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Stop Oppressing Our Youth

We cannot blame the individual when it is clearly the system that doesn’t work.

When our President Barack Obama first got elected he said, “To parents—For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn. That means putting away the Xbox—putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour.” I disagree with President Obama, because you cannot blame the children for not being successful in their lives. Even if they do follow their parent’s orders and do everything there is to do to be successful, there’s no point because of the system we live in. People of color get oppressed and racially profiled on a daily basis and there is nothing we can say about it. We cannot blame the individual when it is clearly the system that doesn’t work.

A study presented in the American Journal of Sociology discovered that a white person with a criminal record has a 17% chance of getting called back by a potential employer, while a black person with no criminal record has a mere 14% chance. This statistic proves that racial discrimination and racial profiling still plays a major role in getting a job. Even if they work hard and do not have a criminal record, black people still have a lower chance of getting hired. This is a result of inequality in this country and the racism presented today.

America’s population is only 12% black, yet black people make up nearly 45% of prison populations. This shows how this is not an individual issue, but a societal issue. You cannot blame the people when the current system only supports the rich and powerful, as well as privileging white people themselves. The same study found that while black people comprise 14% of regular drug users, they are 37% of those arrested for drug offenses. These people (blacks and Latinos) are trying to live their lives and be successful but instead they are arrested and put in jail, taking away all their chances of living the American Dream.

These issues concern me a lot because as a young Latino kid, I want to be treated equally to everyone else. I shouldn’t be judged and treated differently just because of the color of my skin. Racism and racial inequality is tearing this country apart and is taking away job opportunities of many black and Latino people. They cannot be part of the idea of individualism if nobody is there to help them and work with them. The system we live in needs to be changed and the inequality in this nation needs to be recognized a lot more because racism still exists and it’s ruining many people’s lives today. The system should be helping out their youth, especially those of color, not putting them in jail. The only responsibilities today’s youth should have is staying in school and avoiding conflicts with the law.

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