Nia Doaks | Staff Writer
On Tuesday, students discussed how Black men in our society constantly struggle with problems such as identity, masculinity, and aggression.
N.C. State’s Pack’s PACT program led a discussion about Black men in society following a showing of the film Fruitvale Station.
Pack’s PACT (Persisting Academically and Culturally Together) is a program that aims to form community ties, increase the graduation rates of African-American men at N.C. State, and discuss issues relevant to Black men and minorities in general.
Fruitvale Station tells the story of Oscar Grant, a young Black male who was the victim of unnecessary violence and police brutality. The movie depicts how Grant was pinned down, handcuffed, shot and killed by officers in a Oakland, California subway station.
Pack’s PACT led discussion covered various topics such as stereotypes, African-American culture and the justice system. The audience expressed its view on these issues and members of Pack’s PACT presented their opinions as well.
Pack’s PACT is led by Dr. Thomas Easley, director of Community for Diversity with the College of Natural Resources, and Edward Brown, director of Diversity Programs in the College of Textiles.
“Being in this group has allowed me to meet other individuals just like me on campus who go through similar situations,” said Darius Hargrove, a senior in parks recreation and tourism management, who has been a member of Pack’s PACT for almost two years.“It lets me know that I have what it takes to succeed. Having positive people to look up to lets me know that success is definitely an option.”
“Currently, we target sophomores and juniors for the program, but [we] make exceptions,” said Brown. They recruit participants to be a part of the group each year through an application process which can be found on their website.
“The application process was fairly simple,” Hargrove said. “We had to fill out an application that we were sent through e-mail. The year that I applied was the first year that they had the program.”
Pack’s PACT has a goal of doing at least two campus-wide programs a semester.
In September the program hosted “A Gathering Of Men,” which Brown said will become an annual event. The community of African-American male faculty, staff and students joined together for fellowship and words of wisdom.
During the spring semester, the group is planning a leadership seminar for high school students. Until then, members of the program will continue to meet bi-weekly and discuss topics such as black masculinity, image and identity, and academic success.
Fruitvale Station is the second campus-wide event for the fall semester, according to Brown.
Nov 13 2013
Acceptance Rate Action Team Forms in Response to Historically Low Acceptance Rate of African-American Students
Kierra Leggett | Editor-in-Chief
An action team will meet Friday in regards to the historically low 20 percent acceptance rate of African-Americans students to N.C. State. The focus of the meeting will be to create objective solutions to the problem. Friday’s meeting will be the third amongst Afrikan American Student Advisory Council (AASAC) leaders surrounding the alarming percentage.
Dr. Tracey Ray, Assistant Vice Provost of Student Diversity, initially presented the data to AASAC on Oct. 4. Members of AASAC then met with Chancellor Woodson and Thomas Griffin, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, on Oct. 16 to voice their concerns.
During the Oct. 16 meeting, both Griffin and Woodson acknowledged the 20 percent acceptance rate of African-American students as a point of concern. “The Admissions Office is looking at it [the African-American acceptance rate],” said Griffin. “We don’t have a numeric goal obviously…but we want to raise the number.”
Despite his acknowledgements of the low acceptance rate, Chancellor Woodson noted the population of African-American students at N.C. State in comparison to other UNC-System schools saying, “Among the non-minority serving institutions, we have one of the larger African-American undergraduate populations.”
An attempt was made by Woodson and Griffin to shift the discussion from the acceptance rate of African-American students to the yield of African-American students. Referring to the number of students who enroll at the University, Woodson said that the yield of African-American students is low.
Though Marshall Anthony, AASAC Chair, would also like to see the yield of African-American students increase he thinks that improving the acceptance rate must be tackled first. Anthony raised this point during the meeting with Woodson and Griffin saying, “In order to yield African-American students, they must first be accepted to the University.”
African-American applicants make up the second largest pool of students who apply to the University, however Griffin cited a need to “build the pool of [African-American] students who apply” as a contributing factor to the low rate. “The overall GPA of this fall’s freshmen class was a 4.3, while for African-Americans it was 4.1,” said Griffin.
Griffin assured members of AASAC that the low acceptance rate of African-American students was “not a process review problem.” He also cited disparities within racial groups for college preparation as a factor contributing to the low acceptance rate of African-American students. “We’ve increased our test scores,” said Griffin. “No other school has.”
Members of AASAC convened briefly in Holladay Hall following the meeting with Woodson and Griffin to discuss the impact of the conversation. “The discussion wasn’t as effective as I had hoped for in regard to the urgency shown by Admissions to improving the 20 percent acceptance rate,” said Anthony. “When the Acceptance Rate Action team meets [on Friday] it will be to devise a step-by-step plan to increase the yield and acceptance rate of African-American students.”
In an e-mail sent out to members of the Acceptance Rate Action Team, Anthony used the acronym S.M.A.R.T. to describe the type of solutions necessary to rectify this problem. “The next step is that we will come up with S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals to increase the number of African-American students enrolled at N.C. State.”
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.