What do these have in common? Prejudice. Hate. Fear. At best, they lead to comments like, “Oh, he only got into UCSF because he’s black,” as shared with me by an anonymous student. At worst, beautiful lives are senselessly lost. These are not uncommon or particularly new themes, but we can do better. We have to do better.
This Black History Month, I find myself profoundly troubled by this violent bigotry that has long pervaded and continues to pervade our society, even in progressive cities and college towns like New York or Chapel Hill. At the heart of it is deeply rooted miscommunication—people don’t understand each other as human beings, and in dehumanizing someone, a life is devalued and viewed as expendable.