OP-EDS ON RACISM, FALL TERM 2010

Could You Be the Bigger Nigger?

If 15 year-old Elizabeth Eckford could bring dignity, determination, and courage to facing an angry, white mob in 1957, why can’t you and I face structural racism in 2011? Anything that separates the human race is a form of racism. This is our testimony.

On Sept. 4, 1957, surrounded by a white mob, including Hazel Bryan jeering behind her, 15 year-old Elizabeth Eckford (right) of the Little Rock 9 was denied entrance to Little Rock Central High School. Her skin color didn’t cause the violence (watch live video). Photo from National Parks Service/Will Counts/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

DR. KYRA GAUNT, PH.D. ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, CURATOR/MENTOR EDITOR
kyraocity@gmail.com

Revised 24 Jan 2011

Dedicated to the stand of the Little Rock 9 students in 1957, to James Baldwin (1924-1987) and his works, and to the 25th anniversary on January 17, 2011 of the national U.S. holiday recognizing the birth, service and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. – Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.

No Amount of God Will Make Me Any Less Gay by peer editor Valeesa AUGUSTINE A Good Fit for Debt by peer editor Chris KIPROVSKI  AloneTogether by Kristen MATONTI  Bravery & Fear by Michelle CHAN  Breaking the Barriers by Isaac SETTON  Colored Justice: For The Parents? by Jennifer GLASPER  Coming Out Illegal by peer editor IRVING Cordoba: Word of the Day by Rahat CHOWDHURY  Facing Up To Whiteness by peer editor Kevin GERMAN Fenced In Whiteness by Trevor SMITH History is Skin-Deep by Kashma EVELYN  Hit By Stereotype by Natali NASSIMIAN  I Am Not My Hair 我不是我的头发 by Jeanine “Nkechi” EZEH  Introduction by mentor editor Dr. Kyra GAUNT Naming the Inequity by Antoinette DAVIS  Nigger Rich by Laser SMALL  Original Songs by Matthew KISS Paying The Toll by Danielle MORA  Play with the Darker Children! by Kamylle MACINTOSH  POEMS by Quinton MCDONALD  Race Matters…No! I Do! by peer editor Abigaelle REVERS Racism as a Crutch by peer editor Dabney JEAN Re-Covering Islam by IQRA Roughing the Passer by Andrew BAEZ  Soy Sauce and the Milk by Hunter WEAVER-DANIEL  Stop Segregation by peer editor Nadege NAU Stripping My Pakistani Identity by Usman JAVED  The Black People Bubble by Tiana JONES  The Colorblind Bubble by Nicole BALESTRIERE  The Housekeeper's Daughters by Chloe ZALCMAN The Privilege of a Public Education by Sarah MANCIN  The Rules of Racial Engagement by Sidney CHEN  The “Struggle” by Duncan GOODWIN  The World in a Jar by Andre MENDEZ  White or Wong by Samantha WONG

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©2011

AN INTRODUCTION by Dr. Kyra D. Gaunt, Ph.D.
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Title It may alarm you but 34 students arrived at the book title by a unanimous consensus. One of them said, “they’ll get it when they read our essays.” The price 15 year-old Elizabeth Eckford (cover photo) paid so that we all gained access to our educational civil and human rights must have required that she be “bigger” than she and especially whites “knew” her to be as a so-called “nigger.” In 2011, racism may be less overt for many blacks and perhaps more overt for Muslims and gays. These essays are our testimony to being the “bigger nigger” or simply, being “bigger” than we ever imagined when it comes to racism. Who we are in the small, ordinary moments that offend us matters. Racism Is Not Personal At the start of BLS1003: The Evolution and Expressions of Racism, most students consider racism “a collection of individual-level anti-minority group attitudes” (L. Bobo in Gallagher 2009, 157). During the course they discover the persistent structural inequities found in symbols (i.e., skin color), discriminatory laws and practices, and social group position, power and privilege that we all were born into whether experienced or not. Why Op-Eds and Why Students Writing Op-Eds? Last summer, I participated in The OpEd Project with the support of a grant for women in the Baruch College community given by philanthropist RuthAnn Harnisch. The intention of the OpEd Project, created by Catherine Orenstein, is to expand and increase the volume of female thought leaders in the world. I have a similar aim for college students as they embrace their adulthood.  According to data from 2009, of the more than 307 million people living in the U.S. over 14%, or almost 43 million, are between the ages 15 and 29. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there were 18.3 million college students in 2007. Why is it that we so seldom hear, or listen to, the voices of young people and young adults in key public opinion forums when so many key issues directly affect their future? Writing op-eds (crafting a lede, learning to create an argument in various ways, crafting a “to-be-sure” response to anticipate opposition to an argument, and a conclusion) and publishing them together disrupts the structural inequity and age subjugation that often separates each and every college student from publicly engaging in her/his own adulthood, learning to openly voice their citizenship and influence humanity.

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UNDERSTANDING STRUCTURAL RACISM
The superior position/whiteness:
1. Tends to receive greater economic remuneration and access to better occupations and prospects in the labor market, 2. Occupies a primary position in the political system, 3. Is granted higher social estimation (e.g., is viewed as ‘smarter’ or ‘better looking’ [or sounding]), often as the license to draw physical (segregation) as well as social (racial etiquette) boundaries between itself and other races, and;

4. Receives what W.E.B. Du Bois called “a sort of public Voicing Adulthood and psychological wage...[freely] given public deference Take 34 emerging thought leaders and and titles of courtesy because they were white.” have each of them link an individual experience with racism to a systematic From “Racialized Social System Approach to inequity or embedded disadvantage Racism”(Eduardo Bonilla-Silva in Gallagher 2009, 33) known as “structural racism.” Ask them to cite evidence from assigned readings and connect their experience to the often elusive or overlooked aspects of race-as-a-social- friends through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Share construct. The brilliance created here is the collective it with leaders in your school and community. Send it wisdom of the stories of a student who is black with a to your principal, dean or local politicians. Don’t limit white student, a woman with a man, or––relative to learning to the classroom--give it away! A former the nationally-recognized ethnic diversity at Baruch–– anthro class published SPEAK! The Miseducation of an Asian American with a Bangladeshi-American, a College Students in May 2010. To date, it has been Pakistani Muslim with a Syrian Jew, or a disabled read by over 4500 people in less than 6 months. mother with a Pagan lesbian and an undocumented student from North America (Mexico). The process of Dare to be Different: Go Public! voicing these op-eds about racism has been the most Think about it! Publish a “little” idea, a little story powerful and emotional final project with a real-world/ along with your classmates’ little ideas on race or public impact that I could ever imagine. And it allowed social justice. Say to yourself “Maybe I’m right!” rather than starting from “Maybe I’m wrong.” Practice students to be courageous and compassionate. trusting yourself. Practice trusting your students. What young adults have to say matters! Openly Create & Share a Racism Op-ed E-book We invite your class or organization to publish op-eds sharing prepared (and not-so prepared) thoughts in together. Join us in a social media movement of public is the best education there is. Be the audacity student thought leadership. We used Scribd.com but of that! << whatever you use, SHARE it widely with family and 24 Jan 2011, Crown Heights, New York City

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White and Asian protesters in the Harlem Peace March to End Racial Oppression on April 27, 1967. Source: Courtesy of Builder Levy, photographer.

White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this...the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.
“Letter from a Region of My Mind” in The New Yorker (17 Nov 1962) republished as “Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region of My Mind” in The Fire Next Time (1963) by James Baldwin.
More demonstrators carry placard at the Harlem Peace March to End Racial Oppression, 1967. Boxer/activist Muhammad Ali's stated about his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War, "Ain't no Vietcong ever called me nigger." Source: Courtesy of Builder Levy, photographer More info

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THE RULES OF RACIAL ENGAGEMENT
by Sidney Chen
On my 13th birthday, my father sat down next to me on my bed and softly said, "Son, you are at the age when you might be curious about girls. I just wanted to say that you can date white girls." I responded with "I know Dad, I know. Don't date black girls right?" He replied, "I'm glad you understand son." He pat me on the back and proudly walked away. And soon I found out I wasn't the only person in my all Asian school whose parents felt this way. My father is a great man and I would like to think that he is the best father that anyone could ever ask for. I knew his words weren't his but they were made on behalf of our community and culture. They left me conflicted but I felt I had no choice. My father had a business partner from whom he would receive supplies and products. One

day, the two of them were talking inside while my cousin and I were playing stick ball right outside the store. While waiting for them to finish their meeting, my cousin and I started to joke around about which girls we liked. The subject of racial preferences came up. Poking fun at my cousin, I jokingly said "Oh, so you're a nigger lover," and out of the corner of my eye, in the grey reflection of the glass windows, I saw the face of my father’s partner , who was of Puerto Rican descent, turn sour with disappointment. From that moment on, I realized "backstage racism"--“the racist talk individuals engage in when they are privately interacting with same-race friends, family, or coworkers” (Bolton and Feagin in Gallagher 2009, 226)--is the fueling source for racial injustice. Racism has surely taken a s t e p f o r w a rd l i k e t h e w a y “separate but equal” was a step forward from slavery or Jim-Crow laws were a step forward from the unwritten understandings of

racial inferiority. In our modern society, we need to realize and accept that the “persistent negative stereotyping of African Americans, a tendency to blame blacks that are used to explain away continued institutional racism and discrimination or structural inequities” (Bobo in Gallagher 2009, 155-157), known as “laissezfaire racism,” is an invisible hand influencing just another evolution, another adaptation, another “step forward” for racism.  But what do I know? I'm just a 21 year-old student with a background in theatre and business. My story was meant to tug at your consciousness and if any of my points had any effect on you, as an individual, not as a group, speak up and make a change today. <<

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Going to Disney World and finding my name on a key chain used to be impossible.

NAMING THE INEQUITY
by Antoinette Davis
My name was Shelika. Now itʼs Antoinette. Some people may think I adopted a European name or I am a sell out. Actually I just made my middle name my first. But according to Steven Levittʼs Freakonomics, “many parents seem to believe that a child cannot prosper unless he/she is hitched to the right name; names are seen to carry great aesthetic or even predictive powers” (2005), especially in a society where names reflect racial differences. Going into Disney World and finding my name on a key chain used to be impossible. So I stopped looking. Why arenʼt the core values of equality represented in Americaʼs key chains? They register like a subatomic bomb for me. Equality--having you name represented in your own country on a key chain--is reserved for the majority. I can change my name to Antoinette but can I change my socio-economic status with that? Names give a first impression. Some professors can look at the roster and know how many black students are in the course. I often sat in my seat patiently waiting for them to stumble upon my name. It was painful and embarrassing. As little as it may seem to others, it was a big deal. In a figure labeled “Why Brad and Kristen Beat Out Jermaine and Ebony” from the essay “Kristen v. Aisha; Brad v. Rasheed: Whatʼs in a Name and How it Affects Getting a Job,” Amy Braverman said, “white applicants are called back 50% more than black applicants” all because of the name at the top of a resume prompts racial discrimination (Braverman in Gallagher 2009, 250). Iʼm in college and not long from seeking employment. I read this information after I legally changed my name to Antoinette. Shelika was too ethnic and I wanted that explicit label removed. I wanted individuals to be able to easily read and pronounce my name without my having to correct them. I did not want to be pre-judged by a “black” name before I even spoke or showed up. I remember one day in class, immediately following my legal name change, a professor noticed my email address on the class roster that still carried my former name. I was shocked when heard “Shelika?” as she called out names to mark me present that day. Confused, she questioned whether it was my middle name or not. I wanted to leave that name behind and there it was again lurking as a reminder in my email address. What exactly did my name change bring? Joy, laughs, acceptance, closure, excitement, and some getting use to. My family members mocked me while friends accepted it. I now realize I can change my name but not the color of my skin or the message that it signals. That label, that sign of racialized difference, persists. Antoinette still appears to be a black woman even though several generations ago one side of her family owned slaves. I, Antoinette formerly known as ..., am both a descendent of the owning class and the slave caste. How do I name that? To judge a book by its cover is silly. And to judge a person by their name is even sillier. But there has been one advantage in my name change. Now when I submit a job application, the number of call backs have increased. <<

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Cordoba: Word of the Day
by Rahat Chowdhury
I'll drown them all and laugh aloud. Won't let me babysit their kids, I'll teach ‘em hate, I'll teach ‘em now. They won't let me build the building, It’s cuz part of its Cordoba. A time of calm, a time of peace, Between religions but that’s over. They don't understand what I'm trying to say, They fear me, I fear them, fear's the word of the day. Just want a spot to chill wit my boys after class But these racists can't for even a second stand for that. Had a vision created with our spray paint and ink pens They defaced our graffiti with all of their hate then Rallied together made us something we're not Not a single one of em checked the info that they got. Chorus: This is what you made me, a cold blooded killer You never understood me, but what made you bitter? I didn't hurt any one of you, but-the blame runs thicker Will gallons of blood spill from innocents and sinners? Verse 2: So, what happens now? Do we live and accept it? That our differences in faith, will never be respected? Park 51 was meant to promote unity. Called Cordoba highlighting a multi-faith community. Yet they walked up to our face, spat, and then they said That if it weren't for us their brethren wouldn't be dead While we promotin’ peace, they say we celebrate their pain Yea, ignore our real mission and call us all insane. They say Islam is the work of the devil, and it’s evil. Like a demon or a djinn possesin’ you while you’re feeble Growing up I was never taught to ram a plane into a building Was never taught to stone a woman when she's cheating Was never taught to kill a priest who might be preaching Was told to hear ‘em out and never start the screaming Even prayed in a church once when the local mosque was in need Look we can coexist, just stop, just breathe Look how we allow fear and misunderstanding to rule us We human beings can't control our rage, Man! It's too much! Vengeance shouldn't be served to those with clean hands But you do it everyday so our future seems black. <<

Verse 1: They won't let me shoot some hoops, I got a bomb in my shoe. They won't let me build that building, What do you think i'm gonna do? I can't do arts and crafts, I'll take a scissor to their neck. They say I laugh when I am praying, When all I do is pay respects. They won't let me build a pool,

“Growing up I was never taught to ram a plane into a building.”

The proposed Cordoba House in lower Manhattan. President Obama was reported saying: “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship (the Cordoba House) and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”

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COMING OUT ILLEGAL
by Irving
I, like Dr. King, have a dream. Writing this has liberated me from my hidden identity. For years I have been hiding behind shadows concocted by the lies that I’ve been telling in hopes of living a normal life. From participating in this op-ed e-book, I finally have a medium to express what I have been feeling. I have felt trapped in a place with no refuge or escape. I could not see the light leading to my liberation, and I still don’t know what the future holds for me, nor how this piece may effect it. Despite the many things I have wanted to accomplish, I could not and cannot do what is normal for others. I am limited by law. I am an undocumented college student. In this meritocratic society, you expect that the people who strive for education get the education they desire, but the reality is that laws limit many hungry minds. They do so by limiting scholarships and financial aid to students even if they merit them. Along with other vacuous accusations, the reasoning is that immigrants will steal jobs. Many people do not get to hear immigrant stories like mine. I have struggled to claim my identity: I feel so American, and at times I feel so alienated because I am excluded from activities due to my legal status in this nation. As a student, exclusion shows up when I have to provide a social security number that I am not allowed to obtain. Unlike my college friends, I cannot get a driver’s license, I cannot vote, and I cannot travel. It’s funny. When I’m with relatives from my home country they say I do not fit in with them and their way of life. I am too “American”. The irony of this kills me because to my fellow

Americans my lack of documentation simultaneously means I am not one of them. I am currently enrolled in a class in which we study the evolution and expression of racism in the United States of America. We had to read articles that helped us get a better understanding of structural racism. Structural racism is the system that allowed foundations, still stand strong today, to limit access and opportunities to people of color. It ultimately creates huge disparities between people who are white and privileged, and those of us who are not. Recently I came across this article in the New York Times called “Coming Out Illegal” and during one of our class discussions a classmate brought up the topic of the struggle that a particular race has dealt with. How “races” you can’t identify immediately, that you can’t see, have less of a struggle than those that can be identified because of their physical characteristics since they cannot be labeled. One of my classmates felt as though this was false, as homosexuals also have to live through many hardships even though you can’t tell they have sexual preferences that are not the norm right away. This brought me back to the article and with it a sea of emotions and thoughts. I never really connected revealing my identity as an illegal immigrant to “coming out.” I had flashbacks about the many times I hid this information from my friends and the many times that I’ve made excuses because I was afraid. I was afraid to come out due to the likely scrutiny and shame I would face—to hear all the jokes, to get the dirty looks, and to hear the rude comments. It was not my choice to come to this country. I was just 5 years old when I arrived with my mother and sister to meet my father in NYC. Fourteen years later I am in college pursuing a

degree in the field of psychology and living in one of the greatest cities of the world. Life may seem great, but it is not. I find that everywhere I go, I am constantly reminded that I am missing something—that something is my identity. ...

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TO BE ABLE TO STAY IN SCHOOL. TO BE ABLE TO DREAM.
SUPPORT THE DREAM ACT

... It fascinates me how many times a day I need to confirm who I am. Whether it’s going into school and showing my ID or calling the bank. They always ask for the famous card. But I ask myself, what does that card really say about me? Does it tell of my struggles, my beliefs? Can this card validate anyone as a true American, as a human being? I don’t have the stereotypical features of what is known as a immigrant. But what is a stereotypical immigrant? The mass media has portrayed the immigrant of the 21st century mostly as Hispanic. The reality is that there are many different types of immigrants that come to the U.S.A everyday. They are not limited to just Hispanics. T h e re a re m a n y C a n a d i a n s , easter n Europeans, Caribbean peoples, Middle Easter ners and others who immigrate to the U.S., and for many reasons stay here illegally. It infuriates me that only Hispanics and especially Mexicans are targeted as the criminals. I am Mexican, but some of my features resemble a Sephardic

Jew, so people do not question my status. I don’t look illegal, whatever that means. Also both my given name and surname could be linked to Jewish roots. I have the perfect mask but that doesn’t make me feel safe or liberated. N o w, m a n y w i l l a r g u e t h a t undocumented youth do not contribute to our economy and that the country won’t get anything in return for our possible citizenship. Did you know non-residential aliens can already pay taxes without a social security number. Many non-residential aliens actually do pay taxes, but their children do not get any of the benefits such as financial aid. The Dream Act is bi-partisan legislation that if passed would require a 6-year conditional path to citizenship, completion of a college degree, and two years of military service. Second, whether wage laborers in farm fields or white-collar employees with degrees, we will contribute even more as legal citizens by paying taxes on all our documented labor.

