So what many of us probably do is prepare for battle.

We lay out all the facts and argue against their invalid rebuttals. Sometimes we win them over, but other times we can’t. I don’t know about you, but either way I’m always exhausted by the end. I just can’t handle it anymore. I can no longer separate myself from these experiences, and many times they cause stressful thoughts to eat away at me. I’m just so tired of carrying this burden of having to educate everyone about race.

 I’ve always gone to predominantly white schools,

and now I am at a prestigious university amongst a crowd I cannot always relate to. Of course, we all come from different places, but I can’t help but notice how wealthy and privileged many students are. And a lot of students, many of them privileged, have misconceptions about different races, religions and ethnicities. It’s unbelievable. It’s like they were raised to see everyone who is different as others and to see their kind as the most deserving of protection and success.

I’ve been in dining halls and cafés where students make ignorant comments about blacks both on campus and out in the real world. I’ve sat next to a student who made stupid comments about how the 3/5ths rule was beneficial to slaves because their owners could take more of a “paternal” role over them when representing them in Congress. I’ve been in a classroom in which a student claimed that ethnic organizations on campus are bad because they prevent students of color from assimilating into American culture (which, in his mind, was probably just his own white culture).

Every time, I’ve raised my hand in a room full of strangers at a chance to tear them down. Sometimes I’m welcomed to speak, others I’m not. It’s come to a point where I feel incredibly guilty if I don’t speak up, which frankly is not fair. If I’m tired of fighting all the time — don’t I deserve a break?

Some of my friends and family have said to me, “well, your job is just to go to school and become successful and that will be your revenge over all of those ignorant people.” And they might be right in some respect, but that in no way solves the issue at hand.

Our country is suffering from an epidemic of ignorance and miseducation.

When I sit in classes among some of America’s alleged brightest youth I hear ignorant beliefs and witness misappropriation of my culture as well as the culture of others. And I, along with many students of color, feel as though it’s our job to educate them. Well, it’s not our responsibility. It shouldn’t have to be this way.

Who failed these kids? Because it certainly wasn’t us. 

I have to take into account the fact that a lot of these kids grew up in privileged households where the miseducation of race is continually perpetuated from generation to generation. So what about our school systems? I mean, as I sat in my Race and Public Policy class the other week, our professor asked us who had taken a class before college that legitimately dealt with race. No one raised their hand.

Even when these kids get to college, they usually must take it upon themselves to take classes about race, and many of them don’t unless it is required for their major. Many majors do not even have diversity requirements, and the ones that do only require one or two courses. So, just think about it – a privileged kid who has no real perception of how race functions in our society can take a broad, undetailed Introduction to Africana Studies class and call it a day. And a History major can get away with not taking a single class that pertains to black history. That’s just ridiculous.

So why we should educate them?

Even though I’m sure we are all so sick and tired of having to do it, we need to remember that these ignorant people may very well become a person of power, especially if you find them on a college campus.

In fact, I fear most of those who are ignorant and attend prestigious universities because they feel empowered by their education, and this somehow strengthens their belief in their ignorance.

And then one day, they may have the authority to devise public policies or laws that affect people of color. They may become policemen, judges or politicians. And in these positions of power their ignorance will thrive. They might not intentionally discriminate against us, but they will not be educated enough to see the discriminatory policies and institutions that already exist; and institutionalized racism will live on and prosper. So if we don’t educate them, who will?