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10 Conversation Starters To Bring About Social Justice Awareness

Throughout the history of the United States, various racial ideologies emerged as a result of slavery, colonization, and capitalism. These dominant ways of knowing have manifested into very real implications for people of color within U.S. society. As we work to disrupt these negative, it's important to learn how these narratives came into place. Common party games such as Apples to Apples, What Do You Meme? and Cards Against Humanity have the ability to do just that. These card games have two separate types of cards, fill in the blank cards (the black cards below), and filler cards (the white cards below). It is the objective of the participants to contribute the best filler card that "fits" with what the fill in the blank card says. Each round, one person does not contribute a filler card and judges each card submitted based on subjective "fit" criteria such as humor and satire, edginess, provocativeness, or practicality. Though these games commonly get labeled as horrible and needing trigger warnings, the conversations had between participants to justify their submissions creates an unmatched opportunity for dialogue about important issues such as racism and its modern manifestations. This Buzzfeed article hopes to contribute to these conversations. Each hand made and hand selected pairing below represents real situations discussed in this course, and can provide participants and opportunity to discuss what's going on and what can be done in its wake. I introduce a new card game, Allies Against Humanity, and provide examples of conversation started to be used. Please note that the information discussed below represents my personal thoughts and opinions.

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1.

Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 allowed police officers to question the immigration status of "reasonably suspicious " individuals. Skin color, language spoken, or social class were common identities used to spot LatinX individuals in Arizona and question their immigration status. If they were undocumented they were placed in detention centers. Though we consider detention centers to be of higher quality than prisons, the quality of life for these individuals rapidly deteriorates. Private detention centers focus on keeping their facilities full, profiting from the maximum amount of dollars available. Detention centers are in horrendous conditions, focus on profit, and often do not consider the humanity that should be afforded to individuals who end up in these facilities.

2.

Unchallenged assumptions and hyper coverage of Black people in the media has developed deeply rooted biases against the Black community. As a result, young Black men are statistically more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than their White counterparts. Black leaders have been murdered, incarcerated, and exiled, in turn leaving the Black community partially voiceless. This is the reason the Black Lives Matters movement is so important. It stands up against these examples of systematic and institutional forms of oppression and holds individuals accountable for the actions they take against the Black community.

3.

Stricter immigration laws and the destruction of common immigration entry points into the United States force immigrants to endure more dangerous routes of entry. The Arizona desert is one of these routes, known for its extreme terrain and temperatures. As a result, a drastic increase of immigrant bodies have been found outside of Tucson, Arizona, all of which are immigrants seeking opportunities to improve the lives of themselves and their families. Conservatives tend to capitalize on criminalizing immigrants, stating they steal our jobs and destroy our cities. However, it is immigrant labor that props up the U.S. economy, taking jobs that not many others want. No person deserves to endure such harsh conditions. All they seek is a chance at an opportunity.

4.

In some classrooms, being bilingual is discouraged. "This is America, we speak English" is a common phrase you'll hear justifying learning and primarily speaking English. Historically, students who spoke Spanish in the classroom were commonly punished through being spanked or other forms of exclusion. Speaking at least two languages has numerous cognitive benefits and provides students with a connection to their family and culture. Punishing students for speaking a language other than English is at its roots discrimination and elitism.

5.

Most apparent and destructive in many Hollywood movies is the primary focus on White characters saving characters of color from an uncertain fate. This action undermines the ability of characters of color to serve as their own advocates and heroes. In the Hunger Games, Katness was devastated she couldn't save the small and innocent Rue from being murdered in the arena. Furthermore, the tributes in the 75th Hunger Games were primarily White, with little to no character development for the tributes of color. These omissions develop severe racial outcomes. So how do you survive the Hunger Games? Be White.

6.

Colonization of the United States came at the pricey cost of Native American genocide. Native American tribes were commonly grouped together and were seen as uncultured but teachable. All Native Americans who refused to assimilate were exterminated. Millions of acres of land were seized by American colonists and much of Native American culture was lost. Today the United States offers sympathy for the mass genocide that occurred, but has offered little to assist the various tribes that still remain today. U.S. culture is fascinated with "Indians" and commonly misappropriates them with costumes, food, movies, and games.

7.

Throughout its history, Hollywood has continuously depicted people of color as harmful stereotypes. Native Americans were seen as stoic warriors, free spirited individuals, and were commonly lumped together as one group. LatinX communities were seen as lazy, uneducated, and unwilling to assimilate to American culture. Black people are hyper-criminalized and are seen as culture-less. These stories often remain unchallenged within the movies, consistently leading to a distortion of history. The movie industry is often seeking profit rather than providing an accurate portrayal of particular racialized characters and stories.

8.

Brown vs. Board of Education ended racial segregation in public schools, yet many students are still deprived an adequate public education. Segregated housing patterns lead to over crowded and underfunded schools in poorer communities. Students of color are more likely to be diagnosed with a cognitive or learning disability. White people continue to believe affirmative action practices are a form of racial discrimination. Numerous barriers exist that contribute to inequitable educational outcomes. These trends are seen in persistence and graduation rates across the country.

9.

As the myth of Black criminality rose, Black men have been portrayed as out of control and a danger to society. The War on Crime and the War on Drugs inadvertently targeted communities of color and disproportionately led to the mass incarceration of the Black community. 40.5% of the people incarcerated are Black, and the private prison industry intends to keep them their. Maintaining full capacity at prisons drives the economic productivity through the continuation of contracts. As the private prison system is a multi billion dollar a year industry, the economic costs of racism are very real and measurable.

10.

Colonialism, the Civil War, World War II, and the War on Iraq all provide examples of the implications of racism on U.S. society. White society has always assumed a position of power over people of color and continuously exerted force over inferior communities. Native Americans were exterminated for their resources and land. Black slaves were used as property and discarded when they became useless. People lumped together with all Middle Eastern cultures are viewed as a threat to the United States and should be eliminated. The U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people. War has traditionally and always will have devastating impacts on all communities. It's particular use has been to eliminate any enemy who does not see eye to eye with the United States and its culture and values.

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