*Even beyond racial profiling. African Americans are subjected to countless microaggressions on a daily basis . This article, or excerpts thereof, originally appeared on AlterNet, and they are the latest in a new series of articles on the site called Fear in America that launched this March.
They are excellent displays of real life while black and living in America. Whether its acknowledged or not these issues are always at bay. And the potential for them to rear their ugly head always lurks – no matter a black person’s economical status or level of education. And as for those of a higher social influence, it may be harder to see sometimes, but its there. Yes, Caucasian people, its uncomfortable to hear about. You may be downright sick of hearing about it. As a matter of fact, it seems you are hearing about it every damn day now.
And guess what, you’re right. The only thing more challenging would be.
Living it…every day.
Here are a few examples of things we have to be afraid of that white people don’t (or not nearly as much).
- Getting fired because we don’t fit into white cultural norms.
Rhonda Lee, an African American meteorologist who worked at a Louisiana TV station wore her hair in a natural hairstyle one viewer found offensive. “The black lady that does the news is a very nice lady. The only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. I’m not sure if she is a cancer patient. But still it’s not something myself that I think looks good on TV,” the viewer wrote on the station’s Facebook page.
After Lee posted a respectful reply to the man’s insulting remark, she was fired for violating the station’s social media policy, even though she wasn’t made aware there was one. It took her nearly two years to find a new job. She has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the station that is still pending.
Another example: In 2013, Melphine Evans, a British Petroleum executive, was fired from the company’s La Palma, Calif. location because, she says, she wore a dashiki and her hair in braids. She sued for racial discrimination. In her 24-page lawsuit, Evans claims her supervisor told her that, “You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles.”
“If you are going to wear ethnic clothing, you should alert people in advance that you will be wearing something ethnic,” Evans says she was told, according to the lawsuit.
These are just two examples of ways black people are treated if they don’t perm their hair, dress in a way white bosses deem “professional,” or conduct themselves in a way that is “non-threatening” to their white colleagues.
- Encountering a police officer who may kill us. ProPublica reports that black males stand a 21 times greater chance of being killed by cops than their white counterparts. What’s more, a 2005 study reveals that police officers are more likely to shoot an unarmed black person than an armed white suspect. Madame Noire created a list of at least 10 armed white men who aggressively brandished weapons or even shot at police yet were taken into custody alive. Black women aren’t treated any better, as this list by Gawker demonstrates.
There is a reason black people bristle when a white person says, “#AllLivesMatter” during a #BlackLivesMatter discussion. In the eyes of many police, clearly all lives don’t matter.
- Not being able to get a job.The black unemployment rate has been twice the rate of unemployment for whites, basically forever. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013, the unemployment rate for black Americans has been about double that of whites since 1954.
The current unemployment rate is 5.7 percent overall. For white people, it’s 4.9 percent; the percentage is 10.3 for African Americans, a little more than double.
Not much has changed for us since the ’50s, has it?
- Our daughters being expelled from school because of “zero tolerance policies.”According to a 2015 report titled “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” that analyzed Department of Education data from the New York City and Boston school districts, 12 percent of black girls were subjected to exclusionary suspensions compared to just 2 percent of white girls. In New York City, during the 2011-2012 school year, 90 percent of all girls subject to expulsion were black. No white girls were suspended that year.
Let that marinate for a minute. Before you do, data from the Department of Education reports that “black children make up just 18 percent of preschool enrollment, but 48 percent of preschool children suspended more than once.”
The black kids aren’t being suspended simply because they aren’t as well-behaved as the white children.
- We are much more likely to be harassed by police than by white residents in NYC.Though the NYPD has legally put an end to its racist stop-and-frisk policy, the department’s “Broken Windows” policy is in full effect. What the policy does is arrest people for smoking small amounts of pot, peeing on the streets, riding a bike on a sidewalk, selling cigarettes on the corner and other minor offenses. Between 2001 and 2013, roughly 81 percent of the summonses issued have been to African Americans and Latinos, according to the New York Daily News. Most of the arrests were made in black and Latino neighborhoods, as if white people never pee on the sidewalk or smoke pot on their stoops.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton swears by the policy, saying it keeps the city safe. Eric Garner, who was apprehended for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, likely wouldn’t agree. He died after an officer on the scene put him in a chokehold.
Every black person walking the streets of New York City knows he or she could be the next Eric Garner. That’s not just a fear, it’s our reality.
Yes, there is more. At least 5 more excellent examples of things black people have to fear that white people don’t or (not as much) including: Being bullied at work.
Go on over to Altnet to read more.