This reflection is long overdue, but as more time has passed, the importance of the DC trip was more clearly reflected. Upon our arrival to DC, I was frustrated. I wanted to see my family and was not particularly excited to be on the trip. Previous to this trip, I had been to DC multiple times. Each time I was incredibly disheartened by the amount of people experiencing homelessness in our nation's capital. During this time, the irony of this stung. When one is actively looking for homeless encampments, they can be found dotted across the city. In every neighborhood. On the mornings that we walked over to DC Central Kitchen, a group of roughly ten young black men were camped on the steps of one of the national judicial buildings. As we wished them a good morning, men in suit jackets sped past without looking at them. The visual neglect the group of young men experienced was difficult to see as it seemed to indicate clear racial divides between the white males in suits and the group of young black men. A discussion we had at Luther Place with Sarah centered around racism, and the various ways it has embedded itself in American culture. We collectively discussed three different types of racism: personalized, institutional, and cultural. To conclude, these three types were combined to discuss structural racism which is the combined impact of personal, institutional, and cultural racism. Something important I learned was that structural racism does not require intent to work, and can been seen within, across, and between many institutions. Sarah made a clear distinction between prejudice and racism; she discussed that racism is two part being both prejudice and power. However, prejudice does not have this power component to it. The discussion of racism has encouraged self reflection, and I consciously work to challenge my own preconceived notions of different groups.
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