Mythbusters: Mass Incarceration

For most of the 20th century the prison population in the United States remained below 300,000 prisoners. By the year 2000 the population rose to over one million prisoners. When numerically compared to other western nations, the US prison population rises to the top. The racial disproportion in prison populations is unmistakable; African American men make up 39% of the prison population though they represent less than 12% of the total adult male population. (Bobo and Thomson, 2010). The heavy presence of incarceration in the United Sates might seem to reflect high crime rates and a successful police force, where … Read more

“The history of America is too big for one building.”

“The history of America is too big for one building.” – Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Recently, I had a conversation about the variety of museums in my hometown of Capitol Hill and about the wonderful exhibits surrounding the Washington Mall. The person I spoke with had recently visited, they shared, and they loved it. But they didn’t visit the African American museum because they didn’t like the idea. Why? Because, “I mean, we don’t have a museum for White people,” they contested. “The rest of the museums are diverse,” they said; … Read more

Civil What?

Our high schools just aren’t pulling their weight when it comes to teaching about the Civil War and the role of slavery in shaping American society. A report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center on February 1st found that only 8 percent of high school seniors can identify slavery as the central cause of the Civil War. Not only that, but two-thirds of high school seniors were unaware that it took a constitutional amendment to formally end slavery, and fewer than 1 in 4 students can correctly identify how provisions in the Constitution gave advantages to slaveholders. Educators all … Read more

Mythbusters: Christopher Columbus

“History is written by the victors,” Winston Churchill said. Another way to understand this power to define reality is through the construction of master narratives. A master narrative is majority-constructed script that specifies and controls how social processes are contextualized. An example of a master narrative that is perpetuated by our education system is one about the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus. When the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria landed on Plymouth Rock in 1492, America was already settled with indigenous tribes. These tribes had a different worldview than the Europeans who came to their land. Journal … Read more

Two Sides to Every Story, I Wish I Knew Yours

Everyday we are surrounded and presented with racial tensions, whether we notice them or not. Black oppression dates back to the 1800’s, yet it is still more prevalent in 2018 than ever before. After reading a portion of Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, I have become more familiar with how history intersects with our present day racial divisions. Evidently, the life experiences of blacks and whites are very different, as well as the stereotypes that surround each group. The stereotypes of black individuals dates back to the time period of slavery, which still affects how many individuals view … Read more

The Blurred Line Between Old-Fashioned and Modern Racism

When we were first learning about the differences between old-fashioned, modern, and aversive racism, the definitions made sense to me. I saw that there were differences between the three, each different speeds at which we move down the moving sidewalk of privilege. But now I’m a little less certain about the differences between old-fashioned and modern racism. I agree that in practice they’re different, but I’m less sure that within the person harboring these prejudices, the sentiments are different. Many people once believed (probably not long ago) that we lived in a post-racial society and that those racists that do … Read more

Trump-isms: What’s Next?

I write this on November 2nd, less than a week before the presidential election. I choose to write this now for multiple reasons: 1) it’s becoming pretty clear who the next POTUS will be, and 2) I’m honestly afraid of what the consequences will be. This evening in my Facebook Newsfeed, towards the bottom of the trending bar, was the label “Black Church Burned” (The Atlantic, 2016). Immediately I felt my stomach sink, and when I clicked on the link to learn more, I came across an Atlantic article that explained a Black church in Mississippi was devastatingly burned and … Read more