Welcome to the Club


“Welcome to the Club” by Charles Blow is an essay about incidents of racism concerning blacks and a number of minorities in the US. Gates Jr., who is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual, first experienced racism late in his life. He was arrested at his own home; an act which many individuals, mostly the black population, viewed as racism since he is a black man (Blow, 2009). Events of slavery, segregation and lynching are common towards racial minorities, and not only to those who were black, but also to minority groups like Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Arab Americans. The encounter with the police has, therefore, been termed by the minorities as “a rite of passage.” (ibid).


Blow (2009), state that Gate’s predicament is one among the many instances of racism that the minority groups experience everyday in US. Minorities, for example, the blacks, Latinos and the Hispanics find it rough with the police. They are often stopped and frisked on the claims that they may be carrying weapons or illegal items. Blow goes ahead to give the statistics of individuals who are stopped by the police in the streets. He quotes a recent poll by the New York Times and the CBS which showed that sixty six percent of blacks, who took part in the interview, had been stopped and frisked by the police, while only nine percent of the white population experienced the same. This is despite the fact that, there are higher chances (more than seventy percent) of a white person possessing a weapon as compared to the black population (Blow, 2009). The New York Law Firm also released a report showing that more than eighty percent of those who were stopped and frisked were the blacks and the Hispanics (ibid).

The author also gives an account of his personal encounter with the police. His first initiation to the “club” came when he was eighteen years old and a college freshman. Alongside his friend Andrea, as they were driving in the streets of Louisiana, they were stopped by a police officer who viewed them as suspects even after Andrea submitted his driving license. The situation got worse when the officer pulled his gun when he saw a blade comb, which he thought was a weapon. Andrea was bold enough to question why they were stopped, and since the officer had no valid reason to give, he threatened the boys’ lives, saying that he can make them lie on the road and shoot their backs and nothing will be done about it. The officer simply wanted to impose his authority on the poor boys. This harassment was purely based on the race of these two boys since they are black. The two boys got humiliated, furious and scared. The writer says, he found it unfair considering the fact that he the president of the freshmen class (Blow, 2009).

The author wished that this unfair treatment of the minorities would come to an end in the near future. He, therefore, had a dream of breaking this cycle of harassment when he becomes a parent. However, this did not come true as he experienced the same with his kids after a thanksgiving ceremony. He was stopped by a white policeman on the basis of using his phone while driving, but as he claims, he used the phone at a stoplight. He raised this issue with the officer who again charged him for not buckling up while driving. The discrimination was so open that even the author’s kids could see it, as young as they were. This made them protest against the officer, but the author quieted them.


In conclusion, the USA has a long history of racism, not only by individuals, often it was enshrined in law what means there even were laws against minority groups. Today, the face of racism is not the same. Race and ethnicity are still factors that are decisive if a person is included in American society, however, there have been a great reduction in racism in USA as the elected and accepted a black President.

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