We cannot accept that which is beneath our worth any longer

The writing is on the wall. As standards for human resources continue to fall around the country, those hardest hit are people of color. Let us examine the many ways that this varied and beautiful community is suffering due to inequalities in education, health care, and a variety of public services that no longer cover their needs or the needs of their children.

The writing is on the wall. As standards for human resources continue to fall around the country, those hardest hit are people of color. Let us examine the many ways that this varied and beautiful community is suffering due to inequalities in education, health care, and a variety of public services that no longer cover their needs or the needs of their children.

Education

Perhaps the most frustrating of the three is education. School service is provided at what appears to be a difficult choice. Though states in the northern half of the country seem to be doing slightly better than the southern, the differences are too few to count.

There are endless gag reels making fun of outdated textbooks or unsafe buildings. These become less funny when you grow up in schools like this, or when you visit them during orientation day. Asbestos is still present in thousands of schools across the country, though it is more likely to remain in schools where the population of students of color is higher than in those that it is not. Testing documentation is often made unavailable due to faulty equipment, such as poor-quality printers or the inability of the school to afford them in the first place.

That’s right. Schools across the nation, right now, are unable to afford the basic needs for their students. Even worse, school supply lists are up to 50% longer and more expensive for those accessing majority student of color schools. This leaves parents with unexpected bills just before the school season starts, which only makes the wage gap issue more prevalent in households with children of color.

We are accepting a school system that does not support the welfare of our children. Our taxes are being used to fund something other than what they are intended to be used for. If those of color are going to progress in a fair and equal society, this must change and standards must improve.

Health Care

If all men are created equal, they all deserve the same access to the same standard of care. This simply isn’t true in today’s America.

African Americans are some of the least satisfied with their medical care and their medical care providers. Why is this? Because they are shunted away at every turn. Serious diseases are allowed to progress due to a lower grade of insurance or an inability to access the correct doctors. Oncology units are not exactly the most populous thing on the poorest part of Birmingham, Alabama. Thus, unfortunately, cases go untreated.

The poor cannot access what they need, and the poor are, still, overwhelming people of color.

Another good example is the long lines and weak reception for medical care on Native American reservations. Disease outbreaks are common even with the advent of incredible medications. Vaccines can be hard to access, and why? Funding. In almost every circumstance, the answer is money. And the poor Americans who do not have enough of it are, overwhelmingly, people of color.

Worse, the poverty level of so many of these people drive them to live and work in an environment that encourages illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. We see rates of these falling in populations which are not wrought with poverty and a lack of access to proper medical care. Yet, in the POC community, these issues are soaring. The sole connection boils down to one word: money. And we don’t have enough of it due to systemic issues which are not, yet, being addressed in a way that is both meaningful and working to accomplish a better tomorrow.

Public Services

The reach of public services has yet to extend into the community of color. Though modern luxuries such as electricity and running water are there, surely, we should expect better than this absolute bare minimum!

The average person of color wrought in poverty does not have access to a DMV, a tax office, a hospital, or a postal service within ten minutes of their location, should they reside in a town. If they do, they are often understaffed or do not have the correct funding to function properly. Is this due to systemic issues bound in the classes of the United States today? Or is it something more?

In many majority POC areas around the country, public emergency services arrive 2-3 minutes later than in areas which are not of this nature. While this may seem like a small gap, 2-3 minutes may mean the difference between life and death. This is due to the fact that many ambulance, police, and fire stations are not within these areas. Though they may service them, they are further away. When lives are on the line, communities of color require the same services as everyone else. Yet we are not yet in a place that affords those opportunities.

This is a major problem and one we must solve. If a child is injured, it should not matter what his appearance is; only that he is treated in the fastest possible manner.

Another common public service issue is public transit. This makes it difficult for those who need to visit the tax office, a hospital, or the postal service, to do so unless they have their own transport. Within a city, this often means paying for a parking space. This is yet another bill to heap upon those who are already impoverished, along with those fees that come with owning a vehicle in the first place.

As the world continues to turn, the case for reparations grows ever older. Many of those who suffered through the civil rights era are now in their 60s and 70s. And yes, though suffering continues and reparations would help, many instantly equate reparations as payment for what was done to the particular person.

Sadly, because many of those people have passed away, are in decline, or are steadily headed into their golden years, there is a very toxic philosophy of “the problem fixing itself”. As people die they and their families are “no longer owed” reparations. While we realize this is untrue, for the suffering of our family members leaves its scar deep in the psyche of every progressive generation, many do not. We cannot allow this to keep happening. Reparations are an important fundamental cause that must be addressed before we lose the generation that earned civil rights, too. The slow, careful convincing of those people who do not will be what wins this issue in the end.