Posts Tagged ‘race’

Racist or sensitive?

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Everything
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When I was in college, I would always get upset when asked where I was from. I never liked saying “long island” because I don’t fit that stereotype and I hate having to explain that black people usually never have a lawn-guy-land accent. I could say my town, but then I was always asked if it was the one in california.

I settled on “new york” which always prompted: new york city??? And the answer was always no.

Now that I’m in the real world, I always get asked if I’m from Brooklyn or the Bronx. Do I look like I’m from either of those places? I don’t dress or speak in a way to suggest I’m from there, yet I get asked all the time. So I can’t afford manhattan or are people using the probability that I would be likely to live there?

Either way, it’s quite “interesting” how this has shifted post-college. Maybe cantabs are socially differently or maybe they unaware of “outer boros”. #firstworldproblems

As I’ve been traveling and working abroad, I have realized that my cultural ties to America are rooted in a way that most cannot understand.

Most racial, ethnic and cultural groups have a distinct homeland, language and some aspect of a diaspora. Italians can find Italians in many cities, French can speak French in many lands and the Irish can go to Ireland and trace their roots. As an African-American descent of slaves I do not have this luxury.

I cannot go to a pilgrimage to my homeland, there is no non-English language with which I can communicate and there is no diaspora. The first two are things that I cannot change and can be in some degree assuaged by being American and finding other Americans.

However, my African-Americaness which is rooted in slavery and being an admixture with a distinctive culture which is replicated differently outside of the US creates some problems. Most other blacks outside of the US have a more rooted and direct link to their ancestors. And given such close ties do no share my black American experience. Southern hip-hop, black clubs and the fascination with “donkeys” is very much something that I haven’t found outside of the US.

The conflict I have is that everyone thinks Americans love America because we are too ignorant to appreciate other cultures. This may be true, but the reason I love America and complain about how I miss it because this is where my culture was born and only lives. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be black in America and feel comfortable. Yet, I fully do in a way that most other groups cannot understand.

via bluetealeaves
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via Fashion Indie

“São Paulo fashion week sells the image of a Swiss Brazil where everyone is white and blue-eyed. The organisers … forget that more than half of Brazil’s population is black,” says Frei Davi Santos, a Brazilian race campaigner behind a series of protests over São Paulo Fashion Week.

The seeds of the protest were planted in 2008 when an inquiry by São Paulo’s public prosecutor revealed that out of 1,128 models booked for fashion week, only 28 were black. Oranizers agreed to a voluntary two-year, 10% black model quota — affirmative fashion action — which many designers have reportedly ignored.

Protestors are now calling for a 20% quota in hopes of more accurately representing the Brazilian population, which is 50.8% black. However, that figure means nothing as consumers “still reject the combination of black [models] and luxury clothing”.

At least they do according to Vivian Whiteman, fashion editor of the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Whitey, as I like to call her, wrote an article on the Brazilian modeling industry’s rampant racism that included an interview with Bruno Soares, a booker of Afro-Brazilian descent.

“For historical reasons,” claims Soares, “Brazil’s black population has been poor and not a consumer of fashion. This is reflected in the casting.”

But for Frei Davi Santos, that bigoted cup just doesn’t hold water:

“Brazil is a country that still insists on emphasising its European side and discriminating against its beautiful indigenous and Afro-Brazilian populations. We do not want catwalks that look like catwalks in Switzerland or England.”

Seems to me this problem is easily remedied. Gisele in black face. I mean, it worked for Beyoncé. [Guardian]

I am always perplexed by how Brazilian beauty is perceived, it seems that the mainstream (read: white people, mostly) often associate Brazilian beauty with an ethnic (exotic) look. Yet, the population that they reference is not usually the melting pot Brazil that I or any person who knows the demography of the country. Brazil has more African-American descendants than the US (outside of the African continent), although it seems one would never know that from media perception and coverage.

What troubles me most is that the beauty coming out of Brazil is often white girls with tans. I say this because many of the people in Brazil have European origins and are essentially no different than a German (Giselle) or Italian (Isabelli), yet the way we iconize them would be that the mixture of their looks is why they are beautiful. The mixed girls are usually not discussed or scouted.

The most worthy of mention is Adriana Lima who proudly admits a mixed heritage and does reflect a beauty (to me) that is indicative of Brazil. She is not fair skinned nor is she just tanned, but she does appear to be at least ethnically ambiguous which is how I think Brazil should be perceived. And that’s only half way to what I think we should see which are girls that look Afro-Latino a la Rosario Dawson, Zoe Saldana or even Halle Berry. I’m sure those kinds of girls can be found.

