I am a legal studies major. I plan to be a lawyer in the future, and therefore i am a strong believer in justice, for everyone. With this in mind, I must address an issue that has enrages me to my core: the problem racism in the United States, today.
As a white person, it is obviously inappropriate for me to make any judgment as to whether racism is or is not prevalent in today’s society due to my lack of experience with it. I grew up in a predominately white community in New England, attended a predominately white high school, with predominately white friends. I am very aware that I do not know what it feels like to be racially discriminated against and probably never will. I don’t think any white person has or will ever feel or know what that experience is like. In simpler terms, any person who is not a minority has no place to say that racism is no longer an issue. Looking at the evidence of today’s society, the conversation of racism has strongly re-surfaced. However, has it ever really gone away?
The first lesson I can remember learning in school was the “golden rule” which said to treat people the way you want to be treated. By fifth grade, we were introduced to United States history and had a primitive understanding of what the United States Constitution was. In fact, the line: “All men are created equal” is a phrase I have been able to recite since about 10 years old. By middle school, we knew all about about the Civil War and how Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery. And most importantly, by high school, The Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr, and Jim Crow Laws were all familiar concepts. From kindergarten to high school, almost every monumental lesson taught relates back to one concept: how to treat people. Apparently the message did not resonate to everyone the way it did for me.
Racism today is not found in slavery. It is not found through segregated schools or bathrooms. Simply because there is racial equality on legal grounds does not mean the issue is gone. Today, racism is found in stereotypes, derogatory slang words that people forget are actually offensive, and especially in matters dealing with police brutality. Instances like Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner are a few of the most notorious cases of this. Other tactics like racial profiling, and stop and frisks are utilized way too prevalently causing major controversy in our country, as it should. I, personally, have never seen anything like that first-hand and simply because many people have not witnessed situations like these, does not mean that it doesn’t happen. On the other hand, just because some police officers practice racial discrimination does not mean that all of them do. Though the overwhelming fact remains that a lot of the police brutality cases do involve African American victims, it is worth mentioning that police officers are put in life-threatening circumstances every single day. Sometimes the situation is not actually fueled by racism. Being in the position of a police officer requires split-second decisions to be made. When the wrong decision is made, it may be due to lack of training rather than malicious motives. Overall, people must stop dismissing the existence of racial inequality as it is clearly still a thing for millions of people.
A big controversy in response to police brutality has been the Black Lives Matter movement. I entirely understand and support the message and goals of the organization, but I also see how that message can become misconstrued. A lot of people associate civil rights with black and white. A movement that focuses solely on one race, may suggest to so many other races, orientations, or religions, that they are inferior, even if that isn’t the intention. What about asian lives? Gay lives? Jewish lives? All Lives Matter. Everyone matters, everyone is important, and everyone has something to contribute to this life, and everyone deserves to have their message heard.
We are all made up, biologically, of the same parts. If any one person, group, race, or religion thinks for one second that they are superior to anyone else, let me be the first to tell you that you are so disgustingly wrong. This is not a one-sided discussion intended to degrade or elevate any one person or group. All we can ask from each other is to put yourself in other peoples shoes, see things from various perspectives, be impartial, be unbiased, be objective. Nobody knows what another person has gone through, as nobody knows what everyone has gone through. Make it a priority to stop making judgments based on emotion, race, religion, orientation, etc. It’s 2016 people, there is no room for ignorant people… Donald Trump this includes you.