Opinion: What is the race card?

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor is freshman journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her [email protected].

Oftentimes, the blacks in America may experience ridicule when attempting to stand up against wrongdoings. Throughout history, many minorities have encountered social alienation and torment because they fought for their rights. As a young black woman, the Civil Rights movement is very close to my heart. I will never forget where my people came from because without that, I would not be where I am today. Our generation supposedly lives in a post-racism era, but this is not the case. We are supposed to be the generation that sees beyond color and respects each other’s cultures and needs, but this, too, is not always the case.

From a personal standpoint, after speaking up against racial attacks since age 8, I have encountered some pretty harsh comments. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself,” “All black people do is cry; get over it,” “Things are a lot better for you people now.” None of these comments are made up, each one links to at least one incident in my life. I cannot forget my favorite of all time: “Stop pulling the race card.”

This comment is especially disheartening because it suggests that we blame our setbacks in society on our color. In some instances, our color might not have a negative effect, but in many cases it does. I am speaking on behalf of blacks in America because I am not sure what other minorities may encounter on a daily basis. We do not walk around with the race card in our back pocket waiting for the perfect moment to use it.

After experiencing 400 years of oppression solely because of the color of our skin, I believe it is a natural instinct to consider our race in certain situations. We actually have to think about the color of our skin and the impression it can make on people and situations in our daily lives. For example, black men and women have to think about how they wear their hair to an interview because our natural hairstyles, such as the Afro or braids, are not widely accepted outside of our race.

When the police pull us over and perhaps we were not violating any traffic laws, we have to wonder if this happened because we are black. My friends and I performed at a gospel concert in Kent; we all decided to eat at Applebee’s afterward. On our way to Applebee’s, my friend was pulled over twice in fewer than 15 minutes. The first time, he was accused of drinking and was made to take the breathalyzer test.

When President Barack Obama entered the presidential office in 2008, we as a people were scared to death he would be assassinated because of the color of his skin. Many people in America were not ready for his presidency, and they still are not. When blacks in America achieve great heights and goals, we are a credit to our race. We have to carefully monitor our mannerisms so we are not labeled as “ghetto” or intimidating.

I am not complaining, and I do not feel sorry for myself or other blacks. I simply want people to be aware that we do not want our skin to play a role in our everyday life. It is a necessary evil that it does.