Opinion | Why has racial discrimination lasted so long?

Published by Madeline Bundy, Date: March 1, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mention of racial issues, like instances of racial discrimination. Please use caution before reading.

The topic of racial discrimination has been around forever. The smallest thing can happen on either side of the topic to get people talking about it. No matter the nature of the incident and how it is handled by those involved, it can easily get turned into a bigger thing that gets the attention of the media and the general public.

But that part if the issue isn’t what I want to talk about. The part I want to talk about it is the “why.” Why has racial discrimination lasted so long?

Before getting into why it’s lasted so long, let’s take a look at some incidents of racial discrimination and where can take place.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, racial discrimination can happen when trying to find somewhere to live, when trying to get medical attention, applying for jobs and getting promotions or raises. One of the more common is it happens when interacting with the police. These are just some of them, but they can happen in everyday life as well, like walking down the street or hanging out with people in public.

You may hear parents always say that they want their kids to grew up in a better world than they did, but they don’t do anything to put a stop to racial discrimination within their family or friend circle that they raise their kids in.

Racial discrimination is a learned behavior. Kids “don’t see color” until they are taught it by someone who has influence over them to get them to see the world in a certain way without letting them experience the world for themselves.

But some people don’t understand that doing this it can hurt their kids in the long run. Since it’s a learned behavior, sometimes it can be hard for kids to unlearn it later in life.

Also, the world is constantly changing. The people who are letting racial discrimination last so long are the people who refuse to grow and see that the world has changed from when they were kids. Just like kids learn from their parents, parents can learn from their kids.

Kids are more open to new ideas and ways of doing things that parents may not be receptive to. New doesn’t always mean bad and wrong, new can mean good and better.

People who are still participating in racial discrimination don’t understand that you aren’t really helping your kid achieve anything like you think you are. You are hurting them and can be hurting yourself by passing on that trait.

Maybe, without realizing it, you are doing the following things: Not letting your kids learn about other cultures and traditions, not letting your kid make friends with people who would be able to help them grow in unimaginable ways. They will feel like they aren’t able to talk to you about certain topics, thus your relationship with them won’t be as strong. They may end up bullying certain people based on what is passed onto them.

It seems like parents are still teaching their kids the golden rule of “treat others the way that you would want to be treated” but don’t want to always live by it or pick and choose when to follow it and when not to follow it.

But something else that people don’t realize is you can’t teach kids one thing and then not follow it or ignore it completely. Not only is this teaching them something wrong, but it can also confuse them as to what they are supposed to do or how they are supposed to act.

Racial discrimination happens because some parents don’t want to grow and set a better example than what for their kids. They would rather do what was taught and shown to them as they grew up.

But it also happens because sometimes people aren’t always accepting of those who are different than them. They would rather stick with what they know and what they are comfortable with.

To help put a stop to racial discrimination when I see it happening around me, I decided to learn from different clubs and events that my high school held and from events that are held here at Slippery Rock.

I also learn from past social events that have happened that have been captured by the media. When I see it happening, I try to talk with the person and explain to them why what they are doing is wrong and try to give them avenues to learn more about how to be open to learning new things. I am not an expert on this. But, to put a stop to racial discrimination, it will take effort from all of us, not just one person. But it can start that way.


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