Racism Taken A Little Too Lightly by Britni Thomas

Everyone thinks that racism is either dead or a little bit funny. We hear the jokes everywhere. “What a terrible driver! Oh, she’s Asian. Makes sense.” or “Oh no! It’s dark! Where did Britni go?” That’s actually a joke I get quite often. In order to avoid making anyone feel upset or hurt or offended, we tend to joke about it. We laugh and if the person does seem hurt, we console them with “It was just a joke. I won’t say it anymore.” But then, the next day, they do it.

Most of my life, from age 3-11 I lived in Redondo Beach where I was the only African American girl in my class. It was very rare to see to black children in the same class together. It was as if the knew what color we were and made sure to put us in classes that are predominately white to make it look like they were not racist. I was bullied most of my life. Not by flat out racism but by jokes they would make about it. The dark joke I got at least four times a day. I got jokes about being able to blend in with the asphalt. They would make jokes about me bring Kool Aid with my lunch saying that I was the stereotypical black person because I would drink Kool Aid all the time. I was told I look like a monkey and I was told that my hair was a weave or that it was nappy.

Over the years, I learned to laugh at the jokes because crying in front of people because of a joke is not seen as mature. But I cannot play victim here because I am guilty of being racist with my jokes as well. I point this out because as I was listening to music, this song (the one posted above) began to play and the way the song plays out, they all realize that through their jokes they are racist, a little bit. It puts it in a comedic manner but I felt like I should share it.

With this song, I really believe that everyone really is a little bit racist sometimes. Whether intentionally or not.

The American Dream: Possible Reality for All or Just a Dream by Britni Thomas

American Dream

noun

1.

the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionallyheld to be available to every American. Origin: 
1930–35
For a while, there has been this idea going around called The American Dream. Above is the definition of what the American Dream is believed to be. But we know better than that, don’t we? Everyone has different interpretations as to what it means to achieve the American Dream. Also, they believe that it is only possible for some but not most. I have a different yet similar view. Let me explain.
Many say that to achieve the American Dream, you have to work hard until you get there. You want it work hard for it. I believe that. You want the American Dream, work hard for it. Dream it and pursue it. I am a firm believer in that. But, I believe that most races have to work harder than others to achieve this American Dream.  Caucasians and those considered to be equal to Caucasians work hard but not through the same challenges that African Americans or Koreans have to face. The struggles they face are stereotypes, racism, and mistreatment. They are constantly put second in line for being a race that is not white. Once they have finally gotten their foot in the door, after possibly twice as long as it took the someone who was white, they are mistreated and stereotyped, basically bullied into wanting to give up on their job and go somewhere new. They do this whenever they see that a worker who is of ethnic background is a better worker than them and can possibly make it higher in the business, possibly replacing them. They put the glass ceiling above them, making sure they are keeping the underdog down.
A personal example I saw of this was with my aunt. I cannot tell you which company she worked at for legal reasons but she worked in a big time company that was helping her achieve her American Dream. She was making a very nice salary, had gotten herself a new car, taken care of her mother and began helping her niece (me) in college. Over time, her boss began to see that she was a woman who would not be corrupted by some of her corrupted coworkers, that she was hardworking and that she was a woman who would go far. He began to say things that were very racist and sexist towards her. He called her a “mad black woman” and has said “are you smart enough to figure this out or do I need to explain it again?” My aunt endured this for about 2 years before she finally gave over her evidence and got a settlement to stay quiet. But even then, they had placed a glass ceiling on my aunt for being the model employee who was African American.
The American Dream. Achievable as long as you are white and keep your mouth shut. There is a glass ceiling being placed over almost everyone who is of an ethnic background. This ceiling blocks any dream from reaching the American Dream. There is no equality for all and no opportunity for all. Only for some and even then it is conditional.
But I do have some encouragement. This can’t last forever and I believe it won’t. Things always get worse before they get better and I believe we are in a better position for the better than we have ever been. If you want the American Dream, you are going to have to fight the hardest you have ever fought. Things get hard at work, you bite your tongue and move on. Do not let the hard times get you down. Go get your American Dream, no matter what it may be. Rebuild the American Dream your way. Besides, the things you work the hardest for are the most rewarding anyway.
Image

April 29th, 1992 by Andrew Esmundo

Let it burn, wanna let it burn, Wanna let it burn, wanna wanna let it burn

On April 29, 1992, there was a riot in the streets. The verdict of the Rodney King case had been delivered and all four officers were acquitted of assault and three out of the four were acquitted of excessive force. Within two hours, the streets of L.A. became a warzone. Nobody and nothing was safe. People were attacked, businesses looted, and buildings were burning. In the end, over fifty people lost their lives, thousands were hospitalized, and many parts of L.A. were in ruins. It was one of the deadliest and most destructive race-riots in U.S. history.

