“Have you ever been racially profiled before?”
That was the question of the day ladies and gentlemen. I interviewed two white female students, one white male student , four black students, and three Indian students and each and every answer was different.
Veda Kumar, a 19-year-old Indian girl, was the first person I asked this question too. She looked at me with slight hesitation but after a little bit of reinforcement, she agreed.
I asked her; “Is there any moment in time where you can think, where you ever felt you’ve been racially profiling, discriminated against, or anything of that nature?”
Veda immediately responded; “I think the most prevalent form of racial profiling I can think of is whenever I meet someone new. You know the classic questions you ask like ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What year are you?’ well…when the obvious question ‘What’s your major?’ comes up, they automatically assume that I’m studying some sort of science to become a doctor because I’m Indian. They are always like “So, you must be studying some sort of science then?” No. Stop. Just because I’m Indian doesn’t mean I want to become a doctor.”
Veda shook her head in annoyance as she repeated her story to me, “I mean, I’ve gotten used to it over the years but it’s sad that I have to, you know, get used to that kind of thing.”
The next person I interviewed was Jeffery Jones, a 21-year-old black student.
“Are you kidding me? Almost every day I get stares.”
I immediately asked him why and his answer was simple yet very complicated, “Because I’m black.”
I tried to ask him more but all he said to me was, “People need to stop being so damn offense man. It’s the 21st century, stop acting like we are different. It’s damn hurtful.”
The next person I spoke to was Stacey Clark, a Caucasian 21-year-old. I asked her along the same question, give or take a few words, and she thought for a minute and her eyes got really wide and she nodded.
“There was this one time where I was downtown at a party you know, having fun with my friends and then a couple of these black guys walked past us and they whispered and laughed ‘white bitches can’t dance.’ None of us did anything because we didn’t want to start anything,” Stacey laughed, “I know it’s not like the most vicious form of racism but it’s still something you know?”
I completely agreed and then asked her, “Do your feelings get hurt when they said that to you?”
She shrugged, “Not really. I mean, I know I can’t dance but it was just the way they said it. It was like they were looking down at us because we were white girls dancing to hip hop music. Like, just because we are white, means we can’t dance to hip hop and it means we are shitty dancers?”
Going off of this topic, I asked Janice Jones, an 19-year-old Caucasian this question; “Do you feel that you are racial profiling just based off of the fact that you are white?”
Janice scoffed and nodded immediately, “Oh hell yeah. I hate it when people are just like ‘no, you don’t know what discrimination is like because you are white.’ That in itself is discrimination or profiling or whatever you want to call it. I understand if people want to say that whites aren’t as discriminated against as much as other races but don’t say that whites aren’t discriminated against at all because that’s completely untrue.”
“Have you been discriminated or racial profiled in another way other than what you are telling me?” I followed up with Janice.
Janice shook her head, “No, not me personally but my mother is Greek and my father is black so when they wanted to get married both of the families fought heavily against it. Eventually, my parents just eloped. Race should never be a factor in anything, ever.”
Well, there you have it everyone. Contrary to popular belief, racism does not only exist in certain racial groups, it exists everywhere. So next time you’re around people that are different than you, think about what you say, and don’t assume something that is not true.