My Fault or Theirs?

As a young female of color I can say I have witnessed things not everyone gets to see. I have seen people worked to the bone just to barely get by each month. As a person of color, I have to work harder than everyone else because the system wants me to be lazy and slack off. Living in poverty, you don’t get as many opportunities as people in higher classes. When you live in poverty, the world around you pushes you two ways: to work hard and overcome in the struggle of class and to give in and try to get around it. When you live in poverty and you are a person of color, the government wants you to choose the lazy way and try to get around it.

I can see how someone would say it’s my fault, I mean there’s plenty of people of color who got their act together, so why can’t you be like them? Liberal Michael Eric Dyson states, “When you think the problem, you think the solutions are the same. If only the poor were willing to work harder, act better, get educated, stay out of jail and parent more effectively, their problems would go away. But one could do all of these and still be in bad shape at home, work or school.” This quote speaks to me because there are plenty of people of color and poor whites who do all those things, but still struggle on a month to month basis. I believe that the color of your skin actually matters more than people realize. Our government plans your whole life out depending on your race. People say people of color can be where whites are if they tried harder, but what they failed to realize is no matter how hard they work or what their resume says, people see color first.

The US government is set up to put people of color down in any way possible. A major way our government “attacks” men of color mostly is through incarceration. Statistics show that 61% of the incarcerated population is black and Latino, while they only make up 31% of the US population. One out of every three black males will be incarcerated in his lifetime and every one out of six Latino males will be incarcerated in his lifetime. Colored men are being incarcerated at an accelerating rate. People of color are targeted and blamed for everything wrong with the US, then forced to believe that if only you worked harder, everything would be better.

Our government also wants us to believe that people in bad situations are in those situations because of things they did. The government tricks us to make us believe that it’s our fault when it’s not. Our government system is built in a way that makes it harder for people of color to survive. In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander wrote, “In the words of H.R.Haldeman, President Richard Nixon’s white house chief of staff:’ ‘[T]he whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a plan that recognizes this while not appearing to.'” It is disgusting to hear a person who is supposed to be helping lead this country into new places say such a racist thing. People like to believe that racism is gone; it’s a thing from the past. That is far from true. Racism is not as out there as it used to be. Yes, people are “freed,” but that can’t make people not judge you by your race. I believe that no will ever go a day without being judged by the color of their skin. I think racism is deeply rooted in our history. All the hard-work in the world will not make people less racist – maybe just a lot more quiet about it.

I believe the people at fault for the US economic and racial inequality are elected officials. The government tries to blame the people for things they cannot help. People work hard every day and are never acknowledged – just told they can work harder.