Responses 5.docx - Discussion Elaine Steese I am a member...

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Discussion : Elaine Steese: I am a member of a mixed-race family. My white father married my black stepmother when I was 4. I grew up in a poor, predominantly black community in Baltimore. As a result of my surroundings and upbringing, I understood racial inequality, white privilege, and quiet racism at a very young age. The existence of systemic barriers to success and generational poverty were never things I had to be taught. I can’t say that there was a defining moment where all of this dawned on me, but rather through observation and experience, I kind of just grew up knowing it; I wasn’t brainwashed by liberal colleges or CNN. Today, there is a lot of debate about whether or not white privilege exists or if systemic racism is really a thing and the amount of anger I feel when trying to discuss these topics is unreal. I have watched half of my family struggle so much more than the other half. Cousins of different races facing the same charges have received wildly different sentences. Our nuclear family has been denied service at restaurants because the staff disapproved of my parents’ marriage. I hate that this is a topic of debate when what our society needs are solutions. I, a white woman, am not directly affected by racism and I reap the benefits of white privilege. But this issue is of paramount importance. The reality is that there is a deeply disturbing problem in our country that most of us don’t want to talk about. Mother, should I trust the government? My mother would say yes, but unfortunately, I do not. Though I believe that there are well-intentioned, honest individuals working in our government, I do not trust the entity. I see a failure of our governing bodies to ensure the well-being of our vulnerable citizens. Honestly, there isn’t enough room on this discussion board for me to discuss in detail why I don’t trust the government. But I don’t. The government does not make me feel safe or secure. Take, for instance, the second government shutdown in 10 years. Our elected officials are literally failing to do their jobs at the expense of their constituents, yet they continue to receive their pay. What reason do I have to trust these people?

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