(Based on “I’m Not a Racist…Am I?)
Racism has always been embedded in society, hence the name systemic racism. Although the world may seem like an equitable place to privileged individuals, there is in fact still harsh discrimination and segregation impacting people of color, and unfortunately that will be continuing for a very long time. The only effective method of termination will be for society as a whole to change, meaning everything, not just individuals. It is not as simple as just treating each other with kindness, because doing this does not dismantle the systems that use processes disadvantageous to African Americans and other people of color. Some stereotypes that have been derived from systemic racism include the idea that black people are impoverished and uneducated. The harsh reality is that these ideas are, in many cases, the truth, all because the prejudice they have faced is making success harder to achieve for them.
As a small, predominantly white school in Western Massachusetts, many students at Frontier are not fully aware of the toll racism has taken on the world, and view it as an issue that is of unimportance. Some people at this school with a huge lack of experience even repudiate its very existence. As a result of this, they engage in offensive behavior like casually throwing around the n-word, because they don’t understand, or care to understand its historical significance. The origins of the word can be traced back hundreds of years ago and by the 1800’s it was firmly established as a derogatory term used to dehumanize African Americans. The fact that people, particularly white people, still frequently use it is indicating that the education system is in need of reform.
A principal point of the film “I’m Not a Racist…Am I” was the idea that all white people are racist. To some, this was a punch in the face, to others this was pre-existing knowledge. But, in order to facilitate change, every white person needs to accept that they are racist. It doesn’t matter if they don’t exhibit racist behavior or think racist thoughts; that still doesn’t take away from the fact that all throughout history, POC have been deemed as inferior by white people. Today, every white American is a product of white supremacy, and every single one is keeping the power structure in place. If people just deny that they’re racist, what are they doing about the issue? Nothing. So, simply accept the reality, and work harder to help cleanse the atrocity from the nation. This is where the old adage, “actions speak louder than words” comes into good use. Everyone today needs to acknowledge their white supremacy infected surroundings, and educate themselves, whether that means talking to others or exploring other sources. That is just the first step. The second is to be a role model, meaning not practicing racism, and speaking up about the issue. Another beneficial act would be to donate or volunteer for anti-prejudice organizations, as one voice can make a substantial difference.
I, as a privileged white individual, admit that in the past I have not done much to aid in toning down racism, but recently I have tried hard to step up my game. I will never fully understand the oppression that people of color face, but I will extend my knowledge as far as possible, and I hope everyone else does the same.