Stark against a black background, outlined in red stood the words “We Still Charge Genocide.” These words — never introduced or directly explained — provided the setting for Jalil Muntaqim’s two hour talk on the plight of the African-Americans, his fight for freedom as a Black Panther and what Cornell students can do to pursue systemic change in America.
Muntaqim was welcomed October 27 in Klarman Hall for a commemoration of the Black Panther Party— hosted and put together by Brice Roundtree ’24; Prof.Russell Rickford, history; the Pan-African Students Association; the International Students Union; and the Department of American Studies — which marked the 56th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California on October 15, 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. The audience of the talk was diverse, with Muntaqim speaking to students, professors and practicing law professionals. In Muntaqim’s talk, he described how he grew up in Oakland and San Francisco, California and his being exposed to an influx of racial tension in California as a teen. These national tensions prompted him to speak out against racism, joining the Black Panther Party in his teen years. When asked by Rickford how he was radicalized, Muntaqim said the aftermath of the assassination of Malcom X made him curious about the different parts of the 1960s struggle for civil rights.
Some forms of sexism are easier to detect than others. For instance, we automatically know that when a child is told that they “throw like a girl,” he or she is being insulted. Despite the fact that none of those words alone are negatively charged, we can draw from societal context that “throwing like a girl” is bad, and, at the very least, not as good as “throwing like a boy.” This kind of sexism is pretty black-and-white: it points to misogynistic residue that exists today, with entire campaigns dedicated to combatting it. However, when sexist language directed towards females comes from females, the issue becomes more nuanced; particularly when the sexism is largely implicit. The irony of insular misogyny is both sad and abundant: girls condemning girls for being girls.
According to the most recent employment data, estimates find that Caucasian women earn approximately 73% of what Caucasian men earn and the gap is even greater for African American women (link). Furthermore, educated women with upper level jobs have the most significant wage gap when compared to men. In analyzing data such as this, it becomes evident that no logical explanation exists for explaining the pay inequality of our country, other than the fact that discrimination lives on in America. However, President Obama took action in the Lilly Ledbetter pay discrimination case, which represents a step in the right direction for diminishing the tradition of pay inequity.