I recall having dinner with my friend’s grandparents who are from a small town in Canada. During a casual conversation over dinner, the fact that I was in this country illegally c a m e u p . W h e n m y f r i e n d ’s grandparents found out they did what any employer in need would do. They offered me a job in the farm fields they own. I was extremely offended. I did not ask for a job. But here they were offering something I did not need. What I really needed was the support of people to make me feel at home pursuing my true dreams and aspirations. As I continue my collegiate pursuit, I question where it could take me. Sure I can get a degree, but without legal status in this country my degree will mean absolutely nothing. I cannot even get a mediocre job while I study. It’s not because I am lazy. It’s not like do not want to work. I am not allowed to and this discourages me. Why bother to follow your dreams. On December 8th, 2010, the House of Representatives passed a

version of The Dream Act in a vote of 216 to 198 but it has stalled in the Senate. This upsets me. Once again, history is repeating itself and the civil rights of young people who didn’t choose their destination are being denied. In my opinion, people like us are more American than the people who are opposing The Dream Act and immigration policies. We appreciate the value of American equality in ways they cannot. As a sophomore, I hope my legal status gets resolved as soon as possible so my dreams of becoming a successful psychologist can come true. I am coming out because I have a dream...to be free at last. Let the Dream Act begin. << [The U.S. Senate rejected the Dream Act days before production ended on this ebook]

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“RETHINKING THE COLOR LINE” ON FACEBOOK
READINGS in RACE & ETHNICITY 4th ed., edited by Charles Gallagher McGraw-Hill 2009

ur te of o ’s a tas sations H e re conver online

1) Rebecca Blank, An Overview of Trends in Social and Economic Well-Being by Race (Ch. 6) 2) Thomas Shapiro, Transformative Assets, the Racial Wealth Gap and the American Dream (Ch. 8)

David Williams and Chiquita Collins, “The Color of Health in the United States” Ch. 7 in Rethinking the Color Line, 4th ed.
After reading “The Color of Health in the United States” (by David Williams and Chiquita Collins, Ch. 7), I question why the economic status of blacks has been declining and not getting better. If I was to use my own judgment I would say it looks as though blacks have been gaining economic status. However, actual statistics have a valid argument against my theory to show the opposite. It surprises me th a t i nc ome, health, and life expectancy has been getting worse for blacks. In a world where there are continuous improvements for every aspect of life and yet this group of people are not gaining the benefits makes me wonder why. Can this really be the effect of white people trying to keep them down or is there more to it?
Kristen Matonti

In "The Color of Health in the United States,"... [i]t was disturbing to read that research findings have revealed that a black man in Harlem is six times more likelier to die than a white male. I like how Williams and Collins made a correlation between major historical events and life expectancy amongst blacks. In the past Jesse Jackson's participation in the presidential race seemed to have positive effects of the physical and mental well being of blacks. Hence, I feel that the Obama victory in the 2008 presidential election must have had an even greater effect on African American's health.
Nadege Nau

One thing that really caught my attention in the readings (besides for the number of charts thrown our way), was how black families may never catch up to the earnings of white families (Ch. 8) At one point it says that a middle class black family has to work 12 more weeks than a white family to make equal earnings (pg. 58). HUH? And on that same page, the book explains another reason why black (and other minority families) may never have the ability to "catch up" to white families: transformative assets. As the old saying goes; "The rich get richer, as the poorer get poorer."
Matt Kiselenko

What really shocked me from the readings is to what extent economic and educational standings affect the "real" world. There is a direct result and comparison between socioeconomic capability and standing in regards to social structure and culture. The top echelon of society succeeds and have more opportunity as the "lower" groups falter and are stuck in the same downward spiral. I feel as though it is not so much an issue of "racism" as it is of fact. <<
Andrew Baez

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HISTORY IS SKIN-DEEP
by Kashma Evelyn
“You’ve only known me for six weeks and you’re telling me who I am??!!” This is the thought I never uttered when my history professor insisted I was Abigaelle. Abigaelle is much taller than me, a different complexion of black skin than me, a whole different personality than me. She’s outgoing. I’m shy and quiet. Yes, she’s seen us together, alot, but I am short with completely different eyes, nose, hairstyle, and persona compared to Abigaelle. Telling her my name is Kashma didn’t help. The professor insisted I wasn’t me. And she teaches history. For the first twenty-one years of my life, I lived in a world where my dialect, my thoughts and even my behavior, were parallel to those around me. Before coming to the U.S., as part of an ethnic majority on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, I grew up thinking we were like no other. Then reality set in. Arriving in New York City I was thrown into a melting pot where I am classified as a minority just from crossing a sea and being asked to

shift my identification from West Indian to Black. This notion of “racism” was new to me in ways I never experienced before. I was sitting in the back of the class that day. My history professor was speaking to Abigaelle who had left the room, so when she narrowed her sights on me and said, “Abigaelle, tell us about this picture that you sent to me,” I didn’t answer. It was a photograph Abigaelle took of a painting in her house which she apparently emailed to our professor; I, of course, knew nothing of this painting. Finally realizing she was addressing me, I said “Who me? I’m not Abigaelle.” How do you convince another p e r s o n y o u a re n o t w h o t h e y perceive you to be? Not a black person. In an earlier time, not a nigger. Not a person from the wrong side of the tracks. Not Abigaelle but me, Kashma. She said again, “ABIGAELLE! I’m asking you what you think of this picture?” I again responded quietly but still trying to emphasize the difference, “I...am…NOT… Abigaelle.”

“What do you mean you are not Abigaelle? I’m looking right at you.” Then another classmate interceded, “Professor! She’s not Abigaelle. Abigaelle went to the bathroom.” With the intensity of a thousand suns the professor lashed out, “If YOU are not Abigaelle, then who ARE you??” That line sent the entire class into a fit of laughter, but I didn’t join them. As the laughter died, I answered with quiet insistence, “I’M KASHMA EVELYN!!” I was completely embarrassed. How easy it was for her to try to convince me that I am who SHE thinks I am. As the class ended, I walked up to the lectern and she looked me in the eye saying, “Oh, I’m sorry for confusing you with Abigaelle. As you know, the room is very dark and plus you both have the same coloring.” All the lights were on and we see distinctly different complexions. I stood there dumbfounded, unsure what to say next. Nothing came to me but a measly “Okay.” What I really wanted to say in my native Nevis tongue was, “Look ‘oman me ain kno how u cud tek arbe for one another, right? U head

no gud.” Translation: “Professor, I am uncertain how you were able to confuse Abigaelle with myself. I am sure, you were quite mistaken.” That would have justified my feelings to some extent but that moment got stuck in my memory; it left a history I wasn’t expecting. The thought of grouping individuals together simply based on skin color or outward appearance is reminiscent of being in preschool when we put away the blocks as kids according to the shapes and colors. People are not objects. That history professor, a Caucasian woman, reflected what I read in the chapter by Herbert Blumer titled “Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position.” He wrote: “The second important aspect of the process of group definition is that it is necessarily concerned with an abstract image of the subordinate racial group. The subordinate racial group is defined as if it were an entity or a whole.” (Blumer in Gallagher 2009, 128) ...

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“Could You Be the Bigger Nigger?” 14

“One does not choose one’s race, but one should be conscious, or at least cautious, not to make race more than background cultural information (Gallagher 2009)”

HISTORY IS ... cont.
... Confusing an African American woman who is 5’5”, Abigaelle, with me, an AfroCaribbean woman who is only 5 feet tall, is possible, even valid given the politics of race as skin color in the United States. Even my black professor has confused the light brown men from Arab and Muslim nations in our racism class and she explained that it is often not being present to our differences. We would say in Nevis “How u mistake dem two deh? Dat deh like comparing chalk n’ cheese” Like confusing Tyra Banks with Oprah Winfrey. The fact that Abigaelle and I are both people with black skin, does not mean we resemble one another or that all our features are the same. As stated by Michael Omi and Howard Winant “Differences in skin color and other obvious physical characteristics supposedly provide visible clues to differences lurking underneath” (in-text citation w/ page #). However, this is still not so. In the United States many are still judged and classed together based on their skin color rather than their intellect which causes hindrances in seeking employment or proper housing. I have been pondering something from all this. Are we truly living in a color-blind society? Charles Gallagher stated that “Within the color-blind perspective, it’s understood that

Photo credit: Telfair Museum, Savannah, Georgia. Photo: UGArdener via Flickr

one does not choose one’s race, but one should be conscious, or at least cautious, not to make race more than background cultural information.” Therefore my race should not define who I am! Is it my duty to educate my history teacher on differences among races? Or how to refrain from telling people who they are? The following week, as she returned my assignment, she called my name “Kashma Evelyn”; I extended my hand to collect it. She then said “Is Evelyn your first name?” I paused and said “No it’s my LAST NAME!” She then said, “Are you sure?” In a world where our greatest resource is people, we make up various ethnic groups that enrich the human race. When barriers are created between these groups causing one to be seen as inferior, racism becomes a reality. None in a minority group is accounted for as an individual but as a whole. Generalizing then becomes a second nature solution read as natural attributed to the wrong lighting or similar skin tones. Maybe learning about our history is not enough to differentiate between skin color and the structural and racialized systems of difference that, according to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, reproduce racial phenomena “not by reference to a long-distant past but in relation to its contemporary structure” (in Gallagher 2009, 37). <<

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In the fall of 2005, teen filmmaker Kiri Davis re-conducted the 1954 “doll test” (photo upper right). In 1954 the wife-and-husband team, Kenneth and Mamie Clark, asked black children, ages three to seven, a series of questions about two plastic baby dolls that were identical except for color. The responses (replicated by Davis in 2005) revealed a latent reality. Ten of the sixteen black children studied preferred the white dolls to the black dolls (photo below).

How to Raise Racist Kids
by Jonathan Liu, GeekDad published in Wired (16 Feb 2010)
“It is tempting to believe that because their generation is so diverse, today’s children grow up knowing how to get along with people of every race. But numerous studies suggest that this is more of a fantasy than a fact” (Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children). • Only 8% of white American high-schoolers have a best friend of another race. (For blacks, it’s about 15%.) The more diverse a school is, the less likely it is that kids will form cross-race friendships. 75% of white parents never or almost never talk about race with their kids. A child’s attitudes toward race are much harder to alter after third grade, but a lot of parents wait until then (or later) before they feel it’s “safe” to talk frankly about race. <<

• • •

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REAL EDUCATION SHOULD CONSIST OF DRAWING THE GOODNESS AND THE BEST OUT OF OUR OWN STUDENTS. WHAT BETTER BOOKS CAN THERE BE THAN THE BOOK OF HUMANITY?
- CESAR CHAVEZ

Racism as a Crutch
by Dabney Jean
Researched the company? Check. Black business suit? Check. Train Directions? Check! I was good to go. I was going on an important interview with what kind of business? finance, marketing??, one that forced [no one forced you! Rewrite this me to research for days, run out to buy a new suit, and rehearse my presentation, so I was nervous. Yet, I was still confident. What did I have to lose? I was a college student with good grades, relevant experience, and great communication skills. Then I sat down in that interview chair, laughing, smiling with my Asian interviewer. She was nice,

until, the interview began and boy, it felt like she tore me to pieces! What makes you so worthy? Tell me the square root of three million. Is that all you did at your last job? I sat there knowing I didn’t get the job. As upset as I was, I resigned myself to disappointment. I told a friend of the horror that almost brought me to tears in that interview room. I thought I should have been more prepared. I should have anticipated her questions. It’s all my fault. Then my friend said, “No it wasn’t! It’s because you’re black.” His reasoning rang through my ears like the sound of a bullet. I said that couldn’t be the reason. The interviewer was Asian. She is considered a minority too. He replied, “They’re the closest

minorities to the whites, and they want to keep it that way. Us black folk will never have a chance.” Did you know that by 2014 it is expected that the minority population will reach 50% of the population? Will “we blacks” still feel as though we are a minority, singled out and left behind? Are we creating our own disparity? The reasoning, "It's because I'm Black,” is widely accepted among African Americans to justify their lack of advancement, to justify their reason for separation, to justify their reasoning a lot of things they don’t get. More than 150 years before this nation was founded, the first shipment of African indentured slaves were brought to the colonies in 1619. The country was founded in

1776 and with that African Americans could claim oppression by whites for almost 400 years. Constantly reminded of my skin color, constantly reminded of my inferiority and constantly reminded of my differences now even by my own ethnic group. With the emergence of figures like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Al Sharpton a courage was brought forth to enact change, to bring African Americans a newfound hope for the present and our future. All this begs the question: Do I feel comfortable with the disparity of thinking we are inferior? That we can never win? Sometimes I live in a bubble fearful that I may still walk the streets with people who think of me the same way people once thought of my ... cont. on next page

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EDUCATION IS INDOCTRINATION IF YOU’RE WHITE SUBJUGATION IF YOU’RE BLACK
- James Baldwin

Racism as a Crutch cont.
... ancestors. Therefore, I revert thoughts of the "black" displayed by the media. The hoodlum, the uneducated, the troublemaker. How does that apply to me, a college educated black woman, exposed to the culture of successful banking and small firms? That's not my image, that's not how I see myself. Am I angry? Yes! Angry that our ancestors weren't given the chance to change history (this is a strange expression, who can change history??), angry that that treatment barely allows me to feel accepted even today. With all this I can definitely be sure that we have been creating our own inequality. We are allowing us to create attributes because of our skin color. How are we beginning to oppress ourselves? The very thing we have been trying to fight for years? As a student in such a diversified school as Baruch College, I’ve been exposed to so many different cultures, and so many people. I refuse to keep myself in a bubble. I refuse to create excuses for myself, because sooner than you think we’ll be equal in number to everyone. P.S. I definitely got the job! You won’t hear me saying, “It’s because I’m Black,” instead “It’s because I deserve it.” <<

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THE “STRUGGLE”
by Duncan Goodwin
One day during a conversation about race in the Evolution and Expressions of Racism someone said something in reference to being Jewish. It was about how their struggle wasn't the same as the “black struggle” because people can't immediately tell that someone is Jewish. While she may not have meant it this way, it came across to me as saying that if someone cannot immediately see that you are a minority it makes your struggle in some way less ""hard"" than others, but I disagree. One of the most prevalent and complex types of prejudice existing today is that against homosexuals and what makes this type of prejudice so complicated is largely the fact that there is no physical characteristics that have been labeled gay so far. And yet what I feel like is often forgotten is that the basic notion of discrimination is unfair no matter who it is against, it is the same inequality because it is discrimination against a minority group for unfounded perceptions proliferated by mass media. They are different in essence but at the core they are the same. Being gay is something that has impacted my life in a way very different than the experience of many other homosexuals. I grew up in a town that was relatively liberal, experiencing very

little outward hostility from my classmates; but that is not the experience many gay teenagers have. Too many gay people grow up being bullied in school. The most interesting facet of this type of harassment is that some of the people who are being bullied for being “fags” may not actually be gay, in fact it is often the case that the people doing the bullying are the gay ones. I have never been the type of person who is very outwardly gay though I am not unwilling to say that I am, I simply do not think that I should have to; and yet I am still not comfortable saying it and this is why it is important for the subject to be explored. The reason prejudice against homosexuality is such a convoluted one is that it questions the mental state of the subject, until 1973 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) classified homosexuality as a mental disease.

Much like skin color, sexual orientation is not a decision. Biologically we are the same and there should be no question about human rights. I recognize that some may say that marriage is between man and a woman, not a man and a man; for “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”. But what I say to that is...um, okay? The question of marriage is one of human rights, not religious integrity. This fundamental violation of what are supposedly natural rights calls to mind the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, after all separate but equal is not equal. Both homosexuality and race are constructs of society imposed by a majority group with no substantial claim. The two may not be exactly the same because they are not the same on the outside, but they can be examined on similar levels. It is just as unfair for a group of people to be discriminated against in marriage as it is for people to be discriminated against in, say, college. I believe it is often ignored by many that these two types of discrimination are inherently the same and neither should be “measured” as it were. We should recognize that it is petty to disagree about how much one type of discrimination effects the discriminated and understand that neither are okay, and neither are fully understood. It is 2010, it’s time to understand that we are all humans and not one set deserves more than the others. We may be born in all different sectors of society but that doesn’t mean that one person is less human that the other. <<

BLS1003 Evolution & Expressions of Racism - “Could You Be the Bigger Nigger?”
DID YOU KNOW? The Jews of China built their famous “Purity and Truth” synagogue in the third year of the Da Ding period (1163) of the Jin (Golden Tartar) Dynasty, in the ancient Chinese capitol city of Kaifeng.

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THE HOUSEKEEPER’S DAUGHTERS
by Chloe Harari Zalcman

Sitting in my racism class, I observe my surroundings. Thirty-four students, all of different races and religions, each with eye-opening stories of how racism has been apart of their lives. As some share their stories about immigrating from other countries, growing up as a minority, or being judged by their skin color, I can’t help but feel jealous. No matter how hard I try I can't muster up a story that will give my classmates the chills like there's have given me. Although racism hasn't affected me directly, I have observed it in my Jewish community. I have gone back and forth a thousand times debating whether or not to tell this story. It’s not my life. Not my story. Whether right or wrong, it is a story of racism that has left an impact on me. I live in a sheltered, Haisidic Jewish community. Everyone I know and associate myself with is a member of my community. I attended a small private Jewish high school, to put it bluntly, with everyone just like me. Everyone there dresses the same, talks the same, and acts the same. However, in this community I have observed a form of a racism that has burst the bubble and broken my heart.

