Yeremiyah Cruz | Correspondent
What is a dark lie? The nuances that penetrate global and American culture contaminate how members of society perceive everyday life. The most detrimental facet of this phenomenon is that most people are unaware of the influence that affects their perspective.
Yes, this is a controversial topic; however, it is necessary that citizens of America begin to confront the issues that halt the progress of our society. White privilege is a product of the United States ugly history, and it continues to inconspicuously permeate American culture.
This article aims to identify the factors that cause people to either associate or dissociate themselves from Black culture. Ideas that are prevalent in mainstream media, etymology, folklore, and pop culture present arguments that undermine what it truly means to be Black; these factors are explored on NC State University’s campus.
Talking white, dressing white, white lies, light jokes, white light, white paper, white dress. Acting black, dark jokes, black magic, black sheep, black cat, black eye, blackface, black dress, black hoodie. It is obvious that phrases using the adjective black or dark are associated with negative things while the opposite is true for phrases that use the term white or light. Such subliminal messages are in part responsible for the construct of ideals that cause stereotypic categorization of individuals at a young age.
Various authors, including CBS and 60 Minutes, have done research that shows how youth are influenced to think that being black is associated with either a disadvantage or a negative character trait. These same psychological constructs subliminally affect the moral foundation of youth in America that cause their perception of reality to be distorted.
The biggest white lie of all is that racial inequality is a thing of the past, and that acts such as a group of Oklahoma University students chanting racial prejudices are a reciprocal backfire of the late famous authority figure shootings. The video simply epitomizes the influence that our history still has on life in America. Minorities have been targeted by civilians and police officers alike and have yet to be indicted. A federal investigation, released in early March, revealed that Black people in Ferguson, Missouri were indeed targeted by an entire police force in order to improve job ratings and reap salary increases through unwarranted ticketing and arrests. It is easy to go to Plessy vs. Ferguson on Twitter or quote Martin Luther King; but the fact is, the mid to late 20th century was more progressive than our current era. Something must be done about the grotesque discrepancy in real equality. There is no better a place than a university campus for real change to be initiated.
As the members of an empowered body, students and faculty must take it upon themselves to show that bigotry is an extreme form of injustice and will not be tolerated by any member of society.
Black students are not the only ones obligated to take on the task of moving into action, mainly because an effective solution to the Nation’s racial divide can only be realized through the interaction of members from different backgrounds.
This common goal can be achieved by educating people on the Human Genome project that scientifically proves skin color is a negligible factor regarding any particular human being’s ability and is only a miniscule fraction of the beautiful and extensive genetic scaffolds that are tarnished with the culture of greed and hate.
In other words, skin color is such an enormous yet superfluous focal point, pertinent issues that were meant to be addressed become overshadowed by the concentration of one’s pigmentation. For example, Barack Obama’s campaign was shaded by questions regarding the President’s citizenship and loyalty towards the Nation.
No other presidential candidate has ever faced such challenges, and Barry’s just as white as he is black! Americans need to learn the importance of multicultural tolerance and educate themselves about each other’s backgrounds. A platform that invokes peace and understanding via cross-cultural interaction is the only solution to society’s issue of racial inequality.
With various racial incidents occurring across the nation, the general consensus around the Black community is that the incidents themselves are not shocking; but rather the way that Americans are responding to such grave and historic matters, is. Khari Cyrus, an African American student, was recently elected as Student Body President.
Unfortunately, the North Carolina State University campus continues to suffer from the ignorance of racial inequality. As stated in an earlier Nubian Message issue, the Student Body President elect was faced with death threats and other racial remarks on social media. His only fault for being targeted was running for SPB as a Black person.
This is a blatant form of white privilege that only shows face when an African American member of society threatens the imbalance of racial inequality. The fact is, the greater majority of white members of society are not faced with the same challenges that Black people are faced with.
Affirmative action does not negate the advantage that has been gained through the deliberate crippling of minority Americans since 1492.
No matter what your ethnicity, this should be enough to make your blood boil. The direction of our society’s progress is in your hands. What will you contribute to?
Jillian Smith | Staff Writer
On November 22, 2014, a 12-yearold boy from Cleveland was gunned down by police in a public park. The young black male, Tamir Rice, was playing with a BB gun when a police cruiser pulled up next to him.
The video surveillance obtained from the park shows Rice sitting under a gazebo seconds before the two policemen pull up next to him. He stands up when he sees the police cruiser. Upon opening his door, rookie Officer Timothy Loehmann fires at Rice. This occurs within two seconds of the officers arriving at the park.
