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Vendors write about racism

Mon, Mar 9, 2015

James MetzgarJames Metzgar

In keeping with the theme of African – American history I will first write

about an incident which happened in my family after I left home and which

I found out about this past Christmas season.

My sister told me that our mother would not let her go to a prom many

years ago with a black boy. This surprised me because I never known my

mother to be prejudiced. I recall my mother to have said that she couldn’t

understand what made some people think they were so much better

because their skins were white. My mother said that the reason she

wouldn’t let my sister go was that she was afraid that her classmates would

give her a hard time. My mother also said that she now believes that she

was wrong and feels badly because my sister ended up not going to the

prom at all. The young man who had been my sister’s friend would never

talk to her again, maybe because he didn’t believe her story about our

mother not letting her go.

I shall also relate a personal experience which happened when I was in

college and I belonged to the Newman club, a Catholic organization on

campus. I ran for the office of historian after having been a very active

member for three semesters and I lost the election to a black student who

was attending his first meeting. He was elected for two more semesters and

I ran against him each time. The third time he was elected, even after it

was publicly expressed that he had done no work on the Newman club

scrapbook. Because of this I quit Newman club. I didn’t want to be a

member of a club which practiced racial discrimination in any form. I later

found out that after having been elected to a third term as historian that

boy dropped out of school one month into that semester and left without

turning in all the pictures he had taken for Newman.

StreetWise vendor Andy AllenAndy Allen

Black history month is a good month for people to study, to think and to

appreciate black heritage in USA. Blacks have come a long way in their

struggle for freedom from slavery. But when we look at the conditions of

the black communities now we know we still have a long way to go. The

black on black crimes that occur in black communities, the crimes that we

committed against each other are merciless, evil, and self-afflicted

atrocities. These crimes happen when gangs fight and kill over

neighborhood territory. Much of the violence is caused when we distribute

drugs to each other, causing much of the black male population to be

incarcerated. This results in black single mothers at home working and

struggling to raise their children alone. These children tend to be lacking in

the areas of education, self-dignity and respect for others and their

communities.

I would like to conclude by saying as Nelson Mandela said: Education is the

most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

We can change our world during right now, during Black History month,

through positive education and peaceful demonstration.

1000722_10201529220046959_1213682537_n (1)Maryana Sokha, writing workshop assistant

I come from Ukraine, a country where we don’t have resident black

people. If you happen to see a black person in the streets, he or she is a

most likely a student or a tourist. I am quite sure that most of Ukrainians

have never had a chance to talk to a black person. That is why we never

actually had black people issues in Ukraine, but somehow, we have

different attitude towards them. I have one episode form my life in my

mind that made me think about that.

A few years ago I was visiting thrift shop in France and saw a nice black

doll there. It was first time in my life I had seen a black doll. I liked it so

much that I bought it and brought it home. After some time I decided to

donate it to the Ukrainian charity shop where I used to work. It was so

hilarious to watch the reaction of the customers. They were rather

surprised to see black doll, but nobody showed any interest in buying the

doll for their children. One day a little girl came in to the shop with her

mother. As soon as she saw the doll she grabbed it and started to ask her

mom to buy it for her. It was obvious that her mother could not understand

what her daughter liked about the doll. The mother started to make lame

excuses about why she would not buy the doll for her daughter, such as the

girl already has a lot of dolls at home, and that she had no money to buy it.

Fortunately, she couldn’t give any good explanation about what she thought

was wrong with the doll. At this moment I thought: why should the little girl

inherit this inexplicable and negative attitude. So, I gave the girl that doll

for free and enjoyed the delight of the girl and the awkwardness of her

mother.

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