posts 1 - 15 of 28
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.


Yiddeon
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 5

Racial Identity Post.

I agree with Guo and Vulichi’s opinions on race. It does seem like it started with the spanish counquest of the americas. I also agree with there assumptions that the idea of race was introduced so that europeans could have some sence of legitamicy surrounding there want for power. You can also see that if it was not race it would be something else as seen in Englnds conflicts with Ireland.


  1. Rylee, Marley, Parker
    1. These three exspressed their outrage and annoyance at how there are still marginalized groups, like theirs, that are still geting discriminated against and they talk about their outrage surrounding the fact that since they are part of the united states people think they are not appropriating their culture.
    2. I think that it is important to always rember that there are still groups that are being discriminated and marginalized and I think that it is important to be careful with your actions because you can still be appropriating culture even if you don’t think so.
  2. Nick
    1. He is the son of a Native mother and Jewish father. From an early age he was exsposed to racism and the way that police treats his community. He also exspresses his belife that as a jewish person due to the amount of persicution that we have gone through it is our job to help stand up and protect persecuted people. Finally he expresses his belief that all people of color have ahsered history.
    2. I agree with his belief that Jews have a responsiblity to try to help marginilized gorups and I think that it is important how early people are exposed to police brutality and police offenses.
  3. Vic
    1. She describes her excperience in shcool wanting to be palatable to white people and thinking it was her job to educate people. She then realized that it was not her job to educate people but to tell the truth. Through this experience she realized that many asian americans want to change the system through academia and the way to make change is through shaking up the system.
    2. I think that it is important to note that fact that many minorites believe that they have to be palatable for white people and she now disagrees with this sentament becasue you sometime can’t get anywhere by just saying what people wan’t you to say.

  1. Model minority
    1. The model minority myth was developed as a way of legitimizing the incorrect idea that as long as you work hard no matter who you are you have the same chances of reaching the top.
    2. I think that it both important to remember that not everyone has the same chances and that this myth although many think lifts up asians is just another way of putting them into one group and marginlizes them further.
  2. Modern segregation
    1. The first information in the margin is about how in milwaukee specifically there is still a large amount of segregation and that in other cities it is possible not meet anyone of another race.
    2. I think that it is important to remember that there are places with segregation and even in Boston where there was the boston schooling issues. I think that is important to meet people of different culture and backgrounds because otherwise you will not be able to see a full picture of the world.

This book so far is very interesting and I think that it is very informative. The way that it is told as a series of interviews makes it more relatable.

SunflowerSpruce
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Racial identity

I agree with the statement that ¨race is a cancer that impacts every part of our lives.¨ Whether we know it or not, race has played a significant role in our experiences, interactions, and has even impacted where we are today. A deeply rooted system that dates back hundreds of years that oppresses people of color does not just go away, even when it looks like a lot has changed. And that is true, a lot has changed. But there is also a lot more that needs to be fixed, and most of that are issues that many people do not know exist.


A story that really stood out to me was that of Jennifer’s because it demonstrates to what extent racism is taught (and also how it can be unlearned). Children are not born with the belief that one race is superior to another, but in this country, it is something that has been ingrained into people’s minds for hundreds of years. It is passed down from generation to generation and when everyone around you is telling you something at such a young age, you will most likely believe them. When Jennifer’s father told her that black people are “dirty,” she internalized and acted upon that.


Another person’s story that stood out to me was Justin E’s, specifically when he was describing his time studying in Senegal. He explained that people in Senegal see slavery as something that is now a part of history, but Black Americans see it as something that defines who they are. I found this shocking and it also gave me a lot of perspective because the Africans that were kidnapped and taken to America had to live in a world that saw them as less than human beings (both socially and by law) and essentially build their lives from the ground up. This is incredibly different from growing up in a place where racism against Black people is not taught to children or where families have lived for generations. I think that his point truly shows that racism in America is systemic and still affects people today, no matter how much progress has been made.


Vineela gives a different perspective when it comes to growing up in an immigrant household. She explains that her mom was very strict on her and had many rules that she had to follow because of her culture. She didn’t want Vineela to be too “American,” which put her in a difficult situation because as a child growing up in America, it is hard not to assimilate to the culture, but she also wanted to stay connected to her own culture and her family. Her situation perfectly exemplifies the struggle that many people face when battling between tradition and change.


A piece of information that surprised me to read was the explanation of the impact that the term “model minority” has on all races. It is a term that is used by white people to pit other races against each other, while they can just watch it all happen and continue to take advantage of this racist system. It minimizes the oppression that other races face and is a way to manipulate people of color to resent each other. I think that more people should know about this because everyone needs to realize that white supremacy is the common enemy, instead of each other.


Another factoid that left me shocked is that over 500 treaties were signed by America and the Native American tribes, but approximately 500 of those treaties were broken. This shows the hypocrisy of the American government. They sign many treaties with various different countries and groups of people, but only choose to follow the ones that they want to or that will benefit them in the long run. More people need to know this because it needs to be known that America is not as perfect or honest as some people say it is and that the government needs to be held accountable for their actions that happen at the expense of other groups of people.

SunflowerSpruce
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by Yiddeon on October 02, 2021 14:39

I agree with Guo and Vulichi’s opinions on race. It does seem like it started with the spanish counquest of the americas. I also agree with there assumptions that the idea of race was introduced so that europeans could have some sence of legitamicy surrounding there want for power. You can also see that if it was not race it would be something else as seen in Englnds conflicts with Ireland.


