An African-American Cultural Experience - Part 1

Uploaded by csdEIU on 12.05.2011

♪ [music playing] ♪♪.
(Dr. Gloria Leitschuh). I'd like to thank all of
you for coming and being here today to
take part in this educational opportunity
as part of our cross-cultural class.
This is an exercise we're going to be going through.
There will be a series of questions, I'd like to give
each of you an opportunity to introduce
yourself and then we'll begin with the questions.
I'm Audrey, I am a second year community
counseling student.
My name is Quinette Tukes and I'm a second-semester
graduate student.
My name is Ari Tukes and I am a second-semester
graduate student.
My name is Yolanda Orange and I'm a
third-semester graduate student.
Malinda, I'm a graduate student, second semester.
Chyna, graduate student, second semester as well.
(female speaker). Thank you.
The first question is, earlier today we were with a mixed group
of the majority culture and as yourselves, representing the
minority culture, and we'd been separated from that group.
I want to know what your reaction or how you feel about
being separated from that group, if anything came up for you as
we were leaving the room.
(Ms. Peppers). Well, for me, there
had been times where he had been
separated anyway, so I don't know that
it posed a lot of stress.
I did think about what were they thinking.
You know, we laughed, talked and then left, so we were pretty
comfortable but I could see faces of other students and they
weren't comfortable and so I was wondering what were they
thinking and how were they feeling about it, but I expect
that, you know, we were all grouped together so it would be
something for us that would be beneficial I would hope.
(Ms. Tukes). I agree, I think
when we were separated, like she said, we all
kind of were like ' okay, well we're being separated' and when
I looked at my classmates' reaction to that, their faces
kind of just dropped and kind of, you know, were astonished
and it was like 'what about us'.
That's kind of how they looked at us, so, you know, I guess at
times I often feel separated while being in the midst of the
majority culture, so it wasn't a big deal to just walk out--it
wasn't an issue for me.
(Mr. Tukes). I think subconsciously
for me, I'm used to kind of doing my own
thing with my own culture, and I think when we separated
from the group, I think I just wanted the norm.
I mean I knew something was going to go and it was kind of
exciting, it was different.
I was able to look at everyone else and observe how their
facial expressions were and stuff like that, but I adjusted
and I was looking forward to finding out what was the plan
when you get through the separation and just curious
about how everyone else was going to respond but I adjusted
(Ms. Orange). For me actually,
to be separated from them was kind of like 'okay
what are we going to do now'.
I really was surprised that we had this many African Americans
in one class at once, you know, in a graduate program.
Usually you'd be like the only African American in a class with
the majority being Caucasian, so to have other African Americans
leave out at the same time, that was like 'okay, what are we
about to do', so I think I was pretty much more happy to see
more people of my color in my class and being just, you know,
moreso than just one person.
(Ms. Johnson). I can identify with
other people's feelings when we had to
leave the room and everything.
First I was noticing right away how my other colleagues in the
classrooom were looking like ' well, what's going on, what are
they about to do and why do we have to stay here,
I want to go with them'.
I was kind of like, I kind of felt like oh gosh, you know.
That is a different feeling, but I kind of stuffed it because I
guess my curiosity--like Ari was saying--my curiousity kind of
overrode that feeling.
And I'm kind of used to being separated anyway or being like
the one that sticks out in classrooms because my experience
has been at times I was the only person of color, or black
person, in the classroom, so I think because of childhood
experiences, it kind of helped me to just kind
of get over that quicker.
(Ms. Roundtree). I was excited because
I kind of had a feeling of what was
going to happen.
I didn't know exactly what we were going to do, but I knew
that the exercise had a purpose, being the type of material that
we discuss in class and the title of the class, so I kind of
had a feeling that something like this might have happened,
but I did notice that some of the other students, the
Caucasian students, kind of looked sad when we left and that
made me feel a little bad, so it took away from my excitement a
little bit and it made me kind of like 'oh,
I don't want to leave you guys, I want to stay', so that
was pretty much how I felt.
(Ms. Peppers). Going back to
what Yolonda said, I remember going, in undergrad,
to a psychology class and I went to a predominantly white
university and I went in my psychology class and there were
no other black students and I had come from, pretty much, an
all black high school.
I walked out, I didn't even stay that day because I couldn't
believe where I was.
It was really weird for me, a real culture shock, so it took a
little bit of getting used to that and then I think, for me,
once you get used to it, you're just sort of used to it so being
separated was no big deal.
(Mr. Tukes). I think for myself
I'm used to, like I'm used to separation.
I know I work with Caucasian Americans, I may have gone to
class with Caucasians, so I know it's temporary and I know when
class is over, when I'm off work, I'm going home, I'm around
my wife, I'm around my family, I may socially
be around some friends.
So the idea, it'll be different if I lived in an all white
community or I didn't know anybody who was an African
American, who I didn't have a social outlet with, then I
probably would feel a little bit different about the separation
but because I'm already living in a kind of separate society as
far as a separate community, I adjusted.
