On Tuesday, I called one of my many cousins who lives in Buffalo, N.Y., to check in.

Sandy White doesn’t live far from the Tops Friendly Supermarket where a gunman slaughtered 10 Black people in a racially motivated massacre. She has shopped there often. White knew one of the victims, the late Katherine Massey. When I caught up with her, my cousin was walking outside in the afternoon sunshine, trying to shake off the horror of what had invaded her community.

“This was pure evil. We all know that,” White told me. “That’s what’s so hard for people to grasp. That this stuff is still out there. Some of it is hidden behind smiles and handshakes.”

She’s right: A lot of folks walk around with bottled-up animosity against people of color, just like the alleged shooter. He spelled it out in a 180-page screed cosigning a white supremacist ideology known as replacement theory, which posits that Black people, immigrants, and other nonwhite minorities are overtaking white people.

» READ MORE: How the Buffalo mass shooting raises the stress and trauma of Black Philadelphians

Racial resentment against Black people is as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.

It’s so much a part of the culture that it rolls easily off of some people’s tongues. Take, for example, the would-be ride-share passengers who were caught on Friday in a dashcam video being racist in Lehigh Valley. It was an ugly scene. In the video, a woman got into a Lyft driver’s car and blurted out, “Wow, you’re, like, a white guy.”

The driver, James W. Bode, was caught off guard and responded, “What’s that?”

“You’re, like, a normal guy,” she explained. “Like, you speak English.”

“Excuse me?” he responded again.

“I’m sorry,” she said as she reached over the seat and patted Bode on his shoulder.

Instead of shrugging it off the way most folks would, Bode asked her to get out of his car.

“That’s inappropriate,” Bode responded calmly. “That’s completely inappropriate. If someone who was not white was sitting in this seat, what would be the difference?”

Then he reiterated his request that she and her companion exit his vehicle. The other man began swearing and threatened Bode. The Lyft driver called them racist, and the man responded by calling Bode an N-word lover.

I reached out to Bode for an interview but he declined to comment.

Bode posted about his experience on Facebook, writing, “This is the way it should be everywhere, every time. I shouldn’t be ‘the guy’ who did it or said it … we should all be that person. Speak up if you’re uncomfortable with it because it makes them uncomfortable, as they should be. F— racism.”

He is a hero.

We talk a lot about folks when they do something wrong. But we need to also celebrate people who do the right thing. At a time when an 18-year-old shooter was plotting to shoot innocent Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket, Bode not only said no to racism, he took a stand against it. He didn’t have to do it. Bode easily could have sat quietly, collected his fare, and gone about his business. No one would have ever known.

» READ MORE: ‘Replacement theory’ moves from fringe to reality with Buffalo mass shooting | Editorial

But Bode understands the old saying that “all money is not good money.” He’s a man of principle. It did my soul good to watch the video over the weekend and see this man stand up to racial bigotry the way he did. He could have gotten punched in the face like the woman’s companion threatened, or worse.

What we need right now are more people like Bode, who are willing to confront the cancer of bigotry that’s been rotting this nation from the inside out since its inception by our slave-owning, misogynistic Founding Fathers.

We can’t count on our institutions to do it for us. For the most part, they’ve failed us. Congress can’t even get its act together to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would guard against racial bias at the polls.

We, the American people, need to take it upon ourselves to push back against racism. It’s not enough for us as individuals to simply raise our hands and say we are not racists. We need to also be actively antiracist. We need to do it friend by friend. Relative by relative. Ride-share passenger by ride-share passenger.

Racists need to once again feel uncomfortable with spouting this kind of rhetoric not only in our presence but on our airwaves and cable networks as well.

Only then can we even begin to hope that future young men won’t be infected with the same racial animus as the alleged Buffalo shooter was.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this piece misstated the length of the alleged Buffalo shooter’s document. It is 180 pages.