To many people, it came as a shock. The bubble created by Wellesley’s lack of racial diversity finally burst. For someone who doesn’t follow the national news, who doesn’t see the racial tensions dividing numerous communities, whose only experience with racism comes from history class, the world seems to have advanced past the struggles of racism. But the event over the summer destroyed this perception.
As a black person living in this town, I never lived in this alternate reality. For me, the racial tensions in this country mean something. If innocent black citizens experience racism, so can I and so can my family. So for me the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the protests in Charlotte, North Carolina matter.
Because of the lack of diversity in our town, some people did not feel the way I do. They did not feel the need to worry about the effects of racism because it didn’t affect them it didn’t affect their friends. This passive attitude simply allowed racism to persist. Now, because the issue of racism has hit so close to home, we can no longer ignore racial tensions. The Wellesley community must face reality as we begin our effort to heal and change the culture in our town. The events that have always mattered to me now matter to all.
To clarify, I am not saying what happened over the summer was a good thing. It was horrible and harmful because of the hateful, racist language aiming to dehumanize those in our community. I am saying, however, that the long term effects can be positive, that the response to this event can bring our community together.
I say this because the event sheds light on the divide that race causes in this country. When a broad, ever present issue such as race finally affects your community, it builds a connection between people in the town and forces us to acknowledge the problem dividing our country. In essence, this event bursts the bubble, it ends the ignorance, and it allows us as a town to finally join the discussion gripping the nation.