On Monday during a discussion at Iowa Brown&Black Forum, a student asked Hillary Clinton to explain her white privilege. Clinton mentioned how fortunate she was to go to a great college, a wonderful neighborhood, and a great public high school. However, she did not come into contact with the benefits of wealth and privilege until she was 11.
No one was satisfied with her answer. Throughout this entire election season, Clinton has tiptoed around the issues of race while still trying say that she is in solidarity with people of color. Basically, she flip-flops. One moment she’s agreeing on an issue, and then saying something completely different. Of course she’s better than Trump, but by how much?
The reason why Clinton can’t fully answer a question about white privilege is the same reason that your coworker doesn’t understand why she can’t touch your hair while calling it nappy. Clinton doesn’t get it.
This time around “it” is what it means to be always unwanted by a society that was founded and controlled by old white men. She can smile and try to answer the questions. She can call herself your aubela. She can wave the Kwanzaa flag. No matter how hard she tries, she’s’ not fooling anyone. It’s all for election votes.
This game that she’s playing is dangerous. Now more than ever we need a presidential candidate that understands the struggles of people of color. False friends only impend progress. Don’t be fooled by Clinton’s smile because she’s looking right past you and staring at the White House.
On Wednesday December 30th, the “affluneza teen”, Ethan Couch, and his mother will be brought back to the United States. This of course happened after he and his mother fled to Mexico. Now captured, the question everyone is asking—Will they finally face punishment for their atrocious crimes?
Back in 2013, Ethan Couch killed four innocent civilians while driving drunk. At the time of this accident, Ethan was 16 and sentenced to 10 years of probation. Why such a light sentencing for such a serious crime? Well Ethan was not responsible for his actions because he suffered from affluenza, a disease of the privileged. He was never told right from wrong and got everything he ever wanted. He went to rehab; however for Ethan, probation was only a suggestion and he fled to Mexico with his mother.
It’s no surprise that Ethan did not stay. His reason for fleeing is the same reason that Lindsay Lohan can have multiple counts of drunk driving and still have a career. Money talks louder than rulebooks—also you have to have the right complexion for protection.
Ethan is a rich white male in America. The law was made for him. But for the rest of us, our lives are in constant danger and our rights are denied. This story of Ethan and his gross disrespect for human life and law is not unique to him. It is the story of several privileged millennials who believe that they are above the law.
In 2016, people need to take responsibility for their actions. Ignoring the issues of race and privileged has created a society where Black lives are lost, no longer protected, and not wanted. When we compare Black teens such as Tamir Rice, Emmett Till, or Trayvon Martin to Ethan Couch, what we see is a hatred and disregard for Black lives. Our lawful society would rather have a rich teen that is responsible for killing four people than our innocent Black teenagers.
The privileged are staying privileged. The rest of us are not. If society continues on this course, then the separation between the races, the rich, and the poor will only continue growing. There’s a virus haunting America and it’s been living with us for centuries. This virus is killing innocent Black men and women, and if we stay silent about our outrage, then we will continue dying.
We are living in a time where there is an all out war against Black bodies. You thought that this war was just for your grandparents and parents. If you’re still thinking that after the Civil Rights Movement everything was all peace, love, and happiness, then you need to wake up. Nowhere is safe. People who are still living in a Plessy vs. Ferguson world think that Blackness is a sickness infecting our society. They’re trying to get rid of it any way possible.
Despite college campuses being a place of intellectual growth, in 2015, it’s still a breeding ground for racist, idiocy. Online, a white student at the University of Missouri threatened to shoot every Black person that he saw on campus. Rightfully so, this threat has led to fear and anger circulating throughout Missouri’s campus. Yes, the president has stepped down and the student responsible for making those threats has been taken into custody, but when are things going to change?
University of Missouri, like many colleges and universities, has been plagued by racism for years. However, due to how engrained racism is in our education, nothing has been done. These universities have their presidents resign, but do not fully address the problem. Change only happens when they fear that their endowment or enrollment is in jeopardy.
There needs to be a fundamental change in how colleges and universities discuss racism and race relations on college campuses. The tone-deaf boys and girls who think it’s fun to wear blackface, dress up as a “chola”, draw a swastika in feces on campus, hang a picture of a lynched Black woman on a student’s door, pet Black people’s hair like they are a part of human zoo are the same men and women who start running companies, teaching classes, working anywhere as they spread the racism that they thought was funny in college.
I stand with Mizzou, but I’m done seeing my bothers and sisters fall to racism. Every time a Black life is lost, we are reminded that every fabric of this privileged society is failing everyone. In this 21-century, we are fighting the same battles that our ancestors died for. I am ashamed to say that I am a citizen of this country, which my ancestors were used to build. Even though our backs burned from labor and centuries of physical abuse and violence, I still do not feel safe walking down the street or going to college. Our ancestors are weeping because in a world where we can like something by simply tapping a button, we’re still able to spread so much hate.
Hey Ms. Symoné, 20-something Black girl here. So, I heard some of your comments and read your apology and—oh snap. It’s great that you’re an equal opportunity employer. We are so relieved to hear that you wouldn’t discriminate someone because of his or her name. For a moment I was worried that you would’ve discriminated against me. My name is normal, but with me being a Black feminist and all, it could’ve made things a bit awkward.
