Crofton Community Must Work on Racial Equity

Caleb Williams, Staff Writer

 “Your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be the roses that grow in the concrete,” Angie Thomas wrote in The Hate U Give

While we have come a long way from our past dealing with racial inequality we still have a lot of work to do if we are to make African Americans feel more welcomed in our community at Crofton High School.

First let’s define racial inequality: Racial inequality is defined as social inequality and the advantages and disparities that affect different races in the United States. This is the result of systemic and historic oppression and just overall racism and prejudice primarily against racial and ethnic groups. While this is an issue that is dealt with all throughout the United States, what we first need to do is focus on is our state and discuss the problems surrounding it. 

For example, a study conducted by the Justice Policy Institute in 2019 shows while black people only make up 31% of Maryland’s state population they make up 70% of the prison population. This is higher than any other state but it is more than double the national average which is 32%. 

This is due to decades of unbalanced policies that over- police and under-resourced communities of color, and a criminal justice system that over focuses on punitive sentences and parole practices. Though some argue that that African Americans commit more crimes, that is simply not the case. This is because data that was collected in 2019 from the Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime section in the U.S Department of Justice shows that for all ages that people who were white made up 70% of all offenses while people who were black made up 26% of all offenses.

Another example that shows racial inequality in the state is a more current and recent event, the coronavirus. Data collected by the American Community Survey reported that while only making up 31% of Maryland’s population black people made up 47% of the state’s coronavirus patients. Black people have also made up 48% of Maryland’s death rate for coronavirus. 

This is because of a ton of reasons. One is that black workers are more likely to hold jobs that don’t allow them to work from home making them more susceptible to the virus. Another reason is fear of racial profiling because of wearing a mask with some already being kicked out of stores for wearing protective masks. It is also evidence to show that doctors are less likely to report symptoms of the coronavirus when testing black patients.

There is even evidence to show from a study conducted by Kelly M. Hoffman, Sophie Trawalter, Jordan R. Axt, and M. Norman Oliver that black patients in pain are undertreated compared to white patients in pain which only makes catching the virus a higher risk for black people. While coronavirus does affect everyone throughout America looking at the data, it’s too high to ignore the increased likelihood and danger of African Americans catching coronavirus not only in our community but Maryland as a whole. 

So the question still remains: how do we help work toward racial equity in Crofton and the state of Maryland? 

One way is talking about the issue, if an issue is never talked about and ignored it will still remain and continue to get worse and worse without others knowing what’s going on. 

Another way is listening to communities of color’s problems and discussing how we can provide resources to these communities so they feel as if they have the same opportunities and chances that predominantly white communities have. 

Last but not least another way we can help these communities is by amplifying their voices and advocating for them when they ask for help and change instead of just making empty promises that something will happen and never following through on those promises.

Racial Inequality is alive and well in both the USA and our own state and community. However, it does have to be this way. While we just can’t solve this issue overnight all throughout the country, we can help spread this issue throughout Maryland and our own communities and start not only start discussing these issues but also start taking action. 

Remember not talking about the problem means being complacent, and being complacent in an issue as serious as this can lead to more and more people being hurt and more and more families torn apart. 

Think of it this way: If you needed help wouldn’t you want someone to come and provide those resources for you? Or would want people to ignore and downplay your issues until it’s too late?