Essays and Reflections

The NFL’s Protest Ban is Status Quo Racism

The NFL’s protest ban is merely a status quo upholding of our implicit societal racism and the white supremacy we refuse to relinquish.  It is a quoting of the, “Shut up and get back to work,” legacy of slavery our country is founded upon.  Events like this just bring it to the surface with an even greater cadence.  It is a reminder that this historic repression is as much a part of whiteness as privilege is. 

Our racism shows itself in our refusal to truly ask ourselves and then find the readily available answers to “What are Black players protesting? What might motivate them to risk their careers to take this stand?”

What compounds the situation, is that even while deploying arguments and actions that uphold racism, we are convinced that we are in fact, not racist. Maybe we’re not the ones grabbing a tiki torch (though many do), or running protesters over with a car, rather our racism manifests itself in silence and business as usual. 

The NFL player’s protests feels upsetting to those of us who are white because it is deeply personal.  Our racial identity is so integrated with the maintaining of supremacy, that any challenge to it will always illicit a visceral reaction.  

Silencing Black voices from protesting police violence, racism, and white supremacy, is as sacred to our whiteness as football on Sunday.  White men in power, creating systems that penalize Black people for challenging their authority, is a revered ritual in America.  

But of course, what I’m saying is all just BS right? I’ve swallowed the PC culture Kool-Aid. None of this has anything to do with racism, you just want "those damn [Black] players to shut up, be grateful for what they have, and play.”

Sounds nothing like, “Shut up (racial slur), and entertain me.” 

Expression Session: Responses and Creative Action on Islamophobia

This is a replay of the Expression Session Writing Workshop that took place on February 22, 2017. The program was sponsored by the California State University, Dominguez Hills Multicultural Affairs.

It was co-facilitated by Ramy Eletreby who is a queer Muslim Arab-American writer, performer, educator-facilitator in Los Angeles, California. Ramy’s writings have appeared on The Huffington Post, Queerty, KCET, and the award-winning blog Love Inshallah. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @dramarams to stay in the loop!

This writing workshop focused on creating a safe space to process and express on islam, islamophobia, community, and what we are feeling

Tom Earl: Musician & Poet, CEO of Tom Earl Artist and Founder of T.H.E. Celebration Academy

Town Hall Dialogue on #MuslimBan, #TravelBan, #KnowYouRights

This is a replay of the Live and Online Town Hall Dialogue that took place on February 8th, 2017. The program was sponsored by the California State University, Dominguez Hills Multicultural Affairs. 

Hassan Shibly is a civil rights attorney, activist, and Executive Director of CAIR Florida. Contact: or

Aziza Hasan: Is the Executive Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. Contact:

Tom Earl: Musician & Poet, CEO of Tom Earl Artist and Founder of T.H.E. Celebration Academy. 

Adele, White Privilege and The Grammys

Adele gets to transcend genre because she is white. It is because of white privilege that white artists are able to be individuals, moving beyond categorization.  Our privilege allows us to be just us, rather than seen in comparison to the social groups we belong to.  It is no different than any other profession.  Often times, we are rewarded for work that is really mediocre - our privilege gives us that extra bump up.


I think Adele is a genius.  I love her music.  I have rolled up my windows and driven along passionately singing the chorus to hello many a-time.  So this isn’t a knock on Adele. It is an acknowledgement that Adele, and all white artists such as myself, benefit from white privilege in all aspects of our careers.

Our biases affect how we perceive an artist and their work.  As soon as we find out the gender, or race, or sexual orientation, or body type, and all the other aspects of their identity, our minds immediately place them into the boxes our collective and personal biases have created.  For most people, this process happens without our realization, or even permission, and is formed through our subconscious and implicit biases.

If Adele was a Black or Brown Women, perceptions of her, and her music, and the words used to describe her and her music, would be completely different.  Her entire experience of becoming a rising star would have been different.  And it is hard to imagine that she would have received the amount of awards she has this far.  Rather than being a star in her own category, she would constantly be compared to other Black or Brown Women who vaguely sound and/or look like her.

Let’s check the stats: only 10 black artists have won Album of the Year in Grammy history: Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Natalie Cole, Lionel Richie,  Outkast, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock  and Quincy Jones.

We all remember Macklemore’s Grammy night.  Macklemore has won more rap grammy awards than  “2Pac, Biggie, Nas, DMX, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Big Pun, Jeezy, Ja Rule and Kendrick Lamar, combined” (Complex, 2015).

I’m not saying Mack is terrible either, I’ve enjoyed his music often. But I know, you know, he knows, we all know, he is not better than all of those rappers combined.   That’s the bump white privilege gets you.

Of course, Adele’s wins were in stark contrast with Beyonce not winning.   Adele even gave a great speech acknowledging how messed up (racist) the Grammy process is. Lemonade was a cultural, musical, and cinematic work of genius.  You don’t need me to talk about how powerful, empowering, revolutionary and impactful Lemonade is.  That much is obvious.  Lemonade was also Black.  Beautifully Black.  Brilliantly Black. Boldly Black. Black Girl Magic Black.  

But white supremacy does not recognize Black.  White supremacy denies Black, while claiming all lives matter.

The Grammy’s won’t reward that.  The Grammy’s are just another night of white privilege at play.