It was easier for me to adjust.
I looked and I was observant, but at the same time I was
observant and then I walked out and was like
'okay, what are we doing'.
[unclear dialogue].
(Dr. Leitschuh). Very good, very
interesting, thank you.
Do any of you have examples of being disciriminated against
because of racism or prejudices that you would like to be able
to share with us today?
(Ms. Roundtree). I have a recent one.
I was at my job this previous weekend and a lot of people, I
believe a lot of people in 2005, in this day and age, don't
believe that prejudice attitudes still exist.
Well, they do and I was so surprised to be at work and have
one of my co-workers tell me that my hair was nappy, but that
my hair was not as nappy as some other black students so that
made me different, I wasn't a normal black student because my
hair was nappy but not as nappy.
And then she proceeded to tell me that black people speak
differently than Caucasians do and that
we do don't speak proper English.
Imagine sitting there at work and having somebody that you
work with, that you thought was a respectable, nice person--I've
actually hung outside of work with this person, I never knew
this person felt like this.
When I approached the person about the comments that she
made, she told me reason that she told me--and actually it was
other African Americans that walked by and heard what she was
saying--is because she would rather tell me to
my face than behind my back.
And she did not understand the degree of what she said, she did
not understand that that was the most hurtful thing that I've
ever had to sit through.
And then to turn around and talk to other white colleagues and
have them say 'well, you know, that's just her, that's just how
she feels, let it go', it's ridiculous.
It's ridiculous.
You would think that in today's age that people would stand up
and say that it's wrong or at least want
to do something about it.
Nobody said anything, nobody stood up for me, it was just me,
just me and the other five black employees that work there.
(Ms. Peppers). When I think about
racism and growing up in Mississippi--this
probably seems weird, but for me racism is pretty open in
Mississippi and so you knew where to walk, you knew where to
go, to be home by dark, you knew all of those things and you knew
how you had to approach people, things like that.
And so, to me, racism was pretty open, you knew and to be called
a nigger was no big deal, you know, for people in Mississippi,
but to me I think that what bothers me most is moving here
to Illinois, where it's supposed to be the north and, you know,
when you grow up in the South you hear about
moving to the North.
Half my relatives are in Chicago and are here and so, you just
think more progressive community and then you get here and, you
know, I got here and experienced some of the same things that I
did there, but they were just more closed, more
institutionalized as opposed to somebody calling you a nigger,
they just didn't give you an opportunity and
you knew that and, you know.
That's what's bothersome to me, is that, in some respect, you
don't want racism to exist at all, but in another, you would
rather know that that's what you're walking into.
And to be followed around stores and, you know, if my husband and
I write a check for over a hundred dollars--and the person
in front of you could have just done the same thing, a white
person, and their license won't be asked for,
they just walk through, whatever.
Then yours, you know, get in and get a really close look at your
license to make sure you're who you say
you are and make sure that check clears.
It's those subtle things here that I think are difficult for
me, that I have a hard time with, I don't know.
(Mrs. Tukes). We were recently in
Indianapolis for a weekend, and I think it
was over Spring break and we were at a Walmart there.
And we walked in--and it was just four or five of us, all of
us have graduated with our Bachelor's or are in school for
our Master's or are working in our careers, and we were with
three of our friends from South Africa--and we walked in the
Walmart and you know they have the greeter there.
And he kind of looked--I said okay, he didn't say 'hi, how are
you doing' he just kind of looked--so we kept walking and
we get to the electronics department and my friend, one of
my girlfriends, she wanted to buy an Xbox for her husband, so
we were looking at the Xbox and no one
ever came over to help us.
Now, it's not like Walmart was packed, you know.
Come on now.
We were there, no one came over to help us, it's like four
people in the area, you know, so I waited, she waited and so I
said I'm going to go ask.
So I said 'excuse me, sir, we need some assistance over here'.
You know, we're looking at Xboxes and they were in a cage
so you couldn't actually look at it, you know, like take it out
and look at it or whatever and he said 'well,
I'm pretty busy right now'.
I said 'oh, excuse me, I'm sorry'.
So, I go on back and I tell my friend.
So she said, my friend--my particular friend, who is from
South Africa--she said 'what', I said 'yeah'.
So she said, 'well let's talk to the manager, so we went to the
customer service department and talked to the manager and the
manager told us that couldn't have possibly happened because
this particular worker had been working in Walmart for over 20
years, and that couldn't possibly have been her worker.
To say something like that--maybe you got it wrong or
if he was busy, you should have waited--I said okay is this an
Indianapolis thing.
Do I need to know something here?
And we end up getting the regional manager's number and
one of her clerks who was in the customer service department, one
of the clerks who was working there, she was just kind of like
'oh, my gosh, she's never talked to one
of our clients like that--never.
She basically just told us 'no, not my worker, he's been here
for 20 years, that couldn't possibly be'.
She didn't check into it, she didn't say 'well ma'am, let me
bring him up here and find out what the case was' or 'I'll
handle the situation', nothing.