A major part of any conversation involving race will include stereotyping in one way, shape or form. Now, I know that I mention this every time but I realize that I am a white male and really don’t have a true understanding of what kind of problems and trouble that racism causes because I have never experienced anything of the sort.

I grew up in a suburban, predominantly white town outside of New York City. I had one black kid in my entire class of 125 people. It was a little town, so everyone at least recognized each other if they didn’t know their names. Only one mile away from my little bubble of a town is Paterson, which is the third largest city in the entire state, and the second most densely populated city in the country. It has been called the Heroin capital of the east coast and is home to one of the largest ethnic populations in the surrounding area.

Now unfortunately, there have been cases of a black or hispanic person walking or driving through my town that have been stopped and questioned because they either weren’t recognized by the police or were reported as suspicious characters. Now you won’t find any records of this happening but everyone in town had at least witnessed it or knew someone who had witnessed it.

That is just a example that I wanted to share that has been close to home in my life but the problem does not just stop there. The most powerful evidence of racial stereotyping can be found in a airport. According to the Washington Post, this type of profiling only hinders the fight against true terrorism. There are videos, and extensive articles concerning how unfairly muslims and people from middle eastern descent are treated unfairly and as criminals. After the 9/11 attacks, airport security has tightened up incredibly in leaps and bounds, but at the same time, they changes do not really apply to everyone.

One thing that my father has joked about to me when we go through airport security is that we’ll always get through without any problems. I have gone through security at a airport more times than I can count and not once have I ever been stopped, searched specially, or been put in a different line. I am blond haired, blue eyed, red blooded American, and that is what the people at the TSA see when they see Jack Boscoe. I, unfortunately am not the type of person that they are checking for. Although they do not have a quota to fill, they do tend to select more people who are not white and look “different” from the norm.

Stereotyping is not just a purely American problem but a issue world wide. There are different examples of this from all over the entire planet and entire libraries could be filled with information on the topic. The only way that we as a global culture can ever move on from viewing people in this way is by holding individual people accountable for their actions instead of attributing them to the entirety of “their” group, which is incredibly difficult for us as humans because our brains are hardwired to automatically group things into similar groupings due to evolutionary reasons.

As with anything in this world, it starts on the individual level, which gradually becomes more and more influential until it ultimately becomes the norm. It doesn’t mean that you can make this change overnight, but we all have our own places to start this journey.

Civil Rights

Now if I was to be taken back through time to any point in recorded history, I would not be at the risk of any persecution or being treated like a second class citizen. I am a white, blond haired, blue eyed, land inheriting, catholic, male. In most places of the world I would be in complete control of my destiny, and be relatively free.

However, for a large majority of the world, this isn’t true. There are examples of this type of racial injustice all over the world, all over history. One of the best examples of this is the United States of America, during the time of slavery and afterward. The USA was one of the last countries to outlaw the practice of slavery, and all of the American slaves were of African or Afro-Caribbean descent, meaning that they were primarily black. The history of this was that the original slaves used by the Spanish conquistadors were Native Americans, but they were able to escape rather effectively because they knew the lay of the land. In a response to this, the Spaniards brought over Africans that were completely unaware of the environment that they were becoming chained to. And they remained enslaved until the end of the Civil War, when the 13th amendment was ratified by President Abraham Lincoln December 6th 1865. Even with the 15th Amendment which prohibited the denial of voting rights because of race, color, and previous condition of servitude, they were not really treated as anything more than second class citizens. That just continued a long saga of civil injustice against the black people of America. It was not until the civil rights movement of the sixties, led by Martin Luther King Jr. that helped to establish equality between the people of America, end segregation, and help progress society forward. He helped to eliminate the Jim Crowe laws, which kept black people from voting and integrated schools, and other public places.

But as of today, everything is not alright with regards to race in the country. There has become a divide between the police and minorities, where you constantly hear about how the police are abusing their authority or killing young men and women of color. With the new age of terrorism in our modern world, people have become fearful of those who follow the religion of Islam and are afraid of people who come form countries with a large muslim majority. There is a sort of underlying animosity in the United States that is causing problems currently, but they all stem from how we used to handle race when our nation was first formed. In the South, there are still states that have part of the confederate flag as a part of their state flag, while if you were to fly that same piece of cloth in a Northern or Western state, you would be viewed as a racist and a bigot.

