How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.