Real Talk About Racism

Racism has plagued the world for hundreds of years. It’s nothing new, quite frankly. For those of you who don’t quite understand how racism works, keep reading. This article is about to rock your world. 

 

By definition, racism is prejudice or discrimination targeted at people of a different race due to the belief that one’s own race is superior. There’s also systemic racism, and this is this type of racism that currently plagues our society. Systemic racism occurs when people express their feelings of superiority through political and social programs. Real-life examples of this are the inequalities in income, employment, housing, criminal justice treatment, etc. Racism pretty much affects every aspect of life.

 

In my sociology class, the professor recently assigned a reading about black people and ex-convicts applying for jobs. The article was actually an experiment conducted by the author. He paid auditors to pose as ex-cons applying for a job. It was found that a white ex-con is more likely to get a call back for a job than a black man. When I read the article, I was confused. Why would employers hire a former criminal over a regular citizen simply over racial preference? It shocked me that this still happens in 2019 in a country where people are supposed to be treated equally.

 

Another form of racism that happens too often is the use of racial slurs, namely the N-word. You hear it in rap songs, you hear it in movies, and you may hear it in passing on the streets. Regardless of where you hear it, you need to understand that the N-word originates from a place of discrimination. It was used to tear down slaves and degrade them. I know that now black people use it toward each other (personally I don’t). I think the reason for this is because firstly, they’ve grown up hearing it so it has become common to say. Secondly, it’s a way to reclaim the word and turn it into something that isn’t degrading or offensive. Here’s where this gets tough: people of any race that isn’t African or African American CANNOT say the N-word. They just can’t. It’s not their word and most people know what it means when they say it. In today’s society, some people use the  N-word regularly when they don’t have the right to say it and when confronted about it, their excuse is “I don’t mean it like that” or “I didn’t know”. Either excuse is purely ignorant. As a society, we can’t accept ignorance on a matter as harsh as racism. People need to be educated on what slavery was like and how life as a black person was during those times. Willful ignorance has no place in the world, especially right now. So as a society, I think we need to acknowledge systemic racism as a legitimate issue. It may not be as major as other current issues, but society is never going to live harmoniously if people continued to be treated unequally. 

 

(P.S.I highly recommend going to a civil rights museum at some point in your life, they’re so powerful and important to see.)