Racism undermines 'self-made man'
Carolyn Duke | Staff ColumnistBy Carolyn Duke | 02/02/2015 10:19pm
Let’s talk about race. Let’s talk about the painful reality our society has created. Let’s face the blaring and unacceptable issues in our world today.
Some readers may just have rolled their eyes because they believe this subject has become old news. Others may have moved onto the next article in this issue of The Crimson White because they think racism and inequalities no longer exist. But I am hoping that most readers do not entertain either of these thoughts.
We all know racism is still present and intertwined in America’s culture today. Racism and prejudices are ingrained in our systems. One system that these problems are more specifically embedded in is our education system.
Before research, I believed our nation’s public education system was mostly equal and adequate when it came to providing almost every student with a modern education. I knew there were a few schools in America that didn’t quite reach the standards set, and that there were always going to be schools struggling to be fair and equal to others. However, I could not have been more wrong in my assumptions about some of the issues the education system in our country once faced and is currently battling.
Nikole Hannah-Jones’s enlightening article, “Segregation Now” is an extensive investigative journalistic article that reveals the history and current situation of segregation in Tuscaloosa public schools. Including a genuine story covering three generations of the Dent family, readers get a taste of the educational experience many have and have had in Tuscaloosa’s public schools. Along with quotes from the vast number of interviews Hannah-Jones conducted, the article includes many details about the process of desegregation and resegregation in town. The article closes with the current situation of a third generation Dent, D’Leisha, and the uncertainty of her future after she graduates from Central High School. The article is packed with numerous important details and allowed this summarization does not do “Segregation Now” justice.
To have to address such an issue in 2015 makes me shake my head in disbelief. I understand that change is difficult, especially on a national level. However, such a positive and simple change as loving and treating others as human beings no matter their skin color should not be as difficult a change as it has been made. The famous image of a “self-made man” our country emphasizes is wonderful. But when the self-made man turns into a selfish man who blindly looks after only himself at the cost of others, it detracts from what this country is all about. After reading Hannah-Jones’s article, that is one lasting impression I can’t seem to un-see.
The topic is difficult to talk about because it addresses an unnatural mindset and action that has become a natural part of our culture. Though it is a difficult subject and issue to solve, it does not give any person the excuse to ignore or simply turn their head. We must bring the issue up when the time presents itself, discuss possible solutions with our fellow peers and talk to younger people about this issue too. Help start the conversations and change early. The more the issue of racism is addressed, the more likely it will be solved.
Carolyn Duke is a sophomore majoring in secondary education - language arts. Her column runs biweekly.