Sela PastranaTrack and field student athlete, sociologyAnti-racism is:
“Anti-racism means actively making efforts to discuss the social injustices people of color face in this country and make conscious efforts to battle those injustices in our daily lives.”
We All Have The Power to Make Change
My anti-racism journey did not fully begin until I entered college.
After constantly being told to keep my head down and follow the rules, I learned through Langston Hughes’ poem “In Explanation of Our Times” that change can come about from people without titles in front of their names.
My desire to help bring about change never fully landed on a clear motive until I changed my major to sociology. Taking these courses and discussing systemic and institutional racism in American society truly began my journey toward anti-racism.
Hearing about the trials that Black Americans face daily opened my eyes to the privileges I hold and how I can utilize that privilege to discuss the deeply rooted racism in American society.
To uproot these ideals, we need to talk about them often.
We need to talk about “The Talk” that Black parents must painfully share with their children. No, not “all cops are bad,” as some people have begun to say, but the criminal justice system is not entirely geared to support Black Americans.
Systemic racism is so ingrained in American society that many people do not realize their prejudice against Black people.
This statement is taboo; we are not supposed to say things like that because we might offend someone who is not racist.
The point of talking about racism and how to dismantle it is not to point fingers at people and make them feel awful about themselves.
It is not to draw a more significant divide between the people and the police.
It is not to create enemies out of those who disagree.
It is to open eyes to the social injustices that Black Americans face every single day. It is to start the conversation so that we won’t ever feel the need to have it again one day.
I don’t know if I will ever live to see the day where we won’t have to have the racism talk, where I won’t have to explain the turmoil Black Americans face and have faced in American society.
I don’t know if I will ever experience a world without racism.
Yet, I do think social peace can occur one day.
We need to educate the youth and encourage them to continue the conversation, encourage them to be the “no-names” who rise against those in power. It is our responsibility to continue our journey toward anti-racism by starting that journey for other people.
Sela Pastrana is a student-athlete at Cal State Fullerton majoring in sociology. She says learning from history helps those who seek to understand the human perspective, differences and commonalities.