Race in Humboldt: Outside the Bubble


by David Crowfield II
Flapjack staff

After the 2015-2016 school year, I decided to stay in Humboldt for the summer. At the time I was trapped in this false illusion that Humboldt was a welcoming place to all, but I soon came to realize that the bubble HSU creates for its students did not expand beyond the campus.

During my stay I worked at the local Target, as a cashier. I had good and bad experiences with customers, but the worst of them came from the locals who seemed to have had racial bias. They would not come to my line even if the other lines were full and when they finally came to my line they would not make eye contact, they would rush me, throw the money, and would have an attitude.

On HSU’s campus one feels welcomed like they are apart of a big family. Many of the students at HSU come from similar backgrounds (The Hood). Growing up in The Hood one can only dream of making it out. Our neighborhoods are filled with corrupt school systems, drugs, crime, and racial segregation. For minorities in America, we strive to prove negative stereotypes wrong, by attending college to better our communities. Viewing college as a safe haven for many, escaping all of the troubles of The Hood.

On November 13, 2015, Robin and Shannon were assaulted by two unidentified white men. They had bottles thrown at them and beer sprayed on them They were taunted with racist remarks and chased by the two men. The students got away successfully and told proper authorities that this was a racially motivated attack. The two women had wanted to attend Humboldt State because they felt they could escape the nightmares of The Hood, but little did they know they were going to face hate crimes.

Ketly Sylla, a friend of the two women, gave insight on how this community view people of color.

“When I first got here I was excited about coming to college and sharing new experiences with new friends,” says Sylla. “But I wasn’t able to do that because I came here and faced new challenges and I’m not talking about academics. I go out into town to enjoy myself and I get looks from white people, like I’m going to rob them or something. Getting racially profiled is not a comfortable feeling.”

A lot of students of color feel unwelcome in Humboldt beyond the campus bubble because of their skin color. Many have questioned themselves on why they should stay in a place where they feel unwelcome. Sidney Broussard, 20, a marketing major at HSU, believes the people outside of the bubble are the way they are because of our institutions.

“If one is a person of color in America, one never gets to take off those glasses,” Broussard says.  “Racism is deeply rooted in our culture and defines society for black and brown people. There is a set of racially biased structures entrenched in the institutions that make up or society and the default setting is white.”

What is race? As defined by Urban Dictionary, race is a biological term used to classify living things.

What is race? bell hooks defines race as a system of power and privilege.

What is race? Race is something more than color. Race is something that divides us in this world. Race is the root of majority of physical, emotional, and mental crimes.

Race has played a big factor in the formation of American. From the founding of this country, African Americans have been considered second class citizens. We were brought over on slave ships, and in the American Constitution we were once considered 3/5 of a person. American society has been made to exclude people of color and social media has depicted us as menace to society.

A College of the Redwood communication major gave some great insight on how African American people are depicted in the media.

“I think that we as African Americans, need to speak out more to the media so that they can not keep portraying our heritage as violent in movies and TV shows. Even though the African American ethnicity is the most copied in the world.”

This is an ongoing matter that African Americans have to face day in and day out. People of color feel as if they need to stick together because of the way we are depicted in the media and the way we are viewed outside of the bubble. The media and the culture of America has helped create a society full of racism.


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