Editor's Pick

Racial Division: What We’ve Been Ignoring All This Time

By now we’ve all been flooded with information regarding what happened in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland. What we know could all pinned down to one sentence: a white cop killed a black man. Some are angry, some are sympathetic, and some choose not to feel. Violent protests have flooded the country, and here in Andover we’ve certainly felts some of the repercussions. But protests, even change in legislation could only change what’s shown superficially, and only hide the real issue behind racial inequality deeper down. We must know that racial inequality is not something that could be overturned overnight, not even in decades. This is a process that takes generations, and right now what we should really focus on is how to eliminate inequality forever instead of hiding it for one more day.

Racial injustice happens not without reasons. Unfortunately the general public focus more on the outcomes rather than the causes, and the truth is, when we are at the root of an issue, the cause of all the animosity is not race, but reputation, and the reputation of a race, like that of an individual is grounded deep in history. Sadly for African Americans, the reputation is one of violence, laziness and unintelligence. If we look at the data however, the black population indeed has a high crime rate, and inadequate access to education. True, some of these are caused by pure racial discrimination, but racial discrimination, something that has existed for millennia, cannot end simply by protesting or even the government imposing laws against it, such measures will only increase the racial tension. What we need to acknowledge is that there is racial discrimination and it’s not something that can be changed with street protests conspicuous parades. It takes a long time for a person’s reputation to change not to mention that of an entire race. For the African Americans, the one thing that’s hindering progress is really access to education. In order for a race to progress, it needs to be educated, and lead in every field imaginable. The majority of African Americans, due to social hardships and historical oppression, cannot gain access to proper education or do not emphasize education as a core value. And this is what the government needs to focus on most, not just passing laws jailing those who throw racial slurs, and certainly not telling police officers to not shoot black people, which is what protester are seemingly demanding. The truth is that on average African Americans do commit more crimes, and the government needs to address is the innate cause: lack of education which leads to economic destitute. If we push for change in the way police deal with crimes, soon enough they will be intentionally avoiding black people even if they’ve committed crimes, which will throw the society into chaos. But if we provide adequate education to more African Americans, then overtime more African American kids and families will be self sustaining, and soon enough less people will be subject to poverty, and crimes. I don’t believe that a black man with a college degree can lose to a white high school drop out. Again the key is education. This is the only way through which a race can slowly progress that escape from the stereotype that has been bestowed upon them. President Barack Obama or Dr. Martin Luther King are perfect examples of successful, educated black individuals. Imagine In a hundred years, when most blacks have secured middle class jobs, when Forbes top 100 are filled with African Americans, and black Nobel prize winners are teaching in major research institutes, will the reputation for black still be one of laziness? Who will think they’re incapable and intellectually inferior? Yes, no one dare say that today, but many still think so.

In many ways the African American condition is very similar to that Asian Americans, who were still menial labor force of America long after slavery was abolished, and were considered the same as dogs. But do you see Asian Americans being considered lazy? Violent? Inferior? No. This is because the Asian family, especially those that have immigrated to the U.S., know that the social injustice is existent and cannot be changed easily, so they place the core of their goals to their children’s education, and after one or two generations, Asians begin to excel in all fields. Slowly, over decades the stereotype that Asians are filthy little dogs have changed to Asians are extremely smart and sometimes nerdy people. African Americans could do the same, they need to place more emphasis on education, and the government needs to subsidize the efforts. African Americans themselves, while being politically active, need to realize that racial discrimination is not something that can be changed even in one generation, and the only way to escape the stereotype is to progress through education and socio-economic achievements. Or else, even if they have the so-called “justice”, it will only be superficial and the animosity and stereotype (blacks are lazy and violent) that many Americans have against blacks will only increase.

This last point regarding discrimination might seem irrelevant or too insignificant to make a change, but it is in many ways what coins all other stereotypes: the stereotype of being white. All other stereotypes are revolved around this stereotype, white stereotype is so broad as to include the word civilization itself. To define a certain race as civilized is to deny all other races of the same privileges. A black man without an accent is deemed as “white” at heart, Japanese consider themselves “bananas” because although their skins are Asian, they were once more developed economically and socially than all other. This is very counter productive to all efforts to end prejudice, and it’s something that white Americans should really learn to abandon, in order for all cultures and races to mix in this country.

Overall, it is evident that the society in many ways is progressing, and that traditional views on racial injustice are gradually disappearing. But the government, African American communities and the general public need to circumspect and more rational in tackling racial division. Only this way can the society truly evolve.

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