My name is Tommy Crawford, and I’m from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. I’m continuing my basketball career at Colorado College, a liberal arts college in Colorado Springs. I come from a community that is 90% white, and I just graduated from Thunder Ridge High School. I face discrimination both in school and outside of school. At school, it’s mostly stereotypes that aren’t necessarily physically harmful, like “What are you going to have for lunch, fried chicken?”. Or, it can have a greater impact, such as people calling me the n-word or moon cricket, and more offensive names like that. When I sit down at a place I don’t know, like a lunch table, or when we get new seats in the classroom, people move their keys, wallets, and phones off the table and into their bag or pocket. When I walk through the halls, I can often hear people snickering and making racist comments. Since I went to a primarily white school, people think it’s okay to say the n-word as a part of their normal vocabulary, because they receive no consequences for doing so. When people say colored people and more privileged towns and counties experience less discrimination, they are wrong: we just experience it differently. As colored people, we see the little things that white people can’t see.
I’ve also faced discrimination and racism outside of the classroom. When I go through the grocery store with my brother or dad, and we walk through an aisle, sometimes I see mothers move their children to the other side of their body opposite of where we are walking. At the mall, women move their purses to the other side of their body when walking past us. As black people, we look through a different lens when going about our daily activities. We see the little things that people do naturally to specific people. It’s as if we see a different world, and we have to go through activities differently to come out fine. For example, when we get pulled over, we are told to put our hands on the dashboard to look forward,answer clearly,be respectful and ask to make movements. White people don’t have to go through this struggle, because the police force doesn’t see them as much as a threat. It’s sad to see how many people in my predominantly white community don’t see these simple discriminatory actions. That is why they thought Kaepernick kneeling was disrespectful to the flag- because they didn’t know the backstory of what he was doing and why. They were unaware of the impact and racism the police force in many cities has on people of color. I hope these riots and protests help them realize what is wrong with the system of racism and discrimination within our country.