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A Found Poem On Saturday Morning, South Bend, Indiana

By Luis Lopez-Maldonado

Inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Last Sunday

A satellite closed the miles between us

White America’s Progress

Was built on looting and violence

Stood in defiance of their own God

Life, Liberty, Labor and Land

A 12-year-old black boy tearfully hugging a white officer


Perfect houses with nice lawns


Tree houses

Sad for my country

Sad for you

The killers of Michael Brown would go free

I have never believed it would be okay

Eric Garner chocked to death for selling cigarettes

Renisha McBride shot for seeking help

John Crawford shot for browsing a department store

Men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child

It does not matter

It does not matter

It does not matter

Your body can be destroyed




Black History Month:

Intimate violence

The babies having babies


Michael Jackson

Ice Cube


Jim Crow

Chocolate City

Our history inferior

Black skin

Black kings

Black blood

White America

Here is what I would like for you to know:







You will misjudge

You will yell

You will drink too much

I am sorry that I cannot save you—

But not that sorry


Luis Lopez-Maldonado was born and raised in Orange County, CA. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California Riverside, majoring in Creative Writing and Dance. His work has been seen in the American Poetry Review, Cloudbank, The Packinghouse Review, Off Channel, and Spillway, among many others. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Florida State University.

He marries poetry and dance to create fresh and provocative art dealing with race, displacement, gender, sex, feminism, terrorism, externalism, and masculism, and everything in-between those themes. “Because I am art, my poems are art. Everything is art!”

Read more of Luis’s work!

I See You

Black women I see you and I love it when you not fly

Cause that mean you down to earth, and still beautiful when you don’t try

Without the make up on, never rocking heels

Natural hair natural beauty, yea when everything was real

I see you

With mother Africa’s beauty ingrained into your heart

Expressing your selves, I’m a lover of your art

With intelligence as your weapon, tearing down restrictive walls

Doing it to free yourselves, not caring what you are called

Never listen to critics, who exaggerate your flaws

Knowing your own beauty is all that matters at all

I see you, but not the way others do

See you close enough to see past what others view

I see the passion in your eyes despite media lies

And misrepresentations through which your beauty is disguised

I see how they try to call you angry and loud and bitter

But there’s so little value in those labels and you’re so much bigger

And I want to understand your struggles and feel all of your pain

And let you know that my love for you will never change

I never pursue other groups of women and I’m often asked why

Well because of how you’re made out to look and how you respond with pride

How they keep putting you down but you still know how to rise

And how much your natural and spiritual beauty is manifested even through time

That’s why I see you, I see you for what you’re worth

Black woman you are the most amazing creation on all of mother earth


ReChardReChard Peel is the Intern in the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services at Notre Dame. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a BA in African American American Studies. He is also a published  poet, and spoken word artist.



Defamation: A Critique on Race, Class, and Gender in the U.S.

Defamation captivated the audience at Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art through the cast’s powerful performance, and Todd Logan’s sharp critique of the United States justice system.

The play is a courtroom drama in which the plaintiff, Ms. Wade, is suing the defendant, Mr. Golden, for defamation.  In the courtroom, Ms. Wade is claiming that Mr. Golden told a common business associate that she stole his watch so that Ms. Wade would lose the business of that common associate.  In the play, the audience acts as the jury, and it is up to them to determine if (1) the claim was a false statement, and if (2) the claim led to the bankruptcy of Ms. Wade’s business.

As objective as this case may appear, the playwright, Todd Logan, challenges the audience by having the lawyers argue that class, race, and gender are legitimate factors in how the jury should decide the case.  Ms. Wade is a middle-class black woman that worked her way up from a working-class background.  Mr. Golden is an upper-class white businessman from the North Shore, an exclusive neighborhood in New York City.  The case degenerates from the “he said she said” narrative when the audience is forced to ask questions such as “Did Mr. Goldman make the accusation of thievery because of Ms. Wade’s race?” or “Did Ms. Wade take the watch to alleviate the economic hardships she was facing during the recession?”  The playwright reaches an even more profound level when audience members are forced to ask the introspective question, “Do I believe Ms. Wade stole the watch, and would I think the same thing if she were white?”

This play is a powerful critique of the justice system, and of U.S. society as a whole, because it takes the covert, tacit assumptions about race, class, and gender, and makes them overt points of debate during the course of the trial.  The courtroom is supposed to be a place in which these distinctions make no difference in determining a defendant’s guilt or innocence, yet ironically they were the main points of contention throughout the mock trial.  In the end, the jury voted to compensate Ms. Wade for the loss of her business.  The underdog triumphed in what could be considered a happy ending.

The course of events in Defamation forces the audience to ponder the times in which the inclusion of race, class, and gender has led to the infringement of rights.  The law can only be as effective as the society in which it operates, and as long as the factors of race, class, and gender create unequal power dynamics in daily life, they will also adversely affect the impartiality of the justice system.  However, the fact that Ms. Wade was triumphant in her defamation case at Notre Dame offers hope that change is possible, and that society has the capability of growing beyond the inequalities that currently limit it.

Staff Writer, Christopher Quiroz

christopher_quirozChristopher Quiroz is a graduate student pursuing his PhD at the University of Notre Dame.  He is a first generation American that was raised in a predominately Latino neighborhood in San Diego.  He is interested in racial inequality and the form that it takes in contemporary society.

Race and Recruiting

A few weeks ago, I experienced a series of racial incidents that I think collectively were the worst I have ever faced during my time at Notre Dame.

The first occurred two days before the full-time career fair at an event that showcased several firms of a particular industry.  I went up to a representative of the company and introduced myself.  It turns out he was a director of the company.  He said a phrase in Chinese that translates to, “you are from Shanghai?” As he was a middle-aged white male, I found it interesting that he spoke Chinese, so I asked him how he knew Chinese.  After he explained that he had worked in China before, I proceeded to explain to him that my parents were from Shanghai but I was born in America.  At first he seemed caught off guard by this, but quickly understood.  Then he told me, “but that’s probably for the better”. Confused, I asked what he meant by this, and he told me about how he thought America’s education system was better, in part because China’s system created “robots.”

The second incident happened two days later at the full-time career fair, and with the same company.  I walked up to recruiters’ table and said that I had a question about the position that they were offering.  The position had to do with the federal government. (I am trying not give too much away, but it was a position where I would need security clearance).  I do not remember the exact wording of what the lady said, but in essence she told me, “Oh! I’m sorry, even if we provide support for your work visa, you won’t be able to work in that position.” Her comment showed that she also thought that I was an international student. Shocked by what I heard, I clarified to her that I was born in America, and then promptly left the fair.

Being a minority student in the business world has always presented its challenges. Recruiting is a game of first impressions—those who give great ones can be really successful.  A week before an interview or a career fair, I always question whether I should cut my hair or not.  Longer hair looks less professional, while shorter hair means I look more stereotypically “Asian”.  Then after I put on my suit and tie, I wonder if I should wear my glasses.  Wearing glasses reinforces the “Asian” stereotype again, while not wearing glasses means having shady vision.  These seemingly simple issues are not unique to Asians; the issue of black hairstyles and the corporate world is decades old. In addition to that, a friend of mine who is black told me that she sometimes wears glasses instead of contacts to give a “smarter look” to combat black stereotypes.

I don’t ask myself these questions out of made up delusions. It is truly a wonder how often people confuse minorities with one another.  I’ve seen it in all forms. Peers and colleagues say things like “you Asians look the same,” and professors are unable to distinguish me from other Asian students.  In addition, the students who have made these mistakes are sometimes the same people who get hired by these top companies, so I have no choice but to be cautious of my every move. I don’t have room to fail.

When I experienced the incidents I described, I was surprised and hurt, but not shocked.  It not only reaffirmed how I felt about recruiting events, but also took it a step further.  The director who said that it was better that I was American only told me that after he realized I wasn’t an immigrant.  If I hadn’t told him that I was American, would he have continued to perceive me as a robot?—thus interpreting my actions as either supporting or contradicting that stereotype? How does he treat Chinese students who are immigrants? This experience showed me how possible it was that I could receive differential treatment from recruiters. With this coming from a director at a company and their head recruiter—two people who could easily determine my future career opportunities—this experience hurt and disappointed me deeply.

I continue to wonder what these firms mean when they say they emphasize diversity and inclusion.  I can’t help but cringe when I look at company websites, and I see that nearly all the managing partners and directors are white males.  When I go to the career fair, I see tokened diversity at these companies, surrounded by white male managers and mostly female HR recruiters. I have yet to be interviewed by a person of color, despite going through already two years of business interviews.

If diversity was truly an emphasis, then how could something like this happen:

Furthermore, regarding firms that do appear sincere about their commitment to diversity and inclusion, I wonder if in some instances they might be intimidated by too much diversity.  When I interview with firms, there are times when I can’t help but feel that being an Africana Studies major and being in mostly cultural clubs and organizations is too much diversity for employers.  In a recent discussion with a friend who is Asian, he talked about how he puts less emphasis on his activity in Asian American Association on campus when meeting perspective employers, because he fears that companies will either be unimpressed or consider him a separatist for being an officer of only Asian clubs.  This is despite the fact that his experience likely matches or exceeds those who choose to become leaders of predominately white clubs.  How do they expect to attract minority students if they cannot accept the minority experience at predominately white institutions?

At networking events, you are supposed to show employers that you would be great to work with by letting them get to know you personally, and vice versa.  How will company representatives react when they ask me if I have football tickets, and I say I didn’t buy them this year?  Will they understand that I didn’t buy tickets because I’ve felt so marginalized by the mainstream Notre Dame culture that I’ve tried to remove myself from it? Or will my perceived lack of interest in school sports reinforce their idea of me as a stereotypical glasses-wearing Asian nerd—and thus not what they are looking for?

Maybe I was the one who made the mistakes at the career fair.  Maybe I shouldn’t have worn my glasses, that way I would’ve looked that much more American, or maybe I should have carried my passport around with me.  These experiences make me feel so hopeless, because I’ve realized that I will be going from Notre Dame to a workplace that is not much better in diversity and race relations.  Except in the workplace there will be no time for me to write blog pieces when there are business transactions to deal with.

By Anonymous

What Racism Looks Like

Before I start work each day in the Sociology Department at Notre Dame, I have certain rituals that I do in order to make the rest of the day go by better. I make myself lunch, I review my schedule, I go to the gym, I change into my work clothes, and then I head off. One of the last things I do before diving into my day is look at the bulletin board posted in the hallway between the elevator and my office. There are often interesting seminars, meetings and other events posted that I may not have otherwise known about. Generally, I will look them over and make a mental note to myself as to what I might enjoy. On this particular day, I had the troubling experience of running into the poster pictured here.

Poster rev 2

On the surface the poster seems benign, and even has a pleasant feel to it. I mean who wouldn’t want to go to a lecture about hope and joy presented by just about the happiest looking reverend on the planet? Even if that hope and joy is happening in “the hood”. This poster had caught my attention, yet it had done more than that. It bothered me, and I couldn’t quite figure out why. So on my lunch break I returned to the poster and analyzed it more thoroughly, and what I found turned my stomach.

The Reverend was part of an organization called “Homeboy Industries”, and if that wasn’t problematic enough, the organization doubled down on its racially charged insignia with the slogan: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” I know that the reverend is trying to help, and I think he should continue on his mission to help low-income, under-represented neighborhoods, (which is what I can only assume was meant by “the hood.”) But the simple fact remains that this is what racism looks like today. Among other things, racism is the idea that if only “homeboys” would choose to work, then their neighborhoods would be safer. It’s the ideology that there is something culturally different about “the hood” that makes it unsafe.

I’m sorry, but jobs do not stop bullets, and marginalizing a portion of the population to “homeboys” in “the hood” does not stop bullets either. Universal background checks for gun owners stops bullets. An active community police presence rather than a militarized police force stops bullets. Internal community activism stops bullets. Equal education opportunity stops bullets. Geographic and economic racial desegregation stops bullets.

I am bi-racial, and I am a first generation American. My father is from Mexico and my mother is from England. It often surprises people to learn that I am indeed a Mexican-American, that I come from a low-income neighborhood, and that I speak Spanish. After getting over the initial shock of the matter, the question always arises, why do I not tell people sooner? The answer lies in this poster, and in the fact that racism still exists today. The poster may look clean and polished, but the underlying message reveals the pervasive misbelief that the culture and values of low-income minorities are to be blamed for the poverty and injustices that they experience on a regular basis.

Homeboy Industries means well, but the first step in helping low-income individuals is to realize that they are not a problem that needs to be fixed. I do not need to be fixed, and I am by no means an exception to the Latino community in which I was raised.

christopher_quirozChristopher Quiroz is a graduate student pursuing his PhD at the University of Notre Dame.  He is a first generation American that was raised in a predominately Latino neighborhood in San Diego.  He is interested in racial inequality and the form that it takes in contemporary society.


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