Digging deeper: Finding the counter narrative

This past Summer I had the chance to travel around Peru and visit a variety of different historical sites. One of the places I visited was a beautiful estate on the southern cost, Hacienda San José. The property was nothing less than stunning, a grand entrance, a courtyard, a wraparound porch, a swimming pool, an impeccable lawn, and even a beautiful chapel. My guide told us many people rent out the estate for weddings or come for a weekend getaway, as it is now a luxury hotel and restaurant. He also warned us that after we got his tour of … Read more

Listen to Tupac. Really listen to Tupac.

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

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

Psychological Parasites

The world is full of hierarchies, organized in distinct categories with distinct characteristics. Hierarchies have a sense of superiority and inferiority between the things being ordered, such as movie ratings. Movies can be rated in different categories, but there is a sense of one movie being better than the other movie, and then better than the next. This can also happen with people. Some experts, such as Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow) say that the hierarchy of people in America happened as soon as the first settlers set foot on American land and kidnapped Africans to build their nation … Read more

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