The Road to Racism is Paved with Good Intentions

Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to the Comedy Central web series “Drunk History.” The host of the show conducts a boozy interview about a specific topic based on U.S. history—primarily unconventional stories—that are then retold with famous people. Given the fact that the interviewer and interviewee are at various levels of intoxication throughout the conversation, I was surprised to find how factual the events truly are. Specifically fascinating is the Harriet Tubman story, in which they discuss how, during the Civil War, Harriet Tubman was a spy for the Union. She is most notably revered in U.S. history for her … Read more

Predisposed to Disaster: Institutional Racism and Hurricane Katrina

I was only 9 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, so I do not remember that much about the coverage of the disaster at the time. My parents largely tried to shield me from the extreme tragedy that took place in the city. I knew that a hurricane had hit, and I knew that it was bad, but I had no conception of the extent of the damage and lives that were lost as a result of the storm. Over time, I began to learn more about the staggering effect of the hurricane on the city and its … Read more

Race & Poverty: It’s Different in America

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

“Not our Problem, Dude”

This past break, I spent some time in New Orleans. We decided to take a walking tour to learn more about the history of the city. Our guide asked, “What does NOPD stand for?” Without hesitation, we replied, “New Orleans Police Department!”. He immediately said, “Nope… It stands for ‘Not our problem, dude’.”  This obvious jab at the police department resonated with me, especially after reading about the racism revolving around Hurricane Katrina. As I walked around different neighborhoods, I noticed that some looked completely unharmed or renovated, and some where still very run down. Neighborhoods with predominantly Black residents consisted of … Read more

Hurricane Katrina: Facts We Lost in the Storm

In August of 2005, a devastating storm, Hurricane Katrina, shook up the southeastern United States in a way that no one could have predicted…. Or could they? Behind news stories through televised reports, newspapers, and social media, there was an unspoken controversy that many people did not know about – race and race relations between the authorities running the institutions (such as the FHA and FEMA) and the Black population in New Orleans. Through reading an article called, “Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism, and Hurricane Katrina,” by Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner (2006), the class learned about an alternate narrative of the … Read more

Reparations: The Final Destination for White Guilt

The injustices and horrors that were common place in the antebellum United States may live for some only as they are presented in history books but for others the lingering effects from slavery are felt in everyday life. So, how do we, as a nation, begin to undo the wrongs that were committed? Many argue that reparations would be an official way for white America to recognize their wrongs and allow for closure in the African American and Black communities to begin while providing resources that have traditionally been denied to people of color. I agree that reparations would do … Read more