A member of my community fell in love with his African-American housekeeper made racism a part of my life. In a religious community that doesn't accept converts, the housekeeper converted anyway and the two, a Jewish man and a black woman, got married. Twenty-odd years later, I see the struggles their daughters are facing with relationships because of a choice their father made so many years ago, to step outside the bounds of our religion and race. No family (in our community) will accept these girls as wives for their sons. Whether it is because they are the children of a mother who is not Jewish, who is a convert, or the children of the house keeper, an an African American, it breaks my heart to see such young relationships being broken up for something that is out of the daughters’ control. I cannot imagine the feeling of not being able to be with someone I love because of the choice my father made decades ago.   As heartbreaking as it is, what is even worse is that this may never change. When I think of our community, the first word that pops into my head is “close-minded.” In hopes of preserving traditions and customs, families keep to themselves and avoid contact with "outsiders". I think it is unfair for these girls to be punished for choices they didn't make. <<

DID YOU KNOW? 15,000 Black African Jews, who trace their 3,000 year history to the time of Israel’s King Solomon, were flown from Ethiopia to Israel in 36 hours in May 1991. DID YOU KNOW? Spanish & Portuguese “Crypto” (secret) Jews arrived in New Mexico some 500 years ago, fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. Their descendants still recite Shabbat blessings in Ladino (archaic Spanish). DID YOU KNOW? In India, the Bene Israel community—their ancestors arrived there 2,000 years ago—are called “Shanwar Telis” (Saturday Oil Pressers) as they refrain from work on the Shabbat.

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THE DARKER CHILDREN
by Kamylle McIntosh

Challenges we face, Challenges so great, Beginning with race. Particularly in the USA slavery is always referred to as history. Does not physically seeing something make it nonexistent? Many of us do not believe this when it comes to faith, or the stars, or the moon, but why is it that once the shackles have been removed equality is instantly declared? We are still bound by the chains of [mental] slavery. From the early age of six, I made a biased choice based on skin color alone. I was one of the only three students at school on the first day. Being new to the school and clearly the youngest, I knew that I had to befriend one of the two girls. I stood at a distance trying to figure out how to make the best choice. Finally, I chose the darker-skinned girl. The only logic I had was that she would be the better choice because we had a similar complexions. My assumption could not have been further from the truth, but I learned a valuable lesson that day. As I pondered the situation years later I begin to think about what made me think the way? How did I learn to assess people based on skin color? I have not been taught to do that…or have I?

It wasn‘t like my parents told me, “Only play with the dark children,” so where did I arrive to such a conclusion? I suppose it can be argued that children feel more comfortable with what they are accustomed to and thus, me, growing up around people of the same skin color, I assumed dark skin to be the safer choice. This being said, can this notion be engrained in us and nurtured, possibly unknowingly, until we grow into bias and prejudiced thought? Whatever the reason for the continuance of inequality there is no doubt that it exists. Walking into a store, I am made to feel uncomfortable. The stereotype that blacks are likely to steal is prevalent is most stores. Without looking up I can feel that I am being watched. My every move guarded by the store employees. With every object I pick up and rest down. As I reach for my cell phone in my bag I make it as clear as I can that I am only doing that and not, instead placing an object from the shelf onto my bag. This is just one of the things I do to reduce and hopefully eliminate the assumption that I will steal from the store because I am black. Slave status is evident at this time as I feel restriction even though I am “free.” This is not what I know freedom to be. I feel like my every move is being guarded, like the “slave master” is watching over me waiting for me to slip up or do something wrong. I feel like it is up to me to represent my race and prove to others we are ... cont. on next page

Things have changed, yet remained the same. Slavery is over, yet we’re still enslaved. Freedom (opportunity) for all is not the case. The black man still suffers his “fate.” Fighting the fight for thousands of years (1619), but people still have race to fear. So much despair Can’t get a job ‘cause we aren’t the kind-- the kind they’re looking for, the kind in need. We’ve been trained… Trained to judge based on what we see Seems like it’s the way things are meant to be. The color of my skin presents a shade for my opportunities. A shade that limits how far I may reach. Into the light some of us go Reach further than most and then told “no.” At some point or another,

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DARKER CHILDREN cont.
... not what they think we are. I feel
obligation, but most of all, I feel restrained- like I cannot move anywhere or do anything without first being seem as black and being first judged by this. How can we as a nation claim to be color blind when blacks [and minorities] are not afforded equal opportunities as their white counterparts? In the chapter “Color-Blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of Erasing the Color Line in Post Race America,” Charles Gallagher describes “color blindness” as the idea that we should live in a society where people are treated equally regardless of their skin color, or the belief that we are now a color blind society where race no longer shapes life chances (2009, 101). As much as we would like to believe that we live in society in which color blindness exists, it is simply not the case. From issues such as being excluded from certain neighborhoods to food choice within and outside these neighborhoods and significant income differences, minority groups have been classified and thus made to endure disadvantages because of their race. As Douglas Massey wrote, “blacks… traditionally experienced severe prejudice and discrimination in urban housing markets...High indices of residential

segregation imply a restriction of opportunity for blacks compared with other groups.” He continues, “In a very real way, barriers to spacial mobility are barriers to social mobility: a racially segregated society cannot logically claim to be color blind.” (Massey in Gallagher 2009). From studies done and reported by Shannon N. Zenk et al. came to the conclusion that “The nearest supermarket was significantly further away in neighborhoods with a high proportion of African Americans and the most impoverished neighborhoods compared with neighborhoods with a low proportion of African Americans and the least impoverished neighborhoods, respectively (Why Are There No Supermarkets in My Neighborhood? The Long Search for Fresh Fruit, Produce, and Healthy Food).” Furthermore. statistics cited by Rebecca M. Black showed that poverty rates for non-white/minority groups are much higher than those of whites (An Overview of Trends in Social and Economic Well-Being, by Race) These exemplify how prominent racism is in America and that even with a black president and the idea of change becoming so popular, we as a black race are still fighting for our freedom. <<

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THE COLORBLIND BUBBLE
by Nicole Balestriere
How hard can a course on racism be? To be honest, I chose this course because it was a 1000-level course. I thought it would be easy. Oh, was I proved wrong. This course opened up my eyes to a whole new world, and a whole new way of viewing the bubble that I feel I was brought up in. I am a 19 year old young woman living in the great city of New York. I am proud of my accomplishments, and especially proud of the education I have received so far in life. However, there was one thing my upbringing seemed to mask from me for years and years. Racism. I was educated in Catholic private schools in Staten Island. When I came to Baruch College in Manhattan. I was thrown into a whirlwind of diverse people, different races and ethnicities. Nothing seemed to be much different than from what I was used to at first. As a part of core curriculum at Baruch, students must take a course in cultural studies. I chose the “Evolution and Expressions of Racism” (BLS1003). In the readings for BLS 1003, I came across the term

“colorblindness” in “The Ideology of Colorblindness,” by Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres and in “Color-Blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of Erasing the Color Line in Post-Race America,” by Charles Gallagher. Colorblindness was the idea that we should live in a society where people are treated equal, regardless of skin color, and a belief that race no longer shapes p e o p l e ’s l i f e c h a n c e s a n d outcomes. I began to realize something that changed my life. I had lived for 19 years as a colorblind individual. I spent my whole life thinking race was just some made up concept and that racism did not really exist in my life or in our society. Little did I

know, I was surrounded by it in different aspects of life. Now, don’t get me wrong. I received an excellent education, and found myself to be successful. I loved the schools I attended. But, I have begun to wonder why I did not realize the reality of racism and the toll it takes on society. For one thing, the majority of the private schools I attended were white, including the teachers. Secondly, I was never really taught about the racism around me, except in some history courses. Most of my friends growing up were white, too. I learned to live in that bubble and accepted the colorblindness without even realizing how much harm it was truly causing me. I remember one of my high school teachers telling me and my class to “get out of the bubble” that we supposedly lived in due to the demographics of our area. To be honest, I never really understood what she was talking about until I came to college, until I enrolled in this racism course. I am sure I am not the only person who has experienced this feeling. When I mentioned the realizations I was experiencing in my racism class to one of my very close friends, Alyssa, who attended high school with me,

she replied, “Honestly, I know nothing about racism, or that it e v e n i s re a l l y s t i l l a ro u n d . Enlighten me.” O b v i o u s l y, t h e i s s u e o f colorblindness is affecting society in ways that we can’t even imagine. People believe that there is equality among all, when in reality, minorities are still struggling today. BLS 1003 opened my eyes to a whole new world. I listened to the stories of students in our class from all races and descent–black, white, Asian, and more. My classmates and Professor Gaunt changed my life, my views, and burst my bubble. I realize now that racism is real, and not just some made up concept. It surrounds all of us every day in ways that are sometimes blind to us. My wish is for everyone to come out of the colorblind bubble and change our society, rather than making it acceptable to hide behind a belief that colorblindness as equality benefits all. << photo credit

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RETHINKING THE COLOR LINE ON FACEBOOK
READINGS in RACE & ETHNICITY 4th ed., edited by Charles Gallagher McGraw-Hill 2009

A Facebook discussion thread from October 2010 regarding George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness” (Ch. 19) #3
To start I'd like to say that I agree with both Natali and Tiana about Lipsitz targeting the issue of "whiteness". I thought that he did this quite effectively, and right at the beginning. Lipsitz quotes Richard Dyer saying "white power secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular." I thought that that was a very effective way of pointing out the problem, that "whiteness" is the norm, the "unmarked category against which difference is constructed..." I found a statistic which was a in a way a combination of category 2 and category 3. It was that " C a l i f o r n i a ' s P ro p o s i t i o n 1 3 deprived cities and counties of $13 billion a year in taxes. Businesses alone avoided $3.3 billion to $8.6 billion in taxes per year under this statute." I say that this is both category 2 and 3 because I knew that there were many shady business dealings to make as much money as possible for the people on top, but I never realized that there was an actual law that kept money away from people while saving billions of dollars for big business. Duncan Goodwin

#4 of 11
I share the same sentiments as Tiana as I read the different statics of the proportion of whites granted home ownership to the minute amount of blacks, it was eye opening just to see how h ard and impossible it was to have a “decent” home during those times. Even when homes were acquired by blacks, little emphasis was placed on keeping those areas clean. Category 2 for me was the fact that “high-income blacks were denied loans more often than low-income whites”, it really shows that money had a “color” back then – either white or black. Also no matter how much time I would hear or read that “black people are lazy” I fail to concur. Not that they (we) are lazy, it may be that many aren’t given or are able to secure the same opportunities as the wealthy, no matter how much willpower is displayed they would still be seen as black and suffer hindrances along the way to becoming a success. Kashma Evelyn

CATEGORIES OF RECEPTION CATEGORY 1 - already known CATEGORY 2 - unsaid but communicated

H e re ’ s h a re s a F B t h r ead d afte abou t w h i r re a d i n g te pri vilege

CATEGORY 3 - never said before or new to me

#1 of 11
I feel like this reading was was a blend of all three categories. A lot of the terminology I had heard before (cat 1) but some things were also category 2, noticeable but unsaid. But the way Lipsitz goes about making analogies and statements, some things are borderline category 3. Not really, but kinda. Lipsitz has some pretty interesting things to say and its kind of refreshing to see someone take a different standpoint than some of the other readings we have had. Some of the other authors seem to give us statistics and reasons for them while Lipsitz seems to target the majority aka "whiteness." Natali Nassimian

#2
I found some of the statistics between whites and blacks dealing with home ownership to be shocking. Even the fact that there were acts that refused to help people of color was also shocking. I knew there was a difference, but i didn't think it was that drastic. That would be a category 2 for me. I'm a w a re t h a t t h e re w a s r a c i s m between whites and blacks, but i didn't think as far the government's going to discriminate me and not give me a loan because i'm black. I totally agree with Natali, i really feel as if Lipsitz really targets the issue of "whiteness". Tiana Jones

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CATEGORIES OF RECEPTION CATEGORY 1 - already known

Continued...Facebook discussion thread on George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness” #5
I really like how Lipsitz opens the article with the anecdote about the reporter and expatriate Richard Wright. It perfectly explains an aspect of the problem with racism. The group that is continuing the racism is lacking a certain...understanding that could be a contributing factor towards easing the problem of racism...How do we know where/how to end [racism] if we don't really know who started it? While most people quickly assume that racism in America started with black slaves, it actually started with the Native Americans. Even though we are trying to understand the problem of racism towards blacks, we are neglecting Native Americans....I can't help but think of the Native Americans. They are among the poorest groups in the US right now, and it is because of the white colonists that they live in such poverty. Michelle Chan

CATEGORY 2 - unsaid but communicated CATEGORY 3 - never said before or new to me

#8 of 11
George Lipsitz starts this chapter with an interesting quote from a young man returning from war. The young man is asked about the "negro problem" and responds "Their isn't any negro problem; their is a white problem." Lipsitz continues this chapter by providing examples of ways minorities were given unequal opportunities, compared to whites, weather it be with loans, housing, or work. The second part of this chapter is more interesting. Lipsitz goes into speaking about how white people in today’s society are still made to feel guilty about slavery, when most people’s families were not even in this country during the slavery period. To me this falls in to a category 2 conversation, its known about but not spoken. Their were times back in high school when slavery came up, and the few white kids in class were made to feel guilty and awkward about the topic. We are worried about the past but we should really be worried about ways to change the present. Chris Kiprovski

#7
From the start of this chapter I was constantly reminded of a mixtape from rapper Immortal Technique called "The Third World" in which he addresses the issue of Blacks and Latino's being denied loans and also by using category 2 he shows how those investing in whiteness actually keep other races down, basically sending out he message that the poorest of our country live in a third world compared to those who have invested in their "whiteness". I agree with the point that racism changes over tie and it's gone from blatant discrimination to certain people in society investing in "whiteness" to keep other minorities down. Rahat Chowdhury

#6
I would like to add on to what Kashma mentioned Lipsitz's section on segregated white housing in the suburbs. I had always been familiar with the fact that suburbs like the ones found on Long Island, New Jersey, & C o n n e c t i c u t a re p re d o m i n a n t l y inhabited by Whites. Until I read Lipsitz's essay, I did not really know why these areas were mostly inhabited by Whites and not by other groups other than because SES issues. Yet what was Category 3 for me was that in the ‘50s & ‘60s the FHA (Federal Housing Agency) and private lenders were granting loans to those Whites who intended to move into the suburbs (even to those with bad credit) while Blacks & Hispanics who were of the same or similar income bracket were mostly denied for loans intended for the same suburbs (even with good credit). To think that a Federal agency would evaluate the color of one's skin to determine his/her suitability for a mortgage surprised me. Kevin German

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Facebook discussion thread continued...
on George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness” and Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking the White Knapsack: White Privilege (pdf)

#11 of 11
I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood which exposed me to the white privileges that many of my friends didn't receive. But it didn't register to me that I was put into certain programs and special groups at school because there was no apartment # in my address, but a house number. I l i k e h o w L i p s i t z a rg u e s "whiteness has a social cash value" (2006, vii)) because it is very true. Once you have that skin tone you get the 'okay'. And in Peggy McIntosh's article she substitutes the word 'privilege' for the word 'dominance'. I understand and completely agree with her reasoning. Because privilege represents luck or deserving - neither of the two even graze the explanation of why white people have not only been able to maintain their power, but expand it. Another category 2 for me. << Abigaelle Revers

CATEGORIES OF RECEPTION

#9
Something that was a category 3 to me was the urban renewal project discussed in chapter 19. It seems like racists will do whatever they have to do to keep whites away from blacks. During the 1950's and 1960's urban renewal projects destroyed 20 percent of the central city housing projects, but only 10 percent lived in by whites. I feel that's horrible and then everyone wants to blame blacks for their dis-advantages, but no one wants to help them.
Laser Small

CATEGORY 1 - already known CATEGORY 2 - unsaid but communicated CATEGORY 3 - never said before or new to me

#10
I completely agree with Michelle Chan (See comment #5 on previous page). The way he began the reading was great. I was aware that a few neighborhoods were mostly predominated by whites. This reading brought tremendous light to the SES and their issues. The legal issues surrounding racism in the 50s and 60s was definitely mind blowing. Even they were contributing to the disparity in race. Category 3? Much! Dabney Jean

dis- a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force; used freely, esp. with these latter senses, as an English formative: disability; disaffirm; disbar; disbelief; discontent; dishearten; dislike; disown.

...end of thread.

