posts 16 - 30 of 30
iris almonds
Posts: 18

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions that race and racism impact everything. The way we act, the way we speak, and the way that others perceive us are all based on racism. Many often think about Native Americans as another group of people that immigrated to America for the hope of a better future, similar to other ethnic groups such as the Chinese and Hispanics. People forget the fact that the Native Americans were already on American soil when Columbus “discovered” America. Columbus treated the Native Americans harshly and named them Indians. The Europeans took over America and started calling it the “New World”. This “New World” is built not by the Europeans themselves, but by the indentured servants and slaves (Africans and other minorities) that they had. Race impacts our lives daily and I agree with the fact that it is like cancer. So many whites don’t think about how race affects so many minorities. There is unequal health care treatment for minorities, there is a lack of representation in books, and almost everything in America is geared towards the white audience. For example, bandaids (which is something I have never actually thought of), and the names given to the indigenous tribes were geared towards the white audience.
  1. A: Jennifer: Jennifer starts the story by telling us that she grew up in a very close-knit Vietnamese community having never talked to a white person until high school. Unknowingly, at a young age, she was an advocate for segregation, separating the blacks from the white and Asian kids in school. It wasn’t until high school when she finally got to experience the “normal American way of living”. It was also in high school when she started to appreciate her culture and realize how privileged she was/how wrong her younger self treated other minorities. She realized how her Asian community is stuck in a place where they could not break out of the stereotypes that blacks are dirty and bad. I think that this is a noteworthy story because of how relatable this experience is. This is the first story of the chapter, and also the first story that caught my attention. Growing up in a tight-knit community of my own, similar to Jennifer, there were very few interactions with the white community growing up. The first time that I went to school in a predominantly white community is coming to BLS. As an Asian, my parents told me the same things that Jennifer’s dad told her, the fact that I should stay away from blacks. My younger self in elementary did exactly what my parents said and I purposefully sat away from the few black kids in my class. Looking back, this was not acceptable, but I couldn’t have known better. I was not educated enough on the idea of racism, nor could I understand it at that age. After being educated and opening my lessons, I realized how close-minded the Asian community is. It made me realize the importance of educating oneself about issues such as racism and the importance of educating others. At the end of the passage, Jennifer talks about a really important point when the whites always ask “What about me?”. The fact is that everything is about the whites and you will never be left out.

B: Queen Esther: Esther starts by mentioning how country music is often referred to as something only white people listen to and as music that belongs to them. White people think a lot of things belong to them, but in reality, lots of the music that white people listen to today is deeply rooted in Black Americana. The banjo had originally only been played by African Americans, but when a famous white person started playing it, everybody started to find it trendy to play the banjo and soon claimed that the banjo was an invention of the white people. There are so many things that are created by slaves and African Americans that white people took credit for. For example, I personally never knew that the field of gynecology was created based on the study of black women. It is so interesting to me that Texas is changing its textbook because they want to change black history and make it sound not so bad. This also connects to the recent abortion laws connected to Texas and I wonder why Texas is doing these things to women and minorities. I think that this story is an important one to read because it shows how Whites are trying to erase African American history even up to today. They don’t want to face the harsh reality and take responsibility for what they did. Whites and other people, even Asians as the model minority will never know how harsh the conditions were for the blacks. They will never experience what it’s like having someone related to you that is a slave. Before reading this story, I had never really realized how much black people have helped build our country and how hard they have worked. Their voices are not heard and without the blacks, this country would not be where it is today.


C: Ed: First, I could never imagine having my grandfather being a slave and it is so amazing that Ed can cope and live with that. Ed’s grandfather was a slave, his son was a musician, and he is a meteorologist. In fourth grade, Ed’s teacher wrote on his report card that he can not do the math. There is a huge stereotype that blacks are less likely to succeed academically and there is less effort put in to help them succeed. This is still a problem today and something that still needs work in our not-so-great school system. Blacks are also underrepresented in certain fields such as science because there is less opportunity for them to go into that field. When there was a terrible storm in Texas, the weather team didn’t even bother to go help the African American communities that were in need. They were only covering the damage done in the white communities. It didn’t even occur to them to go help. This is a big issue with our society today. The whites are not educated and willing to help the underprivileged/underrepresented. The whites are the ones that need to educate each other because they are more likely to listen to each other than to listen to the minorities.


