Sunday, January 31, 2016
We Need a Dialogue....and a Resolution
Over the past few months, The United States of America has been in a constant state of regression. Everything from the national joke and spectacle that is "Donald Trump" running for president to the disgusting race and culture related issues that seem to be growing in popularity each day is helping propel the regression. It never truly dawned on me how bad things were until things
became personal and hit close to home.
On January 25th, a group of Caucasian seniors from my high school alma mater, Desert Vista, decided it would be a good idea to veer off from the annual, "Senior Photo Day" and compose their lettered shirts to resemble the word "Nigger" with two ** replacing the G's. I have never been more appalled and embarr
assed for my school. The things I have seen from the youth of today makes me worry. They are so incredibly desensitized by words, race, religion, and politics that it allows them to present themselves in the most damaging light.
These "girls" who are actually all 18, not only decided to compose this absolutely wrenched and horrible word, additionally, they decided to post the picture on SnapChat to commemorate the experience. Ever since this photo surfaced, there has been national outrage and most of it came from the community in Ahwatukee or as many would say "All White Tukee."
Many have voiced their opinions on social media and if words were daggers, many people would be dead. Sadly, several parents and commenters on Facebook voiced an overwhelming and highly "entitled" opinion regarding the situation. I heard comments like "Well, the black kids say it too, so they should get suspended" and "They are kids, what do they know. They made a stupid choice. Time to move." As I read most of the shockingly raw, commentary of relative strangers, I couldn't help but wonder of a group of black or hispanic youth had posted a picture with a racial slur on their shirts, would they be granted the same compassion and understanding for their ignorance and youth?
If history has shown me anything, "those" kids would not be granted the same freedom, respect, and allowance to start over. They would be marked with a scarlet letter of shame which would haunt them wherever they go systematically deeming them unworthy of a second chance at life. I think wh
at bothers me the most about what these ignorant little girls did is that there is no apparent or genuine reason as to why they decided to do this at all. It seemed like it was just some light hearted, humorous thing they did for social media likes. The fact they never they shuddered to think about how much this word could hurt others is what troubles me most.
Historically, the word nigger has been associated specifically with black people deeming us everything from lazy, to thieves or worse. It is a word that immediately strikes a chord with anyone who has a conscience. It is also a reactionary word that caused various thousands of African Americans to come together and rally for these "girls" to be expelled from high school their senior year. The school district, shockingly, only gave the girls a 5 day suspension.
This is a particularly light punishment in my eyes because I have seen kids get into brawls and get 10 day suspensions or worse. I guess they felt that since a word which drudges up every piece of racial degradation felt by any black person in the history of mankind was not deemed serious enough for extreme consequences. Let this be a serious lesson to the youth of America. Sometimes, you have to pay the price for what you do as a young person. And while I have some 10% compassion for these ignorant girls, I ultimately feel sorry for them because the only thing they will likely take from this situation is to keep their racial ignorant and prejudice private next time.
Hollywood is nearly as overt and blatant with their racial prejudice as the "Desert Vista 6" by deciding to, once again, nominate all white performers for the top honors for the upcoming Oscars. Am I surprised? Absolutely not. This is the kind of thing I actually expect them to do because the Academy is still filled with a majority, white male membership and as my grandmother once told me, "Things in this country will not improve until the "Baby Boomers" and beyond die out. The youth of America has got to be much better." Never have I known how right she was until now.
With Jada Pinkett-Smith rallying for change in the Academy's typical behavior towards performers of color, Janet Hubbert in opposition of the Smiths message, ignorant suburban youth displaying their vitriol entitlement, Donald Trump continuing to pump his own special blend of hate and separation throughout the world, and keep my feeling bottled up, I am about to explode. Let me be the first person to genuinely say, I am far from racist or prejudice, but I am also not dumb. I know how I may be viewed by some and instead of rolling in and slinging mud, I have decided to take the high road in most situations, but I want to present a theory, of having an open, honest, and raw conversation about race.
I feel the dialogue is needed now more than ever. There is no way we are going to be able to continue in this country ignoring the racial and cultural injustices faced mostly by minorities nor can we afford to have more "incidents" where the youth of America "play dumb" while offending. Enough is enough. There are simply too many statistics that show race plays a dominate factor in many of the things that affect us as adults (mortgage rates, loans, job offers) and it is time to level the playing field. A Z-list, Republican puppet, who is of very little importance, once said "Blacks need inclusion. We need to stop excluding ourselves if we want others to treat us the same. We need to do away with BET and Black History month and assimilate."
While her face now repulses me, I believe she is right in one way and one way only, we do need to blend meaning, Hollywood needs more African-American, Native American, East Indian, Persian, Latino, and culturally diversity in their productions and programs on a regular basis not just when they want to make a slavery, exotic, or foreign language piece of art. Every culture and race should be represented both equally and fairly in society. Every culture should be able to watch a program and feel a sense of pride knowing their are considered a part of the social fabric of American life. Gone should be the days where exclusion and one person of color is considered inclusion. She is right in the sense that every month should teach black history, present facts of various cultures, and give credence to the reality that the world is more than just one tone.
In closing, I am 29 years old and will make 30 this year, God willing. I don't have enough words in the English language to describe how incredibly tired I am of talking about race. I would love to just be in my own skin and feel every sense of humanity that is my God given right as a human being. I pray that one day the world will heal itself of the heavily veiled theme of "skin separation" and truly level the playing field so EVERYONE can have a chance to simply "be." Oh wouldn't that be a happy day? Most certainly.