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"The Proper Response to Racism ?" l OUR COMMON GROUND with POWER Blogger Yvette Carnell

Our Guest: Yvette Carnell 
Blogging politics, social, and cultural issues 

BreakingBrown.com Breakingbrown.me 
Managing Contributor, KultureKritic 
Editor, YourBlackWorld.

About Yvette Carnell

She writes mostly about politics, social, and cultural issues for my personal blog, BreakingBrown.com as well as BreakingBrown.tv and Breakingbrown.me. She is also an editor for YourBlackWorld and a managing contributor on KuluteKritic.


Before embarking on a career as a writer, she served as a Congressional aide, first to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and later to former Congressman Marion Berry (D-AR). In her role as a legislative staffer, she prepared briefings, staffed Congressional hearings, represented Members with their constituents, and performed other support duties .

In her time on the Hill, she also worked as Regional Field Director for America’s Families United (AFU), one of the largest non-profit Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaigns active during the 2004 election cycle. At AFU,she played an integral role in establishing the framework and assessment criteria for distributing over 20 million dollars to AFU’s grant recipient organizations.

In the broader Democratic Party, she served as assistant to the Director of the Women’s Vote Center at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Her articles have been featured in the Huffington Post and YourBlackWorld. I have been quoted by national news outlets including, but not limited to; The Nation, The Guardian, Politico and NPR.

Shereceived a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University.


BreakingBrown.com is a social media hub which aggregates the freshest and most insightful content from brown bloggers, podcasters and videocasters on the internet. We aggregate, distribute, critique and and explore black and brown people in the unending universe which is social media. Now there’s no longer a need for you to stalk cyberspace in search of an honest black or brown perspective. It’s all right here.

In addition to providing the content which black and brown readers sorely miss with the mainstream media stream, we also consider ourselves a meeting place for black and brown social media enthusiasts and thus provide a stream of useful social media information for our overworked and underpaid (thanks Arianna) social media provocateurs.

Discussing her essay which is a

Must Read t: "The Proper Response to Racism"


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Yvette Carnell: The Proper Reaction to Racism

“Once you get to be a man,” though, Ejiofor noted, “the small incidents of racism are unaffecting.”



When Oprah went to Switzerland and accused a shopkeeper of racism, the Black community quickly jumped on her bandwagon. To me, that was disheartening for a number of reasons, most of which I mentioned here. But even if we agree that Oprah did experience racism at the Swiss shop, what would’ve been the proper reaction? To that question, I find Chiwetel Ejiofor’s answer instructive.

In a Salon.com interview, he discusses how everyday racism impacts him:

“I don’t really give a shit if somebody says something about me,” he said. “I couldn’t care less. If they’re trying to harm me physically then well, we’ll all know about it but – the incidence of ‘this person looked at you funny’ or ‘this person followed you around the store’ I don’t care about it in the slightest. What I do care about is when societies affect the lives of some of the population and they affect them in different ways. And they affect them in negative ways. That where you start to feel, hang on, this is impacting people’s lives in the real world.”

“Once you get to be a man,” though, Ejiofor noted, “the small incidents of racism are unaffecting.”

He’s a grown man in charge of his emotions and reactions. He chooses not to allow random acts of racism to ruin his day or distract him from his goals. There is no one size fits all approach to racism, but if we’re making a choice to maintain healthy blood pressure and peace of mind, then I implore everyone to consider adopting Ejiofor’s reaction as opposed to Oprah’s. You do not and should not require anyone’s validation, especially not that of a racist.

If you’re discriminated against in a major way, such as employment, by all means seek legal counsel, but if a woman in a random Swiss shop behaves in a way that you perceive as racist, just take your money elsewhere. Either way, that woman’s opinion is certainly not reason enough for you to cry into your corn flakes or mention her during an interview. The opinion of a stranger should mean nothing to you. If it does mean something, then that tells me you still require validation from outside of yourself. You still have work to do.

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