  1. A. In Queen Esther’s story, there was a part where it states that Texas and other parts of the country were rewriting history textbooks because they were not comfortable with the idea of slavery. This factoid states that as of 2015, the state of Texas is rewriting textbooks that barely mention slavery, the KKK, or the Jim Crow Laws. They are falsifying history and making it seem like the African Americans weren’t treated that badly. This is an important issue people should know about because parts of the country are changing history to the benefit of the whites. It is so important for everybody to know about the harsh treatment of the blacks and make sure we don’t repeat what we did in history. This also connects to the new abortion law recently put in place, not allowing women to have abortions after a certain number of weeks.

B. In Justin’s story, he didn’t just say Africa. It is so common for people, especially people in America to just view it as a country with one kind of people, black people. In reality, this factoid tells us that there is more physical and genetic variation within a population in sub-Saharan Africa than there is among any other population. It also states that race is commonly said to be biological. Race is not biological and just a term that developed over time in the benefit of the whites. This is an important factoid because it lets us know that there is so much more variation in Africa than we think there is and the fact that race should never be seen as something biological.


  1. I love the book so far. It is so interesting to hear about so the many experiences that people of color have gone through. It is so interesting to hear about the struggles that each person goes through and the commonalities among their problems. These stories are so eye-opening and emphasize once again the many issues that we still have in our society today. There are so many different stories but they are so connected in a way.
booksandcandles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by SlicedBread on October 03, 2021 16:02

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.


I agree that the book feels more personal, like you're having a conversation with them. Race is something that is very closely intertwined with identity, and I think the different stories give personal examples of how they have handled that.

iris almonds
Posts: 18

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

  • 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.

I completely agree with your point! There are so many places in the world that are treating black people as objects and it’s so interesting to hear about how Liz was treated in each of the different locations. The only time when she was treated normally was when she was back in Africa with people that looked like her, even though she was not part of the same culture as them. I think it’s really shocking that someone even had the nerve to ask Liz for a picture because you looked a certain way.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Response to cnovav: How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

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

  • 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.

I also agreed with the initial statement made that race impacts everything we do. I felt that Liz and Justin's accounts of being treated differently in so many places that they've gone to because of their race just further proved the initial claim. Race affects you everywhere, even globally.

Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

1. I had already agreed with Winona and Priya’s statement while I was previewing the question before reading, but the examples and reasoning they gave further solidified my agreement. Racism may not be clearly apparent but that is what makes it so widespread. Racism plays a role in the smallest things that we don’t even notice until we really open our eyes and look or until it affects us directly. It has become so normalized that we don’t realize it is everywhere. From the people who built the infrastructure of the United States to the usual color of bandaids, race has always played a role in life.


2.

  1. Queen Esther from New York City described and explained the music genre, Black Americana, that she plays. It includes country music but also encompasses many other genres as well. She was constantly asked if she should’ve been singing R & B because she was black. People had a difficult time believing she was a black country singer because of her race. Country music is mostly associated with whiteness, but the reality is that “at the core of country music, right down to the banjo that they can’t stop playing, is the African blues-based tradition.” Queen Esther explained how the banjo, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, and so many more things were actually invented by black people who never got proper historical credit. These examples are significant in breaking the common stereotype that white people invented most things and acknowledges how African slavery “established America’s first-world status.” For so long, the enormous contributions black people have made to this country have been forgotten, but Queen Esther is bringing it back to the spotlight with her work because “this country in and of itself would not exist” without her ancestors.
  1. Nick from Porcupine, South Dakota, knows firsthand the effects of racism. His mother is Native American and his father is Jewish. Nick says his whole identity is connected to “the sense of service and fighting back” because of his family’s history. An important takeaway from Nick’s story is that he always “felt that the American dream was the American lie.” Native Americans were here in America long before America was even created, yet their land has been taken away from them and hundreds of their treaties were broken. This questions the meaning of the fundamental “American dream” that America prides itself on. Nick also said, “All people of color have a shared history of struggle.” For so long, races have been pitted against each other, but in the end, all POC need to come together to create a “more equitable world.” Nick’s focus on the unity of races is noteworthy because if more people shared his focus, it can help everyone understand the direction we need to move in if we want to end this long history of division and racism.
  1. Justin, who is from a predominantly Latino low-income community in Chicago, explains the struggles he has had with the stark differences between the community at his private school and his neighborhood. At his school, someone tried to start a club to have discussions of race, but the poster wrote, "If you come to this club, you can't say something's racism, if it's not." It was at this point Justin realized, “white people are so worried about being uncomfortable for one moment, while we're uncomfortable all the time.” This is an extremely powerful and significant statement during a time where there are starting to be more discussions about the topic of race. White people claim to want to be allies, but when it comes time to take action, not many really do what they say they are trying to do. Even with these efforts, some white people will never truly understand what being an ally is because of the difficulties they will have to go through themselves.

3.

