The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

34° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


I have a united dream

Professor Crystal Fleming, an associate professor of sociology and Africana studies, went on a Twitter tirade on Sept. 11, asking “Where is the reverence for the enslaved? For the victims of racial terror perpetrated by the state? Where is the call to ‘never forget’?”

Fleming is not the only person who shares this belief, but her argument is a dangerous one. Fleming is implying that somehow, the victims of 9/11 are overshadowing the victims of America’s past that we seem to have forgotten—and that is just wrong.

Sept. 11 and the victims of slavery and racism are completely different social issues for Americans to deal with, and it is wrong to start reserving times for reverence of a single race.

It is also about time we start to remember just what racism is, why it matters and the right way to go about curing it.

Racism is defined as the belief that each member of each race possesses characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially ones that distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.

But what racism has morphed into is a word that means that anytime a race is mentioned and someone doesn’t agree with it, that person automatically becomes a racist.

In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

I have a dream that we, as Americans, will stop making members of one race feel as if they have been more offended than the other. Americans aren’t forgetting about slavery and racism just because we remember the victims of 9/11.

Let’s try something new: acceptance of everyone on the planet. Sure, it doesn’t sound as good as a day of remembrance for a group that experienced hardship, but that isn’t the point. Fairness and equality aren’t flashy or catchy.

Maybe Fleming didn’t mean for her tweet to be as in-depth as I am making it, but it is a point that needs to be spread nonetheless. Americans needs to change. Society needs to change.

Racism exists all around us and to say that somehow any race deserves more days of the calendar to remember that will only exacerbate the problem.

I don’t even know why I am arguing against Fleming. She, at least on paper, agrees with what I am saying.

She wrote in a statement that, “If it is true that some people feel that racism should only be talked about on certain days, I would find that to be a very sad and unfortunate perspective.”

Here, I am on Fleming’s side. Racism needs to be addressed out in the open every day. But her tweets suggested that acknowledgment of racism in the form of remembrance days would somehow help.

Racism won’t end simply by acknowledging it exists, and it will never disappear entirely, but the first step to slowing racist tendencies is to realize that we’re all the same.

We as humans have no right to declare that certain days or months are more important than others. The only way you get around that is by proving that you can stand with every human on the planet and agree that every race deserves equal praise every single day.

So, Fleming, you are wrong about what you tweeted. Sept. 11 is remembered in America because it was one of only a handful of direct terrorist acts against our homeland.

It is not an excuse to call people out for not remembering a racial issue.

There should not be a select day for those who were enslaved or mistreated to be remembered on. There should not be a select month that any race gets to claim as its month.

This world should recognize that every second we have on this planet is shared by an equal human mind and an equal
human spirit.

We, as humans, should recognize that splitting the reverence of certain groups into days or months is perpetuating racial tensions and not helping solve them.

But what do I know? I am just a white kid from New York.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (1)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Moh ReeceOct 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    The idea that one can cure racism by ignoring it is not only futile it is offensive. The persistence of privileged whites that we do or can live in a post racial society is a denial of all of the hardships Blacks as well as other minorities have been through. The idea of ignoring race and racism is harmful to civil rights movements because it does not acknowledge institutionalized racism. Schools, employment institutions and the legal system are all guilty of perpetuating institutionalized racism. As an AFrican American I have experienced racism first hand. My neighbors openly admitted they didn’t want a “black” in their neighborhood. The fight for same sex marriages was so successful because we acknowledged the homophobia and injustice that exists in our world. Yet police brutality, low wages for blacks purely based on race, and hate crimes, persist because the majority blames the victims and claims that any incidents of racism are merely misunderstandings. Race is behind many injustices and turning a blind eye is dooming the victims. The way the media represented 9/11 definitely played a role in islamaphobia today, that does not mean we should not have a day to remember the victims. Speaking about racism makes people….talking about race is unacceptable?