The issue of racial discrimination is still relevant to this day, and the debates on whether the topic should be closed or not persist (Vaidyanatan, 2016). This reflection paper will focus on the scenario of Jim, a young man that unwillingly offended two African American men who were sitting in a car in the empty parking lot late in the evening.
If to reflect on Jim’s actions, it is quite evident that his intentions were not to insult others; on the contrary, he was worried about the occupants of the car and had no idea that they were African American. Any individual of any race and ethnic background could have been concerned about people sitting in a car in an empty parking lot. On the other hand, every person has a right to do anything as long as he or she does not cause harm to anyone, so the reaction of one African American man is understandable.
If to explore this scenario in the context of racial discrimination, the fact that Jim is a White 18-year old student played its role. More often than not, African American citizens think that the majority of White people perceive them as inferior, even in cases when they do not (Ortiz & Telles, 2012). It is quite likely that if Jim were African American or Hispanic, he would not have gotten the same reaction from the men sitting in a car. Possibly, the men have already encountered racial discrimination and became defensive without realizing that Jim had no intentions of racial profiling. Therefore, it is recommended for Jim to apologize and make sure that the men understand his intentions. To do so, he should engage in dialogue with them and find out why they reacted in such away. After all, elevating the burden of racial stereotyping is a matter of collaboration and not confrontation.
Ortiz, V., & Telles, E. (2012). Racial identity and racial treatment of Mexican Americans. Race and Social Problems, 4(1), 1-10.
Vaidyanatan, R. (2016). Why don’t black and white Americans live together?