  1. Rylee, Marley, Parker
    1. These three exspressed their outrage and annoyance at how there are still marginalized groups, like theirs, that are still geting discriminated against and they talk about their outrage surrounding the fact that since they are part of the united states people think they are not appropriating their culture.
    2. I think that it is important to always rember that there are still groups that are being discriminated and marginalized and I think that it is important to be careful with your actions because you can still be appropriating culture even if you don’t think so.
  2. Nick
    1. He is the son of a Native mother and Jewish father. From an early age he was exsposed to racism and the way that police treats his community. He also exspresses his belife that as a jewish person due to the amount of persicution that we have gone through it is our job to help stand up and protect persecuted people. Finally he expresses his belief that all people of color have ahsered history.
    2. I agree with his belief that Jews have a responsiblity to try to help marginilized gorups and I think that it is important how early people are exposed to police brutality and police offenses.
  3. Vic
    1. She describes her excperience in shcool wanting to be palatable to white people and thinking it was her job to educate people. She then realized that it was not her job to educate people but to tell the truth. Through this experience she realized that many asian americans want to change the system through academia and the way to make change is through shaking up the system.
    2. I think that it is important to note that fact that many minorites believe that they have to be palatable for white people and she now disagrees with this sentament becasue you sometime can’t get anywhere by just saying what people wan’t you to say.

  1. Model minority
    1. The model minority myth was developed as a way of legitimizing the incorrect idea that as long as you work hard no matter who you are you have the same chances of reaching the top.
    2. I think that it both important to remember that not everyone has the same chances and that this myth although many think lifts up asians is just another way of putting them into one group and marginlizes them further.
  2. Modern segregation
    1. The first information in the margin is about how in milwaukee specifically there is still a large amount of segregation and that in other cities it is possible not meet anyone of another race.
    2. I think that it is important to remember that there are places with segregation and even in Boston where there was the boston schooling issues. I think that is important to meet people of different culture and backgrounds because otherwise you will not be able to see a full picture of the world.

This book so far is very interesting and I think that it is very informative. The way that it is told as a series of interviews makes it more relatable.

I like what you said about how many other races feel like they have to be palatable to white people in order to succeed in America.

SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Tell Me Who You Are Response

1. I completely agree with the statement that Priya and Winona give about race. Whether it be subtle or obvious, conscious or subconscious, public or private- race is a defining factor in one's behavior, mentality, treatment, reputation, economic, social, and political status, education, quality of life,... do I need to continue? There simply is no way to escape "race," because the foundation of the eurocentric and colonial world that we live in is built upon the idea that your value is directly correlated to your heritage, region of living, and your physical appearance. It is ingrained into every human's brain that "race" divides us, that one race is almost a completely different species than another, and our current society reflects that. When speaking about the United States' existence, it is clear that Priya and Winona are speaking of current status and reputation that America holds in modern day society. We pride ourselves on being the most freedom-loving, wealthy, prosperous nation in the world, yet without the oppression, enslavement, and mass murdering of people of color (specifically African Americans), the cohesion and facade that is the "American Dream" would never have been born, and the so-called "great nation" in which we live would cease to exist. Anything that came from America was built on the backs of people of color, and the man-made division of "race" acts as a form of justification for the injustice of their mistreatment. The only section of their statement that I think can be interpreted differently is the idea that race is a "cancer." The only reason I might argue with this is because I know plenty of people, myself included, take pride in their race, history, and heritage. That being said, I'm not sure if this pride can be attributed to the socially constructed concept of "race," or if its rather a pride that sprouts from more personal interconnected factors.

2. #1. Melina- a) This person speaks out about her journey in acknowledging her white privilege and working to dismantle the structure of white supremacy. She feels that as a white person, it is her responsibility to call out the issue and educate others.

b) I think this person's account is noteworthy because it's coming from a perspective of someone who actually benefits from white supremacy and the racial divide. Her story is not so much revolved around being oppressed, but rather how she can stop playing a vital part in enabling oppression. This is an important perspective to take into account because it emphasizes how social reform requires the participation of both the oppressed and the oppressor.

#2. Alexa, Justin P. and Jennifer L.- a) Each of these students recall their experiences in grappling with their race while attending majorly white high schools after having lived in marginalized communities.

b) I think these students's accounts are important because they offer a very authentic look on how the youth is affected by white supremacy and racism. None of these students's accounts start out with them being educated rights activists, in fact, each of them admit to formerly using derogatory language and publicly exhibiting discriminatory behaviors. Yet their own experiences with both white people and other minorities led to personal growth and better understanding of intersectionality, white privilege, and allyship.

#3. Queen Esther- a) This person dives into the backlash she faces as a black country singer, being accused by others of betraying her race. Yet, she is quick to remind everyone that country music, along with most other white-claimed inventions in general, descends from black people.

b) I think the person's account is noteworthy because it connects back to the point that Priya and Winona make about the US in the beginning of the chapter. There is nothing that America could pride itself on had it not been for the contribution and sacrifice of black people. This goes for the majority of places in general, as over the centuries white people continue to steal and appropriate black people's culture and creations, along with exploiting them for their own personal gains. I was not even aware of origins of gynecology until reading this passage, which goes to show how urgent it is that we educate the general public and speak out about these wrongdoings.

3. #1. Textbooks- a) Public schools in Texas use history textbooks that re frame slavery and the Civil War and fails to mention the KKK and Jim Crow.

b) I think more people should know about this because it is an alarmingly current issue. This is not something that happened in the past, it's something that is being allowed right now, and the progress of our generation and future generations hangs in the balance if it is to continue. The fact that people my age are being taught such blasphemy is not only appalling and unethical, it stifles the chances of creating a more integrated and socially aware country.

#2. Positionality- a) Race, gender, and class are "markers of relational positions rather than essential qualities"

b) I think people should know about this term because it upwardly debunks the notion that socially structured concepts are what is most important about a person. In the end, race, gender, and class are what is used to divide us, but they're not what defines us, and I think it's important to remind people of that.

