America, home of the oblivious...?

By: Clayton Whitt

This article by Tim Wise starts by focusing on some current events. In recent months, there has been an increase in tension between police forces and citizens. To say it bluntly- There have been a lot of incidences where white police officers have used excessive force on specifically black males. While this is already upsetting, what's even more haunting is the fact that they often get away with it. One of the more recent events he gives input on is the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. But, If theres on thing I liked about this article is that Wise gives multiple examples of the discrimination and oppression of blacks dating back decades ago. He combines this with recent studies that gives the reader an insight to just how oblivious people have become. Wise goes over the undeniable "reflexes" of most whites in today's society. He states that most whites simply so not understand the struggle of blacks- they have to learn everything about white people just to stay alive. Because of our inability to comprehend this, we have a tendency to deny that things are racist. He finished the article with a call to action; stating that while these are times of despair, it is up to everyone to grow together during this time instead of fall apart.

Racial Inequalities in Instituions

A more broader issue on the gap between races is the imbalances in our institutions. We especially see this in our school systems. Earlier this year, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released in depth data that offers a stunning glance at the extent of racial inequality plaguing the nation’s education system in the 2011-2012 school year. A few of the more shocking facts include:

- Black students are expelled at three times the rate of white students

- A quarter of the schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students did not offer Algebra II

- A third of these schools did not offer chemistry

- Black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.

( data gathered from )

Suspects are often acquitted

A incident that Wise discussed was the death of Trayvon Martin. Martin was not killed by a police office but by local community watch captain, Paul Zimmerman. Zimmerman was put on trial for the murder but was eventually acquitted of the charges. This caused multiple riots and many Americans were upset. But this is not the first and definitely not the last time this has happened. And after you look at the evidence against the suspect is some of these cases, it is difficult to wonder if the judges got something wrong. For Paul Zimmerman, his main goal was to prove that he was acting in self defense. When Zimmerman was reporting Martin to local police, he was instructed not to follow Martin. Yet he did which lead to the death of the Trayvon Martin. There was no proof that he was acting in self defense, but according to the court, he is completely innocent. It is the same for officer Darren Wilson. He was acquitted on all charges, leaving some to question the integrity of the court.


Empathy is about putting all of your background and previous knowledge behind you, and having the ability to put yourself in another's shoes. While this can be difficult, it is completely necessary for us to move forward on this issue in a positive manor. It is apparent that more than often, white people have it better than black people. It is a combination of flaws in our institutions and whites inability to empathize for others. It is crucial that we all learn to put differences behind us whether they are racial, social, or cultural.