BlackBoard the perilous price of EDUCATION How will education reform How will education reform affect the Black community from kindergarten to college?
sports: where the wildcats are crossing the musical color line red, white, and black: diversity in the military
letter from the editor
on a longer note
Feature Editor Zahra Barnes
Design Editor Brittany Jones
Staff Writers Darryl Turner
Contributing Writers Kaasha Benjamin Iman Childs Baindu Kallon Jorona Johnson Jordan Minor Ashley Powell Cover Photo by Breajna Dawkins Special Thanks to: La Donna Smith and Janissia Orgill Mission Statement BlackBoard Magazine, Northwestern University’s Black student magazine, serves as an open forum for student expression. Contributing writers of the magazine hope to challenge readers to think critically. E pluribus Unum, “out of one many,” the slogan of the magazine acts as a symbol for a unified Black community. The first goal of the magazine is to fill the void in the Black community most publications cannot reach. BlackBoard will provide the campus and surrounding areas with a perspective of the Black community they would not normally see. The second goal is to inform readers with current news, thoughts and ideas in timely fashion, following a sound journalism code of ethics. Thirdly, BlackBoard will go beyond the boundaries of Northwestern’s campus to find the voices of the community at large.
I love getting to this point in the quarter. The point where it’s the hardest but you know that at least you’ll be done and get to go home to your family soon. It’s the point in the quarter where it’s you against time, the books, and your professor to get things done and to do well. You get to see what you are really made of. And it’s the point in the quarter where I get to share some of what’s been on my mind with you in the hopes that you will find it interesting and insightful. BlackBoard’s theme this quarter is “Onward and Upward: The Voice of a New Generation”. I picked that theme this summer because it seemed that everywhere I turned, our generation, the Millennial Generation, was being criticized and critiqued. From pop culture to political practices, there were times when the whole world stopped, pointed, and judged us based on our decisions, actions, or lack thereof. So when we began to work on BlackBoard at the beginning of this quarter, I asked my writers to think about what they wanted the world to know about our generation. What story ideas did they think spoke to the way that we live our lives? The answers I got were inspiring and profound. Though they could not all be featured in this issue, they were phenomenal. A taste of the world of a young Black chef. The changing face of the military. Education reform and how it impacts minorities. All of these subjects are in relation to you. Us. This is our voice and the accomplishments these writers describe are all thanks to you. So don’t be discouraged when you hear talk of our shortcomings on the nightly news. Find comfort in knowing that just because they don’t like the way our voices sound doesn’t mean they don’t hear us loud and clear. Vibe with us.
Breajna Dawkins, Editor-In-Chief
contents letter from the editor
where the wildcats are
crossing the musical color line
in the days after Daley
Football fans at Northwestern have been called a lot of things, but supportive is not usually on that list.
Wondering if you’re going to see an increase of blurred racial conotations. We’ve got you covered.
A brief conversation about what will make the next Mayor of Chicago great.
the perilous price of education
now who’s cooking
red, white, and black: diversity in the military
love her fiercely
ask a G and 21 questions
An editorialized look at how education is becoming an important topic in politics today.
Black chefs: there aren’t enough cooks in this kitchen.
Their call to serve their country is only the beginning.
A review of Tyler Perry’s newest movie and its call to action our community should embrace.
You can’t say you weren’t warned. Again.
a word from
our sponsors Greetings and Salutations Family! The theme of BlackBoard this quarter has truly touched me. As this fall 2010 school year comes to the close, I look onward and upward to this Black community. The beginning of the school year is always a hopeful time. Before the bitter cold really has a chance to turn us into jaded Northwestern students, the warm kiss of summer is still with us and we come to NU smiling, excited about our future. The fresh faced freshmen are excited to be in a new environment; sophomores are excited to no longer be the new kids and are proud to show how they have grown on this campus; juniors anxiously start school with one foot in the door and one foot out as they think about their roles in this community and beyond; seniors have found a new appreciation for fall quarter, realizing each day that passes is one step closer to the end of the journey. But everyone’s eyes are open and wide, reaching for the future. BlackBoard magazine has long been a part of the glue of the Black community. There are so many divisions in place (majors, location on campus, grades) that we often forget we are one community. Looking to the future, BlackBoard reminds us that we are connected with news and articles meant to enrich the life of students on campus. It is my wish that going into the next quarter people continue with the same excitement you have when you first step on campus as a freshmen. Winter quarter is quickly approaching and the Black community is kept warm by the love we share with each other. Remain engaged and eager to be here! Congratulations to BlackBoard on another successful issue. I am so proud of the Black community when I see great satellites and affiliates come together to provide an important resource and service to the Black community. Congrats to freshmen on their first quarter at NU. And congrats to all the neos on the yard. You are another voice of this new generation; continue looking onwards and upwards! Good luck on finals and I can’t wait to see you all at FMO events in the winter!
