The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

White Valedictorian at Morehouse

Racism is alive and well in America, but that's something everyone already knows. It made national headlines last week that Morehouse, an historically black men's school in Atlanta, has a white male valedictorian. Apparently it is shocking news that out of 3000 black men, "there's not one who has done as well as or better" than this white guy.

According to one black student, Vinson Muhammad, this news is " unsettling to me because it shows that we need to work harder." We? Meaning black men? I am sensing a definite "Us vs. Them" mentality here. At a school that claims to champion the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a lot of their students seem to be in favor of separating themselves from the white community in order to become black men of power. I may not be a scholar when it comes to Dr. King's beliefs, but I don't think that his intentions during the civil rights movement involved black men segregating themselves on purpose so they could think themselves "better" than their white counterparts.

This kind of news always stirs up feelings of anger and resentment inside of me. I grew up in a school system and community that was half black and half white. We didn't see much diversity beyond that other than the occasional Hispanic family, and race issues always stemmed from the age-old black vs. white racism. I am not going to deny that blacks, as a race, have been sorely mistreated in America. However, I think the road to a better future for everyone involves breaking down those barriers between races and letting go of resentment that has been passed down through generations. I am fairly certain that the answer is NOT about blacks rising above the whites in order to be superior leaders.

There is a balance problem here that will have to be addressed sooner or later. It makes news and brings out all kinds of hatred and resentment when a white man (who, if you read the article, has largely identified with the black community all of his life) has the best GPA at a black school. However, you will never see news reports about how angry it makes people that a black man was valedictorian at a predominantly white school. Well, one reason for that is most schools that used to be predominantly white are actively recruiting blacks and minorities so that they don't get fines and get slapped with accusations of racism. The bottom line is that it is not okay to have a "white" school in this day and age.

Having a "black" school seems to be just fine. You will hear words thrown in like "culture" and talk of "preserving our heritage" in reference to black only schools. Can you just imagine the holy hell that would break loose if Harvard started talking about "preserving our white heritage" and how upset they were that a black man was doing well at Harvard because it is unsettling how black men could do better than white men? It's just unheard of in this century.... while the black heritage is well worth preserving.

There is no easy answer and there is no easy way to look at this issue. I just get so tired of hearing how the white man is always keeping the black man down. It's as if every time you turn around, someone else is playing the race card, saying that they were mistreated because of their race and that somehow they deserve compensation. It's like Kanye West screaming backstage at the VMA's that they never "give a black man a chance." Do people not see the absurdity of a statement like that coming from a multi-millionaire who has been given more opportunities than most Americans ever get?

I am sure that anyone reading this who has opposing views would certainly call me racist. Maybe I am to an extent. Isn't everyone? Racism is commonly defined as "prejudice and discrimination based on race." We all have racial stereotypes ingrained in our minds and preconceived ideas about how someone of a certain race will react to different situations or comments. But does being annoyed and rolling my eyes at that stereotypical behavior when it happens constitute racism? Maybe in some cases it does. But if you think I am racist, aren't you also rolling your eyes at me for being white and having these ideas? Like so many other things in life, it's a vicious cycle and I have no answers.

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Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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