Yes, Racism Still Exists

Yes, Racism Still Exists

Why people need to stop saying Racism does not exist in 21st century America.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Susie 81 Speaks

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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