Its all mathematics, you know the deal - This song by Mos Def capsules the pain that African Americans face due to institutional racism - from massive discrepancies in prison population, wages, and police brutality. In our American Studies class this semester we learned about problems that were designed and maintained by society and government to keep African Americans at a low place in society. Through his lyrics Mos Def shows us that these problems have never gone away and that they are still as real and as present as they were back in the 1960s.
The bananas were scrawled with the letters "AKA Free." AKA, or Alpha Kappa Alpha, is a predominately African-American sorority. After an African American woman became American University's first female African American student body president, bananas hanging from nooses were found placed around the campus. This incident shows that racism has found a way to display itself in an environment that is meant to be a place for education and open-mindedness. This semester we read first-hand accounts of students who faced discrimination in school environments and their fight to break down the barriers built up by hatred. Even though this woman's victory was a step in the right direction, we as a nation still have a lot of work to do.
“What brings us together is we are white,” Richard Spencer said at one of two Charlottesville protests over plans to remove the monument to Robert E. Lee. Frighteningly recently, a group of white nationalists marched torch-in-hand to protest the removal of Confederate Memorials, a disturbing homage to the days when the Klu Klux Klan used torch-lit marches to persecute minorities. The fire of hatred is still burning hot and bright in America today.
Sanford Biggers, Laocoön, 2015. This sculpture shows the character "Fat Albert" from "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" lying face down. The sculpture is also an inflatable, and when on exhibit it would inflate and deflate slowly, which would make it look like the man was having trouble breathing. This piece of art is a reference to when Eric Garner was suffocated and killed by police. The fact that the figure in this piece is Fat Albert implies that Garner's death was also a murder of African American life and innocence, which was represented by the lovable TV character, Fat Albert. Throughout American Studies this semester, we learned about how African Americans were dehumanized and oppressed by the government and law enforcement. The fact that this sculpture was created goes to show that the unfortunate reality of the past still lives on today.
WARNING: The above recording contains racially offensive and threatening language, that we do not endorse. The purpose of this recording is to spark conversation. /// This recording is a man responding to Al Green, a House Representative who is an African American, who called for the impeachment of President Trump. During the phone call, the caller proceeds to use extremely offensive language and make threats of "lynching" him. Throughout this semester of American Studies, we have read about the horrific hatred African Americans faced - from bombings to murders - and we have seen photographs of lynchings. The fact that an American, in this day and age, is threatening to lynch an African American shows us that racism is still alive and well in our nation.