Blog Post 7; Racial Politics

November 4th, 2008 was a day that has gone down in history, as an African American with the name of Barack Obama, was named the 44th president of the United States. Many Americans believed that with Obamas presidency, it would lead to a lesser significance on race within our country. On the other hand, many others believed his presidency would only lead to a more racially intense situation.

Although the election of an African American to presidency was a good thing at the time, I can’t help but think that it has made things worse within the United States. Obama is a great president, but I tend to think that the voters who voted for him, only voted for him because he was of color. If Americans thought that one man could “cure” racism within our country, they are wrong. Every American needs to change, racism will always linger within our society if we push it into the back of our minds.

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The initial picture is Barack Obama, who has served in the office for almost two terms come this January. He has done a lot of great things for this country, but over the years racism has become more prevalent since he was elected. The second picture portrays the number of mass shootings within the United States under the last 5 presidents. The greatest number of mass shootings has occurred under Barack Obama, and I don’t think it is any coincidence.

According to,, there has been a six fold increase in the number of mass shootings from the eight years of presidency of Bush Jr. to the seven years for Obama. Since Obama, we have more gun laws than ever before, there are even places described as “gun-free zones”, and this is where most of the mass shootings have occurred. Many people like to think that there have been more “crazy” people within our society, and although growing up in this world is difficult, I do not think that this is the reason for the dramatic increase in shootings. Although difficult to admit, I believe that there has been such a dramatic increase with mass shootings under Obama because of racism. A prime example would be when a white individual stormed into a black church and killed everyone inside. Everyone who knew the kid made sure that everyone knew that he was not racist, but why did he target a church full of colored individuals?

Among racism within the States, I think there have been more problems with shootings because of Obamas decisions. There is no doubt that Obamas decisions were made in order to protect our country and our soldiers. When Bin Ladin was shot and killed by our military, he ordered this to be done so that we as a country could feel safe. But now, we are paying for it because of ISIS and many other angry individuals. Many tend to think that ISIS is not in the United States, but they need to realize that they are and that they are everywhere. The decisions Obama has made over in the middle east are coming back to haunt us, and this is another reason there has been that huge increase in shootings. Obama is so passionate about the U.S. that he would do anything in his power to protect it, and a lot of Americans do not see it that way. If anything goes wrong in this country, many people reside in saying “it is Obamas fault” or “thanks Obama”. Yet why do we say this? Obama would not have sent troops over to kill Bin Laden if he hadn’t done something to our country or to our people. A lot of people like to blame Obama because of his skin color, but how does that help when we thought his presidency would help end racism and racial injustice?

There is no doubt that Obama has been a great president for our country and it is unfortunate that society and politics have responded in the way that they have during his time in office. If Obama has caused so many problems for us, then why did we elect him for a second term? Anything he has ever done for this country was only in order to improve it. Not one man, not even the president, is able to put an end to racism. It is a shame that we put that kind of pressure on a man who is trying to improve health care, improve jobs, create more jobs, decrease poverty, etc. People may be upset that Obama has not eradicated racism, but its not like everyone will listen to what he says. If we want to end racism and racial injustice, we must first look at ourselves.


Blog Post 6; Black Lives Matter

Within the United States, there has been a re-occuring conflict among police brutality of white police officers and black individuals. In turn, this has caused a mass movement among the black population called, ‘Black Lives Matter’. Although most black individuals want nothing but racial peace, this movement and police brutality has brought about a lot of controversy.

I would initially like to explain what the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement is all about. This movement is a response to the anti-Black racism that lingers within our society, according to, This movement was created after the death of a black teenager with the name of Trayvon Martin; Trayvon was murdered by a white security guard. It was at this time that many black people realized that they were/are a profiled race and are not treated the same. Black Lives Matter’ was not brought about in order to promote riots or unlawful actions. Instead, it was created to centralize the facts around powerless black individuals who feel deprived of their rights as a human.


Above are a couple examples of pictures from the Black Lives Matter’ movement. The first picture shows many black individuals, and some white people, promoting the movement to diminish racial injustice. The second picture shows the opinions between black and white lives. It is true that some white individuals think that their lives are more valuable than those of blacks or minorities. It is also true that many black individuals feel deprived of their human rights and dignity when presented in the eyes of society and in-particular, the law. If only it was as easy as setting aside peoples opinions and judgements, the world would be a much better place. But, as long as we hold onto the past and continue to racially profile individuals, things will never improve, but only get worse.

