Many people within the Black community keep a running list of White people who have a “Black Card.” A Google search of “Black Card” yields results such as Bill Clinton, Justin Timberlake, Gwyneth Paltrow and John Mayer. That is because these individuals have been presented with the coveted item, which symbolically gives them safe passage through any Black neighborhood in America.
I call shenanigans on this whole idea.
The concept of giving someone permission to be a part of your race makes no sense. If someone wants or thinks they have a “Black Card” they should not only get the benefits of being Black but also the challenges. They should have to deal with being profiled by the police, not receiving promotions, and the same host of other issues that are systematically forced upon Black people. It is one thing for an artist or personality to be embraced by a majority of the black community but when license is given for someone to appropriate to another culture, other than their own, nothing good comes.
John Mayer an artist who sites B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, and Jimi Hendrix as influences in his music was given a “hood pass” by some in the early 2000s. However, Mayer’s card was snatched away in 2010 after his now infamous interview with Playboy Magazine.
Mayer told the magazine, “Someone asked me the other day, ‘What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?’ And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass?”
Mayer continued explaining the Black experience saying, “What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside.”
Finally when asked about being in a relationship with Black women Mayer so eloquently explained, “I don’t think I open myself to it. My d*ck is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f*ckin’ David Duke [former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan] c*ck. I’m going to start dating separately from my d*ick.”
Another White celebrity who cashed in on their black card is actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2012 Paltrow attended the Watch the Throne Tour, with her good friends Jay-Z and Kanye. During the concert she tweeted a picture of the rappers on stage with the caption, “Niggas in Paris for real.” Many were outraged over this and let her know on Twitter but Paltrow received support from many of her celebrity friends.
Surprisingly enough, Nas, a rapper known for his outspokenness on race had this to say, “I would slap the s*** out of somebody for Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s the homie, she’s cool. Gwyneth gets a pass. Real people get a pass. We know what this s*** is.” He also added that she is, “she’s a real nigga.”
All of these incidents happened after a person was told they have a “Black Card.” The fact is that no one person can represent a monolithic Black community and not matter who says it, no one has a “Black Card.” No one can be given a pass into another group. Do not misunderstood my point, I do believe that it is completely possible to have friends in diverse communities and be a sympathetic ally to others struggle. It is just important to have boundaries and realize that no one can walk in the shoes of another person.
Alfred Anderson | Staff Writer
Saturday, at the first annual N.C. State Sneaker Summit, connoisseurs of all ages gathered to buy, sell and trade the hottest shoes on the market. Hosted by the Black Students Board, the summit took place in the Carmichael Playzone and attracted vendors from around the Triangle.
Chelsea Pearson, a senior in Business Administration and Chisom Anen, a senior in Biological Sciences, partnered with BSB to plan and host the event.
Though sneaker summits have been held at N.C. State in the past, Pearson and Anen thought that it would be beneficial for BSB to produce a consistent event for students and other to display their kicks. “It took a lot of planning,” said Pearson, “In previous years no one really knew who was responsible for hosting the Sneaker Summits and we wanted to do them again.” Anen wanted to bring the event to N.C. State because of the growing influence of sneaker culture. “It’s a new and growing movement and I think it’s important to showcase N.C. State students.”
In addition to shoes, vendors also had clothing on display. The Movement Merchandising, cherryDOTdork, Nyla Elise Clothing and Backstabbers Clothing were all present. “As a former N.C. State student, it’s nice to come back and be apart of something like this. It’s a great way to get the word out about up and coming designers in the Triangle, espeicaly those that may be students,” said N.C. State graduate and president of cherryDOTdork, Johnathan Roberts.
Ricky Moore, founder of Nyla Elise Clothing, was also excited to be a part of the event. A fast growing clothing brand based in Durham, Nyla Elise Clothing is named after Moore’s daughter and was founded four years ago. The brand has since been seen on celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Wale and Kerry Washington. “I like doing events like these. Summits are a good way to meet new people and show your products to new people,” said Moore.
The Movement Merchandising was voted as having the “best table” at the summit, and its founder, Arlan Wallace, an N.C. State student won two tickets to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the PNC arena on Nov. 19.
Pearson, Anen and members of BSB believe the success of this year’s summit is an indicator of its future at N.C. State.
Drama Derails #GHOE Plans
Amber Williams | Correspondent
Every year, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T) hosts the so-called Greatest Homecoming on Earth (GHOE). With the increasing amount of violence and attendees every year, this event has become one of the most controversial university held functions in North Carolina. The homecoming football game is the supposed to be the climax of the weekend, but most people are only concerned with all of the foolishness outside of the game.
Year after year, we find ourselves talking more about the unflattering photos of drunken people, shootings, and senseless fighting tha
n the actual homecoming events. One would think that since so many influential figures graduated from A&T that the current students’ behaviors would match the university’s prestigious legacy. But from the looks of the past homecomings, GHOE is simply “hip-hop thugs” making their debute.
Today when people think of “turning up” at homecoming the images that instantly come to mind are drinking, smoking, and partying. How do these activities equate to a “Greatest Homecoming on Earth,” considering the negative elements? Many students continue to write off these aspects as a normal part of the GHOE experience.
During this year’s GHOE celebration, a young man was shot while attending the homecoming festivities. A&T is a “gun-free” zone and many people are angered by the fact that this makes the second consecutive shooting on or near A&T’s campus during homecoming. Some students are so fed up with the continued violence at GHOE that they decided to forgo all festivities.
Rashad Lyons, a sophomore at East Carolina University said, “I was planning to go, but with the course of events that were scheduled to happen it would have put me at risk of being shot or arrested than if I were to remain where I was for the weekend.” Lyons and many others, find that the risks simply outweigh the benefits of attending GHOE.
Kimberly Watson, an A&T alum, was asked to define GHOE on her blog, Lovelye Spirit, stating “North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is one of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation. Every year we host our annual Homecoming, which in short is a reunion for the current students and alumni. Our Homecoming is celebrated throughout the community and the state of North Carolina. It’s not just for A&T students and alumni but it has become an experience that has impacted the entire city.”
GHOE is not what A&T represents if you really think about it. Homecomings are supposed to be about both the alumni and the current student body coming together to fellowship, not in dissimilation, but celebration.
A Sign of Black Solidarity
Bilal Butt | Correspondent
Nov. 4, 2013, BET ‘s annual award show, Black Girls Rock! was met with backlash from social media users.
Black Girls Rock, a non-profit organization started in 2006, is dedicated to the empowerment of young Black women, giving them the tools to overcome the myriad of obstacles they face in our misogynistic society.
The award show works as a night to highlight the outstanding accomplishments and contributions made by women of color to American society, communicating the message of Black solidarity.
On the night of the show’s airing, the BET Twitter account started the hashtag #BlackGirlsRock. As a result, many Black men and white women accused the show of promoting a double standard in racism. Comments were made to the effect that if #WhiteGirlsRock had been the trending hashtag, it would not have been well received and considered essentially racist.Although I do not disagree that often cultural solidarity promotes a racial divide, when minorities are categorically underrepresented in media, these components are necessary due to the lack of color shown in today’s mainstream society.
Tommie Shelby, Professor of African American Studies and Philosophy at Harvard University defines “Black solidarity” as, “the joint efforts of the African-American community to promote a positive collective identity and to recognize a shared oppression and its impacts.” Black solidarity is necessary to gain perspective. Without Black unity, African Americans would by and largely still be left out of much of our national political discourse. Only through banding together were African Americans truly able to fight racism and overcome discontempt. It seems that many skeptics today argue that Black solidarity is outdated in a so called “post-racial” society.
Although society today is viewed as fairly progressive, there is always room for change. Systematic barriers still exist within our government that prevent the success of minorities, especially African Americans. This oppressive cycle sustains a society with huge racial disparities in social, economic, and political issues. Thus today, there are still many things that negatively impact the lives of Black people at disproportionately higher rates than for those of other ethnicities.
Though these users felt personally victimized by the show’s existence saying it encourages a racial divide, they are no where to be found in the conversation of true instances of racial discrimination within our society. Clutch, an online magazine, asks “where are the hashtags when Black women are systematically shut out of every other avenue of popular culture from the fashion industry to Awards season?”
The comments made by Black men and white women in response to Black Girls Rock! expose the necessity of such shows and organizations. Black Girls Rock! condones a positive self image for women of color and the award show specifically helps to recognize and emphasize the talents of extraordinary women of color that would otherwise be shadowed by American media. It is crucial for young minority women to have role models to look up to that also look like them. This type of mutual identification resonates with young women and encourages solidarity. We need Black Girls Rock! because Black girls and women are almost invisible in American media.