Updated: Dec 2, 2020
In 2018, I was visiting my favorite pizza shop after school and ordering my regular cheese pizza to-go. That day, I decided to order a side of garlic knots and marinara sauce and the cashier asked me the most unexpected, puzzling question:
“Do you want meat in your sauce because I know “your people” don’t eat meat”, he said.
I had never heard someone say “your people” in such a disgusted tone. I thought to myself; since when was being Indian a bad thing? Since when had society decided that I should be looked upon with disgust and treated rudely? Since when had society decided to generalize every Indian into one category? I will truly never understand why. I will never forget that day, as it reminds me of the racial injustice I have dealt with my whole life.
This blatant form of racism was not limited to me but also experienced by my family, friends, and peers of color. These judgments are made against us so quickly, without any regard for who we actually are. Many people only see our skin color and forget that we’re human too. I felt like something was wrong with me, but with growth, I have realized I’m not the problem. Society is the problem.
History of Racial Injustice
Racial injustice is defined as the superiority that humans feel based on their skin color. In this case, people of color are seen as inferior, which is why many instances of racism are prominent within our society. Racism presents itself in various social, economic, and political inequalities, and most prominently impacts the black community.
Pre-existing thoughts against those of color have been prevalent in history since the onset of slavery, as millions of Africans were stripped away from their homelands and forced to perform free labor in treacherous situations. The Civil War led to the abolition of slavery, but the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding people of color never ceased to exist.
In the many years following, black communities faced tremendous racism, discrimination, and segregation. On a national level, the combined efforts from several activists, including Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, reshaped the values of the country. In Philadelphia, activists such as Octavio Catto, James Forten, Caroline Lecount, and many others fought for change.
Interested in reading more about Philadelphia activists? Click here!
Racial Injustice Today
Racial injustice is prevalent in disparities within the healthcare, education, and justice systems. We see large income gaps, lack of job opportunities, and many other aspects of racial inequality. Statistically, according to the Center for American Progress, “it could take more than 200 years for the average Black family to accumulate the same amount of wealth as its white counterparts”, emphasizing the stark divide between the incomes of whites and blacks. This divide has ubiquitously led to differences in inaccessibility to healthcare, education, and justice.
The Black Community and Income Inequality
On average, a black man earns 87 cents for every dollar a white man earns.
Due to the shortcoming of income, many members of the black community cannot afford to have a place to stay, to have food every night, or to be able to go to the doctor when they are sick.
If you are interested in learning more about the black community and the prevalent income inequality, click here!
On average, people of color are given lower-quality health care in comparison to their white counterparts.
Minorities are less likely to be given appropriate care in regards to accessibility to kidney dialysis, transplants, coronary bypass operations, and angiographies.
Members of the black community are 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured in comparison to those of the Caucasian community.
Click this link to learn more about healthcare inequality within the black community!
research has found that teachers have lower expectations for black students based purely on the preconceptions made by their skin tone.
57% of black students have access to the full range of math and science courses necessary for college readiness compared to 71% of white students
Many predominately black school districts are underfunded, meaning teachers are not paid enough and the curriculum is not specific enough for children to be able to learn the depth of the content necessary.
61% of ACT-tested black students do not meet the four ACT college readiness benchmarks
Learn more by clicking this link!
George Floyd, an African American man, was killed after being accused of utilizing a counterfeit $20 bill. Because of this, officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, killing him. Floyd was shouting “I CAN’T BREATHE.”
Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed male, was shot and killed in Georgia while jogging
Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was shot eight times while sleeping peacefully in her apartment.
Jacob Blake, a law-abiding citizen, was shot seven times while trying to descale a fight between 2 women
The 2020 Black Lives Matter Movement was sparked due to the massive outrage caused by the deaths of these unarmed members of the black community.
Learn more about racial injustice by clicking here
Following the tragic events this summer, I attended a protest in Yardley, PA. The streets were filled with a never-ending crowd of people and my faith in humanity was restored. It warmed my heart that as a community, we could come together and advocate for something we truly believe in. I hope that as a nation we continue to inspire change and grow, as we are all deserving of a better future.
How You Can Make A Change:
Educate yourself! Stay up to date with current news regarding social, racial, and justice issues. These can be found on various news websites and typically over social media! The more you know, the more you can help to make a change.
Some of my favorite Instagram accounts that publish current news are:
Get involved! Utilize social media to find out when movements are occurring in your city and what you can do to be involved! Remember, you don’t always have to physically be there to contribute something of value to the movement!
This is an organization in Philly that highlights ongoing campaigns and what you can do to help!
Speak up for what you believe in! Never be afraid to voice your beliefs. Your voice matters and deserves to be heard!
Donate to organizations that are helping the cause! There are many organizations nationally and locally that could use your help! Listed below are organizations you can volunteer with to help aid black communities!
Interested in Volunteering or Donating?
Volunteer at Uhuru Furniture Philly to defend the rights of the black community and create economic prosperity for black-owned businesses!
This fund has been created to protest against ongoing police brutality and does so by providing direct bail assistance to those in need.
The Black Lives Matter Philly movement is a resistance of anti-black violence in order to protect the future of many lives. One can donate to the cause and/or join the movement!