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All Black highlights the colorful history of African Americans

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Feb 27th 2018 11:00 pm
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For some, Black History Month is coming to an end, but for others, February is one month out of 12 others that make up a year-long appreciation for black culture. From figures like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., to Rosa Parks and Christina Jenkins, the month of February is the month of paying homage to great African American and black figures across the world, but particularly in the United States, where such a feat wasn’t an easy one. 

It is of general knowledge that Black Americans have had the shorter end of the stick since the very conception of this country, a country that is supposed to be “the land of the free.” However, what is unbeknownst to most is not only have black people been explicitly oppressed, but they have been inherently oppressed as well. We saw their explicit oppression in the establishment of slavery and the severe and inhumane treatment endured by African slaves at the hands of their white owners. 

For years upon grueling years, black people in this country were completely disregarded. Even when President Abraham Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, there was no true change in the way African Americans or other black people were viewed, especially by white Americans. 

This sort of mindset carried on into the Jim Crow Era, where harsh laws, segregation and essentially persecuting African Americans was established. While today those laws are no longer in effect through legislation, they are certainly upheld through social norms and stereotypes. This leads into the path of implicit oppression. 

 Some forms of implicit laws are what has become known as the “Black Tax,” or the notion that people of color, particularly African Americans, face a higher cost of living merely based on the color of their skin. This is carried out through African Americans receiving less wages, yet higher mortgages and loan rates. We also see this through racial stereotyping in clothing or jewelry stores, where people of color, but again, particularly black people, are scrutinized and even harassed more than their white counterparts. The behavioral and psychological patterns have become so ingrained into the very essence of American culture, we don’t even seem to be aware of it, that is, until we’re forced to be. 

The election of President Donald Trump has certainly brought forth a lot of the racial tension this country seems to have forgotten. With an increase in racially discriminatory incident across public college campuses, we are only getting a glimpse of how impactful this sort of ideology is. This is exactly the same sort of ideology which The College at Brockport’s Organization for Students of African Descent (OSAD) wish to address and work to overcome with their annual “All Black Everything” event.

With a guest count of 200 people and all tickets sold outfour days beforehand, “All Black Everything” saw a huge turnout of supporters, serving to prove just how impactful an event of this nature truly is on a college campus. The event hosted several types of performances including poetry, original rap pieces presented by George Mackaveli, a member of Brockport’s New Age club, which promotes and supports music production by Brockport students. An award ceremony which honored one of the founders of OSAD, originally referred to as the Black Student Liberation Front according to brockport.edu, Gary Owens amongst others, illustrated just how prevalent activism for and by students of color has been on this campus. 

The event came to an end with a dance performance by OSAD’s Dream Team, which paid homage to 50 years of music produced by Black artists with genres ranging from reggae to hip hop to soul music. With different aspects of performance, there was something for students of every background to enjoy, which was exactly what OSAD president Ladaisa Holly hoped for.

“[My goal was] to represent African American culture in our Brockport community,” Holly wrote in an email. “We were able to create a memorable and meaningful day for the founders, alumni, students and faculty.”

Holly is a transfer student and was struck by OSAD’s significance and high emphasis of inclusion and diversity, something she hoped to continue to present to the college community. This year’s “All Black Everything” not only celebrated its 50 anniversary, but also the diversity that comes with celebrating different cultural backgrounds.

“All Black Everything serves as a minority representation,” Holly wrote. “[These sorts of events help us support each other by] standing together, and embracing our culture amidst everything around us. It is sometimes easy to lose your place amongst the crowd in our community, but [‘All Black Everything’] is something we take pride in every year since it started.”

“All Black Everything” is one cultural event that not only serves to highlight the importance of different cultures, but allows students to realize they belong on this campus regardless of the color of their skin or their background. In a time when racial tensions are sky high, these events remind us that we have more more in common than we have differences.

 

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