SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Racial tension is high after this past weekend’s incident in Montgomery, Ala.
An employee at a marina was seen on video approaching a group who was docked illegally. The group attacked him and a brawl broke out with bystanders. The group that attacked the employee was white and the employee was black.
I had the chance to talk to Syracuse natives this week regarding the incident and about the state of race relations in the United States. I aimed to discover what the public thought about the topic rather than listening to the national media choose sides. I spoke with three individuals, all of whom wished to remain anonymous. The question: What is your opinion of racial relations in America?
The first individual, a man in his mid-40s, had little to say.
“Some people see race, some people don’t. I’m one of those,” he said.
I asked a young woman walking down the street and she had any input and she jumped at the chance to share.
“Racial relations could definitely be better in this nation,” she said. “I’m going to start to ramble if I go into every little thing, but I definitely think that there is a backlog of what needs to be made up for.”
These are two very different answers. The man said he had no qualms with anyone of any race, and the woman said she thought there was much to be done. What the two had in common was that neither one of them had any ill-will for individuals of any race, which begs the question: What should we, as a nation, do?
Should the United States issue out reparations to descendants of those enslaved? Should there be harsher penalties for racist remarks? Should companies crack down and place harsher regulations on hiring for diversity? Is the practice of “diversity hiring” racist in itself? It was my third interview, a young man sitting outside of a coffee shop, that gave me an insightful answer.
“I just change myself,” he said, responding to me when I asked what we should do to improve as a society. “Start with myself and then hopefully, as years go by, everybody sees the same thing the way I view it.”
Race relations in the United States are strained, to put it lightly. The past decade has seen some of the most historic instances of racial tension in America since the Civil Rights Movement, causing the rift between black and white to grow larger than ever before. The media has its perks, allowing for acts of discrimination to be captured on film and shared faster than ever before. But major news outlets do their fair share of dividing as well.
As my third interviewee said, it starts with us as individuals. It is time to come together and solve this growing issue.