Much Love, Janissia “Nissi” Orgill 2010-2011 Coordinator of For Members Only
where the wildcats are
Northwestern football and its fans
here are only a few minutes left in the Northwestern versus Purdue football match-up. Enthusiastic cheers fill Ryan Field Stadium as Northwestern inches closer to the end zone. A perfect season record and Big Ten Conference record are on the line and the stands are bursting with energy. As the final seconds tick away, Northwestern has one last chance to tie the game. Everyone watches in eager anticipation and the pressure’s high as the ball is kicked toward the field goal. Seconds later, the stadium is in uproar; Northwestern misses the kick. Purdue wins. As defeated Northwestern fans trudge out of the stadium, one mumbles, “Well this always happens, it’s not like we’ve gotten any better. This is why I never come to games.” With a 5-0 start, the Wildcats football team seemed to be better, but soon started losing games. Will the seasons few close losses turn off the last of the true student Wildcat fans? College Prowler is an online website that rates universities based on surveys from current students and recent alumni. In the athletics section, Northwestern received a B average. However, some students on the website’s message board don’t agree with this rating. “We suck-and it reflects in students’ enthusiasm” states user summerinthecity. When Northwestern students were surveyed in a poll conducted by College Prowler, 70 percent of them stated that
varsity sports were attended but not a huge part of campus life. The only private school in the Big Ten, Northwestern is not known for its athletic department. However, because of the lack of fans at recent games, the “university has taken a much more active role in promoting the football program,” says Ryan Chenault, the Associate Director of Marketing and Sales for Northwestern’s Athletic Department. Not only has the university enhanced the game day experience but, they now have a ticket sales staff that reaches out to potential ticket buyers. According to Chenault, this is unique to college sports. These initiatives helped ticket sales increase by 50 percent, indicating a change for Northwestern football and a new generation of Northwestern fans. “I’ve been to a few games,” says Weinberg freshman Omeko Eromosele. “I go for the experience and to have fun. They are also doing a whole lot better than people claimed they would.” One reason for the team’s improvement is Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald, who is “the best of the best” according to Quentin Davie, a senior School of Education and Social Policy linebacker. “Bringing in a new coaching staff has really changed the team,” Davie explains. Under Coach Fitzgerald, the team has been transforming since in 2008. They finished that season with nine wins, earning themselves a place in the Valero Alamo Bowl, their first Bowl since 2005. Last season ended 8-5, and 5-3 in the
photo credit: baindu kallon
by Baindu Kallon conference, according to Northwestern’s athletics website, securing the team another trip to a Bowl game. And the relatively young Wildcats can only get better. “Our goal for the season was to be Bowl eligible,” Davie says. “Coach Fitzgerald has allowed [the team] to become more consistent over the years,” says Chenault. “And the students have done a great job of showing up wearing their purple this year.” Davie agrees that student representation has been excellent this year. “The student section is always rocking and loud,” says Davie. “I hope that our performance can bring many more people out for games to come.” And if the dedicated team, motivated coaches and excited, supportive fans aren’t enough to get you out of bed and to the games, maybe school spirit and food will. “Tailgates are a fun part of the game as well,” says Weinberg sophomore Henri Pierre-Jacques. “It is a school spirit moment which I believe is key for college students everywhere.” Hopefully with this gradually improving fan support and the steady improvement of the team, the stadium will continue to fill up. After all, if we don’t cheer on our Wildcats, who will?
