As I write this blog I am currently watching a CNBC special on the drug war in Mexico, surprisingly something I already watched in my block 8 class on the War on Drugs. I tell you this not only because I highly suggest that anyone who can, should take Santiago Guerra’s Drug War block but because these are the types of documentaries that I have found many CC students to find interesting and watch in their spare time. I think this is a testament to why Colorado College is able to offer courses like Whiteness Studies knowing that students will sign up.
So far this week have torn down our elementary school educations, taking down famous iconic US figures as we go. But this is not to say that we hate being Americans this just means we are finding out the full truths behind Lincoln’s thoughts on emancipation and things like redlining. Did you know Lincoln was a separatist? He did believe that African Americans should be freed but he also believed that there was a ‘wall of difference’ between whites and blacks and that they would never be able to peacefully co-exist in the United States. He was a man of his time and I believe that even with all of our race issues now he would be very happy to see the progress that has been made. In class we have been discussing the roots of our thoughts, if we believe that racism just came out of nowhere it seems like something that would be impossible for us to ever overcome. But if we can trace it back to its roots maybe we can find ways for it to be undone. One of my classmates said that this feeling is a good one because it not only gives hope but that it also shows how far we have come.
We have a black president. Does this mean that racism is over? Of course not but does this mean that race issues in the US have changed for the better? Well I guess that is based on your beliefs but for anyone who believes that one day we can all live peacefully together without hate, racial discrimination and or ill feelings towards anyone of a different race or ethnicity (and I am not even tackling gender, sexual orientation, etc.) then yes I do think that things are getting better. Education, for me, is what makes tolerance possible and with more people of all races, which includes the white race, thinking about these issues and tearing apart our past to find the origins of this madness we can really get somewhere. This may seem preachy for you but these conversations and what we are learning in class is what gets my blood pumping. I am a race and ethnic studies minor because I believe that this is important and that you can say racism is over all you want but all you have to do is read the right text or talk to a person of color to realize that this is not true but things are better and they can continue to get better if we are all willing to educate ourselves.