Blavity REPORT -- Josh Crayton had four months left until his graduation when he found himself holding expulsion papers instead of a cap and gown. Now, there's a petition circulating to get Crayton back in school. Saint Ignatius High School expelled the senior for claims that he raised his voice at Alexandria Miranda, an English teacher while discussing a few late assignments. Miranda, allegedly acted dismissive towards Crayton, during a conversation about his school work. "She began to get very frustrated and loud about the whole thing and told me that she wasn’t discussing this anymore," the Cleveland, Ohio, resident told Blavity in an interview. It was at this point his mother, Ronda Crayton intervened and requested a meeting. Her request for a meeting was never honored, however, according to the mom. The family was unaware that Miranda had already filed a disciplinary complaint towards Crayton claiming that he raised his voice on Friday, Dec. 15. "Josh and I had not been informed prior to Monday, Dec. 18, that Mrs. Miranda submitted a complaint," Ronda told Blavity. "I was also not aware of a meeting with the principal or [if] were we invited to the review hearing. A notice was mailed to our home requesting that I withdraw my son from school immediately. We later filed an appeal on Jan. 18, that was denied on Jan. 29, by the president of the school."Blavity reached out to Lisa Metro, Saint Ignatius' director of communications, who said the school was unable to comment on student's disciplinary actions. She provided the following statement:"Saint Ignatius High School cannot comment on student disciplinary issues. Regarding infractions, we have a series of potential disciplinary actions including suspension, withdrawal or expulsion, depending on the circumstances and recommendations of the Disciplinary Review Board. Each case is carefully considered and evaluated." Josh's sister took it upon herself to share on social media the injustice she feels her brother is facing by the school. She wrote in the tweet, that the teacher said she felt "threatened," by Crayton. Saint Ignatius is a private Roman Catholic, Jesuit high school. On page 42 of the student handbook, it states that dismissal from school is used as the last resort during serious misconduct that hinders the safety of other students. In addition, it says that the school has the right to vary its procedures depending on the circumstance. Crayton says he feels upset about how the situation is turning out, especially when he believes that "raising your voice" isn't grounds for expulsion. "It bothers me that other students have gotten away with yelling at the same teacher, selling drugs at school, smoking in the school and I got asked to withdraw because 'I yelled at a teacher,'" he said. "I’m sorry she took it the way she did but that wasn’t my intention. My intentions were to discuss some assignments that she graded, not to come off as loud or rude." Several people have shown support for Crayton since the incident became public knowledge. The #LetCraytonStay began trending on Twitter. Even alumni of the school are speaking up on the behalf of Crayton. According to Ronda, she has her concerns about whether this being a racially-fueled decision. "I have my concerns about this being a racial matter. Several white students have done much more horrendous things and have been able to not only remain at Saint Ignatius but have graduated with their class," she explained. "All of these incidents are well documented and so many people are reaching out and coming out with examples of these kinds of stories. It appears that there is some disparity."As for Josh, he hopes to get back to school as soon as possible so he can successfully graduate with the class of 2018. "I am hoping to work with St. Ignatius for a positive outcome for everyone," his mom said. "I have offered several compromises, however, it has all fallen on deaf ears and has forced me to seek legal counsel."Crayton has big dreams for his future. He hopes to successful graduate and attend the United States Air Force Academy. His petition already has over 1,500...
