Montana is this the way we want to welcome visitors to our state?
A couple days ago while checking out the Montana subreddit I saw a thread posted by someone from Kenya would be visiting Montana for the first time. She was asking for advice on what she would need to know before her trip.
It was mostly positive and welcoming, along with some great advice for anyone visiting for the first time regardless of where they are coming from.
We Asked, You Answered: Visitors In Great Falls Need To Do This
There were a few warnings about running into people with some racist tendencies, but nothing prepared me for the private message she received.
What is it about racists that make them so tough behind a keyboard? Would that person say those things to this persons face? I do not even know what to make of that private message. Are they warning them that there are racists here and they should be prepared, or are they the racist saying "we don't want you here?" They bounce back and forth between both, but it's racist full stop. I am sickened to know that people harbor these thoughts still in this day and age.
I'm not going be all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows and say there aren't racists in our state because there absolutely are. Deny it all you want but their part about Aryan Brotherhood and hate groups in the state is the truth.
What we cannot do though is allow the racists to speak for the majority of Montanans that are welcoming of visitors from all over. We cannot allow them to the be loudest in room. We should be welcoming to all visitors and tourists to our state. It's a chance for them to understand how we live and a chance for us to understand how they live.
I think Mark Twain said it best,
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”