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“We are controlled by our confusion, far more than we know, and the American dream has therefore become something much more closely resembling a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels. Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and, internationally for many millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster.” (Baldwin 1963, 89)

Soy Sauce and the Milk
by Hunter Weaver-Daniel
One afternoon, when my aunt was just about old enough to date, her father sat her down at the dining room table. In front of her he placed two items, a container of soy sauce and a tall glass of milk. He sat down across from her and placed a single drop of soy sauce into the glass of milk. He pointed to the glass and in a stern rough voice he said, “You can bring that home.” My aunt looked at the glass of milk, and then looked at her father, not sure how to respond. Her father dropped another drop of soy sauce into the glass and repeated, “You can bring that home.” He repeated this mixture of soy sauce and milk one drop at a time until the content of the glass was a slight shade darker than her skin shade, and then said, “You can’t bring that home.” I was 19 when I first heard the story of the soy sauce and the milk. It astonished me that it took me 19 years to realize my grandfather, who I have loved my entire life, was racist. After my aunt shared her story amongst a small group of my family members and I, more stories started to pour out.   My uncle told his story of how he introduced his brown skin girlfriend, now wife, to his parents, and

how his father told him he wasn’t looking forward to having her as a daughter in-law. Other stories began to surface and my view began to broaden. After digesting these stories I started to look back into my own vault of memories.   I wondered if there was any evidence of my grandfather’s racism in my past that I didn’t see or chose to forget.  I began to dig deeper and I eventual asked my father about my g r a n d f a t h e r. M y f a t h e r t o l d m e m y grandfather never liked him or approved of him being with my mother. He told me that when I was younger and even still today he would become annoyed when my grandfather wanted me to relay the message to him that he had done a good job in raising me.   My father always responded to this by saying, “Am I not supposed to support my child, raise my child be, be a father to my child?” Is racism powerful enough to infiltrate a family and divided it? Is it powerful to take my grandfather, a person that I love, doubt and belittle the man that made me what I am? If it is, how do I deal with that? Should I blame a man that grew up in a time where he himself feared for his life because he was not white? Should I blame a man who helped raise children during a time where the closer you were to being considered white the more likely you were to make it home safe, or do I

blame the society that forced these racist concepts, ideas, images and fears on to him.   I have come to see that hate racism because it confuses me. I hate racism because I have no clear concrete answer for it. I hate racism because we have to suffer through a concept based on evidence that doesn’t exist.  I hate racism because it makes the story of the soy sauce and milk acceptable, but the main reason I hate racism is because it forces me to balance the love and hate I have for my grandfather. <<

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NO AMOUNT OF GOD WILL MAKE ME ANY LESS GAY
by Valeesa Augustine
Here, in the eyes of too many in N e w Yo r k C i t y, “ b l a c k ” automatically means loud, uneducated, ghetto, violent, or having roots and ties to Africa. Why on earth would you think that millions of people are exactly alike because their outsides are similar? I doubt that my skin color can tell you that I am an artist of graphic design as well as web design and photography. Or that my favorite genres of music are Rock and Japanese and Korean Pop; I'll listen to just about any genre in any language. I bet you cannot tell that I am Caribbean or detect my favorite foods--oil-down and roti; I could eat mangos every day and never get tired of ‘em. My skin color doesn’t tell you that I am quiet, that I am shy, but once I like a topic or conversation, I'll start to ramble and grin. You wouldn't know any of these t’ings without speaking to me. Would you even know to speak to black people about any of these things? What do you see when you look at me? Do my brown eyes display a love of chitlins and collared greens? Do my full lips verbalize an exclusive love of rap and hip hop? Do my cheeks warm with the boisterous personality you are sure I should possess? I am a young Caribbean woman from Grenada, and before I can

even speak you have already figured out who I am. Each person encountered is a story untold. Yet the media, and “the common man” of the white majority think they can judge a person by their skin alone. I know that many nonCaribbean blacks like the things I mentioned. But to say they, or we, are all the same is to say that all whites like... I stopped because I couldn't think of any good stereotypes. Black Christians will look at my skin and think that we are the same; that I must be the same kind of Christian, too. If and when they find out differently, I will become an outsider, an unwanted, a “black sheep” in a black flock. No amount of God will make me any less gay than I am. Though I have never killed, or been arrested, or gotten kicked out of any establishment, in the black community, where the church is a big deal, to be gay is to be a leper sitting at Lucifer's right hand. It seems to me that if black Christians spent much of their existence being subtly and not-sosubtly oppressed and discriminated against by others because of the difference of their skin, they would not be so quick with their cross words or anger and so cold with their cruel thoughts. It was just a few decades ago that black people in America had to march, had to deal with constant scorn, had to look the other way

“Each person encountered is a story untold.”
when the majority made jokes or portrayed us as comical or as some sort of disease to be avoided. Yet those who preach forgiveness and understanding curse gays and lesbians with the same breath that they pray for the poor, the weak, or the unfortunate. Why? It was because of this and other things that I changed my religion from that of a 'bad Catholic' to a Pagan [Paganism is a polytheistic nature-based belief system]. I had a black community that constantly looked to "fix" me. That told me I was wrong, unnatural, and that if I continued down that path, I would be condemned to eternal damnation. These people do not know me, yet they condemn my life, my actions, and my motivations more than my own mother...who accepts me. The worse part is the 'wall' that comes up whenever re l i g i o n c o m e s u p w i t h a Christian. I know and accept that my religion must seem screwy to other people, but at the slightest hint that the Bible might be wrong, most Christians fly off the handle, or close their minds to the rest of the conversation. My question is this: If you say you follow the Bible, why do things half-assed? If Christians read the Biblical passage "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable" (Leviticus 20:13) to mean that dykes and fags should burn in hell, why do they ignore the fact that the Bible also doesn't allow haircuts? Or wearing clothes of more than one material? Or eating shrimp? Most Christians, black or white, do not concern themselves with these "rules." They wipe these sins clean in their minds. People ignore my pleas for justice, thinking they know what's best for me. Pardon me, but I’ve heard that before? <<

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“Trapped inside the fire with our freedom on the run.”

ORIGINAL SONGS
by Matthew Kiss
#1: ENEMY EYES (JUST LIKE YOURS) Verse: Here we stand holding thunder Ready to kill in a moment’s time. I don't care how much you look like my brother I'll spill your blood to draw the line. Verse: You can swallow hatred when it's spiked with anger And the mixture is flowing through our veins Three shots ring out and I watch you hit the floor As the poison takes away my pain Chorus: Can you see yourself in your enemies eyes? Can you breathe in the truth and rise above the lies? Do you feel the darkness as you watch his blood paint the floor? Hold his beat-less heart in your hands and you'll see it looks just like yours.

Verse: We've been at war since before our fathers trapped in this circle of malice and fear our rifles are loaded and ready to shoot down peace anytime that it draws near Repeat Chorus Bridge: Look at his mother as she cries, as she dies Look at her eyes, look at those eyes Look deep into those eyes! Final Chorus #2: SONG FOR MUMIA Too many shadows living in this cage, I've been here too long all these lines on my face, I didn't kill him but they took me anyways, Because I was the one, the one they could blame. Born in a world torn apart by hate, Almost predestined was my fate. Grew up with my brother staring at the barrel of a gun, Trapped inside the fire with our freedom on the run. Chorus: I asked for justice but no justice shown Beaten by the country that I call my home They tried to kill me but they can't kill a lions roar I aint a saint I aint a killer I'm just a prisoner of war. My war is for love my war is for peace But these chains on my bloodline they won't give me release. <<

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STRIPPING MY PAKISTANI IDENTITY
by Usman Javed
9-11 changed American attitudes towards people of my ethnicity dramatically.  A male stripper revue would be the last place you’d expect to find racist business practices, or so I thought. In my case, working at a male stripper revue, staged entertainment with men stripping in front of a large audience of screaming women was different than you might think. I was not treated differently for being Pakistani or a perceived terrorist, I was treated differently because I was “too black” in the words of one of the owners. In 2006, I entered the business as a 23 year-old dancer with an “urban” way of speaking and dressing. I had long hair down my back that were braided into cornrows, a typically African American hairstyle. In 2010, I left the business as a partner, looking, sounding, and acting like a white businessman. There are only a few male revues in New York City. The shows I participated in were owned by two Portuguese brothers. Each promoted and sold tickets to his own shows on his separate website and both organized a single show for all their customers. The shows took place every weekend all-year round. The older brother (in his 40’s) owned and promoted his own show, while the younger brother in his mid-30’s owned and promoted another. The differences between the two reflected the color line in American culture: you either find favor

behaving like white people or you are discriminated for behaving like blacks. Of Portuguese descent, the ownerbrothers were raised in Jersey City, a mid- to lower-class neighborhood. I was originally hired as a dancer by the older brother who seemed to aspire to “be white”. The younger brother identified with “being black”. The older brother married a Brazilian woman of Russian decent and the younger brother married a Black woman. In the club, all the balcony seats were sold as “General Admission” seats while the tables and floor seats were sold as “VIP” seats. When the older brother’s parties would attend the show, women’s seating arrangement had a lot to do with race or skin color. Tables were seated on a first-come, first-served basis to all those with reservations. Even if a party of Black or Latina women had a reservation and arrived early enough to choose a front row table, it was unlikely they got

that opportunity. The floor manager was forced by the older brother to seat women of color in the second or third row. The older owner wanted to be sure the first row would be vacant for his white clientele, for white parties. The same principle was applied to the VIP seats. The opposite was the case for the shows of the younger owner who preferred the Black and Latina women down front. Both owner-brothers had ways of rationalizing their preference. The older owner claimed that White women would go online and publicly complain if they didn’t get the best treatment, hurting the reputation of his promotion, the shows and his bottom line. The younger brother claimed that Black and Latin women were the loudest and most involved, which made for a livelier and more entertaining show for others. The younger brother was also the emcee and a headline dancer. He left the position and his partnership with his b ro t h e r i n e a r l y 2 0 0 8 c re a t i n g a n opportunity for me to step up into his former roles. I auditioned and nailed it. In early 2008 I became the emcee and the headline dancer. By the fall of 2008, just months later, I was replaced as emcee by an Abercrombie-type Italian with little experience.  There was no debate amongst other dancers that I was the better man for the job.  Everyone knew that the remaining older brother wanted a “white boy” representing his business on stage.  I don’t know what made me do it, in hindsight, but soon after that I cut my braids. ... cont. on next page

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STRIPPING... cont.
... By the winter of 2008, I didn’t know who I was anymore.  Was I the guy with braids who black women avoided and white women loved. Or was I the clean cut business-type dressed like a white boy who black women were finding interesting but not so much the white women. Racism impacts all forms of relationships. I didn’t realize that in trying to save my position as emcee and headline dancer I started to lose my true identity.  I began to sound as different as I looked.  I behaved differently.  My self-confidence was crashing and confusion became the norm. Although I was drowning on the inside, believe it or not, everything seemed to be getting better professionally.  In early 2009, I became a partner in a new show the older brother and I produced in Atlantic City.  2009 was the most profitable and the most depressing year of my life.  I had no identity.  I no longer felt Pakastani. I wasn’t black. And I wasn’t white enough. I could not live down pretending to be a man that I was not. So by January of 2010, I quit. During those years I never would have thought that someone’s racist attitudes could have a direct impact on my life and lifestyle.  I was blind to the impact.  Maybe I was too naïve.  I was detached from any idea that we live in a racist world.  I thought that stuff happened a

long time ago and American society has grown out of it.  But racism is alive and well. It’s the elephant in the room.  It’s invisible. Every once in a while we can see it, catch a glimpse, then it submerges out of sight again.  Taking this class was like tossing talcum powder on the invisible elephant. It’s in the room and I see it now. The white group of laborers, while they receive a low wage, were compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage. They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white. They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and the best schools (W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America 1965, 700).

W. E . B . D u B o i s w r o t e o f t h e “psychological wage.” I was drawing a line between myself and the other minority employees of the business.  I had license to draw that line once I became “white enough” to do so.  (See “Racialized Social System Approach to Racism” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva)  My experiences behind the scenes of a male revue revealed one of the true evils in America.  There are structural inequalities of race, a color line of black vs white, inequalities that eventually lead someone of Pakistani descent to choose a Madmen appearance over braids to get ahead.  Now I am aware, and I hope I won’t ever put myself in a position to make that decision again. 

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THE WORLD IN A JAR
by Andre Mendez
One day Professor Gaunt took us on an improvisational journey through Stephen Coveyʼs analogy about filling a jar with rocks, gravel, sand and water from his book from FIrst Things First. Covey questioned whether the jar was full before putting in each new item. Professor Gaunt asked us if we could make any similar analogy to structural racism. A few students answered but instead of speaking up and sharing my belief, I remained silent. After class, I waited and approached her. I explained that I donʼt really talk in any of my classes but something came to me about structural racism and Stephen Coveyʼs analogy. I told her my thoughts and to my surprise she was blown away. She said, “Andre, you need to share this with this class. That’s brilliant!” Next class, I did just that and once again to my surprise the class was speechless and loved it. Since then, I’ve read more deeply into my analogy and have a few things to add from my Jamaican point of view. The jar, rocks, gravel, sand & water analogy has a message for us about the way of life we live and the world we live in regarding racism. I try to avoid singling out that most of the experiences I have ever seen have mostly been happening to the blacks but this is the case for me so I am pointing it out. Growing up in Jamaica Iʼve seen people without shoes thinking it canʼt get any worst, but as I grew older I not only noticed the people without shoes but the people without feet to even wear a shoe in the first place. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva explained “racilalized social systsms” as a society organized along racial lines according to oneʼs placement in a racial hierarchy which to me, given the analogy of the jar, means the rocks are the first ones to be there so they choose whoever else they want to be in there with them. ...

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THE WORLD IN A JAR cont ... The jar is basically the world we live in. It is simply made up of different continents that are made up of different countries that are made up of different cities and to go more in depth itʼs also the different boroughs, blocks, hoods, projects and suburbs. Most of us live where we live not because we chose to but because this is what we can afford. For some of us its because we didnʼt get a chance at good opportunities. Itʼs sad to say majority of blacks live in the ghettos, hoods or projects and majority of whites live in the suburbs, city or condos. What about the people that donʼt live anywhere and have no home and the only shelter they can find is either in the subways or behind a closed corner store? Think about how hard, and let me emphasize again, how hard their lives are being hungry and homeless each day not to know where the next drip of water or piece of bread will come from and even imagine when itʼs winter time and itʼs freezing. The “rocks” are the fortunate & rich people that have the most power and the same ones that have life easy and call all the shots: 90% are whites & 10% are Other. The rocks are the first in the jar to choose wherever they want to reside, live or build empires. After they are settled they choose whoever else they want to be in that jar, bringing friends, family and people with the same skin color along side them. Basically, they choose who will be the “gravel” that either comes to work for them or lives the good life their living. The “gravel” are the people chosen by the rich, famous & powerful (the “rocks”) who are the ones with the power & wealth. The rocks pull the strings and the gravel does all the work and manages all the businesses. They have the same way of life as the rocks so they tend to do the same thing like hiring people their same skin color or as wealthy as they are leaving out the rest of the world to strive on their own for whatever space is left. The “sand” is the middle-class who have made it to a nice job and home by giving a go at life through their hard work and struggle. Some of them become sand take their lives to the next level. These are the people we look up to that made it on their own and in the future will have a chance at living the dream of having a good life. The “water” are the people we don’t understand that go through everything bad like living without food, shelter and clothing . They struggle surviving 24 hours a day, 365 days a year until the only thing that might be good for them is death because they will be in a better place. These are the people that sleep on the road and beg for money, who we walk past everyday; the same people that share a sad story on the train just to get a penny in their pocket or even a sprinkle of water in their mouth. The rocks are first in the jar then the gravel because the rocks brought them in after themselves, the sand barely sneaks in, struggling just to fit in the jar and the water gets in but doesn’t get the pleasure of spending life in the jar because they have nothing so what happens is they overflow and die. “The unchanging element of these systems is racial inequality--the the subordinated races’ life chances are significantly lower than those of the dominant race. This is a feature that ultimately distinguishes this form of hierarchical social organization” (BonillaSilva in Gallagher 2009, 33). And that is the world in a jar. First things first must change to make a difference in structural racism. <<

because they got a great education, like a scholarship to proceed through school and

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NIGGER RICH
by Laser Small
"I'm gunna be rich when I grow up." Now that I'm grown up I want to be anything but rich. Perhaps one day I will be fortunate enough to call myself "wealthy" but for now I will just have to imagine what that world would be like. As an African American woman in America, people may say that I'm "reaching for the stars", when I speak about becoming wealthy but that's always what my dad taught me to do, that's what I've always done, and that's the way things will always be. Now the only question and perhaps the barrier that I am constantly faced with is how do I attain this high status of wealthy, and not just stay rich? I would first like to propose my definition of what being rich means, and what being wealthy means. To be rich, is to have a large a m o u n t o f m o n e y o f w h i c h a l a rg e proportion is disposable. Money that is here today is gone tomorrow; Money that doesn't produce anything else but a habit to spend. My definition of being wealthy is something that people like Bill Gates and Oprah understand and have mastered but something that the majority of the black community may be aware of, but not sure how to put into practice. To be wealthy, in my opinion is to have money that will constantly work for you, money that will survive generation after generation. It is to have the ability to have a cushion in hard times, and allowing for mobility. This type of money is mostly found in families where people of my skin color are not common. I believe Chris Rock explained this black/rich white/wealthy phenomenon best in one of his standup shows when he said "if Bill Gates woke up one morning with Oprah Winfrey’s bank account he would jump off a

building and slit his throat on the way down. "I find it to be troubling how blacks portray themselves in the media, spending loads of money on flashy things like "rims" cars and other unnecessary items. It makes me question if they have wealth or if the people who manage them are obtaining the wealth and the stars just have riches. In terms of wealth, the average black family posses 10 cents for every dollar held by white families. With this ratio, odds are against most blacks including myself to gain any type of status other than the ones we were born into. "Since the vast majority of African Americans were first excluded and later precluded from the kinds of occupations, investments, and government policies and programs that lead to wealth generation, transformative assets typically apply to whites from financial advantaged families and not blacks. According to the New York Times, “Middle-income whites, for instance, accumulated $74,000 in assets by 2007, as opposed to high-income black families, whose median assets totaled just $18,000 in 2007. (For both races, middle income was defined as $40,000 to $70,000 in 2007 dollars.)” (Michael Powell, “Wealth, Race and the Great Recession,” 17 May 2010). . To be sure, the entire black community is not doomed to be only rich and they are not dumb because they don't know the difference. Blacks can become wealthy, but structural racism has put people of black skin at a disadvantage because of discriminatory laws and practices like George Lipsitz outlined in “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness”. If this continues, we will never have the chance to become wealthy. Even with knowledge how do you change inequities justified by past practices and behaviors in lending and housing. that

gave whites a better chance to BE wealthy. ; that isn’t the case I am arguing here. I think it is possible for a black person to gain wealth but it will not be an easy road. Blacks would first have to find a way of getting out of the rat race of working just to pay bills. Once that is mastered the knowledge of how to become wealthy will become more useful and handy. As I’ve said before, although some blacks may have the knowledge they have no way of putting it to use. I also don’t see all upper class whites as being wealthy; some may have the riches and lose it all. What I’m trying to say is that although there are more wealthy whites than there are wealthy blacks in U.S. culture, how do we become the David in the Goliath story? Some blacks have the knowledge of how to become rich, but how do you change the context all around that inhibits our economic growth? I don’t plan on falling into the category of those “black people who will put rims on a toaster,” as Chris Rock jokes but even so, it will take more than knowledge to put this barrier in the past without some form of reparations for past exploitation and economic injustices. Until then being nigger rich may seem like the only alternative for the majority of black folk. <<

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ALONE TOGETHER
by Kristen Matonti

I am a twenty year old Italian girl raised on Long Island and I’ve been dating a black guy my age just short of three years. We have been through a lot but not the typical teenage drama, in fact most of it does not root from us but everyone else; from family to strangers, who can see we are happy but aren’t happy for us. As much as I am aware of where this animosity comes from (generations of blinded brainwashing) I am disappointed this facade of racism still exists. I was in this relationship for six months before I built up the courage to tell my mother I was dating someone. Meanwhile, my mother and I have always been close. I was scared of what she might say, think, or do. Sure enough my fears came alive when I told her. “What would Grandma say?” and “What do we tell your father?” These unnerving questions have stuck with me since, and partially effect why I still have not told my grandmother or father directly, about who I am in love with. This deep issue that has an effect on my everyday life is just a platform for the much

bigger matter, the result of history’s lack of progression and those like me who fear to be in the position to try and break down this superficial racial barrier.