Taye has written a children’s book called ‘Chocolate Me!’ where he draws from hurtful personal experiences from when he was younger and teaches kids to be happy just the was they are. As a dad with a 2-year-old interracial son, Taye discusses raising a mixed race child, how race affected him growing up, his parent’s making sure he always had positive black influences and how he feels Denzel and Wesley Snipes created a “shift” in the industry for the dark chocolate brothas. He also recently sat down with MyBrownBaby.com and revealed that it wasn’t until he accidentally came across an article about Tyson Beckford that he was proud to be dark

(more…)

Shit White People Say to Asians

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Videos
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Although this meme has been SO over done, it really is a quality parody of the original.

Shit White Girls say…to Black Girls

Posted: January 8, 2012 in Everything
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When “Shit Girls Say” hit Youtube last month, it quickly gained more than seven million views and has spawned hundreds of parodies including “Shit Gay Guys Say”, “Shit Vegans Say”, “Shit Moms Say”, and the extremely popular, “Shit Black Girls Say,” which has over a million views. After seeing “Shit Girls Say” posted on Facebook, I reluctantly watched “Shit Black Girls Say” knowing that before I hit the play button I probably wouldn’t be able to relate.

Growing up I was constantly labeled an “oreo” by my black peers because of my proper speech and “valley girl accent”. But contrary to my tormentors’ taunts, I didn’t “want to be white” or think I was better than them; my lilting voice and preppy attire was the result of my Catholic school elementary years combined with my suburban West Palm Beach upbringing.

After I entered high school, the teasing subsided and my circle of friends grew to include girls from all walks of life; but I always seemed to fall in with the white girls from upper middle class families. I quickly became the “token black girl” in my group, which came with a whole host of awkward questions and first experiences for my peers. Unfortunately, the awkward questions and comments didn’t stop after I graduated from high school. Throughout college and even today, in corporate America, I find myself fielding inappropriate questions and swatting hands away from my waist length dreadlocks.

Over the years I’ve found that dealing with white people faux pas can be tricky. If I get upset, I could quickly be labeled the “angry black girl.” But if I don’t say anything or react too passively, I risk giving friends and acquaintances permission to continue crossing the line. So I decided to create my own parody, “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls,” to make all people laugh while, hopefully, opening some eyes and encouraging some of my white friends and acquaintances to think twice before they treat their black friends and associates like petting zoo animals or expect us to be spokespeople for the entire race. (source)

Yesssssss, and this is exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned my disdain for the word ‘ghetto.’ I love love LOVE this video. The part about ‘not being stereotypical,’ hating rap, not being in black guys yet knowing Super Bass and saying things like ‘Hollerrrrrr.’

Black Women in Advertisments

Posted: November 17, 2011 in Everything
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via bluetealeaves
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IRL

James and Daniel Kelly

The two teenage boys sitting on the sofa opposite are different in almost every way. On the left is James: he’s black, he’s gay, he’s gregarious, and he’s academic. He’s taking three A-levels next summer, and wants to go to university. Daniel, sitting beside him, is white. He’s straight, he’s shy, and he didn’t enjoy school at all. He left after taking GCSEs, and hopes that his next move will be an apprenticeship in engineering.

So, given that they are diametrically opposed, there is one truly surprising thing about James and Daniel. They are twins. They were born on 27 March 1993, the sons of Alyson and Errol Kelly, who live in south-east London. And from the start, it was obvious to everyone that they were the complete flipside of identical. "They were chalk and cheese, right from the word go," says Alyson. "It was hard to believe they were even brothers, let alone twins."

The boys’ colour was the most obvious, and extraordinary, difference. "When James was born he was the spitting image of Errol, and I remember seeing his curly hair and thinking – he’s just like his dad. It was another two hours before Daniel was born: and what a surprise he was! He was so white and wrinkly, with this curly blond hair."

It wasn’t the first time nature had shocked Alyson and Errol. Daniel and James were the family‘s third set of twins: Errol and Alyson each already had a set with a previous partner. Errol’s first set are fraternal boys, Shane and Luke, who are 21; Alyson’s are identical boys, Charles and Jordan, 20. The only singleton in the house is the couple’s youngest child, and only daughter, 14-year-old Katie. "Apart from her, it’s twin city," says Alyson. "At least life was made a bit easier by the fact that we always had two of everything."

