UNITED STATES—I could not believe the video that a family member sent me last week of a woman running for a city council seat in the town of Marysville, Michigan. It left me appalled, shocked and just speechless. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I have no idea where you have been hiding, but Jean Cramer, has been the talk of the town for many Americans.

While discussing the issue of diversity, Cramer publicly stated during a live public forum that the city of Marysville should stay as white as possible. Yes, it was alarming, and hearing the audible gasps from the audience and the facial expressions of potential colleagues on the panel said it all. The crazy thing about this is Cramer didn’t seem to think what she stated was wrong. This is when you need an educational moment.

Cramer seemed ambivalent about what all the fuss was about as she made national headlines. I even saw an interview with a local reporter who questioned Cramer about the comments she made. Cramer has headstrong about her comments that marriage should be between the same race, and that immigrants should stay in their country and fix their issues before coming to the United States. It was really appalling information to hear. I didn’t sense any remorse in the woman’s voice and it raised the question: does she not understand the problem with her comments?

This was blatant racism and it was scary to see it. Are there many Americans who think this way, but just keep it to themselves? I hate to say it’s probably true, but I know it’s true. We are just mere months from 2020 and we still need to have discussions about race because people seem to think it has disappeared. America is supposed to be this melting point, but with so many races and cultures intertwined, we still find a way to group ourselves.

We tell people we’re a melting pot, but in actuality we’re not. People are still not accepting of those who are different from them. Who don’t look, talk, dress or behave the way they do. We’re not willing to accept others differences out of fear. We fear what we don’t know or what we think we know when it comes to race. You cannot assume something based on what you see on TV or hear from other people. We need more diversity in schools, in neighborhoods, in the workplace and we need to have frank discussions about race, where people can discuss and not be defensive.

We’re likely to continue to perpetuate this cycle of racism by being ignorant of the issues that sit right in front of us that we assume do not matter. They do matter and until we get honest about the fact that racism still exists in this country and people have preconceived notions that don’t align with how we should treat one another with civility and respect, we will continue to have these problems. Race is a discussion we need to have in the forefront, not in the shadows.

Written By Zoe Mitchell