  1. One factoid was that America’s very first immigration law banned females from China because “White Americans only wanted Chinese immigrants for their labor, not to welcome them as citizens.” People should know this because it clearly proves how white Americans have taken advantage of people of color from the very beginning. People of color put their blood, sweat, and tears into building this country but have never received the proper recognition that they deserve because white people still believe that they have a right to treat people of color this horrible way.
  1. Another factoid was “there is more genetic and physical variation within all populations of sub-Saharan Africa than there are among any other populations on the globe.” More people should be aware of this because more often than not, the entirety of Africa is grouped into just one category. This misconception has had terrible consequences, such as the U.S. eugenics movement in the early 1900s. More people knowing the diversity of Africa will break the belief that all black people are the same.

4. As some have already said, I have loved this book so far because it provides perspectives of so many people in different situations. These stories have all been so powerful and informative. Even though I am a POC there were so many things I wasn’t aware of since they never happened to me directly.


Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

Originally posted by iris almonds on October 03, 2021 16:10

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions that race and racism impact everything. The way we act, the way we speak, and the way that others perceive us are all based on racism. Many often think about Native Americans as another group of people that immigrated to America for the hope of a better future, similar to other ethnic groups such as the Chinese and Hispanics. People forget the fact that the Native Americans were already on American soil when Columbus “discovered” America. Columbus treated the Native Americans harshly and named them Indians. The Europeans took over America and started calling it the “New World”. This “New World” is built not by the Europeans themselves, but by the indentured servants and slaves (Africans and other minorities) that they had. Race impacts our lives daily and I agree with the fact that it is like cancer. So many whites don’t think about how race affects so many minorities. There is unequal health care treatment for minorities, there is a lack of representation in books, and almost everything in America is geared towards the white audience. For example, bandaids (which is something I have never actually thought of), and the names given to the indigenous tribes were geared towards the white audience.
  1. A: Jennifer: Jennifer starts the story by telling us that she grew up in a very close-knit Vietnamese community having never talked to a white person until high school. Unknowingly, at a young age, she was an advocate for segregation, separating the blacks from the white and Asian kids in school. It wasn’t until high school when she finally got to experience the “normal American way of living”. It was also in high school when she started to appreciate her culture and realize how privileged she was/how wrong her younger self treated other minorities. She realized how her Asian community is stuck in a place where they could not break out of the stereotypes that blacks are dirty and bad. I think that this is a noteworthy story because of how relatable this experience is. This is the first story of the chapter, and also the first story that caught my attention. Growing up in a tight-knit community of my own, similar to Jennifer, there were very few interactions with the white community growing up. The first time that I went to school in a predominantly white community is coming to BLS. As an Asian, my parents told me the same things that Jennifer’s dad told her, the fact that I should stay away from blacks. My younger self in elementary did exactly what my parents said and I purposefully sat away from the few black kids in my class. Looking back, this was not acceptable, but I couldn’t have known better. I was not educated enough on the idea of racism, nor could I understand it at that age. After being educated and opening my lessons, I realized how close-minded the Asian community is. It made me realize the importance of educating oneself about issues such as racism and the importance of educating others. At the end of the passage, Jennifer talks about a really important point when the whites always ask “What about me?”. The fact is that everything is about the whites and you will never be left out.

B: Queen Esther: Esther starts by mentioning how country music is often referred to as something only white people listen to and as music that belongs to them. White people think a lot of things belong to them, but in reality, lots of the music that white people listen to today is deeply rooted in Black Americana. The banjo had originally only been played by African Americans, but when a famous white person started playing it, everybody started to find it trendy to play the banjo and soon claimed that the banjo was an invention of the white people. There are so many things that are created by slaves and African Americans that white people took credit for. For example, I personally never knew that the field of gynecology was created based on the study of black women. It is so interesting to me that Texas is changing its textbook because they want to change black history and make it sound not so bad. This also connects to the recent abortion laws connected to Texas and I wonder why Texas is doing these things to women and minorities. I think that this story is an important one to read because it shows how Whites are trying to erase African American history even up to today. They don’t want to face the harsh reality and take responsibility for what they did. Whites and other people, even Asians as the model minority will never know how harsh the conditions were for the blacks. They will never experience what it’s like having someone related to you that is a slave. Before reading this story, I had never really realized how much black people have helped build our country and how hard they have worked. Their voices are not heard and without the blacks, this country would not be where it is today.