I myself was only a little more than a month old at the time but I had always wondered what it would have been like to have witnessed or even taken place in the riots. For this post, I have decided to discuss what I believe are the actions I would have taken at the time of the riots with the beliefs I carry today. Of course, because more than just one group was affected by the riots, I have to take that in consideration when deciding what I would have done at the time. The three races I chose to write about are Blacks, Whites, and Koreans. As for Koreans, it is the shop owners in particular I am referring to because their businesses became targets by rioters and many feel that the police left Korean shops to fend for themselves.

It is difficult to be able to truly say what I would have done during the riots if I were a black man, but I think I’m close. Due to my personal beliefs, I know I would have been outraged by the verdict delivered by the predominantly white jury with no black members. Not to mention the case was being heard in Simi Valley, a heavily white populated area. You can bet I would be out in the streets running and looting. I don’t know if I would necessarily go as far as burning buildings or attacking people but once again, it is impossible to know for certain. When chaos breaks out, it is hard to not get caught up in it and unleash a little chaos of your own.

As for being a white man during the riots, I already know exactly what I would be doing. I would be staying home and sitting on the couch watching the news with a loaded gun next to me. To go outside, depending on where I lived could be extremely dangerous and possibly cost me my life. White men, like Reginald Denny, an innocent white trucker who was almost beaten to death, became targets of Black anger. Another incident involved a white male named Haines, and his friend on their motorcycle. After coming to a stop, seven black males jumped the two and shot Haines, killing him. Ironically, Haines had been on his way to help his black friend move.

Last, but certainly not least, there were the Korean shop owners. Tensions had been rising over the years between the Black and Korean communities and it was during the riots that the two finally clashed. As a shop owner, I definitely would have armed myself to protect from looters. I have every right to own a store wherever I please as long as I am paying for it. Anyone who tried to take that away from me will have to do so with force. If the police were not going to help me, then I would take matters into my own hands. I believe the Koreans did the right thing during the riots and handled themselves well.

Not Much Diversity in the Workplace by Andrew Esmundo

Notice the word on the door behind him is in Spanish.

Since the 90’s, it has almost always been rather obvious as to what the majority of fast food workers in Southern California share; their ethnicity. Go to any McDonalds, Carls Jr., Jack in the Box, or Burger King and you’ll see that almost all the workers are of some hispanic or latino background. Many times those workers also speak limited English and I am certain there are some who speak none at all. These jobs are dominated by hispanics and latinos because the jobs require little education although McDonalds does need a worker of 18 yrs. or older to have a GED.

I work at an In-n-Out restaurant and most people know it stands above the usual fast food places. Our starting pay is 10$/hour, which is 2$ more than minimum wage according to minimum-wage.org. Besides higher pay, workers are sent on all expenses paid trips to Disneyland and other parks. The managers whose stores ranked highest a few years ago were sent to Switzerland for free. The company also requires its employees to interact with customers daily, eliminating the possibly of a worker with very limited english. My store is located in Porter Ranch, an area that is predominantly white, middle eastern and asian. However, more than 75% of the workers at my store are hispanic or latino. Even the managers are predominantly hispanic. I have had the opportunity to work with over twenty different managers in the years that I’ve been with the company and only four managers were white. This is largely due however, to the fact that the company is owned by the Harry Snyder’s granddaughter Lindsey. The majority of my coworkers live in the areas of Panorama City, Pacoima, and Reseda, all heavily hispanic populated areas. My store isn’t even the closest In-n-Out to most of them. Two of my coworkers were actually active gang members for a long period of time. One of them, Ernie, is actually younger than I am and yet he’s been shot three times and stabbed eight times. The other is Benny, who may actually still be somewhat active in his gang. He is tattooed literally from his neck down to bottom of his feet. These are just the two extremes however. So why is this? Why does a company like In-n-Out, which is typically held with much higher standards still attract workers of a particular background? According to Cleaning Up/Kept Down: A Historical Perspective on Racial Inequality in “Women’s Work”, before World War II, “People of color were relegated to jobs considered too dangerous, demeaning or unstable for European-American workers. Because people of color could not compete on an equal footing with Whites, Whites monopolized “clean work.”(Glenn, 1336) Is this still true today? Do fast food restaurants demonstrate the same idea explained in the book, just a little evolved since then? I say yes but of course there are those who would disagree. Another little interesting aspect is that aside from the ethnic domination, there is even quite a bit of division of labor according to gender. Girls typically do the produce, such as preparing the lettuce, onions and tomatoes while the guys get the dirty work like taking out the trash or cooking on the grill. However I am not going to go deeply into that right now. Another topic for another blog perhaps.

