You’ll better understand race and inequality if you read this excellent Colorlines series on Black men.
In her essay “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe”, Hortense Spillers argues that the gendered configuration for Black people through slavery and its afterlife is “the dehumanizing, ungendering, defacing project of African persons” (Ziyad, 2017). She points out that, historically, Black gender has not been used to indicate a shared womanhood or manhood with people within white society, but to highlight how black people are out of step with womanhood and manhood. Essentially, Black gender can never be done “right” (Ziyad, 2017). Moonlight expands on this as it captures the life of a black boy named Chiron as he grows into adulthood. … Read more
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
I grew up in a mostly-white suburban town. However, I was a part of the musical Once On This Island multiple times. The premise of this musical is that there is a peasant girl (who was traditionally played by a black, female actor) who falls in love with a rich man (traditionally played by a white, male actor). The entire show centers around how these two very different worlds are not allowed to associate and talk to each other, and definitely not fall in love. She winds up sacrificing herself for him essentially. In the two productions that I participated in, all … Read more
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Tupac Shakur. Tupac was a prominent hip-hop artist in the early 1990s well known for his deep, progressive lyrics in popular songs such as “Changes” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” However, he was more than just a rapper – he was a poet, a philosopher, and an activist. From a young age, he expressed incredible insight on contentious topics such as education, poverty, feminism, and police brutality. Recently, there has been a clear rise in national awareness and conversation about the roles of race and racism in modern … Read more
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
While in Barcelona over spring break, I found myself thinking a lot about our discussions in Contemporary Racism. The points about the history of the racial caste system in our country that were highlighted in the New Jim Crow readings were put into context when I visited Spain. Although race relations are troublesome universally, it seems when you step outside of this country that poverty may impact minority populations to a greater extent here in the United States than in other nations. I visited Barcelona for eight days last week with a couple of friends and we spent the majority of our … Read more