Although the acceptance of interracial couples has been more widely accepted, still only 4% marry outside their own race, from a statistic of the U.S. Census Bureau in 2003. Many factors go into the cause of this but it is hard not to think a lot of it has to do with this racial barrier along with people who think it would be easier on them and their families to not change tradition or walk the less taken path. What helps me is to think although I alone cannot change the world’s view on this subject; I can bring us one step closer. If I can get my family and friends to understand the big hype of skin color in society is not all

that big of a deal, those are a few people who may see the world in a new way. If they become bonded with my boyfriend, they may stop seeing the obvious color difference and see him as a human just as they are. This is what I dream of anyway, and it starts with me in gaining valor to bring him around my family openly. I begin to get hard on myself because I should want to flaunt the man I love and instead I keep him to myself, in fear of what isolation it may cause. Why should I have to be the one to try and change the view of these uncouth people? Why can’t they just be more openminded and flexible? Life may be easier if I dated someone who didn’t create a “night and day” picture when we were together and didn’t go against the norm. Or if I didn’t have to deal with the outlandish stares from strangers when we go out for dinner or go shopping. But I should not have to change who I am to make others feel more at ease and prevent pandemonium.

As I said before, this is just my story but it is just one effect of the much larger picture of this racial bias that has occurred forever that just changes it’s shape throughout the centuries. I fathom people may argue if I just told my family about my relationship they would be understanding and supportive and that I’ve only built this unnecessary apprehension in my head due to imaginary judgments. However, if they thought about themselves being in my shoes, they quite possibly would feel the same way as I do, but something tells me majority have stayed as far away from the possibility of entering the situation I have put myself in (dating someone outside their race). I alone cannot change what everyone thinks, and therefore if I live my life the way I so chose, I can only hope one by one, people will start to understand genuine connections can be made with a human of any different color or cultural background, as I so fortunately have, after all, skin color is only skin deep. <<
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by NADEGE NAU I know this may come off as racist but I have this odd talent for using skin color to my advantage. Every now and again, after a long day's work, I use my expertise to target unsuspecting passengers  on the subway train. I target white people who will abandon their seat for me. My strategic method is to stand in front of a white person who'll be getting off soon. I assure you it never fails. Let me share the method to my madness. It’s six p.m. on a packed MTA train with blacks among whites, Rastafarians among Jews, rich among poor. In other words, an evident cluster of ethnic groups and social classes commute together daily. This is New York City and it is the 21st century, so this shouldn’t shock anyone. As an African American woman born and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, I commute to Baruch College in Manhattan everyday. I take either the #2, 4, or 5 trains and for a brief moment I witness the expected integration of these clusters. Then reality kicks in. Simply put, the train stops in different ethnic neighborhoods. From mid-town Manhattan to Flatbush the extensive spectrum of skin tones and classes contracts down to various shades of brown and if I play my cards right I should have my own seat after we pass a certain stop. Yes, people from all walks of life from different ethnic backgrounds do indeed board the train collectively. But we are not living together in proximity to one another. To each its own destination. Where different groups of people get off to work or go home reveals a segregated population within New York City.

The “Index of dissimilarity” is the measure of segregation in a given area (Massey in Gallagher 2009, 165). Based on my train observations alone, without exiting the train station, this segregation is evident to any other MTA transit commuter with perhaps the exception of the wealthier groups of people, mostly white, who get off too soon to notice the socio-economic index of dissimilarity at play. The deeper you go into Brooklyn, the darker the train gets. I get off just before the last stop on the 2 or the 5 trains at Newkirk Avenue. The farthest stop into Manhattan I ever travel is up to 42nd Street. It takes about 45-60 minutes to get back home depending on traffic. Taking the train day in and day out over years adds up. So I have lots of empirical data to account for my strategic method. First, when heading home, I get on at 42nd Street. There’s a sizable body of blacks, whites, and some Latinos present. I have never noticed that many Asians on my line. This is probably due to the fact Asians tend to take the Bensonhurst,

Bay Ridge, Coney Island bound trains: the D, N, Q, B, F and R trains. There are not a lot of black folks living there. But if you do see Asians stick around, they’ll most likely transfer at the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street station. As my train makes stops through lower Manhattan, white men and women dressed in business suits exit the train first. That's when I start to jockey for a seat because I still have a long way to go. As the business suits exit, I might take their place. Depending on how crowded the train is, I may not be able to reach their evacuated position quick enough to possess their seat. Then as the train approaches Brooklyn Heights, more white people leave while more black people get on. They look like they are leaving work or low-wage jobs in the area. I can infer based on their skin color, style of clothes, and their attitude. Once past Brooklyn Heights, I should be seated comfortably and I can continue my observations of the exits. I hope I might be proven wrong but this rarely happens. As the train passes through downtown Brooklyn, more and more whites exit. If I am on the express train, most of them are gone after Atlantic Avenue and almost all have disappeared by the Franklin Avenue stop. The local 2 or 3 trains are the exception. White passengers exit at the Park Slope/Prospect Heights stops like Bergen St., Grand Army Plaza, and Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum—all of which are lovely gentrified neighborhoods. Let me make a few further distinctions. If there are white people present after certain stops, they are most likely Jewish. They exit between Nostrand Avenue and the Crown Heights/Utica Avenue stop—a majority of them exit at Kingston Avenue where all the synagogues are. After Utica Ave., the train passes through Brownsville ...

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I grab their vacant seat as if, for the moment, it's best I can get. STOP SEGREGATION cont.
... and heads towards East New York, and I assure you that all you see then are different shades of brown. And when you exit the train you possibly see shades of grey in these poverty stricken neighborhoods. Hopefully you don’t run into shades of red. East New York has high levels of crime. If there is any type of diversity past Franklin Avenue on the #2 train, white people usually exit no later than President or Sterling Streets—both are very close to Prospect Heights, which has a large Jewish population. Any remaining white faces are those heading to Brooklyn College, the last stop. This stop represents higher learning, or they may reside in the Midwood area, (which surrounds Flatbush) which is also a predominately Jewish neighborhood. In the NYTimes article “Brooklyn: Demographics of an Ever-Changing Borough,” four Brooklyn maps show the different locations ethnic group are clustered. Whites live predominately in Williamsburg, Blacks in Canarsie, Asians in Bensonhurst, while Hispanics are clustered in Bay Ridge. This supports my day-to-day observations on the subway train. In “An overview of Trends in Social and Economic Well-Being, by Race” by Rebecca M. Blank she writes: “Whites are by far the most segregated population, even more than their larger population percentage would justify. The average White person lives in a neighborhood that is more than 80 percent White. Blacks are the next most segregated, living in neighborhoods that are, on average, about 60 percent Black and 30 percent White” (Blank in Gallagher 2009, 48). I worry that readers might think I am racist for my special talent. But as we explored in our course, "I could be right." Distinguished sociologist Douglas Massey points to a c o r re l a t i o n b e t w e e n a g ro u p ’s geographic location in society and its socioeconomic status or well-being. He writes, “Opportunities and resources are unevenly distributed in space; some neighborhoods have safer streets, higher home values, better services, more effective schools, and more supportive peer environments than others” (Massey in Gallagher 2009, 165). If whites or any ethnic group had access to safer streets, higher home values, better services, and effective schools why would they lower their standard of living? I wouldn't either. After sitting down for at least half of my ride home, I'm finally in a position to exit like the white passengers before me, but no one bothers to take my seat with one stop left. What does that leave in East Flatbush? I’ll tell you. Despite its imperfections, where I live is rich in culture and on top of that I am from there. And I am an amazing creative person. But whenever I ride the train home, if I’m lucky enough stand in front of a white person and eventually claim their vacant seat, I initially feel relieved. I can relax and get comfortable. But I realize how dissatisfying it seems to live in East Flatbush compared to places like lower Manhattan. With the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, racial desegregation began to be enforced in this nation. But the movement really began when Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus 55 years ago. They say Ms. Parks took a seat to take a stand. As a white person gets off in Manhattan or some other gentrified area just inside Brooklyn, I grab their vacant seat as if, for the moment, it's best I can get. While things look so different than Jim Crow Laws in 1955, it seems like we are still riding the same train. So tell me. When will "stop segregation" stop? <<

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37 shows, movies, and commercials and being sold to them in the aisles of their local drugstores. This notion that one is better if he or she was of lighter skin is a ludicrous assertion that is leftover from the colonial era. It is what continues to keep those of a lighter complexion at a greater advantage compared to those who are “disadvantaged;” those who lack “white” skin colors. Perhaps people from the Dominican Republic, like Sammy Sosa, who may be of African descent, but find themselves haunted and similarly afflicted by the “advantages” of this colonial mentality, cannot resist. There are cues everywhere to fit in by skin color in order to rub elbows with the wealthy, with whites, more or less.

FACING UP TO WHITENESS
by Kevin German
I reacted in shock when former superstar of  Major League Baseball Sammy Sosa appeared in public with significantly whitened skin. He used to be darker than me. Now he was even lighter. Born in of the Dominican Republic with some African ancestry, people compared him to Michael Jackson, another dark-skinned celebrity who had a suspicious lightening of his skin color.  Unlike Michael Jackson, Sosa attributed his newfound white skin to the use of skin lightening facial cream rather than a diagnosed medical condition. In "How Our Skins Got Their Color," Marvin Harris writes that "fairskinned, nontanning individuals" who could utilize the most limited doses of sunlight were naturally favored in colder climates. Those individuals tended to grow taller, stronger and healthier than darker individuals (Harris in Gallagher 2009, 8). This natural selection did not apply in the tropics. So what happened with people like Sosa who are from the Caribbean or closer to the equator? It never occurred to me to question skin color as a function of colonialism until I visited my mother’s homeland last August in the Philippines.  On most trips I usually pack a complete set of toiletries but this time I left my face wash behind. This required a trip to the nearest

drugstore in the Philippines the morning after my arrival. At the drugstore, I couldn’t help but notice that every choice of face wash had some kind of skin whitening formula. As I looked at other facial products, they all had labels that advertised some kind of whitening. This was upsetting for me because I couldn’t find a nonwhitenening face wash at all. What was more troubling was that this was just the tip of an iceberg; a rude awakening for me.

Throughout my month-long visit over, I was exposed to Filipino television shows, commercials, movies, and print ads. The actors and models appearing in these forms of media were all of light and/ or white skin. This was hardly re p re s e n t a t i v e o f m o s t n a t i v e Filipinos who, for the most part, are represented by darker skin tones. These role models were certainly not reflective of the skin tones of my own relatives or the Filipinos with whom I had made acquaintances during my stay. All this projected a sort of ideal “Filipino” that was

perpetuated everywhere by the media. This ideal “Filipino” man or woman shared more physical traits with Europeans than with Southeast Asians. This preference for European physical traits can be attributed to the colonial past of the Philippines. Once colonized in the 14th Century by Spain, it was ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War in 1898. This effectively put the Philippines under a Western-European influence for the next 500 years. There is a general preference for lighter-skinned Filipinos over their darker toned “kababayans” or country folk. So skin color marks social class or backwardness. Through the views expressed by my relatives and friends, lighter-skinned people are expected to be of a higher social class, more educated, and are thereby more valued as potential mates than their darkerskinned comrades. Darker-skinned country folks were seen to be the opposite even when evidence suggested otherwise. As a result, the wages of lighter-skinned people included more opportunities; the more one looked European, the better one’s chances for advancing up the socio-economic ladder. (See “wages of whiteness” and psychological wage by DuBois) The idea of manufacturing lighter skin, with creams and other facial products, in order to fit the ideal Filipino stereotype was very bothersome to me. I couldn’t believe that this idea was being marketed to the Filipino public through TV

This European ideal of beauty means that darker skin is not pretty, not beautiful, not favored and not economically privileged in so many ways. The photo above is an exaggeration but so is what is happening as a result of white supremacy and privilege. When will we begin to face up to the serious impact of colonialization on our present realities. Skin color is a social construct, not a reality. <<

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I Am Not My Hair 我不是我的头发
by Jeanine “Nkechi” Ezeh
Tsim Tsa Tsoi, Hong Kong, 2003. Skyscrapers. Sights. Big city, bright lights, non-stop shopping. What more could a teenage girl want? I was living in a major tourist hub in metropolitan Hong Kong, with bars, restaurants and factory outlet clothing. But no hair salons. Not for me. So, my mother became my personal hair stylist.

Our living room became a combat zone. The hero: mommy dearest. Her weapon of choice: a brown wide-toothed comb. The battle field: my kinky head. Getting my hair styled was the agenda. Finding a salon that handled my kind of hair? A major dilemma. I am not a blonde nor am I a brunette. Still a teenager, not yet an adult. Among the Chinese, I was a minority among minorities in one of the most densely populated lands in the world. With seven million people in Hong Kong, about ninety five percent are Chinese with long and short straight, black hair. God blessed me with a mix of coils and kinks, quite uncommon to Hong Kong. I could

most certainly afford a fancy hair salon. Money was far from the issue. Apparently I wasn’t like everyone else. My hair is not straight or extra long like those who sat on swiveled thrones  looking down at me and my kind. Before I could even utter a request for service, a Chinese woman in the salon would bark, "Sorry, we don't do that kind of hair here!" Being mistreated due to the color of my skin was bad enough; much less being mistreated due to the texture of my hair. Attending a British international high school in Hong Kong was no exception. We moved there because my dad is a Nigerian diplomat and the questions were endless. “Why does your hair look like that?”, “Does it grow?”, “How do you wash it?”, “Can I touch it?” You would think that I was an alien that just teleported myself on to “their” planet. According to Blumer in the article “Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position”, they were the dominant group, and I a member of the subordinate race was “intrinsically different and alien” (Blumer in Gallagher 2009, 126). Even my younger brother, who was nine years old at the time, was once referred to as “microphone head” by his friends. It was funny, though it was a backhanded insult. I found their blatant ignorance quite comical at times, but there was a part of me that just wanted to scream…break down and cry. On the contrary, in areas like Brooklyn and the Bronx, it is quite easy to find a salon to manage what the Chinese consider a “shock of hair”. Here, when it comes to my hair the feeling of being out of place is replaced by a sense of belonging. I look around and I see more of my kind, be it kinky, wavy, curly, permed or natural, braided or locked, long and short; not sticking out like a sore thumb for a change is quite refreshing. My plight is not just about black people, but also about anybody who has ever felt like they don’t fit into society. My plea is simple:

empathy for difference. People should not be so critical of things that they are unfamiliar with, but rather show common courtesy towards others regardless of their “differences”. According to Lipsitz in the article “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: Racialized Social Democracy”, in the effort to make a change, “we can only become part of the solution if we recognize the degree to which we are already part of the problem” (Lipsitz in Gallagher 2009, 154). I already know that a place like Hong Kong wouldn’t have a hair salon for people of African descent and their hair. All I ask is for inclusiveness, even though one might not be able to change the circumstances.

