Home Opinions Talk It Out

Talk It Out

Illustration by: Karina Herrera | Staff Illustrator

How racial monikers harm society
By Evelin Garcia

Tension among races has always existed, but categorizing humans based on the color of their skin and other physical characteristics does not help.

Race has a way of dividing the citizenry and leaving some to feel inferior to others. It lists people under specific groups that isolate all types of crowds from identifying with one another. By definition, “race” means a group of people set apart from others due to shared physical traits.

The concept of race was created to categorize distinct groups, in hopes to understand and better communicate with those of other geographical and cultural backgrounds. Ideally, race would only play the part of organization, but the truth is far more sinister.

Race is a divider in society, condemning particular groups to be treated in an undeserved way. The division of races represents a problem because it creates and exacerbates inequality.

The inequality caused by race is formed from generalizations linked to racial groups. There are certain perceptions that follow racial groups and allow room for inequality to invade. Inequality begins with the view and reputation each race is known for and the way these perceptions influence the manner in which such groups are treated.

Race influences choices that can affect lives for the worse. Ongoing instances like the Michael Brown and the Trayvon Martin cases are illustrations of how race can turn select groups into targets.

Police officers have singled out African Americans because of negative generalizations about the group. The reputation that follows a race has proven to be a threat to those belonging to it.

It has been estimated more than 80 percent of the episodes associated with police and civilian deaths were sparked because the officer felt threatened. A perceived threat is kindled by misperceptions about race groups, and it has commonly ended in death.

Not only does race represent a threat to the lives of the innocent, but it has also formed a division in society. Distinction based upon skin color and other superficial traits has generated a social wall that hinders people from understanding one another.

Race was supposed to help people see the similarities they shared with those who appeared different. Instead it has done the complete opposite. The separation of races has created inequality by condemning certain groups to be haunted by reputations they did not construct. This leaves everyone isolated from one another based on so-called facts. It is an unfortunate fate, so it’s time to break the cycle.

Why racial monikers can lead to a better society
By Rivers Wright

To understand one’s race or ethnicity is to understand life.

Race is needed to elicit understanding and help categorize people in society. Through racial identification, people can understand that even though someone has a different background, the individual should still be respected.

It sounds archaic to separate people into specific groups based off certain features such as skin color, but it is not done with offense. Racially categorizing has its roots in ensuring someone’s race is identified and celebrated.

Recently, it seems that separating people into their races has only widened the gap and made certain individuals seem superior while condemning others as inherently inferior. In a twisted turn of events, it has been forgotten that there is an actual living person under that dark skin—one with a beating heart.

To combat this misuse of power, America needs to stop and ask questions. Is the cop stopping an African American because the individual did something wrong or solely because he is black? This is exactly why we need race identifiers more than ever. Race needs to exist so people can understand when a line has been crossed into offensive territory.

Take cultural appropriation, for example. Being educated about race will stop Native American headdresses from being bought and used for Halloween. These identifiers are needed to ensure that human decency remains intact. It also ensures that no one is hurt because of intentional or unintentional ignorance.

Issues in society are not about race—they are about a lack of human decency with race as the scapegoat. It is the ignorance of thinking someone is not a person because they do not look and think like you.
Race has and always will be a touchy subject. That does not mean it should be put in the back of the closet and left alone. It should be brought to light and talked about. America is supposed to be about equality and ensuring freedom for all—not some.

The original intent of racial identifiers was to organize people from different backgrounds. Human attitude then turned it into a weapon to make others around them feel less human. People took the idea of race to a dark place and used it as emotional warfare to tear down others because their skin color did not match.

The idea of race itself did not do this, the cold-blooded human heart did. The time has to come to redefine the word and make it one of understanding and acceptance.

Ethnicity needs to be celebrated. The public needs to be educated where education is severely lacking. Race can be discussed without negative judgment or violence.

America is a society built on change and moving forward into the future. Changing the way race is looked at—making it about acceptance, rather than intolerance—is a way for a difference to be made as well as a forward motion into the future.