As a hispanic woman growing up in a americanized society I have dealt with situations that my white friends could not comprehend. Furthermore, the discrimination of ethnicities is often the first of many issues in our nation to be seen differently by racial groups. For instance, a poll taken by CNN proved that 87% of African Americans believe there is still discrimination towards black people compared to 49% of whites (Struyk).
Even though more and more African American agree that they are being degraded which may be due to previous experiences, less whites are aware of it or choose to ignore. Another reason for whites not agreeing with African Americans with the fact that they are being discriminated can be because they are often benefited in situations that blacks would not usually be. Essentially, a trend called “#CrimingWhileWhite” reflected on how whites were found to be innocent of crime they were guilty of(Salam). Additionally the author of this article explains, “Even brazenly disrespectful behavior, like blowing marijuana smoke in the face of a police officer, will be overlooked or forgiven if the offender is white” (Salam). If the people were black instead of white then they may have not been sent free. As a matter of fact, they may have been incarcerated, beaten or even killed. Moreover, 76% of African Americans believe that the criminal justice system favors whites, meanwhile 42% of whites do (Struyk). Police Brutality is still an issue that we face to this day and it’s victims are often minorities.
In fact, a study reports that at least one African American man is killed by police or vigilantes in America every 28 hours (Lewis). The murders of these peoples are often unheard of or hidden because of how often they occur. The sad truth is that sometimes the person at the end of the barrel is often someone of color that does not deserve to be killed in the hands of people who are paid to protect. For instance, police tend to act more violent towards people of color as in the case of Eric Garner who begged to breathe 11 times after being strangled (Lewis). As a result the police were charged with no indictment, further proving that discrimination from an authority figure can be overlooked. Furthermore, a month after Eric Garner’s strangulation, Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer who received no consequence after believing he stole cigarettes (Lewis). No person should be killed for allegedly stealing cigarettes, however since he was black the police officer felt the need to.
Discrimination can come in many forms, including workers of the law. Although the government offers help to its citizens, such as Pell Grants and Food Stamps, often times the amount of help can unknowingly vary on social class and race. Pell Grants are given to anyone from any social class, meanwhile Food Stamps are given to people under the poverty rate (Leong). As a matter of fact, Pell Grants are more than likely to be given to people of middle or higher class and they are given $3,629 monthly (Leong). Since the majority of families are receiving Pell Grants are above the poverty line, the federal help is not as needed as people in poverty.
Furthermore, whites only make up 9% of people in poverty in the United States (KFF.org). In fact in Durham alone 22.1% of African Americans are living in poverty (Murdock). Also,35.7% of Food stamp recipients are African American who are in poverty and are only given $125.36 (Leong). Unlike the college students with Pell Grants they are not allowed to spend the money on what they choose, the money is restricted to only food.
On the other hand, if the college kids do not end up using all of the money given to them they are given the rest of the money in a check (Leong). Rich, white kids are often the people who receive pell grants and they are not given as much restrictions as the poor minorities who receive food stamps. A “Welfare Queen” is an image of a black woman who abuses drugs, have many children, and does not have job (Leong). This is an image that dates back to the 1970’s that is often applied to minorities who use Food Stamps (Leong). The people who truly need the help from the government are degraded because they cannot afford to put food on the table. In fact, instead of a woman who abuses government money, often times the people using it are single parent trying to support their children (Leong).
The government are constantly checking in on people with food stamps. For example, 15 states drug tested everyone that had Food Stamps and found that less than 1% had a positive drug test (Leong). Meanwhile, in a 2013 study at the University of Michigan found that almost half of the college students had admitted to using drugs in a 12 month study (Leong).
College students with Pell Grants are more likely to be using drugs than the minorities with food stamps. Also, the fact that the college students had to say whether they had used drugs instead of being tested may have led to some lying, creating a higher percentage of students. To further prove my point, 88% of minorities believe that our country needs to keep making changes for equal rights compared to 53% of whites (Struyk). Therefore, minorities with food stamps need to be given the same treatment than student with Pell Grants because they are more likely to receive less and be perceived as lazy. Finally, another reason why minorities are living a different “American Experience” than whites and why they perceive racism differently are the poor education and unemployment rates. First of all, when speaking about Baltimore, a city with a 63.3% black population (Yurcaba), the author mentioned, “Pupils at five local government high schools and one middle school not one, single, solitary tested proficient in math or English in 2016” (Murdock).
The fact that in five high schools not one single student scored proficient shows that the education is lacking the help that is needed. It is a known fact that in order to graduate you need to have proficient grades, proving that these schools are not setting up their students to do so. Furthermore, in Chicago alone the black graduation is 67% meaning that 1/3 of them do not graduate (Murdock). This results in having to work in minimum wage jobs or not being able to obtain one at all. Chicago and Baltimore both have a high minority population and the fact that many are not able to graduate means that more minorities living there have a high unemployment rate and live under the poverty line. In addition, African Americans have a national unemployment rate of 7.4% which is higher than both the average (4.
3%) and the overall rates of whites (3.8%) (Murdock). The unemployment rates for blacks is more than double the amount of whites, proving that they do not have the same experience as one may think. One may ask, if there is a high number of unemployed African Americans, why can they not just find a job? It is not that easy.
Finding a job is dependent on the networks one has. Saying so, if one hears of a job opening up then they are more than likely to pass that information to a relative or a friend (Salam). If someone hears about the job first then they are more likely to get it especially if they have a recommendation from one of their networks. The reason why this is so important in the case of how the “American Experience” is different for everyone in our nation is because most networks people have are white. In fact, Salam explains that the social network for white americans are also 91%. Less minorities hear about job openings leading to their very high poverty rates. Moreover, 45.
8% of young black children grow up in poverty compared to 14.5% of white children in America (stateofworkingamerica.org). These children grew up in households with parents or guardians who did not have a stable job or enough to support their children. Also, the major differences between the white children and black children show how more likely it is for white adults to find a job.
Even if minorities do find a job then they will most likely feel like they are treated unfairly. Furthermore, 34% of minorities feel like they are treated fairly meanwhile 66% of white people feel the same (Struyk). Racism is still a major issue in our nation that is perceived differently by many leading to everyone having a different experience as well.