Graduation Part IV: Building Up Youth

“I fear death, I’m young I have a whole life ahead of me, I don’t want to start gang-banging and then people are killing people for no reason now. So it’s like I don’t want to gang-bang and walk down the street and get killed,  that takes away my life…but It’s going to hurt the people I leave behind like my mom and dad…if I die I feel like it will hit my family worse, and I don’t want to see that happen to them ” – Nate, age 16. 

When I first discovered BUILD, I was ecstatic to learn about this wonderful organization and honored to be welcomed into the lives of some of their youth. This summer I spent several days with Rik Vazquez, Youth Development Specialist at Build and Dope Poet,  visiting the youth he worked with. These young men greatly impressed me and strongly touched my heart. It’s so easy for people to negatively label young men of color without understanding their goals, fears, obstacles, and life story.  I was impressed by their knowledge, wisdom and honesty. The audio clip posted it long, I admit it, but that is because we covered just about every topic that should be addressed when discussing youth violence. These young men share their goals and obstacles, discuss violence in their personal lives, race and poverty, drugs, education, family support and ways to build up youth and stop violence. 

What about Team Brown Skin?

I never had to deal with colorism most of my life. It wasn’t until these past few years, I realized that racism is not the only hurdle we must overcome. I don’t want to sound predictable. I want to share my thoughts with you.

I’m a brown skinned woman. Brown as in carmel. As in Reginal Hall or Halle Berry brown skin. I’m not light skinned or dark skinned. In general, I would be considered the grey that fits right between the black and white. Understanding how I would be introduced to colorism was to experience it first hand.

Coming out as biracial: One woman’s story

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From Left to Right: Stephanie and her sister

If we were to judge Stephanie Georgopulos based on her appearance, we’d think she was white.

And we would be half correct. Just a few months ago, the Gawker contributor “came out” as biracial.

She was having dinner with a co-worker. “I’m a Capricorn,” she’d said. ‘Yeah…my mom’s black,’ I responded,” writes Stephanie.

Study: Black boys more accepted into white cliques than black girls

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A study on the experiences of black students in suburban schools has found that black boys have an easier time fitting in than black girls.

Black boys can use racial performance to seem tough, cool and athletic. Black girls are often viewed as ghetto and aggressive.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo studied the social impact of a desegregation program. Minority students were bussed to a predominantly white high school in a Boston suburb.

Artist seeks to spark dialogue through portraits of white women with black styles

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It isn’t often that you see a professional white woman with fingerwaves.

But that’s exactly what you will see in Photographer Endia Beal’s latest work, “Can I Touch It?”

The young black creative took several middle-aged white women to a black salon and gave them a “black hairdo.”

From Slate:

Although photographer Endia Beal laughs freely while discussing “Can I Touch It?” the point of the series that she worked on this summer during a five-week residency with the Center for Photography at Woodstock isn’t about getting laughs. The rules were simple: After getting their new styles, the women had to agree to be photographed in a traditional corporate portrait, even if they weren’t happy with the result. 

Supreme Court to decide on key affirmative action case

The Supreme Court will decide if affirmative action is a justifiable factor in college admissions on Tuesday.

The judges will take on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a 2006 constitutional amendment banning the use of racial preferences in public university admissions.

Tomorrow’s ruling could not just affect the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, but reach seven states. California, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Oklahoma, Nebraska and New Hampshire has similar bans.

The ‘Black vote:’ A help or harm to our community?

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With the rise of a black president, many are talking about the impact of the “Black vote.” During the 2008 and 2012 elections, a large number of African Americans where on board with Obama’s policies.

But Meagan Jordan of the A & T Register raises an interesting question. “Does the ‘Black vote’ negatively impact our race?”