Readings: 

  • The danger of a single story (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ted Talk 2009)
  • Audre Lorde, “Power”

Class Discussion: 

  • Seminar tokens and the melting pot
  • Standards of race
  • Mike Brown
  • Blacks are judged on their past, but Whites on their potential in the future
  • Stanford Swimmer
  • Blacks are their crime instead of the person who committed the crime
  • Mario Woods
  • Unapologetic police force
  • African assistance programs

Today we really spent a lot of time talking about the different ways in which white people are cast in society versus the ways in which black people are showed. We started off by talking about the police force and media and how so much of news is distorted through a lens, and in Des’ words, “Black existence is constantly defined and explained through a white lens.” This quote was really powerful for me and we then spoke about cases of police brutality and Mike Brown. When we was killed, it was explained as a big black man who “hulked out” instead of a cop who didn’t know how to handle a situation and got scared. American journalism constantly distorts news and we then compared the Mike Brown case to the Brock Turner/Stanford Swimmer case.

In this case, Brock Turner was described as a Stanford Swimmer with a promising future who had raped someone. In class we spent some time analyzing this and talking about how this story would have been told if Brock Turner had been black. He most likely would have been cast as a dangerous rapist, and there wouldn’t have been mention of his educational or sports-related status. This directly affects society because we as newsreaders then internalize this and we begin to see the person who committed the crime in a different light. Black people are defined by the crime that they committed, and white people are simply the person who committed the crime. This unfortunate reality has long lasting effects on nation wide perception of people of color.

Kalia brought up the idea that black people are judged on their past- whether they had once committed a crime or had dropped out of school- while white people are defined by their futures- like Brock Turner and his promising future at Stanford. We have a completely unapologetic police force, one that refuses to admit that they are not trained emotionally and mentally to deal with their own intrinsic and subconscious racist beliefs. This sadly results in the deaths of so many people of color and there is never a just explanation. Race continues to divide society in the United States and it will continue to do so until we can finally take the lens off that we’ve been using to portray black lives.


American Diversity #1: Analyze aspects of social diversity (e.g., ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, and political identity) and how they affect society in the United States if America. 

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