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Racism in America 

Through the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the breach of the Capitol building on January 6th, it is obvious that race fuels much more hatred in this country than many of us like to think. America needs to change. Although racial equality is our goal, the history of America makes equality a far fetched concept. As a white woman, I acknowledge that police officers do not view me as a threat, the employees at grocery stores do not check my receipt, and medical professionals take my concerns seriously without accusing me of being “histrionic.” Genetics determine what skin color we will be born with and in my opinion, the result of that grab bag should not be punishable by law. Before we can take any steps towards a country close to racial equality, we first need to acknowledge that there is a problem. In doing so, we approach the topic of equity. 

Equality or Equity? 

Equality is providing the same things to all people, treating people the same way, and equal sharing and division. That sounds like a utopia we want in America, right? Wrong. To the naked eye it is puzzling as to why this vision is wrong. However, it is wrong because systemic racism continues to plague America. Shayanne Gal et. al. from Business Insider provide upsetting data that shows just how strong of a presence systemic racism has in America. To begin, they found that the unemployment rate of Black Americans is about 4% higher than that of White Americans. For the Black people who are employed, they tend to make 42% less than their White counterparts. This helps to explain why people of color are more likely to have student loans, trouble paying bills, and not have access to appropriate healthcare.  Also, affording a house in a nice neighborhood within a good school district is significantly more difficult with lower salaries. Sadly, minority groups have even been impacted on a larger scale by the COVID 19 pandemic due to their disproportionate poverty. Additionally, Black men are about 5 times more likely to be convicted of a crime than White men and that ratio increases to Black adolescents being nearly 13 times more likely to be incarcerated than White adolescents. Racism impacts every part of a minority’s life from education, to entering the workforce, to providing for their families, and even their likelihood to be imprisoned. Before we can get anywhere near racial equality we need to address the problems at hand and level the playing field by instilling equity into our country. 

Equity 

The differences between equality and equity are subtle, but imperative to moving forward towards a better country. Equity is characterized by recognizing our differences, giving people what they need, and treating people differently, but fairly. Equality refers to giving everyone, despite their differences, access to the same opportunities and resources. However, people’s differences lead them to have different needs. This being said, equity refers to proportional representation and caters to individual needs. We live in a country of abundance. Therefore, there has to be enough for us all. We need to band together now more than ever before to lift each other up so that everyone can get what they need. 

References

Gal, Shayanne, et al. “26 Simple Charts to Show Friends and Family Who Aren’t Convinced Racism Is 

Still a Problem in America.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 8 July 2020, 

www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6#…

Jesse is a writer for Her Campus at RIT from Wall Township, NJ. She is a Physician Assistant BS/MS student. Jesse is passionate about all healthcare; including women's healthcare and global health. She previously served as the Chapter Representative for the Physician Assistant Student Association and as a Student Justice for the University Appeals Board at RIT. Jesse is currently the Secretary of the Global Health Association on campus and works for RIT Study Abroad in the social media department.
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