“We must break down those barriers”

CNU’s Dr. Patricia Hopkins delivers speech on racism in America

One hundred chairs were organized into neat rows and stretched across the DSU Ballroom.

Almost every single one of them was filled.

Students, faculty and community members all gathered on Tuesday, Feb. 26 to hear Dr. Patricia Hopkins’ speech.

An associate professor of English and the Director of African-American studies at Christopher Newport, Dr. Hopkins specializes in African-American Literature.

Her research interests include African-American Literature and Gender Studies as well as violence inflicted upon the Black female body in cases of sexual exploitation and rape.

Her lecture was entitled “History, Politics & Life: Still Walking that Long Walk and Educating Along the Way.” 

Dr. Hopkins was the final speaker in a series of lectures the Dean for Arts & Humanities and the Provost sponsored in honor of Black History Month. 

Throughout her speech, Dr. Hopkins talked about the invisible tether of discrimination African-Americans continue to face in America.

She filled her speech with multiple personal anecdotes and narratives of instances when she experienced racism first hand.

For instance, Dr. Hopkins was the only black women in her class to graduate from her high school, and when she received her diploma during graduation it had an extremely offensive racial slur written across it.

She also discussed how her own son was beaten and bullied in school simply because of the color of his skin.

Dr. Hopkins also talked about the night her father was pulled over by a police officer. Even with the whole family was in the car, the officer made sexual advances on her mother and stole cash out of her father’s wallet.

The main point Dr. Hopkins asserted was there is still a gap between how whites and African-Americans are perceived and treated in society.

Dr. Hopkins mentioned how African-Americans are still mistreated in post-slavery America, even after there has been legislation and activists like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

According to Dr. Hopkins, African-Americans still face discrimination and racism in today’s society because of lack of education, inability to escape poverty and other racial barriers.

“We must break down those barriers. We must break down those walls,” Hopkins said.

By being prepared and willing to take “baby steps,” Dr. Hopkins believes racism can be fought. 

~Emma Dixon, News Editor~


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *