You Haven’t Been through the Struggle

“I don’t care much for ignorance.”

CONTENT WARNING: Contains strong language

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In addition to the questions below, please see How to use the questions for reflection.

Clarifying Questions

  • The speaker uses the term “ignorance” early in the clip, but it seems to be a theme for his experience generally. What sorts of attitudes or behaviors does he consider ignorant?
  • Why does the speaker bring up his race and ethnicity (half Jewish, half Haitian)?
  • What is the speaker’s attitude toward the N-word?
  • Where does the speaker see racism happening? How does he choose to respond to it?

Interpretive Questions

  • Where do you see the speaker’s attitude toward white people coming out? toward black people? Are there other categories he uses to label people? How does this change the way you approach him?
  • Who, if anybody, has the right to use the N-word and why?
  • The speaker says he hears a lot of mouths moving but doesn’t see any action. What makes action difficult to achieve? Why do we struggle to put our ideals into motion? Is this an individual problem or a communal one? Have you ever overcome these obstacles–which strategies have worked for you?
  • When is it okay to “shake your head and walk away” from an attack on your race or gender or religion, etc.? When should a person take a stand?

Let us know how the conversation or self-reflection went. Email us or discuss the experience in our comment box.

Transcript for You Haven’t Been through the Struggle

I don’t care much for ignorance. People are ignorant. White boy say n—er, that’s ignorant. There’s no need for that. You know what I mean? Uh, black community brothers and sisters eatin’ dinner and just yelling being just yelling for no reason, just trying to grab attention. That’s ignorant. So I mean for the most part if I’m eating or something like that I just, I don’t want to be around that. You know what I mean?

There’s the, I mean there’s a social aspect as well. I mean just the, the uh, it’s like the railroad effect especially in this university is so small everybody knows everyone’s business. And uh, I’m a personal person. I don’t like to share that. I don’t feel like everyone needs to know that.

I remember this I was eating dinner one time and uh this kid’s from like the suburbs. And uh, I said something and was like, “You’re white.” And you know, I just, that littered me. I got upset. You know I didn’t show it right away because has no idea what that racism is, you know what I mean?

I have, I’m half Jewish and half Haitian. My great-grandmother called me her favorite n—er baby. There was times I was coming home from school. This was I lived in Southern Indiana. So there would be times I was coming home from school and be called n—er while I had my sister with me. Him bringing up saying like, “You’re white.” and “You’re a white boy.” because I’m light-skinned. He’s darker than me but not knowing what racism is. That, that’s something right there.

This campus isn’t diverse. You know what I mean? Um, blacks so much so, the black community the friends I do have here, uh the ones I associate with have become more bitter and racist towards white people. Why, because they provoke it. White people provoke it. Um, you’ll have your cases where some white kids live vicariously through black culture. Hip hop and stuff like that, which I can’t stand and just it annoys me especially if you haven’t been through the struggle.

I feel like a lot of these uh, these little uppity conservative kids haven’t really worked for anything and uh they have a lot of opinions on us or a lot of opinions on things they shouldn’t because they haven’t experiences them. And if they have it’s through media and that’s a false.

Video games is a big part of that, and uh college like college guys definitely play video games. Call of Duty’s big and infamous with it, the n—er word. So, I mean, that pops up when they’re playing video games. I’ll hear n—er, or I’ll hear the latest Rick Ross song or Lil Wayne song which they feel they’re totally black because they’re listening to the song. And I’ll be walking past and I’ll hear the word n—er like you know what I mean which I don’t really agree with you know what I mean.

I choose when to say something. You know what I mean? If I’m busy I’m not going to just stop and just go in there like, “Hey don’t say that.” I mean it’s just, it’s just, it’s one of them things I just acknowledge and I just shake my head and I just go on about it, it’s just like.

Uh, this campus no diverse than the world I’ve lived in so far or any place I’ve been in. I don’t see where there’s a line, where this is like some greener grass that I’m on. It’s the same. Do I see it worked on? I hear mouths moving, but I don’t see any actions. I don’t see any. I don’t see anything.