Racism Is A Loaded Word
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In America today, we have the constant battle of deciding which crimes are crimes of racism, hate, or acts of terror. We consume ourselves with these titles and let them dictate the way we handle a situation and the lens we view it with. With the age of social media, everyone is an expert on this topic, and the second any crime happens, our generation is quick to jump on the quickest form of social media and voice their opinion--no matter how right or wrong they are.

The term "racism" by definition is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, distinguishing it as inferior or superior to another race or races. The problem is that we use this overarching definition to try to classify all of our problems.

Racism can stem from any race to another, meaning a white person can be racist to a person of color, just as a person of color can be racist to a white person. Many people like to think of the former as "reverse racism," which is inherently wrong. Saying this is reverse racism is insinuating that only black people can be discriminated against, hence they are the only group that can be the victim of this act. In different realms, white and black people can be discriminated against.

Someone once said, "Don't disregard someone else's struggles because they are not the same as your own," and this saying couldn't be any more true. Each racial group goes through their own struggles, but that does not mean that one is less than the other.

We try so hard to differentiate between white and blacks and categorize them so heavily that we can't see past the labels. America used to be a place rifled with hate and discrimination, and people of color were mistreated deeply for a long time. They lived in their own domains and were not allowed to come out or mix, and our mindsets are heavily tainted because of this. We as a society still struggle with moving past this time period.

We are in 2015 and racial equality is moving as rapidly as possible. We have more people of color in government, high paying jobs, and as CEO's of companies than ever before. But if we are going to move past this deeply engrained hatred as a country, we have to stop blaming the actions of white people from hundreds of years ago. Not every white person still holds those ideals, just as not every person of color is to blame.

"White privilege" is another term that many people often misuse and put in the wrong context. By definition, "white privileges" are societal privileges that benefit white people in Western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. The best example of how this is taken out of context is with the police.

Many people say whites face white privilege when it comes to cops harassing or following people (known as racial profiling). They say that whites are not followed or harassed as deeply as people of color, and are therefore receiving white privilege. The fault in this mindset is that privilege is something that is special and isn't awarded to everyone. Thus, a police officer not depriving someone of their civil rights is not white privilege entirely, but something else. People use this term as an excuse to say that whites are still treated better than other races in America, when it's a contradictory term in and of itself.

The only way that we as a society can move past this is to stop focusing on race with every problem. When the terribly travesty of Ferguson happened, you automatically had to jump on one side of the fence to be taken seriously. You had to say it was the "black man's fault or the "white man's" fault, and there was no room in between. If we as a society would have seen this issue as a young MAN (color not important) dying at the hands of someone he should not have, we could have found the crux of the real problem. Too often we use race as the scapegoat and let it dictate our thoughts and actions. When we stop letting it do so, we will not see it as a pivotal problem in America anymore.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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