After reading the bell hook’s piece Talking Race and Racism it has me thinking about some of the things she was addressing in her piece and how there are examples of what she is talking about on the 5C campuses everyday. hooks talks about how she has been in classroom settings and has to hear students say that the believe racism doesn’t really shape the contours of our lives. She says that she begins the class with the same exercise. “I ask if they were about to die and could choose to come back as a white male, a white female, a black female, or black male, which identity would they choose.” Each time, she says, “individuals irrespective of gender or race invariably choose whiteness, and most often white maleness. Black females are the least chosen.” hooks asks the students why they choose what they choose and they say it has to do with a “privilege based on race (with perspectives that take gender and class into consideration.)” Having this disconnect hooks is saying, creates a gap between the students conscious repudiation of race as a marker of privilege and their unconscious understanding.
Why this got me thinking of the 5Cs in general, is because students in classrooms today find it very taboo to discuss race in a group discussion. They tend to, what I have observed at least, be very cautious when it comes to this topic. We as a generation have been exposed to so many different forms of racism in person, or in the media. We have been, at least in the educational system, sheltered in a lot of ways from racism. For fear that it might “trigger” someone or cause too much of an uproar in the community of the campus in which it is being discussed. But in my mind that means the solution shouldn’t be to not discuss this issue and just imagine it isn’t there. The reason bell hooks uses that exercise in classrooms is to, “help[s] them move past their denial of the existence of racism. It lets us begin to work together toward a more unbiased approach to knowledge.” We as a generation have to not be afraid of things that we particularly create as “taboo” just because something is difficult to talk about, usually the things that are the most difficult to talk about are usually give us the most knowledge moving forward.