Racism and Tornados

In a couple of days, I will graduate from learning about racism. I will complete the course with the choice of continuing to stay informed or not. I can run on the moving sidewalk, stand still, or forget about it all together. I will no longer be graded on the quality of my newfound knowledge, but the true evaluation will be how I use it to make a difference. A letter grade in a course is meaningless if I choose to stay silent in situations where my words will matter. I am more aware of my salient identities than I … Read more

Holding the Smog-Breathers Accountable

My mom was born in South Africa, and when I was in the fifth grade, everybody asked why I was not black. I remember thinking how ignorant these kids were, and wondering why they thought everybody born in Africa was automatically a person of color. There were times where I felt bullied, and I was uncertain about my identity. Here I was being told that I should be black, when the color of my skin was white. As a child, I did not see why there was so much importance placed on the color of ones skin. My mom always … Read more

November 8, 2016: The Week After

I cried when I found out the results of the 2016 presidential election. I cried hard. I fell asleep the night before quite early, because I was tired of being bombarded with political ads and the disgusting hate that I would see every day on Facebook. I went to bed early believing that I would wake up to Hillary Clinton being our next president. It didn’t happen that way and the several paragraphs that were posted by each person on Facebook proved how much people were truly upset. Most of them were from white people and the word “disappointment” was … Read more

Politics with Kids

Special Guest Post by Ginelle Wolfe ’16 I knew work would be tough the day after the election because I work with kids at an elementary school. Each teacher I talked to said they were not going to discuss the election, as the assumption is that most students would not even understand what happened. While I understand that approach, my situation is a little bit different. I teach English Language Development classes, so the majority of my students are not from the United States and none of their first languages are English; thus, their understanding of this election was the … Read more

Whiteness as Social Capital

Recently I was listening to an episode of the podcast About Race, a podcast where 3 hosts discuss current race issues in an open way. One of the hosts mentioned that black assimilation to white culture as a solution to race disparity is problematic.  They looked at a specific study that showed that black people who moved to white middle-class neighborhoods before they were twelve had a “compound interest of awesomeness” where they were more likely to succeed academically and financially. When citing the reason for this success, the researchers used code words to talk about white culture. This language … Read more

Can a White Person be a Good Ally?

After stumbling upon Macklemore’s “White Privilege II,” I was excited to hear what he had to say. It felt like a direct application of the concepts that we had been learning in Contemporary Racism. The song directly references protest slogans from the Black Lives Matter Movement, police brutality, the double standard of hip-hop, and (of course) white privilege. He goes as far as to call himself out for the base of his fame from—and the history surrounding—cultural appropriation of Black music. Hell, he even goes as far as to include a Black artist, so that must mean he is doing … Read more