The response from the city, originally given early this month, said that the injuries to Tamir Rice “were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this Defendant [Loehmann]” and “by the failure … to exercise due care to avoid injury,” lawyer-speak for “it’s his fault, not ours.”
He shouldn’t have been in the park. He shouldn’t have the BB gun. He shouldn’t have been pointing it at people. He shouldn’t have been black.
Nowhere within this statement do they fault the 911 dispatcher who should have informed the officers that the 911 caller said the gun was “probably fake, but you know what, he’s scaring the s— out of people,” and later said described Tamir as “probably a juvenile.”
Nowhere does the statement suggest that the young officer acted before fully assessing the situation or that the city missed some potential red flags from the officer’s background.
On March 20, they amended this statement to include less “charged” language, and Mayor Frank Jackson issued an apology for the wording of the first statement.
In my opinion, the wording of that first statement is a clear reflection of the attitudes many people have concerning the deaths of black men and women. They shouldn’t have been doing what they were doing. They shouldn’t have been black.
This statement and many of the articles following it echo the words we’ve been seeing for decades. In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till wolf-whistled at a white woman. He was beaten and hanged in Southern Mississippi. The two men involved were acquitted of all charges.
Mississippi Civil Rights activist and NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers was a danger to white segregation in 1963 and for that, he was gunned down in his front yard. The murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens Council, was acquitted of all charges.
Rodney King is brutally beaten by four L.A. Police officers in 1991 after a high-speed chase. They are indicted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force by a police officer. They are acquitted of all charges.
In February 2012, Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman. The 17-yearold had been reaching for Skittles in his pocket while wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up. Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges.
In July 2014, Eric Garner’s death is caught on camera as a NYPD officer holds him in a chokehold, suffocating him. Garner had been breaking up a nearby fight when officers accused him of selling loose cigarettes and then of resisting. Wilson was acquitted of all charges.
18-year-old Michael Brown did not follow the directions of police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. As he ran away with his hands up, proclaiming he did not have a weapon, Wilson fired multiple rounds.
All of these cases have something in common: blaming black Americans for their own deaths at the hands of white racism.
Rather than focus on the hard-tosolve problem of systemic and institutionalized racism, we question whether the black victim is worthy of our outrage—whether his parents are respectable, whether he was a nice boy in school, what he was wearing, or they way his hand was moving.
In this society, the very term “black innocence” is an oxymoron.
As more and more violent crimes against the black community accumulate, we are left wondering what can be done to stop it, and when accountability will become a priority for our police and governments.
Nia Doaks | Managing Editor
N.C. State is home to a variety of traditions and festivals. One week in particular, Pan Afrikan Festival Week, is especially important to those who wish to celebrate African-American culture and community on the University’s campus.
Pan Afrikan Festival Week is a tradition that is in its 45th year at N.C. State University. It began back in the 70s, and has sometimes been referred to affectionately as “the black homecoming”.
This year’s festivities include a scholarship pageant, guest speaker Nikki Giovanni, and events held by various AASAC organizations. The week will end on Friday with the first ever Pan Afrikan concert featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T.
What does it take for Pan Afrikan Week to be put into action? The Nubian Message sat down with Amira Alexander, President of Black Students Board, to get an inside look at planning for this community event.
Nubian Message: How long has BSB been planning for this year’s Pan Afrikan week and who is involved with the planning?
Alexander: I have been planning for Pan Afrikan week since October of last semester. My advisors and my board have been involved- they’ve been contacting our vendors and contacting caterers to make sure that everything is perfect for the week.
NM: How has it evolved and changed since its earlier years?
A: Well, there’s not too much that I can get from the past, because we don’t have much to reference in regards to previous activities and events. We only have three years of binders but have been around for 45 years. All that I have to look at are flyers, past Pan Af designs. They had kickoffs, they had cookouts and that kind of stuff- so we kind of have the same feel.
NM: What are the goals of this year’s Pan Afrikan events?
A: My goal was to really bring it into what Pan Afrikanism means. I wanted to bring it into the actual definition of what it means to be African American or people of color and the struggles that they face. This is also why I brought Big K.R.I.T. He’s not a normal artist. Even his nameit means King Remembered In Time. What artist do you know that references themselves as kings? He speaks on things that African-Americans struggle with every day and is true to his art form.
NM: What was the most challenging part of planning this week?
