Yesterday, I attended a presentation by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw in which the renowned attorney and professor addressed the issues of modern racism in the vein of Martin Luther King Day. Everything she said is incredibly relevant to the theme of this course, but there was one story she told that hit home for me more so than anything else. Dr. Crenshaw told a hypothetical story about a villager trying to make a stew for the rest of the village. However, she only had broth, so she had to ask her neighbors to provide the other ingredients, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, and so on. The moral of this story is that none of us have everything it takes to make a change in this world, but all of us have something.
I am currently pledging a fraternity with 19 other men, and I am learning every day that this message is true. We all need to work together in order to succeed at our goals throughout the process and come out as better people for having done so. The same holds true in America today. In Nell Painter’s The History of White People, Arthur de Gobineau claims that “races are unequal, and, second, race mixing is therefore bad” (Painter 196). This directly contradicts Dr. Crenshaw’s and my sentiment that we must work together as one united country in order to solve the problems of racism and discrimination and restore justice to all people in America. Gobineau held the belief that if people of all races were to work together and mix in any way, then all races will die out, but in fact the exact opposite is true. The only way to effectively live under the tenant of universal freedom that our country was founded upon is for those in power to show the general populous that we must all come together, we must mix every race, we must grant every man, woman, and child the fundamental rights that only a select few currently hold.
Dr. Crenshaw blames our current political structure for the issues at hand, but I think it goes deeper than that. As we have seen in the readings for this course thus far, racism and discrimination are ingrained in our ancestors and therefore in every one of us, in at least some fashion. We must look inward to figure out how to settle the egregious acts of racism that plague our nation and make us the laughingstock of the world. Simply celebrating the great accomplishments of Dr. King once per year is not nearly enough, for it does not address the root of the problem. As Gobineau and many others have seen to, inequality trumps justice for all. It is up to each and every one of us to change this and unify all races, creeds, and colors.