to walk away and I called her a racist and said, as a matter of fact I'm going to let them (the two male black customers about 60ft away) know what you said. (Now she's walking away and headed toward the back). About that time one of the other white male associates walks up to me and tells me I need to calm down, I said, YOU calm down...watch this! I walked over to the two black customers and told them the white female sales clerk who was just helping me used the n-word when referring to black people. Trying help me calm down they told me I should just ignore it. I said, f*** that I'm going to the store manager (they nodded their head showing support). I then walked about another 60ft and saw a black female associate, I told her what happened and she requested that I report this. I confirmed that's what I wanted to do, so she kindly walked me to the front of the store where I saw another black female associate, I told her what happened and she said, oh my God are you going to report it? I told her, f*** yes I'm going to report it. She replied, oh my God my heart is just racing, thank you for leting them know. I told her just try to relax that it would be ok. During this time the white associates in the gun shop had been calling management to let them know I was telling black customers and black associates about what had happened. A white female manager walks up and I told her about my experience with racism in her store, and instead of apologizing the manager says, that she can't have me going around telling her employees what happened. This manager had a defensive uncaring attitude, so I looked at her and I asked her, do you use that word? She hesitated but said no, I then told her, that I don't trust you or Bass Pro Shop. So I walked away from the manager (the manager followed me) and I told another black male associate what had happened. He just put his head down in disappointment. The manager then said she would talk to the girl to get her side of the story. I told her I'll be calling corporate. She replied, you’re going to call corporate? (Her face suggesting there was no need) I said, yep and walked out.
Why did you react the way you did?
If I didn't do something then It would make me a hypocrite, especially as much as I preach about white racial responsibility. As white folks we all have a moral responsibility to act and stand up against white supremacy no matter how small or overt it may be. What is worse than the actual racist is all the white folks that set in silence ignoring, denying and dismissing racism, not caring about racism is at the very core of the problem.
You say what's worse than the racist is white people who sit in silence and ignore, deny, and dismissing racism. Would you say the same about murder? That what's worse than the murderer are those who do nothing if they see someone killing someone? I don't see how people turning a blind eye to racism being perpetuated are actually worse than the actual culprits themselves.
Bad analogy. With murder you have accountability by the justice system. You kill someone, you get executed or go to jail often for life. You say racist things amongst your friends joking or serious; you witness racists acts or behavior; you know of racial discrimination. All these things are often ignored by white folks, it's tolerated by us white folks. Until we develop a zero tolerance for it it will continue without accountability.
So between the racist and those who hear it and ignore it, it is better to be the racist? The racist is the lesser of two evils?
Obviously they both are wrong. Just trying to make the point that until we as white folks stop being silent and complacent nothing will change.
Do you wish to change your statement that being a racist isn't as bad as witnessing racism and doing nothing?
No. I just clarified it by saying: Obviously they both are wrong. Just trying to make the point that until we as white folks stop being silent and complacent nothing will change.
Why is this issue so important to you?
I endured a lot of pain and abuse early on in my life. It took me a while to understand why I was abused and in the finally analysis i realized it all came down to prejudice and elitism. I took an oath with myself about 17 years ago that I would not live in denial or become a product of cultural and social lies. This oath led to my eyes being opened to the truth about race in America, basically that white privilege is real and that what the majority of black folks tell you about their experience with racism is actually true. Yes, they actually do know what is going on in their own lives. Who knew? *laughs*
Will racism ever die?
No. But American history shows us it can get better if the folks sick with racism (white culture) can take a hard look in the mirror.
Is the most embedded and vehement racism white against black?
Well this country was not built on black, brown, or red supremacy was it? It was built on white supremacy. The hard truth is our entire American culture is saturated with white supremacist ideals and values which has a negative impact on all people of color.
What is the worst case of racism you've ever encountered?
I haven't encounter ed racism personally; I have white skin. I have witnessed much racism towards people of color though.
Let me rephrase the question: What is the worst case of racism you've witnessed?
Because I have had many close relationships with black people in my life I have witnessed many. I saw my best friend sent to jail twice while living in savannah, Georgia. Simply for being black. No joke. If his sister didn't happen to be a lawyer he could have possibly spent years in prison.
Would you say that black people are as or can be as racist as white people?
One of the first lessons black folks learn is why it's wrong to prejudge, stereotype, hate and discriminate based on skin color. Black folks learn this lesson early in life, often without choice. Black supremacy is not part of black culture or American culture; it never has been in this country. However very obviously and very unfortunately white supremacy is a large part of white culture. Many white folks that have trouble coping, facing, or admitting that white supremacy is a reality in our culture will often turn to fantasizing that black folks suffer from the same. It's called white racial projecting and deflecting.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yes.The 7 Steps to White Racial Responsibility. (As I see them)
1. To PUT BEHIND YOU, your years of white supremacist influence training and thought.
2. To COME TO A PLACE emotionally, intellectually and consciously free of the white bias frame in which we view people of color.
3. To allow yourself to SEE the reality of the white supremacist dominated world that people of color live in and all that that reality encompasses for people of color.
4. To REACH OUT to people of color through simple, sincere and genuine friendships that is free of white supremacist notions and biases.
5. To LISTEN, LEARN, AND BELIEVE what people of color tell you about their life racially in America.
6. To ACT on your new racially unbiased truth and reality, by speaking up when you witness other whites, establishments or institutions speaking, behaving, or performing in a white supremacist manner.
7. To PASS ON, tell and share your new racially unbiased truth and reality, with your white friends, family and co-workers.
Below is a link explaining Jorge's experience at Bass Pro:
Additional note by Jorge: