November 8, 2009

What do you think about being a Stonehill student, the judicial system, and "good" hair?

Blayne Lopes says:

Who is considered a Stonehill student? This topic came up while conversing with another ALANA Brothers and Sisters (ABS) Leader because I told him I am not a fan of Stonehill students. Stonehill is sometimes referred to as “Clonehill.” This is because in the past everyone here has dressed similarly and has come from the same geographic region. I think that there is some truth to this stereotype.

In all honesty I realize that I do not feel like a Stonehill student—even though I am a fully enrolled student. I do not wear UGZ, dress in designer clothes, have rich or upper middle-class parents, and never really felt like I could blend into the crowd. My brown skin marks me as different and I have different experiences at Stonehill due to this fact.

It is not unusual to talk to my friends of color about the white majority at Stonehill and we often share many upsetting experiences. Usually we referred to the perpetrators of discriminatory statements or actions (both intentional and unintentional) as “Stonehill students.” A comment usually made during these conversations is that Stonehill students “just don’t get it.” “It” being our experiences as students of color at Stonehill. Not that the white majority will truly ever know what it feels like, but many do not even know our negative experiences exist.

For the most part I love Stonehill and the opportunities that exist here. Many of my interactions with faculty and professors have been positive, but again, there have been many times where I have felt like an outsider on this campus.

I am left with the question:

What does it mean to be a brown ALANA student at Stonehill College?

Michelle Tineo says:

After reading the Article titled Pennsylvania Overturns Many Youths’ Convictions (, it made me realize the lengths some people will go to make a quick buck. The article was about how a judge put many youth in detention centers, many of them innocent, for money. This judge has taken months away from these teenagers lives and gave them a criminal record. The charges have now been overturned, but imagine what how these charges effected the teens in the first place. Being that there are higher numbers of people of color in prisons and detention centers, I cannot help but think this is another example of institutional racism.

I have actually seen an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit where this same situation was happening and I can’t believe it is happening in real life. I cannot help but think that there are other judges out there doing the same and have not yet been caught yet. How many other judges have ruined the lives of hundreds and even thousands of juveniles for money? There is a clear abuse of power in this case and it is at the cost of the lives of youth of color. With this type of thing going on, it is no wonder that some people of color are suspicious of people in the justice system such as police officers. I think they also abuse their power especially when they do things like running red lights to stop people at the end of the month to fulfill their traffic violation quota. And it makes me question who they pull over. Is it mostly people of color?

The abuse of power that happens in the world makes me even more terrified of ever doing anything illegal and even more ever being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Punishment does not seem very forgiving for a person of color. Something like this could ruin the rest of my life. People stereotype people who have been to jail as people that will never change and who are not worthy. I hope I never have to deal with these types of situations.

Joniece Leonard says:

What is good hair?

My definition of good hair is hair that looks and makes a person feel good. People should be happy with the hair they are given and wear it with pride. I do not even like using the term good hair because that would imply that there is bad hair. A hairstyle can look bad but that does not necessarily mean that a person has bad hair. I have come to the conclusion that good or bad hair depends on how the person feels about themselves and the hair that they wear.

Some people go through extremes to change their hair. I myself cannot recall the last time I saw my hair without a relaxer. Since I can remember I have been going to the salon with my mom on Saturday mornings and getting my hair straightened biweekly. For me, this has become common and going to the salon is routine. My hair usually looks good and makes me feel good. I wear my hair with pride.

In the past I have tried many different hair styles. I can recall once wearing extensions in the form of braids during the summer because it was easier to manage since I swam so often. I also remember having micro braids when I was 16 and loving how easy it was to just wake up and go without thinking about doing anything to my hair. For prom I wore tracks and hated it and took them out immediately. These days I prefer to just wear my hair. I do not like anything added to it, I like to be able to just scratch my head, or have someone play in my hair with no worries. The length of my hair is not that important to me. I have cut my hair into bobs, wore a bang, and have had my hair long. The style is not usually important because I feel like I look good, and feel good. My hairdresser always talks to me about the importance of hair. If someone is dressed up and their hair looks a mess then that can bring down their entire appearance. I prefer my hair relaxed and straight. No matter the style, ones hair should just look neat and clean and make them feel good about their appearance.