Dear Mr. or Mrs. President, 10/13/16
Racial discrimination is a very important issue, and while I’m sure you are aware of its significance, not enough action is being taken to end it. It is worthy of your attention because the racist prejudice in our country is preventing people of color from exercising some of their rights. Racial discrimination also makes some people feel like a minority or even unsafe. This inequality has an effect on people, sometimes when making them afraid of their government or police. But this is completely wrong; people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people. Since you do have power to help fix this issue, I hope you take into account how important it is to some people.
There have been many racially motivated attacks on African Americans recently who were innocent. One example is the Klu Klux Klan. The white supremacist group was founded over a hundred years ago, but still has the same main belief - that anyone who is not a white heterosexual christian does not deserve human rights. Although the group has targeted others such as Jews, homesexuals, immigrants, etc., they have attacked African Americans for a very long time.These attacks have been both physical and verbal, although no matter their form of attack;they threaten the possible equality that could be achieved. I know that the Klu Klux Klan is allowed to exist under the freedom of speech law, but you have to consider that as long as groups like the Klu Klux Klan exist, African Americans’ equality cannot prevail. Although different people and groups constantly undermine African Americans rights, they are not the only ones who treat these people unjustly. The judicial system in our country, as you may know, has ruled differently due to race. Even policeman (not all of course) have been unfairly assuming African Americans to be suspicious, and act upon this. According to a U.S. Census for 2014, unarmed African Americans were killed at 5x the rate as unarmed whites. Also, 5x as many whites are using drugs as African Americans, and yet Black people are incarcerated at 10x the rate of White people. It is very clear that black people even today have the odds stacked against them. Although this is not as brutal racism as when African Americans were slaves, it is still a problem too prominent in our country. How can we sit and watch so many people in our country wrongly imprisoned or killed because of their skin color? The answer is clear;we can’t. That is why this problem needs to be solved. But as I’m sure you are aware, Mr. or Mrs. President, it will not be easy. How do you stop a racial belief after it has been embedded in our country throughout our generations? I think I have some ways that can help.
First, we need to acknowledge that this racism exists. The only way this country can reach reconciliation is if we acknowledge that these people are being dehumanized even today, 52 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Then, we need to promote equality and help those who don’t want equality for people of color. These people do have the right to believe what they wan’t, but if we could give them information that might change their minds, maybe it can help. Don’t get me wrong, these people shouldn’t be rewarded or praised, but just punishing them or putting them in jail after they have harassed or attacked African Americans is not going to change their racist beliefs. In schools including mine, there are constantly assemblies to help stop causes like bullying or drug abuse and things like that. The hope with these assemblies is that maybe if our youth is learning how to deal with these issues early on, they can prevent them from happening when they’re adults. I believe it would be a good idea to have assemblies acknowledging racism and teaching kids how to deal with it. Last, we need to have a more equitable government. The government needs to be less biased, otherwise African Americans won’t stand a chance to be treated fairly. Also, peaceful protesting needs to be completely allowed and even favored; after all, we have a right to express our thoughts if they are done peacefully. As of right now many people are saying that the Black Lives Matter protest is unfair, since it is saying that only Black lives matter. However things like Black Lives Matter protesters are protesting the racial unfairness in our country, not saying that only Black lives matter. These suggestions are merely a start, and of course I don’t expect them to change the world - but at least they can maybe help our country in the right direction towards equality.
I’m sure you are aware of this problem, especially with the media helping us to become more aware. Rather, I hope this might spark new ideas for you to help the cause, and maybe give some insight from a 14 year old in a small town in New York who is frankly afraid for our future generations. It does not seem to be the most auspicious of times for our youth, but maybe with your help, future Mr. or Ms. President, we can change that. The conflict of racism seems to be a difficult one as we’ve been battling it for hundreds of years, but still, I have hope. I thank you for your time contributed to reading this drawn out but important letter, and I hope you have the same ambition to help those in our country who so desperately need it.
With hope and optimism,
Maya E. , 14