Although many things have brought racial injustice to light, the biggest cause would be police brutality. It has been evident over the last couple of years that police brutality has been common among black individuals and white police officers. This re-occuring problem has led people to think that the United States is a place of racism. Although some police officers may target black individuals more than white individuals, I do not think that all police officers are “pigs” or racists. Yes, some police officers show more violence when dealing with blacks, yes some police officers are racist, but why do we let this define every white individual within law enforcement?

If law enforcement was not there to protect us, all of us, there would be no law enforcement. I do not think that police officers are our biggest problem, I believe that social media is. Whenever I am on social media, I am constantly seeing videos being shared that show white cops arresting black individuals for no reason other than that they are of color. Examples of this can be seen here, How can we draw conclusions from a 30 second video from these sites? We do not know why the cop did what he/she did, 95% of the time it is because the cop needed to, not because they wanted to.

In no way am I saying that there is not police brutality among white police officers and black individuals, because there is. But, I think that social media makes these situations seem 100 times worse than what they really are. Especially in todays society, many peoples perceptions and opinions are swayed by what is shared on social media. It is important to see that black individuals are standing up for what they believe in and are trying to better their lives here in the United States. Racism is still very prevalent here in the States and the only way to diminish that is to believe in your own perception of the world, and not let social media lead you to believe something else.



Blog Post 5; Segregation and Discrimination

One factor that has had the biggest impact on African Americans socially, educationally, and economically would be racial segregation. Although much of racial segregation occurred within the 1900’s and is outlawed within the United States, its impacts still linger within the societal norms today. Many African Americans educational achievement, health, and quality of life were and are among the biggest components affected by racial segregation and discrimination.


Shown above are prime examples of what living in a world of racial segregation was like. But, it not only affected where African Americans could watch movies or drink water, but also what schools they could attend and how they would live. When i was reading through De Facto Segregation and Academic Achievement by Carl Bankston and Stephen Caldas, I found many different things interesting. One thing that had been written was the fact that being African American was a big disadvantage when living within the United States. Also, it had been thought that being a minority was an inhibitor of educational achievement. It was as if people did not think that African Americans or any other minority were capable of doing what white people could do. If this were the case, we would not have an African American president, or African American lawyers, or doctors.

A big thing that caught my eye when i was reading through this article was how “affluent communities spent more per pupil than poor ones do because they can afford to”. There may have been some African Americans who were poor, but that does not mean that every single one of them was the same way. There were plenty of poor white people during this time, so why were they not discriminated against? It is unfortunate to learn that because some African Americans were poor, they did not receive the same education as white people. Ever since Brown v. Board of Education, it has enabled African Americans a chance to engage in social activities with white students, and also allowed equality among the levels of education taught between whites and blacks.


A big component of racial segregation that affected African Americans was their health and their well-being. The picture above shows how white and black communities had been separated from each other. Although people may not see how this affected the blacks health and living environment, it did. According to, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, racial segregation isolated blacks from mainstream resources needed for living. This article also stated that racial segregation concentrated poverty and restricted socio-economic opportunity. With that being said, death rates were considerably higher for blacks compared to whites.

When i was reading through Racial Residential Segregation: A Fundamental Cause of Racial Disparities in Health by David Williams and Chiquita Collins, a lot of different things caught my attention. A big thing that caught my attention when i was reading through this article was when they talked about how black-white disparities in health have not narrowed over time. It was surprising to read this because i would have thought that black-white disparities would have been close to the same after all of this time. The authors of this article tend to believe that socioeconomic class is the fundamental cause of black-white disparities in health.

Another thing i found interesting when reading through the article was when they spoke about segregation and employment opportunities. It was stated that institutional discrimination severely restricted employment opportunities, and also income levels for African Americans. This therefore led to a mass movement of African Americans residing in areas that did not offer high paying jobs, and any high paying jobs required skills that they did not have. It was if people were making it extremely hard for black people to make a living in this world. Initially they did not receive a good education like white people did, and when they tried to find a job, they had to acquire skills that they did not have.

Who would have thought that racial segregation would have had such an impact not only within the 1900’s, but also today. I never would have guessed that black mortality rates were higher than whites due to racial segregation and socioeconomic class. The fact that African Americans were isolated from resources that they needed in order to live is very unsettling. Why must we make it so hard for others to live in this world? Although throughout this blog racial segregation was written in the past tense, I know it is still prevalent within the United States today. Even if it is outlawed, the societal norms are still impacting us everyday.

