Theory 402 Blog Post

 

About a month ago, I visited the University of Howard in D.C. for their homecoming with my two closest friends. During their homecoming concert I noticed this sign among all the various club and organizational banners that were spread throughout the field of the concert. At first, the sign made me laugh a little for some reason, but then I started to think about what my college career might have been like had I attended a historically black college like Howard. There is a common debate on social media platforms about predominantly white institutions versus historically black institutions. The debate is so common that it has a name: PWI versus HBCU. People often get worked up when debating this issue given the history of black people and education in this country, and seeing this poster reminded me of the whole ordeal.  

As someone who greatly enjoys diversity and being around various types of people, my school seemed like a perfect fit for me when I was fresh out of high school. Even though I do not regret choosing to attend the school I do wish I had given more thought to attending a HBCU, since I pretty much wrote off the whole idea all together for myself. The concept of racial segregation of any sort was anything but appealing to me when applying to colleges. As I have grown and entered my senior year of college, I realize even more the benefits of learning in an environment where people understand you and see the world through a similar lens or at least try. While I have had many great professors, it was not until I changed my major to Sociology that I began to encounter teachers who even acknowledged some of the issues that black students have within the university. The three years prior to the change consisted of classes where I was still one of a few black people, and there was very little diversity among my professors who were mostly white men. Now, I’m not saying that someone must look like me in order to be a great teacher, but I do believe that if a school advertises diversity that it should follow through for their staff as well.   

Friends of mine who attend the school as well have had major issues, especially in certain schools of the university like the art school. I have had peers who pay just as much as everyone else in tuition describe discriminatory practices from their professors, and in other schools within the university I know of some teachers who were blatantly assigning lower grades to African American students. It was also in the news recently that a professor called the police on a black woman who was sitting in his office and had been working as his teaching assistant for several months. According the news report she was not causing any danger or disruption to herself or others. I use all these examples not to discredit the professors who do a great job, but to bring light to the fact that black people do need spaces where they are among their own due to negative instances like the ones mentioned. Prior to college I really didn’t understand the HBCU versus PWI debate, but if I ever have children, I want them to acknowledge the circumstances and then decide for themselves rather than writing off the issue all together like myself. I believe that sometimes it can be easier even for minorities to pretend that discrimination doesn’t exist in certain spaces, but it is definitely a conversation worth having especially when it comes to education.  

 

Weel 11

Background: 

My knowledge of black immigrants is substantial when comparing generally, but as an African American who is uncertain of their ethnic background, I’ve derived most of my knowledge from friends who are first generation immigrants of either the Caribbean or Africa. I do understand how diverse black American backgrounds are, and when talking to other black Americans or Americans of other races it can be obvious that there is a lack of knowledge about all the places black people live and immigrant from. There is always more to learn, but I like to think that I am about seventy percent there since I don’t have many first-hand interactions with black immigrant culture. Similar to any other group of immigrants, most leave their home counties in order to pursue opportunities that may not be tangible where they lived prior to immigrating.   

 

Overview: 

According the Pew Research Center, the black immigrant population has increased five-fold since 1980. The transatlantic slave trade caused there to be a large population of black immigrants involuntarily, but since the 16th century black migration had rapidly increased due to voluntary relocation as well. “Between 2000 and 2016, the black African immigrant population more than doubled, from 574,000 to 1.6 million. Africans now make up 39% of the overall foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000.” In 2016, 8% of blacks were second-generation Americans – meaning they were born in the U.S. but have at least one foreign-born parent, according to the Center’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2016 Current Population Survey. In total, black immigrants and their children make up roughly one-fifth (18%) of the overall black population in the U.S. 

 

 

Anti-Blackness in Immigration: 

Anti-Black rhetoric and policies within immigration discourse can be seen in the language that is used by natural citizens throughout history. Treating immigrants like the “other” translates into a similar attitude within the policies that are passed through the American government. For example, Western preferences for ‘white’ immigrant’s construct ‘whites’’ position at the top of two intersecting hierarchical systems: one a racial system, and the other a hierarchy of nations that some refer to as the world system. Whiteness is not shaped in isolation, for the processes that construct the top construct a hierarchies’ bottom (Bashi 1998, Winant 2001) Cultural and biological arguments have been used in America’s history in order to make blackness seem inadequate, and as other groups of immigrants such as Asians no longer were a priority of discrimination black immigrants shifted to the primary focus. The language of national quotas did not specifically deny black entry in the 1920s, but scientific racism was used to deny entry to all ‘inferior races’ on grounds that ‘immigrants’ poor performance [was attributable] to Negroid strains inherent in their biological character’ (Wang 1975, p. 61).  