A Florida corrections officer is facing trial for allegedly attacking a black inmate because he planned to marry a white woman, the News Herald reports.The incident took place in 2015, and was allegedly suppressed by falsifying prison documents.Darren Glover planned to marry his finance, a white woman, in a ceremony at the Apalachee Correctional Institute, where he was imprisoned in July 2015. Correctional Officer Michael Baxter was against this union, according to court testimony. The day after Glover's wedding photo shoot, he claimed that he was called into Baxter's office where he was confronted about the state of his shoes during the shoot. The 44-year-old told the court that he raised his voice telling Baxter that he'd done nothing wrong and, before he knew it, he was on the ground. One guard allegedly held him down while Baxter delivered brutal kicks to his face.“I just laid down and took the beating,” Glover said during his testimony. ”I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want anymore time.”Shannon Watts, Baxter's secretary at the time, claimed to have witnessed the beating. When it started, she said she ran for help. When she returned, she claimed Glover was unmoving and bloody on the floor.“I kept asking myself if I’m seeing what I’m seeing,” Watts said. She added that Baxter noticed her staring, and told her to close the door, which she claimed she did. “I could hear inmate Glover whining and crying through the door. He was whining like he was hurt,” she went on to say. Investigators came to make sure procedures had been followed during the incident. Watts told the jury that Baxter looked right at her as he lied to them, and later had her help him to falsify a report for his superiors.She said she did so without thinking because she considered Baxter family. He had gotten her the job, his wife was her best friend and he, like everyone she knew, worked for the Department of Corrections.“In DOC, there’s a motto: ‘We never walk alone,’” Watts said. “You always take up for one another. You certainly don’t take up for an inmate.”However, her conscience began to get the better of her. She told the court that she started to hear Glover's cries of pain in her head. She said that she prayed for God to wipe them from her memory but, eventually, she came forward to tell the truth.“The crying, the whining — they haven’t been removed,” Watts said. “They are still there. This was eating at me, and I had to get some relief.”Watts also testified that Glover's wife-to-be came to her with questions about why the wedding had been cancelled, adding that she also asked Baxter what happened.“That n*gger did not need to be marrying a white woman,” Watts said Baxter’s wife told her. “He needed to be in confinement all along.”The closing arguments in the case are expected to be delivered this...
TSgt Geraldine Lovely's rants of lower-ranking black women in a video have generated over 1 million views that has many people calling for her job.Lovely, a member of the 99th Force Support Squadron who has made many posts while in uniform, expressed her disgust with black women and their attitudes: “it pisses me the f–k off that they have no respect and constantly have an attitude.” She said, “They’re talking down to me. I’m trying to tread lightly as a higher-ranking (non-commissioned officer) to not blow the f–k up and start a fight club.”Her insecurities may have gotten the best of her as the Las Vegas Sun reported on Monday that Air Force officials have removed Lovely from her supervisory role while they investigate, releasing the following statement:“While the actions of this individual are inappropriate and unacceptable, we are using this unfortunate situation to continue a dialogue with our Airmen about the topic of good order and discipline."Was it racist or was TSgt Lovely simply demanding the respect she deserves?Watch the full rant below, and share your...
A class at Salisbury University has employed a “white supremacy pyramid” as a teaching method.The class, “Diversity and the Self,” is a required course for anyone seeking an elementary education degree at the institution. The pyramid is divided into seven categories: genocide, violence, call to violence, discrimination, veiled racism, minimization and indifference.The pyramid ranks various macro and microaggressions by impact under each category. Terms like “mass murder” and “unjust police shootings” are at the top while “racist jokes” and “avoid confrontation with racist family members” sit at the bottom.“This class was extremely difficult to get through if you did not think like a liberal. Instead of teaching diversity, this class taught us that being white was a bad thing,” an anonymous student told conservative website Campus Reform.“We were told that we were only privileged because we are white and basically we did not actually work for what we have.”
Breaking and entering, burglary, destruction of property, and then crying victim. All against brown bears. #mindblown @calichulo
A post shared by #CleanDreamAct (@undocumedia) on Jun 29, 2017 at 7:30pmThe course is taught by Erin Stutelberg who, according to Delmarva Public Radio, didn’t want her students to only associate racism with groups like the Ku Klux Klan.Salisbury University supports Stutelberg’s use of the pyramid. “The white supremacy pyramid is just one of the tools Dr. Stutelberg said she used to teach her students to think critically about race, class and gender,” the university told Fox News in a statement. “Per University academic freedom policies, faculty are free to disseminate to their students' information, even when controversial, so long as it is educationally...
Tina and Trina Fletcher are twin sisters who are trailblazing the education policy sector and changing lives while they're at it.