C: Ed: First, I could never imagine having my grandfather being a slave and it is so amazing that Ed can cope and live with that. Ed’s grandfather was a slave, his son was a musician, and he is a meteorologist. In fourth grade, Ed’s teacher wrote on his report card that he can not do the math. There is a huge stereotype that blacks are less likely to succeed academically and there is less effort put in to help them succeed. This is still a problem today and something that still needs work in our not-so-great school system. Blacks are also underrepresented in certain fields such as science because there is less opportunity for them to go into that field. When there was a terrible storm in Texas, the weather team didn’t even bother to go help the African American communities that were in need. They were only covering the damage done in the white communities. It didn’t even occur to them to go help. This is a big issue with our society today. The whites are not educated and willing to help the underprivileged/underrepresented. The whites are the ones that need to educate each other because they are more likely to listen to each other than to listen to the minorities.


  1. A. In Queen Esther’s story, there was a part where it states that Texas and other parts of the country were rewriting history textbooks because they were not comfortable with the idea of slavery. This factoid states that as of 2015, the state of Texas is rewriting textbooks that barely mention slavery, the KKK, or the Jim Crow Laws. They are falsifying history and making it seem like the African Americans weren’t treated that badly. This is an important issue people should know about because parts of the country are changing history to the benefit of the whites. It is so important for everybody to know about the harsh treatment of the blacks and make sure we don’t repeat what we did in history. This also connects to the new abortion law recently put in place, not allowing women to have abortions after a certain number of weeks.

B. In Justin’s story, he didn’t just say Africa. It is so common for people, especially people in America to just view it as a country with one kind of people, black people. In reality, this factoid tells us that there is more physical and genetic variation within a population in sub-Saharan Africa than there is among any other population. It also states that race is commonly said to be biological. Race is not biological and just a term that developed over time in the benefit of the whites. This is an important factoid because it lets us know that there is so much more variation in Africa than we think there is and the fact that race should never be seen as something biological.


  1. I love the book so far. It is so interesting to hear about so the many experiences that people of color have gone through. It is so interesting to hear about the struggles that each person goes through and the commonalities among their problems. These stories are so eye-opening and emphasize once again the many issues that we still have in our society today. There are so many different stories but they are so connected in a way.

I love how you included how people perceive other's mannerisms and actions are all based on personal biases. Many people often don't realize how they themselves could be racist, but it is in these little ways that racism affect our lives evey day.

strawberry123
Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 17

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya's assumption that race and racism follow and effect everything, almost like an infection that won't stop spreading. No matter how we act, speak, or dress, perceptions of you will be made that unfortunately don't go through a filter of judgement nor racism. Native Americans have faced multitudes of racial harassment and a historic genocide that quite literally abolished almost all of the indegious population in the U.S. While white colonists were being known for their "exploration of the New World", black people were being traded barbarically, the Chinese and Irish were severely abused, and again, natives were kicked out of their own land. When learning about these different groups that faced acts of violence, they all share the similarity of being controlled and violated without setting off distribution that could somehow justify why they were attacked. There is one answer as to why this happened though: Racism. In Winona and Priya's story, we learn about racism controlling daily life, not just being something that we hear about in history textbooks. Essentials like Band-Aids continue the stigma of white people controlling everyday life. As described, Priya's brown skin was not even thought about in the selection of Band-Aids lined up in a drugstore. This shows the lack of diversity this world has; from what we wear to the TV shows we watch to the advertisements we see, people of color are no where to be seen or represented.
    1. As many immigrants had to, Alexa moved to the U.S. from Mexico, leaving behind her entire family and perceptions of the world. As a light-skinned Mexican woman, Alexa was able to see both sides of racism occur. At a school in the West Side of Chicago, where children with darker skin tones were among the majority, Alexa was persummed as rich and white. At another school with more white people, Alexa found herself to understand that others' light skin tones did not mean they were necessarily Mexican like her. The common difference between Alexa's schools was how she stood out in both of them. It is very important to distinguish Alexa being treated differently depending on how her light skin was interpreted. Additionally, it adds in this aspect of not fitting in because she is too American and not fitting in because she is not, appearance wise, culturally different.
    2. Justin's life story about his identity as a light-skinned Latino is crucial as we see the privileges that white people have. In his low-income Latino school, he was able to see the difference between how he was treated compared to the other students. As someone with lighter skin, Justin was able to get more attention from teachers, allowing him to become this "perfect straight A student". This not only shows how opportunities are mostly surfaced by the color of your skin, but it also demonstrates the inequality happening to children which is their education and future practically already laid out for them: low-income and unsuccessful. It creates a clear perception of how the world is run and why white people are able to get so far in life: their skin color being white.
    3. Justin E.'s story about defining who you are opens a lense into how societies define you. In his predominately white neighborhood, he is defined as a black man who has ancestors apart of the slave trade. In his study abroad in Senegal, West Africa, Justin learns that the black people there do not let their skin color or ancestors past define them. Justin E. draws a conclusion that white people will always see him as the stereotypical black person whereas he knows he is more than that.
  2. Two side references really struck me in chapter 1 of "Tell Me Who You Are" which included the term "Africa" being falsely used and one about code-switching. After Justin E.'s empowering story about the difference of white people's perception of black people and black people's outlook on black people, there is a note that justifies why Justin did not reference his study abroad in Senegal, West Africa as just "Africa" (26). The footnote recapitulates by saying most people have this false idea that the continent of Africa is a country. It not only stereotypes minority populations, the poor, disabled, and uneducated, but also lowers the importance of this massive land. Code-switching also stuck out for me, as it was a term used in, both, Alexa and Justin's story. Code-switching is defined as something that "occurs when one alternates between different languages, dialects, or ways of speaking among different groups of people" (17). This seemed crucial as code-switching is used very much, yet not talked about as often. After reading the two stories that included this concept, it makes it clear to me that this could be used in order to gain opportunities or fit in depending on your skin tone.
  3. So far, this book seems very interesting and unique. The first person stories really add a personal aspect that most informational books don't have. It also opens many conversations that need to happen in our world. I'm looking forward to continue reading "Tell Me Who You Are" and gaining more knowledge on this serious and important topics.
strawberry123
Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 17

