Saturday, January 23, 2021

Talking about race in America

How to be black in America? It’s a question that not all of us have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. For those that have to, it can be a scary prospect.

Racial profiling, police brutality, and prejudice are things that people of color often have to deal with on a daily basis. In 2016, the New York Police department stopped 12,404 people in New York City. Of those 12,404 people, 76 percent were totally innocent, 52 percent were black and only 10 percent were white.

It’s a very real problem for black Americans. The problem arises when those of us who do not have to live that life pretend that those problems do not exist because we have not experienced it.

White Americans might find it easy to dismiss the idea that racism exists in America, or might argue that it’s barely still a thing. The reason it’s so dismissible for white Americans, though, is because they don’t have to experience it. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil; there is no evil, right?

It’s a lot easier and probably more comfortable to pretend that racism does not exist. Willful ignorance won’t fix the problem.

Until we can all admit that there’s a problem, there will be more Trayvon Martins. There will be more Eric Garners. There will be more Philando Castiles. There will be even more countless names lost in what seems to be the constant swirl of bad news.

So the next time a case like Trayvon Martin, or Eric Garner or Philando Castile comes along, don’t be complacent. Don’t say, “Oh, it’s just another death, nothing can stop this,” especially if you’re white. Get angry. Demand accountability.  Don’t be silent, or you’re part of the problem.

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