The 2014–15 school year is shaping up to be one with the massive outbreak of stories about race. From night shootings to month-long protests and riots, things don’t seem to be looking up.
On March 19, Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler told CNN he was outraged when police reported seeing stickers that state, “exclusively for white people” stuck on businesses around the city.
Also written in smaller print toward the bottom of each sticker is the phrase, “Maximum of 5 colored customers/colored BOH [Back of House] staff accepted.”
The stickers were marked with the city’s logo, which made it look as if the City of Austin was endorsing what was said on the stickers.
“The stickers were neither produced nor knowingly displayed by the businesses and were removed by their employees when discovered this morning,” Adler said in a statement to CNN.
The culprit, Adam Reposa, was apprehended on Tuesday in Austin. Reposa is a lawyer who has lived in Austin for 23 years. He reportedly put the stickers up to raise awareness of gentrification in Austin.
“This type of cowardly and hateful act will not be tolerated in this city,” Austin City Manager Marc Ott told CNN.
Although this is just six stores in Austin and might not seem like a big deal, it is. Ferguson, Missouri became the widespread light that revealed acts of racial profiling across the country. The stickers are another negative step.
But this isn’t the only step in the wrong direction. On March 19 in Claiborne County, Mississippi, the body of an African American man was found hanging from a tree. Authorities said the 54-year-old man, who is believed to be Otis Byrd, was found wearing a skull cap with a bed sheet tied around his neck. Although authorities now believe the hanging was a suicide, they are still conducting a thorough investigation.
This is not to mention the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma and their racist chant on a bus. Everyone has heard about it and it is appalling to all. However it marks this generation. Because we’re special.
The Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that “millennials are the most racially diverse generation in American history,” which should be flattering. However, are we even able to call ourselves racially diverse and accepting when we see instances like this in Oklahoma and Austin, Texas?
From what I can tell, things look like they’re once again taking a turn for the worse. It’s like this generation is the make-or-break for racial equality. No pressure, of course.
In addition, we’ve seen people storming through Times Square in protest of Eric Garner and all the victims like him, but then we see the shooting of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina. These events show that there might be an imbalance on the racial equality scale. Every day, it seems that more and more hate crimes are being reported. The “exclusively for white people” stickers were the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
How can we go back to a time of limited thinking, when we think of other people as less and inferior solely based on skin color? It makes no sense to me.
I thought I was living in a society and country that was making progress toward achieving full racial equality, but every day, more horrible crimes and instances happen. I’m starting to doubt that we’re moving in the right direction.