Dedicated to Dr. Malachi Crawford, Andre Rodriguez, Raymond Ramirez, Jabril Newton, Kyle Nash, and of course my number one fan, Emily Torres. This essay is long overdue.
There is no proper way to start this essay. I honestly don’t even know what way I could catch your attention with my words because this isn’t something I want to paint as appealing. This essay is about racism. Racism towards African Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc.
Racism has always been an issue and it comes to no surprise. Racism is not a disease that can be cured because to cure racism would mean curing hatred, which would cure anger but then anger being cured would lead to a Utopia. And a Utopia is a fantasy. Not just that, but it’s human nature to have disdain for others, especially for no reason. But to have umbrage against someone because of the color of their skin or religion is unfathomable especially in this day and age when we are all aware that deep down we are all just awful people.
I say awful because we aren’t perfect, nor will I pretend that we live in a world where we respect one another. It’s sad to say, but we can all attest that humility is a rare characteristic to find in one another and the only other way to put it is, “everyone always has shit to say about anything you do”. This is not to deny the existence of the charismatic and smiling faces of others but it is in rarity that you find such a person who is genuinely nice for the sake of altruism and not make you want to ponder their intentions.
I have not yet figured out how and when Racism actually started and why its appeal is still so relevant today, however I do plan to do more research on it in the future. In the meantime, what I have learned is what I will share right now. First off, Racism is not something that will simply go away, at least in the United States, as described in Derrick Bell’s take on the Critical Race Theory, where he addresses the cyclical nature of racism and how “…despite our best efforts to control or eliminate it, oppression on the basis of race returns time after time—in different guises, but it always returns” (Derrick Bell, P.92, Faces at the Bottom of the Well (1992), .
The idea that racism is here to stay is frightening yet is seen as trivial. I say trivial because nothing has been done to even attempt to end it. And from the way things have been going lately, it will only get progressively worse. N.W.A. released their debut album, “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988, as a gateway for people to see the harsh realities of life in “the streets” but for most it was just something to nod their heads to as the group screams “Fuck The Police” or for others to cover the ears of their children because of the innumerable use of the “F” word. Almost 30 years later, the harsh realities described in those songs are still relevant and no one seems to care. In an interview with Ice Cube about this very issue, he mentioned the promise of fame not being rewarded to those who rap about politics or truth anymore since 1993, songs that glorified the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” mentality took its place in history of popular rap music.(i.e.: T-Pain’s “I’m so Hood”, Lil Wayne’s “Duffelbag Boy” as well as”Pop Bottles ” featuring Birdman). Thus glorifying a “Hood Mentality”, which I may explain in further detail later.
There has been a movement called Black Lives Matter that started because of all the police brutality and wrongful deaths of African Americans and rather than see the big picture, people are dismissing them by making the argument, “Shouldn’t All Lives Matter?” and while that is true, it is impossible to argue that African Americans have had it easy in this country. In fact, anyone who is a minority in general has not had it easy in the United States and when one tries to bring this to the public’s eye, minorities are told, “Well if you don’t like it, then leave!” By the way, that is such a stupid thing to say. That’s the kind of thing you would tell your child if they didn’t like what you made for them to eat. For African Americans, they were forced to come here. For Mexicans, the land was stolen from them. Yes, I said it. Stolen. The fact that Texas (as well as other states that were part of Mexico) were utilized in order to expand Slavery in the U.S. makes me question why minority students in school are forced to “Honor the Texas Flag”.
History has become more and more insignificant and it makes me sad, not only because I’m having to deal with criticism from others that wonder why I picked a major in college that “won’t make me a lot of money”, but also because it has made me just become angrier as an individual with the more I learn. Take the Ghetto for example. And by Ghetto, I refer to Maulena Karenga’s definition: “Bounded areas of living, which not only close certain ethnic groups into specific areas, but also hinder them from access into various opportunities available to them in a larger society thus creating areas of poverty and isolation” (Karenga, P.250, Intro to Black Studies) African Americans as well as Mexican and other Latino Americans predominantly live in the ghetto and the reason for that is argumentative. Some will argue cause they are poor and have no choice, others will argue that it’s because they are lazy and are comfortable living in poverty. The thing about the Ghetto, and I will be utilizing the same source I used previously, is that the Ghetto is a social reality defined by 6 dimensions:Territorial meaning, residential, bounded and segregated. Racial, which is a product of a racist society which poses race as a central criteria for determining life chances, opportunities, social status and human worth. Socio-Economic, because symptoms of ghetto life include, poor education, poor housing, unemployment, drug addiction and alcoholism, frequent illness and early death and crime, all accented by the primary affliction of inferior racial status in a racist society. Institutional, in the sense that it has a complex of community institutions which are both negative and positive. Positive cause they are structures necessary for self-determined maintenance and development but negative in that they are often not strong enough to fulfill their function or fail to use their strength adequately for social advancement. Political, as it is both an expression and product of Black powerlessness to prevent is establishment or end its existence. Psycho-Cultural, where it is defined by views, values and self-consciousness negative to its development and transformation into a free, proud and productive community. Which explains why you have guys joining gangs in order to survive and thus develop a “Hood Mentality” (as mentioned earlier see Ice Cube’s song: “Hood Mentality” for more information)
Perhaps the saddest part about The Ghetto is that even when minorities move beyond the original bounded areas and form what is called “gilded ghettos” in integrated areas, these outskirt communities become linked to the central black area. Blacks and Mexicans are defined and treated as the majority who are still in the ghetto with allowed variations. Meaning that even if they are not entirely from the ghetto, they are still essentially linked to ghettoization, the ability of being ghetto. This explains why so many people are astonished when someone from a minority group has such an excellent vocabulary and think they are complimenting them by saying, “you sound white”.
On that note, I would be remiss, if I were to not mention the Islamophobia that has become more and more rampant. For a while I despised religion because I felt it made people do terrible things and justified why people do terrible things. For example, Slavery, for a long time was justified with the story of Hamm. Until last year, I recently came back to my religion and realized it’s not the religion that is at fault, but the human interpretations of religion that give it such a disheartening reputation. Bill Maher recently made the argument that women covering their heads with scarves was “sick”, by that he thinks women that are covering up intimate parts of their body is repressive. While his argument holds some water, it does not make it true. For a woman to want to cover her hair with a scarf in Islam is obligatory but for some women, they are aware that the meaning behind it is a symbol of modesty, meant only for certain people to see it (i.e., Husbands or loved ones). With that said, does it really sound that bad? I mean does a woman have to show parts of her body in order to prove she’s sexy or if she doesn’t show her arms it means she’s insecure?
Also living in a country where we are free to practice our religion, should dismiss any sort of criticism of a woman wearing a scarf. Just like it shouldn’t bother us if a black man dons a dashiki or a Latino speaking Spanish but for some reason, it does offend others, and why? I don’t have the answer for that. And no other answer is good enough because it will open the door for counter-arguments from other prejudicial point of views, thus further explaining why racism will never perish and why the journey for self-identification seems more and more effortless.
Written on the 27th of July, 2016 at 11:55 P.M.