To Whom it May Concern, a Discussion about Race: An Introduction

by Zoe DeFazio, Staff Writer

To whom it may concern, Everything you think you know about racism is wrong. With social media like Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and even Snapchat there always seems to be an overwhelming amount of information and blame regarding race and racism. Now that a majority of us are paying attention to racist behavior there seems to be a common misunderstanding on whether or not we are racist. Don’t get it twisted. There are a handful or so of us that are racist and don’t even know it. But that’s the thing, we don’t even know that we are being racist. So this brings up the question, what is racism? Racism isn’t one-size-fits-all. Although it may have one definite definition there are many branches to racism. Racism is discrimination towards those of a racial background that is a minority or marginalized.

But what has been circulating since the murder of George Floyd that took place on May 25th, 2020 are more conversations about systemic racism. Systemic racism is way more complex than the definition Tik Tokers and woke Instagram pages give.

To be honest I don’t even understand it most of the time and I’ve dedicated my life to talking about race since I came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t white when I was thirteen years old.

Systemic racism sounds pretty self-explanatory, it’s racism in a system. It’s actually the system we call the government. The way that it operates is that there are factors to limit how people of different backgrounds get treated, especially Black people.

The United States has eliminated some of its more prominent racist factors such as slavery, Jim Crow laws and separate schools. However, there are so many more problems than what meets the eye. Systemic racism is the continuation of the inconsistency of education, housing, employment and so much more.

Then there is blatant or overt racism. Overt racism is what we as a society have been trained to believe what racism is. Overt racism is the use of slurs and overall being openly hateful towards those who don’t fit the box of “normal” — ethnocentrism at its finest.

As well as overt there is covert. This branch of racism is quite the opposite of overt racism. As discussed overt racism is more blatant and openly shown. Covert racism on the other hand is the form of subtle racism. Essentially this is when an individual tries to downplay racist behavior. Examples of covert racism are making malicious comments in a subtle manner about an individual’s hair or facial features and using common stereotypes in a playful or joking manner. These actions have the ability to portray Black people in a dim light, such as the comparison to animals. Covert Racism is something anyone who isn’t white has grappled with at one point or another. Covert racism is the act of singling someone out without saying “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE”.

I understand what it’s like to be a victim of racism. I grew up in an interracial family in a predominantly white area. With one parent being white and the other being Black there wasn’t any hesitation for people to say despicable things to my family that would invalidate my own existence.

As much as I can say that I understand oppression in the sense that I have been oppressed, I still have a great amount of privilege due to my light complexion and my socioeconomic status, which is why I talk about issues regarding race.

Being created, birthed and raised by a woman of a darker complexion, I witnessed firsthand the incredible injustice Black people, especially brown and dark-skinned people face. Because of colorism, dark-skinned people have a hard time reaching out to talk about this. I want to create an environment where I can advocate for them.

This is to whom it may concern. A segment to discuss racism in ways that aren’t necessarily talked about such as colorism, closed practices, the prison system and even the history of swimming pools. The reason I decided to create this is because after Black Lives Matter came into effect there has been such a misunderstanding of what the life of an average Black person entails and the suffering the community still goes through after over one hundred years since the emancipation proclamation has been signed.

It’s imperative to acknowledge the fact that the world revolves around race. Not only is it important to acknowledge this but it is just as important to get to the underlying factors. When acknowledgment has been declared then advocacy can come in and take its place.

Thank you, Zoe DeFazio
A Black woman

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in The Quadrangle are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board, the College or the student