America can’t ignore the race conversation

December 18, 2014






Race has been at the forefront of American news lately.


With the recent deaths of black males Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice (among many others), large protest movements by people of many races and ethnicities have sprung up around the country.


Holding signs with the hashtag phrase “#BlackLivesMatter,” the marchers are protesting the perceived indifference they say too many police officers have for the lives of black men.


It’s not only cops. I remember when it came out that Michael Brown had stolen cigars from a convenience store prior to being shot. It soon became one of the issues played up by the media.


Should he have robbed a store? Well, no. But it seemed as if these people were excited to finally have a reason to call him a thug. Until this incident, I was unaware stealing cigars was a capital offense.

The situation made me very aware of something many refer to as “white privilege.”


It’s a term that seems to anger many white people. It can be seen, by some, as an attack. As in, “How dare they say I had things handed to me? I worked for what I have.”


Nobody is saying white people have things handed to them. It would be ignorant to assume you would have a good life just because you are white. But things are different for non-white races in this country.


In the aftermath of these incidents, I read quite a few articles about race relations, and one thing stood out to me.


There were many articles detailing “the talk” that black parents have with their sons. “The talk” entailed how to act around police without fear of retribution.


The points were the same. “Don’t wear a hoodie, don’t put your hands in your pockets, don’t talk back.


“Be prepared to be humiliated.”


I never had that talk with my parents. I was never afraid when dealing with police.


It never entered my mind that some people might be, unless they had done something wrong.


That is white privilege.


This isn’t an attack on police. It is a criticism, yes. But it is strange to me that so many people get angry when the police are criticized.


Not being able to criticize our lawkeepers is a pretty scary thought.


And until everyone, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, can encounter police without fear, we should keep criticizing.


John Sadler is a junior journalism and English major from Extension who serves as editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to jts040@latech.edu.



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