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Cutting off a Shadow
Cutting off a shadow is a very difficult procedure; however, people can do it if they are careful. First you should make sure to gather materials: a light, some duct tape, and scissors. After gathering the materials there are a few steps to take before cutting can commence. Turn on the light to make sure that every part of the shadow is visible. Put the duct tape over the patient’s mouth so that if you miss and cut the patient the screams will not be heard. Now cutting can begin. Be careful to follow the seam between the shadow and the person very closely so that none of the shadow is left over. Congratulations. You have now finished the procedure.
Unless you are overly attached to Peter Pan who could detach his shadow, or you find me highly believable, you should know that you cannot actually detach a shadow from a person or anything with mass. Just because you realized this is not literally possible does not mean that you have figured out what I mean figuratively when I say, “Cutting off a shadow.” To help clear up some of this confusion I would briefly like to explain my metaphor. A description of a shadow would be a dark blob that has a resemblance to a figure when light is present; the blob constantly follows the figure around and can possibly be bigger than the actual figure. When viewing this description in the context of the United States, which will be the first part of the main topic, the shadow is just what the description implies, minus the light part of the equation. Cutting off a shadow means that we would want to get rid of this haunting blob that constantly is with us. The shadow is a nuisance that hovers nearby at all times and is similar to an elephant in a room.
At this point in time you are probably wondering what blob follows the US around. The blob would be all the racism haunting our past. I know that you know what I am talking about. We all spent countless hours of our lives in history class learning of how white men have always thought they were better and even if you don’t remember the specific events you have heard of how there was always oppression of some group, usually native Americans, African Americans or women.
The metaphor cutting off a shadow applies to the US and our shadow of racism because the shadow is making us paranoid. Everyone always says that we need to learn from our past and study history so it does not repeat itself. Luckily, we have made a lot of progress and equality is now being stressed more than ever; nevertheless, we still haven’t found the solution. In fact we have merely found a way to disguise racism in something commonly called “reverse racism”. Reverse racism has many different definitions and some would say that it doesn’t exist. For the sake of this discussion, reverse racism is the effects of trying so hard to remove the racism towards minorities resulting in racism towards the majority. Reverse racism is still racism. The reverse part is merely to show that this comes from the backfiring of trying so hard not to be racist. With all of that defined I would like to explain how reverse racism is effecting America and some ways that we can try to eliminate racism altogether instead of just changing to a more subtle form.
Ever since first arriving in North America, whites have decided that they are better than everyone else. They feel they have the right to take what they want at the expense of anyone and anything. Since our existence, America has been a contradiction. We escaped from a tyrannical government just to become an equally oppressive system. We forced natives to move so that we could indulge in the luxuries that their land had to offer. We forced Africans to move here to provide cheap labor. America has had a dark past with many mistakes. The problem with these mistakes is that they are affecting the future. We overcompensate for the mistakes in our past seeming to think that being overly nice to minorities will make everything we have ever done wrong disappear.
I am all for equal rights. Equal rights are needed. I completely agree that our past was filled with mistakes that I wished never happened in America. I feel that differences in race or beliefs should be celebrated and accepted. But do we really have this? Is life in America really equal? Or are people still favored because of genetics instead of skills?
When applying for college it used to be unheard of for an African American or women to attend college at all. Now they are given an advantage over whites. Colleges, and jobs, are now under the influence of “affirmative action.” According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy.” This controversy exists for good reason. Getting an education or job should not ever be based on the color of somebody’s skin. Affirmative action is an example of reverse racism in action in our society now.
Preferential selection is detrimental to everyone involved. When an equally or more qualified person gets rejected for a job because they are not of a minority, hatred is bred. Race should never have a role in job selection. Human nature often causes us to deal with unfair events by blaming a particular person or group. In the case of preferential selection, the rejected candidate might start to dislike the ethnicity of the chosen candidate because they feel the job should be theirs. This would just increase racism even though it is meant to fix it.
Even though minorities are now getting better jobs, this could imply that they do not deserve the jobs. Affirmative action helps minorities to get jobs. When legal action is still needed even as racism is exponentially decreasing, many people may think it means the minorities would not deserve the position otherwise.
Everything in this life should be earned. Nothing should be given merely because something happened in the past. Racism has always been wrong. We have realized this. We teach this in schools nationwide. So why do we still have unequal rights? Why are people still chosen because of race?
At the beginning, I told you how to literally cut off a shadow. Then I enlightened you on what the shadow of the United States is. But you still don’t know how to cut off the shadow of our racist past so that our future won’t be haunted by any more reverse racism.
Cutting off this shadow will be a more challenging and time consuming task than cutting off a literal shadow. In real life, there is never any duct tape to mask the screams as change comes. There is a legal system that often prevents us from near instantaneous change. Nevertheless, removing reverse racism is a possible task.
There are many ways to go about removing reverse racism. None of which include refusing to teach our past. Racism should be explained. People need to know what has happened to prevent returning to that level of racism.
Some ways to remove this shadow are beyond the scope of most people. Some are very simple though. One way would be to write letters to politicians. These letters would urge the politicians to remove laws about affirmative action. One way that doesn’t take any time would be to refuse to fill in an ethnicity on an application when it isn’t required. Applicants should never be evaluated based on race. The question shouldn’t even have to exist.
Maybe someday reverse racism will be something taught in history class. Maybe race won’t matter in any form other than traditions. For now, we must take action. Cutting off a shadow as enormous as ours will take decades. It might not even be completely off in our lifetime. But every step we take we cut another snippet off. Change must come. Reverse racism cannot be allowed to go rampant. Little steps you take make a difference. So what will you do to cut off our shadow?