New School Year, New Microaggressions

This concludes the first week of school for students at Duke and many other colleges and universities across the country. Students have studied, made some friends, and already learned some new lessons. And I shouldn’t have been surprised to see so many people back at Duke who are either closed off because of “religious beliefs” or just openly rude.

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Memoirs of an Oreo

When people ask me what my dessert of choice is, I will never tell anyone “cookies.” Cookies are nice, of course, but I am much more of a cake and ice cream gal, with a special love for sweet potato pie. Desserts are usually sweet and have little to no nutritional value, and they’re usually eaten at the end of the day to pick someone up. When I think of cookies, I think of the burnt bottoms you get if you ever so slightly over cook them, or the hardness they gain after cooling. Now, I know all cookies are not like that, and I have appreciated a few in my very short time on this earth. But the cookie that has come to my mind today is one of the most favorite cookies on the planet: Oreos. Oreos are the cookies that have crème separating two chocolate cookie rounds, they come in many different flavors, and they’re vegan. Many recipes claim to get the same taste via the homemade method, but few succeed. These cookies are so often associated with good times and happiness. For me and for many others like me, the Oreo symbolizes much more than junk food or dessert. It symbolizes who I am in this world, and how people see me.

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We Are Not Your Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

These words mean so much to me and other people of my race. This is a song by Billie Holiday, aptly named Strange Fruit, and it carries a lot of significance. It affects the black community everyday and still rings true today.

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If All Lives Honestly Mattered: Understanding Microinvalidation

With Black Lives Matter comes All Lives Matter, and we have to constantly check ourselves and others. The movements of black people and other people of color have never come without resistance and making waves, and we see that in various forms, from all types of people, even allies and people of color. I’m going to address my views on this and I’m going to give my view of the most recent outburst of Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders.

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“That’s So Ghetto!”: Discussing Coded Racialized Vocabulary

First off, I want to say hi! I’ve been gone awhile because I was trying to enjoy the little break I’ve had in between summer sessions and my sophomore year, and I definitely had a lot to think about. Today, I want to go into depth about words that we use in every day life, but have meanings that are more negative than what the surface reveals. I will also explain why you should take caution when using these words, and try to replace these words with better fitting ones when possible, which is actually quite often when you’re mindful about it. Here we go:

Continue reading “That’s So Ghetto!”: Discussing Coded Racialized Vocabulary

Almost A Year: Cops Make Racist Memorial to Mike Brown

It will be a year since we lost Michael Brown tomorrow, and as if we didn’t already see the hatefulness of the police with Darren Wilson’s interview, we continue to see the anti-blackness through the form of a memorial, specifically for Michael Brown. I can’t imagine the pain that Brown’s mother must be feeling right now, especially upon learning that the memorial was put together by cops.

Here is the picture:

RacistMemorial.jpg

This picture was released by a Facebook page specifically for cops and has been circulating ever since. The words are bunched together in a rhyme, and it seems a little cute at first glance, until you actually read the post and realize that this is the same organization who has had no qualms about the murdering of black lives before and after this death,

My question is, why continue to pour salt into the wounds of black America. Michael Brown is gone, and Darren Wilson has been acquitted of any charges. The Ferguson police department continues their dictatorship over the black community. People are still mourning over a life that could have lived, could have gone on to help the black community.

The cops are one of the biggest groups that practice domestic terrorism despite their visible goals to be “Serve and Protect the Public.” From what? Minorities, specifically black people. The system isn’t failing the black community, because the system was designed to see us fail, as with other minorities.

The Ferguson police department and many others have been exposed for turning the department into a revenue collections business by targeting black people and other minorities, overly charging them again and again, and locking them up when they can’t afford the expense. That then makes these people criminals. These nonviolent people who cannot afford to take care of these bills because they don’t have the means become criminals by the law because police wants as much money out of them as they can.

And the police have been attempting to sugarcoat the issue of the whole system by putting a black cop in charge as an interim chief. A cop is still a cop. For the most part, it isn’t about the uniform, but the person who wears it, but with police I beg to differ. Both the uniform and the police officer go to abuse the system, as we continue to see increasing instances recorded where police officers even off duty assault minorities and those who are in lower economic systems. They fuel off each other. And if we do have so many good cops and it’s not “all cops” who are contributing to these issues, then where in the world are they? A good cop should be telling their peers that these practices and murders are wrong, and racist and need to be done away with. Where were the good cops when these cops killed unarmed people of all races? Where were the good cops when Michael Brown’s mother cried and was forced to see her son lay dead in the street for four and a half hours?

Have you ever heard that a house cannot last without a good foundation? Well it goes the same way for government systems that are supposed to protect our people. We cannot have a good police force, and subsequently good cops, without the foundation of equality. When a system is founded on racist origins, it’s only going to solidify and continue because nobody has wanted to correct it.

This racist monument is only a continuance of the police force and just how much power they have. It also shows just how much racism has evolved, and how racism isn’t necessarily just about calling someone racial slurs, and people still cannot realize.

It’s been almost a year since we lost a young man whose death incited a revolutionary force, and the questions still remain: what do we have to gain from this system? What are they really doing for the people?

We cannot move on until we reflect and we truly learn from our history rather than shoving it under the rug, and we have yet to do that.

-JW