Originally posted by booksandcandles on October 03, 2021 16:08

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.

I also agree how the footnote under Justin E.'s statement was very important and vital to his story. It really explored the idea that many people do place Africa under this small category even though it has so many different cultural aspects to it as a continent. I also love how you included how perceptions change depending on whether people are perceiving themselves or society perceiving them.

user01135
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

1. I agree with Winona and Priya's statement that race and racism impact everything around us. I think racism is in our daily lives in many different ways. People everywhere are treated differently based on race. This problem varies as some people are greatly affected and some are not affected at all. People make assumptions based on race and give people less opportunities because of how they look. This is a problem that has always existed in the world and needs to be stopped.

2. I thought that the stories of Vic, Jennifer and Liz's stories were the most moving. Person 1: Vic talks about the different levels of racism. She talks about how Asian-Americans are seen better than black people. This points out how even people being discriminated against can recognize it is different and worse for others. Person 2: I found Jennifer's story fascinating because it really shows how people were blinded by this idea. Jennifer never knew why black people were supposed to be less than her she just listened to everyone else. Racism was taught and was not something people ever realized was like this. This is part of why this is still a problem in todays world. Person 3: I also enjoyed Liz's story and how she talks about feeling different about herself in different parts of the world. People who are discriminated against never feel like they fit in no matter what, even if it is different in different places. These stories all point out how much every single person is affected by the problem of racism.

3. I thought Nick's story about the treaties was very interesting. I thought this was important to include because it shows how nobody cared about change. People made the treaties but nobody cared and respected others enough to follow them. I also thought the statistics about Asian-American vs. white incomes were really interesting. More Asian-Americans live in poverty than white people because of the way they are treated in society and given less opportunities which is unfair.

4. I really enjoy this book so far because of the difference in the stories. This book makes you realize how it was for everyone and how it is still a problem.


user01135
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

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.

I liked how you talked about the way that all people are affected in different ways. I think a lot of people try to act like racism isn't much of a problem in todays world but it still is affecting everyone. I think almost everyone has witnessed or been a part of some form of racism at some point in their lives and I think it was really important how you stated how it affects everyone differently.

facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I completely agree with Wiona and Priya’s assumptions about race. Race is so ingrained into every part of our daily lives. Some would say that race isn’t that big of a deal and that they are colorblind which is ridiculous because it is just fighting ignorance with more ignorance. But really if you take any part of your life and do an in-depth analysis into the history and context of it you would find that it some aspect of it that relates to race.

1-Queen Esther had a very interesting story about her family history and her love for playing country music. In the story, it was outlined how Black people have impacted every aspect of our daily lives with their contributions and advancements and have not received any credit for them. She also mentioned her own family history and “both [her] father and his mother were born on plantations so it’s a constant reminder for [her] that these things didn’t happen so long ago” (23). I think how she outlines the importance of recognizing black accomplishments is something that is noteworthy. It is so often that we listen to revisionist history instead of doing research and putting effort into finding out the truth about how black people have had everything taken from them even their ideas. I thought this is something all of us could take to heart given that we are all students in a racist system.


