by SelassieWurah on May 16, 2017 - 8:02pm
Since the beginning of the semester, I have been focusing on institutional racism. I have been trying to understand what it is, what would be the solution to it and how can I help the cause. I have read many articles, cases which are not only institutional was present, but racism as a bigger picture. In many cases, I was surprised by the outcome. Just in the case of Trayvon Martin, a 17 years old African-American teen who was shoot by Zimmerman according to CNN, the issue about this case is the murder of a teen who was unarmed and the offender is not found guilty because he says it was self-defence. How could a 29 year old man be scared of a 17 year old boy who is unarmed? It does not make sense and it will never do. This case really touched me because that is when I realized that racism is still very present in institution. Before acquiring knowledge about this topic, I knew racism was present however, I thought it was mostly present in social media, and labels where linked with every ethnicity. Also, many people know the simple definition of racism, which is “discrimination based on race, gender, age and other” however not many people knew what is institutional racism.
My final project is compiling many people which I have interviewed asking a series of question such as: how does it feel to be a visible minority? What is racism specifically institutional racism? Have you ever been victim of racism? Do you think racism is socially constructed and many other question of the same genre.
The response I have to these questions are quite interesting. Many students did not know what was institutional racism was. During the interview, I got one very shocking answer, when I asked how does it feel to be a visible minority? Christian, says he feels low, it is really sad that in 2017 people still feel insecure about their skin colour. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Park, Malcom X and many other relevant figures fought for equality, to not feel “low” or “different” based on our skin colour. From my point of view, an individual could be African- American, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese ,however, before being for example a black person or white, we are all humans. Skin color is what differentiate us, apart from that we are all humans. From my point of view, society teaches us to put certain ethnic group in specific categories. That is why racism is getting even worse. There is this well- known stigma about a young black boy, they are often referred to “bad boys”, “selling drugs on the street” society has portrayed that when you see a young black boy, be aware, keep yourself distant because he might be dangerous. In my opinion, that is what occurred with Trayvon , Zimmerman attached a label to Trayvon that society has implemented, I think it was one factor that might lead the offender to shoot.
During the video, many people said they where victim of racism and they all dealt with it in different manner. Imane, was young when she first encountered racism, at the age of 15, a white woman told her she was a terrorist and that she should go back to her country. And went to the verge of almost spat on her, the security guard said that she should not press charges, as young as she is she did not. However, why is it the guard said that should not press charges? Because such case might go nowhere, but I think these types of cases should be a big deal because young girls at the age of 15 for example should not be treated such way because he or she chooses to proudly represent her religion by wearing the hijab. Christian said that when he was faced with racism at also a young age, he was called “negro” he responded with violence because he was angry. He said that when he was called so he felt like ”trash”, a nobody. I think that youth these days know that even tough there are people whom we can discuss about the injustice we are facing, we do not do it because we know it's going to go anywhere. When I asked Jean-Micheal if he would have gone to the principal he said “no,” he would have handle the situation by himself”. Why would he not go see a principal? A school is an institution. Most of the time, by experience the principal are the one who wants tell the guard that they should “check” more the visible minority. It's sad to say, but society has made it this way, it's all about the labels. Ironically, it must be kept in silence, Canadians are peaceful and welcoming that is what we see, but close doors, they will slander a visible minority, but we do not need to discuss about that. Some interviewers said that when they go into for example in a predominately white majority place, they feel observe, they do not feel safe , however, some said that they do feel “any type of way” they do not blend it ,however, they do not feel excluded. And as a visible minority, I do understand both sides, you blend it perfectly because no one looks at you with big eyes asking what are you doing here, you do not belong here however, you can feel the questions running through their minds. Furthermore, the student who were victim of racism did not go see any authority because they know they won't be at able help.
Finally, the major lesson I have learned during my project and research is that racism can be reduced if we educate our youth. If we educate our youth to not judge by someone skin color, religion, gender and age, there will be no Trayvon Martin cases or no shootings in a Mosque. Probably that the label will still be there ,however, it will not be practiced because they will finally understand that before being Black, Spanish, Arab we are all human. Humanity is what makes us one. As Martin Luther King Jr would say “The time is always right to do what is right”.