Northwest Missourian Opinion

America claims to be a country where everyone is treated equal, but that is a complete lie.

The political and societal climate in the United States has made discrimination and violence commonplace, and a constant source of concern for various individuals who just want to make this country a place where everyone is welcome.

The inherent racism from the current administration has resulted in people thinking that it is OK to attack people on the basis that they are different, the most recent example being the confrontation between some high school students and Native Americans in the nation’s capital earlier this week.

The encounter became the latest touch point for racial and political tensions in America, with diverging views about what really had happened.

According to the New York Times, a group of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky was involved in a confrontation with members of a religious group that was shouting racially combative slurs at them.

This resulted in Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha people, stepping in to try and diffuse the situation. What became of this encounter was an overwhelming amount of hate toward the students of Covington Catholic, who in all reality did not do anything wrong.

While the true story of this event was foggy at first, it paints a picture that is completely different than what was originally presented. The video of this confrontation has since gone viral and brings the conversation of racism back to the foreground of everyone’s minds.

However, the media once they had the story with only a few of the facts basically vilified the high school students as the ones who initiated the incident. This resulted in direct threats toward the families of these students and their school district.

While it was later rectified by the media, people were condemning these boys for their actions before knowing the whole story and believed that they were the ones responsible based on what they were wearing and how they looked in all of the images and videos. However, it has once again ignited the conversation of race and racism in the United States and it is one that has become based in history.

History has shown that so many conflicts were based on the concepts of race or differences between various groups, and the recent events in Washington are no different. The simple fact is we are all human and deserve to be respected and celebrated for who each of us is as an individual and what is contributed to society as a whole.

The events of Charlottesville, Ferguson and countless other places made it abundantly clear that the issue of race is still rampant in this nation and stems from the people in office and the overall culture being stressed by the current administration.

President Donald Trump helped this culture of racism find a place in society and become an even larger issue for humanity. According to the Washington Post, it has come blatantly obvious that if the president thinks it’s OK to be racist, then everyone else thinks it’s OK.

I realize racism is not a new issue in this country, but it is something everyone is dealing with and it is a conversation some people are not willing to have. While the students did not do anything wrong, they were turned into the instigators of the incident by social media and a lack of information on the event.

I have always wondered why it has been so difficult for people to break out of the old ways that have institutionalized racism and take a step into a new era in which people should be accepting of everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and a number of other things.

Racism has become a key facet of American life and the bigotry of our leaders has resulted in a trickle-down effect. Look at what happened in America since Trump took office. People being killed because of their skin color, police officers shooting unarmed people and Neo-Nazis protesting and running people over.

This must stop, not just on the basis of ending violence, but also making a future in which everyone is truly accepted for who they are and do not feel afraid.

It may not be an overnight thing, but it is something that we should strive for going forward. It is on us, as future leaders, to make those efforts to make a change.

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