Commentary: We cannot ignore racism anymore

Katie Madden Managing Editor
Katie Madden,
Managing Editor

It has been more than a month since Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Although the media storm has quieted down and the camera crews have all but left the small St. Louis suburb, this is a story that cannot go away any time soon, despite the fact that some people say we should not talk about it anymore.

There are even some who have gone so far as to say that talking about how race plays into the tragedy is “racist” itself.

But here is the thing America; we cannot run away from the race discussion because it makes some stuffy white people angry to listen to.

Instead, we need to engage in a massive nationwide discussion about the way in which black people are still demonized and punished on a daily basis in this country instead of blatantly ignoring the facts and telling black people to either try harder or to act whiter.

As a white woman, I am afforded the privilege of knowing I will not be pulled over due to the color of my skin.

I do not have to fear that my younger brothers might get shot or arrested if they simply dare to walk in public areas.

My mother will not have her job applications thrown into the trash automatically because her name sounds “ghetto.”

We live in a country where biases still run rampant, unfairly characterizing and harming People of Color; particularly black Americans.

Problems with race run so much deeper than outright, Klan hooded racism.

While the days of segregation are long over, America still has so much farther to go.

One of the first steps towards creating change is to recognize the privileges each of us has and how we can use them in positive ways to lift up and help those who do not have the same ability to do so.

Although you may think you have never been racist, and there is probably a good chance you probably were never overtly so, it is time for us to look deep within ourselves and address the biases we might have without realizing them.

It is about time we show black Americans the respect and love they deserve for the simple fact that they are human; humans that have gone through hardships and have overcome obstacles that many of us could not even imagine.

The next time a Person of Color talks about race, do not tell them to “settle down” or “stop playing the race card.” Instead, quiet your mouth, open your mind and listen to what they have to say, because they are the ones living it and you could learn a thing or two. If you are tired hearing about racism, imagine what it is like to live with it.

Katie Madden, a senior journalism major, is managing of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at and on Twitter @KatieMadden20.

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