crossing the musical colorline
by Jordan Minor
THE STATE OF “BLACK MUSIC”
photo credit: breajna dawkins 6 BlackBoard
n the September 30 episode of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, host Jimmy Fallon and entertainer Justin Timberlake performed a seemingly spontaneous medley of hip-hop songs they called “The History of Rap.” The medley included everything from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” to JayZ and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” Although Fallon and Timberlake are white, their mash-up mainly consisted of songs by Black artists. Today, rap, hip-hop, r&b and other “traditionally Black” genres of music are becoming more mainstream than ever before. If it’s cool for Jimmy Fallon to sing Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” then it’s cool for anyone to. The History The co-opting of Black music into the popular culture at large is not a new phenomenon. Rock and Roll and other modern music styles can trace their roots back to European melodies being combined with African beats. Elvis and other musicians of the 50s and 60s had obvious Black influences and one could argue that their use of Black music prepared mainstream White audiences to eventually accept the real thing. Since then, Black artists and their music have grown like never before and became popular with larger audiences. Today, hip-hop, rap, and r&b are the genres that are considered “Black” but have fan bases that span many races and ethnicities. Although a political and social post-racial society does not yet exist, if the music charts are any example, Blacks are gaining visibility and, some may say, acceptance due to music. A trend since the Beastie Boys, there have been many white performers that have arrived on the scene singing or rapping with a style that is not expected by most listeners, whether Black or White. These performers have the same tight beats, nice flows, or sultry voices that classify most Black music; they just happen to be white. Today, if a White musician specializes in a genre perceived as a Black musical style, like Eminem or Robin Thicke, he or she better be talented if they want to be taken seriously. In fact, Eminem himself feels his race has caused others to hold him to a different standard. In his recent 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, Eminem,
one of the most recognized White rappers in the hip-hop genre, talked about this disparity. “There is the fact that I am white when this is pre-dominantly Black music. People tell me ‘you don’t belong, you’re not going to succeed because you’re this color.’ Then you want to show these people that you can and you will.” Even with the success of these performers and their popularity in both Black and White popular culture, it is clear that a new era in music is unfolding. But what does that mean for Black musical culture? The landscape is changing, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Weinberg junior Andrew Kang doesn’t think so. “Musical interest has widened,” says Kang, an economics and political science major, who has been a DJ since high school. “I feel like rap’s acceptance by the masses is reflective of how music follows, or even leads, social culture.” He points out that many people today will listen to rap, rock and techno whereas before their taste would be defined by a single genre. “Our society is not homogenous so neither is our music,” says Kang. “A mashup; this is what mainstream is.” This is beneficial for Kang, whose work as DJ involves blending together songs of different genres to make mash-ups of songs. The State of Black Musical Culture Partaking in different types of media has always been an effective method for introducing people to other cultures. For many, especially those of the contemporary generation, music is becoming the way they gain insight about certain parts of African-American culture. Whether or not this is the best place to glean this information is a whole other debate. However, School of Communication junior and hiphop producer Kamau Massey feels differently. “There is no quality control”, says Massey. He calls music heard on the radio today a “perfect fusion of pop and Hip-Hop” that “does not express anything.” Like Kang, Massey can see how this is a result of the mainstream audience’s widening musical taste. However, as conventional taste changes, Massey feels that it is also getting more shallow. “There will always be a market for music of substance,” Massey says. “But
for now it will remain relatively small because the music industry is all about money and although the nature of the hip-hop remains Black, the majority of the consumer base, and therefore the ones with the power, is White.” This has given Black hip-hop and rap enthusiasts like Massey a pessimistic attitude towards the future of the genre. “I do not see it getting better,” Massey says. Where do we go from here? Some devoted hip-hop fans fear that as the genre becomes more commercialized, it will lose touch with the people that initially supported it. Harvey Young, Associate Professor of Theater, Performance Studies, AfricanAmerican Studies and Radio/ Television/Film at Northwestern, feels that this will not be the case. “Rap is often times writing about life as it is lived,” says Professor Young. “So although artists like Drake may come off as too packaged, others like Lil Wayne can achieve success while maintaining a strong connection to their roots, even if it means going to jail.” Also, while the gangster lifestyle associated with rap may have applied to veterans of the genre like Jay-Z in their early careers, time and money have changed some artists. The music of today is not only a reflection of the changing society but of the shifting experiences of the people who make it. “Selling out is not the first thing that happens,” Young says. “If it really ever happens at all.” Popular music is not always the most discerning field. Ke$ha and her half-singing, half-rapping style could be seen as another example how the genre distinctions may be becoming irrelevant. Who knows what kind of music those growing up with these influences will go on to produce? “In the future, young people will listen to whatever genre they want, no matter who is performing it, as long as it is whatever their parents think qualifies as noise,” says Professor Young. Regardless of whether the music of the future follows this trend, it will hopefully broaden society’s views about racial diversity in hip-hop and r&b.
