All Articles Tagged "racism"

Parents Banned From School After Complaining About Daughter Receiving Threatening Notes And Being Called Racial Slurs

March 24th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Nyzeria Neely

The Elkhart Truth

The parents of a Concord Intermediate School student in Indiana pulled their daughter out of school in the middle of the school year after she received a series of threatening notes believed to be from other students, The Elkhart Truth reports. In one note retrieved on Monday, March 16, NyZeria Neely is called a “n-gger” and told that she “doesn’t belong” at the school, where just under 10 percent of the student body is Black. One week prior to receiving the shocking note, Neely received another, which read: “Watch your back.”

While Neely, who is the only Black student in her high-ability class at Corncord, admits that she initially thought about crumpling up the note, she thought better and showed it to a teacher and Principal Chad Stamm. Neely recalls it being an awkward experience because school administrators didn’t seem to understand the severity of what had occurred and how it made her feel.

“He told me not to worry because it’s just words,” NyZeria said of Stamm. “But it’s more than words. I felt that it was offensive, very offensive.”

Superintendent Wayne Stubbs claims that the school is taking the threats very seriously and that the situation is being thoroughly investigated.

“Concord schools finds these situations to be very offensive and unacceptable in our schools, “ Stubbs said in an email. “Our building administrators take them seriously, as student safety is always our number one priority.”

However, Neely’s mom and dad are not convinced. Avonn Pratcher and Gina Neely showed up to Concord Intermediate School last Monday with a sign that read: “STOP BULLYING OUR CHILDREN.”

Unfortunately, the gesture seemed to backfire. Following a heated conversation with the school’s staff, Neely’s parents were issued a no-trespass order by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.

“We need something to be done about it,” said Pratcher. “We want a public apology. I want them to apologize to my daughter.”

The family is considering transferring Neely to Elkhart schools where at least 15 percent of the student population is Black.

“It’s kind of sad because I’m leaving all of my good friends behind, but I’m kind of happy to go to Elkhart schools. I’ve always wanted to go there,” said Neely.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Do People Have A Right To Be Mad At A Half-Black Woman Representing Japan At Miss Universe?

March 20th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

On March 8, Ariana Miyamoto made history by becoming the first Afro Asian to be crowned Miss Japan. And she’ll move on to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant. And while her victory is being celebrated by some, others aren’t particularly happy about it. Because outwardly, with a Japanese mother and an African American father, she doesn’t fit the typical mode of a Japanese woman.

And several Japanese people are taking issue with that because, according to the Washington Post, a half Japanese woman, called “haafu” in the culture, does not adequately represent the country, known as one of the most homogeneous places on Earth.

Though Miyamoto may look differently from her competition, the 20-year-old native of Sasebo in Nagasaki says that her soul is replete with Japaneseness. The model, who has an advanced mastery of the art of Japanese calligraphy, had to defend herself when she met with the Japanese media after she received her crown.

Professor of anthropology and Japanese studies at Harvard, Theodore Bestor, said that the Japanese like to think of their society and culture as having an identity that is “inaccessible to foreigners.”

But not everyone is against her representing the nation. Some feel like her selection represents a change in attitude in the country. Megumi Nishikura, who directed a film about mixed people in Japan, says this represents “a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese: “The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go.”

Another Japanese woman, Emi Foulk, studying Japanese history at UCLA said that the idea of criticizing a beauty contestant for not looking average is absurd. The whole point is that she’s supposed to be extraordinary. The very notion that it’s a beauty pageant means that she won’t be an average looking woman.

I think this is such an interesting story. It would be very easy to dismiss this as racism plain and simple. And I’m sure there are some people who are truly in their feelings about Miss Japan being a Black woman. But is this comparable to the way we feel when lighter skinned women are constantly chosen to represent us in the media, on runways and in beauty campaigns? Y’all know the outrage some felt at Zoe Saldana being cast as Nina Simone. It’s comparable to the way some Mexicans felt when the Puerto Rican Jennifer Lopez was cast as Selena.