4. So far, I'm thoroughly enjoying this book! It is both refreshing and eye-opening to absorb the perspectives of such a wide variation of people, including both people who benefit and are oppressed by white supremacy, racism, and euro-centrism. Many of the people in each story note that it's important for people to open up their eyes and ears to others's experiences and struggles, and in many ways, I think this book provides people with the opportunity to do so. Even now, after reading only the first chapter, I feel as though I've learned new concepts and have gained a better understanding of the experiences of marginalized groups of people who I might not interact with on a day to day basis. I'm very excited to continue reading on and learning new things!


SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by Yiddeon on October 02, 2021 14:39



  1. Rylee, Marley, Parker
    1. These three exspressed their outrage and annoyance at how there are still marginalized groups, like theirs, that are still geting discriminated against and they talk about their outrage surrounding the fact that since they are part of the united states people think they are not appropriating their culture.
    2. I think that it is important to always rember that there are still groups that are being discriminated and marginalized and I think that it is important to be careful with your actions because you can still be appropriating culture even if you don’t think so.

I totally agree that this account sheds light on the continuation of discrimination for marginalized groups in America. I think it is deemed more socially acceptable in America to make light of or ignore the oppression of Hawaiians because of their geography and relation to the US. Yet it is clear that their culture and home is not something that can be thrown in with American values, as their state status was completely involuntary and they continue to face oppression in present day.

goldshark567
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

1: I agree with Winona and Priya’s beliefs about the role of race. Race does impact everyone’s lives, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. The United States was built on the oppression of people of color and continues to benefit the oppressors: white people. White privilege is very real and very prominent. BIPOC face so many challenges in every aspect of life with regards to how they are perceived in society, opportunities they are given, education, etc. (SesameStreet444 said “race is a defining factor in one's behavior, mentality, treatment, reputation, economic, social, and political status, education, quality of life,...” which I think encapsulates a lot of the factors that race plays a part in very well.) Having the ability to not acknowledge the role that race plays in life is a privilege in and of itself.

2:

  1. Nick (Porcupine, South Dakota)
    1. In his account, Nick discussed his struggle with being a Native American and Jewish man. A specific thing he brought up was an experience he had with the police when he was three and a half years old. He was sitting in a car while his parents were organizing a rally for political prisoners when police in riot gear showed up and attacked the rally with tear gas. A canister of tear gas flew into the car and he ended up passing out. This gave him a fear of police from an early age, something that many BIPOC experience.
    2. Racism in the police force is a major issue, one that spurred a huge wave of Black Lives Matter protests in Spring 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by white police officers. BIPOC are much more likely to be stopped and violence used on them by police and Nick’s story is a prime example of the fear that they experience, often from a young age, that white people simply do not worry about.
  2. Justin E. (Lawrence, Kansas)
    1. Justin talks about how his race has defined him throughout his life. He recalls being called the n-word for the first time in middle school and how that’s when he first really grasped the fact that being black affected how others saw him. He noted the difference between how in Senegal, West Africa, Black people viewed the slave trade as part of their history, not as a defining factor, while in the U.S. Black people are still primarily defined by slavery. Justin also brings up the point that white people often won’t fully listen to what people of color have to say, so white people have an obligation to teach other white people about the experiences of people of color.
    2. What Justin says is very important because in general, white people are not defined by their race. There are not tons of harmful stereotypes associated with being a white person and a need to prove yourself different from those stereotypes. Whereas for a Black person like Justin, he often has many assumptions made about him because of his race. Another very important thing Justin mentioned is how white people need to have an active role in educating people about the struggles of BIPOC. This is super important because white people have privilege when it comes to being listened to by other white people.
  3. Rylee, Marley, and Parker (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
    1. Rylee, Marley, and Parker bring to light how the cultural appropriation of Hawaiian culture has become accepted as a norm in society, despite the fact that Hawaiians are indigenous and are only part of the United States because they were illegally annexed. People make stereotypes about Hawaiian people and all three people have had inappropriate comments made or questions asked to them regarding being Hawaiian.
    2. The issue that Rylee, Marley, and Parker discuss is important because it is often overlooked. People generally seem to forget that Native Hawaiian is a race, distinct from just being a local from Hawai’i. Just because people put on leis without thinking about the meaning behind them does not mean it is right, which can be said about cultural appropriation of any kind.

3:

  1. Catering to white people (p. 43)
    1. This piece of information asks the reader if they pick up on the way that hotels don’t carry shampoo for Black hair or that their main advertisement is lying out next to the pool in the sun.
    2. These are examples of how white people are catered to in most aspects of society. In this instance, for example, hotels carry shampoo that works for white people’s hair but not that of Black people. It is often not discussed, but white people are the “default” for pretty much everything in life. Generic brands of products and services are normally able to be used by white people, but for a black person who requires the same product or service, they will have to look harder and/or pay more.
  2. Texas Public Schools New History Curriculum (p. 23)
    1. Texas Public Schools created a new history curriculum in 2015 that removes mention of slavery, the causes of the Civil War, the KKK, and Jim Crow laws.
    2. By doing this, students in Texas are left uneducated on the treatment of people of color in this country throughout history, as well as how this country exists because POC were oppressed. Texas teachers will be teaching false history, which is not only wrong to do, but will also have drastic consequences on how students in the Texas Public Schools Systems will move forward in life if they are not exposed to topics regarding race early on.

