Alcoff Final Paper

Submitted By CrystalGamboa95
Words: 2422
Pages: 10

Crystal Gamboa
LSP 200
Prof. McCartney
Power and Race

In the world we live in today, racism is a hot topic. With everything going on in Ferguson, Missouri and the stories that media cover today having to do with white men killing young black men, that is not difficult to see. What makes this topic so controversial and hard to talk about is the fact that people in this country have been working towards equality among all people for a fairly long time now. Many refuse to believe racism even exists anymore, and others blame everything bad that happens to them on the fact that they are part of a group of people that identify themselves as anything other than white. Everyone with a Facebook or Twitter account publicly voices their opinions and what is going on in Ferguson, which is what cause many arguments about race and power and where some are showcased when they go ‘viral.’ Talking about race is always difficult, especially when the superior race is in a position of authority and power. Generally, each person’s experiences shape their opinions about people and events that they feel they have already dealt with. In the case of Walter Scott, he was someone who, as a white police officer in the south side of Chicago, had a strong distrust for young black and latino men, and that was based off of his experiences on the job. When talking about Walter Scott though, it is important to note that his case does not exemplify every white police man’s experience and does not generalize all young black and latino men and their actions. The community that Officer Scott was supposed to patrol is one of a much lower class than the community that he lived in, and multicultural is not the way to describe either of the neighborhoods. Officer Scott lived in a predominantly white neighborhood, and most of the people living there owned their home and multiple vehicles. Crime was not a big issue, other than teenagers shoplifting here and there. This is where he felt at home because he was also white, and it was much like the neighborhood that he had grown up in as well. His parents never sent him to schools where he interacted, became friends or team mates with anyone of another race. When he decided to become a police officer, he did not take everything into account. All he saw were the policemen in his neighborhood, who he looked up to and respected, but also saw that they were usually the heroes at the scene of a car accident, a fire, a robbery that would happen once in a blue moon. He never saw them doing the kinds of things that awaited him in the south side of the city. The neighborhood that he was sent to was almost the complete opposite. People in this neighborhood were so desensitized to violence and people dying (unless it was someone they knew and/or were close with) because of how common it was. Robbing stores and people in order to get not only what they wanted, but essential things to survive such as food, clothing, and water was almost expected. Schools lacking resources, underpaying teachers, and having almost empty classrooms were the norm. It was mainly divided in half by a particular street. On one side of the street and beyond was the neighborhood that was considered the ‘black neighborhood.’ The other side of the street and beyond in the opposite direction was considered the ‘latino neighborhood.’ Each group had gangs who claimed their ‘territory’ and would fight to keep power within it. Being in this environment, these people’s ‘realistic life options’ are very limited when it comes to choosing anything other than a life of violence, gang affiliation, and crime. Officer Scott sees the people of this neighborhood as what Alcoff describes as ‘the Other,’ whom could be seen as a stranger, and worse, as inferior and as a threat. It is a disadvantage to the law abiding citizens of the community because their ascribed identities, which is the social identity that is given to them, is one that they share with the people