But it was clear that having one black and one white twin was going to mark the family out, wherever they went. "We’d go on holiday and people would say, ‘Is that one a friend you brought along?’" says Alyson. For Errol the response of strangers was harder to deal with. "People didn’t believe Daniel was mine," he says. "They didn’t always say anything, but I could tell it was what they were thinking."

So how does it happen that a white and a black partner – who would usually produce, as Alyson and Errol did in their other children, black-skinned offspring – have a child who is as white as his mum? I spoke to Dr Jim Wilson, population geneticist at Edinburgh University – and his first question was, "What is Errol’s heritage?" Errol is Jamaican – and that, says Jim, is the basic explanation.

How fascinating is this? I remember back to when I was inspired by stories like these to study genetics. Now, I’ve realized that study people and the one-off genetic differences and how it manifest culturally and what ‘aberrations’ experience. Amazing. (more…)

Afro-Latinos

Posted: September 18, 2011 in Food for Thought
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When we were children, we were told that we have a motherland, and that motherland was Spain. However, we have discovered later, in our lives, that as a matter of fact, we have several motherlands. And one of the greatest motherlands of all is no doubt, Africa. We love Africa. And every day we are much more aware of the roots we have in Africa… Racism is very characteristic of imperialism. Racism is very characteristic of capitalism. Katrina is—indeed, has a lot to do with racism–no doubt about it. Hate against me has a lot to do with racism. Because of my big mouth, because of my curly hair. And I’m so proud to have this mouth and this hair, because it’s African.

I ran across this quote after some random wikipedia’ing, and decided that my next visit should be to South America to see just how true this sentiment is.

Wait, you’re black?

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Ramblings
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Lately, I’ve had some frustrating encounters: I have to remind people that I am black and that makes me different but also the same.

When I go to the doctor for light therapy, I get asked if I’m reacting poorly to it. And I ask, how would I know if I were, which could be interpreted as a dick statement but let’s just be clear, right? And the response is: do you experience any sunburns? Umm…I’m black, I don’t really get burnt and I’m not really sure of what a sunburn entails.

Oh, that’s a sunburn?!? Oh no, I don’t have that problem.

I guess I should be happy I am being treated no differently, right? I will say yes despite how annoying it is to have to ask for definitions of ‘white people’ problems. However, this is not the case with my job where I have to remind people that I’m black, but it doesn’t define me in the way they believe it does.

I have heard from multiple sources that my group believes that I have a chip on my shoulder because I’m black, and one of the only ones in my group. And the way I am given advice is with caution so as not to rouse suspicion of racism and with kiddie gloves. Thanks? Actually, no thanks. I’ve been the only black for all of my primary and secondary school, athletics and in my friend groups…so why would I all of a sudden now have this chip?

I actually don’t, I have an issue with how my group does not know how to handle non-cookie cutter people. I’m different, always have been, but I don’t think it’s based on my race. Hell, black people think I’m weird too. I think differently, I ask questions, and I challenge conventions. I don’t think that’s even race-specific. But my group solves ‘my problems’ by providing me with black mentors so that I can work on feeling integrated into the group.

Perhaps you assess the situation like consultants and say you might be the problem. It’s not race, it’s class. It’s not race, is your close-mindedness. I’ts not race. It’s generational. It’s not race. It’s everything else. If it were about race, I would have left. Now, do I believe that they treat people similarly because they suffer from expectation biases such that all black males in the group have had this problem? Yes. Now it is about race. But it’s only about race because they treat you differently because they assume you feel different.

You should probably ask people…wait, can’t do that…it might be considered racist.

via NYT

A research grant application from a black scientist to the National Institutes of Health is markedly less likely to win approval than one from a white scientist, a new study reported on Thursday.

Even when the researchers made statistical adjustments to ensure they were comparing apples to apples – that is, scientists at similar institutions with similar academic track records – the disparity persisted. A black scientist was one-third less likely than a white counterpart to get a research project financed, the study found.

"It is striking and very disconcerting," said Donna K. Ginther, a professor of economics at the University of Kansas who led the study. "It was very unexpected to find this big of a gap that couldn’t be explained."

The findings are being published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

At the N.I.H., which commissioned the study, top officials said they would follow up to figure out the causes of the disparity and take steps to fix it.

