Archive of ‘Race & Culture’ category

College Race Relations: Being Black Enough for Black Students on a White Campus

Greetings Readers. I’m a little bit sad today as I write this. Black history month is coming to a close and I’ve learned a few things that I can’t really say I’m glad to know. I’m a college student in a predominately white school and to me that would obviously translate into black students ability and feeling of need to come together. Sadly that’s really not the case here and I really have to sit down and look at why.

First and foremost the majority of the black population on my campus just hates and refuses to indulge in the idea of the black student union. Please don’t ask me why because I still haven’t found someone who could really tell me. My assumption right now though is that it’s because we as black people on this campus are not comfortable with each other and we aren’t willing to put ourselves in uncomfortable positions. Crazy, right? So there20121101-121825.jpg goes strike one for the black population on campus.

Next up is the fact that there is such a huge class divide amongst the black people on my campus. No one wants to really make this statement so I will. My school takes a majority of its black students from urban and statistically underprivileged areas and yes while these students are smart, they’re still from the hood. Lets be honest socially there are certain avenues that no one has ever really taught them to maneuver. On top of that they essentially classify any black person not from the hood as a snob or boogie black person. So there goes strike two.

Now what’s possibly the worst issue about all of this is that everyone wants to lead and no one wants to follow. There are lots of organizations that have spun off of the black student union and we all have our own internal issues. None of them communicate with each other and our events and membership step on and compete with each other. Basically we look sloppy as a black community and it just makes us look bad to other races on campus. Then we complain that white people on campus don’t like us. Honestly they just don’t know how to approach us and frankly I don’t anymore either. Strike three.

At the end of the day I’m laying this all out to ask some questions. When I used to think about & imagine my experience on a predominately white campus I was excited at the idea of getting to come together as black people and celebrate and grow in knowledge and it was just this crazy Cosby Show / A Different World dream I had. I feel like being in college right now I’m in a constant struggle for acceptance amongst my black peers even though I’m actually just saddened by the way most of them act.

Regardless my question is, am I the only one dealing with this? Are there any other black college students out there who are on a campus with black people who can’t get it together? What happened to the days when we used to join and fight for a common cause? When we looked for universal acceptance? White race relations is the least of our problems right now.. Because the way I’m seeing it right now black people just don’t love each other. We need another civil rights push and this time lets bridge the gap between blacks and blacks.

End of Rant.

An Open Letter to AIDS

AIDS,

I wish you would just kiss my black ass. As a black woman in the year 2012 I am much too informed and have way too much common sense to allow you to catch me and ruin my life. Don’t I? But why does it seem like you still manage to catch and punish my peers? How is it that as of 2009 African American women still account for the largest share of new HIV infections among women (57%) and the incidence rate among Black women is nearly 15 times the rate among white women? What is it that we still seem to be doing wrong? We use condoms right? We as black women are smart enough not to just “trust” every man we choose to get into bed with aren’t we? I could have sworn we were! We’re much too clever to be wooed by the “baby you know I’m clean” or “I just wanna feel you & nothing else”! Besides, we get tested, every 6 months right? You obviously have no intention of laying off my people. But I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t going to win. Because as you continue to rage on we will continue to educate ourselves and our coming generations. We will arm our youth in the war you have waged and protect ourselves from your attacks. We are a strong, industrious, and brilliant group and we will fight you to the death. We’re gonna kick your ass, just watch!

Love Always,

Ari

Ladies, it’s World AIDS day, but today is not the only day you should be thinking about the effects of AIDS. This epidemic is and has been coming for us for years. Arm yourselves with information and physical protection. Do not forget to practice what you preach, because the hardest thing is deciding in that moment if you will pick your carnal desire over the safety of your health. Don’t make the wrong decision, because whatever 5 minutes a man can offer you physically isn’t worth the years of treatment and sickness that will follow. Love yourself, respect yourself, protect yourself.

High School Blackface 101

People, society is really tweaking my nerves lately. Apparently we’ve revisited the days of young white men finding entertainment and amusement in darkening their faces and making fools of themselves. Oh and apparently domestic violence is funny now; news to me!

At a pep rally in a New York High School (heavily lacking in diversity), 3 white male students thought it would be fun to paint themselves with brown make-up and perform a skit that satirized the  infamous Chris Brown-Rhianna beating. Where do I even start? How about with the fact that they PAINTED THEMSELVES BROWN! I have to wonder do they even know what black face is? Or the history of racial insensitivity that it embodies? I think that makes it worse, that they are so ignorant of this practice that they see absolutely no problem with doing it. To them it’s a costume.

Now on top of the racially insensitive slap in the face, these lovely young men thought domestic violence would be a safe topic to poke fun at as well. I’m sorry but I don’t see where there is a grey area here! The entire student body, teachers, alumni, and local news outlets watched as the boys imitated  the infamous beating and dragged the third boy across the gym, and get this nobody said anything or thought to stop it!

After some outrage from pictures of the event posted on Facebook and news outlets picking up the story the school district started to sweat, but before that no one was talking about punishing these boys for their blatant disrespect on so many levels. Really, still no one is looking to punish them. If they want to claim that black face isn’t illegal and therefore can’t be punished (which is completely asinine reasoning) then it’s  whatever, but come on there is no getting around the whole “domestic violence as a joke” factor! School officials are talking about rethinking the activities of the pep rally and maybe considering working on incorporating some more diversity sensitivity training but I mean, so what?