in the days afterDALEY by Darryl Turner
n what is arguably the most important Chicago news since the city’s failed Olympic bid, Mayor Richard M. Daley recently announced that he will be stepping down after his term ends in May 2011. “King Richard has finally given up the throne,” says School of Education and Social Policy sophomore Brittany S. Jones. Richard M. Daley and his father Richard J. Daley are a part of Chicago’s political heritage and have been involved in Chicago’s political scene for decades. The question is: who is capable of moving the city forward and just how much needs to be done? Some well-known politicians are contemplating trying to replace Daley in the February 2011 mayoral election, including former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, along with various state senators and congressmen. Would any of these candidates be able to get the job done or would it take the fresh perspective of someone who hasn’t been as involved in politics? “Any candidate would have to try to work within the political machine to change anything,” says Communication junior Derrick Clifton. “The general sense from the public is that Chicago just operates in that way.” As Daley retires, the candidates will no doubt recall his legislative accomplishments, or lack thereof, to draw parallels or contrasts to their own political platforms. They will not be the only ones to look back on his legacy. “In the past, he has done great things, such as his literacy and educational achievement programs. However, it seems that the concerns of the Black community were dismissed in his bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics,” says Clifton. “Many Black communities would have been gentrified and Blacks forced to move if the city did win the bid.” Jones agrees that Daley should have been focusing on issues besides the 2016 Olympics. “I felt that the money that went into trying to get 8 BlackBoard
the Olympics should have been put toward solving some of the city’s problems, like gang violence and unemployment,” Jones says. Although Chicagoans have previously elected a Black mayor, Harold Washington in 1983, there has not been one since and some wonder if it is really important for Chicago to elect a Black mayor for representation. “There are great allies who are not Black who would be equipped to deal with these concerns,” says Clifton. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences freshman Jamese Dunlap agrees, and says “I don’t think it’s a race thing, but rather a personality thing.” She adds, “A well rounded figure who listens to the concerns of the whole city would be best equipped for the position.” Some think that even if there were a Black mayor, his race wouldn’t guarantee that he would concentrate on issues in the Black community. “There would be a higher likelihood that a Black mayor would address Black concerns, but that would be dependent on where the [electoral and governing] support comes from,” says African-American Studies professor Mary Pattillo. While Daley did pay attention to
some sectors of the Black community, there were some he neglected. “He has been a good mayor for non-poor people including middle and upper income Blacks,” says Pattillo.“He has not particularly targeted the lower income and Black communities. They are outside of his policy focus,” she adds. Renewed attention on education may help target these community members in a preemptive way. “Funding education affects everyone. I think unemployment, joblessness, and drug activity are linked with education, or the lack thereof. Committing the proper resources to education would likely decrease these problems,” states Dunlap. Hopes for the next mayor emphasizes a true concern about the relationship between the people and the mayor, instead of specific platforms. “I would like the next mayor to truly care about all Chicagoans and be more proactive than Daley. However, the mayor does not and should not act alone,” says Jones. Dunlap agrees, “It will take individuals within communities, the city council, and the mayor working together to solve the big problems that the he has yet to face.”
by Kaasha Benjamin
ver the past two years, the Obama administration has captured headlines with its highprofile education agenda. From Race to the Top to student-loan reform, Secretary Arne Duncan’s Department of Education has had a major impact on America’s schools and colleges. However, because of the results of the 2010 midterm elections, the progress made on key initiatives endorsed by the Obama administration may be fundamentally altered in the coming years. Education is rarely a deciding issue in elections, aside from specialized offices such as state and local school boards and superintendents. But this year, education policy, primarily for grades K-12, got more attention than usual because it was linked to the still-struggling economy. Should the government spend more on an education system that continues to fall through the cracks? A system with innercity schools that constantly fail to succeed and teachers who have lost the incentive to educate their struggling students? “Increased concern about education is directly related to the workforce,” says David Winston, President of the Winston Group, a Washington D.C. based strategy and design firm that has acted as adviser to Congress for the past decade. “Business owners and voters are concerned that the country’s schools aren’t preparing students for the new, service-oriented economy.” So with big Republican gains, the emergence of the Tea Party, and key changes in the membership of the education committees, the federal education policy will most likely look very different coming from the 112th Congress. But will it be for better or worse?
