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freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 246

Reading:

From Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi, Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, and Identity (2019).


Winona Guo + Priya Vulchi state that “race and racism inescapably impact everything around us. Even the very existence of the United States demanded their presence.” (12) They go on to say “race is a cancer that impacts every part of our lives.” (13) Their inquiry + book starts from the notion that this is true and proceeds from that assumption.


  1. Do you agree with Winona + Priya’s assumptions or do you want to challenge some part of what they believe about the role of race? Why or why not?
  1. Identify 3 first-person accounts from this first chapter in the book (number them!) that says something that, in your view, is important about race and identity. Name each person you select and share with us

(a) a brief summary of what each person said and

(b) why you think it’s important/significant/noteworthy (your choice).


  1. IMO, among the cool things about this book are the eye-opening factoids/information details that appear in the margins, as if they are footnotes OR side-references, OR commentary. Select at least 2 of those and lift them up in the post by

(a) briefly summarizing the factoid/information and

(b) why you think more people should know about this.


  1. If you like or dislike this book ….so far….say so! Tell us why you feel the way you do about it.
  1. And...respond to at least one person whose post preceded yours. (If you are first to post, you can revisit this part later….and do a second post with your response to that other person!)

Be sure to divide your post into paragraphs (and you can incorporate any numbering (see #2 above). Paragraphs are your friend and they make your post much more readable. Thank you in advance for making this reader-friendly.


OverthinkingEnigma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

To start off, I agree with Winona and Priya’s statement which claims that race and racism impact everything around us. It may appear as a bold statement at first, but it’s important to take into consideration that racism appears in more ways than one as well as in disguise. One’s race can determine how they’re treated in multiple settings such as work environment, restaurants, school, hospitals, and so on. The spread of harmful stereotypes via the media and shows/movies and lack of representation also play a huge role in the normalization of racism. Moreover, systematic racism has been here since America’s upbringing and over the course of thousands of years, the importance of race still ferments in society however hidden from the public eye or simply ignored. One prime example that can be found in the city of Boston is environmental racism, there’s a great contrast between the conditions of neighborhoods populated by a POC majority and those with a white majority. Neighborhoods with a higher POC population have less access to good schooling opportunities which has a big impact on future careers and financial standing. Furthermore, one's race and identity determines whether you’ll make it in this world or simply survive another day.

Moreover, I strongly believe Parker, Marley, and Rylee’s first person’s account (40) conveyed the importance of reclaiming one’s race/identity and severing its connection to the white race and whitewashed history. These three had recounted their experiences of being Hawaiian and the stereotypes that followed such as students asking if they use dolphins as transportation, wear coconut bras , or live in huts. These three recurring stereotypes derive from America’s exploitation of Hawaiian culture after Hawaiians were denied the use of their language or cultural practices. However, Parker, Marley and Rylee reclaimed their Hawaiian identity and severed its ties with America’s racism and cultural appropriation of these peoples which shows the importance of claiming one’s race/identity despite its “ties” to the white race. Moreover, Liz’s experience (43) of having tourists take photos of her for racial reasons and feeling unsafe in other parts of the world shows how race and identity can isolate a POC. It’s common for a person of color to feel misplaced when almost every setting threatens their safety and comfort due to their race or identity. The only way to feel as if you belong is to be surrounded by those who share the same background since there would be common ground and no reason to tread lightly. Lastly, Chef Tu’s battle with understanding his true identity and fighting Vietnamese stereotypes through his food, perfectly displayed the pride that lies in one’s race and identity. Some may choose to give into the oppressor and believe that their race is something to be ashamed of, however, Chef Tu proved through his cooking that a POC can choose to take pride in their culture, race, and identity.

One factoid I found interesting explained that, following the emancipation, 1 to 4 million former slaves had died or suffered from illness. This is simply something that can’t be ignored, such information proves how much of America’s history is whitewashed when it came to the emancipation of slaves. One prime reason as to why such devastating news was glossed over is that the U.S had to establish a reputation as a country of improvement and morals. Moreover, a factoid in Liz’s story pointed out that hotels don’t offer shampoos for Black hair and their main highlight is residents tanning by the poolside. This fact is most likely new to those who aren’t personally affected by this feature, which is more of a reason to inform the public about these little details in everyday life that are marketed and built for a white audience. Nonetheless, I can now say that this book is surely not what I expected. I have always known the unfair circumstances POC are forced into, but the experiences of various minorities and the struggles that came with their race and identity drew me in. I’m now aware of the privilege that comes with having light skin despite being a minority myself, and I’ve fully acknowledged the necessity of educating myself and those around me about the ball and chain that comes with race and identity.

pink12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions that race and racism surround us and effect our everyday lives. Although some may not be as affected, we all witness instances and they may have more effect on one person than another. Weather it's on social media, school, work, stores, television, almost anywhere, it plays a big role in our society today. Someone's race determines how they are treated in public settings. Some communities may be more diverse then others, making it hard to settle in and some may stand out. People still to this day can be treated differently by their race, and this needs to change.

1)Jennifer: Jennifer grew up surrounded by her own Vietnamese community, she was taught that any person of color was gross and less than her. She didn't know any better, since she just listened to what her dad would say. She grew up always having something against POC and it would get to the point where she would ask her teacher to move away from them or even split up the classroom. Then she realized when her mom was dating a white guy, the ways that he would treat them. Then going to an American school opened up her eyes, and she started to experience racism herself. Now looking back on how she treated others, she doesn't understand how she could ever have been like that. Jennifer realized that you should treat other how you would like to be treated, and everyone is human.

2)Justin: Justin grew up knowing that no matter what he did people would see him as having a history of being a slave. He describes how when he actually is able to interact with white people he crushes all stereotypes that they may have. He struggled talking to other because he white friends would say that they understood but there was no real way for them to actually understand. The only way for him to actually express his feelings was through other people of color. Justin explains how people need to start understanding and treating each other equally.

3) Vic: Vic describes how she as an Asian American had more privilege then black people. She says how white people see asians as their sidekicks and are more comfortable around them, then black people. Vic doesn't want to be seen as anyones side kick, but even when she stands up for herself she has been shot down, predominantly by white people. She wants others to start getting involved and people need to start sticking up for others.

This book completely changed my perspective on things. As being a privileged white American, I haven't experienced anything close to what some of these people that shared their stories have endured. This book really opened up my mind and helped me realize what people go through on a day to day basis. Not only that, but I have acknowledged the importance on educating myself more and using my privilege to help others.

pink12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

I agree with your statement on how racism is surrounding us everywhere and plays a big role in our society. I also like how you stated that everyone deals with it in different ways and some are more directly affected than others. I also think you had a good choice in people you choose, and explaining how they dealt with racism in different ways.

Originally posted by OverthinkingEnigma on October 01, 2021 22:21

To start off, I agree with Winona and Priya’s statement which claims that race and racism impact everything around us. It may appear as a bold statement at first, but it’s important to take into consideration that racism appears in more ways than one as well as in disguise. One’s race can determine how they’re treated in multiple settings such as work environment, restaurants, school, hospitals, and so on. The spread of harmful stereotypes via the media and shows/movies and lack of representation also play a huge role in the normalization of racism. Moreover, systematic racism has been here since America’s upbringing and over the course of thousands of years, the importance of race still ferments in society however hidden from the public eye or simply ignored. One prime example that can be found in the city of Boston is environmental racism, there’s a great contrast between the conditions of neighborhoods populated by a POC majority and those with a white majority. Neighborhoods with a higher POC population have less access to good schooling opportunities which has a big impact on future careers and financial standing. Furthermore, one's race and identity determines whether you’ll make it in this world or simply survive another day.

Moreover, I strongly believe Parker, Marley, and Rylee’s first person’s account (40) conveyed the importance of reclaiming one’s race/identity and severing its connection to the white race and whitewashed history. These three had recounted their experiences of being Hawaiian and the stereotypes that followed such as students asking if they use dolphins as transportation, wear coconut bras , or live in huts. These three recurring stereotypes derive from America’s exploitation of Hawaiian culture after Hawaiians were denied the use of their language or cultural practices. However, Parker, Marley and Rylee reclaimed their Hawaiian identity and severed its ties with America’s racism and cultural appropriation of these peoples which shows the importance of claiming one’s race/identity despite its “ties” to the white race. Moreover, Liz’s experience (43) of having tourists take photos of her for racial reasons and feeling unsafe in other parts of the world shows how race and identity can isolate a POC. It’s common for a person of color to feel misplaced when almost every setting threatens their safety and comfort due to their race or identity. The only way to feel as if you belong is to be surrounded by those who share the same background since there would be common ground and no reason to tread lightly. Lastly, Chef Tu’s battle with understanding his true identity and fighting Vietnamese stereotypes through his food, perfectly displayed the pride that lies in one’s race and identity. Some may choose to give into the oppressor and believe that their race is something to be ashamed of, however, Chef Tu proved through his cooking that a POC can choose to take pride in their culture, race, and identity.

One factoid I found interesting explained that, following the emancipation, 1 to 4 million former slaves had died or suffered from illness. This is simply something that can’t be ignored, such information proves how much of America’s history is whitewashed when it came to the emancipation of slaves. One prime reason as to why such devastating news was glossed over is that the U.S had to establish a reputation as a country of improvement and morals. Moreover, a factoid in Liz’s story pointed out that hotels don’t offer shampoos for Black hair and their main highlight is residents tanning by the poolside. This fact is most likely new to those who aren’t personally affected by this feature, which is more of a reason to inform the public about these little details in everyday life that are marketed and built for a white audience. Nonetheless, I can now say that this book is surely not what I expected. I have always known the unfair circumstances POC are forced into, but the experiences of various minorities and the struggles that came with their race and identity drew me in. I’m now aware of the privilege that comes with having light skin despite being a minority myself, and I’ve fully acknowledged the necessity of educating myself and those around me about the ball and chain that comes with race and identity.

Post your response here.

OverthinkingEnigma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by pink12 on October 02, 2021 13:18

I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions that race and racism surround us and effect our everyday lives. Although some may not be as affected, we all witness instances and they may have more effect on one person than another. Weather it's on social media, school, work, stores, television, almost anywhere, it plays a big role in our society today. Someone's race determines how they are treated in public settings. Some communities may be more diverse then others, making it hard to settle in and some may stand out. People still to this day can be treated differently by their race, and this needs to change.

