Political Education

What is racism in the United States today?

I am going to start this article with this disclosure: I am a white female who grew up lower middle class in a two-parent household with siblings. While we didn’t have it easy, I don’t believe, we ever lived in poverty.  I understand that, as a Caucasian, my race has preference to others. But these are my observations and opinions.  You can disagree with me and if you can show me compelling evidence, you may even be able to change my mind.

The truth is that I don’t believe I can write an educated piece on the Trayvon Martin case because the only facts I have are Internet pundits.  Was Martin killed because he was a black man? Yes.  Did “stand your ground” apply here? No. Martin was a boy killed because of fear–which is where “stand your ground” laws come from. Fear that your ability to protect yourself will be taken.  Fear of others.  Fear of the unknown.  While talking to a coworker of mine from Canada, I was told that in British Colombia, if you kill somebody, you will go to jail.  There is no “self-defense” or “stand your ground”–if you kill a person you will go to jail.  Jail time will vary, but you will be punished for taking a human life.  Sometimes I wonder if that is what is most fair.  Rather than protecting those with the guns, why not protect human life? I saw photos of Zimmerman; he could have kicked Martin’s butt if he had attacked him, which he didn’t.  Isn’t every life precious?  Aren’t we all creations that deserve the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

I have found–maybe I am wrong here–that ever since Obama was elected into office, people don’t like to use the word racism anymore.  The term is now “gangster” or “black culture.”  To me, it’s almost like now that a black man was elected into office, black people can’t say that we live in a racist society.  There’s a black President, so how can Americans be racists towards blacks anymore?  I think it has gotten worse.  You read stories every day of racial profiling, and the Martin instance is an extreme case of that.   Racism isn’t as overt as it was in my grandfather’s day, but it still exists.  It exists in opportunity and it exists in culture.  I know that the only weapon against this form of racism is education and a belief that things can change.

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