Before our values lecture, we were all asked to write down what our definitions were of the words race, ethnicity and discrimination. Now initially I thought these words would be easy to define. When I actually sat down and thought about it, it was a little bit more challenging to write one simple sentence. I had various ‘ideas’ what each term meant but actually trying to condense hundreds of thoughts into one sentence was quite difficult. After an hour or so of careful deliberation, this is what I came up with:
Race= An idea that people have created over time in order to separate people into different groups to justify a feeling of superiority.
Ethnicity= A term used to encompass people that come from a different culture than from our own.
Discrimination= When people take out their dislike/hatred on another sector of society, either in a verbally or physically threatening manner.
During the lecture it was confirmed that these are terms that have been created by society and it make me wonder how this could have come about. How did racism become an everyday problem that results in the death of so many? During the lecture we learned about Emmett Till, Stephen Lawrence and the police shootings in Charlottesville – how lives were snuffed out due to racism. Emmett Till’s story was especially thought provoking and his death was horrifying as during the lecture we all saw a picture of his body in an open casket. His face disfigured from what he endured in his last moments on Earth. I think about what he could have gone on to become if he had lived, the family he might have had and the man he might have become.
That is what the input made me think, what these people who died could have become. The input really showed me how people believe that there are people of different race, that one race becomes better than another. That there are people out there who do not have the values that I have been brought up with, to appreciate a person on who they are – not on what they look like or where they come from.