Discrimination of African Americans remains deep-rooted in U.S. Interview with social justice activist Maya Newlin


The time period during college is a student’s invaluable opportunity to dedicate to one’s interests. On the one hand, some students focus on studying. On the other hand, some who have intentions to contribute to the society sooner, volunteer and work at internships. Hakumon Herald interviewed Maya Newlin, a senior political science and sociology major at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. She has been Student Body President from the 2015 fall semester to the 2016 spring semester and is enthusiastic to abolish a discrimination of African Americans in the United States as a social justice activist.


Raising an awareness of the truth of injustice


    -What made you determined to be a social justice activist?



  Newlin: The fact that I learned the reality of racial inequality at classes from the field of political science and sociology. Furthermore, I have been feeling an involvement in the problem for long time, since I’m African American. Yet, some people living in the United States are treated unfairly due to their races and sexualities. I couldn’t tolerate the injustice. I believe that it’s vital to raise awareness of the problem among people and enhance its understanding in order to improve the present situation. Taking an initiative as a leader, like being the president of student government and a social justice activist, I would be able to endeavor effectively on solving the problem during four years, such a short period of time. Hence I chose these positions.

   ニューリン 専攻している政策科学と社会学の分野で差別の実態について学んだこと、なにより私自身がアフリカ系アメリカ人女性であるため、昔から当事者意識を持っていたことが理由です。いまだアメリカでは人種や性別を理由に理不尽な扱いを受けることがたくさんあります。それが許せませんでした。現状を改善するには、まず人々に問題を認知してもらい、理解を促すことが大切です。4年間の限られた時間の中で効果的に問題改善に努めるため社会運動家、そして学生会会長というリーダーの地位に立つことを決意しました。


-How are people subject to unjust treatment?



   Newlin: People of color feel aggrieved on a daily basis. The unjust takes root in the society. They are subject to disadvantaged circumstances in everyday lives in terms of labor, education, and health care. Gender is a cause to get rid of a chance for people too. Despite an appreciation of the freedom in the United States, people can hardly pursue their own lives because of their races and sexualities.

      ニューリン アメリカでは有色人種が不公平を経験するのは日常茶飯事です。差別は社会に根付いています。労働、教育、医療、日々の生活のあらゆる場面で不利な状況に立たされています。性差も同じく人々から機会を奪う原因となっています。アメリカは自由を尊ぶ国であるにもかかわらず、人種、性別によって「自分らしく生きること」が実はとても難しい国です。

Never overlook injustice                             不公平を見過ごさない

 -I took it for granted that racism was over after the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950’s to 60’s.




 Newlin: Explicit racism seems invisible right now. However, the culture of White-male supremacy has taken roots all over the society and continues to affect badly peoples’ lives till now. As I’ve researched, for instance, a study about the rate of higher education and received healthcare of African American females in North Carolina revealed the fact that they have been spending days being overlooked by the society.


   ニューリン あからさまな差別は減りました。しかし、社会のいたるところに根を張った白人男性至上主義の文化は、今でも人々の生活に悪影響を与え続けています。私が研究している分野では、例えばノースカロライナ州における黒人女性の高等教育就学率、ヘルスケアの機会の調査では、彼女たちが今も不遇な日々を過ごしている実態がうかがえます。 


  -What event do you remember in particular?



 Newlin: I took part in a Black Lives Matter event, protesting around the city of Asheville and on the campus last November. It aimed for raising the local public awareness about the discomfort and difficulty which students of color face in college life. Aside from it, our student government organization held a couple of events letting students grasp a better understanding about contemporary racism in February 2016, cooperating with the African American Student Association and Multicultural Student Programs.

     ニューリン 学生生活で有色人種の学生が直面している不快な状況や困難について、他の学生、地域の人々に知ってもらうために昨年11月にブラック・ライブズ・マター(別稿参照)と呼ばれる抗議活動を学内、アッシュビルの街で行いました。また、黒人歴史月間の今年2月にはアフリカ系アメリカ人会、多文化学生会を中心に学内の組織と連携して現代における差別についての理解を深めるイベントを複数回開催しました。


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