The Fletcher sisters are authors, consultants and motivational speakers motivated to inspire and dedicated to serve. Born and raised in rural Arkansas, the Fletcher sisters have always been determined to positively impact the lives of others, especially youth, women and girls. The Fletcher sisters have spoken at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, businesses, faith and non-profit organizations across the country and globe with the goal of empowering youth and young adults through education, leadership development and their personal story of success. The Fletcher sisters are the Founders of Dream Girls DMV and ARK, an organization focused on the holistic development of women and girls here in the United States and in Africa. The Fletcher sisters have been named IMPACT Leaders of the Month and Top 30 Under 30 by 93.9 WKYS. They are the authors of 10 Steps to Succeeding at ANY College and Surviving High School: A Teen's Guide to Academic and Social Success.
We spoke with the Fletcher sisters about their motivations and commitment to education. Read the interview below for an inspirational conversation around the vitality of education and access for black youth.
Transcription edited for clarity purposes.
Blavity: Will you tell us more about your upbringing and how that influenced your career paths?
Tina: The town that we lived in has just over 850 people. The school in our little town was consolidated so we were actually bussed to the next town over to go to school. We took education very seriously because we are first-generation college students. Our great grandmother had ten children and each of those ten children on average had about three kids, so we come from a very large family. We were the first to go to college since our great uncle in the '70s. We knew we wanted to take advantage of every academic opportunity that came our way because we knew we were setting the stage for everyone that came after us in our family. That's why we are so passionate. Trina is working on her PhD which will be her fourth degree, I have two degrees, and now we see our cousins going to school and choosing to become educated. They see us as role models and look up to us, and we know education is the reason why we were able to do that. So now we are looking to do more work in education because we know that's the answer for a lot of kids who feel like they don’t have the same options to do great things. We know education is the key to so many opportunities.
Trina: I would just add that another key thing is that my mom, being a single parent, she was 8-9 months pregnant with us on her 21st birthday. You're talking about someone who didn't have a lot of support from her family, and when she couldn't get the help she needed with us that made her do whatever it took to make sure we were successful. So even though there were days where she couldn't help us with our homework or she couldn't put us in a tutoring program, she instilled in us to make sure we were going out to get whatever help we needed to get to ensure that we could be successful academically, because she knew that college was the only way we were going to get out of Arkansas. We knew education was extremely important.
Photo: Dream Girls DMV at the UN Girl Up DC Event
B: Tell us more about your organization, Dream Girls ARK and DMV. What I love about the mission is that it's rooted in a holistic approach, tell us more about why that approach was necessary.
Tina: When I was teaching at Anacostia High School, which is the lowest performing high school in Washington D.C., I noticed that as summer approached, a lot of my students didn’t have plans for the summer. No one went to summer camp and no one want on vacation. This was the case for weekends throughout the school year also. I was coaching the cheerleading squad and I had a close relationship with a lot of the female students. Trina and I said why don’t we just take a lot of the girls to a WNBA game? We have a WNBA team here in the city, yet our kids never get to go to games. So we fundraised and pulled together our friends and colleagues and said "Hey, we are going to take these 50 students aged 3 – 18 to this game, can you come with us and chaperone?" The turnout was great, so we ended up hosting two events that summer.
At the end of the summer the parents asked to us to please make it a real thing, because their daughters loved the experience and there was nothing else like it in the city. And so Trina and I ended up finding a great partner in Cora Masters Barry, who is the former first lady of the city, and she allowed us to use the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center to launch our mentoring program. The reason why we wanted to focus on a holistic approach was because we knew it was more than just homework, fitness and mentorship, it was all of this. So we knew that if the girls attended every other Saturday and we didn’t feed them, mentor them, tutor them and allow them to know that it’s okay to exercise, they wouldn't benefit wholly from the program. We knew that our girls had to be exposed two times over. So we created this system in which they were getting all of these things every time they were with us. Some mentoring programs focus on one thing, but we knew our girls needed all of the above. There were girls who were 5 years old, and now they’re in middle school running for student government. We are able to see the work we put into these young ladies, and even our mentors — some of them now are attorneys, and we have to believe that something we did or said impacted their lives.