Blog Post 4; The Civil Rights Movement

Although the United States has been the center of attention in most of my blogs, this particular post will be centered around one movement that changed the world, the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960’s, the Civil Rights Movement pushed for equality and to reform national segregation. Although this world changing event was a huge social and political movement, it did not come without its consequences. Much of the social, political, and economic consequences will be further discussed, along with the positive social and political changes within the United States and the world.


The pictures above portray some of the boycotts during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. It is important to note that there is not only African Americans within the pictures, but also some white people as well. In the first image you can see that they are boycotting the fact that they do not receive a good amount of pay for their work, and most of the people within that picture are men. In the second image, you can see that the women are boycotting the fact that they do not receive good enough housing, enough money in their jobs, and the fact that they are not receiving equal rights. When looking at these images, I think it is amazing and empowering to know that African Americans took a stand against the things they did not agree with. Yet, it is still saddening to see that they had to fight so hard for the most simplistic things, like equal rights or better schooling for example.

While i was researching over the Civil Rights Movement (, I learned that the movement did not only focus on race, but also gender, students, and minorities. When the article spoke about gender, it was mostly speaking about women in general, and i think this aspect of the movement is very important. Also, i think it is important that it focused on students as well. During that time, blacks were not given good enough education, and that was a big aspect that was boycotted. If things were going to start becoming equal, why couldn’t the blacks receive the same quality of education as the white people, why did schools have to be segregated? When reading through, Black Teachers and the Early Civil Rights Movement, I found it interesting when Dougherty wrote about how in 1930, not a single Black teacher had even been employed by Milwaukee public schools. I also thought it was interesting and sad when he talked about how Black families faced segregated housing, and the public schools were zoned off by neighborhoods so there was not a big variety of schools for Black children to attend.


Although the 1960’s was a very difficult time, especially for colored people, there were a lot of good things that came from the Civil Rights Movement. Many African Americans and minorities could spread their culture throughout the United States freely, and no one could stop them from that. I think this is an important aspect of the movement because it allowed people to speak freely, and really just be their own person without other peoples influence. Once blacks and whites became equal among each other, it reduced the rioting and hate within society, even though it took a while for people to adjust to each other. I think this is the most important thing that came from the movement, it allowed for whites and blacks to work together instead of being separated and this really only made our country and the world stronger. The man who can be held responsible for the ending of segregation was Martin Luther King Junior. He can be seen in the image provided to you above, where he was able to give his famous speech of “I Have a Dream“. Although he did not live to see the amount of impact he had on the world, he has gone down in history as the man who put an end to segregation, and that is a huge and glorifying accomplishment.

Within the great moments of the Civil Rights Movement, there were a lot of consequences that had occurred as well. Although whites and blacks had started working together in order to end segregation, it did not make a lot of white people happy. A lot of whites tended to believe that the blacks were trying to steal their jobs from them, when really the blacks were just trying to make a living just like everyone else. For a while there was a big discussion on whether whites and blacks could marry each other, or even start a family together. I am unsure why this was such a big deal, everyone is supposed to be treated equal, so why would interracial marriage be a problem? Also, in the beginning of the movement, a lot of minorities and blacks were not receiving a good enough amount of money for the work they had put it, especially women of color.

Indeed the Civil Rights Movement was a huge change and influence within the United States and also the world. This is what changed the aspect of segregation, and in which eventually came to a halt thanks to Martin Luther King Junior. I was happy to see that more good came out of this historical time than bad, because the blacks deserved to have some equality come into their life after everything they had been through. It was empowering to see how they stood up for the things they did not agree with, because they eventually knew that their opinion mattered and they knew they had rights of their own. I learned a lot by reading through the different articles provided to us, and by doing some of my own research on this topic as well. Finally, the African Americans are gaining respect, and are actually being treated as human beings. This movement made impressive strides throughout the United States, even if it took a while for things to settle down.

Blog Post 3; Transatlantic Slavery

The biggest component of African American Studies is learning about slavery, and how it has impacted the world today. Although slavery and the slave trade began within the 1600’s, the remnants of this awful aspect still remain. It is unfortunate that although slavery occurred some hundreds of years ago, the stigma still impacts many Africans and African Americans socially, economically, and culturally. I think today Africans and African Americans are struggling the most from racism. It is disheartening to even have to say that racism still exists, but it is the reality of our cruel world.


