Reflecting on “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”

This article I feels still relevant today and that there is a higher standard for African Americans and other minorities than the majority. They must work twice as hard as there white contemporaries in order be successful or viewed as talented. Those sentiments I feel are echoed by Langston Hughes, but he goes more in depth to address how some may goes far to stray from being themselves to be accepted and there work as well. He says some will goes as far as to not identify with their blackness to be accepted. I think this effort to falsify who they are is a fear of rejection of being themselves, which is being black because especially at that time it’s not accepted when one embraces his/her blackness while trying climb the ladder of success. Langston Hughes message is to go against the grain and don’t conform to critics and to be yourself when striving to be successful, it is the most wholesome feeling.

Ph.D (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D

Last Thursday, Dr. Kathleen Cleaver, a prominent member of the Black Panther party, came to speak to students. However, another really powerful speaker came to McGaw Chapel to talk.   A local Ohioan, Elaine Richardson, is a professor of literacy at The Ohio State University. She also helps at a local Cleveland public school mentoring young black girls and showing them the importance of education. Her presentation was that of a performance.  She got on stage and began to tell her story from her perspective, but she told the story from the point of view of the age she was. From childhood to teenage years to adulthood, she would replay some of the best, and worst memories, of her life.  On top of this, she would sing some of her favorite songs. Her gorgeous voice echoed through the chapel and everyone was completely astonished. Her story talked about how she feel into sex work and drug addiction, but through the power of education and persistence (with a little help) she now has a Ph.D from Michigan State University. What she was getting across is how young black women can fall into sex work in multiple ways and people see it as their choice, but what they don’t know is that most of the time something traumatic causes these girls to make that choice. Dr.Richardson has also published a book  called Ph.D(Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D,  telling her story on paper. I also had the privilege of having dinner her and never had I met such a down to Earth person. It was incredible talk and hope she speaks more as I continue through college.

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Blog about recovery in the South after the Emancipation Proclamation

One thing that I find extremely interesting about how we define the recovery of southern states during the Reconstruction period is that there are a number of responses that can be correct. In history courses we talk about how whites in the South were basically helpless at the initial thought of having to live a life without slavery. However in a documentary called “After Shock: Beyond the Civil War,” a scholar was quoted saying that “many believe the south never really fell.” In the sense that white supremacy has prevailed in our society, I can see how it (the south) never fell. This is interesting though because in History of Black America we talked about how they (southern whites) never really bounced back. In terms of economics, I agree that the south has never fully recovered from the abolition of slavery and what that meant for the southern economy.

These are two very different answer discovered by looking through very different lenses. I think this goes to show the importance of context and perspective because there might very well be many probable responses to a topic like this, all of which are correct, but very much contingent upon the lens through which the subject is being examined.

Obama Administration

As Dr. King touched upon very briefly in class this morning, the election of former president Barack Obama was a momentous stride in United States history. However, being eight to nine years old at the time, I never fully realized what a black president in office meant for the progression of the U.S. and racism. I definitely remember my parents discussing the possible implications if Obama were to be elected, and I vaguely remember very briefly seeing and reading things on the news or in school, but I never truly processed what everything meant. Part of my ignorance, however, was because I knew this would not affect me, or at least not as much as some people. My family never had to worry extensively about racism, so the significance of Obama’s inauguration was never described or discussed at length with me. Another reason for my ignorance came from the fact that I am from a very small, very white town in Maine, in which I was one of maybe four Asian students in my high school. While I did experience some racism concerning the difference in my face between my white peers’ faces, comments never went beyond, “Your face is flat,” or “Why are your lips so big?” Had there been black students in my class in elementary, middle, and high school, however, I can imagine racist comments towards them could have been much more insensitive.

Now that I’ve spent time thinking more deeply about this, I do wish that my third grade teachers could have discussed racism and Obama’s impact with us more extensively. Even though we were young and might not have comprehended everything, an introduction to the history of racism, U.S. politics, and racism in the U.S. could have at least been good starting points for future education.

Even though Obama’s victory sent massive positive messages internationally and domestically, hopes for many Americans and black people towards positive change in the U.S. was not 100% satisfied or met. I have attached an article from the Washington Post to supplement this comment.

The Effects of Student Loans on Black College Graduates

Student loans have always been seen as a burden for college graduates and  are a constant reminder of the sacrifices that ones has to make in order to receive a higher education. However, despite this burden being a universal constant for any college student taking up student loans, the reality of the situation is that black college graduates are more likely to be heavily effected by these loans. There are several theories behind why these loans target and effect black students more than their white counterparts, one such theory is that because black borrowers often times have higher default rates, the amount of money they owe can be much larger. However as Emily Deruy, author for the Atlantic, makes note of “the U.S. Education Department doesn’t always keep track of how borrowers are faring by race. The FAFSA does not include information on race, nor does the system that keeps track of outstanding debt.” This in turn makes it difficult to pin point what the exact cause of these disparities are, but there are still ways to highlight the issue.

For starters, Judith Scott-Clayton, an associate professor of economics and education at the Teachers College at Columbia University, and Jing Li, a research associate in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis, found that black graduates have almost $53,000 in student loans after graduating at a four year college. Compare this to their white counterparts where it was founded that after the same amount of time lapsed, white students only had $28,006 in student loans. This means that after studying for the same amount of time, white students statistically leave college with less debt on their hands. With less debt, white graduates can use and save their money much more effectively allowing for them to start their adult lives much further ahead, as oppose to their black counterparts.  What’s more is that professors Clayton and Li were able to obtain this information through a set of data from two of the department’s “Baccalaureate and Beyond” surveys, which followed a set of graduates from 1993 to 1997, and another from 2008 to 2012. Using that information, as well as other data from the department and the Census Bureau, they found these disparities, which is how they were able to shed light on this growing issue.

The solution to student loans is an answer that requires its own time and energy to solve, however the fact remains that student loans for black graduates vs their white counterparts is drastically different. While there could be several other possible explanations for these disparities, the visible inequality caused by these differences is evident and a solution must be attained.