Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Musings while Procrastinating



This post will be brief I just have a few things to get off of my chest.    


I have exams this week and have been stressed out, so I decided tonight I would relax and watch some Netflix.


Why is it whenever I want to watch a movie about people who look like me I am faced with the choice of the following:


Gangs/drugs/ the ghetto


Madea/ black exploitation films


Films about slavery


Films about the south (i.e The Help)


I just want to be able to relate to someone I see in the media.  I want to feel like Hollywood is for me not just those of a paler hue.  Honestly, I am so frustrated with the blatant lack of diversity in movies/TV shows and the sterotypes perpetrated.  Even with my favorite shows I tend to accept an overall lack of black characters  (i.e GIRLS).  Or i have to be ok with the stereotypical black sidekick (the Mindy Project, Parks and Recreation etc).  These types of projections of black women allow for society to believe and accept them as true.


The next thing I want to talk about is the college search.  Like most other High school seniors I am applying to college but wait let me not forget that I am black which in the mind of many means I have an unfair advantage.  Yes I’m talking about affirmative action. Oh Joy.


Now I could list all of the racist, rude and inconsiderate comments I have received from friends, teachers and people in authority but there is not enough time so I will just begin with a few…

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" 1. “Gosh I wish I was black.  You guys get so many more scholarship opportunities.  It’s so unfair .”


Wait a minute.  Hold up.  Did she just say that.  Yes, yes she did.



My response (imaginary):

You do not know what it means to be black. 

It means having to explain to people I don’t know how to twerk.

Being black means that when I am standing with my father in an elevator people do one of two things:

1.       Clutch their purses to their bodies and eye him suspiciously

2.       Ask him if he played basketball… because a tall black man must have played for the NBA… its not like he could be a lawyer and business owner.


Being black means having assumptions and stereotypes constantly thrown your way. 


It means your accomplishments never being your own, “you got that because you’re a minority”.


It means on road trips we can’t stop in certain towns.


Being black means when I open a textbook my people’s history begins with slavery, which is not the beginning.


Black means rarely seeing positive portrayal of my people on the news/media.


Conclusion drawn:  you don’t want to be black.  You want the advantage but trust me you could not handle the hardships.


Real life reaction: “you have no idea what you’re talking about”

·        
    2. Me: “No one at our High school has gotten into that college for 4 years? I’m so worried.”

           Friend: “But were any of them a minority?”



My response (imaginary):


Of all the encouraging things you could have said.



For example, you are so smart and so involved.  Also, your essay was wonderful.  Don’t worry etc. 



But no you acted as if the only positive trait I have is my skin.  It is the only thing that makes me stand out.  The only reason colleges would accept me.



My real response: “WOAH. Hmmm. Ok. Well then… moving on.”



· 
    3.  “I don’t believe in affirmative action.”



My response (Imaginary) :


Well ok where do I begin?  First, off let’s begin with the obvious.  Black people have been marginalized in this country since they were kidnapped from their native land.  The truth is, not everyone is born on first base, some people are born in the stands and it is unfair to expect equality to become the norm in the United States if we do no address this unbalanced playing field.



Secondly, it is hard for you to understand the idea of affirmative action because of your white privilege.



 (White privilege definition: set of societal privileges that white people benefit from beyond those commonly experienced by people of color in the same social, political, or economic spaces (nation, community, workplace, income, etc.).  The term denotes both obvious and less obvious unspoken advantages that white individuals may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice.) 

check out this tumbler: http://thisiswhiteprivilege.tumblr.com/ 



I want to point out that I also as a middle-class 17 year old have privilege.  My goal in introducing this concept is to open people’s eyes.  This does not diminish my ability or need to realize my own privilege



So because you are unaware of the privileges provided to you because of your race it is difficult to be emphatic with African-Americans.  You think that racism is over, we have a black president all our issues must be solved.  This is not true and if you explore any websites working against racism you will find the truth (http://www.splcenter.org/   https://www.aclu.org/).



Don’t you ever wonder why poverty stricken urban cores are majority people of color.  Or that more black men are incarnated than attend college.  Or that the majority of people on TV look like you.  All these things express a lack of opportunity.  All we are asking for is equal opportunity, nothing more than is already given to you.



Additionally, it’s not like black people are literally taking your spot from colleges.  If I don’t get into a college I guess I can’t blame it on my race but you can.  Interesting.




That is all I have to say tonight.  Thank you all who take the time to read my blog.  And please comment on your views on the above mentioned topics. 

 I must now  go back to studying Spanish.


AdiĆ³s.



5 comments:

  1. Camille. This is so amazing. This promotes a strong sense of awareness most people are ignorant of. You are an inspiring person, and I miss you! We should really get together sometime soon, Id love to catch up.

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  2. Thanks Macie your comment means so much! And yes we will catch up before we go to college :) I miss you!

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  3. The only reason I disagree with affirmative action is that I tend to be a little more ideological than the average bear. As a humanist, I believe that people will transcend race. Affirmative action may create resentment between races (as you've mentioned) due to it's discernment of them. Basically, my opinion is that everyone should treat everyone as equals, and race is therefore no longer a relevant label.

    Of course, as a privileged white male, I have less of a need for immediate action, and am able to wait for societal change to end racism altogether. So take my two-cents for what it's worth, given my perspective on the top of the societal food chain.

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    1. I'm also aware of the issue of subconscious racism. Do you think after a generation or two of no overt racism, subconscious racism will die out?

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  4. I don't believe it is enough to wait/ let time heal racism. It is something so ingrained in modern psyche that people take it into account without even thinking about it. We must educate people if we want them to change. It also starts with acknowledging that it exist in modern society. I think it's the whole "colorblind" thing that gets me. We will never me able to "transcend" race it must me acknowledged and addressed accordingly.

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