Rojas: Beyond the Conflict Among People of Color

**FRONT RUNNER LA PRENSA: LATINO LEADERSHIP AND CULTURE**

By Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, M.Ed. | AC JosepH Media Guest Blogger

The United States of America prides itself in being an inclusive nation that stands for tolerance and respect for all people.

There is belief among many Americans that if you work hard enough and play by the rules, you can succeed and prosper regardless of race, religion, country of origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status.

Those of us who are woke, know that this is not a true ethos of a nation that has a historical belief in White supremacy and the inferiority of people of color other groups outside the norm of what it is to be an American. It is in that context that our White European dominated society confines race-relations, for the most part, to Blacks and Whites. Asians, Latinos and Native-Americans, for the most part, are usually ignored.


The most recent wave of protests over police misconduct against African Americans in the United States, has sparked spirited spontaneous protests, indictments, firings, police policies changes and legislation. Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans experience the same effects with systemic racism, as our African American brothers and sisters.

Some Asian Americans, Latino Americans and Native Americans are asking ourselves how do we address the persistence and depth of racism and economic injustice in American society; these pervasive and deep prejudices and stereotypes often reinforced by people of color against each other.

Asians and Latinos have been moving uneasily into neighborhoods predominately of other racial and ethnic groups and starting up businesses. There have been racial attacks, vandalism, and killings.

These incidents are occurring during a growing White supremacy climate. A climate fueled by the rhetoric and actions of our former president that go against the values of well-meaning good Americans who are committed to an expansive social economic and political agenda that supports the United States of America’s much heralded tradition of equal opportunity for all.


Asians and Latinos are a resilient people. We remain a formidable force in the American economy. However, the last four years and the lingering stench left by the last presidential administration, make it imperative the need to forge a multicultural movement.

 
There’s a lot of talk going on among Latino and Asian activists, which are communities often prevented from bringing our unique sensibilities, awareness, concerns, and creativity to the discourse on race-relations in what is supposedly a “melting pot”, which in fact is a “salad bowl” of diverse identities.


In her recent, well-written piece in this publication, Dr. Mary Yee invited me to join with her in rekindling the kinds of honest and thoughtful dialogues among racialized, marginalized and disposed activists. I say, let us do it Mary.

Bio: Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas is an award-winning columnist, veteran civil rights activist and former officer with the Gloucester County NAACP. He is the cofounder and retired director of Philadelphia Prison System’s Office of Community Justice and Outreach.

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