4: So far, I really enjoy this book. Hearing personal stories is almost always more engaging to me than reading books written in the third person about someone else’s experience. The vast array of people that Winona and Priya interview gives lots of perspective on how race has a huge role in everyone’s lives. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that race is a factor, rather than overlooking it, which I think that this book truly emphasizes the importance of.




dollarcoffee
Boston, MA
Posts: 10

I agree with what Winona and Priya say about race, especially how "race is a cancer that impacts every part of our lives." Whether intentional or not, race does impact everything about the way we live our lives, and depending on your race you can have very different experiences doing the same thing as a person of another race. Especially in the United States, where a lot of our systems are built around colonialism and white supremacy, race seeps into literally every aspect of our lives.

  1. Nick's story really stood out to me. He talked about the American Indian Movement, which documented police brutality against Natives, and then recounted his first memory. It was at a protest for political prisoners and then a bunch of police officers attacked a peaceful crowd, and threw tear gas into the car he was in. This and many other experiences led him to a life of resistance and spreading a message of Native solidarity, and acknowledging Native history.
    1. When he talked about people thinking Natives just disappeared and saying that was the “final stage of colonization” that really stood out to me. A part of genocide is the eradication of culture, and this line really showed that. It really reminded me how deeply colonization has affected the growth and development of the United States, down to our education system, as some people don’t even realize all the ground we walk on was stolen from Natives, or that Native communities still exist today. His earliest memory about police violence against a group of Native protesters also showed how differently Indigenous people, and POC interact with police than white people do.
  2. Justin's story also stood out to me. He talked about how he was always the smart kid, and how that impacted his journey as a Latino man. He talks about code switching with his friends and his teachers, and going to a rich predominately white private school, and how that's affected his relationship with his friends, classmates and families.
    1. What I found significant in this story was how Justin talked about experiencing light skinned privilege in his neighborhood but when he went to a predominately white institution he still experienced racism from his peers regardless of his skin tone. Even though he experienced privilege in his neighborhood when he was thrown into a white space he was just labelled a Latino from the Southwest side.
  3. Rylee, Marley, and Parker
    1. All three of them are Hawaiian, and they talk about Native Hawaiian culture and dispelling stereotypes about it, but also how normalized cultural appropriation is of Hawaiian culture.
    2. I thought their account was noteworthy because of their discussion of cultural appropriation. Rylee specifically talked about how Hawaiian culture has been so colonized that they can’t even say certain things are culturally appropriating even though they are. I thought her talking about how Hawaiian culture is an Indigenous culture and not an American state culture was incredibly important and how certain things are cultural appropriation regardless of how normalized they are.

The factoid on page 37 about white privilege stood out to me, specifically the quote, “White privilege is both unconsciously enjoyed and consciously perpetuated. It is both on the surface and deeply embedded into American life” I thought this quote was incredibly important because a lot of people don’t acknowledge their white privilege. The phrase “unconsciously enjoyed” stood out to me as even though you may actively consider yourself anti-racist, you still benefit from white privilege every single second of every single day, and have the privilege of being able to do certain things or go about your day without thinking about certain things. As a white person, my white privilege is something I benefit from, even though it may not be consciously, from officer interactions to not having to worry about feeling unsafe in certain spaces.

The factoid on page 23 was about Texas public schools changing their history curriculums to barely talk about slavery, reframe the Civil war, and doesn’t mention things like the Jim Crow laws. This shows how systems of white supremacy still exist today and in every aspect of society, even our education system. It shows how these systems also perpetuate white supremacy, and by not teaching children about important parts of our nation’s history, continue to perpetuate a false narrative about the United States and promote white supremacy.

I am enjoying this book. It’s teaching me a lot, and also having me rethink certain things I’ve been taught. I thought a lot of the points about cultural appropriation were incredibly important, and I wouldn’t have thought about certain things without someone pointing them out. I also really value the first person interview style, as it is much more engaging and shows us these people’s lived experiences.

dollarcoffee
Boston, MA
Posts: 10

Originally posted by goldshark567 on October 03, 2021 18:00

1: I agree with Winona and Priya’s beliefs about the role of race. Race does impact everyone’s lives, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. The United States was built on the oppression of people of color and continues to benefit the oppressors: white people. White privilege is very real and very prominent. BIPOC face so many challenges in every aspect of life with regards to how they are perceived in society, opportunities they are given, education, etc. (SesameStreet444 said “race is a defining factor in one's behavior, mentality, treatment, reputation, economic, social, and political status, education, quality of life,...” which I think encapsulates a lot of the factors that race plays a part in very well.) Having the ability to not acknowledge the role that race plays in life is a privilege in and of itself.

2:

  1. Nick (Porcupine, South Dakota)
    1. In his account, Nick discussed his struggle with being a Native American and Jewish man. A specific thing he brought up was an experience he had with the police when he was three and a half years old. He was sitting in a car while his parents were organizing a rally for political prisoners when police in riot gear showed up and attacked the rally with tear gas. A canister of tear gas flew into the car and he ended up passing out. This gave him a fear of police from an early age, something that many BIPOC experience.
    2. Racism in the police force is a major issue, one that spurred a huge wave of Black Lives Matter protests in Spring 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by white police officers. BIPOC are much more likely to be stopped and violence used on them by police and Nick’s story is a prime example of the fear that they experience, often from a young age, that white people simply do not worry about.
  2. Justin E. (Lawrence, Kansas)
    1. Justin talks about how his race has defined him throughout his life. He recalls being called the n-word for the first time in middle school and how that’s when he first really grasped the fact that being black affected how others saw him. He noted the difference between how in Senegal, West Africa, Black people viewed the slave trade as part of their history, not as a defining factor, while in the U.S. Black people are still primarily defined by slavery. Justin also brings up the point that white people often won’t fully listen to what people of color have to say, so white people have an obligation to teach other white people about the experiences of people of color.
    2. What Justin says is very important because in general, white people are not defined by their race. There are not tons of harmful stereotypes associated with being a white person and a need to prove yourself different from those stereotypes. Whereas for a Black person like Justin, he often has many assumptions made about him because of his race. Another very important thing Justin mentioned is how white people need to have an active role in educating people about the struggles of BIPOC. This is super important because white people have privilege when it comes to being listened to by other white people.
  3. Rylee, Marley, and Parker (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
    1. Rylee, Marley, and Parker bring to light how the cultural appropriation of Hawaiian culture has become accepted as a norm in society, despite the fact that Hawaiians are indigenous and are only part of the United States because they were illegally annexed. People make stereotypes about Hawaiian people and all three people have had inappropriate comments made or questions asked to them regarding being Hawaiian.
    2. The issue that Rylee, Marley, and Parker discuss is important because it is often overlooked. People generally seem to forget that Native Hawaiian is a race, distinct from just being a local from Hawai’i. Just because people put on leis without thinking about the meaning behind them does not mean it is right, which can be said about cultural appropriation of any kind.

