Readings: 

  • Joseph L. White & James H Cones III, Black man emerging: Facing the past and
    seizing a future in America – Chapter 13
  • June Jordan, Poetry for the People (Chapters 1 & 6))

Class Discussion: 

  • Hartford Family Reunification Program
  • Victim blaming
  • Socioeconomics and micro-aggressions
  • Lack of understanding of expectations
  • The Unequal Opportunity Race
  • Myth of Meritocracy and American Dream
  • Monihan report
  • Hyper-masculinity in the Black community

In today’s class we had Calvin Monroe as a guest/facilitator. I think the readings for today were most interesting for me, as the Black Man Emerging piece really opened my eyes to the struggles of black men who are trying to be fathers. I thought that the concept behind the Hartford Family Reunification Program was really interested- how it was pitched in such a way that the liberals were happy with its purpose but the conservatives were also grateful for the weight that was taken off of their wallets. Many of my peers in class thought that this was stupid- as an apology was necessary but instead many people are trying to “fix” a problem they started.

Multiple amazing perspectives were shared- like the one from Des who said, in reference to the conservative/liberal debate, “Whatever works ends up being the right way.” In other words, whatever light a motion must be cast in must be successful- in this way, it doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the views of the people fighting for it. All that matters is that it gets through. Jennifer then brought up the victim blaming that occurs when people say, “Black men are killed because they are on the streets,” as if white people aren’t on the same streets and surviving. Kalia then brought up the point that socioeconomically a lot of micro-aggressions make sense- like the whole concept of “black people can’t swim” and the fact that most poor, colored families live in inner city areas where pools are not accessible.

One of the key ideas from class that stuck with me was the concept of white people telling people of color, “pick yourself up by the bootstraps,” and how most colored people never had the figurative boots in the first place.I think it is so important to have these experiences voiced by students of color because (as a white passing student), I never would have thought about injustices in this way. In a way I feel as though these experiences and perspectives should be widely understood by all, but I also feel deeply saddened by the fact that they are not. Perhaps if Saint Mary’s as a whole understood that the college race was an unequal one or that assuming that students of color do not have to work twice as hard as white students, the school would be in a much better place. It is my hope that I can continue to spread this knowledge with my family and friends.

Today I also did my artistic expression component of the class which really allowed me to express the way I’ve been feeling about my race in regards to the school. I had a tough time figuring out what I was going to do, but once I just let go I allowed the art to really take me and I ended being really, really proud of the final result! I think it accurately represents the way that most minorities can feel on the SMC Campus.


Learning Objective #5: Express the social and cultural importance of black voices and experiences at SMC and beyond.

Common Good #2: Articulate, in prose or through another communicative medium, a critical account of just social order (art).

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