The Lie of 1964

By Zach Kobayashi

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He had a dream. A dream where people would not be treated based on the color of their skin, but of the content of their character. As did all of the African-Americans. In 1964, this dream had become reality.

Or so they say.

Reports of racial discrimination are reported all across the US, from everyday racism that is experienced, the commonly known school-to-prison pipeline and even children, who as small as they are understand the invisible hierarchy presented by the American society based on race.

The best place to witness racial discrimination is in the moment itself, and Brian Jones gives this to us with a memoir he wrote on everyday racism he was subject to growing up as an African American.

One story that he mentioned was while he was in elementary school.

“I got the distinct impression that teachers didn’t like me. I got in trouble a lot, and one teacher actually wrote on my report card that I was ‘amoral’ .

“In the third grade, I had my first black teacher and the whole dynamic changed. Mrs. Brooks decided it was OK if I squirmed in my chair”.

The mere fact that the “whole dynamic changed” is basis for the blatant racism in place. Why was it that when Brian Jones had a teacher of a different race he was treated worse than when he had a teacher of the same race? In allowing these types of events to occur in a child’s youth, it may lead them to simply conform to these ‘commonalities’ and be fine with being discriminated against.

While we’re on the topic of the educational system in the US, why not talk about pipelines. I’m not talking about pipelines that supply gas or oil to houses. I’m talking about the “school to prison pipeline”. In short, the “school to prison pipeline”, as described by the Huffington Post is the idea “where children are directed straight from the classroom and into the bureaucratic clutches of the criminal justice system”. The victims of this pipeline consist of children from low-income families, that have learning disabilities or have a history with abuse and neglect. It is also stated that these children “are the very ones who might benefit from a well-rounded education”. In reality they are cast out of society: criminalized, excluded and alienated. It may be a coincidence that the majority of those victims are African American, but doesn’t change that the pipeline is another term for institutionalized racism that imprisons these deprived children instead of giving them the education needed to avoid a cold jail cell.

In giving evidence from sources more pro-African American, I think it’s about time to bring in the big guns. From an article on ‘The Conversation’ is a survey that was done on white children where they were asked questions on, you guessed it: racism.

An 11 year old Chris said this:

“I think that the white kids, since they have more power in general in society … disciplinary actions aren’t brought down as hard upon them. But when it’s, you know, a black kid getting in trouble with the police … I think people are going to be tougher with them, because, you know, [black kids] can’t really fight back as well.”

What does it say about society in the US when children see the power difference between races. If children out of all people see racism themselves through their innocent eyes, then racism must be an ongoing thing. Something that didn’t end 55 years ago as so many believe.

Some people say that certain black folk have more success or wealth than other white folks. These dense people then proceed to give examples of Michael Jordan and Lebron James and numerous other NBA stars to somehow strengthen their argument. To them I ask how much of the African American population are as wealthy as those almost divine beings. Michael Jordan being one of the greatest sporting icons in history, Hip-Hop taking over the music industry, Denzel Washington winning an Oscar, none of these overshadow the fact that African Americans are still being racially discriminated against in their everyday lives, and this can be seen through the memoir of Brian Jones, the school to prison pipeline and the statement of a white child on his views of racism.

   

Works Cited

  1. www.blackenterprise.com/10-reasons-why-white-people-think-racism-is-over/11/.
  2. http://www.theconversation.com/are-todays-white-kids-less-racist-than-their-grandparents-101710.
  3. www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/06/growing-up-black-in-america-racism-education.
  4. www.huffingtonpost.com/alexander-reynolds/school-to-prison_b_8108068.html.
    www.vox.com/2014/7/2/5865249/the-economic-legacy-of-the-civil-rights-act.