Systemic racism exists, stop acting like it doesn’t

McKayla Clarksnodgrass, Photo Editor

Something that has grown more and more apparent over the last few years, especially this past summer with the Black Lives Matter protests, is how our society is rigged against people of color. You don’t always understand the full scale of issues when you’re a child. 

Systemic racism is sometimes seen as a political thing, but shouldn’t be. By that, I mean it’s seen as a left-wing versus right-wing issue. Even acknowledging it is considered a left-wing versus right-wing stance. It’s a real issue affecting real people and brushing it off like it’s nothing is so painfully ignorant.

Let’s start off with what systemic racism is. Systemic racism isn’t a system full of racist people and everyone is racist like some seem to think. It’s a system that targets people of color because of the racist history of our nation. 

System racism isn’t just Black and white. Every person of color is affected by it but we don’t learn about it and that harms everyone. We don’t learn much — if anything — about Dennis Banks, Cesar Chavez, or Yuri Kochiyama. They’re important historical figures for civil rights too. The first vice president of color, Charles Curtis, was indigenous and many people throughout the United States don’t even learn about him.

People often ignore the struggles of other groups but we seem to completely erase the history of the systemic issues affecting those outside of the black community. Systemic racism is a vast issue that we’ve only begun to touch the surface of.

Acknowledging systemic racism shouldn’t be seen as an attack either, but I’ve heard a specific group of people act like it is. Acknowledging its existence is the first step to getting change and what it seems like, and most likely is, is that those people don’t want change. Change scares people even when it is needed.

Systemic racism exists whether you’ve had positive or negative experiences with something. Have you never been discriminated against? That doesn’t mean others don’t. Never feared for your life because of your race? Well, others do. This isn’t a topic that should be debated like the best food or drink, because whether you like it or not, the answer remains the same because systemic racism and is harmful.

Over the summer, I felt a sort of hope that maybe we’ll see some kind of change soon but then people stopped talking about the systemic issues the moment people stopped protesting in the streets. It was silent and people acted like nothing happened. Fighting for change isn’t a trend. The fight doesn’t end when the protests do — you have to continue using your voice until real change comes.