As I hail from a Muslim dominant Saudi society that is a manifestation of Islamic tenets of equality and fraternity. I was not aware of the racism and its different facets as Islam forbids any racial discrimination based on caste, creed or color and Saudi society follow this model of equality. So my first memory of racism is not related to an early age but it is at a mature level.
Although I read several incidents and fiction about racism but my first direct encounter with racism was when I was studying at California State University and we were involved in a project on creating awareness about racial discrimination among student in particular and neighboring community in general.
It involved a freshman Eric Butler from the University that used to work at a store and suffered from racial discrimination at the hands of a white male to whom Eric was offering his services to help. He complained about this racism to his employer and later to the company but company showed an attitude of indifference as nothing had happened. Students wrote letter supporting Butler castigating sentiments of racism in the adjacent community.
I remained a part of the letter writing student community and later become involved in the student movement that was named Standing Together Opposing Prejudice (STOP). This movement emerged from that letter writing community and aimed at creating awareness about racial discrimination as most of the on-campus students including me believed that racial discrimination is a phenomenon of the past and nothing of this sort happens in contemporary era.
Events like of Eric Butler’s happen due to lack of social tolerance. Although American society has struggled and succeeded to eliminate the notion of discrimination from the thoughts and action of people as a social habit but some individual still have malicious tendencies to involve in acts of social discrimination. This is due to some defect in the process of smooth socialization.