Colored Domestic Workers

Sounds funny doesn’t it? Colored Domestic Workers would go to work from the moment you wake up to the moment you went to sleep. Doing all of the work you either are too busy to do or just don’t want to do. Basically, they are your maids. They cleaned up your mess, they made your food, cleaned your clothes, and took care of your children yet received some of the worse treatment and hardly any pay to live on. Believe it or not, this is how it was for black women in the 1960’s. They couldn’t get many jobs outside of domestic jobs so their only way to take care of their children was to care for yours and to become your maid.

In 2011, a movie titled The Help was released. The movie takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s. During this time period, things were still segregated and many in the south hoped to keep it that way. A young woman by the name of Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is back home after college to gain some experience to become a published writer. When she returns home, she realizes how badly the help around Jackson are treated and decides to write a book from the point of view least expected: the view of the help. As the stories come out of these women, we find out that most of the employers treat them badly, cut their pay, and would fire them without warning. Through these women we heard horror stories but we also heard stories of maids getting the treatment they deserve and more.

It is just a movie but it is also a pretty accurate look into how it was back then. Not only were they facing challenges working for the white people and barely living, they fear being killed and beaten just for being black. If you had these fears everyday and were treated terribly, how would you get back at them without putting on a full scale resistance? You would get back in different way. In a quiet way, like maybe taking leftover food, or a forgotten piece of jewelry. There is an instance in this movie where a maid had asked for an advancement in her pay so that she could send her sons to college. Her employer said no but in a rude way. The character’s name is Yule Mae and as Yule Mae was cleaning one day, she found a forgotten ring. Yule Mae took the ring and left the house with no one the wiser.

I’m not going to give away what happens to Yule Mae but in that scene it was a perfect example as to how black domestic workers silently strike against the treatment they are given. Forced to stay silent because if they act out of line, they are either beaten or killed or both. With these silent strikes they were able to make some sort of a dent in the umbrella that is racism.

While black women no longer work as domestic workers, they are still facing the same challenges today that they did then. They face low wages, few hours, and unfair treatment. Not only do they have to deal with being black but they also have to deal with being women. For example, my aunt worked for a big name company whose name I can’t mention because it has turned into a  case. She worked under a male boss who was also white. Day after day, he would make rude comments to my aunt. He has called her a mad black woman, referred to a member on her team (who was also a black woman) as her people, he gave her more work with snarky comments like “If you can do it right.” and “You’re a woman, you can understand this.” For 5 years, my aunt endured this racism and sexism.

We think because time has passed that the days of racism and sexism are gone but if you really look into it, there hasn’t been much improvement. What we all might wonder now is will they ever change, and if so, when?

 

-Britni Thomas

White People: Not so superior

 

Requires no explanation as to why its in this post. You know why he's here.

     

A famous hymn that was commonly sang in black churches had a particular line that went “love wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” This belief that being white is what’s right has been around for centuries and is still a rather common one even today in certain areas. For years, scientists conducted experiments in an attempt to prove that whites are superior to everyone else physically and mentally. Some even believed they had solid evidence to support it after comparing the physical characteristics of blacks with chimps. Hitler and his followers argued that those with blonde hair and blue eyes were typically dominant because they were descendants of Aryans, or “noble ones”(Ironic considering Hitler had neither blonde hair of blue eyes). These Aryans had extremely advanced weapons and were the first producers of scripture. Two points for white people. We must not forget either that white people landed the first man on the moon. One more point. Although whites have definitely had their share of progress and advancement, one must also point out their flaws. It is these flaws that have made white people the inferior race now in my opinion.

