(Editor’s note: Last week, Wallace Middle School student Lila Rodriguez was named the winner of a Black History Month essay contest. The following piece is the letter composed by Lila for the competition, which deals with racial inequalities in our country. The piece has been edited for clarity.)
by Lila Rodriguez
Wallace Middle School
Black. A word that sparks so many thoughts and emotions for many people in America, even those who aren’t of color. Many people think racism is no longer present in “the country of freedom and voice,” but words say otherwise.
On Oct. 10, 2010, the Law Against Racism was put into act, claiming you cannot discriminate or show aggression toward people of color in public and private industries.
This is one of the major actions put into place, but it still isn’t working. Many industries find a way around this law by not paying someone as much or putting them in a lower level of business instead of where they should be, because they are a person of color.
This shows there is a major problem when we have to be told how to treat each other; when we have been told we are the same. But are we really?
Many minorities have been told to act or talk a certain way in a public place. But aren’t we already accepted into society, or do they accept who they think we are?
Many people change how they talk to get a job or to meet society’s standards, when we should be proud of what our culture has gone through, which is a lot, by still being proud.
Many African American people have to talk more “appropriately” in order to seem more normal compared to “original” in our eyes.
I don’t like that in our society, which was gone through women not being able to vote to the country splitting to political parties.
Nearly 40 years ago, Liam Neesons’ friend was raped. He then asked her what the color of who the attacker was; the attacker ended up being a person of color.
Liam stated, “a primal urge to lash out” as he walked in to black communities, looking to be set upon waiting to release anger on someone.
This goes on every single day; many people are targeted because of their appearance.
If this wasn’t brought up, many people wouldn’t know how race is important, especially to people “who don’t see color.”
People who have experienced problems because of the skin tone usually don’t have a platform to share what they have heard or seen in their everyday life.
Once it happens to people with higher platforms, like an actor, it ends up being more “important’ and are only shared because it affected them, but not because it was a harmful act.
Racism still is present even if there isn’t a sign pointing out every single act that has taken place. There is still one major question that many people can’t bring themselves to answer.
Why are teenagers more accepting – when we aren’t mature or are little delinquents – but yet are more understanding than an adult who has been here longer and has heard, seen and sometimes acted upon racial acts that still take place in 2019?
Are they denying it or pushing it away because they have experienced it long enough that they know it won’t change anytime soon?
One major act can’t change this profound place. Racism will ways be here, even after the Civil War and the “I Have a Dream” speech.
This multi headed beast is still alive and well.
Instead of finding an answer to it, we blame each other rather than looking at ourselves.
Minorities are like stairs to a white person them being the person walking all over them, maybe even skipping a few steps showing how easy it is.
After all, shouldn’t America be great again or will we ever reach that?