Katie D. Michigan

Race Relations (And Immature Politicians)

It's time that we work together to fix an issue that is long overdue. And act like adults while we do it, please.

To the next president of the United States,

I am a pragmatic woman. Although convincing myself that you will turn out to be a reasonable leader would ease my conscience, I simply cannot allow myself to hold such optimism. I know how this country works.

It is generally well-known that, whether or not one prefers one president or the other, the outcome of this coming election will be met with controversy and dissent throughout the nation. There is just no denying that in days such as these, America is divided. And, whether our president becomes Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, we will likely remain divided. In fact, I guarantee it.

Many older folk may say, “people will always disagree,” or “issues such as these are ubiquitous no matter what generation you come from”. But when you discover that statistics presented by BBC News show that race relations now are as bad as they were during the 1992 LA riots, and how over half of Americans- 60% in fact, according to The Washington Times- believe that they themselves feel metaphorically segregated from their black neighbors and acquaintances, it becomes a deviation worthy of mention.

This nation is certainly divided on more than just race- the battle of the sexes, sexualities, and religion are merely a few- but race appears to be more prevalent than the others. Consequently, what this country needs is a unifier, and between the two presidential candidates, I see dividers,

What do I want, then? I want peace. Maturity. Trustworthiness.

No. I am tired of hearing that you’ve “always been trustworthy” and that those who oppose you are all liars.

No. I don’t care what he said. I don’t care what she said. I don’t care.

I am tired of the lying. I’m tired of the baiting. I’m tired of the bribing. I’m tired of the fear and the immaturity and the blaming and the name-calling. I’m tired of feeling that nothing either of you say is genuine. A bomb could have exploded in the White House and I’d still be doubting your lament. I’m tired of feeling like I’m going to have a conniption each time I turn on my television.

I’m sick of the issues that remain unaddressed. I’m sick of hearing that flesh-colored Band-Aids are issues worthy to discuss on television but the fact that 6,000 black men and women were murdered by other blacks in 2015 alone, according to Daily Wire, remains the elephant in the room.

I’m sick of worrying that my black friends are afraid of me or seclude me because I am white, as am I sick of worrying that I am unknowingly saying or doing something that would make them uncomfortable or cause me to appear intolerant. I’m sick of the air in a room becoming instantly tighter as soon as the police are mentioned in a positive light or otherwise.

I’m sick of, when as soon as any of these topics are mentioned by or to one of the two candidates, he or she belittles the opposing side and praises himself or herself rather than actually proposing changes. I just want peace.

With the explosion of social media, and with more and more teenagers and early-adults getting a voice in today’s issues, politics are feeling more and more oriented towards young voters. As a result, I am often put on the spot as soon as these issues arise. I am hardly an adult and yet I feel twice my age. My friends and colleagues expect me to know and speak about political issues that I have no ground over. They chastise me for holding dissenting opinions, while simultaneously scolding me when I prefer not to comment at all.

Additionally, with new technology, I am expected to comprehend and speak about issues black folk face each day, and I don’t. I will never understand what it’s like to be black in America and, based on what I’ve been spoon-fed by both Republicans and Democrats, I’m not sure I want to. On one hand I hear that blacks are horribly oppressed yet superior than everyone else, or on the other hand I hear that they are hooligans and criminals and that they cannot work or support a family. No matter where I go, I come face-to-face with disgusting headlines by disgusting people who do just as good a job dividing this country- if not better- than the candidates themselves.

We, as a country, need to let go of this hatred we hold. Let go of the bitterness. Let go of the lies. Let go of the metaphorical score we often keep over others. We must let go, while also not expecting things to recover overnight.

Mr. or Mrs. President, don’t tell me you are a unifier. 

Be a unifier. God knows we need one.


Katie Dopke

Oakland Writing Project (Michigan) - CASA

CASA - AP Lang

9th-12th grade students who come from 3 different schools.

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