Man denounces racist views after joining the army with Mexican soldiers
History is full of inspiring moments where people who once despised one another came to cooperate for a greater good. Black Americans have usually been the heroes of such stories.
W.E.B. DuBois famously argued in WWII that black people had to place racism aside for the moment and agree to fight for the United States, a racist country, against Nazi Germany, a far more racist country. These tough decisions led to black soldiers and white soldiers relying on one another as equal in the trenches of Europe.
When white people place their safety in the hands of black people, their prejudice can begin to fade away. This is exactly what a Mexican soldier named Israel Parra came to realize, when a fellow soldier who admitted to being a racist said that his friendship with Parra on tour in Iraq had changed his attitudes toward Mexican people.
The text of the post reads:
I remember when I was in Iraq I sat in a guard tower with one of my bros who use to hate Mexicans and blacks, he grew up a racist and he told me "You know what Parra you're one of the coolest people I met, loyal to death and I never thought I would say that about a Mexican." And I told him, "It's because you were raised to think that way, but people bleed the same shade of red." And he said, "You know what bro I would bleed for you." And I replied, "I would too. Race means nothing when we are both green, and when we got each others back and when we are brothers."
When I was in the military I realized race means nothing, but the culture you build together is everything.
The last line makes an interesting point. After all, shared ideas is what brings people together, not skin color alone. This is why white supremacy makes no sense - the idea that all white people have something in common that is missing in other races is just false.
It's common ideas, common values, and common bonds that unite people. The rest is just details, and the details are always in flux.
Parra doesn't name the once-racist soldier to protect his identity, which is admirable. They're friends now, so the past is the past. Being raised racist is a difficult thing to begin with. People have a hard enough time challenging their parents over everyday problems, but over racism? A kid is just more likely to think racism is the norm.
It's sad, in a way, that it takes a war to bring people together. But historically, nothing works like war in uniting disparate races and interests. Maybe it's a scary thought - would racism be squashed if America had a draft, and white racists were relying on black people to protect their own lives?
I guess no one's an atheist in a foxhole, and everyone is one big human family on a battlefield - except the guys on the other side. But that's another issue for humanity to deal with.