The past two years has been a time where America has been blasted with race. It's nearly impossible to go throughout each day without hearing something about it. Mizzou. Syrian refugees, Donald Trump.
2015 has made me become a type of person who is comfortable with talking about race. I feel comfortable sharing my experiences as a black man. I think 2015 has made a lot of people comfortable as well. But a lot of other people aren't as comfortable.
Last Friday, students at Ohio State had a peaceful march around campus to bring light to what's been happening at Mizzou. Things continued with a sit in at the Ohio Union, where students demanded that Ohio State cut off all ties with Mizzou until they addresses racial issues at their school. Whatever your opinions and thoughts are of the protest, suddenly race, injustice, and current events was on everyone's mind during a Friday night. Many people were supportive, and many people were not. It was frustrating to log onto that night Yik Yak and see many derogatory messages, ranging from "race isn't an issue" to "black OSU students are only doing this for attention." Normally, you can't take Yik Yak seriously because people post crazy things on there because it's anonymous, however people were saying the same thing in public on Twitter. Many of my peers, classmates, and professors, could not understand what was going on.
A lot of the time, I struggle to explain to my friends and peers how I've experienced injustice, hurt, and misunderstanding as a minority.
- It sucks that getting followed around in stores is a common occurrence for me
- It sucks that I'm the only black person in most of my classes
- It sucks that most of my peers and classmates are taking to Yik Yak, Reddit, and Twitter to voice their ignorance over current events
- It sucks that I've been told by many girls I've liked over the years that "black just isn't my type"
- It sucks that making out/hooking up with a black person is a common thing to have on a bucket list
- It sucks that many of my friends were mad at me when I told them Ohio State had awarded me a minority scholarship, which enabled me to afford attending the University
- It sucks that people cross the street at night when they see me walking in their direction
- It sucks that I match most of the criminal descriptions in the safety notices Ohio State sends out
- It sucks that I was the only black person in my Sociology 2367 class, and for at least eight straight weeks the professor lectured solely on statistics saying that black people are the poorest, uneducated, represent most of the prison population, most likely to get arrested, most likely to steal, etc.
- It sucks that I don't feel comfortable wearing a hoodie at night
- It sucks that people aren't surprised when they learn I grew up in a fatherless home
- It sucks that I feel very uncomfortable around police officers
All I ask is that for this year and as time goes on, you try to understand. Engage in conversations. Learn. Ask questions. Just don't be blinded by ignorance.