You Can’t Sum Us Up: Racial Profiling and Stereotypes

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Sources and examples are located in the numbered links inside the parenthesis.

“According to the United Nations, racism is defined as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

Racism isn’t a person, an event, action, or experience. Racism is a SYSTEM. It places people of color into a place , and keeps them there. Keeps them unequal..not only as individuals but as a whole. No amount of money, and no position of seniority can stop racism (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). This country was founded on racism, and as much as we’ve progressed…as much as we’d like to think we have pretty much come out of it, we are still in a system controlled by racism. It profiles us and then pursues us (1, 2, 3) . It beats us (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). It kills us without a conviction (1, 2, 3). It convicts us for longer jail sentences vs those of other races that have committed similar crimes (1, 2). It strips away our rights as individuals (1, 2).  It denies us jobs and then tells us we are lazy because we don’t work (1, 2). It tells us we have to work harder to get higher because that is just how it is (1). It determines it’s investment into us as children, based on how much our parents are able to invest into the system (1). It tells us that our people are only worthy of lower quality living, crime, poverty, and lower education based on the income they make from the job they can’t get, and then criticize without investigating, the things they have to do to survive while living in poverty (1). It has a spot reserved for our children in the local prison, based how many of “us” there are inside an elementary class room, and the expectations they have for our children is based on how much they refuse to invest into our children’s education (1). It assumes we are stealing when we are in a store. It assumes we are somewhere we shouldn’t be when we aren’t among our own. It assumes we are doing something illegal if we happen to have something nice. It shoots us dead if we have questions or demand that our rights be honored. It’s in our courts, it’s in our police departments, it’s in our laws, and sadly…it’s even among those of us that fall victim to it. We hate and talk bad about our own culture. We have this ongoing battle of the sexes created by stereotypes made by this very same system. This battle of the sexes, along with blaxploitation in reality television, creates divisions and contributes toward us not having healthy expectations and/or family life. We publicly shun our own when they don’t fit the mold that a racist society expects us to assimilate to. We judge our own based on skin color, hair length/texture, and everything else that the system of racism has also used against us. We change our tone of voice and demeanor to appease those that may not accept us for who we are. We enable the system by trying to be something we are not meant to be, so that there is no threat of change. We smile and respond passively when we are confronted with this system, so that we don’t come off as too angry or too different. We march alone in a hopeless effort to change how this system does us, and people still ask “why blacks aren’t doing more to make changes in their communities” by white folks who say they feel our pain. We cry when we lose our sons and daughters to/by the system, while others act as if our problem is insignificant because it is expected for us. Our children are shot and there is no “breaking news” headline because it isn’t a big enough problem. There is no nightly coverage on Nancy Grace when our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers go missing. 

When you say “blacks are racist too,” you don’t realize that blacks aren’t in any power to use a system called racism for the oppression of a already powerful system. Or when your a victim of the system and feel like the system “is what it is,” and carry on with your lives enabling the system to continue its racism for your children and their children….Please keep in mind that it is a system, and it takes a system to conquer it. Black folks cant do it alone since it doesn’t stem from blacks alone. Anyone that fights for equality needs to help fight for racial equality. Feminists need to help fight for/practice racial equality. The LGBT community needs to help fight for/practice racial equality. Blacks and Hispanics need to fight for/practice racial equality. Part of that includes not supporting the stereotypes that are created to dehumanize us. Part of that includes not supporting the television shows that profit off of our downfall, make a mockery out of us by exploiting ignorance and violence so that our kids can watch and learn that this is how we are expected to act. We need to become a movement because a monthly protest isn’t good enough. We need to know our rights and demand them without ever backing down. We need to walk how we walk, talk how we want to talk, dress how we want, and wear our hair as short or as kinky as we want and expect that we are accepted for who we are. We need to lay in the sun, swim, try new things, be kind to animals, learn about different cultures, go to school, go to college, and teach our children to do the same so that we can eliminate stigmas that have been passed down to us, and to fight the stereotypes that keep us boxed up…held down…and isolated by a system called racism.

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