Racial Justice & Equality

Systemic Racism, White People, and Why Mike Brown is such a big deal.

In waiting for the verdict of the grand jury in the Ferguson case, I already knew what was going to happen. I wasn’t shocked by the no indictment. I couldn’t be. It was already decided, already proven way before it had even went to trail – way before it had even happened. It was already decided when it happened in the Trayvon Martin Case, when it happened to Oscar Grant, when it happened to Sean Bell. The verdict was read way before November 24, 2014.

That is because there is systemic racism in America. Systemic racism (sometimes referred to as institutional racism) is any system of inequality based on race. It is different from individual racism because it is inequality from a business, system, or other societal structure. It is not based on one person’s opinion, but the rules and regulations of a greater entity. Systemic racism occurs when the way a society is structured systematically ends up giving advantages to some and disadvantages to others.

An easy way to explain systematic racism is in the purchase of bandages. When a person goes to the store to buy Band-Aids for a cut, the only colors available in most retail stores are of a lighter complexion. A dark brown skin person, like myself, will never find Band-Aids in my skin color at a major retail store in America. That is inequality that was set up by a business, it is not racism of one person in particular. (more…)

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Privilege at the Ulta

ulta

For many African American people in America, white privilege is alive and apparent every day of our lives. We see it everywhere we go, all over our televisions, in politics, etc. A day never goes by that doesn’t remind us that life in America might be a little easier if we had fairer skin.

I’ve recently gotten into wearing makeup. When I’m heading to a party, or out for a celebration, I like to dress up my outfit with an amazing full face of makeup. I love it. But what I don’t love, is my oily skin causing my flawless finish to shine. Nothing is better than a matte face, so I visited my local Ulta in a hunt for an oil-free foundation at a decent price. Since Ulta carries many drug store brands, I knew that a representative could give me some good advice for an inexpensive product.

When I walked in, I had no problem finding someone to help me look for a foundation, nor did the representative and I have problems finding foundations made for oily skin, but the problem we did face was finding a foundation dark enough for my complexion. The representative, a young, blond, caucasian woman, was so shocked. She couldn’t believe how limited the color selection was. We paced from alise to alise, brand to brand, only to find one brand with a color in my shade. The representative couldn’t believe it. She even made a comment that she usually “just picks up her color with ease” so she never realized how difficult it could be for someone of my complexion to find a foundation in their shade. (more…)