What We Can Learn About The Briana Brochu And Jazzy Rowe Situation At The University Of Hartford
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Politics and Activism

What We Can Learn About The Briana Brochu And Jazzy Rowe Situation At The University Of Hartford

From all of this, I just hope that a dialogue will be started and that we can move race relations forward towards a place of sympathy, empathy, and understanding.

What We Can Learn About The Briana Brochu And Jazzy Rowe Situation At The University Of Hartford
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Being from London England and a child of the 80s, I grew up with the notion that racism no longer existed. I was truly encouraged about the future of our kids because finally many of the historical pains could finally heal. But honestly moving to the South (Georgia, USA), has taught that we have so so far to go when it comes to race relations. I just wish that the blue eye, brown eye experiment of Jane Elliott was mandatory for all kids age 5 and above so that we could truly learn about empathy and change the direction of race relations once and for all.

When I saw the report of the Brianna Brochu and Jazzy Rowe incident, I was shocked and dumbfounded and thus I did what we all do in this modern day, I went on a YouTube bender to search for the Jazzy Rowe video. After watching her story and what she said, I was deeply saddened. She was angry, and rightly so. It is hard to understand the day to day strain that racism ensues unless you live it. Leaving your house to be judged based on how you look is so taxing.

To feel that you must always have your best foot forward, never have a “hot mess day” because that will add to the stigma and the judgment you face from the one thing you cannot remove on day to day basis, “your race” is exhausting. For me personally, I have many “hot mess looking days” because I refuse to give in to this pressure. Being a mom of two, a full-time employee and, an aspiring entrepreneur, I have enough stresses already. Adding this would just be an additional burden I personally don’t have the bandwidth for.

So, on my hot mess days, I take the judgment with the reassurance that I know who I am and no one can ever change that. And those who are enlightened enough, who take the time to get to know me, who don’t judge everyone with a blanket prejudgment, are blessed when they get to truly know me (I am biased of course). Those who choose to stick to their preconceived notions and be blinded by their prejudices can frankly stay away.

Which is what we see in Brianna Brochu’s story. Now I believe Jazzy when she states that she was super nice to her roommate. Had Jazzy disrespected Brianna, there would be more evidence of that in her social media rants. I mean she was stupid enough to post the crap she was doing all over social media, why wouldn’t she have mentioned that it was in retaliation for being disrespected.

But in all of this what can we learn from the situation?

There is still a long way to go when it comes to race relations

I can’t say teach your kids not to be racist. That is really hard, especially your kids learned this prejudiced behavior or racism from you. People are always shocked when I say I prefer to know that someone is racist and be aware. Jazzy's circumstance is a perfect example.

Had she known that Brianna was racist or at the least prejudiced, she would have removed herself from the situation a long time ago. And two kids’ lives would not have forever been changed. Now I am not in any way saying that avoidance is the answer but sometimes, in situations like this when it comes to a health and safety issue and living in close quarters, it is best to remove yourself from the situation.

Most black people have had the experience of being ignored

Jazzy Rowe mentioned that her roommate froze her out. Acted like she did not exist. I have been there both personally and professionally. I have been to events and volunteered at functions where the majority of people will act like I do not exist. They speak to one another, interact with one another and act like I am simply not there.

It's fair to say that this may just be that I am new to the group and thus I have to make a greater effort to fit in, but after a year (or years in some cases) of being nice and making an effort, to be met with zero acknowledgement is disheartening to say the least. Now in this circumstance, I could leave my area but I simply refuse. Not because I feel entitled but because I hope that greater exposure will one day thaw the ice if not for my own benefit for the benefit of families and children to come.

There is still some way to go in humanizing African American/African Caribbean people

We are all human beings. We bleed the same way, we get sick the same way, we cry, we laugh, we are all HUMANS!. The things that Brianna did to Jazzy is just nasty. Beyond nasty. It could affect her health for life. Lord knows what bacteria, virus and organism that she has been exposed to simply because she shared a room with a person who did not want to be in a room with her.

It starts with dialogue

Now I will say because the world is growing in diversity, and while I have lived in the south, I have been blessed to have some wonderful conversations with my neighbors, churchgoers, friends, and so much more, of all different races and backgrounds, about race. I have been blessed to be surrounded by people who want to have an open dialogue who I listen to their view point and they enlighten me, and who listen to my view point and whom I enlighten. It all leads to the same thing, a better understanding. In some aspects, you may never agree, and have to agree to disagree, but at least having the dialogue is one step in the right direction.

Institutional response often adds insult to injury

The term institutional racism was lost on me until last year. My (at the time) 4-year-old daughter went through a very traumatic incident that was spurred by a racial incident. As time has gone on, the whole situations play in my mind from time to time, and I feel, for want of a better word, angry. The reason I most empathize with Jazzy is that in my situation everyone else knew what was happening and what was going on with my little girl and they left me in the blind.

Like Jazzy who doesn’t know “the so much more” part of her story, I do not know what happened over the course of almost 6 months, while I was left in the blind, only what they wanted me to know. And what’s worst, we are conditioned to push those feelings aside for the comfortability of the majority so that we the victim suffer in silence. This is what the University of Hartford requested of Jazzy. And had Brianna not been stupid enough to post her shenanigans all over social media, it would have been swept under the carpet to protect the school, to protect the perpetrator (as a natural by-product of protecting the institution) and to further alienate the victim. Which leads me to my final point

Teach our kids responsible social media practices

When will our kids learn, what goes out on the world wide web stays in that internet-verse. Two specific examples come to mind that hurt my heart. Both involving violence among other things live-streamed by kids. Now I am happy they did this in these situations because they needed to be caught and prosecuted without a doubt but there are a few examples where kids lives have been changed for stupid silly reasons and could easily have been avoided.

We need to use these situations to teach our kids, first, don’t do bad things or be caught up in the wrong crowd that is doing bad things and second, your social media posts are not yours alone. While you think no one is watching what you post, everyone is. Everyone is watching, reading, reposting, retweeting, regramming and so on.

You have to commend Jazzy for the way she handled this whole situation. She handled it with poise and grace. Honestly, if someone did all those things to me or worst yet my child, I am unsure I could keep it all together and be so civilized when someone has been so uncivilized towards me.

From all of this, I just hope that a dialogue will be started and that we can move race relations forward towards a place of sympathy, empathy, and understanding.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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