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America the land of “equality”

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“The Atlantic Slave trade brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations,” says a modern McGraw-Hill geography textbook, speaking as though the slaves were simply paid farmers who came willingly. All over the country, textbooks are downplaying the horrendous acts of slavery. In fact, a recent Texas ruling has declared Slavery is a secondary aspect that doesn’t need to be taught in depth. Texas state officials decided lessons on the KKK and Jim Crow laws won’t be taught at all.
Besides being inaccurate and terribly offensive, the cleansing of history has a second impact: Don’t teach a child about hundreds of years of oppression, and they’ll assume there isn’t any. So far, it seems to be working.
We grew up in a world where the Civil Rights Movement was just a story, and the effects were part of everyday life. We forget it took place only 50 years ago. Not even a full generation has passed and yet we all pretend like discrimination is a thing of the past.
When you live in an area that’s made up of predominantly white people, it’s easy to forget the privileges white people have. It’s not always about the big facts like the wage gap. Sometimes it’s the subtle things, like the fact as white Americans we can leave the house without our mothers worrying we might never come back.
Most of us are told we can trust the police, and can go to them if something is wrong without having to worry that a toy or even a bag of candy in the wrong place will lead to our death. Most of us don’t have to worry at all. Meanwhile, it seems every week brings a new black face to the TV, another person whose actions were punished by death while the officer responsible suffers only a paid leave of absence.
According to the Guardian newspaper, 32 percent of black people killed by police had no weapon whatsoever. It’s no wonder demonstrations have started cropping up all over the country. Nobody else is fighting. It seems the majority of the population doesn’t even care. And instead of standing up for their fellow people, they call the peaceful protests riots and get mad at the phrasing of black lives matter. As if they don’t.
As our generation rises, leaving the Civil Rights era half a century behind us, it’s easy to pretend we achieved equality those 50 years ago. Rarely do we remember to look forward and realize we still have a long ways to go.
Contrary to popular belief, we have not reached equality yet. Just look around us: People are dying from police shootings and hate crimes while everyone else gets mad at them for being upset about the deaths.
Groups are still insisting we need a white history month while failing to see that our curriculum’s focus on purely white history makes every social studies class a white history class. There are still people who are angry other ethnicities have some college seats reserved for them, while failing to realize that the systematic racism ingrained in this country makes it so a white student will almost always get picked over a black child with the same credentials. Often times the diversity laws are the only thing people have that will ensure a college accepts them.
Racism is far from over. Just because we’ve made huge strides in past generations doesn’t mean our generation is allowed to sit and pretend everything is OK.
It is our job to step up and work for change.

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The student news site of Haslett High School
America the land of “equality”