The Race Issue

Racism.

It has always been an issue, right? As you study history, you come to realize that almost every culture has been guilty of it in one form or another. Of the most prominent is the issue of the slavery and ensuing oppression of African-Americans in the United States. It has been the cause of countless movements and riots which continue today. Wasn’t this something that we already addressed and combated with the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement? Don’t we all understand that racism is evil?

Well the answer is ‘no’ according to Ta-Nehisi Coates, as expressed in his article “The Good Racist.” Many of us claim to be “good people,” and as such, we “clearly cannot” be racist. However, our actions often disprove whatever claims we may make, as he illustrates with the report of the harassment of Forest Whitaker in a good, neighborhood deli in 2013.

It is not a one-sided issue, and hasn’t really ever been. Figurative shots are fired from both sides, and the problem escalates steadily. Martin Luther King Jr. asserted that both sides have always been bound together, neither being truly free until both are equally free. So the answer to how we can overcome the matter and solve the problem that we have as a society lies in a mutual change. As the cast of High School Musical put it,

We must do as King urges, and “not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” We must stop making judgments based on the “color of [our] skin but rather the conduct of [our] character.” The problem may not have been originated by us, but we certainly have the power to end it, at least within ourselves.