Jared Sexton

Jared Sexton

University of New Hampshire

Economics and History


1995

Mentor: David H. Watters, Ph.D. - Professor of English

Real-Eyezing Blackness: Contemporary Discourse on African American Survival and Self-Affirmation.

The focus of this study is to explore recent discussions of the effects of racism on the lives of African Americans. Paying attention to various dimensions of racial oppression including political disenfranchisement, economic exploitation and impoverishment, and social marginalization; this research also explores the psychic and cultural impacts of racism upon the lives of black people.

The primary site of discussion is the college campus, particularly for black students at historically white institutions. Issues of central concern are self-image and self-esteem; world-view; interpretation of media and cultural representation; relational thinking; anger, disappointment, and despair; as well as hope and achievement as they are influenced by the existential and perceived racial experience. Finally, personal and group strategies of resistance and empowerment are examined to determine past efficacy and future prospects with respect to the historical context of racial oppression in this country.

Currently, tactics run the gambit from political activism and community development to personal introspection and spiritual enrichment to social criticism and educational engagement. However, the arenas of cultural production and ritual are still generally underestimated as sources of support and guidance. While black students may successfully employ any of the various modes of opposition, it seems that a creative blend of them all, some organic praxis, yields the healthiest outcome. It is my hope that this study can provide some useful advice for African Americans, particularly students, who must grapple with the significance of race and racism in this era.

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