2-Nick from Porcupine, South Dakota had an interesting story about his Jewish Native American heritage and how that influences and really fuels his activism. He also spoke about his encounters with police brutality in the Native American community and how the Native American community is still here and strong and has not just disappeared. What Nick’s grandfather said resonated with me "Throughout history, Jewish people faced persecution, and we survived. Jewish people have a responsibility to stand up in solidarity with people being persecuted today. The act of doing this is what actually makes you Jewish” (29). This resonated with me because as a jew myself I think this is a beautiful way of incorporating our history into how we have a responsibility for activism and to stand up for others in our own communities.


3-Liz from San Francisco had a very compelling story about feeling like an outsider no matter where in the world she went especially in whiter countries. When she finally had the opportunity to travel to Africa she felt a sense of freedom that was short-lived due to the looming weight of apartheid in South Africa. I thought her account of being in Eastern Europe and having photos taken of her since she was the only black person people had seen must have been an incredibly traumatizing experience. This kind of gawking reminded me of an experience a friend of mine had in this country when they and their family traveled into Northern Maine and getting a number of stares because they were the only black person these people had seen.


1-I think the last footnote under Melina’s story is really important because it outlines that “White privilege is both unconsciously enjoyed and consciously perpetuated” which is one of the most accurate descriptions of white privilege that I have heard. This quote emphasizes the passive enjoyment of privilege is the perpetuation of racism through white privilege which helps us understand how many white people can be so ignorant of their own privilege and not even realize they have it. I have found that oftentimes when people refuse to recognize their own biases that is what ends up perpetuating it and it turns the ignorance into conscious racism.


2-The note about textbooks under Queen Esther’s story is also incredibly important because it brings attention to the revisionist history that American school districts try to push into the curriculum especially in the south. This note talking about Texas schools ignoring black history reminded me of a story from Bettina Love when she talked about a Georgia school district trying to use a textbook that portrayed black slaves as “workers” on plantations as if they were there willingly. This is the type of revisionist history that is all too common in American public schools it is the same type of history that is propaganda aimed at perpetuating the eternal benevolence of America as an institution and as a whole.


I am really enjoying this book so far. Anti-racism has definitely been a subject that I am always interested in and looking to learning more about so I really hope to keep learning from the information and stories told in this book. (Also sorry everyone about the paragraph breaking up my program was glitching and not letting me indent my paragraphs so I had to improvise)

facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

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 completely agree with what you said about race being in every aspect of our daily lives it really is and I also feel like this book has already started to help change my perspective. Also I totally agree that educating yourself is the best way to begin using your privilege to help others.

Karma
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

To start off, everything said by Winona and Priya about the role of race in America is true without a doubt. This country was literally built on racism and we still see the lasting effects of it today. Every action, every situation, every incident, to me, is predetermined by race. It should not be like this and, just like Winona and Priya said, the impact of race is cancerous in the United States especially. Racism is all around the world, however, but the fact that America is supposed to be known as the "land of the free" is crazy when you take into account the prison system and the racial bias of police in America.

The first account I really looked at was the first girl, Jennifer. Her story was very interesting to say the least but it reinforced an idea I already had in my head. This idea is that racism is taught. She described how her father told her all black people were dirty and pretty much bad so she grew up thinking this which, I'm pretty sure, is something that other people can relate to. I also brought up her story because of the fact she changed after experiencing racism first hand. This goes to show that even people who have been taught racism from young are able to change, its just most people do not really want to. The third person, Justin, I really related too. Firstly, I relate to him because one, he code switches which is an important skill for POC to have and two, because he had never really encountered a white person until high school which is literally the same thing for me. Before BLS, I had been in a class with, at most, one person who wasn't of color. To suddenly shift from that to BLS, a predominantly white school, was very eye opening. Also I understand where he's coming from about him being questioned about where he lives. Whenever I tell people I'm from Dorchester, they automatically assume its dangerous which is just not the case for me at least. Yeah there is occasional violence but if you aren't involved in anything there is nothing to worry about. Similar to Justin, I also usually stay around the other POC at this school and don't really try to diversify my friend group which is kind of a problem. However, his point about some white people making other races feel uncomfortable but not wanting to feel some type of way is very much important. The last person I definitely agreed with was the other Justin, Justin E. The biggest thing I took away from his story is what he said towards the end. White people have to teach other white people. As I stated earlier, racism is something that is taught and instilled in the minds of children. If a parent taught their child how to love someone regardless of color there would not be any racism. If there is still racism, there would not be a lot of racists. Although I have not been called a racial slur before, I hear and see about it all the time. I've heard stories of people being racist even at BLS. It helps wake you up to the real world though, knowing that there are people who live to breed hate for whatever reason.

The Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome was an interesting addition to Justin's story. This footnote pretty much relates all the oppression and struggles of African Americans in today's society to the everlasting effects of the slave trade hundreds of years ago. People should know about this because of how apparent and impactful it really is. All the struggles of the black community came from the slave trade. This term literally sums it up and is relatable to black people in general. The other footnote I found to be interesting was the one from Queen Esther that talked about the Texas history curriculum. It is kinda crazy that Texas is not teaching any form of black history but and even changes the reason for the civil war to just a disagreement. I can say its shocking but overall not surprising. When I think of Texas, I feel it is a racist state and this further reinforces my judgement. I want to bring up the point I made earlier once again; racism is taught. Texas is literally brainwashing their students to make it seem like black people have not been fighting for equality since they were forced to come to America. Crazy to me.

apples21
SOUTH BOSTON, MA, US
Posts: 15

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I do agree with the claims made by Winona and Priya for the most part, although I do think parts of their claim could be remade to be more accurate. They are 100% correct when they state that race plays a large role in our everyday lives, and it plays a part in pretty much everything that occurs in day to day life. They then go one step further to say that race is a complete cancer. I completely agree that race can be seen as a cancer, solely based on the fact that people can see other peoples races in a negative light. Race is something that is not contrabble, and everybody was born into a different race based on where they were born. I understand that for certain races they may think it is a cancer because for a very long time, the race that they are identified under are seen as a negative, not something positive. I do agree that in a perfect world maybe race would not be seen, and everyone would be able to coexist peacefully, and no one would be looked at differently because of their race. Sadly, since this isn't true, I think the best thing that can be done is for race to be celebrated.

  1. Jennifer's story states that she grew up almost completely strictly with other Vietnamese people. She says that she was kind of sheltered, and gained many improper viewpoints from her radically conservative father, who made horrible incorrect assumptions about different races of people. Jennifer says that it wasn't until high school that she met other types of people, which made her understand all the incorrect assumptions that she had due to her father. This story is important because it shows that one cannot assume anything truly until they have seen anything in person, and that one should not believe what they hear from their parents.
  2. Alexas story says that she is from Mexico, but then her family moved to Chicago while she was in school, and this move changed her life. She said that she had pretty much only grown up around other Mexican people, and she says that there were barely any white people, and she saw code switching happen often. Her story is important because it shows how difficult it can be and how hard it is to move to a new area with a different culture and be able to fit in quickly.
  3. Justin's story says that he grew up in a predominantly latino community in the south side of Chicago, where he and his brother were kind of known as the smart kids, because they were always at the top of their class. Once he got into high school, where he met his first white friend, where he learned the privileges he had because of his lighter skin tone. This story is important because it shows how things need to be put into perspective, and how everything is relative to where you are and who you're with.

  1. The first footnote that I thought was important was on page 26 which talks about Justin's story. The footnote points out how Justin did not use the word Africa like it was a country. This is important because many people may just group everyone from Africa into one group, even though it is extremely diverse.
  2. The second footnote that I thought was important was on page 37, where the footnote discusses what white privilege really is. I think this is important because although at this point in time pretty much everyone has heard the term white privilege, but it is especially important to know and understand what it really does for someone.

So far, I have enjoyed this book. I have enjoyed it mostly because the stories are much more interesting since the are coming first hand from the person who experienced them, rather than it being textbook style. I also think the stories are very informative and interesting, and they give a good insight into some issues that I may have not seen before.

apples21
SOUTH BOSTON, MA, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by iris almonds on October 03, 2021 16:10

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions that race and racism impact everything. The way we act, the way we speak, and the way that others perceive us are all based on racism. Many often think about Native Americans as another group of people that immigrated to America for the hope of a better future, similar to other ethnic groups such as the Chinese and Hispanics. People forget the fact that the Native Americans were already on American soil when Columbus “discovered” America. Columbus treated the Native Americans harshly and named them Indians. The Europeans took over America and started calling it the “New World”. This “New World” is built not by the Europeans themselves, but by the indentured servants and slaves (Africans and other minorities) that they had. Race impacts our lives daily and I agree with the fact that it is like cancer. So many whites don’t think about how race affects so many minorities. There is unequal health care treatment for minorities, there is a lack of representation in books, and almost everything in America is geared towards the white audience. For example, bandaids (which is something I have never actually thought of), and the names given to the indigenous tribes were geared towards the white audience.
  1. A: Jennifer: Jennifer starts the story by telling us that she grew up in a very close-knit Vietnamese community having never talked to a white person until high school. Unknowingly, at a young age, she was an advocate for segregation, separating the blacks from the white and Asian kids in school. It wasn’t until high school when she finally got to experience the “normal American way of living”. It was also in high school when she started to appreciate her culture and realize how privileged she was/how wrong her younger self treated other minorities. She realized how her Asian community is stuck in a place where they could not break out of the stereotypes that blacks are dirty and bad. I think that this is a noteworthy story because of how relatable this experience is. This is the first story of the chapter, and also the first story that caught my attention. Growing up in a tight-knit community of my own, similar to Jennifer, there were very few interactions with the white community growing up. The first time that I went to school in a predominantly white community is coming to BLS. As an Asian, my parents told me the same things that Jennifer’s dad told her, the fact that I should stay away from blacks. My younger self in elementary did exactly what my parents said and I purposefully sat away from the few black kids in my class. Looking back, this was not acceptable, but I couldn’t have known better. I was not educated enough on the idea of racism, nor could I understand it at that age. After being educated and opening my lessons, I realized how close-minded the Asian community is. It made me realize the importance of educating oneself about issues such as racism and the importance of educating others. At the end of the passage, Jennifer talks about a really important point when the whites always ask “What about me?”. The fact is that everything is about the whites and you will never be left out.

