Readings: 

  • Carol Anderson, “Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.” The Washington Post
  • Brittney Cooper, “In Defense of Black Rage: Michael Brown, Police and the American Dream” Salon.com
  • Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger”

Class Discussion: 

  • Need to constantly suppress black emotions out of white fear
  • Microaggressions
  • Hate and its debilitating nature
  • Overt vs. covert racism
  • Dangers of complacency
  • SMC’s suppression of news that goes against its agenda

A more productive way of talking about race is first, to just talk about it. Second, I think it is super important to be open enough to isolate each individual from the collective whole. In other words, I think that being able to separate the concept of “have a healthy suspicion of white people” and “do not trust or love or befriend white people.” While this was something I found particularly difficult to do in Dr. Palmer’s list of seven tips for black survival in the 21st century, I think that after working through it I came out as a more knowledgeable individual. I am a very sensitive person so most of the time I can be offended very easily, and I think that this separation of self from concept is going to be very helpful in future conversations about black relationships and movements.

The articles we read in class today were primarily focused on black rage and the repercussions of that rage on the existence of black people. They touched on the idea that black rage is a direct response to white rage and I thought that this concept was very interesting- particularly in the differences between the two. Black rage is seen in protests and violence, while white rage is seen in one sided policy enforcement and governmental decisions that favor white people over people of color. This latter more covert form of racism seems to be far more dangerous and threatening than the first.

I think the way that Saint Mary’s suppresses news in favor of its “mission statements” is an example of covert racism that goes against minorities and people of color. This need to cover up the ugly that happens on campus, like five boys wearing swastikas or the carving of “wetback” in a dormitory, hurts the student body. We hear this news and it spreads (on both social media and by word of mouth), and when it is purposefully hidden it becomes some sort of secret instead of being a reality.

I can finally understand my peers when they say, “All we want is an apology.” It would be nice to have to school make a public statement agreeing and validating the fact that acts of racism and prejudice occur on our campus. This reality does not shame the institution, rather I think it highlights its transparency. As I said in the beginning, the first step to a productive approach to dialogue about black relationships and movements would be to talk about them. Then, it is the job of the reader or listener to be able to create that distinction where offense is not taken on behalf of the race of the perpetrators.

I think it helps to have fostered an environment like the one in our class- where transparency and honest is honored above all, with tact and political correctness cast aside. In order to truly apologize and understand what has happened to people of color, white people must allow themselves to be open and vulnerable. In my opinion, this is the only way that we can have real dialogue about the factors which shape black relationships and movements.


Learning Objective #6: Develop productive approaches to dialogue about internal factors shaping black relationships and movements. 

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