“You can’t play your race card when discussing this issue. Bringing race into this matter will not get us anywhere. I am telling you now, it won’t be a constructive conversation.” John Doe said this to a woman of color while we were discussing the socio-economic effects of government programs in one of my undergraduate classes. He angrily slammed his hands on the table and began chugging his water. I imagined that he grabbed his water to cool himself down as if there was a fire inside of him that he needed to put out. Another classmate stated that our country was founded on racism and I stated, “these policies are supposedly ‘race-neutral,’ but are not. By not considering race, we are disregarding more than half the people in this country.” (I thought to myself: race is a part of everything in this country, ignoring it only makes it worse.) As silence ensued, my professor quickly turned to another portion of our assigned reading. However, I could not focus on anything else. I called my mother after the class and recalled the event to her. She said, “With each generation, things get better, but then you hear someone say something like that. It makes you think: are we better now?”
Throughout my time working with the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice, I’ve been exposed to amazing concepts that reflect on issues affecting our society.
I personally love researching for fun, but not everyone shares that love … or the same views I do. If you want to engage your mind, then I recommend the following books:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
In her memoir, the former First Lady takes us on a journey to the White House. Mrs. Obama debunks many false rumors by sharing her life story. She elegantly describes every hurdle, obstacle, failure, mistake, and success she has encountered thus far. And, while describing her White House years, Mrs. Obama gives special thanks to our very own Interim Dean, Verna L. Williams. Check it out!
Everyone will have different experiences while working over the summer. Some may find the work load difficult or easy. Some may find the law frustrating or rewarding. At some point, all law school students will experience these feelings, however not everyone will experience the same work environment. Some students will experience microaggressions.
Microaggressions are brief and commonplace — daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities and invalidations, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group or “outsiders”. “Outsiders” are individuals who do not come from the dominant culture. They are women, people of color, and the LGBQT community. Usually, the “well-intentioned” people are the microaggressors–they are the ones who actively say and/or believe they are not racist, sexist, or homophobic; however, their actions or expressions say otherwise.
The most touching viral videos I’ve seen recently are the ones of children who are colorblind who see color for the first time. These children often only see the world in muted colors or no color at all. But they are given a gift of special lenses that allow them to see all the vibrant shades of their surroundings. These videos are beautiful in and of themselves, but recently they’ve taken on a new meaning for me.
Growing up, I was colorblind in how I saw the world. Though I knew other races, religions, and cultures existed, I had limited exposure to them. My family never really spoke about race because there was never a reason to do so. I grew up in a primarily white neighborhood, went to primarily white schools, watched television shows and movies that mostly starred white characters. Throughout my childhood I only knew a small handful of students who were of a different race and religion than me limiting my view of the world.