E-Zine Issue #1 Reflections by Arielle C. Sanders

Stephanie Martinez’s presentation titled “Police Line Do Not Cross” discusses the persistent divide between police departments and urban communities. She notes that this topic is especially relevant to today’s climate in the wake of the George Floyd shooting and the national BLM movements that have erupted in response. Her research focuses on identifying potential solutions that will be effective at bridging the gap between the police and the communities that they serve. One of the main obstacles that she identifies as a hindrance to the development of improved relationships between police and urban communities is police culture. I think that is a good point and should be explored further. Culture consists of a group of people who share in similar practices and behavioral norms that are reinforced by a set of values and customs. I believe that this concept extends into the world of police as well which is why more research needs to be done into “police culture.” I believe that trends in police behavior can be attributed to a set of characteristics that have created a specific environment that is conducive to fulfilling the needs and desires of the police force. Accordingly, more research needs to be conducted to understand the intricacies of police culture so that sustainable and effective reforms can be created.

Sarah Rodia’s essay “Black Women are Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19” discusses the impact that systemic racism has had on the Black population in the United States. The inherent structural inequalities that are embedded in the very framework of the United States have had profound long lasting effects that have disproportionately impacted Black people. We have been able to see some of these effects come to pass during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Black people have been consistently experiencing worsened health outcomes when compared to their white counterparts. This is due to a variety of structural features such as pre-existing racial health disparities which affect diagnosis and treatment as well as wealth inequality which makes it more difficult to afford proper health care. Towards the end of her essay, Rodia brings up a good point about the importance of recognizing intersectionality. People belong to multiple communities with each one playing a role in shaping their experiences and forming their identities. For instance, the experiences of a Black woman may resemble the experience of a Black man in regards to their race serving as the commonality between them. However, the experience of a woman greatly differs from the experience of a man. Throughout her life, a Black woman will experience the impact of both her race and gender simultaneously. These points of intersection need to be taken into account when analyzing issues, so that they are being sufficiently examined in their complex multi-dimensional totality.

Ariana Junor’s essay for her Caribbean Cultures class offers a critical analysis of the Caribbean by discussing how colonialism and creolization have shaped Caribbean identity. These two processes have established a societal infrastructure with a set of specific features that continue to persist to this day. All aspects of Caribbean identity including race, gender roles, religion and socioeconomic classes have all emerged in response to the presence of colonialism. Throughout her essay, Junor constantly refers back to the concept of “identity.” Identity is so important because it allows people to form a community and feel a sense of belonging or camaraderie. The impact of Junor’s own identity as a Caribbean woman cannot be overlooked in this essay. Her own identity has formed her unique perspective and strong interest in studying the Caribbean. She is able to combine personal knowledge of the Caribbean that she has acquired through experience with the theoretical knowledge that she has learned in the classroom. In general, I think that we could all benefit from having both types of knowledge. Theoretical knowledge of the issue is valuable in that it helps us make connections and understand the underlying frameworks, however, it can only take a person but so far. Personal experience provides that in-depth firsthand experience that is not necessarily known to everyone, because it cannot be taught from a textbook.

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