All posts by Morgan Newell

An Honest Discussion with a Black Cop

When I went home for Thanksgiving, I was ready for the relaxation, food, and fun with my family. I didn’t think that I would end up having deep conversations and debates with my family members, specifically my uncle. My intentions were never to have any type of conversation; it was Thanksgiving after all and we were supposed to be enjoying each other’s company. However, my uncle and I began talking.

To preface this, my uncle is a cop. He came in with a blue lives matter wristband. At first, I was a little defensive. Of course, cops need to be protected as well, but at the end of the day, the blue comes off and the skin they are in remains. The black skin my uncle is in remains. I’m as nervous for him to be out doing his job as anybody else. He’s a good cop and great at his job, but there’s still forces outside of his control.

I asked my uncle what he thought about all of the cop shootings that we had. His opinions were ones that stuck me. Not in a negative way, but in a way that had and continually has me thinking of how everyone can do better. My uncle is a corporal, which means he sometimes train the new recruits.  He recalled a story of when he was with a recruit that did a horrible offense.

My uncle decided this particular recruit was not feasible to be pushed through to the next level of work, so he wrote it in his report. The next week, the same recruit had been pushed through anyway, even though my uncle had specifically said in the report he would not be good on his own. For the next couple of months, that recruit had been demoted and pushed through time and time again for breaking the rules or doing something that put others in danger.

My uncle explained that the police force is looking for quantity over quality. They need people, regardless of how good or bad they might be. Sometimes it’s not as simple of having good cops and bad cops. It’s not that the good cops aren’t doing anything. It might just be that there are higher ranking police officers pushing people through who aren’t trained well enough to have a gun and a badge. While my uncle is saddened by the shootings, he hates the narrative that the good cops aren’t helping because they are. Citizens, especially protestors and activists, just can’t see that part.

On the other side, we talked about the black community and what they are doing wrong in this situation. Don’t get me wrong, he was not defending these senseless shootings, but we did talk about how the black community is locked up on a much higher basis than the white community. Black people, especially black men, are being locked up for the same crimes that everyone else does. But why is this so? My uncle discussed the dynamic that happens when black people get caught repeatedly. Something most people know is that most of the black men in jail are there for non-violent drug offenses. If a person gets caught one time, the judge considers this your first offense and the sentence, if there is one, will be light. As a person continually gets arrested for the same offense, the punishment gets harsher. The importance of knowing and recognizing this by everyone is extreme.

We have to have a discussion about both of these situations that are happening on a daily. We have to create a dialogue between police and the communities, especially the black ones, they are supposed to protect. Everyone needs to work together to make their communities better. We have to stop calling for good cops to speak out because they genuinely might not be able to. Police precincts are still filled with politics just like everything else. Everyone can benefit from information from the other, so let’s sit down with our officers at the local precincts and have an honest, open discussion.

Aware of Sexual Assault Awareness

Kate Vancil and the Residential Housing Association (RHA) hosted a sexual assault awareness forum on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016. The purpose of the event was to speak in groups on the sexual assaults that happen on campus. According to AAU Climate Survey, Carolina has a reported 12.9% of people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct with 50% happening in residential halls. With movies like The Hunting Ground coming out and more people getting behind the movement to reduce sexual assault, the RHA forum was just one way Carolina is putting sexual awareness at the forefront of social issues. Continue reading Aware of Sexual Assault Awareness

Spell(ings) Check

A few weeks ago, Margaret Spellings started her job as the new UNC system president. However, she was not welcomed with open arms and smiles. Instead, several college campuses planned and executed a walkout to protest Spellings. Continue reading Spell(ings) Check

Formation: Explicit (Racial) Content

Beyoncé. Also known as Queen Bey. The singing sensation that has slayed the lives of girls, boys, men, and women all over the world. Beyoncé has been in the limelight snatching our edges relentlessly for years. We know every word to every song and religiously attempt to learn the dances she is know to kill. However, there has recently been a lot of blow back on Beyoncé. Her new instant hit, Formation, has caused an uproar among may white people. I have two things to say to the people that are protesting Bey’s new song. First, this song is NOT for you. Second, this song is the last thing that needs to be protested right now. Continue reading Formation: Explicit (Racial) Content

The Movement towards the Third Reconstruction

On Friday, January 29th, Reverend William Barber II spoke at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center. Rev. Barber launched the well-known Moral Mondays in North Carolina. Moral Mondays are protest that were created because of several laws created by the N.C. government. The protests have spread to South Carolina and Georgia, as well as Illinois and New Mexico.

Continue reading The Movement towards the Third Reconstruction

NOT Here, NOT There, NOT Anywhere: Solidarity Rally

Morgan McLaughlin and her friends convened a solidarity rally for Jack Donahue, a freshman at Duke, on Wednesday, November 11th. Donahue got to his dorm to discover a message saying “death to all fags @jack” scrawled on the wall. McLaughlin felt like it was time to be united with Duke and stand up for Donahue. I asked McLaughlin as well as her friends Brennan Lewis and Olive Fadale some questions about their ideas and thoughts on LGBTQ rights and safety here on campus and everywhere. Continue reading NOT Here, NOT There, NOT Anywhere: Solidarity Rally

And the Emmy Goes to…

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“In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”

This was a quote from Harriett Tubman that Viola Davis used in the beginning of a powerful Emmy acceptance speech. Davis was quoted saying that she didn’t even think she would win and was shocked that she was favored for the win at all. It is no secret that Davis is the first black woman that has won Best Leading Actress. This is exactly why her Emmy speech was influential and necessary. Continue reading And the Emmy Goes to…

Diversity or Bust

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It is safe to say that I love my college. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The oldest public school in the nation. UNC was once a school that I couldn’t even attended and now I am a full-time student participating in extracurricular activities and living in the dorms my ancestors couldn’t even imagine being in. It’s pretty safe to say that everything I have worked up to is extremely important to me because of the history that I come from.

However, as notable as my accomplishments are, I can’t help but feel like there’s still so much to do. Like I mentioned before, it’s no secret that I am attending a school my ancestors wouldn’t have been able to attend. The school has made leaps and bounds in trying to make up for the racially motivated inequalities, but it has a long way to go. While we do have black students here, there are not many black professors. The same goes with Latinos. There are Latino students, but not many Latino professors. However, UNC employs black and Latino workers for maintenance, construction, cooking, and cleaning. There are so many people that I have seen that have the jobs that are “behind the scenes” of UNC. While there is nothing wrong with these positions, it makes me question whether UNC has actually made that many leaps or bounds. Continue reading Diversity or Bust