Phenotypes & Stereotypes

I drive three hours almost every weekend to go home to my family, and lately I’ve been listening to podcasts to help pass the time, namely RadioLab. I came across an episode from season five simply titled “Race.” There are a lot of interesting stories featured under this topic, but one in particular has kept me thinking long after listening to it. There has been this trend circling around the internet where people reveal the results of a DNA test that tells them what percentage of their genes are specific to other people living in certain regions. For example, if … 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

The Whitesplaining Epidemic

To all of the people who identify as women out there, have you ever had the experience where you are talking to a man and during the course of the conversation he feels the need to explain something to you, oftentimes in a patronizing or condescending way? This is called mansplaining and it is a phenomenon that women face even if they have extensive knowledge on the given topic. For issues of race, there is whitesplaining. Similar to mansplaining, whitesplaining happens when a white person tries to explain something to a person of color in either an oversimplified or even … Read more

The White Man as The ‘Boogie Man’

In the classroom, when we talk about who benefits from systems of power & privilege, the answer is usually White, straight, cis males. As I continue to have conversations about race with my White friends (males especially), this response is usually one not received well. I’m often met with anger and frustration – an emotional response to what has been described to me as feeling ‘attacked.’ As one male friend put it, “blaming everything on White guys makes us all out to be the Boogie Man – and not all of us are.” I think this sort of response is … Read more

Placing Chris Rock in Conversation with Beverly Daniels Tatum

It seems as though anytime there is a widely-publicized instance of police brutality in the United States, my Facebook timeline is flooded with the same grainy YouTube clip entitled “How to Not Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police.” In the faux public service announcement filmed in 1998, comedian Chris Rock provides black viewers with a comical step-by-step guide to follow in order to avoid getting into trouble with the law.   The skit is problematic because it perpetuates negative black prejudices, showing only black men breaking laws and acting in a stereotypical thug-like manner, but also because it victim-blames, … Read more

Can a White Person be a Good Ally?

After stumbling upon Macklemore’s “White Privilege II,” I was excited to hear what he had to say. It felt like a direct application of the concepts that we had been learning in Contemporary Racism. The song directly references protest slogans from the Black Lives Matter Movement, police brutality, the double standard of hip-hop, and (of course) white privilege. He goes as far as to call himself out for the base of his fame from—and the history surrounding—cultural appropriation of Black music. Hell, he even goes as far as to include a Black artist, so that must mean he is doing … Read more