If you've watched the news or spent any time on social media lately, you've probably noticed people talking about racial bias in policing, drug laws, and prison reform. For many young people, this current moment is a crucial one for turning the spotlight on everything from structural racism to implicit bias.
In 2015, nearly 200 unarmed suspects were killed by police, with a particularly large number of those victims being unarmed black men and boys, such as Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Eric Garner in New York City, and Michael Brown in Ferguson. And while people of color make up only 30% of the U.S. population, they make up 60% of those incarcerated in U.S. prisons.
Issues of racial bias have also picked up steam recently on college campuses, as student activists have protested offensive Halloween costumes and bias-themed-parties, newly-formed campus "white pride" groups, and longstanding traditions, practices, and systems at colleges that discriminate against racial minorities and make them feel unwelcome or disrespected.
Another issue to look out for in this heated election year is the issue of racial bias and voting rights. In some states, voter ID laws prohibit the use of Student IDs when voting, which disproportionately blocks young people of color from getting to the ballot.
Being aware of the many ways racial bias is expressed in society is an important strategy to challenging racism everywhere.
Microaggressions have been found to affect mental and physical health, create a hostile work or campus environment, lower work productivity, and be partially responsible for creating systemic inequities.