Despite the fact that the United States of America is a great melting pot of various ethnicities and cultures, race is a highly sensitive subject for many people, particularly minorities. A big reason for that obviously has to do with the United States’ checkered past when it comes to slavery. Despite liberating all slaves at the end of the Civil War, there were still many issues such as segregation and voting rights that black men and women had to deal with. And even though we’ve made much progress on such fronts over the years since the Civil War, the fact remains that blacks are still put at a disadvantage when compared to white men and women.
To be quite frank, this issue of race is not merely about blacks, but rather all minorities. Although blacks admittedly have gone through much worse conditions than other minorities when taking a look at the big picture, most of, if not all of this country’s racial inequalities apply to all minorities and not just black people.
For example, did you know that if you have a non-Caucasian name that you are less likely to even be considered for a white-collar job? As soon as some employers see the name Deshaun, or Roberto, they judge you for your perceived race and that can lead to you losing the job before you even get to the interview phase. Talk about a disadvantage.
Another example is when a minority is simply walking down the street – if a police officer sees them, they may immediately think that they are doing something suspicious and have them questioned, or even worse depending on what sort of police officer you are dealing with. This happens all over America and is often overlooked for whatever reason and that is just wrong!
Although not an explicit racial inequality, a lot of times your life is influenced by where you grew up, which is highly correlated to your race. If you are a minority, you are more often than not born into a poor community rather than a well-to-do one. And although there is technically opportunity to elevate yourself out of that situation, it is not as easy as it looks. This leaves generation after generation of minority families stuck in poverty while Caucasian families who have been living above the poverty line for generations find it very easy to maintain that status.
And what is really disappointing in general is that many of the inherent issues that minorities face every day are things that Caucasian Americans are not even aware of in the slightest. They are happily ignorant when it comes to various forms of racial injustices, as long as they themselves can live prosperous lives full of privilege. But if we want to steer the conversation in the right direction, we need to inform these more privileged Americans what is happening to the minorities all around them.
Once they are aware, their compassion will drive them to make a change and help give minorities equal footing in all aspects of their lives. All it takes to get the ball rolling is getting a dialogue started with them.