It has been the leading work for a lot of Civil Right movements. White people throughout history have agreed with the rights of other races (particular black people), if they are to simply stay in their area of town. Separation and tolerance has consistently been the beliefs of many white Americans and when faced with no choice but to be inclusive, they become enraged with the idea of actually having to interact with people of color.
If you’ve taken any American history classes, then you would know who Booker T. Washington was. He was a big advocate for creating equal opportunities for white and black people, but he believed in segregation and this was an idea that many political figures could get behind. They felt bad knowing that other humans were suffering, but they still didn’t want to be in mixed company with them. So sure, they can have their little community at the end of town where they can have their own little school and jobs and live their little lives over there and away from my children. Now the issue becomes about the ghetto and poor people, who just happen to be black. “They were given equal opportunities on their side of town, right, so why aren’t they achieving more? Wait, come work on our side of town? No, thank you. They need to figure it out on their own.”
These people don’t realize that they’re being racist, because they believe that this is the way life should be. It has been this way throughout history, sure, but the point is to go beyond tolerance and become inclusive of all people, and many people don’t want to do that. They blame Obama for the way racial issues are today, because they believed it was better when things were separated, quiet, and tolerated. Now that there has been a black president and more black people want to be included in opportunities of higher education and employment, white people are outraged by this inclusion. They see every person of color in their workplace as an exclusion of another white person who could be working in that position. “Why are they working in this office? They should go make their own offices and stop depending on us to provide jobs for them.”
This line of thinking has been passed down for generations and people are taught these same thought processes by their parents so it’s hard to actually take a moment and realize everything they’ve ever been taught to believe is actually insensitive to people of color. They think they’re being fair. They think they’re being reasonable. They’re making agreements that everyone can use the same stuff and go to the same school, but just don’t invade on their own personal community so they don’t have to hear about your struggles or learn anything about your heritage or culture.
What can be done to help these people realize that all people are the same and have equal value? How can they be convinced to no longer feel uneasy around people of other races? I think one interesting fact would be that Generation Z is the very first generation in American history to have 50% of their population be non-white. Maybe that can finally be a giant stepping stone for true inclusion.