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Wrecking Racism— Staying informed, only to mourn

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By Julian Roberts

Editor’s Note: This column features youth voices addressing issues of race and racism.

One may question the movement in the forward direction, one may try to understand the experience of another, but how will there be a mending of relationships when the disconnect seems so severe?

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We have seen, time and time again, the quite abnormal push to going back to “normal,” but after a viral pandemic and the nonstop police brutality that have both disproportionately affected Black people, what is “normal”?

It is crucial to maintain the power of being informed. However, the extent to which this can affect your entire conscience is crippling. Day after day, another piece of news is posted on the media, with triggering pictures and videos of someone being murdered. This is something that I cannot get used to and continue to become sickened by. I ask myself “Should I even be checking the news? All of these updates make my blood boil, my heart ache, and completely take me out of focus.” But what an entitled question to ask? To even question the possibility of ignoring such news and to avoid mourning the deaths of people who look like me. At times, the answers to my questions seem answerless, and the feeling of helplessness is suffocating. But I have to stay informed. In portions, in fractions, or in abundance. I wonder, what is the correct dose of information?

The ability to obtain information is a message our educational systems try to teach (i.e., knowing your rights, having the ability to think critically, etc.)  However, all of our childhood has been screened by which information is to be learned and which is to not. To learn only about a small handful of Black leaders but pose others as evil or spiteful is detrimental. So is to teach that our only way out of racism is to think positively during such trying times. Our history has a continual pattern of repetition, and to let the evolution of racism confuse you is foolish. I know that no one likes to hear about life in danger, no one wants to see an innocent person shot and killed, and no one wants to see a man being suffocated by a mob closing him in a door. However, this time of now is so important because of our ability, as regular civilians, to walk down the streets and hold the power of mass reporting on our own electronic devices. I am not challenging the upper hand that the media has given us. It is not the cellphone, or the news sources, that are at fault for what is caught on a recording, it is the fault of our governance for creating a nation that has cradled these conditions. This is the white supremacist mindset that has solidified in the cracks of our communities.

To address this, teaching about such topics that strike pain into one’s soul needs to be done with caution. Although we see some light at the end of the tunnel as a Black woman takes the vice-presidential position, many do not even consider the fact that there are layers to these problems — thick layers that make people drag their feet instead of unfolding them. Progress is what we have seen happen in a few short months in our community. But, progress does not mean there is time to waste and loath ourselves. Progress only leaves more room for improvement, to use our small community as an example, a domino effect, in change. There is room for improvement in the classrooms, at home, and in our community to teach children about these crises but find a way to mitigate the trauma that may be induced by this knowledge. I challenge our community to consider these questions: How will a Black child properly learn in a classroom while constantly being triggered? How will Black history (aka American history) adequately and accurately be portrayed in the classroom to enlighten our future and push for better times?

*The writer graduated from Yellow Springs High School in 2017 and recently finished her bachelor’s at The Ohio State University.

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