3:

  1. Catering to white people (p. 43)
    1. This piece of information asks the reader if they pick up on the way that hotels don’t carry shampoo for Black hair or that their main advertisement is lying out next to the pool in the sun.
    2. These are examples of how white people are catered to in most aspects of society. In this instance, for example, hotels carry shampoo that works for white people’s hair but not that of Black people. It is often not discussed, but white people are the “default” for pretty much everything in life. Generic brands of products and services are normally able to be used by white people, but for a black person who requires the same product or service, they will have to look harder and/or pay more.
  2. Texas Public Schools New History Curriculum (p. 23)
    1. Texas Public Schools created a new history curriculum in 2015 that removes mention of slavery, the causes of the Civil War, the KKK, and Jim Crow laws.
    2. By doing this, students in Texas are left uneducated on the treatment of people of color in this country throughout history, as well as how this country exists because POC were oppressed. Texas teachers will be teaching false history, which is not only wrong to do, but will also have drastic consequences on how students in the Texas Public Schools Systems will move forward in life if they are not exposed to topics regarding race early on.

4: So far, I really enjoy this book. Hearing personal stories is almost always more engaging to me than reading books written in the third person about someone else’s experience. The vast array of people that Winona and Priya interview gives lots of perspective on how race has a huge role in everyone’s lives. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that race is a factor, rather than overlooking it, which I think that this book truly emphasizes the importance of.




I also thought the footnote about the Texas public schools curriculum change was significant. Like you said, students will remain uneducated on how the United States has systematically oppressed people of color, and this lack of education will cause ignorance, something which historically is known to have signifcant consequences.

no-one
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

1. I agree with the points they make that race has affected and infiltrated nearly every aspect of our society and that systemic and structural racism are nearly universal in the United States and much of the Western world. However, I think that starting with this assumption may be a negative choice, because by examining these national issues through only one lens can eliminate other factors that certainly have an impact. As clichéd as it is, the story about the blind men mistaking an elephant for different objects depending on which part of its body they felt does ring true. Just like class-reductionist Marxists who deny that race, religion, gender, etc. have any effect on to differentiate the experiences of those in the same economic class, Winona and Priya may fall into the same trap of missing parts of the bigger picture by focusing on a single aspect. I think it is best to start such an enterprise to discover and uncover the role of race and racism in society with an open-ended question, rather than start with an assumption and then (consciously or unconsciously) try to prove it true and perhaps suffer from confirmation bias. However, I do not disagree with their conclusions in and of themselves and I think that it is very important to discuss this issue and its effects: I just think it should be put in a bigger framework.

2.

#1.

  1. Nick, from Porcupine, South Dakota, described his and his family's experiences with police brutality and his role as a half-Jewish half-Native American/American Indian man in fighting back against oppression, misinformation, and the erasure of both the culture and the people themselves of the indigenous inhabitants of the United States.
  2. I thought Nick's message about racial solidarity in the face of oppression and the "equity lens" was especially important and compelling. I think this sort of solidarity has both grown and decreased in recent years, in different aspects. New Left activists in the 1970s tended to focus more on collective liberation of all oppressed peoples as one common group, while today's activism focuses more on an individualist mindset. However, I think that this idea of one united struggle transcending small differences is a powerful and important one. It's certainly necessary to consider and address the privileges and differences that separate us, but it becomes counterproductive when the fight against oppression becomes more against other oppressed groups than the oppressors themselves. However, social media and the Internet have also allowed activism and organization to transcend national, regional, or local boundaries, contributing to a bigger sense of solidarity.

#2.

  1. Justin E. from Lawrence, Kansas, talked about his experiences with racism and his travel to Senegal that in some ways affected his perception of race in the U.S.A.
  2. I thought Justin’s point that in Senegal the slave trade was a historical event, but not one that defined the identity of the people living there forevermore, but in the United States he had always felt that society had tied him to the history of slavery and the many stereotypes used against Black people, was an interesting one. I feel that we rarely talk about the perceptions of race and racism outside our own country in the world at large, and these perspectives might help us better understand and change the situation in our nation. Also, his argument that the oppressors themselves (i.e. white people) have their own responsibility to make change because of the privilege they hold was an important one to me.

#3.

  1. Queen Esther mentioned the struggles of being a Black woman who plays country music, and the erasure of Black contributions to science, arts, and culture in American history, as well as the erasure of discussions about racism, slavery, etc. from school curriculums.
  2. I thought that Esther reclaiming a culture and identity that had been stolen from Black Americans so effectively that people would even question her for playing music that to them seemed the embodiment of whiteness was very impressive. I was also struck by her mentions of Nearest Green’s invention of Jack Daniel’s (obviously not credited eponymously) and the horrible experimental surgeries done on Black women that led to the field of gynecology, because I had never heard anything about either of these cases, although some of the other examples she briefly mentioned I had heard of.

