It’s Way Past Halftime and Racism is Performing

It was a rocky start to the new decade, and we’re no better now


There is 175 days until this year is over. The year 2020 has been like no other. Each month has followed with a new tragedy for a series of unfortunate events. While one might have been optimistic or eager for new opportunities at the beginning of a new decade, many may now wonder: why is equal rights still a question? It is June 2020, and America is still racist.

To imagine the repercussions that follow for merely existing in Black skin is impossible. Regardless, former Pulitzer Prize winner Shirley J. Scott, encourages us to try in her story titled “The Negros walks on eggshells.” Published during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, her story continues to be relevant to today’s society. While some might only experience racism through imagination, for her and others, this is ordinary reality. Racism has continued to thrive and it is disgusting to conclude that our society has not progressed.

For instance, Scott writes:

“You are stuck at the bottom of the ladder — not because of what you do but because you are a Negro.”

When Joshua Jackson, 23, a Black man, was asked if he agreed with Scott, he said, “I can relate this back to work I’ve had situations where I feel like I’ve put in a lot of effort and time into trying to better myself as an employee and move up in the ladder and I feel like sometimes that’s been overlooked simply because of the color of my skin.”

In contrast, when Daniel Barnett, 24, a Black man, was also asked if he agreed with Scott. Barnett said that although he does not agree, as a Black man in America, Barnett does feel as if he has to work harder to accomplish goals.

“I think of this as a benefit more than a hindrance. It gives me the motive to set the bar higher than I thought was achievable to ensure it is a job well done in whatever challenge or obstacle I face.”

Scott continues:

“Your children present a special problem. In addition to washing, mending, cooking, and healing little hurts, sometimes early in their lives, you must explain the taunts of Johnny Whiteboy.”

Jackson explained that he was raised in a biracial home as a kid, so he related more to his mother who is Black. He would relay conversations from class involving racist jokes. Jackson recalls his mother explaining to him that similar situations will happen because there are ignorant people in the world. His mother advised that Jackson would have to know himself and understand that he is capable like anyone else.

Similarly, Barnett agreed. He explained that he has talked about discrimination he might face because of his skin color. His parents taught him not to let people harness the power to discredit him because he is a Black man. They reminded Barnett to continue to pursue what he loves, despite what anyone else thinks.

“If you are a child, you wish your parents had straight hair or white skin without really understanding why. Your own lips seem too thick, your hair too curly, your skin too dark.”

Jackson said that he has never hated his parents for their appearances. He explained that his mother is lighter complected than his dad, who is dark complected. But there was never an issue for him to wonder why they didn’t meet white beauty standards.

Neither has Barnett, who said that he has never wished his parents met white beauty standards. He was raised not to see color, but see the person’s heart and mind. Barnett believes that is where true beauty is found.

Unless one is Black in America, one cannot truly understand what it is like to be Black in America, and that is fine. Although one should not conclude, racism isn’t real only because it does not affect them. Black men and women seem to change from promising people to “ threatening “ within the same breath. This is especially true for Black Lives Matter victims and in today’s discussion George Floyd.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old man, was killed in Minneapolis as a result of police brutality by Officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd was arrested on the accusation of purchasing cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The report given by the policemen involved stated that Floyd resisted the Officer. Although, surveillance and bystander footage do not seem to show any proof of resistance. Since the video of George Floyd’s death was shared online, peaceful protests and riots have broken out in many cities across the United States. Thousands of protestors are angered and demand an end to police brutality and social injustice.

It is without a doubt that police brutality isn’t a new topic to stomach. But Floyd’s recent murder has drawn the line. According to data collected by Mapping Police Violence, a research advocacy group, police killed 1,098 people in 2019. Despite Black people only being 13% of the U.S population, 24 percent of reported police killings were Black.

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice, and change needs to start now. Our voices are essential to attribute to Black Lives Matter. It is understandable why one might be afraid to join protests amidst a global pandemic. However, there are ways to help from home. Take action by donations, volunteer resources for protesters, sign petitions, and amplify key information on social media. Here’s how.