America Still Has Work To Do

Screen shot 2012-02-14 at 6.46.44 PM.png

By Manuela Domingos


I was having a conversation not too long ago with a friend of mine who happens to be Caucasian. He told me something along the lines of: “I don’t understand how anyone could be racist. I also don’t understand why some people take out their frustrations on current white people. The past was unfortunate, and I sympathize. But I am not racist. My ancestors were.”

Truthfully, I thank my friend for being a sympathetic individual. Many don’t hold the same sentiments that he shares. Some choose to simply ignore the problem or brush off the topic of racism. I can imagine as a white person, how awkward it may be to sit in a room full of black people who are having a discussion on race and what it means to be a person of color.

I would also want my white peers to imagine, as a black person, how awkward it may be to have the possibility of falling victim to a marginalized system that is set up for failure.

I’m not just speaking for black people, I speak for all minorities in a marginalized group: the man with a disability who gets looked over for opportunities; the Muslim who carries the weight of the world’s stigma; the black man who’s automatically judged when he enters a room; and the Hispanic woman who has to live in an age where people would willingly do anything in their blood to have her deported.

As a woman of color, I’d like to share my views on issues that directly affect me.

To my Caucasian friend: I don’t value pity. Together as people, I believe that actions and words can do more than move mountains.

We have progressed, but the issues are still there. These are issues that should not be ignored or simply “pitied,” rather, these are issues that should be understood, actively worked upon, and changed.

It is not enough to simply say “I understand.” It means more to use your privilege during moments of injustice, rather than to walk away. It means more to engage in discussions that push us forward as people, rather than choosing to remain silent. Your voice and actions makes a difference, so use it.

To my friend, thank you for sympathizing with my history. But just as my history affects the world I live in today, I may just need your help to change the future.