Facing ignorance in race issues

Mauriel Clark

Recently in a session for my sociology class, the students were assigned to watch a documentary on race in the United States.

The professor was not there and expected the students to do this assignment without him having to be there.

About five minutes into the documentary, students began to leave. I was not surprised because it seems that there is less student participation for assignments either when the professor is not present or when participation is not mandatory. In this case, the professor’s absence gave the students the OK to not participate and leave class.

In most cases, I am not offended when students choose not to participate in assignments that are not mandatory. There have been times that I chose not to participate. However, this time was different.

As a black student at a predominantly white institution, I feel that I am being forced to learn things about white people because I am surrounded by them. These students leaving the classroom upset me because they chose not to take an hour out of their day to learn something about me.

Quite often, I hear students making ignorant remarks in the classroom about the black community. Now, these are students who have not experienced what it is like to live in a black community. They don’t know what it is like to walk around a store and be followed until leaving.

Watching this movie would have given them an opportunity to try and understand the struggles of being black in America – moreover at a predominantly white institution.

There were so many things that the documentary covered that I didn’t even know, which I appreciated because it gave me a chance to learn more about my ancestors. However, since a lot of the students couldn’t relate to the black community, they didn’t care to learn about it.

There may be other reasons why the students chose not to watch the movie. The documentary talked a lot about white privilege and gave evidence that it exists. I have learned that this is a truth that a lot of people do not want to accept. This means that racism will have to be acknowledged. This also means that people will have to realize that, because of white privilege, other races are treated as inferior.

There has always been a disregard for the truth in America. America’s society is so selfish and self-centered. There are a lot of things going on around the world and people choose not to learn about it.

I’m tired of being in class when the professor starts to discuss stories in the news about problems and events in other countries and the students are puzzled and know nothing about them. Yet they know what Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wore at the Golden Globe Awards.

This is definitely a huge problem that people have. Everyone should be willing to learn a little bit about another community. Although everyone does not live in the same community or belong to the same race, everyone is still connected because of living together as a part of society.

[email protected]