Sunday, 2 June 2013

Check out Hannah's blog!

Hi! You guys have to check out my friend Hannah's blog! She also has a post on her Be The Change project. It's really good!

Why I choose to do my project on Racism and Prejudice

         I choose to do my Be The Change project on racism and prejudice because it was something I was interested in and I enjoy learning about the history of prejudice and racism. It was really shocking to find how much racism and prejudice is still present today, even though it should be a thing of the past. I also think it is very important that everyone of every race is accepted and treated equally.
         I found the stories of determination strong an inspiring, like how Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat that day.

My Essay

This is my essay for my Be The Chang project.

It has existed since the beginning of time: differences, as well as the complications and difficulties that come with them.  Think it’s a thing of the past? Unfortunately, it’s not. While we all know that prejudice and racism is wrong, the amount of times it is occurring today is far more than anyone could imagine. Racist and prejudicial slurs are said way more often then they should be, and hate crimes are happening daily all over the world.
In order to understand hate, racism, prejudice and discrimination, you need to know the roots and history of this epidemic. One example of this would be slavery. For many years, Africans were used as slaves in the American South, as well as other places like England. They were forced to work long hours and suffered from the horrible conditions and unfair and unequal treatment. Slaves were treated as property that belonged to the much richer owners of plantations.
After slaves were freed, you may think that life for African Americans would be much better. But unfortunately it wasn’t. 
Ironically in 1865, the same year the North won the American Civil War (a war that divided America in two halves; the North who were against slavery and the South who sympathized with slavery and wanted to be their own country) the Klu Klux Klan formed.
The Klu Klux Klan was an American terrorist group that started in Pulaski, Tennessee. They shared views of white supremacy, and had specific views of hatred against African Americans and Jewish people. They killed thousands of people and injured many more. Between 1915 and 1944, there were between three and six million members. Smaller groups of the Klu Klux Klan are still around today, with around three thousand members mostly in the southern United States.
Racism and prejudice exists in Canada too, and Canada hasn’t always been as accepting as we are today. Back in the 1870’s, Canadian government had created a new program for Aboriginal children called Residential schools, and they placed young children in special boarding schools, which taught them Western culture and taught them English, in an attempt to diminish Native culture and beliefs. These schools ran for over a hundred years, before shutting the last one down in 1996. Over three thousand children died in these schools as a result of diseases and abuse, and thousands left scared from both emotional and physical abuse.
Not too long after the turn of the century, another epidemic of prejudice and racism occurred somewhere else – in 1930’s Germany. Adolf Hitler, a political leader started a political party with racist ideas and motives. He started an anti-Jewish movement in Europe and when he was chancellor of Germany, he established concentration camps – special camps designed for Jewish People and other minorities like Jehovah’s Witness he disliked. In these camps, there were gas chambers, tons of diseases, and not enough food or water. People wasted away to nothing but skin and bone until they eventually died. This all happened because of one man’s hate a prejudice.
While African American’s may have freedom, it wasn’t for a long time until they were treated as equals. Not too long after the civil war, Jim Crow laws were introduced; laws that ensured African Americans had a “separate but equal” status. However, it wasn’t equal treatment at all. If you had dark skin, you couldn’t use the same doors to movie theaters as white skinned people could. You couldn’t use the same washrooms or water fountains either; and they generally weren’t as sanitary or nice looking as the ones for lighter skinned people. It was also against the law for African Americans to sit at the front of the bus.
Until one person challenged these laws, and changed the course of history. That person is Rosa Parks.
Rosa Parks was an African American woman who lived in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1st 1955, Rosa was on a public transit bus on her way home from work. She sat in the first row of the “colored only” section. After two more stops, the bus quickly filled, and the Caucasian section was completely full. The bus driver asked Rosa and the three other people in that row to move back so that the white people could sit there, because society considered them more important. The other three moved a row back. Rosa didn’t.
“Are you going to stand up?” The bus driver asked her.
“No,” she said quietly.
“Well, then I’m going to have you arrested.” He answered.
“You may do that.” She responded.
Because of Rosa’s bravery, the whole black community of Montgomery joined Rosa in a protest of these laws. The “colored” sections of the buses all across the city were empty. The Montgomery bus boycott lasted for thirteen months. This event gained the media’s attention and helped to start change for racism in the U.S.
Perhaps one of the most sad and shocking stories of racism and prejudice happened just a few months before Rosa Parks took a stand is the story of Emmett Till.
Emmett Till was a fourteen-year-old boy from Chicago, Illinois who was in Mississippi visiting relatives. He was with his cousin and a few of the local boys when they dared him to speak sweetly to a white woman standing nearby.
It is unclear exactly what Emmett said, but he made some kind of innocent remark to the woman, who was 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant. Carolyn told her husband about the event, and not long after her husband and her husband’s half brother abducted Emmett Till and beat him to death, and shot him in the head. He was found in the Tallahatchie River. The men who killed him admitted to the crime, however were not charged because Emmett Till was a dark skinned boy.
The story made news across the country, and Rosa Parks later said she was thinking of Emmett as well as her ancestors who were also treated with abuse and neglect because of racism when she refused to give up her seat that day.