Civil rights are still a massive issue today when it comes to the idea that people should be given a fair shake at life, and there are people who believe that there are different ways to achieve that. The Black Lives Matter movement has a multifaceted plan to help make the lives of black people and vicariously everyone’s lives better. There are some though that believe that the movement incites violence against police officers and that there are better ways of going about change. The ACLU is another well known organization that is famous for defending the civil liberties of American citizens. They are currently in a lawsuit against the American government concerning President Trump’s policies on immigration and refugees. They have been known to publicly defend all minorities and try to establish a better equality between all American people.

As a nation we are a long way away from perfect, and we have some work that we have to all come together and do, but if we can learn from our past mistakes, then we can be more than capable of fixing up our American Culture into one that is much more accepting and kind.

Stop and Frisk

I, by no means am a authority on the problems of race. I am a straight, blond haired, blue-eyed, white kid that grew up in a town the size of ten thousand people with only one other black kid, so that may make me the least qualified person to discuss race with any of you, but it is a problem that is very prevalent to our society and it does need to be addressed.

I grew up in Northern Jersey, only a twenty minute train ride from New York City, so I heard all about the issue of racial profiling when the Stop and Frisk law was created a couple years ago. There is some substantial evidence that shows that this law is incredibly discriminatory. According to the New York City Liberties Union website, violent crimes fell 29% in New York City from the years 2001 to 2010, but other large cities such as Los Angeles, New Orleans, Dallas, and Baltimore experienced massive reductions in violent crime without the use of stop and frisk laws by 59%, 56%, 49%, and 37% respectively. These stops were mostly enforced on the people of the black and latino communities of New York City. From 2002 to 2011, black and Latino made up to about 90% of the people stopped and around 88% of those people, more than 3.8 million New Yorkers, were in violation of no crime. One specific example of this is in the neighborhood of Park Slope. Black and Latino make up close to 24% of the population of the neighborhood but account for roughly 79% of the police stops in the area. This seems to be pretty damning for those who support this law.

According to a article by the Washington Post, there does seems to be some bias when it comes to the police use of this power. The police precincts that are responsible for the most stops tend to be home to predominantly black or latino communities while the neighborhoods with the least amount of stops are white communities. Yale professor, describes simply that if crime rate and ┬áthe number of stops were put on a scatter plot there would be a positive linear relationship basically showing that where there is a higher crime rate there should be more stops but that isn’t the case at all. There are more stops in the neighborhoods of minorities even if there are other communities that warrant more attention.

The NYPD even commissioned a study by the acting director of the National Institute for Justice in order to learn more about the situation. But instead of helping out their case it actually helped to prove the point of the opposition. The black citizens of New York City were stopped at a rate 20 to 30 percent lower than their representation in their crime suspect descriptions, while hispanics were stopped disproportionately more by 5 to 10 percent than their crime suspect descriptions would predict. Also the study stated that black suspects were slightly more likely to be frisked than whites if they were stopped in circumstances similar to other black suspect.

Now the only true argument that could possibly be made in defense of this law is the idea that if the police stop as many people as possible, then the possibility of catching illegal guns and drugs before they do any damage to the community is much higher. But even from the most objective view, there is a ton of evidence that makes the case against the stop and frisk laws.

Even from my little two square mile town, there is a serious problem with racial profiling, and although we don’t have a stop and frisk law in New Jersey, the police in my home town do tend to take a special interest in African American pedestrians. Not one mile from my little bubble of a town is the city of Paterson, which is famous for being one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey and also for being the hometown of Fetty Wap. And due to the clear lack of racial diversity in my town, the police will keep a special eye on any minority to for fear of a crime being committed in our quaint little town. The funny thing is though that the only major violent crime that has happened in my home town was a bank robbery that was committed by a old white man wearing a bright pink wig and a dress.

Race causes problems for people in a myriad of different ways and one of them is the issue of Racial Profiling.