Many students at my high school care more about parties than the domestic and international conflicts currently occurring. This creates an environment where being passionate about an issue is not supported. In the past few months, the violence towards minorities by the police has reflected the depth of the racism in our society. My high school’s student body president organized a protest against these acts of aggression, called a “die-in”. The proposed “die-in” consisted of a large group of students lying down outside, to display their disapproval of the events in Ferguson and other cities around the nation. At around 11:30, about 100 students, including myself, lay down outside. During the next few minutes, other students began to gather outside to watch. Silence fell over the crowd, until a student yelled, “Racism is great, you’re all idiots.” When a reporter asked our student class president to comment on the protest, an ignorant student could be heard in the background yelling profanities and making fun of those who voiced their opinions.
I come from a family where opinions are not only discussed, but thoroughly encouraged. Political debates over issues like racial discrepancies and immigration reform are a weekly occurrence in the house of a Congressman. At school, I have been characterized as a “try-hard” or a “know-it-all”, just for being informed and having ideas. Being in a school where you are ridiculed for being interested in the rights of minorities oppresses one’s ability to learn the fallacies that result from stereotypes, the same stereotypes that Redefy fights to destroy.
When walking through the halls of my school, people of all ethnicities can be seen, yet there is an area in our student section called the “ghetto section”. Coming to the high school and discovering these repulsive stereotypes disturbed me. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. did not fight for the rights of minorities to have a “ghetto section” in the 21st century. This fact alone shows the racism that still exists in our country. The racial inequalities in America demonstrate a paradox in the principles on which our country was built.
Social media has promoted not only racism, but discrimination. On apps like vine, there are constant jokes made in reference to the color of one’s skin and the stereotypes associated with it. Some people find these racial slurs amusing, but in reality, they are destroying much of the progress made to eradicate stereotypes. In this era, people value being funny and popular more than being politically correct. The only way to reverse this ideal is to educate people about the misconceptions created by stereotypes.
Racism still exists in America, and it probably always will. People can take that statement to mean that there is no point in trying to combat racism, and more specifically, the police brutality towards blacks that is occurring right now. Maybe we can’t end the racist ideals in the minds of those who are persecuting people for the color of their skin, but what we can do, as a generation, is eliminate the stereotypes that plague our decisions and perspectives.
– Written by Emma Himes (redefy contributer and daughter of Congressman Jim Himes)