Think Harder On That: Racism in America

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So in today’s T.H.O.T Thursday we’ll be discussing what’s seemingly everyone’s favorite topic in America. Yes, you’ve guessed it’s racism! So my personal belief is that racism is inherited behavior. With that being said I think many white people are racist by mistake. Let me make that clear, I think that modern white people have been taught racist ways in such a subtle way that they don’t realize their actions are in fact racist. As a white woman do you hold your purse closer when you see a black man? As a white American do you think black women are loud and have anger issues? Do you think black men who sag their pants are gang related? Do you call the people of the Baltimore riot and Ferguson protests “thugs”? Do you think #BlackLivesMatter is offensive? Do you support the police but not the oppressed black people? If you answered yes to any of those questions then I’ve got news for you…

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Let me delve deeper into the term “thug” see just as orange may very well be the new black, “thug” is the new “nigger.” When the media shows unruly black people they’re thugs. When they aren’t doing what society wants they’re thugs. When they aren’t being obedient they’re thugs. We as black people are labeled without one thought as to what caused our rage. You may then ask “why destroy your own community?” Not taking into account that our communities were never great to begin with. No one takes into account that we are being killed by those who are supposed to protect us. We feel as if we’re products of a nation that doesn’t want us. It’s been made very clear by the way we’re displayed in the media and called thugs without any concern. Whereas Dylan Roof killed people in a church in which he stated was for racist reasons but he’s called “mentally disturbed.”

Now, lets speak on #BlackLivesMatter. That statement and/or hashtag is not an implication of other lives being worthless. As previously stated we are apart of a nation where we feel unimportant and unappreciated. We are killed by police without reasoning and our fallen soldiers go on to be forgotten as just another news story. We want this nation to understand we are important. We are not cattle to be picked off by law enforcement, we are people and we matter.

To use myself as an example, I’ve experienced subtle racism in many aspects. I’ve been asked numerous times in a high end store “do you need any help?” That may not sound like much but it is when the second and third retail associates were in a group speaking to the first associate who asked me. They whispered and one even made the mistake of pointing at me. I imagine the conversation had a lot to do with the fact that I was wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt whereas most of their items cost upwards of $100. “Why is he here? Is he trying to steal? Let’s watch him and make sure he leaves as soon as possible.” By the way, I was in Baltimore just coming off of a deployment. I had no extra clothing but more than enough to afford things from their store seeing as I had only been able to save tax free money for 6 months. Another example, when being pulled over by white officers they come off aggressively as if to establish dominance. Their tone and even their words are harsh. “Where the hell you headed going that fast, boy?” I was clearly dressed in my work uniform that shows the company I work for and I was only 6 miles over the 40 mph speed limit. I hadn’t even said a word so there was no way I had been disrespectful in any manner. When he saw my military I.D. however, his tone lightened, his words became nicer and even his face eased. So the question is, does my military affiliation warrant more respect than the color of my skin?

The last thing I’ll speak on is racism against white people. It’s extremely uncommon in my opinion. Here’s why, by definition racism has to come from a position of power. In America no other cultures have as much power as white people. Minorities can’t be racist. The word is prejudice. Prejudice, just like racism, is usually based off of stereotypes and assumptions made from people outside the stereotyped culture. Right now the most popular stereotypes about white people are: they don’t season their food, they appropriate everyone else’s cultures and they’re racist. These are things minorities may dislike white people for and categorize them into these general boxes in which they can’t escape from no matter how hard they try. My last question is, is it wrong? Maybe your answer is yes. Maybe your answer is no. Maybe you’re unsure on the subject. Regardless of what your stance is, hopefully after reading this you’re able to Think Harder On That.

Comments and critiques are always welcome and appreciated.

-Too Distinct the Poet

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