Thriving or Surviving: A Discussion on Black Student Success in PWIs

Black students in predominantly white institutions are, often, discussed in literature as objects of struggle amongst their white counterparts. Their experiences are reduced to micro-aggressions, theories of assimilation, and conflict avoidance, just to name a few. While all of these elements play a role in the minority experience within a PWI, they should not be the only lenses through which black students’ narratives are analyzed. Many black students within predominantly white institutions are excelling on their campuses; whether it is the captain of a team, a research assistant, resident advisor, or the coordinator of a volunteer group, these students are … Read more

President William Compares Blacks and Jews (Oy Vey)

In 2015, racist posts were made targeting black students on several campuses, including ours, on the anonymous app Yik-Yak. The Huffington Post wrote an article shortly after asking 3 Presidents of private liberal arts colleges to speak about what they’ve learned from recent student activism around race. President John Williams was one of those three Presidents. President Williams represents the Muhlenberg campus in everything he does, something that inherently comes with the title of “President.” This power and representation may be the only things many may see about Muhlenberg, therefore, the small statements he may make here and there come … Read more

Talking About Race: Performativity

Norms prove to be incredibly strong motivating factors in dictating social interaction. Following norms is like following the rules, they give people a feeling that they’re acting acceptably. This lends especially helpful when one finds themselves in an ambiguous situation where they’re unsure of how to act. In white American culture three ground rules provide guidelines for normative social behavior. These three ground rules are the politeness protocol, the academic protocol, and the colorblind protocol (D. W. Sue, 2013). The politeness protocol dictates people should be polite when engaging with others. Consequently, it discourages discussion of topics that are potentially … Read more

“Micro”aggression, Larger Problem

Microaggressions are defined as seemingly harmless, everyday comments or actions that send degrading messages to certain individuals because of their race or their group they identify with. All White people are guilty of microaggressions, and most of the time we (White people) don’t even know that we said them or perpetuated them, because that hasn’t been our experience. Well, it is time to acknowledge our mistakes no matter how small or insignificant they seem to us; because it is a huge issue that plagues the lives of people of color and weighs down upon them more and more every day, … Read more

Advice for a White Ally

It starts with you. If you want to be an agent for positive change, your actions must be self-motivated. You have to start with yourself. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve incorporated biases that frame your perception of people of color. It’s difficult to come to terms with this, because no one wants to think they hold prejudices. But we all do. And we often exercise these prejudices without knowing. We make fundamental attribution errors, linking others’ actions to their social identities rather than their individual identities. We’ve evolved to think like this because it saves time and … 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