Racism is a Result of Being Uninformed

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Race is a difficult topic for people to understand and talk about. I think that one of the reasons that racism occurs in today’s society is because people are unaware or uniformed of other people’s backgrounds and cultures.

The Trayvon Martin shooting is an incident that really stands out in my mind when I think of racial relations in America. I remember that it happened during my freshman year of college because my roommate at the time and I constantly had the television on to follow the case. As the investigation continued, the more people seemed to talk about whether or not the shooting was an act of racism. I think that one of the reasons my roommate and I had a strong interest in following the news of the incident is because we were both taken back by the mixed opinions that people had on the shooting.

I’ve always known that racism is still a big and complicated issue in our country. I knew it still occurred, but I never realized to what extent. Even though I was aware of racism, the Trayvon Martin shooting made me realize that it’s still a bigger problem than I’ve always imagined.

I believe that one reason racism occurs is because people don’t always understand where other people have come from, and that unawareness can sometimes bring about fear or confusion. I’m half Japanese and half American and growing up, people have asked me questions that I couldn’t believe I was being asked. I remember one person asked me how I have siblings because they thought that people in Japan are only allowed to have one child. People always assume that I like anime because I’m part Japanese but I actually don’t really have an interest in it. I have even been asked if I can speak Chinese. I think that one of the issues is that we’re all not informed enough about other people’s cultures. I have to admit that there’s a lot that I don’t know about other people’s cultures as well, but it’s something that I would like to become more knowledgeable about.

4 Comments on “Racism is a Result of Being Uninformed”

  1. Hello Mei. Fine insights. It’s telling how people on either side still of the racism debate have intensely contrasting views and experiences. Like the old adage, experience is the best teacher. I’m sad if you have felt discriminated against and or experienced any probable racial profiling.

  2. Hey Mei,

    Interesting post. Racism is such a disturbing part of the human condition. One would think that with access to information and the connectedness of everyone through technology it would be a thing of the past. Sadly, this isn’t true. The killings of Martin, Brown and too many others may be impossible to prove absolutely that they were racially motivated, but they sure smell like it. Sorry to hear about the morons you have dealt with.


  3. I read this piece and was saddened by the prejudice you’ve had to endure. I felt a sense of recognition, as I have experienced similar experiences as well. I have had people ask me ” why I hate women” because I am a Muslim. I have had people inquire whether I can see lions outside my window back in Africa. Or people be surprised by how “good” my English is. And your right: All this emanates from a place of ignorance. I guess the only way to go about shattering these attitudes is to confront them head on. Your decision to write about this is a great start towards that goal. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hi Mei,

    Sadly, that is the truth of the matter. People don’t take the time to look a little closer and understand someone for their background and culture. Every person has their own unique background and still some people assume they should all have theirs and when someone doesn’t they ask questions that could be insulting to someone, or more aggressively act out against them. We need to start teaching our children at a young age that everyone is different and that’s what makes us great. Otherwise there will never be an understanding in the US and we will continue to have these cases pop up.

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