1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Being bullied at work.
Fifty-four percent of African Americans claim to be victims of workplace bullying compared to 44 percent of white respondents,according to the 2014 Workplace Bullying Survey. A recent example of workplace bullying comes from Portland, Oregon, where two current and two former black employees of Daimler Trucks North America are suing the company for $9.4 million. Joseph Hall, 64, says half a dozen white employees threatened him with violence, wrote graffiti showing “hangman’s nooses” at his job, and placed chicken bones in his black co-worker’s locker. There’s much more ugly racism alleged in the case, if you have the stomach to read it.
7. Being pulled over by the police.
Black drivers are 31 percent more likely to be pulled over than white drivers, according to the Washington Post. We fear this pretty much every time we enter our vehicles. Sure, we sometimes violate traffic traffic laws. But we get stopped even when we don’t.
8. Being accused of shoplifting when we’re shopping.
Shopping while black can be pretty stressful. Just this week, a black NYPD officer filed a lawsuit alleging that employees at PC Richards & Son store, in Lawrence, N.J., harassed him for “shopping while black.” Sammari Malcolm, 40, of Brooklyn, says employees accused him of using a stolen credit card when he purchased $4,150.23 worth of electronics, even after showing his ID. Malcolm also claims store employees frisked him and detained him for two hours. He is seeking $5.75 million in damages. Sound familiar?
9. Getting sick and not having access to health care.
While African Americans have gained better access to healthcare since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, black people have less access to medical care than whites in core measures, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality. When we do gain access to care, it’s far worse than whites in 40 percent of core measures.
10. Having white people say we’re exaggerating these issues.
This isn’t so much a fear as a chronic and sometimes debilitating annoyance. It seems that no matter how much we can statistically demonstrate that racism is pervasive and damages us on many levels, there are white people who fight us tooth and nail with arguments that life is not as challenging for us as we say it is.
This piece is really good.