At every protest I’ve participated in or been to—whether it’s been in Ferguson, which is only twenty minutes away from my home in St. Louis, or on Princeton’s campus—the signs held up by most protestors have boasted the names of slain Black men. At those same protests in which activists, young and old, highlight the deaths of Black men, I always notice one lone and audacious woman holding up a sign with the names of murdered Black girls and women penned on it.
After my first semester at Princeton University, I was excited to return home to Guam for winter break. However, instead of being happy to be back in what most people deem as a “tropical paradise,” I was reminded of something sobering: I am poor. Compared to the comforts provided at Princeton, the living conditions of my family seemed dismal. While some students complain about their dorm beds being too lumpy or the water pressure in the restrooms being too low, I was grateful for these things after having to sleep on the couch and floor for my entire life and to use a bucket to flush the toilets at home.
Imagine being in seventh grade. Your despotic math teacher, unable to distinguish between the voices that were speaking during class, has held your entire class after for detention. About fifteen or twenty minutes in, you hear the secretary in the office call your name over the intercom. As she tries to explain that you have to leave, you hear your father’s booming voice in the background:
“SHE CAN’T STAY FOR DETENTION! WE ARE JEWS! WE HAVE TO OBSERVE THE SABBATH!!”
There exists a global indifference to black suffering. While we proclaim that all lives matter, our society tends to discuss black lives in a reductive manner. Time and time again, we are reminded that black bodies were conditioned at birth for suffering. Continue reading
Last month, Justin Simien’s film “Dear White People” premiered across American theaters. Days before its official release, the film had an early screening near Princeton University campus as a part of Princeton’s black alumni reunion weekend. Since that showing, and the subsequent nation-wide release, several members of The Stripes have watched DWP and weighed in with their impression. Continue reading
On October 2nd, over 100 students, faculty and other members of the Princeton community gathered on Frist South Lawn to participate in a candlelight vigil honoring Mike Brown and other recent victims of police brutality. As protests continue to stir the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, students came together to reflect and demonstrate solidarity in the face of our country’s race relation challenges.
My roommate and I have a running joke, the perfect encapsulation of our on-going dialogue about our place in society as the children of immigrants. What do white people eat for dinner? She is Korean and I am Sudanese and we are visibly otherenough so that when someone looks at us, they automatically bring with them a set of assumptions and act out a set of prejudices.
In his article “Black Heritage: A Fight For Identity”, The Stripes’ Kovey Coles outlines a few encounters where people have inquired of his heritage. Most of the encounters that he lists occurred abroad, between him and a nonnative English speaker. However, the article was mainly focused on Mr. Coles’ feeling that because many Blacks in American do not know their true heritage, any inquiry into their ancestry is insensitive.
As a Black person, I agree that it is somewhat insensitive, and I admit that I too have felt a twinge of envy when my lighter complexioned friends are able to claim certain percentages of German, Italian, Swiss, Portuguese, and perhaps even Native American descent. But the fact that he is discomforted by this question suggests that he sees our history as a source of shame, as something that needs to be covered up.