3.

#1.

    1. The factoid about racial divisions in cities stated that Milwaukee, then New York City, and then Chicago were the three most racially divided large cities and that in Chicago the average white resident lived in a ~75% white neighborhood and the average Black one in a 64% Black neighborhood.
    2. I think that this is important because, to me, New York City seems like a very diverse and cosmopolitan city, so I was actually very surprised to hear that it was the second-most racially divided one in the US. While I have not been much to the boroughs outside of Manhattan, to me it seemed that there were many people of different races, ethnicities, etc. all in the same place. However, that’s both a very anecdotal observation and also doesn’t take into account that people may live in very segregated areas regardless of where they are during the day. I think it is important for people to consider the “bubbles” they live in and to actively seek perspectives that may not be reflected in the places they live, go to school, etc.

    #2.

  1. The factoid about the Texan education curriculum changes mentioned that, among other things, the KKK and Jim Crow laws were completely omitted from history classes and the Civil War was portrayed as a states-rights issue rather than a fight over slavery.
  2. I thought this was very worrying, but also unfortunately not surprising after hearing about the many other changes to the education curriculums in Texas. I think it is very worrying that the teaching of history can be subject to the biases of politicians and school boards. However, I’m not sure what the solution is, but I firmly believe that it is always important to think independently and to learn things on your own. It’s good to trust authority, but only after ensuring its credibility, not blindly accepting things given by someone in a position of power.

4. I really liked reading the anecdotes and personal details from each person interviewed, and it made the wide-sweeping issues and problems feel more down-to-earth and personal. That was especially because many of the people were high-schoolers or at least young people near our own age. Having people that we ourselves can relate to share their experiences makes it fit more into our own experience and make it more enjoyable and thought-provoking to read. All in all, I think it’s a very good book and I’m looking forward to reading more.

no-one
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by goldshark567 on October 03, 2021 18:00

1: I agree with Winona and Priya’s beliefs about the role of race. Race does impact everyone’s lives, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. The United States was built on the oppression of people of color and continues to benefit the oppressors: white people. White privilege is very real and very prominent. BIPOC face so many challenges in every aspect of life with regards to how they are perceived in society, opportunities they are given, education, etc. (SesameStreet444 said “race is a defining factor in one's behavior, mentality, treatment, reputation, economic, social, and political status, education, quality of life,...” which I think encapsulates a lot of the factors that race plays a part in very well.) Having the ability to not acknowledge the role that race plays in life is a privilege in and of itself.

2:

  1. Nick (Porcupine, South Dakota)
    1. In his account, Nick discussed his struggle with being a Native American and Jewish man. A specific thing he brought up was an experience he had with the police when he was three and a half years old. He was sitting in a car while his parents were organizing a rally for political prisoners when police in riot gear showed up and attacked the rally with tear gas. A canister of tear gas flew into the car and he ended up passing out. This gave him a fear of police from an early age, something that many BIPOC experience.
    2. Racism in the police force is a major issue, one that spurred a huge wave of Black Lives Matter protests in Spring 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by white police officers. BIPOC are much more likely to be stopped and violence used on them by police and Nick’s story is a prime example of the fear that they experience, often from a young age, that white people simply do not worry about.
  2. Justin E. (Lawrence, Kansas)
    1. Justin talks about how his race has defined him throughout his life. He recalls being called the n-word for the first time in middle school and how that’s when he first really grasped the fact that being black affected how others saw him. He noted the difference between how in Senegal, West Africa, Black people viewed the slave trade as part of their history, not as a defining factor, while in the U.S. Black people are still primarily defined by slavery. Justin also brings up the point that white people often won’t fully listen to what people of color have to say, so white people have an obligation to teach other white people about the experiences of people of color.
    2. What Justin says is very important because in general, white people are not defined by their race. There are not tons of harmful stereotypes associated with being a white person and a need to prove yourself different from those stereotypes. Whereas for a Black person like Justin, he often has many assumptions made about him because of his race. Another very important thing Justin mentioned is how white people need to have an active role in educating people about the struggles of BIPOC. This is super important because white people have privilege when it comes to being listened to by other white people.
  3. Rylee, Marley, and Parker (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
    1. Rylee, Marley, and Parker bring to light how the cultural appropriation of Hawaiian culture has become accepted as a norm in society, despite the fact that Hawaiians are indigenous and are only part of the United States because they were illegally annexed. People make stereotypes about Hawaiian people and all three people have had inappropriate comments made or questions asked to them regarding being Hawaiian.
    2. The issue that Rylee, Marley, and Parker discuss is important because it is often overlooked. People generally seem to forget that Native Hawaiian is a race, distinct from just being a local from Hawai’i. Just because people put on leis without thinking about the meaning behind them does not mean it is right, which can be said about cultural appropriation of any kind.

3:

  1. Catering to white people (p. 43)
    1. This piece of information asks the reader if they pick up on the way that hotels don’t carry shampoo for Black hair or that their main advertisement is lying out next to the pool in the sun.
    2. These are examples of how white people are catered to in most aspects of society. In this instance, for example, hotels carry shampoo that works for white people’s hair but not that of Black people. It is often not discussed, but white people are the “default” for pretty much everything in life. Generic brands of products and services are normally able to be used by white people, but for a black person who requires the same product or service, they will have to look harder and/or pay more.
  2. Texas Public Schools New History Curriculum (p. 23)
    1. Texas Public Schools created a new history curriculum in 2015 that removes mention of slavery, the causes of the Civil War, the KKK, and Jim Crow laws.
    2. By doing this, students in Texas are left uneducated on the treatment of people of color in this country throughout history, as well as how this country exists because POC were oppressed. Texas teachers will be teaching false history, which is not only wrong to do, but will also have drastic consequences on how students in the Texas Public Schools Systems will move forward in life if they are not exposed to topics regarding race early on.