The worst thing about this entire situation is that the kids in the school were not aware enough to see an issue with what they did. Schools need to stop waiting for something like this to slap them in the head to wake up and realize that teaching students the nature of racial sensitivity is actually very important. Again people, we do not live in a post-racial society, we can’t act like it’s all good. Do not allow yourself to be ignorant of racially insensitive and discriminatory acts in this country or else you could be the next dumb ass who didn’t know black face was just plain rude!

Okay end of rant lol.

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We Bleach Minorities Now?

New York Fashion Week

Photo Credit: BET.com

So while casually browsing through the Black Voices Twitter feed I came across a story about minority students at the University of Texas who had rallied against a recent string of what has been perceived as hate crimes. Students in an on campus dormitory had been dropping water balloons filled with bleach on the heads of minority students walking below, specifically African-American and Asian American students. The article goes on to illustrate the going ons of the rally and the college communities response to it, which it would seem was not negative but at the same time not exactly very welcoming. They just seemed indifferent, students made arguments that it wasn’t just minorities but that a favored target were women during Greek life rush. Regardless of all the fine details my biggest concern here once more is the lack of publicity on what seems to me to be a clear and apparent injustice! When you read the article you begin to see that this school has a pleasant history of a disrespect for the feelings of minorities, as several greek organizations have been lightly “reprimanded” for throwing parties with themes that just screamed racial insensitivity and insult.  Now just for a second let’s disregard the idea that this is a racially charged act and focus on the act itself. How the hell do you sleep at night knowing that you lobbed a harmful chemical at an unprotected persons face?! It’s outrageous. We like to often chalk things like this up to college stupidity, frat boy pranks, and drunken decisions but really you can only stretch this excuse so far. I think its terrible for the school to attempt to so quickly dismiss the racial undertone of the action. We excuse way to much in the college society and as a college student I can attest to this. We live in a land where we yell about our freedom of speech and our rights as students to exercise our beliefs, but what about the right of a person to feel safe? I go to school on a campus where I am in the minority as a black student completely engulfed by white people. I can’t lie I occasionally feel uncomfortable surrounded by nothing but white students in my classrooms but I could never imagine having to, on a daily basis, fear for my life because of my skin color. We really think that we live in a post racial society and that is so far from the truth. Just because our president is black does not disband the stigma of hate and prejudice. There continues to be this push to sweep all of our racial tension and issues under the rug, so issues like this one don’t make the headlines, but you know what? THEY SHOULD! This should be plastered everywhere and college campuses alike should be banding together to help make a change! [polldaddy poll=6592100]

Crackin’ on White People..It’s Cool..?

We all remember the Don Imus controversy from a few years back. If not let me recap it for you. Radio talk show host Don Imus made some nasty comments about the women of the Rutgers basketball tea. In short he uttered the unforgivable.. in the year 2007 this white man blatantly called these young black women nappy headed and hoes all in one breath. On top of that he told people to basically get over it, it was just a comment. Needless to say the black community was in an uproar about this blatant racial statement broadcasted over the airwaves… But did we really have the right to be so pissed? How many times have you watched the comic specials of black comedians where a good 50% of their act revolved around taking shots at the white masses. We just seem to get a pass that makes it acceptable. White people will laugh right along with us as we tease them but dare a white person to poke racial fun at us and see what happens. Al Sharpton & the NAACP is what happens! Don’t get me wrong I’ll be one of the first people to scream outrage at a disrespectful or racially insensitive comment but I mean isn’t it a two-way street? I know there is a deep history of racially disrespectful media directed towards black people but does all those years of blackface buildup give us a green light to casually and nonchalantly tear into white people? What do you think?

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Mammy Made It To Fashion Week

Photo Credit Sinuous Magazine

There’s been a pleasantly disgusting history of the disrespect of black women in fashion over the years but the most recent installment is just especially…”rousing”. Dolce & Gabbana has released their highly anticipated 2013 Spring collection and I’ll disregard the fact that it leaves much to be desired and instead focus on their grave misuse of images of black women. What style.com has called a hail to Sicilian roots, I call an awful reversion to black face mockery. The new line features images of what have been called “street puppets” from the Caltagirone region of Italy. To me these puppets look eerily similar to the toys and images from the days of black face but more specifically they remind me of the idea of mammy. I’m not sure if I’m overreacting or reading to deep into it but honestly I feel offended. How many black women does Dolce & Gabbana feature in their clothing? So what on earth makes them think its okay to put these mammy, Aunt Jemima like figures of women on their 2013 dresses or hang them from the ears of their porcelain white models? If there’s one thing I hate it’s the exploitation of black women in media, fashion, and pop culture. It’s bad enough that we do it to ourselves sometimes but honestly we’re going to allow white people to so casually disrespect us? What the hell is going on Italy; first the Slave earring debacle and now this? I don’t really care how dark a Sicilian may sometimes look, this is an insult. If you want to see pictures of the entire collection checkout style.com’s slideshow. So tell me readers are you offended or do you side with the artistic license of fashion?

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