Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Racial Dynamics on TU Campus: an ethnography

[top right to left: Alex Peak (member of College Libertarians of Towson), Chris Reed (psychology major), and Deverick Murray (president of Black Student Union]
[bottom right to left: Kyle Bavis (Resident Assistant) and Robert Smith (member of Caribbean Student Association)]

This ethnography was sparked by the firing of Allen Zaruba who said "nigger" when referencing a quote in his class, which gained a significant amount of media coverage (SEE The Washington Post, The Towerlight, and MrSoulInblack on YouTube). To me, racial epithets and incidents seem to be unusually high on the Towson University campus and this incident, specifically the aftermath, confirmed it. In the four semesters that I have been a student at Towson, accusations of racism has never been an outright problem, until racial slurs were written on doors and whiteboards in the dorm rooms. However, racism doesn't appear to be openly prevalent and I believe that not all actions of vandalism are racially motivated. Thus, I noticed racial tensions presented themselves in commentary and evaluation of these actions with peers, through Facebook statuses, comments on the Towerlight, and occasional discussions in classrooms. Of course these were my opinions so they were hardly an accurate representation of the racial dynamics on campus. As an anthropology major, I was self-motivated and felt like I had somewhat of an obligation to begin an ethnography that would allow ethnographic accounts to reveal macro phenomenon. Since that spark, I have conducted five interviews (pictured above), educated myself on the socio-historical aspect of Nigger, read Black Anxiety, White Guilt, and the Politics of Status Frustration, spoken with professors regarding my work and help I may be able to receive, and I have monitored the Towerlight website when an article is published regarding race or ethnicity. I am working to interview more people who I believe may have an interesting perspective on race, but other than that the project will be over soon. I will edit in the summer and I hope to be able to feature my ethnographic film in a film festival in the Fall. The presentation of this film does not mean it is finished. I plan to continue interviewing and branching out into different aspects of race in general. This is only the beginning of my interest in racial issues in America.

No comments:

Post a Comment