Opinion | Race remains ever-present in America


Photo Courtesy of Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

An icon illustration of Eric Garner who died in on July 17, 2014 in Staten Island, New York after an NYPD officer put him in a prohibited chokehold is shown above. Columnist Andrea Martinez argues that the topic of race is ever-present in today’s society and should continue to garner attention.

By Andrea Martinez, Columnist

If the pandemic has taught Americans anything, it is that racial injustice is real and cannot be ignored. It is an epidemic — a reality that must be recognized, acknowledged, addressed and fought against through intentionally anti-racist policies and actions.

However, this is not a new conversation. Black and brown people learn at young ages of their lives in attempting to navigate American society. For the non-Black person, it is easier to digest the realities of racism if it can be blamed on seemingly impenetrable factors.

Especially in such an individualistic culture as America, where society is conditioned to label an arrest or use of force as a personal blunder — too prevalent is the argument that if you were treated poorly by someone or an institution, it is the fault of you as a person and not the offender or institution in power itself.

In America, society seems to accept the American judicial system as God — an otherwise omnipotent, omniscient being whose verdicts are out of our control, or more so that they are untouchable in the eyes of man.

Black Lives Matter — a modern-day rebranding of the centuries-long battle for black rights — has brought the untouchable factors of institutions into the spotlight. With an interesting intersection of social media, technology and data science at the forefront of these cases, the truth of the American government’s plight against marginalized communities is coming to light.

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As Americans were stuck inside, all they could witness was the growing division between fellow citizens from all social groups and classes. More people are now getting their news through social media instead of traditional news media sources. 

Residents watched coverage of coronavirus cases in real time, as opposed to waiting for news sources to release statements. People all over the world bore witness to police brutality and the unfairness of the government in the Trump era.

Americans communed to fill Netflix’s pockets, binge-watching their original content — from “Tiger King” to “Bridgerton,” no form of media was immune to class analysis and deeper political commentary.

Still, society’s collective indoor time has allowed the people in this country to confront reality and not only educate themselves on the greater Black Lives Matter movement but to actively unlearn from the racist American education system. 

The time is now — Americans from all walks of life are hyperaware of how pervasive racism is throughout every aspect of the American government, media and people.

Race in America is never going away. Diversity in every sense is America’s hallmark; but at the same time, it remains the single-most pervasive racist undertone of the American psyche. The American people must stop pretending race does not affect every single citizen’s way of life.

Andrea is a junior in LAS.

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