The Contributing Privilege by Akeal

December 2, 2015


The Contributing Privilege

In modern times, people are used to certain situations that it seems justifiable for people to live under the circumstances. In today’s society, many people may come across an instance in which we witness discrimination and don’t do anything about it. In the United States people have been subject to bias due to a characteristic that they can’t control. This characteristic is the color of their skin. Knowing that this occurs and having experienced discrimination myself it has caused me to gain more insight on the issue. Which leaves me with one question. Does racial privilege contribute to discrimination?

In my research so far, I’ve had the opportunity to interview James E. Ford. During the interview, he stated that “Racism is as American as apple pie”. I had no other option but to agree. I agreed because there has been racial discrimination in the U.S. for hundreds of years and there still hasn’t been a change. I also came across an article by Brent Staples, a writer for the New York Times, in which he tells about one of the many times that he has been a victim of discrimination due to his race and gender. He states that in the 1970’s he was walking behind a white woman at night-time. She noticed he was behind her and began to walk faster which then turned into her running. He says that he was angry because he couldn’t just simply walk without being feared. This shows how African-American men are forced to live with myths in which the discrimination towards them stems from.

Racism towards African-Americans is due to the stereotypes placed upon us. And have been reinforced through many years of oppression and forced segregation. Although it seems that segregation is over, there are still areas where there are only blacks living in a community that consists of run-down homes. Also, as shown in the media plenty of times in the past few years, blacks have experienced discrimination from police officers. In fact, police mostly focus on poor communities of color when it comes down to the war on drugs although people of all races sell and use drugs. There are more African-Americans in jail today than there were slaves in 1850. Also, studies show that white youth is more likely to be involved in the dealing of illegal drugs rather than black youth.

According to a 2012 Supplementary Homicide Report by the FBI, blacks are 13% of the U.S. population but yet they are 42% of the victims that did not attack when they were killed by police who were not using a rifle or a shotgun. Therefore although there aren’t that many black people in the U.S., they seem to have been the second largest group killed by police. The first largest group were white people but white people are 63% of the U.S. population and 44% of the people who did not attack when killed by an officer that did not use a rifle or shotgun. Am I the only one that sees the problem here? Why is it that African-Americans are one of the smallest groups of people in the U.S., yet so largely murdered by police?

So far, according to my research racial privilege does contribute to discrimination. Next, I’ll find out about other areas outside of crime and housing. Maybe discrimination in employment or even the discrimination when someone of color tries to buy certain items. I want to know about these subjects so that I can bring much awareness to them and help stop them from occurring.