Webster’s dictionary classifies racism
as the “poor treatment of, or violence against people because of their race,”
and “the belief that some races of people are better than others.” In other
words, racism is a threatening behavior towards someone else because of their
race. The significance behind this issue is very crucial because not everyone
is racist, but we all have the potential to display this behavior. This is very
troubling and we should all be informed on why we shouldn’t discriminate
against others. The state of Missouri has struggled with extreme racism and it
doesn’t appear to be getting better. Missouri has had two major events happen
within the past two years, these include the Ferguson event and the University
of Missouri event.
August 9, 2014, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, broke into chaos after an
eighteen-year-old black boy had been shot by a white cop. Michael Brown, the
victim, was walking down the middle of the street with one of his friends when
Officer Wilson asked them to move to the sidewalk. Eventually, things escalated
quickly and resulted in Wilson shooting Michael. Soon after the incident
happened we found out Michael had actually just stolen cigars from the local
store and had been leaving as the officer approached the boys. Thereafter, the
black community became outraged by this event because they thought Wilson had
no right to shoot him. They began saying he had only shot Brown due to the fact
that he was black, which of course was not true. Wilson was found not guilty
and the incident was passed as self defense. Of course, the community disagreed
with the statement and began larger and more aggressive protests than the ones
that were already taking place before the courts decision. There were several
impacts and costs from this tragedy. For example, several businesses were
destroyed and people lost their jobs. Also, the town lost thousands of dollars
because they had to hire more cops and bring in the National Guard to help
control the chaos. It impacted
individual people, including the Brown family, because they had just lost their
son. They were going through a lot of hurt and anger because they felt like
their son had been a target of racism. Wilson never meant for any of this to
cause so much harm and bring about threats for our state, but it still is
affecting people to this day.
University of Missouri-Columbia, also known as “Mizzou,” had several students
who were afraid of the Ferguson events that had recently taken place. They also were very angry when they found out
the University wasn’t doing much about the situation. Then about a year later, a
black student became fed up with the multiple racist things that were happening
on campus. He approached the President of the University, Timothy Wolfe, but
they didn’t get the answers they were wanting. This caused student, Jonathan
Butler, to start a “hunger strike.” The Washington
Post mentioned that “Butler said he was just drinking water – no
multivitamins, no painkillers – until University of Missouri President Time
Wolfe steps down.” More and
more students decided to join the hunger strike and eventually players from the
football team came up with their own way to get rid of Wolfe. ESPN said that “A
group of black players on the Missouri football team says it will
stop participating in football activities until university system president Tim
Wolfe resigns.” On November 9, Wolfe finally decided to step down from his
position and resign. Well, that didn’t end all of the chaos going on at Mizzou.
Several students began celebrating, which then angered the white students.
Students began threating each other and telling others they would kill them. Both
black and white students were impacted by these events. The black people had
been offended tremendously by Wolfe due to the lack of his help. As a result,
the white student then became fearful to go to classes and some even returned
home to get off campus. The main cost of this event were the student’s
educations when classes were cancelled due to harmful threats. The protesters
had mentioned “several of the black students were still upset about Ferguson.”
This demonstrates how significant racism can be and how one thing can lead to
another, even years after the original incident.
There are several causes of
why these tend to occur, but the primary cause is the ignorance people have
towards other races. Several other secondary causes are always present as well
and you have to think a little deeper to see how they play a role. For example,
some people want to feel superior to others and will do so by coming across as
racist. Also, some people have a fear of others who are a different race than
themselves, but even they still come off as racist. The smallest things can
actually end up being offensive to someone, that’s why we all need to be
educated about racism and the effects it has on people and communities.
Missouri has seen some of
the worst racist events that have had happened since before the Civil Rights
Movement. The fears within the community have affected us all tremendously and
it will be something we will never forget. In my opinion, I truly don’t believe
racism will ever be solved, you can’t just delete the thoughts out of
everyone’s heads. We can continue educating children and students about the
causes and effects to help them realize it’s not a positive thing in our world.
That will hopefully keep them from saying the nasty and disrespectful thoughts
they may be thinking. Some people just word things differently and it comes off
racist, but they didn’t intend on it being that way. I think people need to
quit judging others and treat people equally, like the world should be. Several
people say they love where they live or that they are proud to be from
Missouri, but I think that is all a lie. These type of events shouldn’t be
proud moments; they are actually devastating. This is how and why racism is a
suffering problem in the state of Missouri.
“Black Grad Student on Hunger Strike in
Mo. after Swastika Drawn with
Feces.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 18 Nov.
ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 18 Nov.
“Racial Tensions Escalate at U of Missouri
and Yale | Inside Higher Ed.”
Tensions Escalate at U of Missouri and Yale | Inside Higher Ed. N.p., n.d. Web.