Trina: In addition to Dream Girls, we began taking on a number of Women’s History Month speaking engagements. I remember having a conversation with students at universities, just talking about women’s empowerment and being able to lean on each other and treat each other with respect in order to be successful in our personal and professional lives, and that’s something we’re very happy that we’ve been able to do.
Tina: Trina and I have been to Senegal training and mentoring women who don’t even speak the same language as us, yet we realized quickly their issues are the same as ours. The messages we share with American girls and women equally resonates with the women and girls we've worked with in East Africa. We have to learn to lean on and trust one another, learning to love each other is really important.
B: I couldn't help but notice that both of you hold positions that put you at the policy-making table. Tell us more about why representation in Education Policy is so important.
Trina: I’m finishing my PhD and I had no intention taking a full time job before finishing, and this amazing opportunity came up to be the K-12 director of NSBE, one of the largest student-run organizations in the country, and one of the largest minority-run non-profit organizations focusing around K-12 and higher education and policy. I often say that I don’t care if young students are going into engineering or not, my top priority is to see them be able to do something with it. I want to see more kids graduating from junior high and high school and going on to college. When I look at the work that I do, with NSBE and with our consulting company, education is the real answer. If you look at the amount of jobs that are being created, the jobs coming down the pipeline with the highest pay, if our children don’t know about these opportunities or know that they don’t have to go to a major university to succeed, they’re not going to pursue it. So we’re going to see jobs being created, cities grow and gentrify, and we’re not even at the table. It doesn’t make sense when the population for people of color is growing the way that it is, yet our kids are not being exposed to the education that they need to be prepared for those jobs. That is a major issue for our country and we don’t talk about it enough. Even in my position having all the control and power I have, there’s still a lot of red tape. So Tina and I decided to start our own consulting company to work directly with school districts, community leaders, major nonprofits, to be able to move the needle even more because there’s so much work that needs to be done.
Tina: I totally agree, Trina is very K-12 focused, as for me as a former high school teacher, I’ve had two former students killed in D.C. and so for me, I look at the impact of inequity in education and how it impacts entire families and our communities. How is our current K-12 education system negatively impacting our communities? We’re graduating students who are not prepared to do anything after high school. I think about how we have to fix education today in order to prevent issues that are coming down the pipeline in the next 10-20 years. We know that education is one of those avenues where we can help strengthen families and communities.
Trina: One of the underlying focuses for us is that we want to be proactive. We want to get underneath issues before major problems can happen. Making sure students in our communities know what opportunities are out there, to having conversations with local community leaders to better understand challenges young people and families are dealing with. So Tina spends a lot of time, as a current elected official in the D.C. area, helping people come together and work in solidarity in order to prevent a lot of the issues we are seeing. That goes back to having this mindset of being proactive. How can we get underneath these issues prior to them instead of being reactive? I do believe fully that there’s more that we can do to be proactive.
Tina: We see ourselves as the middle person, bringing people to the table to have serious conversations saying what are our options, what are our solutions, and how do we do this together? Because yelling at two sides of the room doesn’t get us to a centralized solution for the entire community.
Photo: Tina and Trina Divine Nine Photo Shoot
B: How do you fight apathy in the work that you do?
Tina: I was working with the Mayor of D.C. and I was the Director of Community Engagement for a newly-appointed Deputy Mayor working with underserved communities. The Mayor literally said, "I’m going to create a position for the poorest underserved communities in the city." My job was to go out to the most troubled neighborhoods every day. So I was in public housing every week hosting job fairs, hosting roundtable discussions with single mothers, I mean everything you can think of. We were attempting to be innovative and creative, because this work had never been done. Living in a neighborhood that is going through a 100 percent increase in homicides and doing this work every day, it was very taxing. There were days when I wanted to pack my bags and move back to Arkansas. Because I’d rather live on a dirt road and not have to hear sirens than to wake up every day trying to fix a problem that seems like there is no solution, but I decided that running wasn't the answer and that taking it one day at a time would help me focus on what needed to be done. I will say Trina and I use travel to stay motivated, I know that is not an option for everyone, but it is so important to get out of the area you’re from to miss it, and to miss your job. That might be every other weekend, take a trip somewhere, because the pain of the work will take over, but it’s also important for you to remember that the work you’re doing is so important. When I was able to help a returning citizen get a job, I just felt like I won the lottery, because I did the inevitable. That is my advice, make sure you find time to pull yourself away from the work so you can give yourself completely to the work when you’re in it.
