Racism remains a societal evil

The riots in Baltimore are the latest example of racism's firm, nationwide grip

Ahtesham Azhar, Reporter

Despite the vast awareness of racism and tons of policies in place to address the issue, the United States still struggles with the existence of racism in the society and its system. The recent riots in Baltimore because of protests against police brutality has triggered the issue of racism once again.

“I have learned about society of white privileged, which is that if you are white you get advantages automatically in society,” Student Leadership Forum chair and white American Marli Mayon said. “It is the unfortunate circumstance which the United States struggles to get away from. The issue of the Baltimore also starts with racism.”

She said a large number of people, protesting in Baltimore against police brutality, are uneducated and they don’t know how to channelize their aggression into a positive way. The once-peaceful protest turned into riots after concerns were not addressed and aggression was met with aggression.

“The stereotype of ‘angry black man’ has been perpetuated because of riots,” Mayon said, adding that now no one cares about the actual issue as it has been moved in a different direction.

“I have Hispanic and African-American friends and I go with them to the store,” Mayon continued. “Managers keep an eye on Hispanics and African-Americans, but they would not be worried about me. Many people do it subconsciously, but it is unacceptable and racism.”

She said she also heard about DWB – which means driving while black. It is an idea that if an African American is driving, he/she is more likely to get pulled over on the basis of just being black.

Charlton W, an African-American, is quite familiar with the DWB theory.

“I get pulled over often when I drive alone in low traffic areas and police search me,” he said. “I have been in the United States from the 1960s, we had the issue of racism back in the 1960s and we still have it. Comparatively to 1960s, the situation is much better but it is not over yet.”

Charlton believes that change must begin in societal constructs.

“We need to eliminate social differences from white and black people to get rid from racism,” he said. “A white person of my age makes more money than me and it is not just about me, it is about white and black.”

There is a vital financial difference between white and black people, which also engenders resentment.

“I don’t consider myself African-American because I was born here and I consider myself just American,” Charlton said. “Although I am an American, I have the biggest concerns about safety when I go out.”

SCC English faculty member Matthew Healy believes racism is a much bigger issue than people make it out to be.

“In the United States, a certain part of the population believes that racism has magically disappeared, but it could be found on any level for any race or gender,” he said.

He said the inequity to share power is the cause of racism. The problem of Baltimore is the result of people being frustrated about inequity persecutions. Riots are out of control and protests are being organized against it – as they should be, in order to bring social change.

“We would be controlling the issue in the same way as the law enforcement agencies of Baltimore are dealing with the issue in order to protect the people and places from riots,” SCC Public Safety officer A. Ortiz said.