Behind the glitz and glam of Hong Kong lies a racialized society, where a person is characterized not just by the difference in their skin color, but also by the difference in the texture of their hair. In my eyes, the memory of its bright lights will forever be masked by a fog of structural inequities; and my kinky hair, which I have grown to love and embrace in subsequent years, will always serve as a faint reminder. <<

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39 occupations of the parents), just 3% came from the bottom socioeconomic status quartile, and roughly 10% came from the bottom half of the socioeconomic scale”.  Youth in higher income families with college-educated parents are undoubtedly privileged.  Therefore they find the more selective colleges and more expensive colleges more affordable.  More importantly, their childhood development created in these sheltered neighborhoods, high quality schools and homes provide support for their entrance into these highly selective colleges.  Without these advantages, these colleges would not be attainable, which provides support to the study listed above.  Isn’t it ironic to think then that most colleges are founded based on the ideas of merit, but it is seemingly impossible for people of low socioeconomic status and racial minority backgrounds to enter them? I cannot deny I would not have been able to access certain places in my life if it hadn’t been for my being white or my economic privilege.  But with all this rooted evil created around money it makes me wonder if all this privilege is really worth it?  Will I ever really understand the struggles people different from me face on a daily basis?  With all these invisible barriers within our country I wonder who is to blame. The money or the people? <<  

THE PRIVILEGE OF A PUBLIC EDUCATION
by Sarah Mancin
I grew up in an upper class, all white, primarily Jewish neighborhood in Long Island.  "Upper" class is an understatement.  When I was in high school, girls ran through the halls with their $2,000 Chanel handbags while boys would discuss which Rolex they were getting for their birthdays. The senior parking lot was filled with Range Rovers, Mercedes and BMWs. I cannot deny I wasn't sucked into this fairy tale. I spent my high school years with the "in" crowd, but it wasn't until postgraduation when I realized my socioeconomic privilege. Although unspoken about, blacks were not exactly accepted in my community.  There had only been one black student in my grade, who later went on to attend Duke.  One black student in a class of 350 students; the sentence speaks for itself.  With socioeconomic privilege comes whiteness, and most of us were unaware that the advantages we were exposed to have much to do with us being white.  The whiteness advantage many take for granted and is therefore often invisible, although still preferred. But in fact with material privilege comes better access to higher education well paid jobs and a choice of safer neighborhoods to live in, and with

  white privilege comes conceptions of beauty and intelligence directly tied to being white.  Without these privileges, I wouldn’t have been able to live in the area I did. When the time came to apply for colleges, it was all "naturally" competitive.   We each wanted bragging rights over what private school and/or Ivy League school (all costing at least 50,000 a year) we got accepted into.  Transferring to a city school after my freshman year, especially a CUNY school, a public university system, my entire mindset has changed.   Literally my friends wouldn't survive a place like this without someone holding their hand.  This school really requires you to be on your own.  There are no personal advisors to tell you when you’re about to fail a class.  There is no one to pass you through your courses like there had been in high school.  You have to work really hard for your grades.  Not saying that the Ivy League schools aren’t as hard, but if needed there is definitely certain unspoken help available to students, whether it be attending a benefit

held by a professor or having your family donate a new wing to your schools library.   Many students here are in school with financial aid because they cannot afford the $5,000 tuition.   Growing up kids would spend more then that in a day of shopping, and with that they have no concept of money. It is not their fault they do not understand people with issues such as this, it is the whiteness surround our neighborhood that is to blame.  The way I look at it is yes, my friends might be getting a better education academically speaking, but I definitely have acquired better social skills and knowledge of the real world outside the bubble of my high school experience.  It is sad for me to think that many of my friends still have not grown out of this cultural privilege because it has followed them onto college.  At their private institutions they have never met someone that comes from Harlem, they have never rode a subway, and they have certainly never had to think twice about spending money for lunch. According to “Socioeconomic Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Selective College Admission” by Anthony P. Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose, “74% of students at the top 146 highly selective colleges came from families in the top quarter of the socioeconomic status scale (as measured by combining family income and the education and

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COLORED JUSTICE FOR THE PARENTS?
by Jennifer Glasper
I thought that my mother getting murdered when I was twenty three was the worst thing that  happened to me. Going to court over child custody was worse. I knew what author Dorothy Roberts meant first-hand when she wrote, "Black children are overrepresented in child protective services because of the interplay of societal, structural and individual factors that feed into each other to determine which families fall under state scrutiny and supervision" (The Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare, 2002, 97).  In the mid-summer of 2008, detectives stormed the door of my home. The Administration for Children Services in New York City received a call regarding the alleged sexual abuse of my 13 year-old child.  They came on a Friday night. Though we refused to answer  any questions until we could speak to a lawyer, the detective said, “You can call your lawyer but I am not sure that you will be able to reach him.” He added, “You can either talk to us or we will have to arrest both of you and take you downtown with us.” My family’s rights were being violated but we had no choice; leaving us to submit to the two white intruders calling themselves police  detectives. To make a long story short, my husband and I ended up in court fighting the battle of our lives.

In court, I didn't know what to expect from the  judge and the first time we went it felt like we were seen--my husband and I are both  wheelchair-bound--but not heard.  A few months later, in the fall of 2008, I found myself in a courtroom surrounded  by a sea of unfamiliar whiteness and familiar racial discrimination. As soon as  the judge saw us in our wheelchairs, she seemed to have made her decision. Without hearing from both parties involved I couldn’t understand how she determined if the allegations were true or not. My husband and I wanted to go to trial but the judge felt there had been too much corporal punishment. We plead not guilty to the charges and we were never heard.  The judge seemed to base her decision solely on the alleged report of abuse. We were told that if we pursued a trial, we would lose total custody. So, joint custody was granted. Did the fact that we were black AND disabled factor into her decision? Whatever the case, I felt the injustice of a decision that changed the life of my family forever.  I wondered how many other ethnic groups experience this type of treatment? Do most of the families that  appear in family court share a common trait – race, class or poverty? According to statistics from St. John Law School, there are approximately 2.9 million child maltreatment reports made annually in the United States. Of those, almost 1 million, less than 35%, were actual victims of child abuse or neglect.

What is indeed shocking is the dis-proportionate numbers related to the race/ethnicity involving actual neglect; 59% of them are children of color. With more than 72 million children overall living in the United States, 41% are reported to be children of color meaning Black, Latino, Native American, Asian, or some race other than White. Contrast this with the over-representation of children of color in the child welfare system; these kids account for twice as many as their percentage in the general population (80%). Compare the statistics between Blacks and Whites. For every 1,000 Black children, 17 are in foster care, but for every 1,000 White children, 5 are in foster care. For every 1,000 Black children, 17 are substantiated as victims of child abuse or neglect, but for every 1,000 White children, 9 are substantiated as victims of abuse or neglect. What is also interesting is that re g a rd l e s s o f t h e r a c e o f t h e investigator, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander children have a disproportionately high number of investigations regarding child abuse and neglect compared to White children. Recently, I found myself in court again, regarding alleged lack of child support provided to the custodian of my child.  I needed to find free legal assistance, but no one in legal aid in NYC could handle child support.  Eventually, I had to appear without re p re s e n t a t i o n t o c o u n t e r n e w allegations that I had not fulfilled my

financial obligation as a parent for while my child lived with a legal guardian. Without representation, as the court date approached, I was deathly afraid of the outcome which could mean garnishing 2 / 3 rd s o f m y fi x e d i n c o m e w h i l e unemployed. I was in school to learn to be a teacher--start a new career. Was my disability going to be judged again? Would I be seen as a helpless and hopeless mother? Despite my worries, all I could do was have faith and trust God. This time the court was run by a different judge. He was an old, white man with white hair. But I immediately thought, "It’s over for me." As the judge began, he saw that I was gripped  with fear. He said, “Relax! Don’t be nervous.” After hearing both parties, the judge made a phone call to verify a part of my testimony. And then the judged ruled in my favor. WOW, this time I defended myself! ...

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The Color of Justice? cont...
...
Just as everything was concluding, the judge said, “I commend you for putting so much money away for your [child's] future; I don’t know anyone else who would have done what you did and I wish you all the best in this situation with your [child].”  Though justice was served in his decision, I had to confront the fact that not all white judges are bad and make poor decisions. I had to let go of the prejudice developed from interacting with the cops and the previous judge. Having been through this ordeal not once but twice, I would not wish being in the family court system on anyone. As a parent, I felt betrayed. There should be some form of supervision over this Agency. Some way to contest their practices. Nothing can erase these ordeals from my mind and to think that I followed all the necessary steps available to me and was still not heard. That made me bitter. And my child was taken away! There is no compassion in the system that is in place. Who was I to turn to when the system failed me? I refused to succumb to the harsh treatment and the injustice. Being disabled is not a reason to give up. All I wanted was to be treated fairly – just a simple and thorough investigation was all that was required. No one ‘cared’ to follow through.

To be sure, there are abusive parents out there but the system should be designed to protect children AND their parents. The Administration for Children Services should also help parents become better parents, especially parents who have never been in trouble before just in case the decision is wrong. For me, it seemed like the system was designed to break down family values not protect them. Minorities and the disabled are easy targets. These families may have limited resources to obtain legal representation in family court. This should not be the case. Justice should not be determined based on the race, disability, or income. I intend to start reaching out to my community leaders and voice my concerns so these injustices do not continue. I cannot give up. I now believe my situation is not unique – I was just lucky to get a fair judge the second time around. <<
1

Hughes, T. The Neglect of Children and Culture: Responding To Child Maltreatment with Cultural Competence and a Review of Child Abuse and Culture: Working with Diverse Families.

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BREAKING THE BARRIER
by Isaac Setton Walking through the doors of Baruch College that first day, I immediately felt as powerless as a dead fish. Any power or dominance I felt I had was flushed down the drain in a matter of minutes. Twelve years of private school and it was not until I left the school that I noticed the bubble my community kept me enclosed in. After just one day in Baruch College, racism hit me smack in the face. Being in a private school with all white Jewish students like myself prevented me from having a multicultural knowledge about the real world and how racism was affecting everyone around me. For all those years, I was part of the “dominant group,” and all the power was mine, which no one could take away. Until that first day of Baruch College where I lost my status as part of the majority, I was now part of the minority. Is it possible to adjust that fast? Being in this type of setting for all those years did have its pros and cons. For example a pro was that since the school had only about 700 kids, grades 9-12, it was easier for them to keep up with each and every student to track their progress. A con however was that going to a school with so few kids, especially dominated by white Jews; I would not have a sense of what was going on outside my school. Baruch College needs to deal with these problems of kids entering school facing problems like diversity and independence.

[photo credit]

If you asked me to tell a story about a close friend or relative that faced racism from my early years, I would most likely stare blankly back at you. Racism? With people I know? Never heard of. Am I ignorant? I don’t think so. I could blame my community and family for this fault of mine, I won’t though, at the same time I would thank them for this fault as well. I grew up in a Jewish Syrian community of about 75,000 people in Brooklyn, NY. If you think you’ve seen protected and secluded, take a walk in my neighborhood for a day. A community member has no reason to be outside the “boundaries” we live in. Name your need whether it be groceries, restaurants, entertainment, etc. it was there and in a convenient location as well. The kid who sits next to you in class, will more times than not live in walking distance to your house. The change from Brooklyn to Manhattan, you could imagine was overwhelming for me.

Not everyone was a white Jew like me. The word of the day was diversity. Then it hit, did all these people experience what I had been seeing on the news? Would I actually meet someone who has experienced it first hand? Until fall 2010, when I walked into a course called Evolution and Expressions of Racism in the Black and Hispanic Studies. This class would change my views and help me become more diverse. I heard one girl talking about how she was not allowed to shop at a store because she was black, another person talking about how people thought they were not who they were just because of the style of their hair, and another student say how they were told they were someone else just because the teacher thought they were the same person based on the color of her skin. Was I the only one seeing all of this as a new thing? I couldn’t be, there had to be many others in the same situation as me. This must have been going on everywhere. There needs to be an end to this ordeal. Students as well as non-students must be educated on what is happening around them, and not their small community or city that they live in. Schools are the first people needed to realize this controversy and work to find a solution. With this problem they also must deal with it on the other end of it. Do non-Jews understand the little details of the Holocaust? Do all whites understand the small details of the genocides in Rwanda or Darfur? This idea would make college students more aware of what is going on around them. There’s also another thing colleges must do to help their students, which is to try and create a system to keep track of each and every ... cont. on next page

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BREAKING THE BARRIER cont.
...student’s work. By doing this they could make sure that every student will leave college with potential. I received this kind of attention in my

high school and I feel that it is necessary and vital to have. Everyone could benefit from it. Now racism today does not hit everyone like our hindsight about Nazi Germany or the KKK. It does however limit us structurally in ways we don’t notice until were put in a setting that we are limited by. This course in racism went from being a required course, to a course that I could look back on and say that it changed the way I viewed the world. Kids need to be educated, especially the ones who do not have knowledge of the world outside their communities or cities similar to myself. They need to get in touch with a wider, more diverse world and not have a narrow view. People shouldn’t have to face the music at the age of 18 where they are already molded into the person they are going to be. For some, it might be too late. For me, I changed my views before it changed me. <<

A 16-year-old Yosef Abrahamson, a Yeshiva student in Crown Heights, Brooklyn is hoping to help improve relations between Orthodox Jews and blacks in his Brooklyn community by trading on what makes him a curiosity to both: He is African-American and a Hasidic Jew.

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RE-COVERING ISLAM
by Iqra

“Miss, can I see your bag please”, said the police officer at the Jamaica Ave F train station. It was my hijab that inspired his request. Walking to school in the morning I was stopped by two policemen with a table between me and them. They searched my bag and found books. They left the book bag there turning their faces to the side. I thought it was a guilty feeling in them. That was the sign I was free to go. The only reason they did that because I was wearing a scarf and my skin tone is dark. They think I am not from here or that I’m a terrorist. Whenever I remember that scene, the darkness of the train station, the two white policemen and people passing by staring reminds me of all that bad experience. It’s hard to explain to everyone that you were born and raised here in the United States of America like any other American citizen. I have never been to Pakistan, even once. But the influence of the culture and tradition is still alive in my neighborhood of South Asians. Seeing cops being racist towards me feels awkward. Most of the time I read this topic in history or hear it on the news. But when you feel a cop being racist towards you it’s like a mountain has just landed upon you. It’s like one is not included in your own society. Being brown skinned and that too from South Asia people usually see you as cheap or 3rd world. Their reactions feel inappropriate. It feels like Muslims and Arabs are being treated like animals. Coming from a another country,

adjusting to living here, is definitely not going to be easy. What makes it worse is when people are unnecessarily called F.O.B.(Fresh Off Boat) just because they are doing something differently than what is the white norm in America. I liked one quote from James Baldwin’s book The Fire Next Time where he states, “Through the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words acceptance and integration. There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you.” (Baldwin 1963, 8)

This quote has significance. Shows that one does not need to be accepted in a society where being “white” is the standard to live. Even though Muslims get a n g r y b e c a u s e w e a re young and have free thinking, we usually see

this as a major topic which outrages us. If we look at it in terms of whiteness is what is being expected as a norm. Being white is not mandatory, it is not what we have to do to survive. Man was created from the union of two people; a white person did not say at that time we were born that we needed to be white. One usually gets accustomed to the society they live around. The chapter “Race and Civil Rights PreSeptember 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims” by Susan Akram and Kevin Johnson (in Gallagher 2009, 137-144) reflected what I was trying to say about racism towards the Muslim community in New York City. The article says there are different ways Arabs and Muslims are being hated in the US and especially in the media and Hollywood films. This seems to give evidence that racism is not a small thing but it is being depicted on a national level, a big thing. When a white person or a person from America converts into Islam, they feel proud to be converting into a new religion and believe they should stick to what is right. At the same time, knowing the criticism one gets when you hear a “Muslim” is amongst them, they might feel guilty in a way. Why did I even bother changing religions? No matter how one looks at the situation there is going to be a racist attempt on you with a scarf whether you were born in this country or not. In some way or another, there is going to be sure of racism from media or from outside people you may not even know.

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III. Ode to Being a Problem

POEMS by Quinton McDonald

Dear You, You know who I’m talking to. This letter is to prove that I’m not in love with you. In the beginning it was harmless, Only whispers in my ear Echoes of another time, a fight from yesteryear A lot of that has changed since then At least within the structure The law is on a just side to protect us from one another. I don’t belittle the struggle some had For that was one decision That demanded great faith, and bravery and caused great cataclysm. You were always there for me Which makes this hard to say: I never loved you, not one bit. Please go away. I remember times of happiness When you were far away But when your presence draws near My happiness never stays. <<

I. Scared For My Job Living in a racist place A world filled with people who don’t have the same face When bringing up the subject of race in this world I feel everyone has their own special pearl Of wisdom or knowledge or experience A story from back when or even present tense. Over thanksgiving dinner my grandmother was offended When I told her that I have experienced the -ism. I said to her I mean no disrespect to you But racial divide is not some exclusive shoe. Not something that’s rare or one in a million But a common offense, created everyday like children. My experience with racism may be short But long is its history with the people its fought. Now I have been followed in stores and mistreated by some But race is the last thing in my mind that comes. I fight it but still it scares me down As if we were in a circus and I was the clown. I remember one time racism came about through a boss I was scared for my job and thought “I can’t stand strong” But with guidance my voice did come along Enough to show and prove to her that she was wrong.

II. Chaos

When the world is on fire And thoughts are the flames People sit back and play blame games. Pointing to whom they feel is at fault But not realizing they’ve forgot what they were taught. My mother did, and I know, so did yours, Told each and everyone don’t close any doors Possibilities, chances or opportunities Encounters, and of course avoid being discriminatory. With minds set a blaze And the truth on the run Who can save us from the chaos we’ve become. Consumed by judgment and evil in essences We turn to religion for a most divine blessing Lending our trust to cults and deceivers EITHER ITS WHITE OR BLACK! Why can’t we choose neither?

photo credit

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FENCED IN WHITENESS by Trevor Smith
How could racism affect a tall, white male. Everyone knows only minorities can be the victims of racism. This is what our society has you to believe. All black people are fantastic athletes, too bad they all steal cars and wind up in jail. Hispanic people are only useful to me so long as my house is dirty, after that, send em’ down to home depot and let them find a house to build. And of course, don’t ever board an airplane with a middle easterner on it, because obviously they’re a terrorist. These are just a few of the ridiculous statements that can be formulated with the way our society is today.   Americans judge people based on the color of their skin because it’s easier to us than getting to know them as a person. We don’t even have to know someone’s name before we label him or her a criminal, or a gang member. If you take two identical cars but one is blue and one is red, you still have the same cars-there is a parallel with skin color and people. Skin color difference is about environment or external factors, not DNA or character. People from different parts of the world have different tones of skin because of a mixture of vitamin D deficiency or UV light damage caused from the sun. You don’t turn black the more terrible things you do in life, just as you don’t become white for doing good. Our skin doesn’t act as a mood ring or a karma meter, and Mother Theresa and a serial murderer could have come from any ethnic or racial group. The town I live in is 90% white. The average income per family is 3 times the New York state average, and the average house value is over 1 million dollars. It is an upscale predominately white suburb.  Before my first year in college, I never had a problem with my neighbors. I was always willing to help them carry a large or heavy object--I'm a

big guy, or shovel their driveway, or to care for their home and pets when they would go away. This all changed once I began my freshman year. The majority of my friends from high school went away to college. Then I began to hang out with the ones I had left; the majority were black and Hispanic.