Money Matters Spending was a major issue this election season in both state and federal contests. In what was called a “Pledge to America”, House GOP leaders detailed how they would return federal spending to what it was in the fiscal 2008 year before the stimulus and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a rescue package for Wall Street, was approved. And while their pledge doesn’t specifically reference education, many GOP congressmen and senators have emphasized local control over their K-12 education platforms, undermining the Obama administration’s hopes for a more-centralized and federallymonitored education system. These new Congress leaders now seek to challenge and remove initiatives and policies such as incentive pay for teachers and charter schools so that money could be put to better use. Several Senate candidates, backed by the Tea Party Movement— which is independent but has been supportive of many fiscally, and in some cases, socially conservative Republicans—have gone much further, proposing to scrap the U.S. Department of Education entirely. “Building capacity for transformation will also require investment,” reads the U.S. Department of Education website. “But we must resolve to spend investment dollars wisely, with clear expectations about what we expect in terms of learning outcomes and process improvements.” Meaning that as long as we as a country can put our support behind the right programs, education disparities will begin to decrease. BlackBoard 9
The 112th Congress Though it is common that policy doesn’t change right away after midterm elections, major education reform for the future may be nearer than anyone may expect because with a newly divided Congress. The Obama administration may have their hands tied. Republican officials announced shortly after Election Day that they plan to re-write No Child Left Behind, the Bush policy that has been criticized by the Democratic Party as ineffective and a failure. However, while Republicans claim that they are willing to not write off education policy initiatives, analysts say that they do not expect an education bill to cross Obama’s desk anytime soon. Our Community So what does all of this political turmoil mean for our community? Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that Black students live in increased poverty and qualify for free or reduced lunches at almost twice the rate of their white peers, but graduate at less than half the rate . Education policies such as increased
funding for special programs, increased Pell grants, and reduced student loan rates are just a few programs that heavily impact the enrollment rates of Black college students. If the GOP plans to modify or dissolve these policies, it will have a very negative effect on Black and minority students, since the economy still struggles to recover from this economic recession. As America’s future leaders, Black college students, and college students in general, have the opportunity and responsibility to take action against the efforts to ignore our failing education system. Getting involved in programs, such as Teach for America and Breakthrough Collaborative, that are geared toward providing resources and education opportunities to low-income and neglected regions across the country is just the beginning. There are many social justice organizations that are also utilizing the innovative and progressive ideas of young student leaders. The Access To Opportunity Movement (ATOM) and Stand for Children child advocacy organization are grassroots organizations aimed at drawing attention to and offer solutions for issues in the education system. Students involved
in these organizations are choosing to take a stand and get involved in order to ensure the educational success of our marginalized peers. These organizations are working to draw attention to the plight of education reform through efforts to reduce student loan rates, provide more funding for improved curriculums, and increase community engagement. Taking a stand on the different policies proposed by our elected officials is also very necessary so that we help make a change. We can and should have a say in the future of America’s education system. It is our responsibility to create a system that ensures success for those who have been abandoned by the current one. The future for America’s students is now in our hands.
Want to get involved? Join ATOM, “an alliance of student and youth leaders dedicated to fighting for human rights and expanding access to opportunity for all.” Contact them by email at email@example.com or visit them online at www.accessmovement.org/join-themovement.
photo credit: kaasha benjamin 10 BlackBoard
now who’s cooking by Jorona Johnson
eat rises from the stove as he creates art. The savory smell wafts through the room and makes the restaurant feel inviting. Suddenly, he lowers the flame and pulls out pristine plates. He assembles a masterpiece. This is the world of a chef. With the rise of shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef America, many, including African-Americans, have put away their T.V. dinners and engaged in the age old art of cooking. The 2009 demographics gathered by the Culinary Institute of America show that African-Americans make up, on average, 2.9 percent of their graduates. Other culinary schools have much higher numbers of African-American students. The 2008 graduating class of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, GA was over 50 percent AfricanAmerican, according to the school’s data. Jermarace Miller, 21, is glad he attended Le Cordon Bleu. “It was never my first choice, but after I graduated, I wanted to keep learning more,” Miller says. Miller originally wanted to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design to major in drawing. However, a financial situation led him to Le Cordon Bleu. “It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment
thing,” he says. “But it worked for me. With cooking it’s always something new. It’s a rush.” A lot of people show interest in the culinary arts but become disheartened after getting a glimpse of the lifestyle. “You will constantly be working
and you constantly have to prove yourself,” he said. “You have to start at the bottom, just like in any other profession, and I think that turns some African-Americans, especially AfricanAmerican men, away from cooking. We assume that the cooking skills that we already have are enough.” However, some believe the issue lies in the very structure of culinary
photo credit: Chef Eric Paul Chef Eric Paul is the Executive Chef and creator of Alter EatGo, a healthy ready-to-eat meal service that brings nutritious and health conscious dining options to your door.
