Letter to the Editor

Syracuse University student addresses fellow students’ complacency with racism

This is our country, too right? I was born here, played Little League here, learned to drive here and graduated high school here. So then, why then, why don’t I feel like I belong here? There’s a struggle nowadays which is lost in the vortex of racial issues that plague our country. The struggle of being a young black student with white friends.

Now this is nothing against white people. Do I believe that the majority of white people are racist? No. That would make me just as bad those neo-Nazi geniuses setting our country back 70 years.

However, there is a big difference between agreeing that racism exists and actually experiencing racism firsthand.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re a kid from an upper middle class neighborhood in upstate New York. How have you been affected by racism?

Racist ideologies are so ingrained in our society that we don’t even know they exist. Black students will get jobs over white classmates and their success will be equated to their race and a need for companies to diversify. When racial issues arise in our country, white students will try and rationalize the events and come up with “creative solutions” to fix them.

I know you guys mean well, but stop. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what it really is. You have never had to use your “white voice” when talking to an employer because you feel as though being who you really are will be viewed as a negative. You have never been looked at like you were an armed robber for walking into a supermarket with your hood on.

You’re good friends with good morals. But stop saying that “you get it”. How could you? You’re welcome here. You’re not fighting for equality in every aspect of your life in a country that brought you here against your will in the first place.

Maybe one day there will be a solution. Maybe one day we will all be on the same page about the issues that plague our country.

But the first step is to acknowledge that there is no easy solution. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and 400-year-old racial issues sure as hell won’t be fixed in one either. But why am I ranting at you? Like I said, you just don’t get it. It is what it is, I guess.

Obi Afriyie, Class of ’18


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