Do black lives matter in Sanpete? Part Two

Dustin Allred grew up in Spring City, was a regional Sterling Scholar while at North Sanpete High School. He is in his final year at the University of Utah. He posted an essay online about why he supports the Black-Lives-Matter movement.

SPRING CITY—Dustin Allred says he had a fantastic childhood surrounded by a family who loved and supported him. 

“I had many friends,” he writes in an article posted in the “equality” section of Medium.com, a website where people can post and read articles about things that matter to them. “I was never excluded or treated as an outsider, even though I was the only black child in the area.”

He says in his 2,800-word post that he often prefers to listen and observe rather than speak his mind. But following the George Floyd killing, and the demonstrations that broke out throughout the country, he decided staying silent was no longer an option. 

“I must speak out in this time of turmoil. I am proud to stand up and join my voice with the voices of my brothers and sisters around the country as we cry for change.” 

Allred is the son of Nancy Allred of Spring City. She was married to an African-American man and living in California when Dustin was born. Shortly after his birth, she and her husband divorced, and she brought Dustin back to Spring City where she had more family support than in California.

Allred was successful in academics, sports and extracurricular activities as well as being active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

At North Sanpete High School, he was the regional Sterling Scholar in trade and technical education, editor of the high school newspaper, and on the varsity tennis and golf teams. He served an LDS mission in Africa. 

Presently, he is married, living in Farmington, Davis County, and planning to graduate from the University of Utah with a degree in business in 2021. 

But he says because Utah is dominantly Caucasian and because 60 percent of Utahns identify as LDS, the state suffers from what he calls the ‘Utah Bubble Effect.”

“When you’re in the bubble, you’re not seeing or worried about things happening outside of the bubble, and you become comfortable in your own world,” he writes in his Medium.com post. 

The Utah Bubble Effect has created widespread ignorance of the issues of race. “It’s…much more comfortable for someone to stay inside the bubble and remain naive than it is to force themselves to look outside at an ugly truth.”

This ignorance has led friends, even family, to be unintentionally racist toward him, he writes. And he gives examples:

  • Asking to feel his hair to see if it’s really “black hair” or touching his skin without permission out of curiosity.
  • Making comments about how light his skin is compared to other black people.
  • High school friends using the “N” word as a joke or endearment, when people “have no place using that word at all.” 
  • Using a friendship with him to add “culture” to a friend group or to be able to show you have a black friend. 

“Ignorance is no excuse. It can’t be anymore,” he writes. “For our society to move forward, we need to…be able to listen and understand one another….If your reality and perspective is that police officers are helpful public servants, can you recognize that your reality might not be someone else’s? Can you listen to the perspective of someone who feels nervous around police and understand where they’re coming from?

“…I love my country, but I also believe that our country has a systemic problem of black oppression, and I want to see that change.” 

He posted his essay, he said, “because I recognize something wrong in the world, and I feel the need to act.”

Allred agreed to the Messenger writing a story about him and quoting from his Medium.com post on the condition we make the full essay available to readers.  The link to the full essay can be found here.