  After enjoying a relaxing barbeque one night with a dozen or so friends, I learned that my next door  neighbor’s view of me was changing. There were no complaints about the noise we may have made, nothing rational like that. He/she was upset with the fact that I had black friends visiting our neighborhood.   Next thing I know, the neighbor just stopped smiling back or saying hello. As my black friends hung around longer, he/she neighbor pulled me aside to inform me that a lot of the other neighbors didn’t appreciate that I was bringing black people around. He asked me to stop. This appalled me. It just took one sentence from this woman for me to lose all the respect I had for her. How could this woman, a distinguished doctor, think and act this way? It felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone, and I was in some crazy racist parallel universenope, just my nice little community.

Now, this isn’t my whole community, or all the whites that live there, rather it is two of the adjacent 4 houses. My community as a whole is welcoming and helpful without judging a book by its cover.  My parties continued. I continued to welcome any and all of my friends to my home, and with each non-white friend I had over, these families would get more and more upset with me. Regardless, I stood my ground, as I didn’t care if these people didn’t like me. I didn’t like being associated with such ignorant people. I figured it was all said and done, I was more than happy to stop communicating with these "racists" and just let them live their lives, assuming they would do the same to me. But, one family had a problem letting it go. They took actions that would destroy years of neighborly friendship  resulting in that family being ostracized from our small community.    This became even more relevant in August when New York State was prosecuting me for a series of non-violent, non-drug, victimless felonies for which I plead not-guilty. My future and my freedom were on the line. I was looking at no less than 7 years in a federal detention center. I was instructed by my lawyer to get letters of recommendation and letters vouching for my character from anyone willing to write.  The letters starting pouring in, as I was calling in every favor I had at my disposal. One neighbor, who know seemed to hate me and my non-white friends, wrote a letter to the prosecuting attorney, stating I had "unsavory" friends and I was a strain on my local community. "Unsavory" can mean  morally offensive, distasteful or of  questionable moral character. How can you see that from skin color?  He finished his letter with “I hope you consider my previous points, and that this young man ends up learning a very strict lesson, hopefully in Valhalla.” Valhalla is the location of the Westchester County Jail. <<

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RACE MATTERS...NO! I DO!
by Abigaelle Revers
  I matter. Like you, I am someone, too. And that is simply put why you are going to take five minutes to read this. I deserve that. Tread through my past and swim through my  pain.  It was never an easy thing being black and living in Westchester, New York. I don't have much memory of first-hand experiences with racism. I don't have some savory story about racism towards me, but I have feelings. I am engulfed in fears of racism and its unpleasantness. I was never black enough for the black people and I certainly wasn't white enough for the white people (hmm. why do they get the article “the” in my thinking). It seemed I never belonged, and it seems like I never will.   Growing up in a neighborhood worth over 1/2 a million dollars, where my family was the only minority represented, I was the only black student in every class. I  felt  the little blackness I had left start dissolve. During certain tests, my thoughts spiraled at warp speed. "You cannot get this wrong Abby... you CANNOT get this wrong!"  The pressure was on. I couldn't let my  people down.   I used to wake up in the morning and feel like the exception to the rule. And while I know that "race" doesn't exist--it is a social construct--how can I live my life without the idea, when racism seems so real among my peers, professors, neighbors and strangers?

We all were born into this madness, so why am I being subjected to the cruelties of it as if I’m the creator? Or is it just me?   Whenever I walk into a room, I'm 99% certain that the first thought of others is “look at that black girl" rather than look at that “girl.” Why do things have to be this way? Or is it just me? Change is the result of optimism, something that's fading in me and in many in the black community. How can I aspire to be, to do something when people on the other side of the white picket fence, as well as those on the outside, try to say you you're not going to be shit? You and your people are worthless? Sometimes, I honestly feel like crying. I really do want to make a change, but I feel so helpless. I don't like feeling hopeless, and I hate thinking this is just the way it is. This world belongs to me, too, and I shouldn't have to settle. Centuries ago the founding fathers created the idea of race and slavery to gain economic prosperity and in doing so degraded African-Americans. Slavery ended but not the ideology created despite proven inaccuracies. I know that white skin isn't a golden token in life, although it grants unearned privileges to a random phenotype. I am also realizing that black skin isn't a first class flight to hell.   I was talking to Matthew from our class and we agreed that individual change should be good enough. But I honestly just don't feel that it is.

This class made me look at myself differently, and I know there's something deeper that I need to reach.   I wanted my essay to reflect my emotions, my helplessness, and my hunger.  I was never true to myself in fear. It angers me that I was so afraid of nonacceptance, that I chose not to be my real self…and that matters. Are you reading my words or feeling them? I need change; we all deserve it.

Before this class, even at the beginning of it, I was beginning to accept things as "the way it is". But after this class and several conversations with Matt, I'm now feeling like there is a handful of us who don't want to accept things as they are; and for that reason solely, we shouldn't. There's a world out there that is destined to be ours, hell it is ours now. And all we have to do is take it! To my classmates: It's been real, people. Don't act like you don't know me now that the class is over - sometimes all it takes is a smile. ♥

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HIT BY STEREOTYPE
by Natali Nassimian
Picture this: a white and black woman both enter a retail clothing store at the same time. You are a stylist at the store and you need to approach one of the clients to help them. So, which one do you pick? Which do you pick so you are not labeled a racist?  They are both dressed impeccably, holding designer bags, with other clear signs of money. You obviously want to pick a client whom you will enjoy working with, but also one that will shop, who you don't have to worry about stealing from right under your nose. After all, you work on commission and you want a bigger sale. This was my situation a couple of months ago. In my case, I chose the black woman. She came in with her daughters looking for a dress to wear out that weekend. Her daughters were all over the store jumping from one section to the next. The mother pulls one of our newest dresses and goes into the fitting room. Fast forward an hour. The black client and her daughters are gone without having spent a cent. A new client walks in asking for the same dress. I ask her "What size?"  "Small." she replies. "Perfect! We have it. Let me go grab that for you." The black client had tried it on in the fitting room. But I couldn't find it. A half an hour of searching led me to review the security camera footage. The tape confirmed it. "We've been hit!” I had solid evidence: black women steal.  Three months passed and I’m trying to quiet the accusations in my head. I had been talking to one of the managers when the store wasn't that busy, when I hear a door open and notice a black woman walk

in. "Hi! How are you?" I greet her and ask if she needs anything. She ignores me and walks straight to the sale area. I make a mental note to walk over to check with her in a second. I saw her fiddling in that sale area but she hadn't picked out any items. Three minutes later I walk to the back only to find her gone.  The next morning, I hear those three words again that a retailer dreads: "We've been hit!" Notice the language we use. As if we were physically assaulted  and it feels that way if you say it enough. We begin to make it personal. My manager was fuming. She said, "That b*tch walks in here all the time claiming we're all a bunch of racists and look at her like she's a thief. And then she goes and swipes three $129 skirts right off my table, sensors and all!" I can't always judge a book by its cover. If a client walks in talking about their new pair of Christian Loubitin designer shoes, even if it’s their 17th pair, that doesn't mean they will spend a lot of money or that they won't steal. Conversely, just because a client is dressed sloppy or carrying what seems like a "booster bag" (a hand-made bag used to shoplift, typically lined in a way so that they can get past security detectors), it doesn't mean they are going to steal. I am learning the hard way that I can't always tell; make conclusions about an entire group. But the sad truth is that I do most of the time and I hate saying that. Why does it tend to be the minorities? Why does a customer steal a pair of $19 earrings when she's already spent over $200 during the same visit? This is the perception I find myself fighting on a regular basis. Perception, they say, is reality. My clientele book isn't filled with a bunch of rich, white housewives. I actually have the most enjoyable time with my clients of color, who makes up a good portion of my list.  There are exceptions among white clientele and, to be honest, shoplifting is not that hard. People of both groups steal but how do I reconcile the fact that the majority of the those who steal have been black? Why do I have to be more careful around the people

of color despite what seems like a fact? Who is perpetuating the stereotype and on whom? Me or them? It is baffling how much time and effort goes into lining their bags or bringing in tools to take off the sensors. I can't imagine. I found the courage to tell this story in our racism course and after the bomb dropped, after all the shocked faces, I heard a couple of fellow students mumble, "Well maybe it’s because you are looking at minorities more closely. That's why you see mainly blacks stealing." At that point, I just felt guilty. Why is my mind telling me to look at the black woman? Am I really racist or maybe racism has me? One recent weekend, I had a black client from upstate New York come in the store. She came in with her husband. Instinct made me think...well, it wasn't instinct. My past experiences made me suspicious of black women’s behavior and she was a black woman. In the moment I thought “what do I do”? Use my world-class service tactics--tailgate her until she makes a purchase or leaves. She ended up spending close to $900--after a 25% discount. And for once I felt victorious over my guilt. For once, I was wrong. That’s one more for the blacks. But that's crazy talk. This is not some kind of race. Noticing how everyday, ordinary interactions are shaped by racism means getting it is NOT personal. It's not about me, per se. It's about a system of conditioning that has us think how we see differences in skin color is the way it is--not what we are taught unconsciously. Professor Gaunt asked me if I made any judgments since reading evidence that white people take advantage of the poor, of black debt, or of segregated suburbs in George Lipsitz's article on the "Possessive Investment in Whiteness"?  I don't think about that when white people walk into the store.  Guilt makes the inequities feel personal, rather than structural, and focuses attention on stealing, not advantages. But that is a place to start. Realizing it's not me and noticing this is a start. <<

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THE BLACK PEOPLE BUBBLE
by Tiana Jones
Coming to Baruch College as a freshman in Fall of 2009, I didn't want any black people to talk to me—at all. I really didn’t. Anytime a black person would sit next to me in class, I’d get upset. Not that I have anything against black people. Growing up, I was under the impression that if you live in New York, and you're black, you're probably Haitian. If you're Asian, you're probably Filipino. Spanish, you're Dominican. And white people? What about them?  I grew up in the same town, went to the same school, with the same people, for 14 years. It wasn't until I started to go to Baruch College in the city, that I got exposed to so many different faces, languages and customs. Living in Long Island all 19 years of my life has sheltered me from what a diverse New York is really all about. The majority of people with dark skin are of Haitian descent in Elmont, Long Island. Elmont is in the top 36 US communities harboring the most people of Haitian descent, ranking at number 16. Actually for the longest time I thought all the black people in Elmont, New York —where I grew up in Long Island—were Haitian. Now, I know I am not Haitian, but a lot of people assumed I was. Yes, I am of Caribbean descent, but my parents are from Jamaica and the Virgin Islands. It was kind of frustrating that people would always assume I was Haitian. I don’t have anything against Haitians. But that’s not what I am. And it’s weird because I was the one who put it my head—that most people are Haitians, so why am I getting mad when others are doing the same exact thing?

I mean, I’m not that far off for thinking that because the percentage of black people living in Elmont is 17%, and 10.7% of that is made up of Haitians. What amazed me about learning this was why is that number so low? To me it seemed like we’re everywhere! If it’s just 17% of us, then where are all the white people hiding? It wasn’t always like that. When my family & I moved to Elmont in December of 1991, we were one of three black families on the block. Over the years, slowly but surely, the white people started to move away, and the black people started to move in. Today, in 2010, there are two white families on my block. My white high school teacher told me he remembers white flight it happened. When he talked about it then, back when I was probably just a freshman in high school, it didn’t really mean anything to me. I just thought, okay, haha, we scared the white people away. But as I got older it angered me. Why don’t you want to live next to me? Because I’m black? Do you think I’m not going to take care of my home? Or lessen your property value? Why does my color have to do that? What about my character? Nobody ever tried to get to learn to know us, they just saw we moved in and left. How is that fair? When I got into Baruch, I was excited. My chance to break out of the “black people bubble.” Not having to be friends with black people, because that’s just what you do.  It’s not like we’re segregated or anything. I have friends of other races. Really good friends. But mainly, I stuck to what I knew. And that’s just how things were. Which was very frustrating. And I just---I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted to learn more about what other people from

different cultures do. I wanted to have my own little melting pot of friends. I wasn't aware that New York was so much more than my little town. Coming to the city every day and finding out, oh my gosh, there's Africans here! Becoming frustrated with all these different accents. An Asian who’s actually Chinese. Simple things like that amazed me. My first day at orientation, I knew I would have absolutely no friends, besides the Africans, of course. I didn’t know how to really interact with people in this new context. Not like they were aliens, but everyone from my town is pretty much from Haiti. I had never met a Russian before. How do you talk to one? My freshman seminar class had 3 black people in it, myself included. This was my chance to learn about others. Integration at last! I became really great friends with a Ukranian, a Chinese guy, a Lithuanian, and a Jewish kid. All semester we hung out. We had lunch together every day. Studied together. Sat together in class. After the semester was over, the only people I stayed in contact with were the other 2 black people in my class. Now every time I see the Chinese guy, he’s got a whole posse of Asians with him. The others associate with white people. How did that happen? We were such good friends. And now when we see each other, we give that awkward ‘I’m gonna pretend like I’m late for class’ greeting. How did this follow me from Elmont to Baruch? As I continued with my freshman year, I began to notice more and more the lack of diversity in groups at school. Walking up the escalator in the Vertical Campus building I heard a black guy say to his club crew, “OMG, look! She’s black! Go talk to her!” He wanted me to...

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The Black People Bubble cont. BRAVERY & FEAR
by Michelle Chan
Every time we hear an unexpected sound at the door, our eyes will meet and widen with a mix of bravery and overwhelming fear. Bravery because he and I both know that I’m strong enough to take on the inevitably confused, angry, and overwhelming reaction my dad will have if he sees us together. We both know that this encounter won’t end well, and in the end, everyone will get hurt. The idea of having a parent meet a boyfriend shouldn’t be this terrifying, and I’m just so sick of all this sneaking around. Every morning before he leaves, he asks me if he’s going to bump into my parents in the elevator (my parents and I live in the same building) and it just frustrates me to know that my parents, the people who are supposed to love me unconditionally, would be devastated if they were to find out that I was dating a black man. I’ve attempted to tell them many times before, but the conversation will always end up being turned into a joke because they can’t bear the thought of that being a reality. What’s so wrong with dating a black guy? Are they repulsed by black men in general, or by the concept of an Asian with a Black person? Would it be different if I were dating a White person? All these questions are ones I have to figure out myself because my parents are the typical traditional immigrant parents. The type of people who came here for a better opportunity and worked so hard throughout their 20’s and 30’s that they didn’t have time to be romantic with each other and therefore did not think about and learn how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”  I’m sure my parents love each other very much, and had experienced heartbreak before, but I’ve never heard stories about their first loves. I am sure we share a lot there. Relationships are just something we don’t talk about. If we aren’t able to communicate on a topic as mundane as having a first crush, then how would I possibly explain my situation? But how can I not. This is more than a schoolgirl crush. Confucius also said: To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle." But perhaps compassion comes before courage. For now I'm still scared and sad to be in this predicament. To love and to hide love. What a tragedy.  I live in one of the most diverse cities in the world. I attend the most ethnically diverse college in the nation. My parents grew up in a different time, lived in segregation by necessity and not necessarily choice.  I don't like dishonoring my parents wishes. I'm Asian and that is my heritage. But I am also American and this is my freedom. Either I am caught between a rock and and hard place or I could take on two things Confucius said, "Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes"--"Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it." With time comes courage. Compassion for myself and my parents for now.  Wikipedia collective consciousness says a simple way to appreciate Confucian thought (Confucianism) is to consider it as being based on varying levels of honesty, and a simple way to understand Confucian thought is to examine the world by using the logic of humanity... best expressed in the Confucian version of the Ethic of reciprocity, or the  Golden Rule: "do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you." Learning to forgive takes something. Let me be first. << ...join his group that consisted of mainly black people. He insisted I join. Ok, I understand it’s an opportunity, but why is that because I’m black you feel the need to text, call, and email me for weeks to join your group? Yes, I can benefit from it, but would he be trying this hard if I was Hispanic?  But then, there's the opposite concern of inclusion. When someone won’t give you a flyer or ask you if you’re interested in their group because I’m black. How do you know I don't like Asian culture? Is it because I don't look like someone who’s interested in Asians? What does someone look like who is interested in Asians or Asian culture? How do you know I don’t want to learn some Mandarin? I mean, I’m not really interested, but how could you, a stranger, know what interests me? I understand that certain groups of people, like Africans or Asians like to get together to share their common interests, but what about the person on the outside who wants to learn something different, discover a different culture? Wouldn't you want people of other cultures to join or at least be educated about your culture and what people inside it enjoy? Is it weird that everyone I was friends with during my freshman seminar class went off to be friends with people who they resemble? Is it even stranger to me in hindsight that I did the same exact thing, even though it was the last thing I wanted? It is sad but interesting to notice in this racism course. I don’t want people to become friends with me or sell their homes to me because I am black. I don’t understand why skin color or your ethnicity is a factor that people use to judge and alienate you. I was guilty of it, too, but the more I saw it happening, the more I realized this wasn’t the right thing for me to do. So, if you’re going to sell your house, so be it. If you want a new friend, do it because I am a human being, not that black girl who lives next door. <<

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PAYING THE TOLL (THE WAGES WE PAY)
by Danielle Mora

Maybe back in the day it was abnormal to see two different races together. But, it’s just something you’re bound to see in New York City. When people see an interracial couple they stare as if they have never seen one before 2010. I overhear comments like “jungle fever”. I could have sworn that “jungle fever” referred to an interracial couple and even that is problematic. But both my boyfriend and I are “black” and much more. I have to constantly remind myself that most white and black Americans are ignorant of the complexities in New York City. Generalizations and stereotypes are easier. Recently, I heard something new. My own manager at work, who is black, said he’s going to start calling us “rice and beans and collard greens”. Yeah, people laughed like a domino effect; one person started then another followed by another and so on. It’s ironic how they all know my diverse nationality, they know I’m black and Spanish, and still they said it. Others on-the-job make racial jokes about blacks despite the fact the manager and I are both present. They think it’s cool, but it’s not! Yeah, I said it. My parents told me to stay strong because “the comments come like roaches” (they never die). Growing up I chose to be tough about it. I had to constantly prove that I was black. All the arguing and fighting just to prove to someone something that shouldn’t even be of concern to them but this is how we begin to learn about structural racism. It’s not personal but it sure feels like it. I look back now and I cant even laugh; it was sad. Sad that my own “race,” my own people, so to speak, would make racist comments or pass judgments against one of their own. I pray for the day when I can walk down the street and race doesn’t matter. I also pray for the day where interracial couples can walk down the street holding hands and no one would make faces or stop and stare. Sad part is something tells me that day may never come. To be sure, my boyfriend and I have learned to ignore the looks and comments, but it wears on you despite the warnings of those who love you and want to protect you from harm in the future. The psychological toll is overlooked. To the eye, skin colors are like crayons that never mix. But love, love has no color. <<

My parents warned me. They warned me about those people who judge others based on physical appearance. People who feel like that they have a right to interfere in something that doesn’t even concern them. They always said “Danielle, whatever guy you choose to be with, people are going to stop and stare. They’re going to make odd remarks or funny sounds. Some will accept it and others won’t”. Not until recently did I realize why my parents warned me at such an early age. When I finally came face to face with that “real world,” I was actually prepared. I won’t call them “haters” but people do look at me with a weird and confused face, questioning who I am because of my light skin color and straighter hair texture. Comments don’t bother me. I feel that people are making assumptions about things they really don’t know about. But people simply won’t stop communicating nonverbally, “What is she?” The looks on their faces suggest a wild stab in the mental darkness. I say, “I’m mixed: Black, Spanish and Caribbean.” Most reply, “You look white”. Maybe that’s why the funny look. And my boyfriend is black... he looks it.