 

Vilna Bashi (2004) Globalized anti-blackness: Transnationalizing Western immigration law, policy, and practice, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27:4, 584-606, DOI: 10.1080/01491987042000216726 

 

Final Thoughts: 

The mission statement of the UndocuBlack Network claims a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources and contributes to transforming the realities of our people, so we are thriving and living our fullest lives. Immigrant rights and racial justice for African American and black immigrants is the focus of BAJI, which stands for The Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Alliances such as these two help communities of black immigrants organize their goals and educate themselves on policy.  

 

From this week I gained a better knowledge about the numbers of black immigrants that live in the United States. The rate of immigration in recent years stood out to me compared to prior decades. I also enjoyed learning about unions of blacks who are fighting for their rights as both immigrants and people of color.  

Week 10

Top Ten Facts

  1. 71 percent of African-Americans in same-sex couples are employed compared to 68 percent of their counterparts in different-sex couples
  1. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, support for marriage equality increased from 23 percent to 38 percent among Black Protestants between 2013 and 2014.
  1. Approximately 3.7 percent of all African Americans identify as LGBT, with 84,000 African Americans living in same-sex couples and roughly a third of those couples raising children.
  1. It is more likely that a member of an African American same-sex couple will have a college degree than a member of a heterosexual African American couple — 41 percent versus 33 percent
  1. African American females in same-sex couples are three times more likely to enter the military than non-LGBT counterparts — nine percent versus only three.
  1. Between 2 million and 3.7 million children under age 18 have an LGBTQ parent, and approximately 200,000 of them are being raised by a same-sex couple. Many of these children are being raised by a single LGBTQ parent or by a different-sex couple where one parent is bisexual.
  1. Nearly 1.1 million LGBTQ people in the U.S. are married to someone of the same-sex. That means, there are more than 547,000 married same-sex couples nationwide.
  1. LGBTQ people and same-sex couples are more likely to foster and adopt than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. Same-sex couples are six times more likely to foster children, and at least 4 times more likely to adopt
  1. More than a third of same-sex couples raising children are racial or ethnic minorities – approximately 12% are African American and 15% Latinx.
  1. Nearly one in five children being raised by same-sex couples (24%) live in poverty compared to 14% of children being raised by different-sex couples.

 

Racism/Homophobia

Intersectional oppressions exist for African American members of LGBTQ community widely. Classism commonly intersects with other oppressions faced within the community. Studies show overall higher unemployment rates (15 percent v. 12 percent) and lower proportions with a college degree (23 percent v. 26 percent) among LGBT African-Americans, when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts. Transphobia is also an area where intersectional oppression thrives. Attitudes towards transgender people from both queer and “cishet” people are reflected in the lack of transgender elected officials. Unlike gay and lesbian officials which have little but some representation in our government, transgendered people have not been given the opportunity to break those barriers.

 

History

1.Audre Lorde graduated from Hunter college in 1959 and began exploring her lesbian identity son thereafter. As the feminist movement of the 1960s gained speed she soon became a leader who advocated for the rights of black women whose concerns were often disregarded among common feminist discussions. Lorde went on to write nine novels of poetry and feminist writings.

2. James Baldwin is celebrated as a member of American LGBT history. He had a passion for writing, and his most famous novels include Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, Tell Me How Long the Train Has Been Gone and Another Country. The latter two deal with homosexual and bisexual characters in their plots.

LGBTQ Love

Shanice and Angelita Howard were featured on the Huffington Post as one of six queer couples who defined black love in their own way. What we learn from this couple is that an individual who may not identify themselves as a member of the LGBT community can still form meaningful, romantic relationships with members of the same-sex. These two women were not initially attracted to one another, but as time went on, they realized that they complement one another. They defined black love as “an unconditional, patient, supportive, spiritual, unstoppable love that can weather any storm.”

Transgender Youth

In reflecting on the video about black parents raising a transgender son I enjoyed the mother discussing her initial thoughts in terms of what her sons statement meant to her. She explained how she had to shift her mindset in order to be more open to what her child was going through.

 

Reflections/Application

The intersectional oppression that occurs within the LGBTQ community is what struck me the most throughout this week’s readings. It is unfortunate to learn that marginalized groups of people commit the same oppressions against those are oppressed by transphobia, ableism, and more. Those of us who have family structures that are within the 60 percent should make life easier for one another and try to unlearn practices and attitudes that are damaging to families that we can learn from.