A: I’ll honestly say the most challenging part was working with other organizations. A lot of people have a misconception of what BSB is- we’re not an organization, we’re a committee. This means that we don’t raise money, and I have to go through my advisor to reach anyone and make these events happen [unlike with AASAC]. It’s never been really clear what BSB was, and this made it [stressful] for me.
NM: How do you hope to see Pan Afrikan week change or improve in the future?
A: I would hope that the festive aura that I’m trying to place on Pan Afrikan stays. In the past there’s been so much emphasis on the partying, and I feel like people don’t put as much emphasis on the events that people work hard to have. I’m trying to make it fun and an actual celebration of our culture. I’m redefining pan-afrikanism. That’s why I took Africa out of the design- Pan-Afrikanism is more than just Africa, it’s in our everyday lives. It morphs into something different every single day.
NM: What does Pan Afrikan week mean to you?
A: The unifying of people of the African diaspora. A lot of people don’t want to call themselves African-Americans in order to be politically correct- but you didn’t originate from here. You originated from the Motherland. My goal this year was to bring it back to an actual celebration of our culture, of our history. Recognizing where we came from, recognizing who we are and who we ought to be.
UPCOMING PAN AFRIKAN WEEK EVENTS:
Wednesday, 6:30pm, Talley Ballroom | Nikki Giovanni- an evening of poetry, love, and enlightenment
Thursday, 7pm, Talley Ballroom | Afrolatinidad
Friday, 12:15pm, Free Expression Tunnel | Pop the tension
Friday, 7pm, Talley Ballroom | Big K.R.I.T. Concert
Saturday, 12pm | What’s done in the dark
Mar 25 2015
Jillian Smith | Staff Writer
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest fraternities in the United States, had to shut down its Oklahoma chapter on Sunday, March 15, because of a nine-second video showing a bus full of brothers enthusiastically participating in a racist chant.
All of the participants are young white men, dressed formally, fist pumping as they vow that “there will never be a n***** in the SAE.” They also make a reference to lynching saying “you can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me,” revealing the deep-rooted history of this fraternity.
SAE is the only national fraternity developed in the antebellum South. Many of its founding members fought in the Civil War defending the Confederate South and many lost their lives for the cause.
Those that survived went home to burned universities and destroyed chapters. For the next three decades, they rebuilt and strengthened the fraternity, even expanding to some Northern states. Over the years, they have earned many different nicknames, one of the earliest being “the singing fraternity.”This particular ‘song’ has incited national outrage and has highlighted how many college campuses, supposed beacons of education and equality, are still experiencing serious racial issues. “I was utterly disgusted by the chant and the nature in which it was being recited. I was also very disappointed to see that the president and the members of the chapter showed much enthusiasm while reciting the chant,” said Sharod Fenner, a senior in technology, engineering and design education and secretary of the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The video is one of few tangible pieces of evidence of a much larger and persistent problem within America’s predominantly white fraternities. This is unfortunately a direct result of a Greek letter system established with harsh and, at the time, legal exclusionary practices. While times have changed, the lingering notes of systematic racism continue to pervade many parts of our society such as this one.
“As a black man I was not surprised to see this video. Racism and prejudice are still very prevalent in America, and I think this video is only a small representation of a larger problem,” said Alex Starnes, a senior and President of Sigma Phi Epsilon. SAE has had experienced race-related scandals in the past. In 2013, the Washington University chapter located in St. Louis was suspended after some of the pledges were told to yell racial slurs at a group of black students. Just last year at the University of Arizona, 15 SAE members broke into a historically Jewish fraternity located off-campus. They assaulted the members while yelling discriminatory comments at them.
The Clemson University’s SAE chapter was suspended in December 2014 after the fraternity hosted a “cripmas” party which encouraged students to dress up as gang members. In response to this event however, “Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity is establishing a groundbreaking four-pronged initiative to combat instances of racial discrimination and insensitivity among its members,” SAE Executive Director Blaine Ayers said in a statement on Wednesday. After the release of the first video, a second emerged featuring the OU chapter’s 79-year-old house mother. In this video, she says “n*****” seven times, apparently listening to Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything” in the background.
“These beliefs do not come from thin air, which means the chapter, in some fashion, supports these misguided ideals,” Starnes said. Only time will tell if a “diversity and education” program can break down the racism shrouding SAE membership, and if this event will be a lesson to other predominantly white fraternities. “True brotherhood has no race, creed, or color. It is a comradery amongst individuals who share a common goal. It bothers me to think that the members of the chapter, and possibly the whole organization, feel that racism and discrimination is something they can agree upon and rejoice in song about,” Fenner said.