LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - It's what some people call a difficult, but necessary conversation. This week, ABC News is taking an in depth look at Race and Justice in America. Here on the coast, WLOX News asked some college students from the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast campus to participate in a roundtable discussion on the subject.
Some people who declined said it was in part because of the camera, and in part because of the the topic. However, others who did weigh in on the discussion said this is exactly the type of conversation that needs to be taking place.
Although our cameras were rolling, the conversation belonged entirely to the USM students.
"We just want to be treated fairly by the legal system. And once the legal system is not operated fairly, it's observed by the media, which takes it and runs with it," said Jimmie Haskin. "And, of course, you have radical groups that all they want to do is incite violence, which, all the riots weren't caused by well to do blacks. It was people who wanted to racialize that night for whatever reason. But they can't speak for all black Americans."
Crystal Stinson said, "I don't condone riots, but I do firmly believe in words of Martin Luther King that riots are the voice of the unheard. Although their execution is wrong by all standards, obviously they have something they want to say."
The students also discussed how mainstream media and social media play into the discussion on race and about the immigration policy debate. The USM students said what matters is to get more people talking more often.
"They don't want to offend anyone because lines have been blurred on what is offensive and what isn't, so I find people kind of skating around," said Stinson. "They have opinions, but they choose not to express them all the way, which to me is a hindrance.
A way for us to get a grasp on what's really happening we have to talk about it, however uncomfortable it might be. "
"I think it's great because it gives people, the public the chance to hear multiracial views and concepts," Haskin said. "If these concepts are representative of the views of the races that are speaking them and they're favorable, then hey, that's great."