Checking the Box

Many job and college applications include a question that reads something like, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” While this may seem like a simple question, used to filter out people who have committed crimes, it actually has huge racial implications and is therefore a very problematic question to have on an application. Whether companies and colleges realize it or not, this question traces back to laws in the criminal justice system that are made to purposely keep White people at the type of the hierarchy. In her chapter on mass incarceration, Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow; … Read more…

Protesting #101

On April 13th, Muhlenberg College participated in a nationwide day of action against racism and student debt by participating in the #MillionStudentMarch. This movement is a united demand for education as a human right. The movement seeks to gain 1) tuition-free public college, 2) cancellation of all student debt, 3) a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers, and 4) divestment from private prisons by all colleges and universities. Our Contemporary Racism class thought that it would be a good idea to actually take part in something that hits close to home for many of us in the classroom. It … Read more…

An Outside Perspective on the Million Student March

On Friday, Muhlenberg participated in the Million Student March. The Million Student March is an event held at colleges to demand tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt, a $15/hour minimum wage for all campus workers, and divestment from private prisons. As a class, we were informed of the protest and its goals, and then headed over to take part, as a sort of exercise in allyship. There, the student organizing the protest gave us an explanation of their goals, explained the petitions on the table, and encouraged us to make signs. All in all, it felt like a … Read more…

Spent

I was recently introduced to an interesting game developed by the Urban Ministries of Durham called Spent. Spent allows you, for just a little while, to step into the shoes of a person on the verge of having nothing. You’ve lost your house, your job, and all of your savings. You’re down to your last $1000 dollars, and you need to find a job, a place to live, and make it through a month as a working poor class individual. You have a child to support, and the game throws a lot of curveballs at you, as life does. It’s not … Read more…

The Limitations of Language

In Eduardo Bonilla Silva’s book chapter “The Style of Color Blindness: How to Talk Nasty about Minorities Without Sounding Racist,” he makes a caveat that in his analysis he is not calling white individuals racist, but rather addressing the individual in a racialized power system.  In the effort to explain academia’s understanding of racism to my friends who do not study these things, I always find myself in a dead end. My friends who are not aware of the continuing impact of race in America or do not understand the depth of the problem, often follow colorblind norms, as in … Read more…

Black Lives Matter, But So Do Black Female Bodies

This past week, the New York Times published information regarding Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the next presidential election’s, stance on abortion. Trump, like other conservatives, sees abortion as “murder” according to the New York Times; and, taking it back decades, he is in support that abortion should be illegal to all, and he says that women who engage in illegal abortions should be punished by the United States government. I think it is important, when considering the abortion discussion in the United States, to consider, who these laws most directly impacts. Policies that deal with abortion, drugs, … Read more…