B: Queen Esther: Esther starts by mentioning how country music is often referred to as something only white people listen to and as music that belongs to them. White people think a lot of things belong to them, but in reality, lots of the music that white people listen to today is deeply rooted in Black Americana. The banjo had originally only been played by African Americans, but when a famous white person started playing it, everybody started to find it trendy to play the banjo and soon claimed that the banjo was an invention of the white people. There are so many things that are created by slaves and African Americans that white people took credit for. For example, I personally never knew that the field of gynecology was created based on the study of black women. It is so interesting to me that Texas is changing its textbook because they want to change black history and make it sound not so bad. This also connects to the recent abortion laws connected to Texas and I wonder why Texas is doing these things to women and minorities. I think that this story is an important one to read because it shows how Whites are trying to erase African American history even up to today. They don’t want to face the harsh reality and take responsibility for what they did. Whites and other people, even Asians as the model minority will never know how harsh the conditions were for the blacks. They will never experience what it’s like having someone related to you that is a slave. Before reading this story, I had never really realized how much black people have helped build our country and how hard they have worked. Their voices are not heard and without the blacks, this country would not be where it is today.


C: Ed: First, I could never imagine having my grandfather being a slave and it is so amazing that Ed can cope and live with that. Ed’s grandfather was a slave, his son was a musician, and he is a meteorologist. In fourth grade, Ed’s teacher wrote on his report card that he can not do the math. There is a huge stereotype that blacks are less likely to succeed academically and there is less effort put in to help them succeed. This is still a problem today and something that still needs work in our not-so-great school system. Blacks are also underrepresented in certain fields such as science because there is less opportunity for them to go into that field. When there was a terrible storm in Texas, the weather team didn’t even bother to go help the African American communities that were in need. They were only covering the damage done in the white communities. It didn’t even occur to them to go help. This is a big issue with our society today. The whites are not educated and willing to help the underprivileged/underrepresented. The whites are the ones that need to educate each other because they are more likely to listen to each other than to listen to the minorities.


  1. A. In Queen Esther’s story, there was a part where it states that Texas and other parts of the country were rewriting history textbooks because they were not comfortable with the idea of slavery. This factoid states that as of 2015, the state of Texas is rewriting textbooks that barely mention slavery, the KKK, or the Jim Crow Laws. They are falsifying history and making it seem like the African Americans weren’t treated that badly. This is an important issue people should know about because parts of the country are changing history to the benefit of the whites. It is so important for everybody to know about the harsh treatment of the blacks and make sure we don’t repeat what we did in history. This also connects to the new abortion law recently put in place, not allowing women to have abortions after a certain number of weeks.

B. In Justin’s story, he didn’t just say Africa. It is so common for people, especially people in America to just view it as a country with one kind of people, black people. In reality, this factoid tells us that there is more physical and genetic variation within a population in sub-Saharan Africa than there is among any other population. It also states that race is commonly said to be biological. Race is not biological and just a term that developed over time in the benefit of the whites. This is an important factoid because it lets us know that there is so much more variation in Africa than we think there is and the fact that race should never be seen as something biological.


  1. I love the book so far. It is so interesting to hear about so the many experiences that people of color have gone through. It is so interesting to hear about the struggles that each person goes through and the commonalities among their problems. These stories are so eye-opening and emphasize once again the many issues that we still have in our society today. There are so many different stories but they are so connected in a way.

I agree with your thought on the book, and how the book becomes much more interesting once you are able to try to think about the experiences of people of color and what they have gone through. I also agree that the stories are extremely eye opening and informative because although I have been aware of what goes on in the world and what injustices are still around, I had never heard so many first person stories that precisely highlight these issues.

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