“Segregation” is the separation of things into groups. Segregation was once a big problem in society. Africans and African-Americans were segregated, barred from going certain places. They weren’t allowed to drink from certain fountains, use certain bathrooms, all because of the color of their skin.
Now, let’s fast-forward to 2015. America now has a more diverse culture and races, and theoretically people are more tolerant and understanding. Yet African-Americans are still being segregated, just in more subtle ways.
When browsing the library or bookstore, you will come across a section labeled “African-American”. Why are books by African-Americans put in their own section? What if I were to write a New York Times bestseller fiction; my book would be read and loved by millions of people. Because I am black, would my book go in the “regular” fiction section of the local bookstore?
The answer is probably not. Because I am African-American, the book would be classified as “African-American” fiction. Isn’t that a form of segregation, setting me aside in my own group, even in the bookstore? What makes my book different from any other book? Why are we considered “black” authors? How about just calling us “authors”? White authors aren’t considered “white authors”—they’re just “authors”.
I have never read a Stephen King book that I would consider “Caucasian” fiction. In almost everything we do, we are put into a class: “urban artist”, “black actor”, “black athlete”, “black history month”. These classifications are worthless when it comes to any other race but African Americans. It’s a peachy-clean way to separate one race of people from others. For me, segregation is apparent in habits like this.
This post is published as part of the Prison Op/Ed Project, an occasional series authored by CCRI sociology students who are incarcerated at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute.