Blacks should affect change

Is this 2007 or 1957? With every news report, it seems like we are moving closer to a time when black peoples’ civil rights were blatantly disrespected.

Maybe the increase in minority populations has some people feeling threatened because I see signs of territorial behavior.

Black people, “Baldwin Hills” on BET is not our reality. Let me tell you what is:

Thursday in Alexandria, La. two white teens were arrested after nooses were spotted hanging out the back of their truck. Police also found brass knuckles and a rifle in the vehicle. The teens, ages 16 and 18, said their family is in the Ku Klux Klan.

Earlier this month 23-year-old Megan Williams in Charleston, W. Va. was allegedly kidnapped and tortured for more than a week. Six white people were arrested after Williams, who is black, said she was forced to eat animal feces, raped and beaten.

But black people, as political commentator and talk show host Tavis Smiley said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Our outrage and outcry over former CBS radio host Don Imus’ insulting remarks was effective enough to get him removed from the airwaves.

And black people descended upon Jena, La. by the thousands to support our brothers who were victims of a double standard in the legal system, charged with attempted murder after getting into a fight.

Those of us who could not make it to Louisiana caused a “blackout” on college campuses nationwide, letting our attire showcase our protest.

In addition, Smiley is hosting forums where the 2008 presidential candidates will field questions from a panel solely comprised of journalists of color.

These examples show that black people are making noise and affecting change. The revolution is indeed being televised. While we have the camera on us, let’s keep talking.

I fear, however, that protest is sexy right now. Martin Lee Anderson and Jena 6 are illustrations of strong college student activism, but we are carrying on the work of students like those who started the Tallahassee Bus Boycott in 1956 or the leaders who protested the One Florida Initiative in 2000. You didn’t know? Visit

You know it was not going down Thursday in Louisiana without the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, but they would not have made CNN protesting by themselves. There were thousands of students marching beside them.

Back in the day it was “Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud).” This summer I heard words so deep I’m sure the brilliance was unintentional.

“I’m a movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together.”

Driadonna Roland is a senior broadcast journalism student from Detroit. She can be reached at