Prompt: Recently the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, has brought the precarity of Black lives to the forefront of public discourse, particularly as it pertains to policing and the law. Their activism is animated by the acknowledgment of the centrality of the carceral/ criminal justice system to contemporary racial inequalities. Continue reading
Prompt: Given what your own experience, what are common misconceptions of affirmative action?
Our reading last week was all about education. The reading focused in on the issue of affirmative action. The major points relating to defining affirmative action as any preferred admissions statues. This would include athletes, students of color, and legacies. The biggest winners in terms of scholarship dollars and acceptances are athletes and legacies. Continue reading
We wrote this paper to explore how race has impacted our lives and experience at Westtown. I found it to be a great experience.
Racial Auto-ethnography – My Master Key
Privilege abounds before me like few other people. Cis, male, white, affluent, two-parent household, to mention a sampling of such unearned gifts. Life, to this point at least, has been about as much a cakewalk as possible. Through little to no fault of my own, my life will continue along this fluffy, advantaged life. To be honest I would be quite happy if it did. To break down the sum of experiences that led to me, here, right now is difficult. Separating race, from wealth, and the patriarchal advantages from which I benefit cannot be completely done. I am going to at least attempt to untangle my web. If the great privilege of being rich is not worrying about money, than the great privilege of being white is not worrying about race. Continue reading
Over break and during my senior project I worked for the American Farmland Trust, a non-profit that works to save farmland and make existing farmland more sustainable. Agricultural history is fraught with racism in this country. One could say it is a cornerstone of American racial inequality. Continue reading
According to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva a famous sociologist, there are four major ways in which accusations of racism are dismissed today. The first one is called abstract liberalism. This idea links the other three and is the most important. It is not liberalism as in liberal vs. conservative. It’s using liberal ideas of meritocracy and equality to justify racist social outcomes. For example, people will say that affirmative action is not a good idea because it creates an unequal footing giving people of color an unfair advantage. This opinion blatantly ignores the history of the united states. Throughout every aspect of American history, people of color have been the objects of the unjust enrichment of white lives, most notably, slavery, Jim Crow, purposeful systemic exclusion from government programs including but not only The New Deal. Today we see housing discrimination, hyper-incarceration, job discrimination, unequal segregated schools, unequal pay, to name a few systems of oppression. The abstract liberalist view, in order to function, needs to wholly ignore this American history. Rather decreeing that white on people of color oppression ended with the civil rights movement. This is most certainly not the case. Racism has morphed to fit our times. What is clear is justice rather than equality is needed to end racism.
I question what divides truth from belief. In the undertones of both words at least, I find a distinct difference. When one uses a word like truth, the connotation of discussion is understood. It is supposedly based in fact and lived experiences, and therefore it is given integrity and is far less contestable. Belief, on the other hand, does not carry this weight. Less contestable, one is entitled to their belief(s). It seems to me that this is the difference between being white or being a person of color in this country. Whites have the choice to believe or not to believe in racism. If they do believe in it, then they get to decide how far-reaching it is, where it comes into play not only in their own lives, but in the lives of oppressed people of color.
Reading about injustice of any nature will invariably make you mad. It would be fair that this is in some ways the point. Reading Joe Feagan’s Racist America has made me angry. Racism stirs my emotions for sure. I can’t seem to push this anger in any one direction. The omnipresent, ever-changing nature of racism makes it nearly impossible to direct this energy. It’s eternally frustrating. I want to pin racism down and punch it until its head becomes the consistency of pulpy orange juice. Of course, this is impossible. So, who takes the blame? All those who originally manifested racist viewpoints are dead. Not to say that people don’t actively perpetuate these issues today and have for the last four hundred years of history on this continent. Who can I turn towards to throw my rhetoric at and all my will power towards? I think this quest for a physical manifestation from which all racism stems from is precisely what gets in my way. Racism is everywhere winding its way into almost all interactions. So, I suppose the next question is, is racism the root or result of an idea? By “fighting” racism are we simply treating the symptoms and not going after the disease. Is there even one root cause of racism? All these questions persist moving into the second week. I hope to at least bring some answers.
I wrote this as a response to a friend of mine’s post. Since the Inauguration, I’ve been quite unsettled. I used as backing some the material from the readings as well as conversations I’ve had with my mentor, Mauricio. Continue reading