ARE YOU RACIST?
I can’t breathe.
On the 25th of May, these were the last words George Floyd uttered. A police officer had put his knee on this man’s throat for more than seven minutes, resulting in his death. His crime? He was suspected to be involved in forgery of $20 bills. Obviously, this isn’t enough reason to be punished with death.
His real ‘crime’ was that he was black.
Following his death, there has been an uproar. Hundreds of buried stories of other black men and women came to the front. The internet blew up, as trends of ‘Black Lives Matter’ spread throughout the world. All 50 of US states and over 20 countries participated in the protests, making it the biggest civil movement in history. In some US states, the protesters were dealt with the use of tear gas – which was banned after the second world war. Yet, most media input has remained biased and justified the acts of police brutality. It is obvious that minority races are still treated as a taboo.
This brings us to the question: Are we racists?
Before answering the question, we must first understand that some races are more privileged than others. People of these races suffer just as much as the average human, but they don’t suffer because of their skin colour, while people of minority races face discrimination because of theirs.
And the ‘gap’ or racial disparity rates between privileged races and minority ones are obvious by going through the given data:
The Pew Research Centre’s analysis of 2009 says that the average wealth of white households is 20 times more than black households, and 18 times more than Hispanic ones. (1)
Several audit studies have shown strong racial discrimination in the US’s labour markets. White workers are favoured by 50% to 240% more than other races. (2)
Controlled experiments, conducted for over 30 years, and extended across 10 countries have found persistent levels of discrimination against non-whites and women in labour, housing and product markets. (3)
In education fields, and health-care reports, the rates of racial disparity are high.
Black people have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease than other groups and black children have a 500% higher death rate from asthma compared with white children (4)
In America, 82% of those who took the Stanford-Binet test – an IQ test - in 1978 scored above the 1932 average for individuals of the same age. The average black did about as well on the Stanford-Binet test 1978 as the average white did in 1932. (5)
Racism against several groups has existed for a long time in history. It can be observed by the following data –
The American Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Acts in 1882. It was the first time; a racial group was singled out by American Immigration law. The Acts restricted Chinese entry into the US and prevented them from becoming citizens. (6)
A young U.S. born, Asian-American man stated in 1937 that even if you studied through college, career paths were limited to ‘professional carrot-washer.’ This remained true for most Asian-Americans, who had limited options for social interactions. They had to face lynching and violence. (6)
The constitution of Liberia renders non-Blacks ineligible for citizenship. (7)
Through the collected information, we can see that racial disparities prevail across regions. While they may not be results of discrimination, it surely plays a huge role.
Historical events such as the Atlantic Slave Trade, where Europeans bought Africans to work in America have impacted the social stature. Nigerian-American history is the reason why brutality and racism against blacks are strongest in America. Blacks are seen as ‘threats’, while Hispanics are called ‘savages.’
In India, colonialism brought the concept of ‘colourism’ and instilled in our minds that whites were prettier than the dark-coloured people, who were labours and slaves. Brown-skinned people are thought to be maids and clerks. On the other hand, Asians are stereotyped as silent, math-loving, binary people – which is a result of Asian-American history.
These ideologies affect a huge part of the global population. And if you differentiate among people based on their skin…then you are a part of the problem.
Thus, it is important to understand that we are humans. While our skin colour may wary, when we bleed, our blood is red. When we cry, our tears are salty. When we smile, our smiles are beautiful.
And when we understand we are all made of the same things, we come to a step closer to ending the disease that racism is.
So, today, ask yourselves the question: Am I racist?
By: Aaliya Shrivastava
School: G.D. Goenka Public School
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