I grew up as a white boy in the Jim Crow South so I saw racism from the inside. It was astonishing and painful to see my people, including my own parents, trying to make sense of the nonsense of the racist opinions they had known all their lives. Here were people I loved and otherwise respected, saying things that I understood to be cruel and stupid.
By the time I was a young teenager, I had learned that there was a long and honorable tradition of anti-racist white Southerners, and I had decided that I would follow that tradition any way I could. A few years later, when I was an older teenager, the civil rights movement burst onto the scene. Many anti-racist whites in the South then stepped forward in their communities, among their friends and families, and spoke up to say what the truth and good sense really were. I am absolultely certain that we helped.
This is a large part of my experience with racism in America.