Hate is a powerful emotion. Hate can change people from Mother Teresa to Adolph Hitler. Hate has the power to destroy many people’s lives from those who hate, to those who hate affects and the people who have to witness it. Many terrible ideas come out of hate, such as racism. Racism is quite possibly the worst kind of hate that people use against each other. Many examples of this can be seen throughout history. One event that captured the darkest side of racism occurred during World War II. Thousands upon thousands of Jewish people were killed in concentrations camps because they were Jewish. The hate and racism of just one man, Adolph Hitler, managed to control him so much that he wanted to rid the earth of the Jewish race. He did not succeed in that, but he killed many while trying to complete it. Racism was experienced throughout the history of America. The race that experienced the most was probably the African Americans. The sad truth is that racism is still seen in America today by many African Americans.
Since the beginning of time, people have been discriminated against based on the color of their skin. African Americans are the first people that come to mind when one speaks of racism. The American Heritage dictionary defines racism as the belief that a particular race is superior to another race or discrimination based on the race of a person (American Heritage p.679). Their history in the United States has been difficult since the beginning. As slaves they had no rights, then society treated them harshly for many decades because of the color of their skin. Ideally people would not be mistreated based on what race they are but they still continue to be. Everyday many black people and other people are looked down on or are mistreated just because the color of their skin. Sometimes racist people treat others pretty harshly because of their own ignorance.
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Jonathan, an African American male, described the racism that he has experienced in his lifetime. Jonathan spoke of a few times when racism affected him. The first story he spoke of was an incident with the police. The police are men and women who are suppose to protect and serve everyone which includes African Americans. Jonathan was working on a project with a classmate late one night. He parked his car in a near by parking lot. Earlier that night, the police broke up a party. It was close to midnight when Jonathan got back to his car. When Jonathan got to his car, he noticed that he was blocked in by two police cars. Jonathan went over to the officers and asked if they could move their car so that he could get out. Jonathan was shocked when the officers said no but Jonathan decided to try anyway. So as he was backing out, he hit another car. When the police saw this, they rushed over to the car. The police tried to charge him with a hit and run charge because he did not immediately turned his car off. Since he was under the age of eighteen, the officers tried to charge him with breaking the curfew law. The owners of the damage car saw no problem with what had happen so the police hesitantly let Jonathan go.
Another story Jonathan told showed the old backwards ideas of racism in the south. Jonathan went to visit a farm in Tennessee with a group of friends. The farm was owned by the grandfather of a young lady from the group. When they arrived at the farm, the grandfather was sitting on the front porch with a shotgun next to him. The grandfather was dressed in overalls with a confederate flag hat on. They thought nothing of this until they all got out of the cars. The grandfather stood up to greet the guest. As he stood up, he reached for his shotgun and aimed it at Jonathan. He said "Get off my land nigger." Jonathan was shocked at this but with a shotgun aimed at him he followed the order of the old man. After they got back into the cars, the grandfather then walked around the car with the shotgun for a few minutes. They all drove off shocked at just what had happen to them. Jonathan laughs about it now, but it just shows how racism is still around today.
Jonathan also spoke of racism that he sometimes experience on a daily basis with people in which he comes in contact. He has noticed that sometimes a person will treat him differently on the basis that he is black. Sometimes when he walks into a store, the people behind the counter will pay extra close attention to make sure that he is not stealing anything. The people behind the counter are profiling him as a criminal on the basis that he is black. The media has painted a criminal picture of the young black male. Everyday the media shows the black males are killing the each other, pushing the drugs, and stealing the cars. A day does not go by without the newspaper describing a black male for being a suspect in a crime.
A racist person can be anyone. They have a certain belief that they have learned or picked up on their own. Racism does not have to be with the just one person, it can be with groups of people. The police mistreated Jonathan because he was black. An ignorant man with backward ideas almost killed Jonathan because he was black. Society has been taught from the media that black people are criminals. Many years of history still has not taught many people that racism is not right. All racism brings is hurt and pain to the people that it affects. The sad part of it all is that a racist can be a racist person without even knowing it.
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