"This situation is not acceptable," said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the N.I.H., a federal medical research agency. "This is not one of those reports that we will look at and then put aside."
The researchers said they did not know whether the panels that reviewed the grant applications were discriminating against black applicants, whether applications from black researchers were somehow weaker, or whether a combination of factors was at play.

In the study, Dr. Ginther and her colleagues looked at 83,000 grant applications from 2000 to 2006. For every 100 applications submitted by white scientists, 29 were awarded grants. For every 100 applications from black scientists, 16 were financed.

After the apples-to-apples statistical adjustments, the gap narrowed but still existed.

The medical research community has long struggled to recruit more minority scientists. For example, about 2.9 percent of full-time medical school faculty members are black, Dr. Collins said; according to census figures, blacks make up 12.6 percent of the population. But the study now shows that the few blacks who do enter research are not on an even playing field.

(more…)

via Tumblr

The 7 Layers of Division in Black America:

ancestryinprogress:

borednschooled:

There’s a great wish in the African American community for a wonderful utopia known as UNITY. The word brings about images of 70′s era movies where everyone picks their blow-out Afros, slaps high-fives and echoes “Right on!” in unison.

This reality was lived out by our parents but now the word has become pure fantasy. A fellow AA writer and myself discussed this unity thing and came up with 7 layers of division that keeps black unity a myth. This list may not be exclusive to blacks but it plagues us and keeps us separated in a major way.

The 7 Layers of Division in Black America:

Layer 1 – Bourgie vs. Ghetto
Middle/upper class vs. lower class for those confused by the derogatory terms. These two classes of people don’t necessarily hate one another but cannot coexist due to different outlooks and prejudice towards one another. So how would you go about unifying them?

Layer 2 – American vs. Immigrant
African Americans’ “us versus them” mentality, the effort to stay “the most screwed over minority” and the immigrants who segregate themselves so as not to be confused with native-born blacks is an old and hard issue that will not go away easily.

Layer 3 – Church vs. Cynics
Many of us grew up in the black church only to leave and become cynical. I won’t get into the reasoning for this (there’s a full article on it for those who need clarification). The cynics will never agree with those who quote scripture because they do not respect their stance on anything.

Layer 4 – Racially Scarred vs. Racially Ambiguous
When you grew up being called a nigger and being denied based on your color it is a different world than growing up where everyone is cordial and the “n-word” is something you hear about versus actually hearing it. One says “Don’t trust them” and the other says “Get over it!” Each thinks the other is hopeless.

Layer 5 – Light vs. Dark
Every culture of color has had this issue it seems. The light is right attitude of our ancestors has left a nasty and bitter taste in some of our mouths but sadly many black people still follow it.

Layer 6 – Huey vs. Uncle Ruckus
Uncle Ruckus hates his blackness and hates everything to do with it. Huey loves the skin he’s in and cannot fathom how a black man could hate himself. Like their namesakes from Aaron McGruder’s “Boondocks” there are many who cannot see eye to eye when it comes to blackness.

Layer 7 – Men vs. Women
Many of us are in great relationships with black men/women but sadly enough, we don’t talk about that them as much as we talk about the jerks (guilty) from our past. Men are stereotyped as uneducated jailbirds and women as bitchy co-eds, the Cosby dynamic being laughably inaccurate.

So will black people ever “unify” and appear as together as our fellow minorities? I don’t think so and after seeing the 7 layers that we would have to overcome, you can understand why.

Now this right here is deeeep.

Dearth of Black of Sitcoms

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Food for Thought
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via Gawker

One of my favorite sitcoms of all time is "A Different World," the "Cosby Show" spin-off series that followed the lives of students at Hillman College, a fictional historically black college located in Virginia. Though the series had a slow first season, "A Different World" ultimately managed to captivate audiences and was critically praised for displaying an accurate depiction of life on the campus of an HBCU.

"A Different World" masterfully captured a piece of the black aesthetic, which had been mostly avoided on network television, by following characters such as Dwayne Wayne, Whitley Gilbert, Freddie Brooks and Kimberly Reese. I was so hooked on that show that I had made up my mind that I would attend an HBCU. Apparently, I wasn’t alone in that regard because by the end of the series, enrollment at HBCUs increased considerably. Many believed that the sitcom had something to do with that.

It’s unfortunate to say that a groundbreaking show like "A Different World" probably won’t make its way to television again. In today’s bottom-line market, shows featuring African-Americans are considered risky business, which only makes it harder for black-themed TV shows to get produced and financed. But it wasn’t always this way.

In 1968, Diahann Carroll became the first African-American woman to have the lead in the hit TV show, "Julia." The success of the series not only helped to normalize black life on the small screen, but it also helped to usher in a slue of other black sitcoms, many with black writers and directors, including "Sanford and Son," "Good Times," "What’s Happening," and of course, "The Jeffersons." By the 1980s, the tradition of black sitcoms continued-if not excelled-with shows such as "Amen," "Webster," "Diff’rent Strokes," "A Different World," and the ever popular "The Cosby Show."

By the 1990s, black sitcoms reached new heights with such programs as "In Living Color," "Family Matters," "Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper," "The Jamie Foxx Show," "Martin," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Sister, Sister," "Living Single," "Moesha," "The Steve Harvey Show," "The Parkers," and "Girlfriends." It appeared that not only had black talent been standardized in front of the screens, but was finally being appreciated from behind the lens too.

But at the end of the 90′s, black sitcoms began to appear less and less as the major networks moved on to pursue more mainstream demographics. The WB, which had become the new staple channel for black sitcoms, dropped at least 4 of their black comedies and it slowly transitioned away from the genre all together. By the mid-2000′s, UPN, the only other station catering to a black audience, slowly began to fade out its black line up. Eventually, both channels merged and followed in the direction of their major competitors.

While it would be easy to just chalk up the disappearance of the black sitcom to the whims of the networks, many of these black-themed television shows began to lose credibility within the black community itself. Whereas shows like "A Different World" created a mini-renascence of love for the HBCU – and in particular black life – new black TV sitcoms have offered us little to no celebration of black life and culture.

In fact, today’s shows seem to be largely focused on the homogenous representation of the black experience. Not only is there no diversity of characters, but we also rarely see the characters relating to or making any reference to the black experience at all. In short, white characters could just as easily be casted in these sitcom roles as blacks are.

What made "A Different World" so special was that Debbie Allen, the show’s director, largely drew on her own experiences of being a student at Howard University to create the essence of the show. As a result of Allen’s connection to the subject matter, she was able to beautifully capture the diversity of the black community – not only did the characters not all look the same, but they hailed from different social-economic backgrounds and had different political beliefs. Most Importantly, "A Different World" made college a viable option for many minority students, proving that positive images of African Americans excelling in the classroom and in life was something worth tuning in for.

I used to LOVE ‘A Different World,’ and I actually thought that people would be like that in school. I compared to the rich snobby black girl to Whitley (the majority of the black girls), there were no Cree Summers’ and way too many Ron’s. I guess it really did make going to college feel accessible and attainable.

Now that I’m in a different life stage, I would imagine that more mature shows like ‘Living Single’ would shape my worldview. I would presume that ‘The Game’ is supposed to capture my young adult experience, as a male celebrity athlete. Oh you mean there are no shows that show educated (or no athlete/famous) black people? Oh they cancelled ‘Girlfriends’ and ‘Half & Half’? Sigh….

via HuffPo

Barack Obama has broken racial barriers. But his stint at Columbia was not one of them.

Obama’s status as a son of an African immigrant puts him in a category and debate that largely remains behind Ivy League walls: black students from immigrant families are overrepresented in Ivy League schools.

"Immigrant blacks," who come from families who have emigrated from the West Indies or Africa (mostly Ghana or Nigeria), make up 41 percent of the black population of Ivy League schools, according to a 2007 study by Princeton and University of Pennsylvania researchers. In contrast, black immigrants only make up 13 percent of the black population of 18-19 year olds in the United States.

The overrepresentation of immigrant blacks on Ivy League campuses is forcing students to redefine their own "blackness" and black culture, while raising questions about affirmative action and access to the best universities in America.

At Harvard, which has 16 different black student associations, from the Nigerian Students Association to the Black Men’s Forum, in the undergraduate college alone, it takes some time to get used to the fact that there is more than one kind of "black."

"I think for all of us at first, the idea that there would be black people who weren’t like the people we knew at home was just an adjustment," said Damon King, a 2004 Harvard graduate born in Guyana and raised in New Jersey.

The affirmative action debate, which swelled to cacophonous levels in 1978 when the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action policies in universities were constitutional, has evolved as the demographics of the country have changed. With more students of Asian and Latino descent coming in since affirmative action was first instituted, the diversity element of the policy has become more and more emphasized.