Trina: Try to find a way to get on a project where you can see your value added. Whether it is at the end of the day or at the end of the week, you can see where you’re making a difference. One thing that I’m very fortunate to have are effective program evaluations, so I can see how my students are doing after they participate in our program. Even with Dream Girls, even though we knew about all of the issues and challenges, we implemented pre-program and post-program surveys to gauge if we were having an impact. And one thing we made sure to do with our consulting company is that we won’t work on a project or do a speaking engagement without knowing what our impact was, what we did well, what we need to improve on in order to move the needle. So when things aren't perfect, we’re able to learn from it. Regarding self-care, it is so important to have people around you to remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing, but also people who will help you stay grounded and true to who you are and remind you that you’re human just like everyone else. It’s okay to not be super engaged all the time and just take care of your mind, body and soul. Even though we are in a world where social media and technology are ingrained in our culture, it’s okay to take a step back.
Photo: Dream Girls DMV Group Photo
B: Tell us about some of the challenges you went through while starting your own consulting firm. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Trina: My advice is do not allow fear to get in the way of you following your dreams. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, network with your mentors, relationships are so important. Money and fear were both major challenges for us. Fear still gets to us. I would encourage people to be fearless, work hard, connect with people and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I would challenge young people to push forward.
Tina: We were lucky. We got into doing this because there was a yearly conference I attended each year while in undergrad. One year, I asked Trina if she would mind going to the conference as workshop hosts. She agreed and so we were first-year graduate students presenting workshops at the SBSLC conference. From there, people started inviting us to their college. It was strange because we were 23 years old going to colleges and speaking to 21-year-olds about resume building. We just kept going and stayed ambitious. We were fearless. As young black professionals and women of color, as we started climbing the ladder in our professional positions, we faced challenges that made us question our ability and skills because of what’s going on at work. On the side, we are our own bosses — we're doing great and making our own money, so why are we allowing these people in our professional jobs to make us feel less than adequate?
This is such a huge conversation that we need to have with young professionals. One piece of advice, whatever your goal is, is to prepare properly while you’re in college. A lot of young people unintentionally ruin their chances of becoming financially independent because of financial decisions they make in college. There are people leaving undergrad with $50-60 thousand in undergrad debt. Much of which they didn’t need. A lot of debt prevents you from being able to quit your job. Fear will stop you from doing everything. You can’t have fear but you have to properly prepare. Set yourself up for success. Start investing in yourself. Properly prepare as early as possible so you can have the life you want.
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I haven’t talked to my former best friend in nearly 8 months and though sometimes I miss our sisterhood, I don’t miss her. I met Alexandra when I was 25 (maybe a bit younger) when we both worked at a popular local jewelry store. We clicked immediately and became instantly inseparable. At the time, when I first started, I was only 1 of 3 black faces that worked at that location. Needless to say being everyone’s token black associate in a company full of casual racists, got old fast. I couldn’t keep track of the number of times I’d witnessed black patrons of the retail side of the store followed for “looking suspicious” and observed the workers of the jewelry side treat black customers like they couldn’t afford to make some of the higher end purchases. I was over it. I finally lost my patience and every last f**k I had to give, becoming short-tempered and vocal about my anti-capitalist views and disdain for their “colorblind” rhetoric.Through all of this Alexandra became my great escape. She was my best friend so she couldn’t be racist. Yeah, she was an upper middle-class white girl, who wouldn’t know true oppression if it kicked her in the face. But she was my friend, and she had been there for me when a lot of people weren’t. Also, when I checked her on certain things she said that offended me, she listened. At least she seemed to.After the George Zimmerman verdict, Alexandra proved once and for all that she was just another willfully ignorant, faux centrist; who really thought all lives mattered. The night of the verdict I voiced my stress and hurt to her and even fear of what could happen to my son. She wasted no time explaining away the murder as an accident and painting Zimmerman as a frightened concerned citizen. Terrified of a thug in a hoodie.I was shocked. My brain couldn’t even comprehend what she was saying. How could anyone see Tamir Rice as anything but a kid visiting his dad? How could anyone see Zimmerman as anything but a cold-blooded murderer? However, she was my best friend and entitled to her opinion. She wasn’t racist. After Trayvon Martin’s murder, I became more and more active in black organizations in my state and I came in contact with many great activist groups through Facebook. I woke up and started speaking out more on injustice and dedicated to learning more about politics and social justice. I deleted many friends on Facebook, got into many heated debates and eventually deleting the app altogether. Through all of these changes Alexandra was still in my life and I still considered her a friend despite drifting a great deal apart. And each time a black life was lost at the people who were sworn to protect them, we drifted further.Then the unthinkable happened, America decided to shed its guise of a nation of equal opportunity, of truth and justice. White America elected Donald J. Trump - a racist reality TV Star- as their president. Like many other black Americans, I felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone and it was time to step up and fight. I had work to do and the hardest work started with myself.My former bestie thought differently about her new president. A few weeks, maybe even a month or more after the election, Alexandra called me for a quick catch-up session. After about 10 minutes of mindless chit-chat, 45 and his policies came up and she quickly let me know how she felt about “the hate group” Black Lives Matter and how sensitive I was. I mean c’mon all lives matter right? Wrong. I politely let Alexandra know how I felt about her president and her for taking the side of White Supremacy. I also let her know that no, all lives didn’t matter and reminded her of the countless conversations where I’d try to break down white supremacy in America and give her the facts that supported everything I said. I was no longer going to be her educator, she was fully capable of accessing the internet and finding out the information herself, I was done doing the work for her, I was doing the work for all white people.I haven’t spoken to her since. The thing I regret most? Not ending the friendship sooner and ignoring her racism for as long as I did. I had to say goodbye to someone I thought was my best friend, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes standing up to racism starts with standing up to the people you love...
Sometimes I wonder if it would be different if I wasn’t Bridget. If they didn’t know me, but they knew my skin and the stereotypes behind it. If they didn’t know where I came from and the values that I grew up with. If they didn’t know my parents — one being black, the other being white — and how their strong love for each other brought them together, even when they were both married when they met. How they worked hard and built a family with an infectious love for each other that made growing up with them like a scene out of a corny family sitcom. How following my dreams and being myself was always applauded in my household. How I’m a loyal friend, a goofy partner in crime and a strong shoulder that is always there to soak up the tears. How I’ve excelled in sports, played basketball in college and went on to get my master's degree, all in five years.But, is it required to know my qualifications, where I’ve come from and what I’m about, to be accepted by my white counterparts?During the 2016 presidential election, and after President Trump was voted into office, a lot of concepts involving my race and how people in my life identify me have been brought into the bright and shining light. I’m not all the way sure if this is true, and this is not a story of facts, but one on how I’m feeling based on how the current political climate has revealed thoughts I’ve never had before about how family and friends may categorize me.My family is both black and white. Although qualities from both sides of the family have helped me become the person I am today, my views on what I am to them has changed. It feels like I am Bridget to them. I’m the funny, loud and rambunctious cousin, granddaughter or niece that has always been a lot of fun in the family. The one that has been there growing up, taking care of the little cousins, there to help cook on the