Coffee Rhetoric: United States
Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts

July 02, 2014

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Struggle for Equal Opportunity

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act (of 1964). Though the law marked many fundamental and necessary changes and is a landmark piece of legislative history in civil rights, let's not forget that there’s still, currently, work that needs to be done to uphold the law.
The Civil Rights Act made it illegal to openly discriminate against people based on their race, religion, skin color, gender, or country of origin; it also threw out erroneous voter registration requirements and desegregated schools, the workforce, and public facilities. 

However, the system continues to struggle to uphold many aspects of the law. How? Let's take inventory...

November 03, 2013

Whitewashed: White Americans Reflect on White Privilege


"...To be white in this culture means to deny the reality of racism; it means to deny the privilege that we have as whites. Most people, who are Whites, don't want to accept that they are privileged, because they are." 
"People don't want to talk about being White because they know that at a deep level, even though some of them may not have talked about it with anybody or every expressed it, they do know that they get a benefit from being White." 
"... To me, it's about privilege. A lot of people get to walk around thinking that we live in a meritocracy, and thinking that their own hard work is the only thing that's responsible for their achievements. I think that it shapes everything." 
"I was taught that you respected Black folk, but not really as human beings, but more like cats, and dogs, and cows; you wouldn't mistreat a cat or a dog in my family, and you wouldn't mistreat a black person. I don't have any trouble admitting that I'm a racist; I think it's absurd to try to fight with that. I grew up in this society I was conditioned by, I think internally in my psyche I have grounded and rooted those attitudes and I see it in me all the time... I mean, I'm always dealing with it. I don't think that make me a bad person ... I just think it means I've been well indoctrinated." 
"... Like Malcolm X said: 'Racism is like a Cadillac; there's a new model every year'. Racism is a dynamic social construction, so it's always changing and it's always mutating. So people that say, 'well there's no racism anymore', they're referring to racism as it existed in 1950 or 1920 or 1910."  
Above is a collection of quotes from Whitewashed: Unmasking the World of Whites, a 2013 documentary by Mark Patrick George. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes this interesting featurette examines white privilege and racism via footage—(collected over the course of several years)—of several white Americans offering insight on what whiteness means to them and the situations that have prompted them to realize how institutional racism works to marginalize others, and work in their favor. 

July 24, 2013

Women and Race

'The Way Home' Explores Women's Stories of Racism in America


When the topic of race is broached, we hear and read so much source material from the lens of black men and non-black men of color. Whenever discourse surrounds social justice issues, it’s often laden with ways to save black and brown men and boys from the structural inequalities that impact their lives. And while I don’t doubt that people care (sometimes I do though), conversations about the protection of the lives of young black and indigenous women and girls don't seem to prompt the same sense of urgency.

In the past, I've felt embattled about being a woman writer who's been more open about sharing my lived experience as a black woman and who's chosen to write my opinions about race, intra-racial discrimination, gender and even the arts, through my lens; as well as sharing what I've learned about the experiences of others navigating similar intersections. On occasion, my inner dialogue asks, “Why do you even bother? People don’t want to read what black women have to say. They don’t want to pay you to contribute your voice either." And I  often wonder if I'm in over my head; because it's one thing to live through certain experiences, but spilling open about them can be equally as exasperating. 

April 23, 2013

HartBeat Ensemble Raises Awareness with New Stage-play: “Riding the Turnpike”


Hartford-based professional theater company HartBeat Ensemble, is back with another compelling main-stage play called Riding the Turnpike. It follows the successful run of their original production Flipside, performed at downtown Hartford’s Hollander Building and at the 2012 New York Fringe Festival.

After the devastating and untimely loss of beloved co-Artistic Director/co-founder and Hartford arts community favorite, Gregory “Tate” Tate to lung cancer last year, the team honors his legacy by doing what they do best… which is to create original,  accessible, investigative and socially aware Hartford theater. This time, HartBeat Ensemble is kicking off the next phase of their creative journey, having signed a multi-year agreement in a new home at the Carriage House Theater in Hartford, a 76-seat venue that formerly housed the Hartford Children’s Theater.

September 01, 2012

Melissa Harris-Perry: "What is Riskier than Being Poor in America?"


The wealth gap becomes ever vaster, as the working class and poor continue to slog through a still-struggling economy. While some of those amongst the uber-wealthy seem far more vested in acquiring and hoarding more, they also seem to relish patronizing those who continue to struggle to stay afloat, even while toiling away at work every day for a paltry paycheck. Affluent and wealthy folks love to trot out the same "just work harder" boot strap speech to condescend to poor people, many of whom would be hard pressed to find a part-time job, let alone a second or third one to supplement their living expenses. Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart [pegged as the world's wealthiest woman, with a net worth of about 30 billion dollars], made sure to drive the stake in and twist it, in a recent magazine article in which she accused poor and working class people of being jealous of the wealthy, yet not working hard enough to acquire the type of privilege she has enjoyed for most of her life- "Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working." She lectured.