Friday, March 21, 2014

Blog #2: Afro 298

Yet again these articles have not failed to amaze me and open my eyes. As the Civil Rights Pilgrimage trip nears I am preparing myself to see history unfold before my eyes. I am preparing myself to feel hurt, confused; yet educated on the history of my culture. Although these articles were a good lead in for the trip, I do not think anything can prepare us for what we are about to experience, which is exciting for me. One reading that stood out to me was the novel by Tom Burrell. Throughout American history blacks have been brainwashed, according to the author Tom Burrell from his novel, “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority.” Throughout the reading it was apparent that Burrell had done extensive research on the history of marketing, but more specifically in the United States. In Burrell’s introduction, he outlines why blacks 200 years ago all the way up until today have had a negative mindset, or felt inferior to others around them at one point in there life. He picks out names such as, Oprah, President Barack Obama, BeyoncĂ©, etc. to show how even those who have gained much respect not only in the black community, but far beyond, still, at one point, fell inferior to the white race. Why is this you might ask? Well, the slave trade is the answer. Tom Burrell writes how this shift in history brainwashed blacks into believing this negative connotation that our skin color is associated to everything bad. I found this read very interesting and eye opening.
The thought of being brainwashed is definitely a hard pill to swallow. Being told that your entire culture/race has fallen under the mindset or the control of a “higher being” is not satisfying, because it, in a sense, starts to make me actually believe in this lie. What I also found that stood out to me is from the chapter excerpt entitled, “Growing Inequality in the Twenty-first Century.” This chapter covers the idea of mediocrity. The author outlines the changes in our society including, having fewer children, working more hours, but they also offer a solution by restructuring part of the government, but more specifically the tax policy, government spending, etc. One line I found very interesting was, “These individual coping strategies, though responses to societal-level imperatives, will not, in themselves, change social institutions, larger organizational forms, or the ways that resources are distribute...changes of this magnitude would require reductions in socially structured inequality, especially inequalities of wealth and power.” Wow. That was a powerful statement made. In this particular quote the author does not hold back, basically stating that the way our country has been run in the past is not working because the gap that exists between these two groups is far too vast and there needs to be a change.

In the book entitled “The New Jim Crow,” the author shows how racism developed starting from the very beginning. In the beginning of the chapter he/she writes how the idea of race was not always around, but was later adopted. “The concept of race is a relatively recent development. Only in the few centuries, owing largely to European imperialism.” I found this chapter excerpt very interesting because the author was able to show how racism started through slavery, and explained what it was like after the Civil War, when blacks were literally able to walk off of the plantations that so heavily had them bound. This is definitely a hard concept to grasp for me because of the amount of slaves that accumulated over years and years. What was even more interesting was what happened after slaves were set free, this concept is the exact reason why we are headed down to the south, where slavery was allowed, in order to glean more information on truly what happened during this period of time and how it has shaped our society today.

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