.       Even though the number of whites in prison compared to latinos or blacks is rather miniscule, I’ve always believed that white people committ more crimes that are either unreported or ignored. If a white officer pulls over one vehicle driven by a black man and one driven by a white man, whose do you think he is most likely to search? White people are given the benefit of the doubt that they are of good character and their integrity is above reproach unless or until proven otherwise. That is of course, absurd. Have you ever watched an episode of Cops? Ever notice just how many white people in the episodes are getting busted? These are usually just the petty crimes too. And if you think I’m just being racist against whites, consider this; a 2008 hate-crime report from the FBI showed that almost half of reported hate crimes are committed by whites.

Let’s now look at how extreme white people get. Who was it that assassinated Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King? Oh right, white men. The majority of pedophiles, serial killers, leaders of suicidal cults, and Catholic priests who sexually abuse their altar boys are WHITE. This shows that whites are typically the ones with the longest sentences too because of how extreme they tend to be. Timothy Mcveigh, the man who was responsible for the Oklahoma bombings, one of the most horrific acts of terrorism against the U.S., was white. One hundred sixty eight innocent people, many being children in a day care center, lost their lives that day and over five hundred were injured.   Part of the excessive violence from whites is due to the fact that in 10% of states (the majority being states with large, white conservative populations) there are more firearms dealers than there are gas stations. Also, statistics show that the race with the highest rates of heroin and crystal meth addicts is white.

Even with all of this, white supremacy stills grows. The largest white supremacist organization currently exists in Russia with a level of hatred and violence that only continues to grow. There are over a hundred assaults committed each and every single day in just Moscow. The gang with probably the most power in just about any U.S. prison is the Aryan Brotherhood, operating almost completely from within their cells. This growing wave of white arrogance and belief of racial supremacy must come to an end. There is no such thing as a “superior race”. White people just need to chill out.

Ignorance

February 7, 2012

The term racial profiling is defined as “a form of discrimination by which law enforcement uses a person’s race or cultural background as the primary reason to suspect that the individual has broken the law” (About.com). This means that a citizen’s right to the fourth amendment is ignored because we are entitled to protection from unreasonable seizure. The creator of the Youtube video, who goes by the name of “nycresistance”, set out to show how common racial profiling is in New York. A staggering statistic was released in 2010, showing that out of approximately 600,000 stops by police officers in New York City, almost 84 percent were latino or black. Police were almost more likely to use force when stopping a latino or black rather than a white individual (New York Times, Why Is The N.Y.P.D After Me?). I myself, although I am not of latino decent, have had problems with police officers here in Los Angeles because I look hispanic. On more than one occasion, I have made eye contact with an officer going the opposite direction while driving only to have him make a U-turn and follow me. It’s a bitch, I’ll admit but I find most of it to be rather hypocritical actually. These bloggers and people crying “racist profiling” need to realize that they in turn, are profiling cops as racists.

Although the statistics given are not exactly pleasing, it only states that there were approximately 600,000 stops, not how any of them resulted. Who knows, maybe a majority of them actually gave a reason to be pulled over or be arrested. The media is largely to blame for this hypocrisy. For example, take a look at police officers in movies, particularly movies aimed at my generation. How often are cops portrayed as a good person? I am so sick and tired of hearing ignorant teenagers and young adults yelling “fuck the police” or “fucking pigs” when I can guarantee almost half, if not more of them have never even had an encounter with the police. Anytime I have ever had an encounter with officers, as long as I was respectful and did not resist, I was in turn treated with respect. Even when in handcuffs, the officers asked me if I would like them loosened or wanted to take a seat. By the way, I was being put in handcuffs after being surrounded by two police helicopters with snipers hanging out the side doors and around six squad cars due to a call from neighbors about our airsoft fight. They had thought it was a gang war. Seven out of the eight people I was with were Hispanic and none, I repeat, none were treated unfairly in their opinion. We all acted calm, did as we were told, and everything ended up ok. It unfortunately happened again next week but again nothing severe happened. Those fools forget that without the police, many of them wouldn’t even be around. Our lands would be filled with chaos without the help of L.A.P.D. or N.Y.P.D. Racial profiling is simply just a trade-off. I believe to an extent, depending on the rates of crime and the area, racial profiling is almost necessary. Some regions do in fact have higher rates of crime for a particular race so why shouldn’t a cop keep that in mind?

As for nycresistance, yes his video is important and yes our law enforcement may need to make a few changes but it is wrong of him to make such a negative statement about the whole of N.Y.P.D. , saying police treat all black people and latinos the same. He’s treating all cops the same.