21st Century: Are we more accepting of race? racism?
Time and time again I hear my dad and his friends talk about their high school days and how it was a different world 30 years ago. They hang out in the “man cave” and complain about working, how they wish they could go back to high school and relive their prime one more time. A dollar was worth more, classes weren’t as advanced, technology wasn’t at their fingertips, etc.
I’ve learned not get my dad started on high school when no one else has brought it up. He will tell you he was homecoming king and had two queens. He threw the best parties. He’ll brag that he was the fastest white guy on the football field.
It seems one aspect of their “glory days” only seems to have changed in the way it’s viewed; racism.
My dad’s best friend, Jeff Cane, goes on and on about this one girl from high school, Kelley White, that he had his eye on since she moved into Burlington. She was pretty. She was funny. She was smart. She was this, that and then some more. He talks about this girl like she put the stars in the sky.
“It’s a shame,” Jeff said. “She was probably the closest thing to perfect Burlington City had and she went and tainted herself.”
He was referring to her boyfriend junior year. She dated Anthony Smith, the wide receiver of the Blue Devils’ football team during the fall season. He played alongside my dad and Jeff. The three of them were friends. The reason Kelley was tainted after this relationship? Anthony is black.
Supposedly, Kelley came crawling to Jeff asking him for a chance but he turned her down in front of everyone.
“Once you go black, you can’t come back,” a phrase I’m convinced my dad and his buddies coined, they use it that often.
Some people that I have spoken with seem to be under the impression that it is just that generation. That racism is on a decline and is sure to be a thing of the past. Personally, I’m not so sure.
When I was working at an indoor water park at admissions, I have seen more than my share of racist behavior, from all ethnicities.
A woman came to the front desk and asked a coworker to make a black family move their things because she didn’t want “their kind” next to her child’s birthday group. She informed my coworker that because she was paying more, she was due this courtesy of the water park.
An Asian teenage boy pulled the race card. He complained to my manager that he was being treated unfairly by the lifeguards because of his skin color. He wouldn’t accept that he was putting others’ wellbeing in jeopardy by shoving people while he raced up the stairs to the water slides.
One summer at that job alone, I have seen more racist and caddy acts because of skin color than most of my friends put together. But the worst that I have seen happened on one of the busiest weekends and my manager didn’t do a thing about it.
President’s Day weekend is really busy because everyone is off and parents are trying to find something to do with their kids. A latino man came up to the front desk after already purchasing admission and entering the park. All five registers were occupied and the line was out the door. The man slammed his hands on the desk to grab all of our attention and demanded someone sell him a locker key.
My friend Jim explained that he had suggested the man purchase the locker key beforehand but because the line is so long, he would have to wait.
The man walked to stand in front of Jim and pushed customers out of the way in order to yell at him. He cursed at Jim and told him it was because he wasn’t white that he wasn’t getting immediate service. Jim held it together and calmly told the man he was helping someone else and that he needed to wait.
My manager saw the confrontation and came over and spoke with the disgruntled man and Jim apologized to the customers he was helping at the time and finished ringing them up and got them on their way.
“I don’t see the big deal,” my manager, Brandon, said. “Just sell him the locker.” Jim looked astonished but did as he was told. The man flung his credit card on the counter to pay. When Jim handed him back his card and gave him the locker key, the man said, “Stupid piece of s***, white trash,” spit on Jim, then turned and walked into the water park.
I could see that it took every once of strength for Jim not to say or do anything in response to this. When he looked at Brandon and our manager gave nothing away in his look, Jim left the front desk and out the front doors to collect himself.
“He should have just sold him the key,” Brandon said. “Now you guys are short a register. Get these people into the park.”
I couldn’t believe that not only had it happened, but my manager didn’t even blink when he saw it happen. The man threw a tantrum, insulted someone and spat on them without any repercussions.
Racism is so very alive in our society. It may not be as apparent as it was when my dad was my age, but people of all age, race and religion are racist. It’s ugly and upsetting to understand that not only can people be unaccepting of others because their skin is darker or lighter, but that they treat others worse than the dirt on their shoes.
I know that many people in our society doesn’t conduct themselves in this manner and these are some extremes but people are still racist, whether they show it or not. And I do not believe that this will change anytime soon.
