Blog for the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at University of Cincinnati
Johnnie Fitzpatrick is a second-year student at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He is a member of UC Law's Black Law Students Association, Trial Advocacy Team, and Moot Court Board. His interests include national politics, improving American race relations, and the economic empowerment and educational advancement of the African American community.
Recently, Florida Secretary of State Mike Ertel resigned after photos of him dressed in blackface as a Hurricane Katrina victim surfaced. Ertel was appointed as Florida Secretary of State by first-term governor Ron DeSantis. Governor DeSantis, a Republican, defeated Andrew Gillum – the first African American democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida – last November in the election. Ironically, (perhaps not), DeSantis is the same man who told Floridians just days before the election: “the last thing we need to do is monkey this up…” This was a clear reference to Mr. Gillum’s race, and a message to Floridians not to elect the state’s first Black governor. Apparently, Governor DeSantis’s Secretary of State shared some of the same racial sentiments as the man who appointed him.
Blackface was one of the most notable features of minstrelsy. What, ironically, started off as African American slaves mimicking slave masters and owners turned into white people putting burnt cork or shoe polish on their faces and acting as Black caricatures.
“The Hate UG[a]ve Little Infants F**ks Everybody, meaning What you feed us as seeds grows and blows up in your face”
– Tupac Shakur
The Hate U Give is a powerful, must-see-drama/thriller. While the film is heart-wrenching, its message leaves its viewers with much optimism. The film was inspired by a phrase coined by the late, iconic rapper Tupac Shakur: “T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.” Throughout his 25-year life, Tupac revolutionized the music industry with hits like “Dear Mama,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Changes,” and dozens more that would inspire generations to come. ‘Pac also used his platform to shed light on how racism was the catalyst for social and political issues facing the Black community, such as poverty and police brutality. These are constant themes present in The Hate U Give.
In The Hate U Give, director George Tillman, Jr. highlights one of American society’s most sensitive topics: racism. Particularly, it examines racism manifested through police brutality, microaggressions, implicit bias, and cultural appropriation. The plot emanates from the shooting death of an unarmed Black teen, Khalil, at the hands of a white policer officer. Starr Carter, the main character in the movie and Khalil’s lifelong best friend, witnesses the shooting.
This past month has been quite eventful for individuals who once called home a particular area in downtown Cincinnati – a group stricken by homelessness.
The downtown area that a group called home was under a cluster of overpasses at Third and Plum Streets. The group – comprised of around 50 individuals – set up a tent encampment under the overpass where they had slept for months, or maybe even years. The area, which is close to several parking lots used by people working downtown, housed the tent camp; hundreds of individuals passed by and through the area every day to get to and from work.