1)Jennifer: Jennifer grew up surrounded by her own Vietnamese community, she was taught that any person of color was gross and less than her. She didn't know any better, since she just listened to what her dad would say. She grew up always having something against POC and it would get to the point where she would ask her teacher to move away from them or even split up the classroom. Then she realized when her mom was dating a white guy, the ways that he would treat them. Then going to an American school opened up her eyes, and she started to experience racism herself. Now looking back on how she treated others, she doesn't understand how she could ever have been like that. Jennifer realized that you should treat other how you would like to be treated, and everyone is human.

2)Justin: Justin grew up knowing that no matter what he did people would see him as having a history of being a slave. He describes how when he actually is able to interact with white people he crushes all stereotypes that they may have. He struggled talking to other because he white friends would say that they understood but there was no real way for them to actually understand. The only way for him to actually express his feelings was through other people of color. Justin explains how people need to start understanding and treating each other equally.

3) Vic: Vic describes how she as an Asian American had more privilege then black people. She says how white people see asians as their sidekicks and are more comfortable around them, then black people. Vic doesn't want to be seen as anyones side kick, but even when she stands up for herself she has been shot down, predominantly by white people. She wants others to start getting involved and people need to start sticking up for others.

This book completely changed my perspective on things. As being a privileged white American, I haven't experienced anything close to what some of these people that shared their stories have endured. This book really opened up my mind and helped me realize what people go through on a day to day basis. Not only that, but I have acknowledged the importance on educating myself more and using my privilege to help others.

I agree with the fact that race and identity can determine our disadvantages or advantages in modern-day society. I also enjoyed the lessons you took from each person and their experiences with race. It's important for everybody regardless of background to educate themselves on the topic of race no matter how difficult it may seem at first.

watermelon2
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about “race and racism inescapably impacting everything around us.” I firmly believe that race has an impact on just about every aspect of our lives. We live in a world where someone’s race determines both their identity and the way they are perceived by the rest of the world. This affects all aspects of one’s social, personal, and mental life. To add on to Winona and Priya’s statements, I would also say that race is one of many things that are hugely relevant in one’s life. Other aspects of a person’s identity such as their gender, age, and wealth are incorporated throughout their lives. Nevertheless, race is arguable the largest, as it even affects these other parts of one’s identity. If anything, I don’t think that Winona and Priya’s ideas are assumptions, but rather just the truth. An assumption means that you are stating something without much proof, but there is a surplus amount of proof seen every day throughout the entire world.

Aleca’s account really resonated with me. She talks about the struggle of fitting in no matter where you are. Aleca talks about the struggle of being “too colored for the kids in our school, and then we go back to our families and we’re too white for them.” She made an important point about race, which was the struggle of being too American or too non-American. Race separates people into defined groups that make it hard for people part of multiple groups to feel like they belong anywhere. Some people expect you to be one version of yourself, whereas others expect you to be someone else.

Out of all the first-person accounts from this chapter, I thought that the stories of Aleca, Vic, Melina were the most compelling. Vic talks about her identity as an Asian-American and always being seen as a “safe option” and a sidekick. Vic’s story was especially notable because I felt like I could relate to what she was saying. As an Asian-American girl myself, I often feel like people see that just because I’m smart, respectable, and kind, I can be their friend that is a person of color. Being seen this way, it’s never about people liking me for who I am, but instead, simply liking me for what I stand for. People often see Asian Americans as weaker and submissive. White people often want to be friends with Asian Americans, but only to use them as their sidekick or when it is convenient.

I thought that Liz’s story was also important because she showed just how it felt to stand out and feel isolated. She talks about her experiences on vacation where tourists want to take pictures of her, assuming she’s from that area. But what was especially significant about her account was that she showed how her interactions like these were also representative of how she felt in America. She explains that even though people don’t take pictures of her in America, she still feels like she stands out. Liz addresses an important point, which is that practically anywhere you go, as a person of color you feel out of place and isolated from everyone else. This is the rough reality that people throughout America and the world have to face every single day.

The factoid mentioned in Nick’s story explains that nearly 500 treaties were made with Native Americans, and practically all of them were broken. It’s important that people understand facts such as these because it emphasizes just how terrible Native Americans were treated. It also helps you understand that the original building of our nation was corrupt. Ed’s story includes another important factoid, which talks about the little representation of African Americans in meteorological and weather jobs (2 percent in the African Meteorological Society and less than 5 percent in the national weather service). This is representative of one of many examples of extreme underrepresentation when it comes to people of color and certain jobs. It also shows how important it is that people of color become interested in these jobs like Nick.

So far, I love this book because it has touched on so many important points relating to racism and individual identities. I love hearing the first person accounts and opinions from different people, and I can’t wait to read more of this book!

watermelon2
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by OverthinkingEnigma on October 02, 2021 19:27

To start off, I agree with Winona and Priya’s statement which claims that race and racism impact everything around us. It may appear as a bold statement at first, but it’s important to take into consideration that racism appears in more ways than one as well as in disguise. One’s race can determine how they’re treated in multiple settings such as work environment, restaurants, school, hospitals, and so on. The spread of harmful stereotypes via the media and shows/movies and lack of representation also play a huge role in the normalization of racism. Moreover, systematic racism has been here since America’s upbringing and over the course of thousands of years, the importance of race still ferments in society however hidden from the public eye or simply ignored. One prime example that can be found in the city of Boston is environmental racism, there’s a great contrast between the conditions of neighborhoods populated by a POC majority and those with a white majority. Neighborhoods with a higher POC population have less access to good schooling opportunities which has a big impact on future careers and financial standing. Furthermore, one's race and identity determines whether you’ll make it in this world or simply survive another day.

Moreover, I strongly believe Parker, Marley, and Rylee’s first person’s account (40) conveyed the importance of reclaiming one’s race/identity and severing its connection to the white race and whitewashed history. These three had recounted their experiences of being Hawaiian and the stereotypes that followed such as students asking if they use dolphins as transportation, wear coconut bras , or live in huts. These three recurring stereotypes derive from America’s exploitation of Hawaiian culture after Hawaiians were denied the use of their language or cultural practices. However, Parker, Marley and Rylee reclaimed their Hawaiian identity and severed its ties with America’s racism and cultural appropriation of these peoples which shows the importance of claiming one’s race/identity despite its “ties” to the white race. Moreover, Liz’s experience (43) of having tourists take photos of her for racial reasons and feeling unsafe in other parts of the world shows how race and identity can isolate a POC. It’s common for a person of color to feel misplaced when almost every setting threatens their safety and comfort due to their race or identity. The only way to feel as if you belong is to be surrounded by those who share the same background since there would be common ground and no reason to tread lightly. Lastly, Chef Tu’s battle with understanding his true identity and fighting Vietnamese stereotypes through his food, perfectly displayed the pride that lies in one’s race and identity. Some may choose to give into the oppressor and believe that their race is something to be ashamed of, however, Chef Tu proved through his cooking that a POC can choose to take pride in their culture, race, and identity.

One factoid I found interesting explained that, following the emancipation, 1 to 4 million former slaves had died or suffered from illness. This is simply something that can’t be ignored, such information proves how much of America’s history is whitewashed when it came to the emancipation of slaves. One prime reason as to why such devastating news was glossed over is that the U.S had to establish a reputation as a country of improvement and morals. Moreover, a factoid in Liz’s story pointed out that hotels don’t offer shampoos for Black hair and their main highlight is residents tanning by the poolside. This fact is most likely new to those who aren’t personally affected by this feature, which is more of a reason to inform the public about these little details in everyday life that are marketed and built for a white audience. Nonetheless, I can now say that this book is surely not what I expected. I have always known the unfair circumstances POC are forced into, but the experiences of various minorities and the struggles that came with their race and identity drew me in. I’m now aware of the privilege that comes with having light skin despite being a minority myself, and I’ve fully acknowledged the necessity of educating myself and those around me about the ball and chain that comes with race and identity.

I think you touched on an important point, which was that hearing the experiences of the people in this book was especially moving. Hearing first-hand accounts of what happened can teach you many important lessons and ideas that simply reading facts can't do.

cnovav
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions that race and racism affects every aspect of our life. This is because, although one may not directly experience racism or see someone else experience racism everyday, it does not mean that it doesn't happen. I think that many might interpret their statement as everyone experiences racism or that everywhere you go there's going to be a racist, and although this interpretation may be false, every problem this country faces can traced back to the concept of race and racism. Even the simplest things like going shopping can turn into a situation where one's race will affect how they are treated or what they experience. That's the sad reality of the world we live in.

2.

  • Person #1, Justin E: Justin’s account summarizes the differences between how Black people are seen in the USA vs how they are seen in West Africa, more specifically, Senegal. He believes that in the US, black people are always defined by their ancestors being slaves while in Senegal, the Atlantic slave trade is not something that defines them at all. He goes on to speak about how the only way to get white people to understand the struggle of black people, is for white people to talk to white people. The only way to get somewhere, is for the oppressors to help, not just the ones being oppressed. I think Justin’s account is significant to race and identity because in such a short account, he is able to summarize what so many black people in the United States experience every single day, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which I don’t believe many people even know exist.
  • Person #2, Liz: Liz’a account is similar to Justin’s account in a way that they both compare the treatment of black people in different geographical locations. Liz’s account compares how black people are viewed in Europe and the United States vs how they’re viewed in South Africa. When visiting Europe, people would ask to take pictures of her because they had never seen someone who looked like her and in the US she always felt eyes on her because she was outnumbered by white people. But in South Africa, she was treated just like everyone else, even though she was Nigerian, not South African. I believe that her account is significant to race and identity because it’s important that we address how so many places in the world, not just the US, are still treating black people as though they are objects. Like we’re still living in the Jim Crow era, like Liz mentioned in her account.
  • Person #3, Chef Tu: Simply put, Chef Tu’s account summarizes why he enjoys cooking and being a chef. In more detail he explains that food is a combination of so many different cultures and forms cultural bridges that are not usually questioned. Which he compares to how he is constantly referred to as “not Vietnamese enough” which leads him to struggling with how he should identify and if he should actually call himself Vietnamese. I think that Chef Tu’s account is extremely important and noteworthy because many people can benefit from knowing that their struggle with their identity is valid and that it is very much possible to find a passion that helps you connect to your identity and so many other people’s identities. Chef Tu concludes with the fact that the ability to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes and make them his own, is extremely humbling and that’s where his love of cooking began

3.

  • Factoid #1: Page 40 beginning with “Vernon Francois” and ending with “Its originator”. The factoid summarizes how a celebrity hairstylist defines cultural appropriation. He essentially defines it as when one culture borrows something from another culture and gets credited for it, in a way the original creator never was. I think more people should know about this because it happens every single day in the media without people even knowing it’s happening. Something so disrespectful should not become a common thing and it needs to be stopped.
  • Factoid #2: Page 16 beginning with “Overall, Asian Americans” and ending with “generation of immigration”. This factoid summarizes a statistic; Asian Americans have a higher median household income than Whites but 12% of Asian Americans live at the poverty level compared to 10.4% of Whites. I wanted to include this factoid because this statistic was extremely shocking to me and I never knew this was a growing problem in the United States. I think that more people should pay attention to this as well.

4. Thus far, I absolutely love this book. I have not read a book that includes various accounts of so many different people of color, while single handedly intertwining them back to a single topic of race and identity. I think chapter 1 was beautifully and thoughtfully written and I’m excited to read the rest.

cnovav
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by pink12 on October 02, 2021 13:18

I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions that race and racism surround us and effect our everyday lives. Although some may not be as affected, we all witness instances and they may have more effect on one person than another. Weather it's on social media, school, work, stores, television, almost anywhere, it plays a big role in our society today. Someone's race determines how they are treated in public settings. Some communities may be more diverse then others, making it hard to settle in and some may stand out. People still to this day can be treated differently by their race, and this needs to change.

We both chose to include the fact that even though not everyone is directly affected by racism, we are all affected by it some way or another. I think this is particularly true right now where it seems like almost everyday we hear about a racially motivated incident on the media, to the point where it's impossible to even say you've never witnessed someone being affected by race or racism.

jellybeans101
Boston, MA
Posts: 9

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, and Identity

  • Do you agree with Winona + Priya’s assumptions or do you want to challenge some part of what they believe about the role of race? Why or why not?
It was really interesting to see how Priya thought of her trip to Alaska surprising as it was worldly non American and surprised it was American at all. When in reality it was the most American thing. We even see this in the preface of A brief history of whiteness indegionius people were always here. Colonizatin diminished their culture but in reality this land is deeply rooted with Indian American culture.
  • Identify 3 first-person accounts from this first chapter in the book (number them!) that says something that, in your view, is important about race and identity. Name each person you select and share with us

    1.The first person in chapter 1 is Jennifer, a great take away from her story is that a lot of our assumptions of people come from our parents. Living her isolated Vietnamese community and going to a school where she wasn't able to learn about the reality of race and not having the exposure to a class like Facing at BLS she was completely blindsided to learning the true identity of people without the ideals of her father. I like how she brought up the idea of model minority and how no one ever questioned if she was smart because of the Asian stereotype. This goes to show that it was not only her but the people in her school who also needed exposure to identity and not skin color.
  • 2.Alexa speaks of her experiences growing up Mexican in America. I was completely astonished to read that she was handed a role of 100s from a friend who's dad dealt drugs. She went to a gifted program which was mostly filled with people of color except for 2 with kids. At this program she said the n word having no idea what it meant, she thought it was a word for friend.Her story brings the idea of colorism into play, she was lighter toned so people called her white and rich when she was actually struggling in proverty. I think it is very important that she realize the previalge she receive because she had a lighter skin tone. She also discusses her code switching from going to a private white school and how she considers college drop outs and gang members her best friends as these terms have preconvied negative notions to them when in reality are they are good people who don't compare academic success or socioeconomic status with her. This seems to be the people she feels most at home with and this is an important concept as we look through the idea of identity.
  • 3.Vic from brings up a topic I find very important, denial. Growing up in a predominantly white school she constantly denied her experiences as a women of color. She brings up the notion that white people think of asians as sidekicks and considered safter to hang out with rather than people of color. She brings up the important idea of how American films portrayed the Vietnam war in a diminished light. Describing the film Apocalypse Now, which she watched in class as Vietnam being a Disneyland killing spree. When she saw her classmates didn't even flinch when a Vietnamese person was shot but exclaimed when a pig was killed she realized that she need to stop sugarcoating everything to her white friends.The important idea in this was when she wrote her essay cristising the film her teacher called it a rant which shows how we need educators being support not the cause of indifference.
  • One foot note that was very important was Nick talking about the American lie mad the Indian Americans with 500 treaties being made with them and 500 of those treaties being broken by the government this in an important idea as we learn so much about the American dream in its glitz and glory and never think about the travesty and betrayal our government has done
  • Another foot note is about the aspect of travel. No hotel ever has hair products for people of color. Showing that they are neglected and looked over. I never realized any of this until now.


jellybeans101
Boston, MA
Posts: 9

Originally posted by pink12 on October 02, 2021 14:21

I agree with your statement on how racism is surrounding us everywhere and plays a big role in our society. I also like how you stated that everyone deals with it in different ways and some are more directly affected than others. I also think you had a good choice in people you choose, and explaining how they dealt with racism in different ways.

Originally posted by OverthinkingEnigma on October 01, 2021 22:21

To start off, I agree with Winona and Priya’s statement which claims that race and racism impact everything around us. It may appear as a bold statement at first, but it’s important to take into consideration that racism appears in more ways than one as well as in disguise. One’s race can determine how they’re treated in multiple settings such as work environment, restaurants, school, hospitals, and so on. The spread of harmful stereotypes via the media and shows/movies and lack of representation also play a huge role in the normalization of racism. Moreover, systematic racism has been here since America’s upbringing and over the course of thousands of years, the importance of race still ferments in society however hidden from the public eye or simply ignored. One prime example that can be found in the city of Boston is environmental racism, there’s a great contrast between the conditions of neighborhoods populated by a POC majority and those with a white majority. Neighborhoods with a higher POC population have less access to good schooling opportunities which has a big impact on future careers and financial standing. Furthermore, one's race and identity determines whether you’ll make it in this world or simply survive another day.

Moreover, I strongly believe Parker, Marley, and Rylee’s first person’s account (40) conveyed the importance of reclaiming one’s race/identity and severing its connection to the white race and whitewashed history. These three had recounted their experiences of being Hawaiian and the stereotypes that followed such as students asking if they use dolphins as transportation, wear coconut bras , or live in huts. These three recurring stereotypes derive from America’s exploitation of Hawaiian culture after Hawaiians were denied the use of their language or cultural practices. However, Parker, Marley and Rylee reclaimed their Hawaiian identity and severed its ties with America’s racism and cultural appropriation of these peoples which shows the importance of claiming one’s race/identity despite its “ties” to the white race. Moreover, Liz’s experience (43) of having tourists take photos of her for racial reasons and feeling unsafe in other parts of the world shows how race and identity can isolate a POC. It’s common for a person of color to feel misplaced when almost every setting threatens their safety and comfort due to their race or identity. The only way to feel as if you belong is to be surrounded by those who share the same background since there would be common ground and no reason to tread lightly. Lastly, Chef Tu’s battle with understanding his true identity and fighting Vietnamese stereotypes through his food, perfectly displayed the pride that lies in one’s race and identity. Some may choose to give into the oppressor and believe that their race is something to be ashamed of, however, Chef Tu proved through his cooking that a POC can choose to take pride in their culture, race, and identity.

One factoid I found interesting explained that, following the emancipation, 1 to 4 million former slaves had died or suffered from illness. This is simply something that can’t be ignored, such information proves how much of America’s history is whitewashed when it came to the emancipation of slaves. One prime reason as to why such devastating news was glossed over is that the U.S had to establish a reputation as a country of improvement and morals. Moreover, a factoid in Liz’s story pointed out that hotels don’t offer shampoos for Black hair and their main highlight is residents tanning by the poolside. This fact is most likely new to those who aren’t personally affected by this feature, which is more of a reason to inform the public about these little details in everyday life that are marketed and built for a white audience. Nonetheless, I can now say that this book is surely not what I expected. I have always known the unfair circumstances POC are forced into, but the experiences of various minorities and the struggles that came with their race and identity drew me in. I’m now aware of the privilege that comes with having light skin despite being a minority myself, and I’ve fully acknowledged the necessity of educating myself and those around me about the ball and chain that comes with race and identity.

Post your response here.

I loved that Chef Tu is embracing his culture. As a kid I was always made fun of for bringing in my cultural food which people would complain as smelt bad or looked distuguting to them. As a kid I choose to only bring in lunchables as that was what everyone else had. I would force my parents to go to stop and shop after work to pick up lunchables and said if they packed cultural food I wouldn't eat my lunch. Now that I am older and have a better perspective on my identity I embrace the food I bring and I think as kids got older they realized that it wasn't right to call my foos smelly and disgusting.

red
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions because race can define one’s identity and also impact the way in which they are perceived. I believe that the notion that the United States is a melting pot accurately describes the plethora of races that make up America; this also means that America is inescapably tied to race because of the wealth of culture and immigration in our nation. However, racism also inescapably impacts everything around us because of our history of hatred in this country. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumption that race inescapably impacts everything around us; I also agree that racism impacts everything around us because of the systemic oppression in this country that monopolizes every aspect of American culture and economy. When Alfred, an Inuit at the Heritage Center in Alaska, said “we were here first,” he exemplified the reason that the United States demanded the presence of racism, because it was literally built on it, through the process of stealing Native Americans’ land as well as the labor of enslaved Black Americans. However, I don’t believe that race is a cancer. I believe racism is a cancer that vilifies race and wants to highlight hatred in our differences, but not race. Racism and hatred is taught, while race is something you are born with, no one should be ashamed of their race, and it’s not a cancer in my opinion.

Personal statements:

  1. Jennifer talked about her experience in a white school, being called racial slurs and model minority, as well as her experience in her family, dealing with being called white because of the school she goes to. She starts the Asian Student Alliance and is faced with the different interpretations of Asian students’ identities. She also reflects on her privilege of going to a rich school and being able to break away from the smart Asian stereotype. She is also working to teach her family about the ways in which racism has entered their lives in a productive manner, but she struggles with impressing on her sister what she had learned. At the end Jennifer talked about her allyship, an important part of fighting back against racism. A lot of the time allyship can be misconstrued and white counterparts can be seen overwhelming the voices of people of color with their own, using performative activism and making it about themselves. Jennifer mentions that being a good ally, is someone, who listens and asks how they can support her and have her be heard. This is an important lesson because misconstrued allyship can be detrimental to the cause if perpetuated. Jennifer’s experience also shows growth. She began being taught racist notions by her father and actively perpetuating them, when she was younger, to learn from her mistakes and changing her views as well as fighting for a more equitable future. This is an exemplary reason for why growth should be accepted and facilitated in today’s world.
  2. Queen Esther began talking about the white washing of American country music and how it first began as Black Americana music with the banjo, an invention from West Africa. She divulges into the multitude of cultural inventions and technological inventions that whites stripped and stole from Black Americans, slaves at the time, and gave no credit to. For instance, filament light bulbs and what we know as “Jack Daniels' ' whisky was actually created by an enslaved person by the name of Nearest Green. Black women were also experimented on in inhumane, grotesque and disturbing ways that led to the creation of what we now know as gynecology; these women had zero power over their own bodies and were sacrificed for what we take for granted as modern medicine. These unnamed Black Americans’ inventions are a testament to the fact that our country was built on the backs of enslaved people. It is now our responsibility to ensure their names and sacrifices were not forgotten, which is why changing textbooks based on revisionist history, expunges the truth from our history and contributes to ignorance today. I had no idea about the history of country music and the contribution of enslaved people to our modern world, which we widely attribute (out of ignorance) to the white man. This needs to be taught in history classes, it is simply true and to omit the truth from history out of racism is what feeds ignorance and hate.
  3. Vic’s story about her grappling with her voice, identity and positionality, and her experience with white people and how she was perceived by them, as well as reanalyzing the history she learned about. When Vic brings up the fact that Beacon Hill, a neighborhood next to Chinatown, is becoming a lot more gentrified she calls into question the reason for it and posed the idea that white people are more comfortable around Asian people than black people. This is interesting because Asians being stereotyped as a “model minority” could also be a driving factor in the reason why Beacon Hill is being gentrified. The same tendencies in gentrification are also true in Boston, with the South End, a predominantly white and wealthy part of Boston, sitting next to Chinatown. Vic also recounts the history of Chinese Americans in the United States, being persecuted by the law and put at such disadvantages that Chinatowns became a refuge for not only Chinese immigrants, but also Vietnamese and other Asian immigrants in order to survive. As well as the law that only allowed for male Chinese immigrants to immigrate to the U.S. because white Americans didn’t want Chinese families to grow and gain population in the U.S. Vic also discusses the way she is perceived by white people, in a non-confrontational and “‘Oh this one is safe.’” kind of way. She says that she conformed to their ‘safe’ ideal of what she should be. When she tried to analyze the racism in a film her class watched about the Vietnam War, her teacher belittled her essay by labeling it a rant. Vic then goes on to talk about how she was caught in White respectability politics, which is a lense in which white people discuss race through academia and ‘respectability’ in order to remain comfortable when talking about race. To end the personal statement she asks, “[...] what are you DOING to shake things up?”. This exhibits a call to action and stresses the importance of taking action. It is easy to sit in a class and talk about how racism is bad, but to actually take a stand and participate in the fight for justice requires commitment and time, which is absolutely necessary to invoke change.

Side-references:

  1. When Jennifer talks about her experience growing up in Milwaukee and attending a majority white school, she reflects on her assigned status as a model minority because she is Asian American. The term model minority is used to minimize the racism Asian Americans feel and also separate Asian Americans from other minorities when faced with racism, perpetuating an idea that hard work makes equal opportunities for all races. Specifically in today’s political climate, with a specific rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, Asian hate has become increasingly obvious and dangerous. Belittling the racism and hatred felt by Asian Americans through the phrase model minority disregards the challenges facing Asian Americans and also minimizes the protests in regards to Asian hate when this idea is perpetuated. More people should know about this because this term is still used today in an ignorance and in a time when hate crimes toward Asians has risen in the United States, it is crucial that we understand the gravity of the racism facing the Asian community in order to change it.
  2. A quote by W.E.B. Dubois describing what a double-conscience is and how it relates to race was placed at the end of Liz’s personal statement. This theme of double-conscience is very prevalent in multiple stories within chapter one. It is described as a feeling arising when looking at oneself through the eyes of others, in which their two identities become pronounced, both their American-ness and their race. As in Liz’s story, grappling with both identities, when neither one is completely accepting, is what a lot of the characters throughout are related to. For instance, Jennifer talks about being called white by her family for her school and the way she talks, same with Alexa because of her lighter skin tone and Justin for the way he talks, but each weren’t completely accepted at their school because of the majority white population. Acknowledging this double-consciousness that separates those two identities and fighting for acceptance of the person, and their race, is one way to create a more comfortable environment.

I like this book because it gives so many different perspectives and their personal experiences that I otherwise would never have known. It is eye-opening to see both the difference between people’s experiences and the commonalities of people’s experiences in reference to racism. It simultaneously highlights the commonalities that need to be eradicated, as well as the more nuanced personal testament of identity and how they are perceived in their respective environments. I can learn a lot from this book and the people within it. Overall the resounding message is to listen and not only can I listen and learn from the people within this book, but also the people in Boston and those who surround me.

red
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by cnovav on October 03, 2021 11:18

  • Factoid #1: Page 40 beginning with “Vernon Francois” and ending with “Its originator”. The factoid summarizes how a celebrity hairstylist defines cultural appropriation. He essentially defines it as when one culture borrows something from another culture and gets credited for it, in a way the original creator never was. I think more people should know about this because it happens every single day in the media without people even knowing it’s happening. Something so disrespectful should not become a common thing and it needs to be stopped

I completely agree that cultural appropriation stemming from ignorance and a lack of respect is very pertinent in our society and continues to be perpetuated through media and celebrities as well. This is specifically obvious in the appropriation of Native American traditional headdresses and clothing, which have been turned into costumes that are hyper sexualized and show a complete lack of regard for their culture.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

1. Firstly, I agree with Winona and Priya’s initial statement about how race impacts every part of our lives. Whether we realize it or not, race plays a big role in how people perceive us and how we are treated. It changes how you’re treated in a professional setting, a medical setting, a legal setting and even the casual setting of the day to day life. People may have implicit biases about you that they might not even realize they have just based on how you look. Race also plays a big role in your perspective on life. Two people could go to the same place, or see the same movie and have completely different outlooks on it because of their racial identity. One person might notice certain things that somebody else didn’t notice at all.

2.

  1. Alexa’s story talks about how her being hispanic with lighter skin made her treated differently from her other friends who had darker skin than her. She also discusses how people assumed things about her because her skin was lighter and that her skin color also gave her some privileges, even as an undocumented hispanic woman in America. I thought that Alexa’s story was significant because it showed how even within her own racial group there was a lot of variation in how everyone looked and how people were treated based on it. It also highlighted people’s views of how racial identity and socioeconomic status are connected, since people assumed she was rich because her skin was lighter. I also found the part in her story where she talks about how phrases like, women getting the right to vote in 1920 and women making 78 cents on the dollar don’t apply to her because those are only true for white women, important since it highlighted how her racial identity also affects her identity as a woman.
  2. In Esther’s story she talks about her frustration of people calling country music something just for white people. Throughout her story she points out several examples of things that were invented by black people but were credited to white people. Her story is important because it highlights how much of black history has been erased in our society.
  3. Ed is the grandson of a slave who now works as a meteorologist. Ed’s story as an African American working in the predominantly white industry that is meteorology shows the value of diversity in the workplace. He was the only one who considered going into African American and Hispanic communities when a storm struck and without him the communities wouldn't have received the help they needed. On the other hand, his story also highlights the immense amount of pressure being the only advocate for these communities is on a person.

3.

  1. The footnote on page 23 talks about how Texas in 2015 reframed their history curriculum to barely mention the racial parts of the civil war and focus primarily on the states’ rights aspect of it. This is extremely alarming that people are basically altering history to make it more consumable for people. History is extremely important to learn so you can understand things about our society and learn lessons from it, by altering it you can no longer receive the benefits and it can even cause harm. It’s important that people know about this and are aware that the history they are consuming isn’t the whole story.
  2. The footnote on page 45 mentions how after emancipation African Americans were neglected and a lot of them suffered and/or died from disease. This is an important fact that people should know since emancipation is seen as the end of African Americans suffering in America, but this is far from the truth. This fact highlights just one issue that they faced post emancipation.

  3. 4. I’m enjoying the book so far, I think it’s really interesting to hear about so many people’s stories about how race has played a role in their lives. The stories being in an interview style and coming from the actual people makes it feel even more personal and as if you’re having a conversation with them. It’s very different from reading a traditional history textbook which is refreshing.


booksandcandles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

To begin, I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions that race impacts everything. In this day and age, race is a huge part of our identity and how people see us. Stereotyping based on race is something that everyone does, and it can have harmful consequences. However, I disagree with their point that race is a cancer, because for some people, race is a source of pride. It's the consequences of seeing difference as a bad thing that is the cancer.

Three people I thought had important views on racial identity are the following:

1. Alexa - She was born a very light-skinned Mexican. She went to a mostly Hispanic school, and they told her she looked white, even though she was born in Mexico, unlike them, who were from America. She says that she gets treated better because she is light-skinned, although she feels like she's too colored for her white friends and too white for her friends of color. I think this is important because a lot of people go through this, where they're torn between two sides of themselves. I can honestly relate to that, albeit in a different way, but it's still there. I feel like people talk a lot about how people of color are treated by society but not enough about how they treat themselves.

2. Queen Esther - She is a country singer, and gets a lot of questions about why she sings country if she's black. She discusses many times history has overlooked black accomplishments and struggles for white people's convenience. She mentions someone I learned about a couple years ago, the white doctor who did medical experiments, without anesthesia, on enslaved women to find out more about female anatomy. This is important because black people are left out of history for the things they accomplished too much, and we need to educate ourselves about these things if we can't find them in history books.

3. Justin E. - Justin makes a point in his statement about how African Americans are introduced in history by slavery and nothing else. Therefore, kids in America know nothing about black history until they learn about slavery, and even then only how it affected white people back then. In American history, slavery defines black people, and that's just not right or true. He also says that, in order to make real progress on the issues of racial stereotyping and racism, white people must help and teach each other how to treat other people of different races.

One footnote I thought was interesting was one under Justin E.'s statement. It pointed out the fact that Justin said "West Africa" instead of just "Africa" as if it were a country instead of continent. I think people need to know more about this because a lot of people think of Africa as a country with one culture and one story, when it's full of different cultures, languages, traditions, and people. Another was under Vic's story about her experience in Chinatown in Seattle. It discusses the history of "Chinatowns" all over the country, and how they were formed as a result of Chinese immigrants not being able to own property, to vote, to testify in court, and a lot of other basic human rights that were kept from them. I think more people should know about this because I think Chinatown, even here in Boston, is a place of mystery for a lot of people, and when they hear "Chinatown" they think of different stereotypes that shouldn't be the first thing that pops into their minds.

I really like this book so far, and I think it's interesting how they use different stories from different people to prove the point they make in the introduction. I don't know if it's going to be formatted like that for the rest of the book, but I'm excited to find out.

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