Students discuss discrimination, diversity at NAACP 'Racism in America' event
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 18:10
Issues of discrimination were the topics of discussion among students at Sam Houston State University at "Racism in America" on Tuesday.
Hosted by the SHSU chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, the event served as an open forum for students to address different issues of discrimination including ageism, sexism, classism and racism in the justice system.
"My idea behind the event was to bring several criminal justice students and address things people go through every day," Kira Chester, historian for NAACP said. "I wanted to inform people of things that happen in the police system."
About 20 students were first asked to define sexism, ageism, classism and recidivism on their own terms and then act out examples of each term in order to gain a better understanding of the issues.
In the open discussion, students differed over who deserve to be in jail and prisoners’ rights.
"I feel like no matter what crime [prisoners] have done, they made an individual choice to do that and I don’t see why law-abiding citizens should have to pay tax dollars to give them extra things," Chastitie Anderson, senior criminal justice major said.
Other students disagreed, saying prisoners need an education in order to help them after they get out of prison.
As of 2010, the U.S. prison population reached about 1.6 million, a 0.3 percent decrease from 2009, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Other topics students touched on were the discrimination against groups of people by the criminal justice system including women, and younger generations.
"A lot of the time, police arrest more young people than older people," Chester told the group of students.
According to the BJS, in 2010, the most prisoners were in the 30-34 age group with 235,400 followed by 25-29 age group with 235,300 prisoners.
For several students at the event, the ideas and discussion were important for college students.
"In a diverse community, it’s good to be open-minded to know about the problems that hold people down and try to help," Anderson said. "The more knowledgeable we are we tend to respect others and grow."
While Chester said she achieved the goal of the event by giving students the chance to learn about different racial issues, she hopes to improve it in the future.
"I’m happy to continue this event in the future but I want a more diverse audience of different races and backgrounds," she said.
To find out more about NAACP at SHSU, visit the group’s Facebook page.