The “Talk”

More often than not, parents have to sit their children down and have the “talk.” You know, that “talk.” Whether it be in the living room watching the news, or even a nonchalant conversation starter on a long drive.

The one where you have to come to terms with the fact that you are not a valued citizen, second, perhaps even third class? The one where your parents have to tell you to watch your tongue and pray that you are not targeted for being what you are.

Yes. What I mean to say is that it has become all but a norm for minorities to have this discussion with their children, to help them digest the bitter pill that is the possible reality of discrimination, random checks at the airport, stop and frisk and sometimes even life and death confrontations.

To date, the number of hate crimes against minorities in America is at 7,500 or more per year. Furthermore, among the general number of hate crimes, those against ethnic minorities (or people attacked because of race) make up approximately 4,000. This is just one end of the spectrum.

When victims of hate crimes are not being attacked for race, factors such as gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation as well as disability account for the rest. On top of the hate crimes that do happen, little has been done to truly stop them. Of the 45 states that have enacted laws against hate crimes based on race, 30 or less have done the same for gender, disability and sexual orientation bias.

Furthermore, when it comes to interactions with law enforcement, stop and frisk is one practice notorious for disproportionately targeting people of color. According to the NYCLU, of the 46,000 or so stopped and frisked by the police, 82 percent were innocent, and only 12 percent were white, meaning the others targeted were all non-white. The same can be said of other places such as Los Angeles, where pedestrian stops have doubled, and even higher for those stopped in vehicles.

Moreover, concerning “random checks” at the airport, it’s no surprise that even fourteen years after 9/11, a certain group of people is still being targeted. The Obama administration allowed for some racial profiling to occur in its new security guidelines last year. This means that not only does this profiling occur, but there is now legal “justification” for these searches.

There was actually a lawsuit filed by a woman named Shoshona Hebshi when she was strip-searched by security because of her name and seating arrangement with other passengers on the plane. Taking a step back, those from predominantly Muslim countries not only have to register with the government, they also make up 79 percent of those interrogated for security reasons.

Additionally, when looking at how many people of color are actually incarcerated, it’s important to note the actual ratio. Of the total colored population (30 percent of the United States), 60 percent of them make up the prison population, which indicates an inclination to incarcerate people of color. Furthermore, many of these arrests are for drug use or possession, with whites using drugs 5 times as much as people of color, while POC are 10 times more likely to be arrested for the same offense.

With this unfortunate statistics in mind, it is also important to remember the string of officer-involved shootings in which innocent people were shot for reasons that many would consider to be bias. One of the most notable is that of Michael Brown’s, sparking a movement that spread from Ferguson to many places around the globe. Many others involve victims that were mentally ill, or simply non-white, more often that not, unarmed as well.

People with disabilities, however, seem to be rather overlooked. Only 1 percent of hate crimes reported involved disabilities, but these numbers are usually under-reported if at all. Furthermore, when looking at the mental illness related aspect, the victims are sometimes homeless (which is another stigma entirely), and are targeted by common citizens to law enforcement.

Looking at the broader picture, the numbers can be depressing as well as discouraging when it comes to change, however there is several organizations aimed at combating the discrimination faced by many groups. They include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as well as Amnesty International to some extent.

Regardless of these efforts, discrimination is still a huge problem despite the strides made already. We need to recognize the fact that this will continue unless we take this problem on as a unified community. This means setting aside differences and working towards a more equal society. Once we see eye to eye as individuals, rather than harbor preconceived notions, then can we truly achieve egality.

My hopes are that perhaps one day in the far future, I will not have to have the same talk with my kids. Nobody should have to live with the fear of being discriminated against, or even with the idea that they are second or third class citizens. This right to equality is and should be universal.

Just a note, not everyone in America has to deal with this, fortunately. My parents had this talk with me after Chapel Hill, because not every community is as diverse and accepting as mine where I’m living. The fear is that in some places in the US, things like this happen, and we have to be ready for what could happen and the change in attitude. America is great, but we have our flaws too, and thats what criticism and dialogue are for.

Another note, several people on here and off have asked or commented on violence against women. Understand that, that in itself is a vast topic and I will hopefully have that research done soon.

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23 comments

  1. This is the fundamental problem of humanity: not taking kindly to those, who are not similar or who have got idea which is not belong to you. Plus, if the fear is feeding with sub-factors, then it means “you should afraid the someones unlike you”. This is the contrast to the human by human. That’s why the intellectual revolutions had been always “beautiful and alone”. In fact they have very few fans. Because revolutions is made for removing contrast.

    All of these “unlike you” issue is related to ignorance. If the countries, which are defined as the big country are analysed in ignorance basis, it reveals that in fact they are not big as they seemed. The capitalist system does not allow getting real advanced education of the people. Ignorance will continue at next, it has been for centuries like that. And much more elite class will continue to intimidate people through these fears.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It drives me insane when people deny that this problem exists. I’m not a “person of color” but I keep my eyes open, and yes, I see this.