The second picture above is an example of what the Africans had to do on a daily basis, and the first picture is an example of what would happen to them if they did not obey their masters orders. It is simply disgusting how the Europeans treated their slaves, I do not know how the masters could even have the ability to whip them or even kill them. I think the mistreatment by the Europeans is what has caused the biggest problem among Africans and African Americans. No one wants to be treated in they way the Africans were treated, and no one should be treated in that way either. Imagine if the roles were reversed, and the Africans became the masters and the Europeans became the slaves and were mistreated in the same way. I cannot even imagine what the world would be like today, it would contain constant bitterness and hate. This is why I have the upmost respect for the Africans and African Americans, because although they did not agree with what was going on, they were still able to remain respectful in conjunction with their treatment and conditions.

According to Paul E. Lovejoy who wrote Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa, America contained the highest percentage (40.5 percent) of ships engaged in slave trade; roughly 2,468,000 captives. While containing the highest number of captives on the various ships, it comes with the unfortunate conditions the Africans had to live in on their journey to the United States. While reading through, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa by Alexander Falconbridge, he explained that the sole purpose of the “housing” for the Africans was so that they did not try to jump overboard while traveling to the states. Also, many of the enslaved Africans had been shackled together at the ankles, so that they could not try to escape, and due to the cramped conditions, many of them could not reach a bathroom and therefore had to sit/lay in their own filth. Below is an example of how the Africans were arranged on the ships. Needless to say, they were packed in their like sardines, and many of them did not survive the “middle passage” due to their living conditions resulting in serious diseases.


While I was learning how the Africans were treated by their masters and the “middle passage”, it reminded me of the interview in Black Athena with an African American lady. I remember her explaining how she had never really learned about her own history and culture, and she explained it in a way that made it seem like Africans maybe did not have an important history or culture. It is clear now, why some Africans felt like they do not have those aspects, because their ancestors were striped of them when they became slaves to the Europeans. On top of that, the slaves were traded and were brought to the states in order to bring economic development in areas of North America that did not have it. Who wants to be treated as monetary value? When you are treated in this way, you tend to believe you are nothing and not important, and this is sad because Africans have very important history, culture, and religion.

After going through this module, it brings me back to why the United States tends to think of Africa as a charity. I think that many Americans feel bad because of how the Africans were treated when they were slaves, and I think many people believe money can fix this problem. It clearly cannot, and if we think it can we are very wrong. Slavery is a big aspect of everyones history, and nothing can fix how things happened during those times. I think the world has come a long way since those days, but there is always things that could be better. In our aspect, I think we need to stop pushing Africans to learn the ‘American way’. They need to know that they are important too and what they did culturally and historically is just as important now as it was 100 years ago.

Blog Post 2; African Cultural Diversity

A very unsettling factor of the United States of America, is how we portray other countries, specifically Africa. Now, I know what is is like to be stereotyped against since I have lived in Iowa my whole life and people tend to believe we drive tractors to school, but the way we describe and portray Africa is a very different situation. Like the professors stated within the discussion panel, Africa: A Diverse Continent, as a nation we work with other countries on a business level, but with Africa we deal with them on a charity level. This is so unsettling because it is true, why don’t we work with Africa on a business level, why do we portray Africa as this underdeveloped and poor country who needs our help? Africa is a well flourished country just like any other country, and as a society, we have been shown the extremes of Africa where some individuals are malnourished and homeless, but this is not just in Africa, this is everywhere. I think it is a great concept for those of us who want to help out the poorer portions of Africa with health care and even clothing, but on the business side of things, we need not think of Africa as a charity.


Above I provide pictures of a few cities in Africa that are well developed, the top picture is a picture of Nairobi, Kenya, the second picture is Cape Town, South Africa, and the last picture shown is Accra, Ghana. As you can see, Africa is not this under developed country that people believe it to be. When I was younger, Africa was always portrayed as this picture below:


A malnourished country who needed our help in order to survive, but why were we given this false information about the conditions the Africans lived in? Every country has parts of it where people choose to live a different lifestyle, or happen to be homeless. I think the initial pictures portray Africa as it really is; a flourishing and business oriented country. While i was reading through The African Background by Adeleke Tunde, I was able to acquire some knowledge on how the Africans performed business between different cities. Once Africans discovered camels, it was much easier to conduct business since it was now possible to travel to the Sahara desert. The Sahara soon became a place for communication, and the traders began packing goods and traveling around to different cities for exchanges. Essentially, goods from the northern portion of Africa were exchanged for goods that came from the southern portion of Africa since they could not acquire those goods from back home.