4: So far, I really enjoy this book. Hearing personal stories is almost always more engaging to me than reading books written in the third person about someone else’s experience. The vast array of people that Winona and Priya interview gives lots of perspective on how race has a huge role in everyone’s lives. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that race is a factor, rather than overlooking it, which I think that this book truly emphasizes the importance of.




I also thought the mention of white people's needs and wants being seen as the "default", as illustrated in the shampoo example, was something important to examine. As a white person it's often hard to realize these things: it's much easier to notice when you are the one being left out. These examples can be found everywhere, but often go invisible to many people, myself included.

poptarts
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

I agree with both their statements, race and racism will always impact our lives no matter how far we think we’ve progressed from the past. Throughout history people have found ways to differentiate themselves from others simply by where they’re from, and that will probably stay the same forever. The role of race has been so deeply embedded into our societies that even people who’s races put them at a disadvantage can be racists and use assumptions and stereotypes, not just those who are privileged and white.


  1. One of the accounts from the book that I find important is Jennifer L.’s. She mentions how when growing up in a tightly knit Vietnamese community, she was secluded and knew little to nothing about the outside world and that caused to have many views about poc, especially black people, that are actually very harmful. The main reason she had these views is because of the lack of integrating and interactions with outside communities along with the ideas and stereotypes that had been passed down and taught from those who are older. Things like these that are introduced at young ages, as we see with Jennifer, can end up with someone doing things that are unacceptable and problematic, but the person doing these things doesn’t know any better and that's still seen a lot in our societies today.
  2. Alexa’s story also stood out to me because it shows that a lot of the time people use ‘whiteness’ as ways to determine certain aspects of their lives. Because of how many similarities someone might have to a white person, they can have things assumed about them like their social and economic status along with being more privileged than others who are the same race, but don’t reflect that ‘whiteness’ in the same way. In Alexa’s case she’s assumed to be rich and is called names that are used for white people, even though her family isn’t rich and she is still very much Mexican, simply because she seems more white, and seeming more white automatically means you are assumed to have more privilege because of how deeply rooted white privilege is in our societies.
  3. Queen Esther’s statements were also one’s I found important. She mentions how her singing country isn’t her straying from blackness, it’s her reclaiming it. Some might try to argue but the United States was built on slavery immigrant work, and her points about how many of the things that are considered white are actually originally from black people and black culture only proves that point more. Race in this country plays such a significant role and with white Americans having been on top since the beginning, many things that originated from poc and their culture was stolen and now it's considered straying from your culture and white-washing.

  1. The first factoid that I found interesting was how Asian Americans actually have a higher median household income than Whites, yet 12% of Asian Americans live at the poverty level. This was actually kind of surprising because it's natural for many of us to assume that Whites would have the highest household income because of how they tend to be more privileged than other races.
  2. Another factoid that I felt the need to share was how harmful the whole ‘model-minority’ stereotype can be. It places an assumption that minorities (especially Asian Americans) have the ability to make it and be successful, they just have to work hard. This can cause an expectation and can be harmful to minorities who are doing all that they can and yet simply find themselves struggling.

I personally like the book so far because it gives an insight into what so many people feel that some might not understand. I’ve experienced some of the things I’ve mentioned above firsthand, and I can guarantee that many white people haven’t, so this can be very eye-opening and bring more awareness to the subject.

poptarts
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by SunflowerSpruce on October 03, 2021 15:10

I agree with the statement that ¨race is a cancer that impacts every part of our lives.¨ Whether we know it or not, race has played a significant role in our experiences, interactions, and has even impacted where we are today. A deeply rooted system that dates back hundreds of years that oppresses people of color does not just go away, even when it looks like a lot has changed. And that is true, a lot has changed. But there is also a lot more that needs to be fixed, and most of that are issues that many people do not know exist.


A story that really stood out to me was that of Jennifer’s because it demonstrates to what extent racism is taught (and also how it can be unlearned). Children are not born with the belief that one race is superior to another, but in this country, it is something that has been ingrained into people’s minds for hundreds of years. It is passed down from generation to generation and when everyone around you is telling you something at such a young age, you will most likely believe them. When Jennifer’s father told her that black people are “dirty,” she internalized and acted upon that.


Another person’s story that stood out to me was Justin E’s, specifically when he was describing his time studying in Senegal. He explained that people in Senegal see slavery as something that is now a part of history, but Black Americans see it as something that defines who they are. I found this shocking and it also gave me a lot of perspective because the Africans that were kidnapped and taken to America had to live in a world that saw them as less than human beings (both socially and by law) and essentially build their lives from the ground up. This is incredibly different from growing up in a place where racism against Black people is not taught to children or where families have lived for generations. I think that his point truly shows that racism in America is systemic and still affects people today, no matter how much progress has been made.


Vineela gives a different perspective when it comes to growing up in an immigrant household. She explains that her mom was very strict on her and had many rules that she had to follow because of her culture. She didn’t want Vineela to be too “American,” which put her in a difficult situation because as a child growing up in America, it is hard not to assimilate to the culture, but she also wanted to stay connected to her own culture and her family. Her situation perfectly exemplifies the struggle that many people face when battling between tradition and change.


A piece of information that surprised me to read was the explanation of the impact that the term “model minority” has on all races. It is a term that is used by white people to pit other races against each other, while they can just watch it all happen and continue to take advantage of this racist system. It minimizes the oppression that other races face and is a way to manipulate people of color to resent each other. I think that more people should know about this because everyone needs to realize that white supremacy is the common enemy, instead of each other.


