Jodi’s Spark (May 8th)

Ever since the first flood of immigrants came to America, there has been intense racial discrimination among many citizens. Though most were prejudiced mainly because they felt that the immigrants were invading their home and filling up many of their jobs, some citizens discriminated because they were ignorant, or lacked fundamental knowledge about the different ethnicities that were being introduced to their country. Fortunately, over the past few decades, there were great changes in racial segregation. In Sanjek’s chapter, “Bonds of Interracial Cooperation”, many examples are provided that show how people of different races come together to help solve conflicts, such as the march against drugs in Jackson Heights. There was also an increase in African American-led marches in 1980-1990s. Marches that were aimed at stopping drug dealing and violence consisted of people of whites, blacks, Latin Americans and a few East Asians. This proves that in times of crises, people are able to set aside their differences and come together to fight for their rights.

Two of the examples that Sanjek provided that stood out to me was the cultural performance held by the students at Corona’s PS19 and the Three Kings celebration at Elmhurst Hospital. During the “Cultural Sharing Day” at PS19, the students collaborated on ┬ádiverse showcases that celebrated Chinese New Year and Dominican Republic Independence Day. Chinese students even performed in the Spanish flamenco number. Cultural school events like these is one of the greatest ways to teach students and all audience members about the different races that have come to America. The “Three Kings Day” event at Elmhurst Hospital also featured people from various ethnicities coming together to celebrate a holiday that was once foreign to them. The more cultural events that occur, especially when exposed to young children, who aren’t as biased or strongly opinionated as some adult American citizens, the more diverse and flexible our society will grow.

Though people today are more culturally diverse, there are still many cases where racial discrimination is still going strong, such as the C-Town incident, where an African American boy, Bobby Yates accused a Korean owner of C-town, Kim, of chasing, beating, and locking him in a freezer. Incidents like this usually raise controversies on races, and the way some are treated. No matter how many groups are able to come together and celebrate each other’s cultures, our society will always have racial conflicts and stereotypes. But are there any other ways that might loosen these barriers between different ethnicities? What else could society do to help alleviate the strong racial conflicts that occur in our country today?


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