One thing i did found interesting while reading through The African Background by Adeleke Tunde was how he explained the traditional African society. It was interesting to learn that if someone wanted to have a spouse, or even obtain a career, it was deliberated upon by the group. So essentially the group decided if you got to do something or not.  Something else that I thought was interesting was the amount of different ethnic groups within Africa. I figured Africa was a diverse continent, but Tunde provided a lot more ethnic groups then I could have imagined. Some of the ethnic groups are Bambara, Angola, Fulani, Asante, Hausa, and many others as well, a lot of people do not know how diverse Africa is, and this is another reason why this needs to be a required course for every college student.

The readings and the panel discussion really opened my eyes to a lot of different things that i did not know. It was sad reading that Africans dealt with cultural assassination; denial of african culture and civilization. People need to be exposed to this kind of information, I never knew that Africa was such a diverse continent or that in traditional African society, groups had primacy over an individual. This weeks information was a lot to take in, but it is very important. Africa is trying to change peoples views on their country, because it is not a dirty and homeless country. It is a well developed, business oriented country with parts of it containing malnourished and homeless people, which every country contains.

Blog 1; Introduction to African American Studies


In our society, there is a big debate on whether African American studies should be considered sociological and historical, or if it should be considered a major subject to research. Many colleges make their students take general education classes, and I feel as if every college student should be required to learn about African American history and culture. It is a very important subject, and I hope this first blog can bring you some insight on how big of a study African American studies really is.

“Over thirty million citizens of the United States of America are descendants of the continent of Africa”, as stated by Talmadge Anderson. This is an outstanding number of descendants from Africa, and is also a number higher than what I would have imagined. Throughout their history and the hardships, it is amazing to see so many African Americans striving to make the United States of America a better and more diverse place, and also striving to make themselves become the best they can be. With the United States being so diverse, why are we not all required to broaden our learning to other cultures and traditions other than our own?

Besides the American tradition, the second most learned culture and history should be about the African Americans, their history has so much important content that a lot of people will never be able to learn about. Fortunately, I and a lot of other college students are able to learn about how the African Americans struggled but were still able to fight through all of their hardships and how they were able to see the best in everything. With all of this being said, I think that African American studies should be its own major of study within all colleges. Because, although racism within the United States has become a somewhat better situation, it does still exist and I think this is why people need to learn about them a little bit more. If colleges made African American studies a major field of study, it could really help a lot of peoples views.


The top picture is a picture of Booker T. Washington in front of a crowd of people. Washington was one of many of influential African Americans within the 1850’s-1900’s. Washington was known as the leader for the Negro people, and during the time, many white people agreed with his views and actions. Besides his public speaking and influences, later in Washington’s life he became the builder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He therefore was able to help many African Americans receive a good education, when many of them never even thought about attending school because they were not allowed to. Although  some African Americans may not have completely agreed with many of his views, he was still able to improve their lives by giving them an education.

The second picture above is a picture of W.E.B Dubois. Dubois was an intelligent African American who received his schooling from Harvard University. He was a big time author who wrote a lot of books on the culture and history of African Americans, but he was also a social activist who helped influence peoples views. Dubois was one of the founders of the NAACP, which is dedicated to not only blacks but also whites. During his life, he was also able to perform studies on African American studies, although it was not successful in his lifetime, he was able to introduce this idea in which is now becoming very important in our schooling curriculum. All in all Dubois main objective was to improve African American life within the United States socially and politically.

The point in describing these two important and influential people is to show you how two people helped change the world. These are only two out of many African Americans who took a stand against the way Blacks were being treated, and who wanted to see the world become a better place for everyone. This is why African American studies needs to become a major field of study and required in general education, there is simply too much information to be learned about, and I think this could help a lot of peoples views about African Americans. This is a different type of study compared to a lot of other studies because of all the history that occurred in the nation that we live in today. If only people knew how horrible things were for the African Americans, I think racism could become nonexistent.

I hope this shows some clarity on why I think African American studies is such a big deal. There are a lot of opinionated and uneducated people in the world who do not know a thing about how African Americans were treated back in the day. I never knew that African American women were raped and that the slavemasters would sell their children as property. Some of the things I read were unimaginable, and I cannot believe that people could treat others in the way that they did. This is a huge part in everyones history, and needs to be taught in colleges and needs to be made a priority in every college students curriculum.

Welcome to My Blog!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

        My name is Heather McKinnon, and I will be using this blog to inform you on the subject of African American Studies. This subject is very important, and I think every college student should be required to learn about African American history, and what they had to go through in order to get to where they are today. I hope my blog brings informative information to you, and also allow you to see life in a different perspective.

Happy Reading!