    I HAVE seen little things that bug me as a female. I don’t appreciate being called “hon” by people I don’t know… It’s such a little thing, but I want to say, “Look, Mr. Used Car Salesman, I don’t want to make assumptions based on things like your sleazy demeanor, or the fact that you are a used car salesman, but I’m guessing that my level of education trumps yours, so you can drop the condescending attitude right about now…”

    What makes me angrier than anything is seeing someone who has no doubt been stereotyped and dismissed as someone worth less stick his or her head in the sand and try to kiss up to the people who do them the most harm. I’m not saying there needs to be a call to arms, but at least ACKNOWLEDGE that these things happen at least SOMETIMES, and that perhaps he or she has been luckier than many, or he or she has just failed to observe what is right in front of him/her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Im sorry that you face subtle discrimination on the basis of gender, sometimes subtle is often the worst. I didnt really touch up on the gender based discrimination and hate crime because thats a whole different ball game for me and I felt like that wouldve been alot to write haha. But yes, it is indeed a big issue and it needs to be addressed, especially in the media where we see the most negative portrayals of women, as well as people of color.

      Like

    2. Also, correct me if I misinterpreted this, when you talk about those who “kiss up” to the oppressor, they are really only doing harm to themselves and their community. It gives the person who is doing the injustice a sense of entitlement, and thus they feel as if they can continue, which only hampers the whole equality movement. We dont need to gloss things over or have to rely on those who cause us harm if we want change. Sometimes we have to see the harsh reality to truly change things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When it comes to religious discrimination, one of the ironies is that often, the worst offenders are the ones who feel their own mainstream religion is under attack. Apparently to some, “Freedom of Religion” means “you are free to agree with me or get out of the country my ancestors confiscated from people who arrived before they did.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I feel it! Being a religious minority in America, outside of my community I feel the discrimination. I think its hard for some to realize that me, just your ordinary American girl is not capable of blowing up or hijacking a plane XD The worst part is always having to get my scarf checked, like hello, its just a head of lovely hair haha.

        But despite this fact, I have come to realize and understand that these people often discriminate out of fear. Fear that both the media and gov’t create. There are really some people who have never seen a Muslim before, or a black person, or a middle eastern person. Thats when we should be open to dialogue to discuss these things.

        And plus, without immigrants, we wouldnt have as many advancements. In fact, many of our immigrants are actually highly skilled workers, doctors, engineers, businessmen/women. So it all comes down to the fear factor and propaganda that is keeping one group hostile with others.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. First off you really are a fantastic writer – you deliver messages in such a powerful way. Okay and second this is a topic that bothers me greatly. The reason for that is I grew up in one of the 4 whitest states in the US. Which meant I brought diversity. I am only half colombian with a very slight tan. For the most part I never had to deal with any sort of discrimination that I noticed at least. There was only one time I recall when I faced any sort of racism and I was hardly phased by it. So when I hear about things like that I realize how lucky I was to grow up where I did and to be raised by the person I was raised by. My biggest problem is I’ve never known what to do about it. If I ever hear people being racist or talking about the NSA or airport or things like that in general I’ll speak up, but that has never felt like enough.

    So while I may not be the same caliber of writer as you but I will support the people who have that talent like you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Dom! 🙂 I appreciate it. Although this obviously won’t happen to everyone, what can be done is standing up for the ones it happens to when it does. When it does happen (hopefully it doesn’t) the best thing to do is be patient, and relaize that the person who does discriminate against you has to stoop incredibly low to make themselves feel superior. Sometimes they do it out of fear as well, and by showing them patience and kindness, oftentimes they’ll walk away with a better understanding and perhaps guilt as well. I personally love diverse places, and I cant imagine living anywhere else. Thats why Im always such a strong supporter of equality and acceptance of many races/cultures/beliefs

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to live in a more diverse place but it’s not easy obviously. So I do stand up for it when I can – meaning when I see it. I know that in this lifetime we probably wont be able to eliminate racism and discrimination in general, and it saddens me that you and everybody else will have to deal with that. But maybe for the next generation we can improve things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Definitely, the future is always in mind, especially with the hopes that it will be better!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, by the way, I added more artists to worth a listen, I think you might like some of the other ones

        Liked by 1 person

      4. OH right I need to go listen to those links! I will check some of them out tonight and the rest tomorrow! I still need to edit my story too. I was so unproductive this vacation lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great article! Maybe you should be reconsidering medical school, I think journalism is your calling! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, well, I still want to pursue freelance journalism, bio just happens to be a strong point as well, and being a doctor fascinates me. I think I could do both 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you can both, too, and I’m sure you’ll do great at both!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hate crimes against women (domestic violence and rape) are a far bigger problem and have an even lower prosecution rate.

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    1. That is most definitely true, but since its such a vast topic on its own (violence against women) it cant be squeezed in with the examples I have given.

      Like

  6. Dear ars, I couldn’t find your post about Pakistani banned wp, that’s why I comment in here, sorry. But I guess, the ban was lifted. There are two blogs I have follow from Pakistani and they started to write again:)
    And by the way, Turkey, in today banned youtube, facebook and twitter; and after 1.30 am according to local time, google will add to that banned list, is being said. I do not know what will be situation, if I cannot be around here in couple days, it could be the reason;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for telling me Migo! I hope they don’t ban wordpress though, it would suck if you didn’t write things for awhile 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do not worry dear ars, I have written a post about this subject right now;) and thank you so much!:)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You write powerfully. Well done.

    Like

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