Social Justice

This week seemed to have a sort of recurring pattern for me. I finished Charles Chestnut’s “Marrow of Tradition” on Monday for my American Lit class, and was absolutely blown away with the ending. The power completely shifted from the prominent white members in the town, to the successful black doctor and his wife. The entire novel really makes the the protagonists look like fools when they start an entire riot to teach the black members in the community a lesson on white supremacy. It has my utmost respect, and is definitely going to be a novel that I recommend to friends and family next time they ask for a good read.

Christopher Columbus and early colonization was our topic of discussion in my Native American studies class. As my professor lectured about the mass murders and violence that occurred between Natives and Spanish conquistadors, I noticed how wide-eyed and stunned some of my peers were. I was really disheartened to know that this was their first time hearing any of that. The American “hero” was demolished within minutes just as we began discussing whether or not Columbus Day should be a national holiday or not. There was a general consensus that it was celebrating genocide and that there should be a greater push to change it to something like Indigenous People’s Day instead. We also watched a documentary about Apache people looking to regain artifacts that were taken from them centuries ago and then locked away in museums. A few of the tribal members were given the opportunity to go and see the collection of artifacts at the Chicago Museum, and it was painful to see how hurt they were that things of their past were being locked up instead of being either buried or used as teaching instruments for younger Apache generations. Luckily, there was a somewhat happy ending, as some of the artifacts that were being withheld by a Episcopalian church, were donated to be displayed in a museum near the reservation. That is one step closer to a regrowth of Native cultures.

Lastly, of course, the social justice panel that was put together for English 300. I was beyond excited to hear what all the women had to say and to get a better understanding of how they were able to incorporate issues they were passionate about into writing. I think Hope and Jennine resonated the most with me, mostly because their writing was directed toward issues of their own race. It was encouraging to hear how successful they could be as activists, in a variety of different ways. Words are such a powerful tool, and I really hope that one day my words will be able to move people in ways that will lead to greater success for Native Americans in their fight.

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