In high school I worked at the local Santa Cruz County Immigration Center in Watsonville, California, an agricultural town inhabited largely by Mexican immigrants and their descendants. One service we offered was assisting clients in filling out immigration paperwork, as the majority of them did not speak English and a number of them could not read or write, even in their native language. A peculiarity that stood out to me was how, when filling out the race and ethnicity section, we instructed all our clients to check Hispanic for ethnicity and white for race. Clients were periodically confused at the race box: why did they check white when in the United States they were constantly made aware of their non-whiteness?
Lupita Nyong’o. The name of the Kenyan-born actress is on everybody’s lips after she won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress last night. Nyong’o plays the physically and verbally abused slave Patsey in Twelve Years A Slave, and her acceptance speech reflected the grace, intelligence, and humility that she has demonstrated throughout the awards season. Her performance as Patsey is gripping and formidable, one that leaves you still reeling as you leave the theater. Continue reading
In our education system, students are not given an appropriate education in history. When they learn American history, much of the semester or year is spent learning about wars, presidents, and economic failure. They get a few days at the beginning of the course learning about the different Native American cultures and history, and about a week (or less) focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. Then the curriculum goes right back to “American” History. Continue reading
I was not surprised when I learned that Michael Dunn hadn’t been charged with first-degree murder. He may have racked up a lifetime in prison, but the jurors refused to attribute any of that time to the murder of Jordan Davis. After all, it was just last year that a jury acquitted George Zimmermann of Trayvon Martin’s murder. And that wasn’t surprising because prior to the Martin incident, black men had been consistent and deliberate targets of violence for hundreds of years in this country. Continue reading
In recognition of Black History month, The Stripes has decided to now publish another Round Table discussion we recently hosted, one which sought to address the differences and divides between the community of recently immigrated African-Americans and the community of blacks who are historically (for multiple generations) American. For the discussion, we invited a range of participants, including those from each of the aforementioned communities, and also those who were removed from both of those communities (for example, the president of Princeton’s African Student group, who happens to be a white female).
In my opinion, one of the cruelest things you can do to a modern, western, black individual is inquire into his or her ancestral background.
In America, people are rarely so insensitive, given their general knowledge of colonial history, but this frequently happens to me when I go abroad. And, quite frankly, it sucks. The inquiry almost always arises out of friendly intention and general curiosity, which is obvious when the questioner’s face lights up in a smile.
“So where are you from?”
In honor of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, The Stripes was excited to capture some of the action at the Black Love discussion this past Wednesday in our very first multimedia special! To respect the event as a safe/open space, we did not include audio from the actual discussion and instead interviewed students afterwards.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer.
My reasons were not heroic. I did not initially see writing as a way for me to think about my role as an African immigrant in America. As a child, I did not fully understand how the lack of black heroes and heroines in the books I read affected my writing and my self-worth. For me, writing served was just a fun outlet.
I recently came across numbers from the Pew Research Center indicating that nearly 40% of Asian American women marry out of their race, in comparison to the national average of about 14.5% for both sexes. Continue reading
Since I began working to develop The Stripes, searching for contributors to help foster our campus’s racial and cultural discourse, I have become familiar with a certain type of dissenter.
This person is not like those who most need The Stripes, neither ignorant nor contemptuous in his stance against advancing racial relations. Instead, this type of person, usually a minority himself, and well aware of the conditions that face his community, holds resolute indifference towards the struggle that activists engage. Continue reading