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By Kyla Jenée Lacey
Presented by @WANPOETRY
WANPOETRY is a community-oriented collective of poets that meet at AvantGarden in Houston, Texas every Wednesday at 7:30 PM with the purpose of providing a multimedia platform for poets to share their work.
Reflection by: Melis Basaran (COM'22)
Kyla Jenée Lacey's poem helped me understand a little bit as to what black people experience everyday in the U.S. Though, I am not a US citizen, I have spent enough time in this country to come across numerous events intertwined with inequality, racism, and discrimination. 'White privilege' has been an ongoing problem that corrupts the equality in the system, especially the judicial system.
This poem underlines how black people are treated unequally and only according to white peoples needs. The poet gives an example of how everyone cheers for a black person racing in a stadium, but also how he is discriminated in daily life, like in job applications and on the streets. Unfortunately, countless people are not educated enough to perceive racism and discrimination, and most white people have no clue about how it feels. As the poet says, they are privileged. I recommend this poem to everyone who wants to peek through the door of a black person's life.
So You Want To Talk About Race
Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy--from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans--have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair--and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
Reflection by: Madeline Chase (COM'22)
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo asks many questions. These questions range from definitions to common arguments. Oluo begins each chapter with anecdotes that reflect the question she is about to explore. Oluo then debunks misunderstandings, explains why it's important and needs to be talked about, while providing the readers with steps to improve their thinking or response.
As a white woman, reading this book was hard. It showed me how even if you claim you are not racists, you are still a part of a racist system. Even the little things you might not think about, such as microaggressions, can contribute to racial oppression. Oluo quotes, "We cannot fix these systemic issues on a purely emotional basis. We must see the whole picture" and "If you want to further understand systemic racism even more among the people you interact with, you can try to link to the systemic effects of racism whenever you talk about racism." I learned that this conversation is going to be uncomfortable and, as Oluo said, "You're going to screw this up." With this, I learned while the conversation is good, that is not the only thing we should do, and Oluo explains how you can help in your neighborhood, at school, and more. Oluo is confrontational with her writing and explains how these conversations should be taking place with people of other races and on our own. It is also up to white people and those benefit from racist systems who need to be introspective and use their power to change the current rhetoric.
KUOW PHOTO/BOND HUBERMAN
Article written by Liz Plank
May 27, 2020, 1:53 PM PDT
Click the title above to read the article.
Reflection by: Melis Basaran (COM'22)
The article addresses how black people are discriminated against in the US and that many white people deny the apparent racism. The author mentions a video on Twitter in an attempt to display the racism that black people come across in the US. In the video, a white woman called the cops on a black man where she said: "an African American man is threatening my life." I watched the video before reading this article, but reading the author's thoughts made me think more about racism and discrimination. She underlines that being white in the US makes you privileged regardless of gender because you benefit "from a legal, social, and political system soaked in anti-Blackness." Acknowledging the issue in the system which many suffer from is the first step to making a difference in fighting against injustice. Having a lighter skin color or a different skin color does not mean that you should act like you are superior. This mindset has made its way into many white American lives and resulted in discrimination without them recognizing it.
I urge everyone to read this article and acknowledge how you should not stand by 'white privilege.'
The Invisible Man
A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.
Reflection by: Gabrielle Abserson (COM'23)
In 1952, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man was published to address the issues challenging Black people, especially the idea of individuality. I think this is a great resource to read because it helped me understand that Black people are often excluded and persecuted from the American membership simply because of their skin color.