Saturday, August 15, 2015
It has been a year since Michael Brown was killed by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo. Since then there have been several killings of African Americans by policeman and others in the U.S., the killings bringing a lot of media attention. It is this media attention that has made me, and a lot of other people, realize that racial problems still exists in this country, some of them being very serious racial problems. I have actually known for quite sometime that we still have racial problems from my teaching GED classes in the Adult Detention Center (ADC) in Manassas, VA. Most of my students are African American, and most of the inmates I see are African American. There are education and economic reasons there are more African Americans there, but I just can't help believing that there are racial reasons for this disparity as well. I am no expert on this subject, and the issue is complex, but I thought I was living in a world where race was not as serious as an issue as it was in the past, especially so in the sixties. I see now that racial discrimination is more subtle than it was in the sixties when I was a teenager. At least now we don't have the "whites only" signs and the "back of the bus" stuff. However, today's killings of blacks are not subtle at all. Having mostly blacks in jail is not subtle either. I don't know what I can do about it. I can continue to treat all my students at the ADC the same and to help them be ready for life after jail. That is good for them, and that is good for everyone else.