Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

Dividing Ourselves: A view on Race Relations in America

By Jarreti Reaves

Self-segregation is a slow, steady process that goes unnoticed in places where it does the most harm. The effects of which go unseen in churches, school systems, and in the way Americans label themselves. It does not limit its work to just these areas. Evidence of segregation is seen in the media, music, and the neighborhoods we live in. It has wormed its way into every aspect of our society and continues to affect race relations in this country. Any given Sunday, Americans find segregation doing its silent work in the way church is attended. Some may even say Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Americans do not notice that the division has rendered them unconscious to the lack of racial diversity on a day and at a time where the setting should be the most diverse. Self-segregation’s numbing effects stop church members and pastors from looking around at their setting and asking questions. ‘Should church service be this way? What is stopping this church from being more racially diverse?” The irony is the American Civil War was fought to bridge the many chasms that slavery and
segregation have created in many areas of our lives. Has the issue of segregation been properly addressed or abolished? The answer is an emphatic NO! The silent work of segregation is not just working tirelessly in American churches. The effects of segregation’s persistent work can also be seen in the school system. The Florida legislators have initiated what may be a heinous move toward expediting self-segregation. Certain schools under the Florida School Choice Program are becoming predominately white, other schools predominately black. What does this do for racial relations of children that are growing up in this system? Maybe it causes both races to think, “this is how things should be”. White students may say, “I like it when all my [white] friends are at the same school.” Black students may say, “I do not have anything in common with those white folks anyway.” Segregation has not only ruined past relationships with both races, it strives to poison future ones as well. The effects of segregation can even be seen in the label that Americans attach to themselves. Human beings that make up this nation are not always referred to only as Americans.

Every race has a label: Mexican Americans, Latin Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans and White Americans. The labeling draws a line between races that are clearly defined from childhood to adulthood. If Americans are not Americans first, then what are they? This type of thinking creates an identity crisis for every American that just adds to the already strained relationships between races. Race relations in this country will continue to be strained and broken unless we use tactics to reverse the years of conflict between races. Why not effect a change in our future generations? Show children that it is okay to live next to and associate with somebody of a different race. Teach young people the whole truth about other races in the school systems. Do not have only a Black History Month. Teach them that black people and people of other races had a hand in shaping this country throughout history. Persistence will help repair the broken relations that exist in churches and ease the strain that has been placed in the school systems. This just might stop the unconscious categorizing of Americans. What will be the effects of an American society awakened to the potential of all races working together?

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