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An Open Letter to non-Black POCs.pdf

An Open Letter to non-Black POCs.pdf

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Published by annie3662
an open letter to non-Black People of Color at the University of Michigan regarding Theta Xi's fraternity party.
an open letter to non-Black People of Color at the University of Michigan regarding Theta Xi's fraternity party.

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Published by: annie3662 on Nov 05, 2013
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01/25/2014

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 An Open Letter to non-Black people of color at the University of Michigan: As members of the Arab, Latina/o, Desi, and Asian-American communities, we areseverely disappointed and humiliated by the formal response of an Asian-American fraternity member who “authored” and organized the anti-Black event, “ World Star Hip Hop Presents: Hood Ratchet Thursday .” The subsequent apology  by the fraternity’s president reframed this as an isolated incident instead of examining the event as a formof structural racism thriving in the University at large. We must move the conversation beyond addressing “micro-aggressions” to interrogating the racial landscape of ourcampus. As it stands today, white student enrollment is at 70 percent while Asian-American student enrollment has been exponentially increasing. However, Black enrollment, at less than 4 percent, is the lowest since 2006. These statistics are morethan just numbers; they translate into real, unequal power relations within and outsideof communities of color. We write this letter to provoke critical conversations in ourcommunities that examine how non-Black communities of color contribute to and benefitfrom the status quo. As non-Black people of color it is time we hold ourselves accountable for ourcommunities’ complicity in anti-Blackness. We don’t share common racializedexperiences with Black students at the University of Michigan. All “minorities” do nothave the same experience with institutionalized racism. It is disingenuous for any of usto say we sympathize as a fellow minority” as this erases differences and suggests that the University is an equal playing field for all students of color. It is not.This racist event, hosted by a multicultural fraternity, reflects a broader trend on campus in which non-Black people of color co-opt Black voices. Now that more non-Black people are consuming hip-hop, our communities have created and fetishized caricaturesof Black people for our own pleasure and entertainment. Non-Black people of color needto interrogate our own racist, essentialist notions about “Black culture.” We cannot“transcend” “racial definitions” when hip-hop music was created as a form of Black resistance. As non-Black people of color we cannot claim to “appreciate” music withoutunderstanding its historical origins. We cannot consume mainstream hip-hop withoutconsidering that most popular hip-hop today is produced and regulated by sixcorporations, all headed by white men, who control 90 percent of mainstream media.Just as mainstream media’s construction of Black culture does not define blackness,Theta Xi’s appropriation of Black culture does not define Blackness. Additionally, let us not pretend that this incident along with other hate crimes affect allmarginalized groups in the same way. It is important to recognize that not “all women”

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