Another factoid that left me shocked is that over 500 treaties were signed by America and the Native American tribes, but approximately 500 of those treaties were broken. This shows the hypocrisy of the American government. They sign many treaties with various different countries and groups of people, but only choose to follow the ones that they want to or that will benefit them in the long run. More people need to know this because it needs to be known that America is not as perfect or honest as some people say it is and that the government needs to be held accountable for their actions that happen at the expense of other groups of people.

I agree that racism is something that is taught and passed down from previous generations, and I'd like to add that when even the slightest racist comment is made and a child hears it, it can be very influential and internalized in a way that affects both the child and the people who the child uses that against in a bad way.

stylishghost
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 10

racial identity

  1. I fully agree with Winona's and Priya's opinions and assumptions about the role of race. The idea that race is a "cancer" doesn't seem far off, but does seem to contradict the sentiment that race is socially constructed. The cancer comparison seems to be more based around the way that cancer is uncontrollable and out of our control, and "inescapably impact(s) everything around us". There is nothing to challenge about their ideas from my point of view as a white person, because I will always be learning about racism through an outside lens.
  2. 1 - Jennifer: She grew up in a majorly Vietnamese neighborhood, and heard many racist, specifically anti-black stereotypes as a kid. Later, she attended a majorly black, asian, and latino school, and after making her racism clear to the other students, began to learn more about other races and cultures, and the harm that comes from stereotypes. She then went to a majorly white private school, where she leads the ASA club and has had more time to reflect on her identity as an Asian American. This account was especially important because the introduced the myth of the "model minority", which discredits institutional and systemic racism. This myth is applicable in the application process at BLS, because it states the idea that someone from any background can make it if they were to try hard enough, even though there is obvious inequity. 2- Justin: He discusses his experience with racism as a child, and the history he learned by studying abroad in Senegal. His call to action to white people was the most important part, because he explains how white people sometimes will only listen to other white people when it comes to matters of race, and that the oppressed shouldn't have to always be the ones working for equality. 3- Liz: She depicts what traveling as a black woman meant for her, specifically in European countries. Many residents would ask to take her picture, purely because they had never seen a black person before. She then talks about her travels to East and South Africa, and how she felt slightly more embraced by the culture and comfortable there. I found it surprising simply how recently it was that people in Eastern Europe looked at Liz as such an outsider, and that that probably still happens today.
  3. One factoid they included was that after emancipation, thousands of African Americans died from diseases like small pox. I found this especially interesting and important because emancipation is described in textbooks often as the US righting its wrongs, and that it meant more rights and safety for Black people, which is not the case. Another thing included was a fact about how schools in Texas teach very little about the Civil war and do not address slavery in their circular. This information makes the text even more relevant, because many people in America are not getting educated on racism, so they may turn to these stories.
  4. I like the book because it gives points of view of people I never would have most likely meant in my lifetime. The best way of learning is often through the experiences of others, and that is exactly what this text looks to achieve. I had never really contemplated the points of view of people of color in this country as much as now.



stylishghost
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by poptarts on October 03, 2021 22:17

I agree with both their statements, race and racism will always impact our lives no matter how far we think we’ve progressed from the past. Throughout history people have found ways to differentiate themselves from others simply by where they’re from, and that will probably stay the same forever. The role of race has been so deeply embedded into our societies that even people who’s races put them at a disadvantage can be racists and use assumptions and stereotypes, not just those who are privileged and white.


  1. One of the accounts from the book that I find important is Jennifer L.’s. She mentions how when growing up in a tightly knit Vietnamese community, she was secluded and knew little to nothing about the outside world and that caused to have many views about poc, especially black people, that are actually very harmful. The main reason she had these views is because of the lack of integrating and interactions with outside communities along with the ideas and stereotypes that had been passed down and taught from those who are older. Things like these that are introduced at young ages, as we see with Jennifer, can end up with someone doing things that are unacceptable and problematic, but the person doing these things doesn’t know any better and that's still seen a lot in our societies today.
  2. Alexa’s story also stood out to me because it shows that a lot of the time people use ‘whiteness’ as ways to determine certain aspects of their lives. Because of how many similarities someone might have to a white person, they can have things assumed about them like their social and economic status along with being more privileged than others who are the same race, but don’t reflect that ‘whiteness’ in the same way. In Alexa’s case she’s assumed to be rich and is called names that are used for white people, even though her family isn’t rich and she is still very much Mexican, simply because she seems more white, and seeming more white automatically means you are assumed to have more privilege because of how deeply rooted white privilege is in our societies.
  3. Queen Esther’s statements were also one’s I found important. She mentions how her singing country isn’t her straying from blackness, it’s her reclaiming it. Some might try to argue but the United States was built on slavery immigrant work, and her points about how many of the things that are considered white are actually originally from black people and black culture only proves that point more. Race in this country plays such a significant role and with white Americans having been on top since the beginning, many things that originated from poc and their culture was stolen and now it's considered straying from your culture and white-washing.

  1. The first factoid that I found interesting was how Asian Americans actually have a higher median household income than Whites, yet 12% of Asian Americans live at the poverty level. This was actually kind of surprising because it's natural for many of us to assume that Whites would have the highest household income because of how they tend to be more privileged than other races.
  2. Another factoid that I felt the need to share was how harmful the whole ‘model-minority’ stereotype can be. It places an assumption that minorities (especially Asian Americans) have the ability to make it and be successful, they just have to work hard. This can cause an expectation and can be harmful to minorities who are doing all that they can and yet simply find themselves struggling.

I personally like the book so far because it gives an insight into what so many people feel that some might not understand. I’ve experienced some of the things I’ve mentioned above firsthand, and I can guarantee that many white people haven’t, so this can be very eye-opening and bring more awareness to the subject.

I also found the information on model minorities really interesting, and very applicable to BLS and our city.

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