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Why is Racism Still a Thing?

I’ve lived in a racially diverse city all my life. Because of this, I don’t treat individuals of other races any differently than I treat individuals of my own race. Racist acts or remarks of any kind just don’t make sense to me. Blacks are people. Whites are people. Asians are people. Individuals, no matter what race they were born into, are a part of the human race and deserve to be treated equally. From my perspective, I thought racism only existed in a few random locations in the United States, far from where I live. It certainly wasn’t something that was a problem in the Quad City Area, but it’s easy to have that perspective as a white woman who has never had to deal with racist attacks of any kind.

When news of George Floyd’s death became public, I was appalled. Who wouldn’t be? It was a devastating and unnecessary loss. My heart goes out to his family. Every time a death like this occurs or someone is harmed as a result of racism, I find myself confused and flabbergasted that racism is still a thing. Why is racism still a thing? I don’t understand why some people can’t see the injustice of treating someone differently because their skin is a different color. I don’t understand why blacks have to justify their right to be treated equally – something that should already be their privilege. Why does it take these widely publicized racist acts for me to notice that racism still exists in such alarming numbers in the United States?

I acknowledge that I am under-informed on this issue. I’ve never been an “activist” type of person. When I disagree with something unjust happening in the world, I make it known on a small scale if such opportunity presents itself in my little bubble that I call life. Most of the time that doesn’t happen. This week, racism in my community was made known. When I heard that there had been a peaceful protest in downtown Davenport, I was glad to know that people in my community were standing against the unjust death of George Floyd. But then riots started taking place that led to looting and property damage and closed businesses and county-wide curfews.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the riots that have been taking place. I don’t see how thefts and property damage are supposed to bring change that will end racism. But on the other hand, as has been pointed out to me, peaceful protests don’t always produce change, either. I don’t think true change can happen until those responsible for the injustices are regularly held accountable for their actions. As long as racists know they can get away with their actions, they will continue to act unjustly. George Floyd’s death never should have happened. The officers responsible have been fired, but will they truly be held accountable and be prosecuted for their crime? I suppose that is yet to be determined. I hope and pray that the riots that have already happened are enough to get the attention of officials who can prosecute the responsible parties and bring justice for George Floyd’s family.

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