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Yesterday’s Hate Impacts Today’s Youth

The same societal systems that produced racism in the past continue to do so today.

Many+young+men+marched+in+the+white+nationalist+Unite+the+Right+rally+in+Charlottesville+in+2017.+%0AAlejandro+Alvarez%2FNews2Share%2FReuters
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Yesterday’s Hate Impacts Today’s Youth

Many young men marched in the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. 
Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share/Reuters

Many young men marched in the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share/Reuters

Many young men marched in the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share/Reuters

Many young men marched in the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share/Reuters

Michael Dugan, Reporter

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When I was a child, the male members of my family taught me the difference between a “bad” black person and a “good” black person.

According to them, “good” black people were industrious, cared about theirs and their own same as white people. “Bad” black people on the other hand, were leeches. “Bad” black people were no-good hoodlums that leeched off welfare, dealt drugs, and whose culture was so inherently toxic that it ruined entire communities.

Just imagine what I was taught about immigrants and Muslims, particularly following 9/11.

With age, I came to learn that these ideas were toxic. They bred a disdain for any person who didn’t fit this incredibly narrow definition of a “good” minority.

Unfortunately, Dylann Roof didn’t learn the same lesson. Roof, the man who shot up a black church in Charleston in 2015 and killed 9 people was likely taught the same things. Roof is only six years older than me and isn’t the only example.

James Alex Fields Jr. is only three years older than me and murdered a woman while he was marching in a white supremacist rally in 2017.

Nick Sandmann is one year younger than me and recently a video surfaced of him staring down a Native American elder while at a Pro-Life rally dressed in full ‘MAGA’ regalia. This boy’s peers thought it right to shout ‘build the wall’ at a the elder.

There is a plague that infects many American youths today. This plague is not new to American society; it is as old as America itself. This plague is racism.

Racism is pathetic. It is a philosophy that tells others to spend their time upon this mortal coil being reviled at the very existence of another human with the same eyes, hands, senses, affections, and passions, the only difference between which is a pigmentation of melanin.

Of course, not all racism is rooted in skin color and calipers. Much of modern racism is based on stereotypical ideas of  “culture.”  Laziness and criminality is the supposed “culture” of urban black people, terrorism and rape is the “culture” of Arabs, drug dealing and job theft is the “culture” of Latinx people.

This is simply a smoke-screen, a dog whistle. Disparaging minorities for their “culture” is simply a mask they can wear to discuss their racism without being challenged, because how can one be racist when one is only talking about “culture”?

There is no one individual or force responsible for these children becoming reactionaries and racists. Society as a whole is to blame for this and all should share in the blame.

It is the power structures created by our society that are at the core of racism. These power structures are the same ones that elevate white Christian men while alienating and disenfranchising minorities.

It is those at the highest echelons of society that benefit from divisions within the lower echelons.”

Within these power structures  there is often an underclass that is exploited. They are made into a source of hatred for the rest of the working class.

There has never been a better scapegoat than that of the black, Latinx, and Muslim man. They are the ones coming for your family, your health, and your labor. This narrative works to an almost frightening degree.

These are the same structures that influence the media. When immigrants, black men, or Muslims commit crimes, their faces are put all over the place and the validity of their entire group’s way of life is called into question. When a white man commits a crime, it is the lone actions of the individual.

There is no one who benefits more from racism than those who also benefit from these power structures. It is those at the highest echelons of society that benefit from divisions within the lower echelons.

Those at the top will create all manner of tools to divide the oppressed and exploited, phrenology, segregation, and the aforementioned “culture” are the ways in which they cause division.

When I was taught those beliefs as a child, what I was really taught was to fight for my position in society not unlike that of the prime spot at a kid’s table. A place that holds a false sense of superiority without any real power.

That’s all the plague of racism is; it is not one man or institution, but a collective of institutions all dedicated to the division of people at the bottom of society.

Today’s youth are just a new generation of people who have bought into this narrative, this lie that if they think their fellow man inferior, they are at the top rung of the ladder. In reality, they have not yet begun to climb.

I wish there was a synthesis I could give that would “solve” racism. The only way I can think of is to focus on today’s youth. If children today are given a new narrative, different from what I and many others were taught, maybe we can finally work together towards a better, more equal society.

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Yesterday’s Hate Impacts Today’s Youth