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Civil Conversation Project


Race in America

In Conversation with Asa Hinton

Racism is an idea that this nation has lived under for hundreds of years. It has destroyed lives, dreams, businesses, and generations of men and women of America. In fact, the basis of our “great” country was built upon racism, dating back to the colonization of the land in 1492. As corny and cliche as it sounds, if I could solve any ethical dilemma in our society it under be racism. Racism has not only destroyed black lives, but the lives of many Asian, Latin American, and many other people. The whole idea of racism is honestly stupid and ridiculous, how can you hate someone based on the color of their skin, and then have the audacity to discriminate against them for being born a certain race?

My ancestors dealt with racism at its worst: slavery. Slavery destroyed millions of black lives across the country, and separated many Africans from their families and homes. This time period brought many blacks to America, and you’d think after over 200 years of oppression we would receive our rights immediately, right? Wrong! Black people still went another 100 years without receiving their full rights. We were even promised an amount of land as compensation for slavery (which no one ever received). One day on the bus, I overheard a lady speaking about how she was still waiting on her 40 acres and her mule. After research in what she was talking about, I found out that all descendants of slaves should have received 40 acres of land. Where is my land, Obama?

Though racism has gotten less and less chaotic over time, it continues to wreak havoc on the minorities of our country today. Many blacks are being discriminated against and wrongfully killed by police officers all the time. It’s as if after all these years, we still cannot be treated as equals for some reason. Frankly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of walking around the palisades after school and getting dirty looks. Tired of ignorant comments students make about me when I say something smart, as if I can’t read or learn with the same capabilities as them. Most importantly, I’m tired of the unwanted and unnecessary hatred my blackness causes for many people.

One may ask, “If you don’t stand racism, why attend a predominantly white college?” I want to attend a predominantly white college for this very reason, in attempt to spread love and positivity and show people that not all black people are “thugs”. Sure I enjoy rap music, but I am not a product of my environment, nor will I labeled as such, because I am a young black man with knowledge. My mother’s father always told me that, “a smart black man is the most powerful man in the world.” Honestly, I agree with this statement wholeheartedly, because black people shape the culture in America, and if enough black men prove that we are just as good as white people we cannot be stopped.

In Conversation David Castillo

Throughout my life I seem to have noticed that I don’t belong. Humans perceive each other as unattached from the reality of life and virtually attached to a fugazi. I grew up in a household with no father and too much mother, as well as a brother that held himself to be something truly remarkable. I’ve aspired to find consciousness; yet, consciousness does not want to be found. I noticed at a very young age that being brown was a crime. Distanced from my indigenous ancestors I held no knowledge of what being magnificent truly meant. I speak a language of imperialism—a language that has incarcerated my consciousness, and replaced it with an image of a false god. I am my people. My people that were raped, murdered, and betrayed. My people that understood the simplicity of economics, agriculture, and respect but did not understand biological extermination.

Keeping me “safe” my mother took me to church and raised me to be a Christian, which has had a huge impact on my life. I realized that I hate religion. Every aspect of praising a figment pushed me toward finding who I truly am. I began to read the bible not in a form of religious devotion, but as a literal guide to live my life. The book showed me that if I had respect toward others, I would soon gain respect. As I progressed, society still saw me as a monkey that would grow up with no father and would eventually do drugs or end up dead or in jail, which is the mental standard of brown and black beings to this day. Entering high school was challenging because my understanding of life was at a point that I disliked everything and had no consideration toward anyone. I began to slack off and not do anything, which pushed the reality of an stereotypical unsuccessful brown boy. The only thing that motivated me to succeed was the sacrifices my mother had to make for my brother and I to survive and live a grander life than hers.

People that care have showed me a perception of life that I had never encountered as a materialized being, I began to care for others not based on their skin color but because of who they were as humans. I understood the systematic oppression that has been placed by those who rule. Being in the Human Rights club has helped me grow as a person and be confident of who I am by participating in the many events, I believe without the club and people around me my mind would be in a place of desperation rather than triumph. In a moment of my life I began to attach to someone that I appreciated to the fullest extent, this person understood me and had a certain aesthetic that compelled me to love. Beyond that, I soon became distant and lost the one person that truly understood me. I realized that I didn’t appreciate the person until they left, initially presenting myself as devastated. As I got older I chose to follow a life of vegetarianism to greater understand and respect life around me.

I have lost my will to understand my indigenous language, forced upon me by those who exploit and rule. Those who have colonized my ancestors minds, as well enforced a religion upon my people. I have no understanding of my culture, which sickens me. I must push further to break these barriers enforced upon my people. I must know who I am, with no knowledge on how to understand myself. I must be proud of what I am, rather than desperately try to fit into a society that has enslaved our minds.

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