Alyssa Ahlgren: What Racism Has Become

Being called a racist used to mean something. It was an atrocious word used to describe absolute evil. Now, it is thrown around and applied synonymously with conservativism.

When you turn on the news, listen in class, or overhear a political conversation you would think that racism is mainstream. You’re probably so sick of the words “racist,” “hate,” or “bigoted.” These terms used to carry weight, as they should. However, they are now being so loosely applied your eyes start to roll back when you hear them. We have one side of the aisle claiming our nation is plagued by evil racism that reaches the core of the system as well as all of its individuals. You have the other side of the aisle pointing out that America has become the least racist multi-racial society in history.

Which one is it? Are we so rooted in racism as a society that we don’t even realize it, or have we evolved since the Civil Rights Movement and the abhorrent Jim Crow era? Let’s look at the facts. When we hear the words “systemic racism” it is often in reference to America’s “racist” police force. This claim alleges that cops specifically target and discriminate against black people. Statistics, however, do not support this notion. According to FBI data, white people are twice as likely to be killed by cops than black people. Not only that, but police are 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black person than an unarmed black person is to be killed by a cop. Black and Hispanic police offers are more likely to fire upon a black individual than a white officer. On top of that, black people are underrepresented in stop-and-frisks by police when compared to the percentage of black people that commit crimes. Racism is not the reason for racial disparities, crime is.

I concede that to say we don’t have any systemic racism would be a lie. We do have affirmative action and programs that attempt to alter meritocracy to artificially foster diversity. Studies show that affirmative action does a disservice to minorities. College drop-out rates among minorities who “benefit” from affirmative action are higher and unfortunately the perception of minorities in schools and businesses has been negatively impacted. Affirmative action and similar inclusion efforts create a societal impression that a member of a minority group attained their position on marginal status rather than merit, which of course is not the case in every situation. The truth is, everyone has an opportunity to succeed regardless of race. Affirmative action declares the standard needs to change for minorities because they aren’t as broadly qualified as whites, which is utterly false and degrading.

We are so desperate to be racially tolerant that we continually participate in soft bigotry of low expectations. Thinking that voter ID laws are racist because minorities are incapable of attaining a card that enables you to drive, buy alcohol, open a bank account, fly on a plane, and get a job is demeaning. Thinking that minorities can’t compete on their own merit is condescending. Propagating a false narrative that the United States and everyone in it is inherently racist in order to continue to fight for a cause that has been long won is regressive. The unspoken reality is that if we all admit that racism is an issue that is only seen in the execrable fringe of society then the left loses. Leftism thrives on victimhood. Leftism thrives on racism. Without it, the basis of their talking points and policy falls. Without it, political figures who have established their careers on racial division are out of a job.

We are so desperate to be racially tolerant that fake hate crimes exist. I’m not saying legitimate hate crimes don’t exist, but they are statistically few and far between compared to total crimes. Plus, FBI data shows that Jews, not black people, are more likely to be a victim of a hate crimes. The fact remains, however, that some people feel the need to falsify hate and racism because they know it will propel their career and social status. This goes to show how tolerant and sensitive America truly is. We over compensate victimhood. The condemnation of racism is a nonpartisan issue. Right, left, republican, democrat, everyone agrees that racism is malicious and sinful to the highest degree. Racist bigots do exist, but their beliefs are radically unpopular, fringe ideals that encompass a miniscule minority of mentally deficient individuals.

Being called a racist used to mean something. It was an atrocious word used to describe absolute evil. Now, it is thrown around and applied synonymously with conservatism. It is used so liberally that it does a disservice to minorities and to the condemnation of actual racists. Watering down the term to fit the picture you want to paint of our nation is only aiding in the destruction of our culture. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and theories. However, no one is entitled to their own facts. Facts are not on the side of a racist America. If the color of your skin does not prevent you from being the leader of the free world, it most certainly does not prevent you from creating your own path in life. For the first time in history, we see the demand for racism exceed the supply.