With people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and other advocates for human rights have definitely made a difference in our world, we can’t hide it; racism is still present. We may have come along way since the unfair segregation laws and since World War 2, but prejudice still exists.
Hate exists all over the world, and is very present today. In 2001, one specific group of people filled with prejudice and hate about one country decided it would be a good idea to hijack three airplanes and drive them directly into the Twin Towers in New York City as well as the Pentagon, the head of American military defense located in Virginia. You may know this event as the September 11th al-Qaeda attacks. This event killed nearly three thousand innocent people. This was only twelve years ago, and those people were killed only because of prejudice.
In Germany in 1993, at least 52 people were killed as acts of racist violence. And in England, white skinned people against ethnic minorities commit 90% of the racist motivated acts of violence.
Less than a week ago, a Cheerio commercial featuring a bi-racial couple got racist hate comments on YouTube. People said things like “that makes me want to vomit” and “disgusting.” This is the twenty first century we’re talking about, yet these comments sound like the same kind of hate that killed Emmett Till and started the Klu Klux Klan years ago.
Even in media like music and movies, racist comments and racial and prejudicial slurs like “nigger” are used. These kinds of words have been used to emotionally abuse people decades and centuries ago, yet they are still occasionally used in casual conversations and Top 40 songs today.
Personally, I think these kinds of words are part of the issue nowadays. They send negative energy and have history of years of discrimination. These kinds of racism should have been gone along time ago, yet they are still present today.
There are ways to stop and prevent racism and prejudice. One simple way would be to keep an open mind about all people of all ethnic backgrounds, skin colors, and religion. Another simple way would be to stand up for those being bullied or discriminated against based on race or religion, and also being aware of the kind of language we use. We should not be using English as a form of hatred, but instead a way to communicate.
There are also things that the government should be doing to prevent hate crimes and modern day prejudice. I think if we were being taught in schools the danger and consequences of racism and prejudice, we might realize how big of a deal bullying based on race – or any kind of bullying for that matter – as well as racist language might prevent future generations from making the same mistakes that are happening today, and have been happening in Canada and all over the world for hundreds of years.
I was shocked reading about some of the stories of racism and prejudice I found when I was researching for this project, and it also made me far more aware of how I view other people of other religions and ethnicities. I think all kids across the country and all over the world should know about how much hatred there is in the world – and how we can stop it.
Unfortunately, prejudice also comes from a very sad place that can be hard to remove – home. Many people are sadly taught that prejudice and racism is okay, and that we should be against and show hatred to other groups and cultures. We should raise our children to show respect and understanding for other cultures, because people aren’t just born to hate others.
Another way to stop racism and prejudice is raise awareness. Everyone needs to know what is happening right now, and how many people in the world are affected by views based on nothing but appearances and detestation. Everyone needs to be aware of the struggles people everywhere are going through because of racism and prejudice, and help make other people aware as well.
If everyone of every race gets fair and equal treatment, we teach others in school programs about tolerance and other cultures, we raise our children to be accepting and we stop using offensive language, we may come very close to ending all prejudice in our world. The smallest actions may count – spreading messages of awareness and acceptance as well as standing up for those facing racism are small but very important ways to stop this problem.
The world is a diverse place, and we are all different, but at the same time we are all people who deserve the same fair and equal treatment. Someday, hopefully, everyone will be able to judge people on their actions and personality, and the race, ethnicity, and religion will just be a part of them, and not something to bully someone for, a reason to kill them, or something that makes them less important.
In conclusion, I just wanted to say that while there still is work to be done, we have come along way since Emmett Till was murdered and concentration camps were considered “the solution” to a problem that didn’t even exist. Racism and prejudice isn’t gone completely, and it still is a big part of our history, but nowadays darker skinned people are allowed to sit wherever they want to on the bus, and aboriginal kids aren’t placed in schools where they are abused and die of disease because generally they are considered equal to those with lighter skin. We still do have some ways to go, but it’s important to remember where we came from and how far we have come.
I am happy to say that Canada is a safe, free, accepting place to live. And while we are not perfect and probably never will be, I hope that someday, for the most part, prejudice and racism will just be a dark part of our past.

Racism and Prejudice Statistics

Prejudice is something that has been apart of the world for a long time, and while it has definitely improved, hate crimes and discrimination are still occurring today. Here are some thoughts and statistics on racism:

In Germany in 1993, at least 52 people were killed as acts of racist violence. And in England, white skinned people against ethnic minorities commit 90% of the racist motivated acts of violence.

World War 2, a war based on nothing but prejudice and racism killed 52 million people worldwide.

Out of the 7,722 hate crime incidents reported to the FBI in 2006, 2,640 were anti-black.

Less than a week ago, a Cheerio commercial featuring a bi-racial couple got racist hate comments on YouTube. People said things like “that makes me want to vomit” and “disgusting.”