schools. Chef Eric Paul, the general manager of the upcoming Garfield Park Café, says that there needs to be more Black representation from the top, both in the industry and teaching in the schools. “You didn’t find many African-American professors at the schools,” he says. “Out of all the professors they might have 15 or 20 percent representations.” Another problem Chef Paul sees is the absence of mentoring during and after culinary school. He says that although people enter the programs, there is no support for them. “You’re not coming out of culinary school with a $5 million restaurant or catering business,” he says. “Expectations need to be set on your path: here’s your career, here’s what you’ll most likely be doing when you finish, but here’s what you need to do after to succeed.” To counter the low graduation rates and help more AfricanAmericans become professional chefs, Chef Paul believes that the schools should help to establish those programs. “The teaching community should be giving their students exposure and helping them find their paths, or at least know the right people to connect them with. If the students can be shown the path to success, I’m sure more of them would be willing to take it.” BlackBoard 11
red, white, and black: diversity in the military by Ashley Powell North Riverside Mall is a typical mall: an urban epicenter for commercial entrepreneurship and consumption. Located in the middle of a largely African-American, Polish and Latino neighborhood in Chicago, Ill., it attracts mainly teenagers and twentysomethings ready to spend their money. However, a certain establishment seems oddly placed in the mall. Between a Mexican cowboy boot shop and an urban wear retailer lies a U.S. Army Recruiting Center. Several life-size cut-outs of soldiers in impressive positions and full uniform stand in its windows.
young Black man in camouflage and combat boots enters the office. He moves past the adjunct offices of the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force until he reaches his destination, the U.S. Army. What was once a long narrow hallway opens up into a wide open area of uniformed officers busy at work. In the corner of the room is a large television around which sits a small group of young people. This group is surprising, not only in its intimacy, but in its diversity as well. There is a Black female, a Latino male, a white male and a Latino female. Though none of them look a day over 18, they are all watching the Army code of conduct displayed on the television. What brings these young people from varying backgrounds to recruiting centers around the city? What motivates them to seek enlistment? According to the United States Department of Defense’s website, the number of enlisted African-American soldiers was almost 13,000 in 2007, compared to more than 20,000 enlisted white soldiers the same year. The numbers for other minority groups display an even greater disparity, with a little over 4,000 Latino and 914 Asian enlisted soldiers respectively. Previous years reflect similar situations. Military officials have striven to address this kind of gap in minority rep-
resentation within the armed forces. They have gone as far as to release diversity policy statements to communicate this effort. “We must not be locked in time. As leaders, we must anticipate and embrace the demographic changes of tomorrow, and build a Navy that always reflects our country’s make up,” says G. Roughhead, Admiral of the U.S. Navy in a statement on diversity policy. “Diversity of thoughts, ideas and competencies of our people keeps our Navy strong and empowers the protection of the very freedoms and opportunities we enjoy each and every day,” he says. Despite the story told by the numbers, some recruiters think the diversity initiative has succeeded in representing minorities in greater proportions than those seen in the actual make up of the country. Charles Rushing, a 34-year-old U.S. Army recruiter on the South Side of Chicago served in the Army for 16 years. “That’s one of the major misconceptions…that the Army is no place for a Black man,” he said. He went on to compare the percentage of AfricanAmericans in the Army to that of those living in the U.S. “In the Army blacks make up 18%, in America they make up 12%.” When it comes to finding reasons for military enlistment, there are marked
photo credit: janel montfort differences between racial and geographical groups. Rushing, who has put 22 people in the Army in the last twelve months, covers the neighborhood areas of Inglewood, Bronzeville, and Hyde Park in Chicago, Ill. “In my experience as a recruiter, it basically breaks down into four reasons why people sign up: training, education, adventure and money,” he said. Rushing went on to describe the variation in motivation he found in people between Chicago and his home state of Oklahoma. “In certain parts of the country, mainly the South, people operate off of different things. Down South, more people go for service to country,” he says. “In urban areas like ours, it’s more about people looking for jobs. We have a high unemployment rate. Education is also a big one…Chicago has a lot of top schools that sometimes people can’t afford to go to on their own.” Mitchell Cadwell, 25, signed up for the Army in 2005and credits the financial security he enjoys at his job with his involvement in the military. Cadwell now works a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 human resources job.. He says “The work isn’t hard and two years [of being in the Army] is not long, 1 year is for training…you get money for college and experience.” Cheyenne Clegget, 19, enlisted in
