What is your race preventing you from achieving?

by Kristina on April 3, 2012 · 6 comments

knit red hat

With the recent shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida by a local Neighbourhood Watch citizen, I started thinking about how some people view people of different races.  Trayvon Martin was walking home from the store and wearing a hoodie sweatshirt when he was shot to death by a Neighbourhood Watch citizen who said that Trayvon Martin looked suspicious. If our race can prevent us from walking home at night with some candy and a soft drink, what else is our race preventing us from achieving?

During the work week I have to abide by the dress code enforced by the bank where I work.  However on the weekend you will often see me running errands while wearing a hoddie sweatshirt and jeans.  If you saw me on the weekend buying groceries in my converse sneakers you may never think that I am university educated, a certified financial planner, and employed full time at a bank.  But then again why would you assume that I didn’t?

On the night that he was shot to death Trayvon Martin was not trying to achieve anything other than buy some candy at the local store and walk back home safely.  Unfortunately young Trayvon Martin did not make it home safely that night, he was shot to death by a citizen who is supposed to keep the neighbourhood safe, not cause harm. If the way we dress, the grammar that we use when we talk, and the colour of our skin provokes people to aim and shoot gunfire in our direction when we are walking home with a bag of candy in one hand and a bottle of iced tea in the other hand what other actions are our clothes, grammar, and skin colour provoking people to take against us?

– Job opportunity Discrimination.  It is very possible that we may not be offered a job because of our race, religion, or skin tone.  It is unfortunate, but it is true.  Sometimes companies have race quotas that require them to hire a certain number of “minorities” and I also think that this is unfair.  I don’t want someone to become a Fireman just because they are Latino, Caucasian, or African American. I want someone to become a Fireman because he (or she) is the best at the job and who would be able to save me if I am ever in a dangerous situation.

– Being in a Relationship and Finding True Love. In my opinion interracial relationships have become the norm, but unfortunately they have not always been accepted. I believe that everyone should have the right to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.  I am not only saying this because I am one half of an interracial relationship, I am saying it because I honestly believe it.  Older generations may not be as open to interracial relationships as younger generations are.  I have several friends who are currently being pressured by their parents or grandparents to find true love with someone who is from the same race and who shares the same cultural and religious beliefs as they do.

– Earning an Equal Income.  Someone’s income should be determined based on their education and experience as well as the expertise that they have to offer.  It should never be determined based on their skin colour.

– Buying Our Dream Home in the Perfect Neighbourhood.   A few years ago my boyfriend Nick and I were thinking about moving and we went to visit a gorgeous apartment in a really nice neighbourhood. During the visit the landlord told us that there were not any non Caucasians living in the building. We never heard back from the landlord regarding our tenant application even though my boyfriend and I both have stable jobs (that may be an oxymoron these days) with a combined household income of over $100,000.  It is totally ridiculous to me that we were not approved for the apartment based on the colour of my boyfriend’s skin.  We are all people and everyone pays rent on the 1st of the month, regardless of their race.

Maybe I am totally naive but do we seriously live in a world when someone can be discriminated against (or even shot) because of how they dress, how they talk, or because of the colour of their skin?

Photo by normanrack

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 E.D. April 3, 2012 at 7:36 am

Yes we do live in that world. I’ve been actively discriminated against because of my religion and get to hear plenty of bigoted comments, probably because I don’t “look like” a typical *blank*. I haven’t heard racist comments since leaving home to go to college, but I know from my friends who are minorities that discrimination is still rampant.

I try very hard not to be discriminatory, but it can be difficult. One of my grandfathers is a complete racist. Also, in an effort to teach, most of my public school teachers taught that native-born people who spoke with a heavy accent (e.g., Southerners, Jerseyites) or didn’t use proper English were lazy and potentially not very bright. And I think I got off light when it comes to learned prejudice.

2 Michelle April 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

I’m discriminated against because I’m mixed (white and asian) and because I look extremely young. No one usually takes me seriously and I usually make a point to tell people that I have multiple degrees, have a career, a house, etc, but no one ever believes me. It’s extremely frustrating.

3 Kristina April 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thank you for sharing your stories. I absolutely hate the fact that we can be discriminated against because of our race or religion. What is it going to take to make people view all people equally?

4 Bryan at Pinch that Penny! April 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm

The Trayvon Martin story infuriates me. INFURIATES. I can’t believe that we live in this America, where the police may now (per recent Supreme Court ruling) strip-search ANY PERSON THEY ARREST, but whose hands are apparently tied to arrest somebody for shooting an unarmed person. It makes me want to fall off the grid.

5 T. Thema Martin April 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

Race and skin color are always going to be a factor. The darker you are, the worse it is. I do believe when it comes to interracial couples that it is more of a bigger deal when one person is black. I don’t believe whites make a big deal seeing a white man with a white Hispanic (JLo/Ben Affleck). However, it was a big deal to see a white Hispanic and black man (JLo/Puff Daddy and The Rock and his Cuban wife).

6 Keating Willcox April 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

Society is filled with signals, communication regarding status, skills, civility, and safety. Regardless of skin color, and actually far exceeding skin color, signals of economic and social status depend more on language, clothing, and behavior. I don’t think I have ever felt physically threatened by a group of young men wearing jackets and ties, speaking in a low and civil manner, and extending signals of cooperation and friendship. The further away such a group goes from such signals, the more most folks pick up on the possible threat, and basically unattractive quality of the group. These signals are all willful and voluntary, and they are choices that speak volumes. I would remind every person of color that they are one suit of clothes and one set of behaviors away from being totally accepted even as a stranger. Best example, Fox Business Charles Payne and Scientist Neil deGrasse send out signals of civility and friendship. Who knows what their politics are? They would appear to be great neighbors and friends, and worth knowing.

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