Race reflections

by Ceilek on February 11, 2016 - 10:07am

We all would like to believe that racism has been dealt with and that the civil rights movement paid off and solved the issue. However, looking at the news recently provides a glimpse into reality and shows us that in truth, that it could not be further from the truth. Instead, we see a world where white supremacists work in the shadows and where we teach our police officers that black people are more likely to commit violent crime. Because of this, police brutality against people of color is one of the leading issues facing our society today. During the civil rights movement, there was no intention on the side of the white supremacists to hide their goals. They publicly lynched anybody sympathetic to the black cause. This type of racism was far easier to beat than what we see today. It brought horrible images to the minds of any black sympathizer and gave a fighting point for people to fight around. The “enemy” was clearly breaking laws and therefore was able to be taken down through the courts. Today however, the war is fought on a psychological level. True there are cases where murder is committed opening the door to legal reproductions, but more we see it in terms of police brutality. Although one would say, isn’t that against the law? The answer is yes, but it is hard to convict.

Most citizens view the police force as the group of people responsible for their safety. Because of this, they also see them as something beyond human. Some sort of perfect entity that is incapable of doing wrong. This leads to an issue when these same people do do something wrong because many people are too afraid to accuse them of the deed. Instead, they blame the victim, “Oh, he should not have reached into his pocket,” “oh, he looked like a criminal because of his sweatshirt.” Too many times, we see this sort of defense coming from the public after a man has shot and killed a perfectly innocent teenager. How can we claim to have succeeded in the civil rights movement when we are so obviously no further?


The presidential candidates are all vying for the same place, to be in control of our country. They’re debating everything from the Syrian refugee crisis to health care and yet, the issue of race in our home country has not played into the main stage the way many of the smaller problems have. It is true that we saw Bernie Sanders take on black lives matter when they took his stage but for the most part it has played a relatively small role.

Comments

All very valid points. I know personally, I was naive enough to think we had solved our biggest issues regarding race several years ago. It wasn't until the Baltimore Riots (among other cases of police brutality that have been in the media recently) when I realized this is not the case. An interesting concept I've seen a lot of popular rappers talk about is "DWB" (Driving while black). This is the idea that a driver may be pulled over and investigated simply because he or she is African American. It's crazy how close to home this hits (i.e. Sandra Bland). I can't imagine what living in fear of the very people who are supposed to protect you is like. I agree, issues of race should be much more prominentely discussed in this years election considering the overwhelming prescense of race issues we had in 2015.

I completely agree with you when you say that racism is still a present issue in 2016. Even with all the past movements to get rid of race-based inequalities, we still see injustices occurring towards people of colour solely because of the stereotypes that have been associated with their origins and skin colour. The example you used was Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African-American who was shot because “he looked like a criminal”. Black men have been stereotyped as criminals and hyper-sexualized people, mainly due to the media’s portrayal of them. We learned in class about what’s called the double consciousness, which is the double-sided personality of minority populations, who on the one hand knows that they are equal to any other person, but who also feel the need to act according to what the dominant white society expects from them. Along with the fact that people are quick to judge others and mistrust those we aren’t familiar with, this could explain why there are still so many racist behaviours against minority groups; they act out the racist stereotypes and labels that have been given to them, so these clichés continue to persist in the world.