February 13, 2017
People of America,
First off, I hope you’re all doing well on this beautiful day. I’m writing in regards to an English class assignment, “to write a letter to the American people about race relations in this country.” My assignment is not only to white about race relations in America but also compare that to the movies 42, The Butler, and the book Fences.
Race relations in this country is a touchy topic, because a lot of people (almost all of you including myself) whether consciously or subconsciously, is racially biased in one form or another. If you’re European American, you’re probably a little more biased towards pale-skinned people; if you’re African American, probably more towards dark-skinned people. And the same with Asian, Latino, Native American, and so forth. Most people have a bias towards the people they look like and came from.
What’s troubling me is why people are still so racist? An article I read posted in The New York Times, was about an Asian American woman who had the phrase yelled at her and her family “Go back to China.” She was born in the United States, and so was her 7-year old daughter who witnessed it, who proceeded to ask her mother “Why did she say, ‘Go back to China?’ We’re not from China.”, when they were all born in the United States.
The book Fences, tells a complicated story of a man named Tory, and his life after leaving the Negro Leagues. Tory wanted to go into the Major Leagues but by the time the opportunity came he was too old to play, and because he saw it as the sport’s fault, he didn’t let his son Cory go from his high school football team to a college team like he really wanted. Now in today’s world we are much more accepting of other raced ball players. According to www.infoplease.com, since 1970 black males pay has risen from 69% compared to white males pay. In 1990 black males were making 80% of what white men were making, but in 2013 the percentage went down to 75.1% of what the white males were making. At work he was discriminated against because of his color. He worked as a garbage man, and as Troy says “All I want them to do is change the job description. Give everybody a chance to drive the truck.” His job has all the white men driving and sitting in the garbage trucks while the black men do the lifting and getting the garbage into the truck. Eventually he went to his boss and got that changed and he became “the first black garbage truck driver in his town.” Now, except for the pay I don’t see how what I’ve said about Fences is racist. And as for the pay, we are all human beings. We all deserve the same amount based on how hard we work. If a Latino/Latina worker is working harder than a white worker, they should be paid more. And same goes for any race or gender. You should be paid by work completed, not paid less because of your skin color or gender.
The movie 42, depicting the life of Jackie Robinson, showed how he was chased, beaten, discouraged, and still he pulled through and became a big leagues professional baseball player. Back then, in the 1940’s, people were very racist, so much so even spitting on and beating a colored man just because of his skin and for looking at a white woman. In this generation, the younger kids such as the kids in high school and middle school that have a small grasp on the world, are very much more accepting of race, sexuality, gender preference. The racist ones are the adults of past generations who can’t see everyone is equal; whether through race, or gender, or sexual preference, or anything else that there is to be bias about.
The movie The Butler, shows the main character Cecil Gaines as he progresses through his life, starting when he was a teenager to early twenties, taking up his trade of being a butler. Working through the years he got moved up from a small hotel to a nicer hotel and eventually the butler of the president of the United States in the White House. He worked his way up the chain and got to the top. Much like the people of the modern generations, who come from poor, under $50,000 a year income households, we have to work our way up the chain. He was a working African American in a time where since he was black, he was seen as less than a person, and he did it.
To all Americans and immigrants looking for a better life here, in The Land of the Free, I ask, why do we have to be so judgmental and to some, so racist? We are all people. We are all human. How would you like it if the person you’re racist towards was that way towards you? Treat others the way you would want to be treated, that’s what my father always said when I was younger.
– Sincerely, a young American citizen speaking to the country