While We Were Out….A conversation about race

It’s been a while since Uncharted has posted anything, but we have had a lot in the works for the near future. Recently, we took a little road trip down to Christopher Newport University in order to conduct a discussion group on racism in today’s society. The overall group turned out to be very successful and will be continued in the future on a semi-regular basis. Be sure to sign up for the UD Front Line in order to stay on top of all the updates for the upcoming events!!

 

While at CNU, we gathered a diverse group of ## students to talk to them about how modern racism effects the millennial generation in today’s society.

What we found was eye-opening.

 

We approached the group with a pre-constructed list of ten open-ended questions, intended to spark discussion amongst the participants.

1. How do you define racism?

2. Do you feel like racism is a problem in today’s society?

3. How has racism affected your life?

4. What does true equality mean? Do you feel it’s truly attainable in our lifetime?

5. Many see the end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement as milestones and achievements in race relations. Do you think race has become more or less of a divisive issue?

6. Would you say we’ve moved forward or backwards in terms of race relations as a whole? How come?

7. What do you think has had the greatest contribution to the status of racism in today’s society?

8. Do you think, if you lived in a different country, you would think about and/or experience racism differently?

9. How do you feel government and law enforcement added to or detracted from the issue?

10. Whether or not you feel racism is a problem or not, what would YOUR approach be to improving race relations be?

 

 

According to Webster’s, racism is defined as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.” However, there is also racism within communities, such as ‘light skin v dark skin’ racism, etc. This has made for much more of a challenge to overcome in the strive to eradicate racism.

 

Racism has also affected multiple people in various different ways. Christopher Newport is predominately a white campus, making some students of other ethnicities and descents feel alienated and ‘looked at as though you’re not a human’. On an account from one Asian student, they were asked at random to help with math homework, by a fellow student on campus. This can only prove further how drastic racism truly is, especially amongst the millennial generation. This makes multiple students feel trapped in the ‘box’ that is their race. Some millennials experience racism at home as well, such as Asian parents that practically worship a Caucasian girlfriend, however, disapprove of an African American girlfriend.

 

Many millennials believe with traditions passed between generations as well as the topic of acculturation, racism will never truly be overcome within our lifetime. However, millennials also believe that racism in today’s society is more of a mental stigma than that of the past. What I mean by this is African Americans being monitored while shopping more so than patrons of other descents. One true example of this is a viral video of two young boys, one African American, the other Caucasian. Both of the boys believed that if they were each to shave their heads, they would be identical. Watch the video in full below!!

When asked whether or not the issue of racism has either progressed or digressed in recent times, the best explanation is relating it to a long road with multiple roadblocks along the way, in a very, very slow car. One major concern of millennials in regards to racism is how the United States is seen as a superpower in the world today, as well as in the past. The US is normally looked to for solutions to problems throughout the world, meanwhile, we are fighting against one another. There are a multitude of things that have directly contributed to the status of racism in today’s society. We’ll put them in list form to save you from the unnecessary heavy reading:

 

  • People are not vocal about issues. To expel racism, it MUST be a topic of discussion amongst us.

  • The language of racism MUST be changed. One key issue expressed is the lack of understanding on the difference between ‘privilege’ and ‘white privilege’. While both exist in society, they are drastically different in definition.

  • Regardless of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, there are still barriers to employment based on race, religion, etc.

  • People must refrain from flipping to the defensive when confronted with race issues during discussions, as well as assuming the other person in the conversation is uneducated.

  • In today’s society, there are many combinations of cultures. There is also beginning to be a lack of the ‘black/white’ defined races in society, and more so a giant melting pot of ethnicities and races. Racism is beginning to be based on appearance rather than the actual descent of the individual.

  • People suffer from ‘inner racism’ or racism against one’s self and within your own race. An example may be an African American child praised for having white friends.

 

We hope that this article gives something to reflect upon in either your own life, or to at least be more aware of the situation we live in. Be more aware of the issues others may face that you may struggle to understand, actually do happen. We must come together as a collective to help eradicate racism as a whole. Let’s be more like those two little boys; race is nothing but a color. Everybody is somebody.

PoliticsAlec Bose