By: Rachel Antuzzi
‘Being White in Philly’
Recently there was an article written in Philadelphia Magazine entitled “Being White in Philly: whites, race, class and the things that never get said.” This article – not surprisingly – has received tons of controversy.
People are saying this article is a bad piece of journalism; that it’s a one-sided article that shows the African American community of Philly as being lazy, criminal and rude. Some also say that the author, Robert Huber, only wrote about the negative experiences white residents had with African Americans and didn’t include the positive ones. Huber also quoted 10 different people but either only used their first name or an alias.
With all that being said, I still think the article was very well written and I give Huber credit for writing it. He started a conversation about race that seems to have been on the brink for a while. Since this article has been published, Huber and Philly Mag’s editor Tom McGrath have held forums where they listened and responded to the buzz this article generated.
This issue also showed a boost in sales for the magazine. In addition to that, the article has received 1.4 million page views and has over 6,400 comments online.
Although the article is titled “Being White in Philly,” it’s not just about that: it’s about the issue of race as a whole. How people are afraid to talk about it and how we think that by not talking about it, it will just fix itself.
I think we need to talk about it more. We’re all so worried about offending someone when we talk about race that we’re not progressing at all. As a whole, I think we all need to learn to get a thicker skin.
I think we need to accept the fact that people are going to judge other people. I think we need to accept the fact that stereotypes exist. And I think once we accept these two ideas, we will actually be able to move passed them.
“But this is how I see it: We need to bridge the conversational divide so that there are no longer two private dialogues in Philadelphia—white people talking to other whites, and black people to blacks—but a city in which it is okay to speak openly about race,” Huber writes in his article. “That feels like a lot to ask, a leap of faith for everyone. It also seems like the only place to go, the necessary next step.”
Whether you think this article was good or bad, we all have to agree on one thing: there seems to be action coming from this. If this article was “correct” and asked residents other than the white ones what their feelings were, then this conversation wouldn’t have been started.
Does racism exist? Yes. Even now in 2013 and even now with a black president.
Is racism a problem that can be solved overnight? No, definitely not. But it can start with a conversation, a conversation that may have started because of this Philly Mag article.
By: Alexa Milano
Can Trayvon Martin’s death alter our race cultures?
states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.
Trayvon, 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on Feb. 26, 2012, while walking to the home of his father’s girlfriend from a convenience store in Sanford, just north of Orlando. Mr. Zimmerman stated to police that the shooting was a result of self-defense.
The encounter between a young African American man who dreamed of going to college and a Hispanic man who wanted to be a judge shocked the nation. All over the country, the parsing of the case spread and became cacophonic and political.
Pleas for tolerance, hate driven words and different spins of the story are coming from multiple sources. All of these are prolonging the case.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good or on drugs or something,” Mr. Zimmerman told dispatch, in his initial call. “It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” Mr. Zimmerman continued “He’s here now just looking at all the houses. Now he’s just staring at me.” Then he added “He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Can you get an officer over here?” This was the call made by Mr. Zimmerman before the shooting.
This is one of the most talked about cases. This case has yet to be closed, it has been over a year now and there is still no final word.
Judging by the phone calls made to police by Mr. Zimmerman I think racial profiling was the cause of his actions. Due to the brake-ins in Mr. Zimmerman’s community he became some-what paranoid of people he did not know being in his development.
The action taken by Mr. Zimmerman should not be taken lightly. Some people say that Mr. Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon punched him in the face was false. “The question I would really like to ask him is, if he could look into Trayvon’s eyes and see how innocent he was, would he have then pulled the trigger? Or would he have just let him go on home?” said Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin.
I believe that Mr. Zimmerman is guilty of his crime and this travesty. This case sparked a lot of campaigns in Trayvon’s honor. They all want the same thing, Justice.
One of the reasons why it took so long for Mr. Zimmerman to be arrested is because Florida among 21 other states has the “Stand your ground law.” Which allows police on the scene to decide whether they believe the self-defense claim.
Mr. Zimmerman is facing a conviction of second-degree murder charge. If convicted of second-degree murder Zimmerman could face life in prison. It is the toughest charge he could he could have faced. First-degree murder would have required a finding of premeditation and a grand jury review.
I think it is only right he serves a life sentence. If one takes a life they should give their own. Murder is never the answer and Mr. Zimmerman should have listened to police when they said to stop following Trayvon.
By: Rocco Delmonte