Black History Month was something I looked forward to growing up. I remember being in the classroom and learning about Harriet Tubman, Garrett Morgan, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, among others, and being proud to be black.
I remember being given the opportunity to choose an African-American leader and writing a paper on that person and then presenting it to the class.
I used to love going home and watching black history movies or flipping through the channels and seeing some of my favorite television shows, like “Sister, Sister,” “Moesha” and “A Different World,” just to name a few, and watching the black history episodes.
When I think about Black History Month and black leaders now, I think about how much time has passed and how many leaders have given up something and risked their own lives to benefit the lives of the future generations to come.
But I also think about how, over the years, I've watched Black History Month just like numerous other things in this world be swept under the rug and reduced to being nothing more than the shortest month in the year.
While watching "Windy City Live: The Color Divide," I found it very interesting learning about how much racism still exist and how it has been defined and changed over the years.
Racism is commonly known as “poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race.” I then thought about African Americans and how they still don’t receive equal opportunity in the job field and they’re often prejudged as being thugs, uneducated and aggressive, just to name a few, at first glance.
When talking to an African-American student on campus, she said, “There is more to being black and in the black culture than hip-hop and rap music and sagging pants.”
“We don’t get enough credit for doing good," she said. "We’re always getting recognized for doing wrong especially in the media. We’re always depicted as criminals.”
After hearing this, I asked a few Caucasian students to see what they thought on the issue of racism. I asked if they ever had a firsthand encounter with racism from any nationality or race. I asked whether they felt they faced any challenges or stereotypes because they were Caucasian, and they all said, “No!”
Interestingly enough, that was the exact answer I expected.
As I reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” I realize I too have this same dream.
I have a dream that one day this world will finally be filled with racial equality and that as a nation we will not be divided or stereotyped by our outer appearances or background, but we will be recognized and acknowledged for all the good we do.
Brytnie Jones, of Gary, is a freshman at Earlham College. The opinions are the writer's.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!