Then again Ms. Symoné, I’m not sure that I want to work for you. After all, you did agree with the people who said our First Lady looked like a monkey. That was disrespectful and uncalled for. Perhaps, you did it to raise ratings on The View. Maybe, you thought the monkey joke would fuel your dying stardom, but it was a cruel and uncalled for joke. These days you keep rambling and spewing antics. It feels like you’re that drunk uncle at Christmas party who keeps touching people inappropriately and spewing racists rants.
We excuse the behavior because drunk uncle doesn’t know any better. Somehow, people were able to forget that you insulted our First Lady, and said that you don’t believe in there being a race. A few people were surprised at your nouveau noir tendencies; however, for the rest of us it was just another Raven day.
Not everyone has to be an advocate for fighting against discrimination. We get it—it’s not your thing. Raven, you might feel that you don’t need to talk about racism because it’s so passé. Plus, you have money and might feel that racism doesn’t affect you anymore. You have the right to keep thinking this way, but not addressing the issues circulating in the Black community is toxic and can reinforce modern day racism. Nowadays, racism is stronger than ever. Racism has moved from the overt to covert. We’re recruiting agents to stop it and if you don’t want to want to be down with the cause, that’s fine. I hear the ratings for The View are dropping.
The Perfect Guy comes out this weekend. When I saw the trailer for the movie, I sent the link to all of my friends. It’s exciting whenever I see people who look like my friends and I on the silver screen. However, I’m tired of Black films and movies only occurring once or twice a blue moon.
Ava DuVernay was right when saying that diversity in films needs to become the norm. Talent doesn’t just occur in one race. There are talented actresses, actors, writers, and directors from every color spectrum. With how diverse society is becoming, there really is no excuse for our movies to be as outdated as your great grandmother’s favorite talkie.
Although I fully support diversity in movies, I am less than hopeful for the movie industry as a whole. Due to the intense politics of making a film in Hollywood, movies can take years to reach a proper audience. Nowadays, I don’t have to suffer through seeing the same stars on the screen or waiting forever to see a movie. I can sit at home, go on Netflix or KweliTV, and find a plethora of diverse films.
I want diversity in films but until then, I want more Shonda Rhimes dominating the television screen. Hollywood doesn’t believe that diverse films will bring in money. Until the silver screen starts featuring more diversity, ticket sales will continue declining.
As a kid, people were always trying to take my Black card away. I was tempted to get a Black index card laminated to prove that I was Black. I planned to store it in my wallet, and whip it out whenever someone had something slick to say. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how ridiculous the idea of a Black card was. Thinking Denzel Washington wasn’t cute didn’t remove my Blackness…it just made my mom think I didn’t have taste in men.
When reflecting on the summer, I think that 2015 was the summer of Blackness. Every week there was headline of either blatant racism or cultural appropriation. The Rachel Dolezals were popping up everywhere like we were playing a game of Whack-a-culture vulture. After finishing the game of Whack-a-culture vulture, you had to pick away the Miley Cyruses and Katy Perrys like they were unwanted zits.
Then, you thought that you won the battle once you were done dealing with the culture vultures, but you didn’t. For every activist fighting for Black rights, then were a dozen others denying that racism still exist. There were a handful of Black rappers, actors, and celebrities who needed to relearn asap about the rocky relationship of being Black in America.
After the backlash that many celebrities, magazines, rappers, and singers received for their tone-deafness about culture, you would think that people would’ve changed their ways. However, the song remained the same and you were left wondering what was missing from the culture vultures and the new Blacks. A lot of them are missing or ignoring one key factor that comes with any identity. What’s missing is their social consciousness that’s attached to being Black.
Fall is here. For some, this fall is especially exciting because it marks their freshman year of college. First of all, congratulations! It took a lot of work to make it to college. You are one step closer to an amazing future. Although you’ve worked hard to make it to your institution, it’s going to take even more work to get out of there with your degree.
In the first couple weeks of college, your advisors and RAs will bombard you with colorful orientation packets. The packets will tell you how to use the college’s libraries, gyms, and dining halls, but the packets won’t warn you about the racism you might face on campus.
I’ll tell you the same wise words that I was told my second year in college. “You are a black-eyed pea in a sea of grits”. People might not like you because of the color of your skin. Others will think that the only reason why you’re in college is because you’re Black. Oh and people might try to date or hook-up with you just because you’re a Black woman.
Be prepared! The list of the possible forms of racism can go on and on. If it’s not the blatant racism, then it’s the hipster racism. Since person A has Black friend and listens to Kanye West, then person A can be as racist as possible and it doesn’t matter. It’s a fault in logic that you might hear from several liberal students on campus.
When you’re trying to decide who will be a part of your squad, be careful. Just because they blast Kendrick Lamar’s new album and say that Beyoncé is their spirit animal, doesn’t mean that they have good intentions. In college, friendships are important. They can help you get free meal swipes, but more importantly, when you’re having a crisis or a struggling with your classes, your friends are there to support you.
College will be hard. Tomfoolery, which you’ve never seen before, will start appearing in every corner. You’re true friends will stand by your side and help you fight off the discrimination that’s prevalent on campus. You’ve earned your spot to be at your university, and now it’s time to earn your degree. If any of you have faced discrimination while in college, how did your friends help you through it?