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A GOOD FIT FOR DEBT
by Chris Kiprovski
Most women in general lose their minds when it comes to buying underwear. There is no satisfying their need for bras and panties. So when my job as one of the men working at a famous lingerie store that we will call Natasha’s Mysteries requires me to offer a free store credit card along with a discount it only adds fuel to the fire. Hell hath no fury. After working at Natasha’s Mysteries for over two years, I have noticed a few things about women and debt.  With an APR of 24.99%, insane late fees, as well as other fees, a store credit card is by far the worst type of credit you can have nowadays. This has never stopped me from offering it. Hell I am required to as part of my job behind the register., to make it look like God’s gift to women (and i never lied about any of the details).  All it takes is a little bit of knowledge about the card, some flirting, and confidence and you can sell. After offering the store card to anyone waiting to pay with a credit card, I started to get a feel for who will and will not open a credit card. With over two years of observation, I have come to realize that Black and Asian women open up a line of credit more often than white women will. On top of this, if approved, often the black women proceed to max out their new card. Asian women, on the other hand, never use the card; just the free coupons that come in the mail. After noticing these trends, I started to become curious. So I asked the next African

American woman who opened a line of credit and then maxed it out “Why?”. To my surprise her answer was “Because i can get what ever i want and pay $10 a month (the minimum payment) to pay it off.”  With a limit of $500 with a 24.99% APR, paying $10 a month would take her years to pay it off. I was dumbfounded and could not understand why a person would want to continually put themselves in such debt. As a white guy in society i never took into consideration what it was like to not fit in or to not be accepted. To be honest, i never even thought about it. But through my racism class i have started noticing things at my job that normally I would not even care about.  For instance, black women who do not have any credit, on average, spend the least at Victoria’s Secret, while white women spend much more.  With these small observations and being introduced for the first time to structural racism, i started to understand why a person would go into debt for clothing. In a society still affected by race and racism whether it is blatant or not, all a person can try to do is try to fit in. High standards are set in society, that are not easy to live up to. People are expected to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and even live in certain places. On top of these high standards, their are many difficulties placed on african americans. Jean Kilbourne the creator of “Killing Us Softly” a film series about how advertising shows distorted aspects of feminism, talks about how it is harder for black women in advertising as well.

They have to have straighter hair, lighter skin, or more Caucasian like features. To be sure, no one is forcing black women to fall into debt but given the history of their assimilation into white norms including clothing and hair, perhaps we should take a different look at why this is happening. We should be taking a look at the pressures put on black women and maybe realize that it is time to change, we should not be trying to form to one way but accept all ways. Because right now it seems thats some are literally trying to fit in at all cost. <<

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WHITE OR WONG
by Samantha Wong

“YES, I speak English!”  I grew up an All-American girl and I am a 3rd-generation Chinese woman. When I was a young girl, I was a ballerina, a Brownie in Girl Scout Troop #2196, and a cheerleader for the high school football team. I was popular and had many friends though I was one of the few Asian students throughout my primary and secondary schools. Till then, I never really faced racism. A couple of years ago, one of my professors at John Jay College-CUNY

from another country.    "Do you have your first draft for the Bernie Madoff paper?" I replied "Well Professor, I just connected some notes and brainstormed in my notebook.” With a smile, she said, "Oh that's perfect! Just rip out the draft from your notebook and hand it in. That will do." She took a quick glance, skimmed through the draft and accepted it. With her red pen she wrote "first draft" in the top left-hand corner.   A week later, as she handed out the marked drafts with her notes on how to improve for our second drafts, I could see, before she even got to me, that my paper had two long paragraphs in red on the back. In the first paragraph, she explained how I needed to organize and elaborate on my thoughts. She obviously didn't remember our initial exchange. In the second paragraph, she wrote, "It seems you need extra help. I grew up in Poland until I came to America when I was 5 years old and learned English. Writing an English paper can be very difficult especially if English is not your native language. Please take time to go to the Writing Center for more assistance.”   After reading her comments, my jaw dropped. I was on the verge of tears but I was so angry I didn't know what to do or say. Do I make a scene? Do I talk to her after class? How could any professor get away with evaluating a paper based on a last name?    I decided to confront the professor. At the end of the next class, I said, “Professor, I told you this was a first draft and you even told me it was acceptable. Why would you write these comments?” She reviewed her comments and then looked at

me and said, “Oh! You're Samantha? I forgot. I only looked at your last name and assumed you were an immigrant and needed some ESL but I was totally wrong.” (Yeah, she admitted it as if her assumption left no mark like her red pen.) And she smiled adding, “Here, let me cross it out. It wasn’t meant for you. Okay, here you go.” Who was this prejudice meant for? Some other Asian-looking girl with a W(r)ong name?   In "Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position," Herbert Blumer notes that there are four basic feelings involved with race prejudice: "(1) a feeling of superiority, (2) a feeling that the subordinate race is intrinsically different or alien, (3) a feeling of proprietary claim to (a sense of ownership over) certain areas of privilege and advantage, and (4) a fear and suspicion that the subordinate race harbors designs on the prerogatives of the dominant race" (Blumer in Gallagher 2009, 126). I was experiencing the impact of both #1 (superiority) and #2 (difference and alienation). And the professor was performing the privilege (#3) without the fear (#4). Blumer gives us some insight into this weirdness when he writes, "The sense of group position is the very heart of the relation of the dominant to the subordinate group. It supplies the dominant group with its framework of perception, its standard of judgment, its patterns of sensitivity, and its emotional proclivities" (Blumer in Gallagher 2009, 127).   Here was a professor of 25 years, a woman who migrated from Poland, who had.. cont. on next page

took one look at my last name, Wong, and assumed from that that I didn't know how to write English well. She even decided I was

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WHITE OR WONG cont.
...adopted or been adopted into the position of the dominant group. Was it because she could be considered "white," unlike me? I exhibit phenotypically Chinese features that do not grant me that same privilege. Or was it because she was in the position of dominance in the student-teacher relationship? Whatever the case may be, I felt subordinated, silenced by her prejudice, put in "my place" or some position that was and never will be my place. I was born here, dammit!   How easy it is for people with the wrong skin color to be placed in a position of inferiority justified by the possession of a Chinese last name as if that means you weren't born and/or raised an American citizen in a democracy living in a city of immigrants.  Like me, many Asian Americans face similar perceptions while completing their education. But let me offer you readers an education in my "wrong" name and its history.   A geneologist named David Wong supplied the research on his personal website.  Wong (or Huang) is a family name that means "golden yellow," which  signifies mother Earth. The Wong clan dates back to the founding of the Zhou dynasty (1122 – 256 B . C . ) b u t o r i g i n a t e d d u r i n g t h e  X i a Dynasty  from Ji Lu Zhong, a descendant of the Yellow Emperor, Wong Di. It is the 7th most common surname in China, especially in South China. It is also the name of more than 2 million overseas Chinese, many Vietnamese

(Huynh) and an estimated 1 million Koreans (Hwang). The name stems from a common practice of adopting the name of the emperor and his territory in remembrance of a people's origin, for example, the Huang Kingdom or the current state of Wong in Hubei province (the region of present day Wuhan City).   Ever since that incident with the professor, I embrace being yellow. For the first 18 years of my life, I was embarrassed to be Chinese as an American citizen (a feeling of inferiority and that the majority group was better than my group). Everything happens for a reason; I finally became comfortable in my own skin. I didn't change my name, but I have reclaimed my identity. I didn’t just settle, I finally appreciate being who I am and where I am from. Here's an example. For the past two years, I've been going to other cultural parades in NYC such as the Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Israeli Day Parades wearing a Chinese flag. In those moments, I get to show my pride just like everyone else since Chinese people never had a traditional major avenue parade in NYC. I joined an Asian Sorority. I am learning Mandarin Chinese in college and my mother is even happy—I am starting to date Asian guys. I don't want to make a statement, I want to start a movement for all Asians. We are not alone. It is not right or fair to judge people because of their surname or worst yet, as is too often the case in college, their accent

(linguistic discrimination). Racial slurs and discrimination will not deter us. Perhaps it helps us be confident in who we are and where we come from. Statistics indicate that “42% of all Asian American adults have at least a college degree, highest of all the major racial ethnic groups...and the highest test scores and/or GPAs" and "60% of all Asian Americans are immigrants" (Le, C.N., A Closer Look at Asian Americans and Education in New Horizons for Learning).  Asian students are doing well despite perceptions of our "foreign" names and accents. The sense of group position that surfaced that day in class for me made race prejudice palpable and as Blumer noted, race prejudice becomes "a protective device. It functions, however short-sightedly, to preserve the integrity and the position of the dominant group" (Blumer, 127). The question is was she protecting the affinity within the dominant group called "Americans" or "white" Americans? Whatever it was, it made me interested in learning about my Chinese heritage and asserting my Chinese identity with pride. That professor at John Jay College-CUNY gave me a gift—a blessing in disguise. Yes, I am Chinese and I am also an American—tried and true. I can also say I am yellow (Wong) and I am the red, white and blue.

BLS1003 Evolution & Expressions of Racism - “Could You Be the Bigger Nigger?”

55 players may have been African American from the 1970s onwards, the increase of black NFL quarterbacks is relatively recent. Though black athletes have constituted at least 26 percent of all NFL players since 1966, black quarterbacks constituted a mere 20 percent of NFL quarterbacks prior to the 1999 draft when Daunte Culpepper was selected. The “stacking” phenomenon can be attributed to two longstanding prejudices. For decades, AfricanAmericans who wished to play quarterback were deemed not cerebral enough for the position or have been shifted to other positions to take advantage of their “athleticism”. There is a longstanding belief among football experts that the quarterback p o s i t i o n i s o n e t h a t re q u i re s intelligence above all else. NFL observers note that offensive playbooks have progressively been getting larger and that defenses have been getting more complex as well. The growing intricacies of the game, they argue, necessitate a “smart” quarterback to master these details and deliver victory. In short, the argument goes that good players need brains as well as brawn to be winners. This emphasis on intelligence has traditionally served as a barrier limiting African-American quarterbacks who were viewed as.. cont. on next page

ROUGHING THE PASSER
by

Andrew Baez

the NFL and the causes of it. My research into this has turned up some pretty interesting facts. “An examination of 4,745 attributions used to describe black and white National Football League quarterback prospects over a ten-year period revealed data patterns that emphasized racial stereotypes. Black quarterbacks were primarily described with words and phrases that emphasized their physical gifts and their lack of mental prowess. Conversely, white quarterbacks were described as less physically g i f t e d , b u t m o re m e n t a l l y prepared for the game and less likely to make mental errors.” (“Roughing the Passer” by Eugenio Mercurio and Vincent F. Filak, Ph.D., 2008) Stereotypes based on race have been present in sports for decades. It is not uncommon to hear them being thrown around in sports bars all over the world. The stereotype about black quarterbacks often lends itself to the argument of talent versus intelligence. For years, writers, coaches and social critics have openly or subversively stated that black athletes rely on athletic abilities while white athletes rely on intelligence. In terms of the sport of football, this leads to the perception

Growing up I always loved playing football games on my Playstation 1 and 2. My favorite team back then was the New England Patriots – which is somewhat sacrilegious and blasphemous to say as a New Yorker, born and raised. While playing video games like Madden NFL, I started to notice the differences between the Patriots and other teams. The most obvious being that the quarterback on the Patriots, Tom Brady, is white – as were a good number of other quarterbacks with the exception of Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. When I saw Michael Vick on the cover of Madden 2004, and later Donovan McNabb on the cover of Madden 2006, I started paying attention to the black-white divide in the starting quarterback position. Being only 12 or 13 years old back then, I was oblivious to structural racism. My mind was too young for the inequalities to register the inner workings of this racial divide. I even went so far as to make a list of how many black quarterbacks there were in the NFL – you could count them on one hand. It wasn’t until I took this Black Studies course (BLS1003 at Baruch College) in the Fall of 2010 that I started to think of Michael Vick and Madden again. It opened my eyes a bit more to structural racism within

Willie Thrower played for Chicago Bears in 1953; first African American quarterback in NFL. Played a single game and was cut by the Bears.

that black athletes are not equipped to play the “smart” positions, particularly quarterback. What occurs as a result is what is known as “stacking,” which was coined by Harry Edwards in 1967. Stacking is defined as “disproportionate concentration of ethnic minorities – particularly blacks – in specific team positions. For example, each of the 32 NFL franchises is allowed to carry a maximum of three quarterbacks on its roster, meaning a total of 96 quarterbacks could be in the NFL during any given season. As of January 2007, only 18 of those 96 were black. This proportion is alarmingly small, especially considering that almost 70 percent of the league that year was compromised of African Americans. Thus, while the majority of NFL

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A study found “no statistically significant relationship between intelligence and compensation.”

ROUGHING ... cont.
...athletically gifted but not intelligent enough for the jump to NFL quarterback. There were two basic “facts” that facilitated this discrimination: (1) In college, black quarterbacks played and excelled primarily in less passoriented (read intelligence-based) and more run-oriented offense. (2) Lower scores on intelligence tests justified that black quarterbacks were not intelligent enough to take over an NFL offense. These beliefs were prevalent since at least the 1970s when Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL head coach to screen prospective players using a generic aptitude test – the Wonderlic Personnel Test. Landry was looking for a tool to quantify intelligence and draw a correlation between that and performance. In the 30 years

subsequent to its introduction, the Wonderlic test has become a key performance prognosticator for many NFL franchises. Though most prospective NFL players are put through the test, those players in strategic (“white”) positions are scrutinized more closely. NFL scouts believe the test will helps them identify quarterbacks that will adapt to NFL playbooks quicker and make better decisions. Generally speaking, a score in the mid-twenties is considered acceptable for a prospective NFL quarterback. In 1994, the Cleveland Browns were looking for a quarterback that scored at least a 24 on the Wonderlic. These high expectations have acted as an imposing intellect barrier for African-American quarterbacks who, as an ethnic group, have historically had a tough time meeting this benchmark and thus were discounted from consideration by some NFL teams due to deficient performance on an

test of their intellect. There were but few black quarterbacks, the argument went, that had the mental capacity to succeed on the test and therefore on the field. An examination of relatively reliable Wonderlic scores shows that black quarterbacks, more commonly than white quarterbacks, score lower than 20: Jeff Blake in 1992, Kordell Stewart in 1995 and Steve McNair in 1995 all scored 17 or lower. I am as surprised as I’m sure most readers are. Surely, NFL owners justify the use of the Wonderlic Personnel Test because football is big business. Owners need to protect their share of 7.8 billion dollars in annual revenue (2009 figure). So most teams expect a quarterback to score 21 - 24 and an offensive tackle to score 26. Compare this to test scores

for everyday professions such as sales, where a score of 24 is expected or journalism, where a score of 26 is the norm. Actually, a recent study found “no statistically significant relationship between intelligence and compensation or intelligence and draft number after controlling for passing ability.” After researching this topic and learning how much pull the “intelligence argument” has in the selection of quarterbacks in the NFL, I dug deeper and found that I had only scratched the surface. There are other causes for this structural racism including, but not limited to, m e d i a b i a s , r a c i a l “ h i e r a rc h y ” , cultural bias, “systemic set-ups”,... cont. on next page

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ROUGHING THE PASSER by Andrew Baez ... cont.
...“race-related” test anxiety, “racially motivated frustration” [blacks being afraid of scoring too high / too low on exams], and so on. Knowing what I know now, it is safe to say that I will appreciate quarterbacks from underrepresented minority groups more than I would have had I not researched this trend. The obstacles present for them are ludicrous compared to what white athletes have to face. If the Civil Rights movement taught us anything, it’s that persistence is key and brings about the most change. With that being said I hope for two things to happen. (1) I hope to see a new quarterback’s face on the cover of Madden 2012 next year, one from a minority group, and (2) the end of the bias of tests like the Wonderlic in the NFL. I’m no longer a Patriots fan, but I do hope that the Jets can win the Super bowl. A boy can dream can’t he? <<

A simplified and condensed version of the Wonderlic Test appears in newer editions of the Madden NFL video game series. Here are sample questions similar to those on an actual test.

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I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers. – Kahlil Gibran

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