This archived article was written by: Rodrigo Leon
We have to stop pretending that racism isn’t prevalent and pervasive in the United States. We see racism pervade every interaction and every system in the United States, from police to the legal system, from schools to “friends.” We see this happen often and yet we refuse to believe that institutional racism doesn’t exist. We see not only police, but people killing people of color every day.
In 2015, 574 people of color were killed by police. That is one every 15 hours. Incarceration rates show a similar problem with 60 percent of incarcerated individuals are Black or Latino when they make up less than 25 percent of the population.
This happens when you have a racist system in charge of finding “criminals” and another racist systems in charge of delegating punishments. We have perfect example of this when on Feb. 29, 2016 three racist neo-Nazis assaulted three Latino teenagers, in Los Angeles, Calif. They threatened to kill them, yet the neo-Nazis face only misdemeanors, but a young black couple was sleeping in their car were shot and killed by a LAPD officer. If history repeats itself, there will be no convictions.
We also have another young black boy shot in Salt Lake City, Utah on Feb. 28, for having a broom. Have you noticed the trend? People of color in the U.S. are violently attacked by the systems we claim protect us.
Let’s not stop there. Last week, three Black Muslim boys were shot and killed in an execution in Indiana, a police investigation has been launched. There hasn’t been a single lead, arrest or even a suspect. The people don’t care; the boys’ deaths are a disgusting display of racism in the U.S. Their deaths have gone almost unheard.
We have to stop pretending racist violence is getting better let alone gone, especially when we had more Black people killed by police last year than any single year of lynching, even during the 1960s.
Now to violence. Violence against people of color happens so often that is a bit of a joke. Let’s start with the Summit Academy basketball team in Utah. They recently were in Richfield for the 2A state tournament.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, when playing against Emery High in the semi-finals, the Emery crowd and players started yelling racial slurs at the Summit Academy players, something they say they have dealt with for a long time. After the tournament when the players were at a convenience store trying to get drinks and food, they were chased out of the store by people yelling at them to, “Get the f*** out” while also using the N-word to describe the players.
The encounter continued when a car pulled up and proceeded to yell and insult the players. At this point the high school basketball players feared for their lives and well-being. The police claim that conflicting reports means no charges will be pressed, sadly this is how most race based cases end.
This doesn’t account the millions of students who deal with micro-aggressions every day in school. These micro-aggressions present themselves in actions and things that are said by teachers, administration and students. These are aggressions against culture from, “Your English is very good” and “You’re not like other *insert culture or race* I know.”
These micro-aggressions have immense effects on people of color by invalidating them and their culture a little more every time one happens. These add up to the point that people of color have immensely higher suicide rates than white people.
Now you tell me we don’t have a race problem in America. We have huge systems enacting violence against racial minorities, and the rest validating their actions. We shouldn’t have persons of color fearing for their lives when they encounter police or any part of the legal system. We shouldn’t have a prison population of mostly minorities. We shouldn’t have to live in Racist America.