Nico G. Oregon

What are you going to do?

Institutional Racism in the U.S.

Dear Future President,

     There is racial inequality all over the United States. People may say otherwise but evidence shows. No matter where you look, in the racial wage gap, the education system, in police brutality, as well the criminal justice and national prison systems things are not equal. Things have definitely improved, coming from slavery to segregation to where we are now is a fantastic accomplishment, but we are still far from finished. The solutions to racial inequality may seem hard to find and implement, but there are things you could start doing now to help solve this problem.

     Race sadly plays a huge part in class and the national wage. Some people think that the wage gap is a myth so, before we can solve the problem, we need to address that it exists. There are a lot of excuses for reasons why the wage gap isn’t real, but this (1) article by CNN sums it up pretty well. In 2015, on average, white people earned $25.22 an hour while black people earned $18.49. When I was reading this I actually learned that the wage gap has widened and is at the worst it’s been in the past 40 years. The wage gap between white and black people is bigger than the wage gap between men and women. This is obviously unfair yet most people don’t know or don’t care. Most people who disagree would say that white people have better education and graduation rates and that is why they have higher paying jobs. That might be true, but is really fair?

     After all, there are still a lot of problems (2) in the American school systems across the country . Getting to college and having a good experience with school is harder for Black people than it is for Whites. Whether it is access to learning resources, graduation and dropout rates, punishment, or a whole boatload of other problems, students are not being treated fairly. This bias is deep within the whole education system but there are still things we could be doing right now (3). Exposing kids to other places and people, teaching about organizations like Black Lives Matter and using certain textbooks like Howard Zinn’s are all ways to balance the education system. Everyone has a part to play in this, schools and administrators can do their part too (4)(5).More funding for public schools and higher teacher pay will help, but what kids learn when they are young seems the most important to me.

     Police Brutality is a touchy subject even though it doesn’t have to be. When you teach kids about other cultures and ways of living, maybe when they grow up they won’t be so unfamiliar or scared with those cultures. Training in different jobs works the same way. If someone doesn’t understand something they are more likely to act differently around it like with police brutality. This could simply be improved by changing the way police officers go through training and preparation before entering a dangerous area. You could also require a certain body camera on the police officers and have them be responsible for recording what happens. Holding police accountable for their mistakes with discourage others from making them. There are a lot of solutions you can implement to fix this but starting at a young age will help the most in my opinion.

     Institutional racism in the education system leads to a lot of other problems down the road. When people can’t do anything with their time or don’t have the skills to get a valid long term job, they turn to illegal means. This doesn’t mean that the criminal justice system is fair though. There are so many things (6) wrong with how minorities are treated in this country, besides police brutality. Prison sentence lengths, arrests for drug use, and likeliness of having your car searched are, on average, all worse for minorities. Our whole criminal justice system is racist and outdated.

     Now we come back to you Ms.President (see what I did there?). What are you going to do to end racial inequality in the U.S. I have listed lots of different solutions but it is up to you to go through with them. The people have spoken, will you make a change and stop this or do nothing like so many people before you.

Sincerely, Nico Gouoveia


1"Wage gap between blacks and whites is worst in nearly 40 years - Sep ..." 2016. 24 Oct. 2016 <>

2 "American Schools Are STILL Racist, Government Report Finds ..." 2014. 26 Oct. 2016 <>

3 "Education World: Combat Racism: Classroom Ideas." 2012. 28 Oct. 2016 <>

4 "Education World: Racial Inequities: What Schools Can Do." 2012. 28 Oct. 2016 <>

5 "Education World: Racial Inequities: What Schools Can Do, Part 2." 2012. 28 Oct. 2016 <>

6 "Racial disparities in the criminal justice system: Eight charts illustrating ..." 2015. 30 Oct. 2016 <>

Jefferson HS

Jefferson HS Students

10th,11th, and 12th grade students at Jefferson HS in Portland Oregon.

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