Black Lives Matter – For Now
In my life, the topic of race is addressed on a daily basis. Whether it is on the news, in my home, or in the classroom, racial issues are prevalent, even now in the twenty-first century. Coming from a predominately white high school, I am no stranger to questions and conversations about ethnicity. I am used to being the only person of color in my class, and answering questions like “Is that your real hair,” or “Are you wearing a weave?” My neighbors back at home used to tell me, “You talk like you’re white,” just because I went to a private school. I have experienced all types of racial attitudes throughout my entire life. Recently, as racial panic has been spreading throughout the United States, the discussion of color and privilege has come up more often, especially on college campuses and within the younger generation.
Each day, I find myself having at least one conversation about race, with at least one classmate or peer at Temple University. I constantly overhear other students discussing police brutality and the repeated killing of our fathers, sons, and brothers. I have also received e-mails from the Black Student Union, inviting me to attend the die-in protests around campus. However, I wonder if my peers are truly concerned about the issues, or if they are just jumping on the bandwagon because it’s the popular thing to do at this moment in time. A month from now, will these same people still be out protesting and lobbying for our rights as African Americans, or will they be back to calling each other the “n” word and have forgotten all about the issues. These questions continually plague my mind each time I see or hear
discussions about race. At this point in my college career, I have witnessed discrimination first-hand, and have seen friends and even strangers be verbally abused by not only police officers, but also other students around campus. There are times when I come together with my friends and we share and compare stories from our week that have involved some type of controversial occurrence involving race. This is not purposeful, but rather something that is so commonplace in our everyday lives, that we can’t help but bring it up. As I was catching up with a friend from high school over the holidays, I found that we spent the entire evening sharing our separate racial experiences from our respective schools. I was shocked to find that my friend, who is of Indian descent, and a student at Northeastern University in Boston, could share the same racial experiences as me. She expressed that she, too had regular conversations about racial issues at her college, and that she and her friends have traveled to New York City in order to take part in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Since our current generation is witnessing and experiencing our own version of a civil rights movement, I feel that these constant conversations about racial attitudes have the ability to change the views of many younger people.
These racial discussions are not only taking place among the African American community, but in every ethnic community around several campuses in the United States. On social networks, I notice friends of mine from other cultures and backgrounds, at colleges very different from Temple University, posting articles and making statuses revealing their feelings regarding race and the current racial issues in the world. If this were a few years ago, the majority of my peers would have only been posting about pop culture occurrences. Currently, I have noticed a
great deal of debate and support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as the marches in downtown Philadelphia, and in New York City. While some of the opinions that I have seen posted around campus and on social media have not been positive, I believe that any discussion about race means that people are analyzing and reevaluating their behaviors and how they treat others. It is interesting to see various classmates debating with each other on Facebook about ethnicity, however I am proud to see my friends have a voice and take a stand, no matter what their opinion may be. It is my hope that these discussions of race are not just a phase, but that they will be a continuum for spreading awareness and educating those that are not as well versed and open-minded on the issues.