Rich, Black Folk

340 acres of freshly cut grass. 10,000 square foot mansion. Prep schools and carpool. Luxury cars on every street. Are you thinking the people that live in this community are rich? Do you think they’re white? So do I. However, rich, black people do exist and are even are part of the 1%. But, it’s a very lonely few. In 2013, to be considered part of the 1%, it requires a household net worth of ~$7.9 million. Only 1.7% of those who make that requirement are black. But, does this privilege of wealth give African-Americans equal opportunities in the job … Read more

The Concept of White-Washing

whitewash

“I have nothing against Black people. My coworker is Black and he speaks and dresses very well. He acts White. It’s the ones that walk around with their boxers out that I don’t like.” We’ve all heard someone say something like this at some point. One of my best friend’s Dad used to make comments like this all the time, and while it always made me somewhat uncomfortable, I never understood the extent of just how horrible that was. The article we read this week by Sue (2010) mentions this in the section about the false image of America as … Read more

The First Encounter (of Many)

You never think it will happen to you, until it does. I am biracial. I was raised more so with my Greek heritage than anything else, but the pigment in my skin lets others know that I am different. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, school, and most of my friends were white. There were micro-aggressions that I faced along the way (i.e., getting made fun of from elementary through high school for my hair), but nothing severe enough that I found myself pretending to be sick, so that I wouldn’t have to face the prejudiced bullies at … Read more

We’re One in the Same?

In class this week, we discussed the perspective that some have of “variety is the spice of life” and to how this can quickly turn into the equally troublesome perspective of being “color-blind.” Being so celebratory of multiculturalism can easily turn into race erasure. Regarding diversity in race as simply variety or something to keep life interesting is diminishing of the serious struggles that people of all races have had to endure, past and present. After discussing these topics in class, I looked introspectively at my own experiences with these concepts. This brought back my feelings and understanding of a … Read more

Fostering Racism

For our final project for Contemporary Racism, we were placed into groups, asked to pick an interesting topic concerning race, do individual research, and record a podcast with our group. My group chose to look at racial disparities in the American foster care system, a subject about which I had no prior knowledge. At first, I was uneasy about choosing a topic that I knew nothing about, feeling as if my unfamiliarity would provide me with some sort of handicap.  However, in retrospect, the experience was a very appropriate way to conclude my time in Contemporary Racism; it allowed me … Read more

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

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