holidays and there making plenty of smart ass jokes around the holiday dinner table. But what if I wasn’t Bridget to them? What if I was the same person with the same background, but they didn’t know who I was? What if they only saw my skin? Would they think the same of me, or would I be something else to them? Would the stereotypes around the color of my skin define my background? Would assumptions of what I might say or the kind of person I’m labeled to be define who I was to them? Would what they’ve seen and heard from others be who I was to them?While staying at an aunt’s house this summer, I found a Trump sticker in her office. While rummaging around photos in my grandma’s office, I found a photo of a family member smiling in front of a confederate flag. In no way do I think this defines them as the people they are today because they grew up in a sheltered community during a different time, and mostly, I think they had a lot of growing up to do. They are more enlightened today not only because they are older, but because they’ve had life experiences that have taught them better, and also because my mom married a black man into the family. An amazing, kindhearted and genuine black man that has loved their daughter or sister more than any other man my mom has ever introduced them to. A man that probably turned their perspective on black people, and the stereotypes they may have believed as true, on its head.But, after seeing those photos and seeing who they voted for this election, it made me feel like they didn't take into consideration that other shade that has been introduced to the family. But I know they didn't see it that way. That’s not what their intentions were when they walked into that voting booth, but that is how it feels.The man who is our president today has no care in the world for any color except white, and with the high racial tensions that he has enhanced, it makes me wonder, how did you think voting for him wasn’t voting against Bridget, and Newell (my dad) and Newell Jr. (my brother)? This is a man who is not in support of minorities of any kind, and has time and time again shown himself to be a supporter and trailblazer for white America.I wonder if this is just a case of not making connections and not understanding the full statement that is being made when you vote for a candidate with specific prejudicial ideologies. Which I think it is.I think much of the time the white friends and family that I have — and that I love to death — don’t see me as a person of color, but as Bridget. They disassociate the color from the person, but I am not grey. Some have to learn from one person to open their eyes to some of the stereotypes that have been set in their minds from the beginning of their life, to understand they are wrong. But, I don’t want you to think of me separate from my race to accept me, and I shouldn’t have to be Bridget for you to see me as nothing less than a person. I should be able to be a biracial woman that is not a stereotype, just like many others are not an embodiment of the slander against black skin. Separating my personality from my shade is keeping us in the same place, repeating history. Just some thoughts....
A new video produced by Procter & Gamble shows that there are two Americas in which one is tougher for black people because of racism and systematic oppression. "The Talk" illustrates a few different scenarios black parents have had to educate their children about race, bigotry, racial profiling, and micro-aggressions.In one vignette, a mother comforts her daughter after--- a presumably ---white woman tells her she is "pretty for a black girl." The girl appears to be sad by this and a little confused but her mother reassures her that she is "beautiful period" and that woman's compliment wasn't one.Throughout the 2-minute short film, other stories are featured. A young boy learns the truth about the n-word, a teen learns about driving while black, another learns about racial profiling from police and others learn the harsh reality of prejudice they may face. “Our goal with ‘The Talk’ is to help raise awareness about the impact of bias,” Damon Jones, director of global company communications at Procter & Gamble, told the HuffingtonPost. “We are also hopeful that we can make progress toward a less biased future by recognizing the power of people of all backgrounds and races showing up for one another.”Watch the powerful short and see if you or anyone you know have had any of these...
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (CCBC) has counted the number of books published by and about people of color every year since 1994.In 2016, NPR reports, the CCBC found that there were 427 children’s books published that were written or illustrated by people of color. Slightly higher, thankfully, was the number of books about people of color. Out of the 3,400 children’s books published last year, 736 — or 22 percent — were about people of color.CCBC defines people of color as being black, Latino, Native American, Asian or Pacific American; together, these groups make up 38 percent of America.And yet, not even 38 percent of narratives are about them. Fortunately, things are looking up. 20 years ago, the CCBC’s annual census showed that only nine percent of children’s books were about people of color.The CCBC’s director, Kathleen Horning, acknowledged the progress, but lamented attitudes prevalent in publishing, “There’s no problem with publishing five or six books in a season about bunnies, but if we’re talking about books about black boys?”This week, one children’s book on The New York Times’ bestseller list features a protagonist of color — a black girl named Ada Twist who wants to be a scientist.One book is certainly better than none, but let’s hope more publishers adopt Stacey Barney’s attitude. A senior editor at Penguin Putnam Young Readers, Barney told NPR that she believes, “books that are about black people or about Muslims or about Asians can also find a home and be loved by people who are not that culture.”If black children enjoy reading about hungry caterpillars and white boys who find out just where the wild things are, then certainly children of all colors can get behind Ada Twist and other girls like...