2009 immediately after graduation from Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. Clegget, who is now a Private First-Class stationed in Hawaii, says “I basically want to go officer so they can help me with school.” Cross-campus recruitment in Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, or NROTC, at Northwestern University displays an attempt to increase the diversity of its student units. Unfortunately, contrary to the recruitment efforts of the U.S. Military at large, they have done so with little success. “We have a cross-campus affiliation with Kennedy-King College in Chicago. We try to recruit minority students through that college,” says Anthony Arendt, Assistant Professor and Aviation Officer in the Department of Naval Science at Northwestern. Arendt also states that the military does operate on minority quotas, a policy adopted by many federal institutions. However, Northwestern’s NROTC is not bound by quotas as far as their individual units. Such guidelines are set on a national level. The underrepresentation of minority students in the program is sorely reflected by the lack of recipients for its annual Black and Hispanic Engineer Scholarships. “We don’t have anyone to nominate from our unit this year,” said Lieutenant Steven Stashwick, who works with
NROTC as a naval science instructor and one of the program’s professional advisers. Lieutenant Colonel Kim Harrell, director of The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, or JROTC, for high schools in the Chicago Public Schools System, enlisted in 1979. LTC Harrell works with the schools to hire JROTC instructors and supervising programs. “JROTC focuses on teaching students to be better citizens, to stay in school, and about character and leadership. These are life-enhancing skills. Students join for a list of different reasons,” says LTC Harrell. “As far as those that ultimately enlist, some are very driven: it’s something they’ve dreamt of even before they join JROTC.” The effects of the economy are not lost on the high school students either. Like their older counterparts, they also see the military as a way of funding an education. “Many do come to see it as a way of paying for college,” says LTC Harrell. As far as what effect government policy on war agendas has had on enlistment, there appears to be little change in the trend. “Political decisions still don’t really sway [potential enlistees’] decisions one way or another,” says Rushing. “People are still looking for employment, people are still looking to pay off bills. People still need jobs.” BlackBoard 13
love her ffiercely by Iman Childs
or Colored Girls, Tyler Perry’s film adaption of Ntozake Shange’s Tony nominated play for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf features an all star cast that includes Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, and Kimberly Elise. Shange’s work is a choreopoem that depicts the stories of seven women- the ladies in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and brown- and explores issues such as rape, abortion, and domestic violence in relation to the overall theme of the difficulty of being a woman of color. Perry has faced a lot of criticism in the past for his previous movies which feature the comedic Madea character and what some would say are unoriginal storylines. School of Communication freshman Phyllis Dugan was surprised by how good For Colored Girls was. “I consider Tyler Perry an unseasoned director and his movies usually have really basic plots,” says Dugan. “So it definitely exceeded my expectations.” From the time he began the project, Perry assured fans and critics alike that he would approach the movie with seriousness and respect for the original work. He reflects those feelings in the adaptation by actually placing the characters in the situations described in the original work. In doing that, Perry permits the movie to flow as a story instead of a poetry recital. The film’s strength lies in its use of Shange’s poems as monologues in the movie. “The monologues are what elevated the film into art,” explains Dr. Darlene Clark Hine, the Board of Trustees Professor of African14 BlackBoard
