Racism Is Still An Issue That We Can’t Ignore

Society can no longer avoid what’s hiding in plain sight

Gun violence has always been an issue in the U.S. and it seems like we hear or read about one shooting at least once a week. This past week, California had another shooting with the suspect targeting a church. The shooting left one dead and five injured, authorities labeled this latest shooting a hate crime. Few days prior, in Buffalo, New York, another hate crime was committed, a shooting at the Tops Friendly Market where all of the victims were black.

Countless times, we read about these hate crimes and they have begun to increase more as time goes by. When coronavirus broke out, it also brought targeted hate against Asians and Pacific Islanders. Since then, both minority groups have become the latest victims. This has to stop.

These recent shootings were both fueled by hatred and racism. The question arises once more on whether tougher gun control should be made. The answer would be yes and no. Gun control might limit gun ownerships or limit access to how they can purchase a gun, but that does not mean stricter gun controls will abolish the shootings.

Stricter gun control laws can prevent mass shootings such as the ones in Buffalo, New York and Laguna Woods, Orange County but it will not end them. If we truly want to prevent more mass shootings, we need to focus on the real epidemic that is hiding in plain sight: racism.

For many, racism has always been either a very sensitive topic or highly controversial topic depending on how one views it. Many don’t want to discuss race for fear of rejection or any form of stigma against speaking out on an important topic as this one. Unfortunately, we can no longer avoid this. It needs to be talked about.

For those who are unaware or simply don’t understand how racism works, it is defined as prejudice, discrimination or antagonism directed against a person or people based on their skin color. In simple terms, anyone can encounter racism. Anyone and everyone. The groups targeted most for racism are minorities or marginalized groups.

Racism does not know any boundaries, anyone can be targeted at any time by anyone.

Racism is the unfortunate reality of living anywhere in the U.S. where at any time someone with access to a gun or a knife or any other weapon can just walk in at any public place to disrupt, hurt or murder innocent people. There used to be a time where I would go out with friends and laugh and have fun without a care in the world. Afterall, we were safe.

Now, I can’t leave my house without wondering, “Am I going to make it home today?”

When I visit public areas I always look at my surroundings, more specifically, I would try to find areas where I can hide in case of a deranged person walks in with the intent to murder. Children now practice for active shooter drills, something that has been increased due to the school shootings that have been on the rise.

These drills have been around for years but they have not been seen or practiced as frequently as they have the past few years. While some shootings have other motives behind it, the most common reason behind it is racism. Referring back to the Buffalo shooting in New York, the shooter identified, Peyton Gendron, 18, wrote a manifesto which was made public shortly before the shooting began in which he claimed that minorities were coming to the US to replace white people.

This manifesto is based on a racist infused conspiracy theory also known as the “Great Replacement.” This theory is based on a belief by white supremacists who believe that a group of Democrats are trying to smuggle immigrants into the U.S. in any and every way possible to “replace” white Christian people.

This conspiracy theory alone is a laughing matter. This belief or theory just shows how white supremacists are not only against racial diversity but their fear of sharing and living next to minorities. This is such a ridiculous way of thinking and believing.

The U.S. has and always will be diverse. There’s no stopping it and it never will stop. These dangerous conspiracy theories shared amongst white supremacists are a danger to all of us. Many will claim that it is their right to voice their “concerns.” I hate to break it to those who think like this, but no, racism is not free speech. Hate is hate no matter what shape or form.

The shooting in Orange County was also fueled by hate against Asians, more specifically, his political anger towards Taiwan-China relations. For brief context, China’s government has been demanding for a strict “One China” policy which has been met with rejection from the Taiwanese government.

Incidents such as shootings are a danger to the public, when someone steps out of their own home, they should be able to return home safe and sound.

Racism is a real thing and a real issue. I will never get tired of addressing this or advocating for its awareness. These shootings, filled with hatred towards others, are disgusting.

They are also disappointed because knowing that no matter what, they will continue to be a thing. But I like to hope that one day we can find a way to minimize these tragedies when elimating is not possible. Although I sadly don’t believe that racism will end, I do believe we can reduce racism through education and teaching others to love and care for one another.

When you have people such as former U.S. President Donald Trump who spouts hatred toward minorities, it is a call for concern. I am a firm believer that racism is often learned from other people’s actions. When we were born we didn’t see color. We don’t see others as our enemies. As we get older, whatever our parents teach us begins to shape what we see in the world including how we act towards others.

We need to focus on educatingchildren about racism and how it is not an acceptable excuse to commit murder or harm. We can’t continue to pretend like this is okay. This should not be our next “new normal.”