The Faces of Racism

racist+people+suck

racist people suck

Aaliyah Williams and Nathan Stone

Racism. Everyone has a common image of what that looks like. An angry mob yelling at a seated black person in a diner in the 60’s. A schoolyard separated colored people on one side, white people on the other. In reality, racism is always evolving, getting subtler and more passive-aggressive, to the point where people don’t even realize they are experiencing it.

Racism isn’t exclusive to adults, either. People of color experience racism at any age.

“When I was about eight, I had my first racist encounter. I was walking with my mom in town, holding her hand when a man decided to spit on me,” said sophomore Malachi MacKercherMay.

“From what I can remember,” said junior Juana Hernandez, “around six years old is when I first experienced it.”

“I was about 6 in kindergarten and people would compare me to brown things like trees or just ask me why I’m brown. Now people just say racial slurs,” says junior Aaliyah Williams.

When it comes to school, racism thrives among the impressionable minds of teenagers being influenced by social media.

“I think it all just depends on your environment because as you grow up your environment changes and your friend group changes,” said Hernandez

“Reasonably, I am not desensitized to racism. I don’t necessarily get mad about what people are saying at school, it’s the fact that I know the school won’t do anything about it, so I just stay quiet and the anger builds up,” says Williams.

People often hide under the guise of dark humor. The things they say hold shock value (which isn’t synonymous with comedy, mind you) and if you don’t find it funny, then you simply are too sensitive or not intelligent enough to understand their jokes. The shock value in their taboo statements prompts an adrenaline rush, which is what makes these racists jokes so addicting. It’s not like it does these students any harm, because it’s not their existences being boxed into a punchline. 

To end racism, we must first put ourselves in their shoes. We have to engage in the cultures of others and consider their differences as something valuable. The first step to ending racism is the conversation. How we as people can change and grow in our mindset is how we can end this plague.