Being African-American in America

These articles offer a glimpse into the lives of African-Americans in America. This should not be used to represent the "black experience". It is simply a collection of articles, written from a specific perspective. Most of the authors listed below are either African-American or are those who have delved deeply into the African-American experience through advanced studies and lived experience through relationship.

L.A. Urban League “Helping” Blacks Since 1921

Urban League

Teka-Lark Fleming: Damien Goodmon of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition is doing a better job advocating for the entire community than the almost 100-year-old L.A. Urban League.

Mississippi Revisited

Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary

Vivian Rothstein: The Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary gathering was a way to make sure that Mississippi’s civil rights history is defined by those organizers and local leaders who made it.

4th of July Racist Parade Float Creates Outrage

Racist Parade Float

Larry Wines: We were prepared to heap shame on Norfolk, Nebraska, and opine that it’s little wonder they are a backwater in a fly-over state. But not so fast.

No Simple Answers to Achieving Racial Justice But One

Achieving Racial Justice

Scot Nakagawa: The problem is that there is no colorblind meritocracy in the U.S. That’s just a myth of white supremacy. Our problem is racism, not a lack of mettle, gumption, pluck, or educational attainment.

We Have a “Boy Problem” Alright, But It’s Not New

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Julia Grant: Women’s historical inequality has masked the fact that boys of color, immigrants, and the impoverished have swelled the ranks of dropouts, delinquents, and special education students throughout the twentieth century and into the present.

Juneteenth: Marking the End of Slavery

Juneteenth

Jessie Daniels: When I see those historical photos of early Juneteenth celebrations, and I see how small and sober these events seem, I think what a bittersweet moment that must have been – celebrating emancipation and commemorating all those that didn’t make it.

The American System of Racism

American System of Racism

Steve Hochstadt: We remember a bee sting for a long time. A dozen bee stings change how a person thinks about insects. The daily stings of racism over a lifetime, a generation, several centuries have determined the painful relations between black and white in America.

Black Man of Happiness

Black Man of Happiness

Peter Harris: The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right’ is a jazzy journal & unprecedented meditation that ranges in scope from Thomas Jefferson’s era to the Digital Age in search of the answer to the simple, startling question, What is a happy Black man?

Dismantling Collective Amnesia

Collective Amnesia

Jessica Ann Mitchell: Anyone who reads Ta-Nehisi Coates’ latest masterpiece on The Atlantic will realize that it goes beyond the traditional conversation about reparations. It’s a beautifully woven story that works towards dismantling collective amnesia.

The Obamas’ Race to the Bottom

Obama Administration Education Policies

Sikivu Hutchinson: After pursuing policies that have deepened racial segregation, the Obamas’ eleventh hour “awakening” to racial inequality is yet another kick in the teeth to people of color staring at the brutal mirage of economic “recovery”.

Deeper Than Words: Donald Sterling’s Racism and the Model Minority Myth

Donald Sterling Racism

Soya Jung: The model minority myth creates real incentives for remaining silent in the face of anti-black racism, but this obscures the ways that we have benefited from black liberation struggles, and how our struggles intersect.

Police Shoot Unarmed Black Man, Again

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Sharon Kyle: So now I’m intrigued and confused. If he was mistaken for the murder suspect, why would he have to cop a plea and why is he behind bars, and why haven’t the bullets been removed and oh yeah – why was he shot in the first place?

Emulating Malcolm X

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Bill Fletcher Jr.: Malcolm X’s transformation cannot be understood outside of a recognition that his adoption of a belief system and a commitment to something larger than himself involved a dedication to the building of organization.

Cornel West at Cal State LA

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Cornel West at Cal State LA: Dr. Cornel West will be speaking at the upcoming 7th Annual Pan-African Studies Forum at Cal State LA

Check Your Privilege, Princeton Tory

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Scot Nakagawa: The fact that many struggled to win the privileges we enjoy doesn’t make those privileges just and right. Privileges never are just and right in a truly democratic society.

Donald Sterling Is Los Angeles

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Joe Mathews: The racism heard on the leaked tape may have been news around the country, but Sterling’s discrimination against renters in his apartment buildings, and his anti-black, anti-Mexican, and misogynist views, were well-known facts of Los Angeles life for 30 years.

Why Do We Let Corporate Leaders Buy Diversity Awards?

Buying Diversity Awards

David Love: Would Dr. King or Malcolm X have honored a racist at a chicken dinner? Could you picture SNCC or the Black Panthers doing this sort of thing back in the day? I doubt it.

Donald Sterling’s Racism and White Denial

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Sharon Kyle: even in the face of the most blatant expressions of racism, those who have been caught with the proverbial smoking gun maintain that they are not racists.

Donald Sterling Confirms Race Still Matters

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Randy Shaw: Donald Sterling is a racist who has no business owning an NBA team. Yet he was allowed to do so by the same passive approach to racial bias that has become business as usual in much of the nation, and particularly in the world of sports.

The Sterling Shuffle: Unpacking White Jewish Racism

white jewish racism

Sikivu Hutchinson: Sterling’s racist references to shiftless black untouchables are simply yet another snapshot of how caste, ethnicity and the bootstraps mythology play out in “post-racial” America.

Bill O’Reilly Says Beyoncé Encourages Black Girls to Get Pregnant

Bill OReilly Beyonce Comments

Tara Culp-Ressler: O’Reilly suggested that Beyoncé isn’t helping to address the “cultural deficits” in African American and poor white communities and is actually “part of the problem.”

Black Is More Than a Skin Color

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Sheria Reid: Tea Party Republicans have figured out if they have their own black folks, in limited numbers of course, then they can refute the accusations of racism and proudly declare, “We have our own black people; we’re not racists!”

Model Minority Suicide: Five Reasons, Five Ways

model minority myth

Scot Nakagawa: The belief, that the black poor are just entitlement junkies, has negative consequences for all poor people because the tough “love” solutions this belief inspires, like cutting back on food stamps and other programs, see no color.

No Race on Noah’s Ark?

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Sharon Kyle: Whether we are talking about Liz Taylor playing “Cleopatra” or Russell Crowe standing in to represent every man, the outcome is the same – disproportionately high rates of unemployment for people of color.

Targeting the Black Jobs Crisis

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Joe Rihn: Over the last 40 years the economy as a whole has seen a shift toward low-wage and part-time jobs. As a result, 30 percent of black workers in Los Angeles County are currently making less than $12 an hour.

The Many Lives of the “Culture of Poverty”

culture of poverty

Scot Nakagawa: We criminalize and pathologize black people in order to reassure ourselves that the problem is not systemic; the system is healthy but beset by a disease we would do best to simply cut out.

Why LBJ’s Legacy Deserves Another Look

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David Love: What we should know is that Johnson’s legacy in Vietnam will always be troubling. However, his record on civil rights and fighting poverty deserves a second look.

Thank God for Abortion: What’s At Stake For Black Women

Anti-Abortion Man

Sikivu Hutchinson: Then, as now, mainstream pro-choice activists ceded the moral high ground to the anti-abortion regime, wavering between whether to frame abortion as a matter of personal choice or as an inalienable right.

A Long Path to Anti-Racist Scholarship and Activism

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Mark Naison: For me, anti-racism was something I wanted to live in real time and space with real people, not just pursued as an abstract principle, and I wanted my anti-racism to connect me to Black people rather than separate me from them.

Black Women Political Powerhouse, Socially Vulnerable

Black Women Voting

Nia Malika-Henderson: African American women are a powerful force at the polls, leading in voter turnout among all women but are more vulnerable to health problems and violence than other group.