American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. “They were seamlessly integrated into the [movie].” The inspiring performances of the cast made these moments even more moving. By altering which character said certain poems, Dugan believes the story became “more universal and unified the characters.” However, others such as School of Education and Social Policy sophomore La Donna Smith felt the poems were “long and awkward,” especially when someone else was present in the scene. The words were powerful but they made her want to read the book rather than helped her enjoy the movie. Though the film has many messages, its focus is on the struggles that Black women of this generation must face. It opens with the entire cast reciting the poem “Dark Phrases” and sets the scene for a movie that is about “dark phrases of womanhood.” Kimberly Elise’s character, Crystal, goes through one of the film’s most horrific experiences when her abusive boyfriend, who is a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, kills their children by dropping them out of a window. Elise stated in the production notes that “Crystal is like so many women who walk through life and you have no idea that they’re troubled and pained; they keep it very deep inside and do what they have to do to forge ahead.” Although many students could not necessarily identify with one character in particular, there are some that could relate to the issues that they have had to endure. The movie hit home for Dugan when
Crystal’s daughter begged her father to stop hurting her mother. The scene was “gut-wrenching” because she said similar words to her own father as a child. While the constant anguish in the movie may seem overly dramatic at times and, in the words of Dr. Clark Hine, “anachronistic”, Perry means to impart an important message for young women and the Black community as a whole: we have made tremendous strides as a race yet we must not forgot those of us who are still suffering. “Instead of sweeping issues under the rug, it is important to openly air the underside of Black women’s experience,” says Dr. Clark Hine. “I believe that telling your story is important.” Smith, Dugan, and Dr. Clark Hine all hope that the film will spark conversation about age old issues. However, Dugan worries that a dialogue would form but nothing would be achieved because issues in the Black community are often discussed, but no real plan of action is taken. Dr. Clark Hine on the other hand does not think that action plans are always necessary. “Heightened awareness is always a good thing because being open will allow true consciousness to be achieved and help the Black community progress,” Dr. Clark Hine says. “While there may not be immediate progress, the film will hopefully lead to discussion and inspire women to ‘find God in [themselves] and love her fiercely.’”
The G is back by popular demand. The most reliable source to send anonymous questions to is here to answer everything and anything…as long as it’s fit to print. For those other questions, go ask your mama. Dear G, Why do people on this campus think they own the sidewalk?! If there’s only one of me and 5 of y’all, what makes you think that I’m going to jump in the street just so y’all can get past? Signed, Not Going to Take This Anymore Not Going to Take This, Hmm… I’m not sure how to answer this question. This has never happened to me because I approach everyone with the look of a goon in my eye. The closer they get the more hood I look. If they still don’t move I just shove ‘em out the way. It’s all about standing your ground and not being afraid to knock a disrespectful trick or two. If you don’t, who else will let them know what’s up? Signed, The G Dear G, Why do people care if the community finds out their business? Everyone knows that this is a small community and no one can get away with anything. I wish everyone felt free to do whatever they wanted to. Signed, Sick and Tired of People Being Scary
21 questions 1. Doesn’t the Black House look amazing? 2. How long do you give it ‘til it looks like it used to? 3. Why does the end of one construction project signal the start of another at NU? 4. Don’t you wish you were as popular/efficient/ fashionable as Willow Smith at 9? 5. Who didn’t love the Kid Cudi and Snoop concert? 6. Barrettes and a track suit though, Snoop? 7. Didn’t you love that “I Love My Hair” Sesame Street video? 8. So how do you really feel about Black men, Tyler Perry? 9. Did Afropollo live up to all the hype? 10. Really Bush? Kanye was the worst part of those eight years? 11. Who else voted? 12. So was it really our fault? 13. Why did Common think he could talk about whatever he wanted? 14. You know we give you a topic for a reason? 15. Did you play the Q&A game on Facebook? 16. How many people do you think made up their own questions? 17. 70-23? 18. At least we’re going to a bowl game right? 19. Does Kanye’s album make up for his craziness?
Sick and Tired,
20. Are the freshmen nice or boring?
Why do you care? How about you ask “G, how do I mind my own (expletive) business and do me?” And stop asking stupid questions. Real talk, stop caring about other people’s business and worry about your own! If you too scared to do what you want to do because of what others think then you got other issues.
21. Is anyone else scared about the weather this winter?
Signed, The G
Onward and Upward: The Voice of a New Generation
BlackBoard is a proud satellite of FMO, printed once a quarter during the regular academic year. All rights reserved. Cover and content may not be reproduced in whole or part without prior or written permission of BlackBoard Magazine. Contributed articles reflect the writersâ€™ opinions and not necessarily those of BlackBoard Magazine. This is an SAF funded publication. Please direct all comments and questions regarding the magazine to BreajnaDawkins2012@u.northwestern.edu .