“Why do you keep missing Sheldon, is it because you are Asian?” I remembered the screams of my coach as he yelled at me in front of my teammates on one hot summer day. “You better shape up Ching Chong, or I will have you kicked from the team.” I bravely looked into my coaches eyes as I said, “But coach you never ever let me played a game! You only let me picked up the balls and scrubbed the floors. You never gave me a chance to prove myself!” The coach’s nostrils flared as he looked at me in the eye. “Lee, I swear, if you don’t shut up I will kick you from the team.”He would never have a better comeback after that. I always scoffed at his harsh words because I knew he couldn’t kick me from the team. I was a essential part in their team. Without me, they wouldn’t have enough people to qualify for the season. The teammates were no better either. They would call me the “blind yellow fellow”, or “fortune cookie” because of my skin color. The influence that the coach had on the team was immense. So immense, that they wouldn’t associate with me at all. It was a difficult situation to deal with.
Over a period of time, I realized that the inequality was limiting me. So I began to practice. I practiced hard for several years, because I realized that I would need to be ready for the moment to prove myself. That moment finally came, when we were playing for the finals. One of our star players got injured. I remember begging my coach to let me in. He finally gave in. “You better not get in the way Ching!” I remembered running out there, smiling my heart out as we started the game. I remembered the scowls and looks of disgust as I entered the court. “Focus” I told myself. “Don’t let other people bother you”. Two points. Four points. Six points. The points I was scoring kept stacking up. Eight points. Ten points. Twelve points. We were behind by one point! I looked to my left and I saw my coach smiling at me with hope. All the times he smiled at me in the past were belittling smiles. But this time, it looked like a smile of pride. “Hey! Two inch!” I looked to my right and saw Jim, a big 6 foot player walking towards my way. As he was walking up towards me, I could see the jealousy in his eyes as he said “Just because you got so many points this game doesn’t mean you are good!” I walked the other way ignoring his crude remarks. “Swish”. Two points for the visitor. The scoreboard read. Home, 36 points. Visitor, 38. The sound of basketball got louder and louder as my team took it out. “Pass me the ball Jim!” I yelled on top of my lungs. He ran passed me with a smile and decided to take the shot. The ball bounced off into the crowd. I looked at Jim with slight annoyance as all the injustice came flooding back to me once more. I have never felt more targeted or alone. I felt an immense amount of anger, thinking I could have change the way people treated me for the better good. But instead, no matter how hard I tried, the outcome will still be the same. “Fighting! Fighting! Fighting!” I look to my left and saw my mother screaming “fighting” which means in Korean, to never give up. That was the moment that I realized. I was never alone. I clenched my teeth as I walked back into the game. With tears of anguish and annoyance I began to concentrate. It was like the whole world slowed down. The stares of judgment awaiting my course of action. Whether to take this opportunity to bring the game to a different outcome. The words, “two inch” and “fortune cookie” diminished from my head as I took the shot. I felt the ball left my fingers as I remembered how much pain I had to endure to get here. “Swish” and then silence. The ball dropped to the ground and slowly rolled over to my feet. It was like the whole world finally acknowledged that Asians can play basketball.
“Hey Coach, can I play?” It was a week after the season, the coach decided to have one last practice day before we go our separate ways. “Hey Ching..I mean Sheldon. Of course!” My life instantly changed after that. People began to treat me differently. With equality you can say. As I got older I began to see, not only is inequality in my life, but in many people’s lives as well. Over the years, I came to realize on how society was not only profiling Chinese, but African Americans, Middle Eastern, and so forth. I found it to be quite a issue. The first encounter with racial profiling happened when my friends and I went to the mall. I remembered the look on the security guard’s face as we walked in. The security guard ended up following us, making sure we weren’t doing anything illegal. Eventually the security guard called the police to report us for strange and suspicious behavior. When the police got there, they immediately questioned my friend who was an African American. Because of their initial act, I began to feel the irritation burning inside my heart. “How could they do this? This is so racist!” I looked to my friends, frozen in fright, as we watched our friend got hand cuffed. “Let me go! I didn’t do anything wrong!” My friend, Bill screamed. “Stay still or we will have to take you to jail!” the cop sneered. “I am already going to jail just because I am black! You racist prick!” I looked to my friends, “we got to do something!” I exclaimed “What can we do?” one of my friends sadly asked, “We can’t do anything; they are cops we are kids. We shouldn’t have come here in the first place.”The sirens roared as they left the area. Our friend was in a dire situation that needed immediate attention. Little do I know, that’s the last I will see Bill in the flesh for a long time. I remembered running to Bill’s house, yelling and screaming what had happened. Bill’s mother immediately grabbed her coat and took off to the police station. I slowly walked back home, as I reflected what had happened that day. The following week came. I received news that Bill was sentenced to a year and a half in jail for resisting arrest. I looked at Bill’s mother in shock as she fell on her knees and wept. I felt a sudden rise of anger creeping up my throat. “The inequality is too much”, I mumbled to myself. That was the moment when I realized I wasn’t alone.
Plenty of people are unequally treated. Tis racial profiling at hand. As a American, you will start to doubt your rights as a citizen, to be treated equally. So, over the next week, I began to research more and more about inequality in our society. I learned more and more of how African Americans were not treated equal. One thing that caught my eye was a experiment that was carried out in Chicago and Boston during 2001 and 2002. The studies show that resumes with “white-sounding” names, whether male or female, had a 4 % higher chance of getting a call back for interviews then those with “black sounding names” (even though the resumes were identical). As I was reading this, the exact words of the constitution stating everybody is equal amused me. Why hasn’t that been practiced in our society? According to a recent study, blacks are almost twice as likely to be stopped as whites. Why does this happen? Is this the effects of racial profiling? Why is racial profiling still a issue in society? Many people say it is the lack of information. Once a person is cornered into a wall of uncertainty, they assume and conclude their thoughts by stereotypes. Hence, the security guard reporting to the police. Another reason why it may still be a issue is how the media portrays minorities. An example would be the news coverage. The stories that are presented on a news station when connected to drugs and shoplifting targets mainly African Americans. Therefore, giving the people a stereotype to believe on. Some people might say, “But racial profiling can be a good thing, it can help stop future crimes!” There was a study done that states whites that were pulled over were searched only 2.65 percent of the time, while vehicles driven by blacks were searched 5.7 percent of the time. Yet, contraband was found in the cars driven by whites 32.34 percent of the time but only 27 percent of the searches of cars driven by blacks were found contraband. Profiling is stereotyping a individual by what the media and sources have to say about them as a whole. Not what a specific individual will do and behave.
When Bill was arrested I expected a different situation, to be placed where he would be trialed as a person, not by his skin color. I didn’t expect the same type of inequality that I received in the basketball team because it was not to that high degree. Despite my naïve mindset, the US sentencing commission states that the black offenders received sentences that are 10 percent longer then white offenders for the same crime. Tragically, even the justice system doesn’t practice what they swore in the constitution. Therefore giving him those extra 6 months. We live in an age where LGBT communities are rising and we accept them with love. Why can’t we even act in equality when it comes to the justice system? Ever since the exposure of many African American instances where they were treated unequal, the problem has been brought to more of an attention in the government. Even though these problems have been noticed, it won’t be solved without a course of action. What can we do to help society change its mentality of racial inequality? One solution is changing the automatic racial profiling that occurs, in other words, changing your mentality. Teach the next generation that profiling a person by their race is unethinical, and that it can ruin a person’s life. Join the movement, and make the world a better place.
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