Picture derived from Bing search via Damon Winter/The New York Times
Every week, if not more rapidly, there is news of another African American being killed. Yesterday, a young Caucasian male walked into a church in South Carolina where African Americans were praying and having bible study, sat down and joined them, then opened fire killing nine of the African Americans in attendance. There is a cycle of emotions and actions African Americans seem to follow with every occurrence: anger, marches/protest, repeat. Yes, anger is an understandable response to being treated as though your life does not matter and can be easily dismissed without consequences. But one has to think about what can really be done to stop the killings from happening in the first place. Or better yet, if we can stop them from happening.
As a young African American born and raised, and still living, in the deep south, I am not new to racism and the lack of trust between both races. Granted, there is injustice occurring for many different races, but I am focusing on the injustice African Americans have faced over the years which has historically been inflicted by Caucasians. I’ve had this talk and asked these questions with a close friend multiple times; What can we do? How can we seek equality? Is equality ever going to be in our reach?
In order to find the solution to any problem, you have to evaluate the source of this continued act of racism, which is learned hatred and fear. As I was studying in a lab three years ago, a Caucasian male asked me a question. I helped him and gave him multiple resources to use if he had other questions. He then said to me, “You know, I don’t think black people are dumb. My grandfather has taught me that they are, but I don’t believe he’s right.” As if this was a new revelation for him. It is not African Americans job to make racist people feel comfortable around us enough to not feel threatened. It is racist people’s job to start seeing every human being as an equal to themselves.
So how can African Americans get equality? When we protest, who are we demanding change from? Politicians. Caucasian males overwhelmingly outnumber African Americans in the United States Congress. I’m not saying that those Caucasian males are racist or cannot be trusted; however, when injustice occurs, one would trust someone who can relate to them to make the necessary changes needed. Simply put, there needs to be more African American representation in politics. How can politicians run for office? Through campaigns funded by donations made. In the United States, the majority of wealthy people are businessmen/women. Thus, we need to encourage more African Americans to pursue business degrees, become entrepreneurs, open up their own businesses, work in corporate finance; ultimately building enough wealth to help fund these campaigns and help elect more African American politicians. This is just a brainstorming session trying to come up with anything that could help the progression of African Americans in the “land of the free”. However, even if African Americans did these things and more, we still can’t stop the core of the problem, generationally taught hatred.
What are some of your ideas on what can be done?