While we could give the Japanese people a side-eye, I know this goes on in our own community as well. I know I’ve heard one too many stories about biracial people feeling ostracized by Black people they thought would embrace them.

Representation is important. And if you don’t feel represented by a particular individual is it always because of bigotry and intolerance?

Either way, as a Black woman, with very little knowledge about Japanese culture, I’m more than happy for Ms. Miyamota and I wish her all the luck in the Miss Universe pageant.


Black Man Found Hanging From A Tree In Mississippi

March 19th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Black Man Found Hanging From A Tree In Mississippi

Source: Shutterstock

The FBI is looking into the story behind the man whose body was found hanging from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi earlier today.

Authorities have yet to release his identity but the local NAACP chapter has said that the man is 54-year-old Otis Byrd.  The body was found in the woods about a half a mile from Byrd’s home. Officials are still trying to determine if the hanging was the result of a homicide or a suicide.

Police had been searching for Byrd since March 8 when his family filed a missing persons report. Before then, the last time Byrd was seen a friend was dropping him off at the Riverwalk Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Local police contacted the FBI to assist in collecting forensic and investigative evidence.

The NAACP is requesting that the Department of Justice get involved in the investigation.

“Well They Can Say It”: Celebrities Who Don’t Understand Why They Can’t Use The N-Word

March 19th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Is there any such thing as a “pass” when it comes to white people using the n-word? These celebrities certainly think so. Whether they were caught, outed, or stand proudly in defense of their use of the word, these celebrities apparently think dropping the occasional n-bomb is OK.

Common And The Current Political Ambiguity Of Conscious Rap

March 18th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Common And The Current Political Ambiguity Of Conscious Rap

Source: Comedy Central

First, who’s your favorite conscious rapper?

And secondly, what is a conscious rapper?

I asked this question about a month ago on my Facebook page and the consensus among most who responded was that a “conscious rapper” was an emcee who wasn’t afraid to make a much needed political and social critique in their music. While everyone who responded had their own ideas of which emcee out today best fit that label, they all pretty much agreed that the label gets thrown around way too much.

As wiki defines it, conscious rap, has its roots in the jazz poetry movement of the ’60’s and ’70’s, which included the likes of The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. However in this essay, An Historical Definition Of The Term Rap, Hip Hop historian Davey D reminds us that rap itself is shaped out of a long tradition of signifying, which was loud, brash, boastful and at times political. Probably the genre’s most notable influencer is former SNCC and Black Panther organizer H. Rap Brown, whose legendary signifying found its way in the Sugar Hill’s Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”

At any rate, as Hip Hop progressed, the conscious definitely have evolved over the years from its peak in the ’80’s when mainstream rappers like Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, KRS-One weren’t afraid to directly and aggressively pump a Black fist, yell at the cops, tell us to fight the power and more importantly, make all kinds of political statements. However what often constitutes conscious rapping today is a little more ambiguous.

And I think no one more illustrates that ambiguity than Common.

It should be noted that upon his arrival on scene, he didn’t look or sound anything like he does now. There was no talk of Black Panthers or worshiping the Black Queen. There were no crochet hat and pant sets. Instead, on his first album Can I Borrow A Dollar? Common Sense was your typical backpacker in baggy jeans and oversized sweaters, using clever word play and rapping about tricking “Heidi Hoe” over jazz beats.

Common kept up the same jazzy motif and slick word play on his second LP Resurrection which dropped in 1994. And although not as blunt as his first album, Common still loved talking about the ladies, reminding us all on the title track, “I’m a hoe, not a hoe-nigga.” But admittedly his rapping got a little more deep and self-reflective.

In particular, he took his “admiration” for the ladies and turned it into a metaphor about the decline of true Hip Hop in I Used to Love H.E.R. The track was a weird bit of respectability politics, which equated the purity of Hip Hop to a woman’s lost innocence and virginity.

Naturally, some folks, including fellow emcee Ice Cube, would take issue with Common’s assertion that “gangster” rap, which was the mainstream at the time, was ruining this figurative woman. Yet the song’s insightful critique would resonate with and draw strong praise from many Hip Hop fans who had grown disenchanted by the ever-increasing commercialization of the genre. The track would not only become a quintessential reference in Hip Hop’s history, but it was the moment, which helped to solidify Common’s place as a conscious rapper.

Post-Racial Already? Celebrities Who Say Racism Doesn’t Exist Anymore

March 18th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Is post-racial America here already? These celebrities say that the days of discrimination are behind us. Do you agree?

Kanye West Says Racism is A “Dated Concept”

March 14th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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In a recent interview with Clique TV, Kanye West described racism as “dated.”

When asked about the topic, West said “It’s like a silly concept that people try to touch on…to separate, to alienate, to pinpoint anything. It’s stupid.”

“It’s like a bouncing ball in a room with two cats, or something, when you don’t feel like playing with a cat. Let them literally fight over the bouncing ball. And the bouncing ball has nothing, no purpose, anything other than that: It bounces. That’s racism. It’s not an actual thing that even means anything.”

Kanye went on to say, “It’s something that was used to hold people back in the past, but now there’s been so many leaps and breaking of the rules that it’s like it’s played out like a style from the 1800s or something.”

However, Ye had a different perspective on the N Word. The rapper stated, it’s “difficult for black people right now. It does hurt when we hear that, because we’re still in a generation that remembers when racism was a big thing that held people back.”

“And it’s now it’s more classism,” he continued, “you’re social status can hold you back now.”

West definitely has unique views on things. I, personally, actually enjoy his interviews. What do you guys think? Do you agree?

Young And Dumb: Teen Girl Has Black Boyfriend Arrested To Ask Him To Prom

March 12th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Girl Has Black Boyfriend Arrested To Ask Him To Prom

Source: Twitter

More often than not, teenagers are, by nature immature. And often grossly naive about the world around them. If you haven’t had the pleasure of interacting with a teenager recently, then you may have forgotten this universal fact. But here’s a little something to remind you just how dense these young ones can be.

A teenage girl wanted to ask her boyfriend, Davyeon, to prom in an unforgettable way. And in order to do so, she had him arrested, at school, in front of their peers.

How clever, right?

Actually, nah.

With unarmed, innocent Black teenagers and grown men being arrested and even killed for absolutely nothing, this was actually rather insensitive, potentially traumatic and completely oblivious.

Smh. #Teenagers

But the girl, who goes by Salty Stephanie on Twitter, didn’t see it that way. Instead, she tweeted about the whole ordeal, with police, hearts and crying laughing emojis.

Once he got to the police car, there was a sign in the backseat that read, “Davyeon, Can I cuff you at prom?” 

I’ll give it to her, the sign is cute… in context. But wouldn’t some handcuffs placed in his locker or in his first period class, with that same sign, have done the trick?

I hope Stephanie’s parents didn’t know about this little plan. And I know if I were Davyeon’s parents, I would want to have a very sternly worded conversation with that little girl. I don’t think I have to explain the fear and humiliation one might feel being arrested in front of all of their classmates.

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

Fun Times.

Judging by his smile in the first photo set, Davyeon doesn’t seem too bothered by the whole thing; but then again, he’s a teenager too.

What do you think about this idea? Do you think she took it too far or was this a just a brilliantly creative plan?

If you were Davyeon’s parents, how would you react?

Univ. Of Oklahoma Frat Video Scandal Unites The Sooner Community Against Racism

March 11th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Oklahoma City


When news broke about the Sigma Alpha Epsilon scandal at the University of Oklahoma, there was great outrage throughout many of the communities here in my new home in the Sooner State. Just getting accustomed to “the southern life,” my guard quickly went up regarding racism. I expected to be outnumbered when it came to my opinion. What was surprising, however, were the conversations it created and swift reaction from both officials at the university and students. I honestly thought certain minority organizations would have to ban together and create a certain media following in order to see action from the university.

That obviously was not the case as University of Oklahoma president David Boren had no issue telling all the members to vacate the frat house without care or assistance to help them find a new place to live. He also expelled two students with whisperings he’s trying to boot more from the college. Even some protesters who rallied on campus to show their disgust of the SAE events questioned whether or not there need to be any more public displays because of the university’s actions. For once it seemed like we didn’t have to spoon-feed doing the right thing.

Even the cook who became unemployed from the incident has since been offered another position at the university.

It’s coming up on a year since my husband, son and I packed our bags and moved from the New York City area to Oklahoma. To say we experienced a bit of culture shock is an understatement.

Surprisingly, things have never been better.

There’s a great sense of pride you feel becoming an “Okie” resident. Even with its ups and downs, it’s a place that focuses on family and relaxed living. We were shocked at how welcoming our neighbors were considering we’re the only Black homeowners on our block. Unlike the suburb we lived in New Jersey (my husband owned a condo), folks here didn’t question how or why we’re able to live in a custom-built home. Everyone knows each other by name, will stop and wave and even send you something nice during the holidays.

These kinds of events show we have more progress that must be made, even in 2015. What this horrible video did was spark conversation and unity among residents, who want to show how unacceptable these actions are.

“They better do something about this and fast,” said one of the white ladies at my local gym. “I will pull my daughter out of that school quick, fast and in a hurry.”

“Who the heck raises their child to be so evil and disrespectful?” questioned a nearby corner store owner?

Since the video surfaced, I have noticed more discussions about race and ways we, as parents and the general community, can try to prevent this from happening again. While I know that’s a very “Kumbaya” mentality to have, as a Black woman raising a family in Oklahoma, it’s nice to hear, and a bit unexpected.

I never went to the University of Oklahoma but did attend a small college in Michigan that had similar numbers when it came to Black attendance (around six percent). Needless to say you experience folks who are generally ignorant of different cultures and diversity as well as those who have no problem showing intolerance. It’s pretty evident most of the participants of this fraternity chapter are out of touch and deserve punishment.

This incident really makes me mad for the obvious reason, but also the portrayal of the place I’ve grown to love. It’s really easy to write off a state like Oklahoma as racist and intolerant even though situations like this can and have occurred throughout diverse areas of the country. The general backlash also has the potential to hurt the local economy when you consider Oklahoma is a major college football state with tons of businesses — even minority-owned — that thrive on its popularity (my favorite is Ray’s Smokehouse BBQ). You can’t drive through Norman (the location of the University of Oklahoma) without seeing a Sooner-related business. While it appears there haven’t been any students leaving OU because of the scandal, the university did lose a top recruit that could be the start of a growing number.

Who knows how this will play out in days or years to come. Even with such a troubling event, I’m glad to see a united front that goes beyond racial lines.

Univ. Of Oklahoma President Bans Fraternity After Racist Chant Video, Waka Flocka Cancels Concert

March 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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So this is a recent act at the University of Oklahoma? DISGUSTED man

A video posted by David Smith (@soonerdave25) on

Surely by now you’ve heard of the frat video gone viral. In case you’ve missed it, don’t kill me for being the bearer of disturbing news. On Sunday, a video from the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter surfaced on the internet. In it, members of the largest fraternity in North America, are singing a song called “There Will Never Be A Nigger In SAE” to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It.”

The lyrics go as follows:

“There will never be a ni**** in SAE.
There will never be a ni**** in SAE.
You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me
There will never be a ni**** in SAE.”

Someone posted the video anonymously and, justifiably, all hell broke loose. The national chapter launched an investigation and decided to close the chapter immediately. All the members seen in the video were suspended and may be banned from the organization permanently.

Interestingly enough, rapper Waka Flocka was set to perform at the University of Oklahoma next month. But in light of all of the controversy, he decided against it and issued this statement via Instagram.

Respect to Waka Flocka for standing up for what’s right.

When the video first hit the internet, Oklahoma University President David Boren said that if the school could identify the people in the video as actual students, the organization would be removed from campus. Apparently, they did determine that the people in the video were indeed students. And President Boren issued this stern statement via Facebook.

 Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 5.59.32 PM

Man. This has got to be one, if not the strongest and sternest stance I’ve seen a university take against an incident of racism happening on their campus. And we’re glad about it.