There is a lot of truth to what you say, Richard Starr, in my opinion. In school there is a lot of cliquish behavior regardless of race. Are we defining racism to mean any awareness of race as possibly
determining what is or is not advisable action (i.e. as a white
maybe I'm not welcome at a table of blacks)? To me,
racism should mean "animus toward another based
solely on his/her skin color, as opposed to their behavior".
In my experience very few whites I have known in recent
years (as culture has changed dramatically in this area) are
racists, judging someone purely on the basis of race. My
interactions with blacks have been almost entirely positive
or neutral. However I am well aware that there are plenty
of people of all races who would do me harm if they got
the opportunity and I am wary of anyone who might fit
into that category.
I propose this phrase: "I don't care about the color
of your skin, I care about the color of your intentions
towards me". My colors might be red (hostility),
green (love), or purple (neutral).
Another very irksome trend is to call people who
disagree with you "racists", especially if they
have anything less-than-complimentary to say
about someone of color. "It couldn't be because
they honestly disagree with how that person
behaves, it could only be because they hate
____ people". If we are truly going to develop
as a society, we need to get past this type of
thinking. Only if everyone, regardless of race,
is accountable for their own behavior are we
going to have a civil society. Thus I propose
one more phrase:
"I'm not a racist, I'm an idiotist". And idiots
come in all colors!