"Am I exempted from the cultural show if I scored a 2400 [on the SATs?]" asked Brandon Terry, Harvard class of 2004 and a self-classified "Black American." "Are we using race as a mark of culture? If our interest is cultural diversity, it makes sense that we’re admitting Africans over black Americans," he said.

When Terry first arrived on campus, he felt uneasy. He would sit by himself in the dining hall, feeling the stares of others. One time, while walking through Harvard Yard, the woman in front of him picked up her pace and soon broke out into full-out running.

He soon found his niche as the Black Men’s Forum president, but encountered other problems, this time within the black community on campus. "I had a really difficult time fitting in at first," he said. "I felt sort of prepared to not fit in with the white kids, but I wasn’t prepared to not fit in with the black kids." Personal identity converged with issues of collective identity- the native black American experience was different than the Nigerian-, Ghanaian-, or Jamaican-American experience, and this manifested itself in various ways.

"You realized there were these great divergences, socially, politically," said Terry. "Sometimes they were small things like music, but sometimes they would be full blown prejudices."

Timothy Turner, a Harvard senior from Tennessee (who would be classified as a "native black" in the study) and 2008-9 president of Harvard’s Black Student Association, wondered whether or not the immigrant mentality and work ethic contributed to the larger proportion of immigrant blacks at his school.

He had decided to apply to Harvard when a diversity recruiter from the school called him. Before that, he hadn’t even considered the school.

"You just don’t think that you fit the mold to get into Harvard. It just didn’t seem real," he said. Turner mentored minority students in Boston, and said it struck him how some of the brightest high school students still felt like Harvard was out of reach.

"Some of the intelligent students don’t feel like Harvard is attainable, " he said. "At the same time, the way the Harvard is perceived, you understand why that would be the case… the legacy of classism, elitism, racism. You understand how that’s passed on to the children. That history is something a lot of immigrants aren’t aware of. They think this is the land of opportunity and take any chance they can get."

Discussions about the different groups of black students on campus would come up frequently. While black students of all backgrounds could compare notes about racist treatment or expectations, the intensity of impact would vary. In addition, cultural backgrounds would differ so much that it would seem that racism or the color of their skin were one of the only things black immigrants and black natives had in common.

Terms like "pan-Africanism," and "the Diaspora" figured into the lexicon of these ethnicity-within-a-race discussions. "We had lots of conversations about this in college," said Onyi Offor, Harvard class of 2005 and a Nigerian immigrant. She is currently a third-year Yale medical student. Her parents, a doctor and an information technology professional, pushed her to excel academically, and excel she did. Yet Offor still found herself subject to questionable treatment.

When she told her high school guidance counselor that she was going to apply to Harvard, "she didn’t bat an eye and pulled out catalogues of different colleges."

Offor believes that her experience is still fundamentally different than that of blacks born here, however. "I’ve heard people talk about how if you don’t grow up in this country, you don’t feel the racism, you don’t grow up with that burden on your back," she said.

Perhaps it was just an issue of time, she said. She did not experience enough racism for it to have a serious psychological impact, or any that would prevent her from striving academically and professionally.

Whatever divisions exist within the black population on campus, the media and society continue to superficially treat African-Americans as the same. "I can’t claim that my descendants were slaves, because they weren’t," said Chiduzie Madubata, Harvard class of 2006. "My experience in the States was actually really driven by Nigerian culture, in keeping with Nigerian food, developments in Nigeria."

Yet at the same time, "in the grand scheme of things, both groups are classified as black, on the street, and when we enter into a certain building," Madubata said. "That’s how our society treats us, in that sense, we are common."

With Obama’s presidency, a whole generation of black youth- from America or abroad- has a larger-than-life role model to which to aspire. But perhaps just as importantly, there is hope that new, constructive dialogues and better understandings of the nuances of race will occur.

"As a generation, we got kind of blindsided by the rapid change of the composition of the black community," said Terry. "We weren’t willing to do the sociological, philosophical work to figure out what this was about."

I think that this article does a good job of capturing how I feel about being an African-American, which was drastically altered when I attended Harvard. I definitely had to re-think what ‘black’ meant, and coming from a predominantly African-American (descent) community, being outnumbered was a major culture shock. It’s even affected how I view race and culture to this day. I’m happy I was able to get a new perspective, but damn was my world rocked.