Picture Source: Wikipedia

Racism and Othering: And why it's a problem by Jax Adler

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, there is a boy with autism named Christopher who goes to hug a dog after the dog died. After the dog’s owner calls the police, Christopher has to go to the police station to be questioned because the woman thinks he killed the dog. Already people think he is aggressive because they think he killed the dog, but then the police officer grabs Christopher to put him in the police car, and Christopher hits the officer because he is scared. After that, everyone thinks he is even more aggressive than most autistic people.

See how I said more than most? That’s because already people think a person with autism are more aggressive than someone without it. And although obviously, some autistic people are aggressive, not all are. It’s like when people say that all Muslims are terrorists because a small minority of Muslim people are terrorists. Not all autistic people are aggressive. According to Ariane Zurcher from The Huffington Post, “So when those first news reports came out linking Asperger’s with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as though this explained everything, it only took an unethical few to do tremendous damage to an entire population of people. Despite the fact that there is no link between a diagnosis of Asperger’s and violence. (Zurcher)” Even though there is no link between the two, people still want to think that the minority of those who have autism and are aggressive is the majority.

Source: DeviantArt

The same exact thing happens to so many different minorities. All black people are violent. Muslims are terrorists. Lesbians are too masculine. Gay people are too feminine. The list goes on and on. Stereotyping is a type of racism shown by saying that all of a certain race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other group of people are a certain thing. The one I hate the most is when people say that all black people are violent and criminals.

Source: YoyoChinese

The reason I hate it the most is because that one actually correlates into violence against them. Of the 990 people who were killed by police officers in 2015, the Washington Post reported 258 of them were black (Williams). While 13% of Americans are black, 26% of people killed in police shootings are black.

Source: Patheos

Source: Odyssey

The large amount of murders are not committed by the majority of the population, obviously. Yet, that isn't the only problem the black community is facing. They are suffering in other ways too. 27.4% of black people are in poverty, the most out of any race. The reason for this is a cycle. It starts by the black family’s parents not getting good jobs because they are black. Even our next president of the USA, Donald Trump said after firing a black employee, “I think the guy is lazy, and it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.(Marans)” So back to the stereotypes, because some employers think the majority of black people are lazy, they won’t give them the better jobs, if they even give them one at all. Next in the cycle, the families' children can’t go to a good school. According to Newsweek, “To take just a couple of examples, black children attend worse schools, in part because local tax and property laws prevent their parents from moving to neighborhoods with better schools.(Gold)”. Not only can they not get a good job, but their kids can’t go to good schools, and most likely won’t go to a good college if they do go, and then it is harder for them to get hired because they don’t have a good education. This can go on for generations. Starting with the single stereotype that all black people are lazy, an entire family can be in poverty.

Source: TicketTV

So just like in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, people are often stereotyped for things that a minority of their population does. While stereotypes are othering others for their race, religion, or sexual orientation, making the stereotyped people struggle to stay above the poverty line; the racist are striving.

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