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2015 the year of hidden racism: A teenager’s perspective

Teen author Stone Erickson (photo credit Adam Higgins)

One of the many harsh lessons that we learn living under a capitalistic regime is that life isn’t always fair. When we as individuals juxtapose the nature of our very lives with those around us, the plethora of discrepancies and inconsistencies become so blatantly prevalent and apparent that it makes us feel remorse and regret for opportunities that may have never existed. Ironically, this feeling of regret which is built of the mounting despair from inequality paradoxically creates a concept that we share equally and altruistically: regret. These monolithic regrets can even be born from inspirational movements, most notably the eternal fight against racism within the United States. But is it truly eternal? I stipulate that the greatest regret that this country has lies not in the atrocious way we have treated its citizens in the past, but the ending of the fight in general. In layman’s terms, the greatest sin we have collectively committed is ending the Civil Rights Movement when there was so much yet to be done.

First, I must clarify that these words are not meant to be pejorative against the struggles of all the people who bravely sought after a fleeting ideal, nor to discriminate against the strides that this nation has taken, but to illuminate the fact that the populace has become somewhat complacent with the status quo. As a minority living within the United States it is pellucidly clear to me that we should not expect the majority to give into our needs simply because it is the most moral thing to do as if the roles were reversed we would not create rules that were not skewed towards ourselves. Mankind has proven itself immensely self- indulgent in that manner, therefore it is up to those in need to take what they want. This is why figures such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and W.E.B. Du Bois were held in such high esteem and regarded as leaders of their communities. They understood that they had to take every approach possible whether Machiavellian in some cases or gentle in others.

However, I do not believe that is simple laziness that has kept the populace so docile in the last decade or so. Many simply do not know there is a problem. Within the borders of the United States lies the inherent assumption that racism is only prevalent in “bad areas” or in the thoughts of a few socially atavistic individuals. This is a fallacy that will cost everyone. To find the greatest aspects of racism in current society, one shouldn’t look for the body of a black man hung by his neck from the highest branch of a tree or explicit hate crimes, one should look at the more subliminal signs indicative of a more cleverly justifiable hatred. They should look at the prison populations where over 40 percent of the inmates are Black men or at death row where a man of color is 38 percent more atavistic individuals. This is a fallacy that will cost everyone. To find the greatest aspects of racism in likely to receive the death sentence than his Caucasian counterparts. Most notably, you should look at the Middle Eastern kid who has to ask his mother why the whole world scapegoats him for the crimes of a few. At the end of the day, you must ask yourself whether it is more repulsive to see a colored man beaten by whips or by the baton or nightstick of a shady cop in a back alley where the legislation and judicial systems have no eyes.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the task before our separate communities, but perhaps this separation itself is another part of the problem. The inherent pretension that our problems should pre-empt others’ resonates in our minds and dictates our thoughts, convincing us that we should only worry about our own … but isn’t it that same mentality that allows the majority to create the endless veil of oppression that blinds all who lie under it? Just another thing to think about before we move to the new year. Happy holidays.




2 Comments

  1. GregAbdul on December 29, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Trump has made this the year of open racism. After the white racist GOP dumps him, they will be back to business as usual, which means dog whistles calling out Southern whites who hate blacks. I think you have it backwards. This is the year of open racism.

  2. LincolnTony on January 3, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    It has always been my belief that “racism” is something that indeed happens, but you can not allow yourself to use it as an excuse. The author being a teenager is growing up in a world where people tell him that the reason he will not succeed is because of racism.

    I will never tell anyone that. What I tell people is that we are personally responsible for our actions. That means that our successes and failure in life can only be blamed on ourselves. If you want to succeed, you have to do so in spite of perceived biases, physical disabilities, or any other obstacle in your way.

    There have been a great number of successes in the Black community who did not use racism as an excuse. People who took personal responsibility for their actions and worked hard to get where they wanted.

    To finish, stop worrying so much about racism, and instead start worrying about what you personally are going to do to reach your goals and find success.