These conversations aren't new, but they are important. "Dear Child," the impactful video above, was made by the Jubilee Project. It includes honest, candid conversations from black parents and young adults regarding the things that are always in the back of the minds of both. And although the group recognizes that a video isn't a solution to these issues, for them to share these honest words is a great step to starting a conversation and opening the eyes of many.For more video content like this, sign up for Blavity's daily...
On Nov. 4, Loving, a monumental love story, will hit theaters. But more importantly, this love story is a historical look at a case that changed the rights that those in love have forever. It’s not only a story that makes for a cinematic experience, it’s a story that showcases the lengths that people will go to for true love, and how one couple’s strength and determination opened the doors for so many after them.In 1958, a Virginia couple was arrested for getting married. More than 50 years ago, Richard and Mildred Loving had police officers burst into their home and their bedroom, demanding to know why they were together. After this incredibly invasive experience, the couple was taken to jail and threatened to the point of being forced to leave the state for a quarter-century — all because Mildred was a black woman.Loving shows the struggles this couple endured all in the name of love, and it does so in a humanizing, relatable way.The film stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as Mildred and Richard Loving. And although the figures they play are no longer with us, judgment and disapproval of interracial marriage is still around. Even if it’s no longer illegal, there exists obvious racism in this world, and Loving is the latest film to explore it and help us to reflect.And what’s so powerful about Loving is its focus. It's a love story at its core, something that everyone can feel and relate to, no matter their background. And although it teaches history and covers a court case, it never feels forced or anything other than genuine.Writer-director Jeff Nichols is behind the film that’s sure to be talked about by critics and casual viewers alike. Nichols hails from Arkansas and manages to tell the story of this hate-filled law, a remnant of slavery, in a way that helps viewers to understand how Richard and Mildred might have been feeling at the time.They are layered characters. We see how they came to be, how they came to be together and why their love was strong enough to endure the hate and lack of understanding.Overall, Loving stands apart from the rest. For a history lesson and a love story all wrapped up in one humble package, see it when it hits theaters this weekend. Until then, check out the trailer below.This post is in partnership with Focus Features.For more content like this, sign up for Blavity's daily...
He goes in on the secret racial word play in sports
When it comes to descriptions and characterizations, stated words can have a greater significance residing underneath the selected verbiage. This is especially true when it comes to the sometimes strained relationship between sports and the media.
Some of us grew up hearing the statements from Jimmy the Greek, listening to racially-tinged play calls from Howard Cosell and continue to fume over the infamous "thug" label constantly bestowed on Black men by the media. But while those are overt examples of racial ignorance, insensitivity or racism (depending upon your personal feelings on the matter), it's the covert usage of words that have affected athletes of color in a different way.
A Black athlete is called a "showboat" or labeled a poor example for the youth when celebrating, while the celebrations of white athletes are deemed colorful or entertaining. When you really think about it, it's not that subtle at all, and last week we experienced another case where insensitivity and verbal ignorance lead to a harsh response from the hardwood.
Phil Jackson, President of the NY Knicks, was speaking with reporter Jackie MacMullan and said this about LeBron's time in South Beach:
When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night. They don’t do overnights. Teams just don’t. So now [coach Erik] Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, ‘What do I do in this situation?’ And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, ‘You are on the plane, you are with this team.’ You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.
For those in the know, the key word was "posse." This is one of the trigger code words used in descriptions of Black culture, and it doesn't refer to the movie by Mario Van Peebles. Some thought it was racist, some felt it was insensitive or improper while others didn't think it was a big deal.
For more on this, check out the full story on The Shadow...