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Articles > Life August, 30, 2020

The weirdness of racism…

Emmanuel Okoh
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There are a lot of weird things that happen along with racism. Hatred is the major cause of racism, but it is weird that often people do not know why they hate. Racism is just a way to act for them as they are not accepting of people different than they are.

Recent events…

Police brutality in America against Black people

Racism has been brought to everyone’s attention with the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who held his knee on the neck of his victim for almost nine minutes as the man lay on the ground. This was while George Floyd was pleading for help and telling him that he could not breathe. The other three officers present did not stop the deathly attack on a black man who was not prepared to die. It seems that it was a racist act against a black man, but it was weird that the officer’s wife and one of the other police officers present were both Asian Americans, apparently siblings.

Although police issues with black men have become an issue, others are killed by racist civilians in the general population. Ahmaud Arbery was an unarmed young black man who was fatally shot in Georgia. He was merely jogging in a neighborhood when he was pursued by two white men, a father and son. They were armed and shot Arbery. The men were finally arrested over two months later and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. This was a racist act, and it was weird that the men were not charged right away.

The woman caught in racist rants in Torrance, California, which were filmed in videos, was apparently venting her hatred for those of Asian descent. She was clearly racist against Asians, but then she gets into her Honda car and drives away. It is weird that she does not seem to realize that she is driving an Asian make of automobile.

Discrimination of Asian people due to the pandemic

Vincent Chin was a Chinese-American man having a bachelor party in Detroit, 1982. Japanese cars were gaining prominence, and autoworkers in Detroit had been laid off. There was animosity toward Japan and Japanese people because of this situation. While Vincent and his friends were at a club, they encountered a white autoworker with Chrysler and his step-son, who had lost his job in the Chrysler plant. A confrontation occurred, and they were removed from the club. The two white men drove around until they found Vincent and his friends at a McDonald’s. A fight ensued with the autoworker beating Chin with a baseball bat until his head cracked open – he died four days later in hospital. It was a clear act of racism; the white men did not distinguish Asians of different ethnicities. It is weird the two men never received any prison time.

Racism and hatred caused 120,000 persons of Japanese heritage to be removed from their west coast homes and incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II. Some people do not believe that it actually happened because it is weird to think that such a thing could happen because of racism to its own citizens in the United States of America.

With the coronavirus pandemic, many people are blaming China. Asian Americans are experiencing racism from various people as a result. It is weird that many of the perpetrators of the racism being exhibited about the coronavirus are racial minorities themselves. Asians are being accosted by African Americans and Latinos as well as white people. It is weird that those who have likely faced racism themselves are attacking others with racial rants.

My own experience…

I can admit that when I was younger, I too subscribed to this belief that racism no longer existed and it was just an aspect of the past. Or maybe I was just too young to know any better. The time period I am referring to is up until I was in sixth grade or so. Up to that point, I had learned almost nothing about history of slavery or racism in school. Whatever knowledge I did have on the subject was from my father who would make me watch movies like Roots to ensure I was wellrounded in my understanding of our African culture.

From first to fifth grade I went to stay with my dad every weekend but in sixth grade, it was decided that I would move schools  again and complete my remaining middle and high school years in San Jose. The  school I moved to was St. John Vianney, predominantly Latino and Asian Catholic School in the Alum Rock area of San Jose. It was during this time at St. John Vianney that I would first experience racism and stereotyping in my life, changing my perspective of the world permanently.

My transition to this new school went relatively smoothly at first but by the middle of the school year in sixth grade, some things started to get uncomfortable. I had grown my hair out during tha  year and had a small afro, which the school had some problems with initially. They asked me to cut my hair multiple times, claiming it broke the school rules on having hair that was too long, but I would point out that the handbook said boys’ hair cannot cover their ears or touch their collar, both of which mine did not, so I refused to cut it and my parents supported me. Not only did the school itself have a problem with my hair, but other students would constantly be touching my hair or inquiring about why it was like this, felt like that, looked like this, etc.

I might have forgotten to mention that I was the only black student in my entire grade of around 70 people for all three years I attended that school. For this reason, I guess I understand people being curious or interested in my hair, but continuously touching and grabbing at it even after I would tell them to stop was something I had a problem with.

Racism is a weird part of society.

Racism is inexcusable, but it will difficult to eradicate because there is too much hatred and intolerance in the world. Changes need to be made by government leaders, but there also needs to be a change in attitude within the general public before racism can be curbed and hopefully eliminated.The racism and weirdness has to be stopped.

 


Resources and more:

There are a number of ways you can fight racism, support those around you and do your bit. The first step is to educate yourself! Then, you can spread awareness, promote good messages. Other ways to support include donating and sharing resources with others. You can find more information here:

BLM resources and links

How to be anti-racist – Mashable

Ways to be anti-racist every day – The Everygirl


If you liked this article, you may also like to read:

Don’t call me a gorilla

Black Lives Matter

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  1. Yoana

    I think that it is such a shame that racism is still happening in 2020 and I hope that life for minority groups gets better. I do agree that it’s weird that other minority groups are attacking others, maybe it’s a situation that is similar to bullying? if you just agree with the bully then there is a chance they leave you alone?

  2. Anonymous

    I think….racism plays a major role of in everyone’s lives. The young, old, poor, rich, smart and the mentally unstable. Especially the victim and persecutor. It’s planted a seed of hatred in the hearts all and it just keeps growing as we pass it down to each generation.

  3. Khadija C

    I think it’s vital to have more support and knowledge about racism as it increases peoples knowledge.