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Typical Example of Racism in Rural Northwest Ohio


trump im not a racist

Please see Does Racism Exist in Rural Northwest Ohio? and Ignoring Any History Before White People)

Yesterday, I posted an excellent guest post by my editor, Grammar Gramma. I appreciate her willingness to respond to a drive-by reader’s racist comment on The Curse of Cain: Why Blacks Have Dark Skin.

Racism is in the air thanks to Donald Trump. What was once said in secret behind closed doors is now publicly vomited on social media, blogs, and news sites. I live in an overwhelmingly white area. Confederate flag-waving knuckle-draggers are common, as are make Make America White Again® Trump supporters. In 2016, Trump overwhelmingly won in the Ohio counties of Williams, Defiance, Henry, and Fulton — rural northwest Ohio. Blacks make up less than one percent of the population, Hispanics/Latinos, seven percent. The Hispanic/Latino population is a reflection of the fact that farmers once used large numbers of migrant workers to pick crops. Some migrants who made the trek from Mexico to Ohio stayed after completing their work. They quietly go about their lives, increasingly worried that ICE might show up at their doors, destroying everything they have built and worked for. As a teenager, I knew a number of people who were in the United States “illegally.” To the person, they were productive members of society.

Rural northwest Ohio is my home, even though politically, religiously, and socially I have little in common with most locals. I have been surrounded by overtly racist people most of my life, including in the churches I pastored in this area. If you think Jesus is an antidote for racism, think again. Some of the most racist people I know, both here in rural northwest Ohio and in my extended family, love the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the man, the myth, the legend, Jesus H. Christ. As a pastor, I did what I could to combat racist attitudes and behaviors. Sometimes, it was just small rebukes, such as when one congregant would talk about “colored” people. I would respond, “what “color” were they, exactly?” “Oh preacher, you know.” “No, I don’t, tell me.” Or when one woman would incessantly talk about all those lazy “blacks” on welfare who won’t work for a living. I told her several times, “You do know most of the people who are on welfare and receive food stamps are white, right?” Sadly, my soft admonishments did little to correct deep-seated multi-generational racism.

Recently, a young woman (Erin) who attended a nearby church I pastored for seven years, engaged in an overtly racist discussion with a friend of hers (Tobias) from South Africa:

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These comments reveal that racism is often passed on from parents to children, and until someone in the family tree sees the light, racist beliefs and practices will continue to flourish in my part of rural northwest Ohio. If you met this young woman, you would think that she is a wonderful person — and she is. But in her heart lie bigotry and hate, both birthed and  nurtured by her parents, friends, church, and community.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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    And Bruce, a lot of the racists that you and I knew from fundamentalist religion would deny that homo sapiens came from Africa…… They hold the image of white-skinned Adam and Eve being formed by their white-loving deity and ensconced in a paradise where white people were birthed from the loins of Adam and Eve. They imagine Jesus, the apostles, and all the Bible characters as white. Thank you, Christianity for propagating that particular fantasy. Is it any wonder that so many evangelicals condone a racist regime?

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    I was naive, and thought that after 8 years of a black president, that our country was finally moving forward in terms of race relations…boy, was I ever wrong!
    I’m surrounded by angry white people who think trump has literally been sent by their god to save the country!
    I’m convinced that the only remedy is for this generation (mine), to eventually die off.

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    It’s astonishing the lack of logical thought that goes into these ramblings; I cannot think of another description as, ignoring their content, they make such a hideous mauling of the English language, demonstrating surely lacking educations.

    Anyhow, regarding content they refer to ‘the slavery card’! Really! As if it’s just a minor blip on an otherwise unblemished history. A minor blip that saw countless thousands of human beings forcibly taken from their homes and families, incarcerated for weeks and months in bed cells measuring six feet by one foot, such that many died. Just as the Holocaust will never be forgotten, so slavery will forever be a matter of shame for all those involved. Then there’s the suggestion that black people have never achieved anything! What planet are these folks on? Jesse Owens, Morgan Freeman, Mo Farrer, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, and numerous scientists (not that these idiots likely know much about science), to name but a few.

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    My sister took my mom to the chiropractor this week. The waiting room conversation turned to the Nike/flag issue. One man said he didn’t know why black people were still complaining about slavery because blacks and Muslims were the ones who had brought all those slaves over here in the first place.

    To which another woman replied: “Well, I think we should still have slavery. It was a good idea.”

    This in a city of 25,000 in Nebraska. You’re not alone.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser


      Over the winter, I attended a local high school basketball game. The man sitting next to me had a son who played basketball and baseball. I asked which he liked better. He said, baseball. We then talked about minor league baseball. Unsolicited, the man complained about black players being lazy; not playing good defense when a white player was pitching. I was flabbergasted by his words. Absurd (and racist) in every way, yet he thought it okay to say such a thing out loud.

      Years ago, we walked into a local Methodist church while a matronly woman was telling her Sunday School class about how her grandson wasn’t getting playing time — football — at college because the coaches were giving the blacks all the time. She spoke this without hint of shame, and no one said a word.

      When we lived in southeast Ohio, we rented a farm house from a retired local school teacher. The day before we planned to move in, she called to say that she wasn’t going to rent the house. We were befuddled by her change of mind.

      I was later told she said, “I’m not going to have a nigger living in my house.” We had a black foster daughter at the time. She didn’t know that when she agreed to rent the house to the new Baptist preacher in town.

      Sadly, I could go on and on …

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Bruce Gerencser