Cheyenne Jackson’s thoughtful commentary in the March 18th Rocket was right on the mark. Unfortunately, despite the election of President Obama, twice, racism is still a serious problem in the United States. Those of us who are white have to recognize that we are in a privileged class and at the same time have to strive to do what we can to reduce racism with the goal of ultimately eliminating it.
As a white person, I have never been stopped while driving my car because of the color of my skin, the type of vehicle I’m operating, or for failing to signal a lane change. I have not been eyed suspiciously by store employees when shopping. I don’t walk the streets of Slippery Rock with the fear that someone may scream a racial threat at me. I was born with white privilege and recognize that my friends and colleagues of different races do not enjoy this status. At any time, they could encounter demeaning and even dangerous situations through no fault of their own.
I have found, in particular, that the Republican response to Barack Obama as President has elevated racism, not subdued it. Seven years of obstruction and disrespect from national leaders in Congress, not to mention commentators and bloggers, have fanned the flames of racism. And we are seeing the result of this deeply ingrained racism becoming more evident every day in an absolutely ugly GOP presidential campaign.
Ultimately, however, this is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is a human issue. I don’t have the answers to the complex racial and socio-economic challenges facing us as Americans. But I can try to treat each person I meet, regardless of their background, with respect.
Thank you, Cheyenne, for having the courage to write about the very real problem of racism as it exists today. You did so without inflammatory language and without the hate behind so many of the messages now flooding social media. We need more rational conversations like what you provide in your commentary.
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