Discrimination still overlooked

President Barack Obama marched along with 40,000 other people in Selma, Ala., on Saturday in honor of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a series of attacks by police officers on peaceful black protesters crossing a bridge in 1965.

During his speech, Obama dismissed the notion that race relations in the United States haven’t improved, but he acknowledged that they haven’t been completely solved, either.

Recent police misconduct with black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City resemble the misconduct used against black protesters in 1965 — unarmed blacks were harmed by police.

People are still pushing for a change. FBI director James B. Comey spoke last month about police discrimination. His solution was to push for more community involvement between police and black communities. Comey quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the end of his speech, saying, “We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools.”

On campus, Whose Diversity? recently protested in University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler’s office with a list of demands. Since then, campus crime alerts have changed. This is important because many of the alerts described robberies and assaults by “black men in dark clothing,” contributing to a stereotypical image of black males, among other problems.

Countercultural movements have been consistent with American culture and history. I sometimes wonder if races will ever be 100 percent equal, or if there will always be a need for someone like King or groups like Whose Diversity? fighting for societal change. In some ways societal norms are embedded in our minds. We aren’t always conscious of how what we do or say affects others or ourselves. An open dialogue about these issues is healthy and should continue.