Skip to main content
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Waiting for Change

Waiting for Change

Waiting for Change

Disappointed by America

Zipporah Ridley

America you have failed me, time and time again.
Like someone in an abusive relationship, I see you pretend to be something you're not,
But I continue to yearn for something different and hope for something better.
And time after time you have shown me your true colors.

Growing up I learned about our brutal history and the injustices that black people have faced. I learned about more contemporary things like racist cops and the Jenna 6. But I still had hope, and my younger self thought of these as isolated incidents. I still had hope in America and the values and dreams that came with it. I was losing faith in my country, but it wasn’t gone completely.

2012 changed all of that.
I quickly learned that the system that wasn’t designed for us, couldn’t do right by us.

I learned what it meant to be black in this country by watching the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case. In 2012 we saw one of the most publicized cases since Rodney King. In 2012 an unarmed child was gunned down, because he was a black boy in the wrong neighborhood. I watched along with the rest of the country to see the outcome. I sat hopeful in a room full of loved ones, silently praying that the court system would do right by him and by his family.  

I expected the country to mourn together.

George Zimmerman was acquitted. A man that murdered an innocent child, now able to walk free because of the verdict of the court. I expected people to at least recognize and acknowledge the lost of life. Even if they didn’t see the blatant racism. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

A few blocks away, over near my high school --- I heard fireworks.


People were celebrating, the acquittal. Celebrating the freedom of a man that murdered a child.
I just couldn’t believe it. People were not only supporting this unjust system and its results. They were celebrating the life and freedom of a murderer. Of a white man that killed a black boy.

I couldn’t believe the country felt this way.
I was shaken not by the policies or the system, but by the people of this country.

The everyday people that I saw who supported this monster.
That is how I felt watching the 2016 election results. I began watching it with hopeful eyes, expecting the country to do better and want better. And by the end I was speechless, frustrated, and hurt. I was shaken but not surprised. On Election Night, America revealed its true colors again. America and its people revealed to the world that our country is full of bigots, homophobes, xenophobes, sexual assault apologists and more.This country repeatedly has told me that i don’t matter, women don’t matter, muslims black lives don’t matter.

Last night it just screamed it for the world to hear.

Zipporah Ridley is a History and Ethnic Studies major, while minoring in Political Science. Although Ridley hails from Philadelphia she has found a second home in Santa Clara University. Ridley has been involved through out campus as a Neighborhood Representative, in campus housing and is the Chair of the Inclusive Excellence Student Advisory Council. Ridley has been extremely active on campus, specifically efforts focusing on diversity and inclusion. She is a recipient of the Hackworth Fellowship, focusing on diversity, inclusion, and leadership. Views are her own.

Jan 20, 2017

Subscribe to Our Blogs

* indicates required
Subscribe me to the following blogs: