posts 16 - 28 of 28
poutineenthusiast
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Tell Me Who You Are Racial Identity Post

I whole-heartedly agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions on race. The role of race works to single out and isolate others. It makes you think, "I don't belong" or "I don't fit in" which actively installs fear in people, as well as alienates them. As a POC, I have undoubtedly had my fair share of racial discrimination. The fear and anger that boils up from inside you when someone decides that you don't belong because you don't look the same as them is the absolute worst experiences ever. For the rest of the day, you just fear that maybe someone will take it a step further and resort to physical abuse rather than verbal abuse. And from that fear, you start fearing those who look the same as the one who discriminated you. This is what race does. It isolates and segregates humans from each other. It's a systematic hierarchy that our country was built on. America was even built on its dependence on slaves. Race is a mechanism that has worked to single those who look different out, and it's a system that has lasted centuries.


1.) In Justin's account on page 19, he talked a lot about code switching and the racial discrimination he experienced in high school. Justin was a great student growing up, but he noticed that whenever he was around his teacher, he spoke properly and acted like a straight A student, but when he was with his friends, he was wilder and would make Latin race jokes. I think what was so important for people to understand is that code-switching is not something that is done intentionally. Justin talked about how he didn't even realize he was doing it until later on in his life. Code-switching is born from internalized racism that POC hold themselves against. This feeling that your culture is less than and improper, therefore you cannot express it when needed comes from the stereotypes we hold inside of ourselves. Justin's discrimination that he experienced throughout high school is so outrageous, yet so common. Racial discrimination can happen anywhere. At your school, in your neighborhood, on the bus, even from your own soccer team. 2.) Queen Esther talked about the criticism that she receives as a Black country singer, many claiming that she was shying away from her Blackness, when she's only reclaiming it. What I really found interesting about Queen Esther's account was the amount of inventions/advancements that were possible because of Black Americans. Queen Esther is demonstrating with an insane amount of evidence that America is a nation that was built on the labor and suffering of Black Americans. Ranging from Jack Brandy, gynecology, our lightbulbs, these wouldn't be possible without Black people in America. One of the greatest problems of our nation is the inability to acknowledge the benefit of White Americans from the exploitations and contributions that Black Americans were forced to make. 3.) Vic talked a lot about Asian recognition as POC. She also talked about the diversity of Chinatown and its history. I think that addressing the lack of recognition of POC isolates Asians further. It separates them from other POC because of how many don't see Asians as POC but it isolates them from White people because Asians don't have white privilege. It's a concept that so many people don't acknowledge or address and its extremely harmful to the Asian community. I thought it was really interesting how Vic wondered if Beacon Hill was so gentrified because White people feel more "comfortable" with Asians because it really is something to wonder.


The annotations and factoids were really interesting because they added context and information that the reader might not have known. 1.) In Queen Esther's account, there was a little factoid that talked about how schools in Texas changed the history curriculum so that it wouldn't address slavery or the KK, as well as framing the Civil War as a debate over states' rights, all because White people are too uncomfortable. This privilege that you can just change something because it makes you uncomfortable is so baffling and enraging. This is a real issue that we dealt with, and that we're still dealing with, yet you're going to cover it up and sugarcoat it because it makes YOU uncomfortable??? It's so provoking that anyone has the audacity to do that. What White people need to understand is that they have privilege to change that just because it's uncomfortable, but POC like Black can't change the intense racism that they experience on a day to day basis, even though it makes them "uncomfortable". 2.) The other notation I really enjoyed was also on Queen Esther's account. The notation quoted Zora Neale Hurston: "I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp White background." This was a quote that resonated in me. You really don't feel your race until it's really thrown in your face. When you look around and all you see is White people, those who you genuinely have nothing in common with when it comes to racial social status, you feel so alone and different. It isn't until you're surrounded that you really feel alone.


I really like this book! It has great accounts that bring a new perspective on the topic of race and how it isolates us. Some people are amazingly well spoken (like Queen Esther!!) and some bring a personal tone that makes you feel like you're having a conversation with someone.

poutineenthusiast
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by SesameStreet444 on October 03, 2021 15:30

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!


I completely agree with your response to the first question. The problem of race and the way that it divides us is present in so many different aspects of our daily lives. It is ongoing, and its deep roots in our nation makes it so hard to escape. I really the fact that you addressed America's pride in being "the greatest nation" when in reality, we have so many problems, especially internalized racism. Our nation has been built on the backs of our POC and race only serves as a way to further divide us and put us down. I also really liked how you talked about the conflict you feel about ignoring race at the end of your answer. I am also very proud of my culture and my race, so I feel so conflicted when people say that we need to forget about race, but I don't think people take into account the identity that race brings. I've always felt that ignoring race felt so lazy and also impossible. These are major parts of how people identify themselves. What I believe we need to do is be more aware of race, how it doesn't define who people are, and just overall be more understanding.

GullAlight
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Racial Identity Post

  1. I completely agree, as race defines both how we perceive ourselves and how others see us. It's an unchangeable part of someone's identity, and it determines much more than just what bubbles you fill out on the census. There is no way to escape being perceived by others, and that impacts everything from how we behave in various spaces to the opportunities provided to us to the communities we are a part of. I also think that because the system we have here in America and other parts of the world are based largely around gender, race, age, and other unchangeable aspects of our identities.

    1. Jennifer
      1. Vic grew up in a very conservative family, and that shaped many of her interactions with people of colour. When she thinks about it and reflects on her own life experiences, she realised her own privilege. She also says something I can relate to a lot ,"I'd never taken time for myself when I was younger to be anything besides the smart kid."
      2. Her experience of self reflection, and trying to fit in, are all parts of being BIPOC. Her experience with the model minority myth also echoed that there is more to life than grades and being smart.
    2. Vic
      1. Vic grew up relatively privileged, and as such, did not have as many issues on the surface due to her race. However, after her mindset shifts to center around herself instead of white people, she realises the futility of what she was doing before.
      2. The concept of White respectability politics is interesting to me, and I think I've definitely been guilty of just trying to fit in. Although academia is all well and good, if it doesn't make a change out in the world, then it has no real meaning.
    3. Vineela and Tyler G
      1. Vineela grew up raised by her mother, who wanted her daughter to be traditional and grow up following her rules. Tyler grew up in LA, with two hite parents from small-minded towns. They both were trying to carve out their own path, and ended up meeting. Tyler wanted to meet Vineela's mom, and the lunch goes interestingly, with her mother focusing more on Tyler.
      2. Their story was interesting to me because of how differently Vineela's mother regarded her and Tyler. It also seems to maybe provide an example of internalised racism, which I feel like is also a large issue, even though externalised racism is spoken about more. Vineela talking about not having a normal high school experience really resonated with me, because even though my mom does not resist change quite as much, she definitely still thinks that my education and getting good grades are more important than learning how to make friends and interact outside of the workspace with others.

    1. Code Swithching
      1. When someone behaves differently around different groups of people.
      2. It's normal, and doing so does not make your experiences fake or less valid.
    2. Positionality
        1. A theory by Linda Alcoff in 1988 about how many important parts of our identity serve as markers of relational positions instead of defining characteristics.
      1. I think things like race, gender, class, and others are very interesting, but in the end, they do not make up us in the same way that our decisions do.
  1. I like it a lot so far! it's very insightful and has many interesting Ideas. I look forward to learning through first hand accounts!
  2. response to sunflowerspruce - your paragraphs about the model minority myth, and the one about the indigeneous tribes were very insightful and interesting to read.
Blue terrier
Posts: 13

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I absolutely agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions in the introduction about race in the world and how the perception of race has evolved over time. They explain that the perceptions of race and the subsequent social order can largely be dated back to around 200 years ago, when Europe, specifically England and Spain, emerged as imperialistic powers, looking to establish empires around the world by means of violence and force. This forceful conquest was not a new concept in the lens of history, of course. What was new however, was the racial categories that these two countries established during this time, attributing certain attributes to certain races and skin tones. Therefore, whiteness became the norm. As Europe gained more and more power around the world, so did this racist idea of white supremacy and white nationalism. This, according to Winona and Priya, is where the origins of the racism and prejudice we know today stems from. They are completely right in this conclusion. The connection between ideals established by Europe during that time and the racist ideals many people and institutions hold today is too strong to be ignored. Because of this, race affects the way everyone sees the world and makes decisions. History shows that many of the United States’ and other country’s political, social, and economic institutions are predicated upon the idea that white people are somehow more superior than other races.

1) Alexa

  1. Alexa is a girl who moved from Mexico to the United States, specifically Chicago. In high school, she explains a sense of a lost identity and confusion about her own race. She also emphasized certain perceptions about race that were new in the United States, such as code switching, and the correlation between socioeconomic status and race. She got bullied a lot in high school because of her lighter skin tone, and eventually had to move schools. She reflected back on the treatment she got, however, and realized that it was from a place of anger about her race because she had it better than those who were darker skinned than her. She explains how it wasn’t right, but she understands why she was bullied. She also got a full scholarship from a school, but was prohibited from attending simply because she was undocumented, which left her absolutely heartbroken.
  2. I believe that her story is significant because it illustrates a very important issue in our country that is a direct result of racism and prejudices that people have. This issue being people feeling a tremendous loss of identity. Alexa explains how different people perceived her simply based on the color of her skin and the fact that she was from Mexico, and these perceptions varied drastically. This left her incredibly confused and lost for a long time, as she did not know which group she belonged to. In one aspect, she was privileged, which is why she got made fun of and bullied in her high school. In another aspect, she was denied from a high school because she was undocumented, despite being the strongest applicant the interviewer had ever seen.

2) Nick

  1. Nick is a Native American man whose earliest memory is watching his parents at a protest when he was only three years old. The crowd at the protest was attacked and tear gassed, which made him forever afraid of the police. This is what sparked a lifelong identity of service and fighting back against injustice, specifically for Native Americans.
  2. The first thing I find very important in Nick’s piece is the importance of protests and riots. Some of the most influential moments in history, specifically American history, were protests. There are few things more effective than a group of people taking to the streets, making as much noise and chaos as possible all for a cause that they believe in. Secondly, Nick’s piece illustrates a part of history that is largely forgotten or covered up, and that is the horrible mistreatment and genocide against Native Americans in the United States. Understanding that we are on stolen land as well as acknowledging our nation’s bleak and horribly cruel history is vital to the ongoing fight for equity and equality.

3) Queen Esther

  1. Queen Esther is an African American female country singer who came up with Black Americana in 1996 or 1998. The genre econompasses all foundations of American music as we know it, such as blues, blue grass, and swamp grass. The main message of her passage was taking back traditions such as country music which have largely been taken over by white people in America, making them highly and inherently discriminatory and exclusive. She also illustrates several inventions and household items that were believed to be invented by white people, when they were in fact invented by people of color.
  2. I believe that this piece is important because it largely connects to the issue of whitewashing history in America. It was extremely eye opening for me to see all these inventions and common amenities whose credit was stolen from African Americans. This is similar to Queen Esther’s relationship with country music. Society must move more in the direction of Queen Esther, peeling back the layers of whitewashing and getting to the truth about our history.

  1. a) Textbooks in Texas have been adopted that barely address slavery, frames for the Civil War, the KKK, or Jim Crow laws as of 2015.

b) More people should know about this because it is incredibly wrong and unethical to intentionally delete an entire group of people’s history. This is a part of the horrible cycle of those having the power staying in power, by brainwashing young people into thinking a certain way using methods like the one in Texas. Every group of people’s story deserves to be told and uplifted.

  1. a) Chinatowns, which are made up of Chinese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and other Asian ethnic groups, are a result of these groups banding together in neighborhoods because of discriminatory laws that prohibited them from certain rights that their white counterparts had.

b) More people should know about this because the majority of Americans most likely do not know the history of Chinatowns, and it is important to inform people about it. Chinatowns are a direct result of laws and regulations predicated on race. On top of this, it is insane how Chinatowns are a normalized concept in the United States. Americans act so separated from our racist and bigoted history, yet examples of the implications of this history are extremely prominent, Chinatowns being one of them.


4) I thoroughly enjoy this book so far. It is very interesting and engaging to hear real life stories of Americans and their experiences with racism, rather than just reading statistics in a textbook.

Blue terrier
Posts: 13

Originally posted by SesameStreet444 on October 03, 2021 15:30

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!


I definitely agree with your point about Queen Esther's story. Inventions that we use today that were stolen from African Americans are incredibly eye opening and shocking to read about.

Boat1924
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

How Does Racial Identity Play into how People see us

I agree with Women's and Priya’s assumptions about race. Throughout the United States history, race and the social interactions between different races and ethnicities have driven the country and have influenced it in some way. Without the laws and social limitations that “white” people, mainly the Wasp aristocrats, implemented, the United States would not be the same place as it is today. This nation is only a nation because millions of white Europeans worked to erase the native population off the map through evil and genocidal plans, including rape, torture, violence, and even biological warfare. In addition, this nation is only a prosperous and leading nation because of the labor and sacrifice of millions of slaves and hundreds of thousands of forced indentured servants working for the rich upper-class Wasps to power the mechanisms that the nation required to grow and make use of the land that it stole.


The first person’s story that I found incredibly fascinating was Alexa’s. In Alexa’s story, she detailed how she struggled to find a place and community for herself in America. For her, she not only struggled to find a place in the Latino community as she was Mexican and too white for the kids in the community, but she also struggled to find a place in the white community as they don’t understand her struggles and the issues that face many Latinos in the country. I think that this story is noteworthy because it shows the harm of fitting in. Alexa struggled throughout her life to try and fit in. No matter where she went or who she met she was also the “outsider” not completely fitting into a community even though her family goes through the same issues and difficulties that other families go through.


The second person’s story that I found incredibly fascinating was Justin’s. In Justin's story, he describes how he struggles with acceptance in the white community. While he has no issues with his own community, other than maybe becoming too white according to some family members, he struggles to find a place in his white college with his white colleagues. While he tried to find a place in the beginning, the constant racism, prejudice, and jokes that weren’t funny, but instead hurtful and divisive lead to Justin choosing his own lane rather than dealing with the disgusting constant racist remarks. I believe that this story was important because it showcases the failings of the white community. While many colleges may promote community and acceptance to their students, they do nothing to try and make that happen in schools. Rather, they let the students get away with everything leading to the division between the students. As a society, we need to try and cut down their divisions and barriers so that we do not continue to trend of segregation and division within our society.


Finally, the last person’s story that I found interesting was Queen Esthers. In her story, she details how many inventions and cultural artifacts in America, such as country music, were created by black people but adopted by whites. She details how whites throughout time adopted African inventions and practices and introduced them to the American public so that they could get riches and fame. She argues that without black people in America, our culture wouldn’t be the same but completely different. Our culture is the way that it is due to black influences, even though many whites across the country have attempted to hide this fact and instead insist that the whites that stole or adopted an invention from a black person were really the ones that created it. I believe that this story is important because it helps people reconsider and rethink what America really is. Nowadays many people believe that American culture was mainly influenced by white Europeans, but if we look back we can understand the massive impact that African Americans had on American culture and without their influences, it wouldn’t be the way that it is today.


The first piece of commentary that I found incredibly interesting was the fact about Africa underneath Justin’s story. This fact explains that Africa is such a diverse place that populations in sub-Saharan Africa are more biologically similar to a person in Europe than another group in Sub-Saharan Africa. I found this fact incredibly increasing as western people often overlook the great diversity in Africa. Many times people just refer to Africa as one big monolith when that isn't the case at all. Instead, Africa is a massive continent that is filled with thousands of different cultures and ethnicities. In order for the country to better understand the situation at home, we first need to understand that people of African descent are as diverse and different from one another as Ukrainian and Irishmen are to one another. Another piece of commentary that I found interesting was Texas’ history curriculum. I find it incredibly interesting and disappointed at a state, whose history is deeply connected with racism, hate, segregation, and slavery, has gone out of its way to rewrite its history so that they do not have to own up and teach its population the great shortcomings that the state has gone through over the years. I believe that more people should learn this fact so that they learn that Texas and many other ex-confederate southern states have attempted to rewrite history in order to fit their narrative and their account of history. Texas doesn’t want to face its dark and deeply divisive history, so they decide to keep it from their children and teach a form of history that skips all the horrible and disgusting things that the Texas government has committed against their own people over the years. It's important for people to understand so that they can fight back because, without some change, people can go through life without fully understanding the horrible history that Texas is trying to hide as if they don’t learn. Some people may go through life without understanding and grasping the entire issue.



So far I greatly enjoy the book. These stories help me begin to understand the many many issues that people go through in America, that I can never understand due to my identity. The stories let me see that it is not one group that is discriminated against or one group that discriminates against others in society, but rather a number of different groups that discriminate against each other based on the identity that they have been forced and taught to recognize; whiteness. While every single ethnic, religious and racial group discriminates and acts against another group, they act against each other and judge each other due to the other group’s whiteness or distance from whiteness. Every group attacks each other to point out the other groups' failed or unattainable attempts at whiteness. These attacks stem from early American history, as the original American settlers attempted to civilize and forcibly convert and assimilate the natives to European culture. This trend has simply been continued and used by the public to assimilate all peoples and cultures into whiteness.

Boat1924
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by Blue terrier on October 04, 2021 07:27

Originally posted by SesameStreet444 on October 03, 2021 15:30

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!


I definitely agree with your point about Queen Esther's story. Inventions that we use today that were stolen from African Americans are incredibly eye opening and shocking to read about.

I agree with your point in how damaging racism is to the Youth. In the stories, we are able to see that racism and derogatory language affect and form the perceptions of young children. It takes years of change and active awareness for the people to break these horrible habits and grow as people. This helps to show that while some people are able to escape and grow from the racist behavior they encounter and use, many others who lack the opportunity or guidance may continue to follow the behavior. We need to crackdown on racism and white supremacy behavior, especially younger kids, in order to prevent these ideas and streeotypes to continue to propagate in our society.

Yiddeon
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 7

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 completley agree with your thinking that children are not born racist, and that is something that is developed in them. I think that this shows how much racism is a part of our daily lives and how it affects every action that we do.

Peverley
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

1. I agree with what Winona and Priya said about race, particularly about whiteness being the adopted norm. Our entire perception of racial identity is always compared and contrasted with that of being white, and anything other than whiteness is seen as different or outside of the usual; whiteness is seen as some sort of standard to which everyone is twistedly expected to adhere. Race has become such a central part of how our society groups people that it has naturally seeped into every aspect of our lives, from the media we consume, to the beliefs we hold, and even the way we act in certain situations around certain people. It has become a factor in how we treat our fellow human beings and centuries of systems, both political and otherwise, have been created and upheld to keep others down simply on the basis of skin color.

2.

1)

a) Jennifer spoke about her experience as an Asian-American growing and going to private school, while also being from an economically challenged family with some unstable familial relations. She talks about her own reckonings with the prejudices she held, particularly against Black people, and how her father's absence indoctrinated these views because she was so desperate to please him. She also explains how she has struggled with the "model minority" myth and how different she feels she has become from members of her community and own family from spending time in a wealthier, predominantly white setting.

b) I think that Jennifer's experience is one to learn from because even though she herself faced some racial profiling, but she also perpetuated harmful and racist behavior against others by saying the n-word and refusing to work with Black classmates (to please her conservative, absent father). As an Asian-American, she had to deal with the "model minority" myth, but she also had light-skinned privilege that other minorities in America do not have.Her commentary on how she realized that being Asian-American comes with certain privileges that Black and Latino Americans are not afforded (not being profiled by police, her intelligence not being questioned by the color of her skin, etc.) is eye opening to the fact that the idea of race is not just two entities (non-white and white). It is an entire hierarchy with many levels influenced by class and historical prejudices that our country has upheld since its beginnings.

2)

a) Queen Esther talked about her experience as a Black country singer, and how people associate country music with white culture even though it has its roots in African music tradition (bluegrass, blues, swamp grass, etc.). She also discusses all of the other things that we depend on in every day life that were invented or improved by Black people, often with little or no recognition.

b)I think her account is important because in our country's history, the accomplishments of Black Americans have often been neglected and unacknowledged even though our country would be nowhere without them. Black people have played a vital role in building not only the foundation of our country, by furthering industries, creating novel technologies, AND revolutionizing the music industry (and the arts in general. When people are so surprised when they see that she is a country singer and a Black woman they insist that country is a "white" genre of music, while she feels that they go hand in hand. Her view that she is reclaiming her own culture instead of furthering herself from it is an important shift in perspective so that we can fully respect the art form for what it is and what it always has been. The lack of recognition of the accomplishments of Black Americans goes so much further and deeper than just music, and should be a lesson to all about respecting and uplifting Black achievement.

3)

a) Melina talks about her experience dismantling her own racial stereotypes and maturing to a place where she could see and correct racial and class bias in others' statements. She explains the difference between the responsibility and the "gift" of educating others on certain issues, and recognizes how different holding people accountable is when one is emotionally and personally attached to the issue versus not.

b) I think that Melina's account is important because she moved from a place of ignorance to one of awareness, and realized how much work she was responsible for as a white woman to dismantle White supremacy. Her account sends the important message that it is not the responsibility of the victims of systems of oppressions to dismantle them, but rather that of the people who have historically benefitted from them and her honesty in realizing how much more taxing it is to correct people on perpetuating harmful behavior when one is personally affected by the negative results of such behavior gives readers a good sense of why it is important to fight against harmful systems of power.

3.

1)

a) The “model minority” myth not only invalidates Asian-American experiences, but it also minimizes the oppression faced by other minorities, especially Black Americans, by insisting that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed if they work hard enough.

b) I think that more people should know about the “model minority” myth because it is so much more harmful than it first appears to be. Many think that it is some sort of compliment to the Asian-American community, however any kind of blanket stereotype is inherently flawed as no one community is composed of individuals who are all exactly the same. This notion puts all Asian-Americans into one category, one that White Americans are comfortable with, all while blaming the struggles of other marginalized groups on an assumed lack of work ethic rather than the systems of oppression that have made success that much harder for them.

2)

a) Cultural appropriation is when a certain aesthetic is used and celebrated by a culture from which it did not originate, and the one that it did come from was often ignored or criticized for the very same thing.

b) It is vital that people learn about cultural appropriation because although sometimes unintentional, it is harmful either way so in the end intent is unimportant. Countless marginalized groups have been criticized (and far worse) for wearing their hair a certain way, dressing in traditional clothing, performing certain rituals, and so much more, but once white Americans adopted the practices, they were suddenly permitted and even celebrated. In most situations, this occurred with no acknowledgement whatsoever of their origins or the cultural importance of these traditions to those from whom they were stolen. This is not only blatantly disrespectful to the cultures from which they originated, but it also perpetuates the notion that certain behaviors are only acceptable if done by white people.

4. So far I really do like this book because of the raw, firsthand accounts of racial profiling, biased-based incidents, and stereotypes that people have faced, given in the words of those who experienced them. This gives us as readers a unique insight to the individual and their emotions regarding the stories they are telling, and it makes the accounts that much more compelling. I also really liked how Winona and Priya interviewed such a wide variety of people from all different backgrounds and racial identities to explore the different kinds of racial stereotypes and assumptions people have to deal with from those outside (and sometimes even within) their own communities. At times it felt like I was listening to the person from each interview speaking live and I think formatting the book in this manner made it both informative and emotionally moving.

Peverley
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by Boat1924 on October 04, 2021 07:42

I agree with Women's and Priya’s assumptions about race. Throughout the United States history, race and the social interactions between different races and ethnicities have driven the country and have influenced it in some way. Without the laws and social limitations that “white” people, mainly the Wasp aristocrats, implemented, the United States would not be the same place as it is today. This nation is only a nation because millions of white Europeans worked to erase the native population off the map through evil and genocidal plans, including rape, torture, violence, and even biological warfare. In addition, this nation is only a prosperous and leading nation because of the labor and sacrifice of millions of slaves and hundreds of thousands of forced indentured servants working for the rich upper-class Wasps to power the mechanisms that the nation required to grow and make use of the land that it stole.


The first person’s story that I found incredibly fascinating was Alexa’s. In Alexa’s story, she detailed how she struggled to find a place and community for herself in America. For her, she not only struggled to find a place in the Latino community as she was Mexican and too white for the kids in the community, but she also struggled to find a place in the white community as they don’t understand her struggles and the issues that face many Latinos in the country. I think that this story is noteworthy because it shows the harm of fitting in. Alexa struggled throughout her life to try and fit in. No matter where she went or who she met she was also the “outsider” not completely fitting into a community even though her family goes through the same issues and difficulties that other families go through.


The second person’s story that I found incredibly fascinating was Justin’s. In Justin's story, he describes how he struggles with acceptance in the white community. While he has no issues with his own community, other than maybe becoming too white according to some family members, he struggles to find a place in his white college with his white colleagues. While he tried to find a place in the beginning, the constant racism, prejudice, and jokes that weren’t funny, but instead hurtful and divisive lead to Justin choosing his own lane rather than dealing with the disgusting constant racist remarks. I believe that this story was important because it showcases the failings of the white community. While many colleges may promote community and acceptance to their students, they do nothing to try and make that happen in schools. Rather, they let the students get away with everything leading to the division between the students. As a society, we need to try and cut down their divisions and barriers so that we do not continue to trend of segregation and division within our society.


Finally, the last person’s story that I found interesting was Queen Esthers. In her story, she details how many inventions and cultural artifacts in America, such as country music, were created by black people but adopted by whites. She details how whites throughout time adopted African inventions and practices and introduced them to the American public so that they could get riches and fame. She argues that without black people in America, our culture wouldn’t be the same but completely different. Our culture is the way that it is due to black influences, even though many whites across the country have attempted to hide this fact and instead insist that the whites that stole or adopted an invention from a black person were really the ones that created it. I believe that this story is important because it helps people reconsider and rethink what America really is. Nowadays many people believe that American culture was mainly influenced by white Europeans, but if we look back we can understand the massive impact that African Americans had on American culture and without their influences, it wouldn’t be the way that it is today.


The first piece of commentary that I found incredibly interesting was the fact about Africa underneath Justin’s story. This fact explains that Africa is such a diverse place that populations in sub-Saharan Africa are more biologically similar to a person in Europe than another group in Sub-Saharan Africa. I found this fact incredibly increasing as western people often overlook the great diversity in Africa. Many times people just refer to Africa as one big monolith when that isn't the case at all. Instead, Africa is a massive continent that is filled with thousands of different cultures and ethnicities. In order for the country to better understand the situation at home, we first need to understand that people of African descent are as diverse and different from one another as Ukrainian and Irishmen are to one another. Another piece of commentary that I found interesting was Texas’ history curriculum. I find it incredibly interesting and disappointed at a state, whose history is deeply connected with racism, hate, segregation, and slavery, has gone out of its way to rewrite its history so that they do not have to own up and teach its population the great shortcomings that the state has gone through over the years. I believe that more people should learn this fact so that they learn that Texas and many other ex-confederate southern states have attempted to rewrite history in order to fit their narrative and their account of history. Texas doesn’t want to face its dark and deeply divisive history, so they decide to keep it from their children and teach a form of history that skips all the horrible and disgusting things that the Texas government has committed against their own people over the years. It's important for people to understand so that they can fight back because, without some change, people can go through life without fully understanding the horrible history that Texas is trying to hide as if they don’t learn. Some people may go through life without understanding and grasping the entire issue.



So far I greatly enjoy the book. These stories help me begin to understand the many many issues that people go through in America, that I can never understand due to my identity. The stories let me see that it is not one group that is discriminated against or one group that discriminates against others in society, but rather a number of different groups that discriminate against each other based on the identity that they have been forced and taught to recognize; whiteness. While every single ethnic, religious and racial group discriminates and acts against another group, they act against each other and judge each other due to the other group’s whiteness or distance from whiteness. Every group attacks each other to point out the other groups' failed or unattainable attempts at whiteness. These attacks stem from early American history, as the original American settlers attempted to civilize and forcibly convert and assimilate the natives to European culture. This trend has simply been continued and used by the public to assimilate all peoples and cultures into whiteness.

I also found it fascinating how much biological diversity there is just in sub-Saharan Africa and that each individual group has more in common with a European than another sub-Saharan African population. It made me wonder why this was completely new to me? Why haven't we learned about this in school? I feel like our history curriculums just group people based on race, when in reality the color of one's skin is not the defining factor in biological similarity.

Peverley
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by SesameStreet444 on October 03, 2021 15:30

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!


I thought Melina's story was interesting as well because she acknowledges that at one point she was a part of the problem but has come to realize that it is her responsibility to dismantle the systems that she benefits from rather than leaving the work to those such systems oppress.

augustine
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Racial Identity

I absolutely agree with Winona and Priya’s stance on race in our world. Especially in the United States, a country stolen from natives and built by slaves, race is inextricably entwined in the culture and systems of this country. I also think the explanation they give is a very good one. Oftentimes, I hear people say, “Well, why do you have to make everything about race?” and I can only say, “Because it just is.” Summarizing the brutal past of our country isn’t easy, especially to someone who isn’t willing to learn in the first place, but Winona and Priya do an amazing job of succinctly explaining why things are the way they are. Another thing they achieve with this explanation is summarizing the concept of intersectionality. Racism didn’t just spring fully formed into existence, it was nurtured by systems already in place, like imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism. So because racism was formed by these systems, which are still upheld today, it is clear why absolutely everything has to do with race. Things like our education system, which should be a place completely free of racial bias, has a history of exclusion and miseducation, like Texas rewriting Civil War curriculum, at the expense of people of color.

  1. The first story that stood out to me (and also the first story in the book) was Jennifer’s. She grew up in a Vietnamese community, and was influenced by the racist views of her father. Her father was not a very present figure in her life, so seeking his approval was something she devoted a lot of energy too. Because of this, when she was young she was incredibly prejudiced towards Black people. I found this story interesting because it showed that racism is a learned behavior. Jennifer wasn’t born with bias towards Black people, she learned it from those around her. This is part of the reason why racism is so prevalent, people learn best from who they are surrounded by, and as a young child you wouldn’t think to question the ideas of all these adults around you, so you begin to share their ideas and then the cycle continues.
  2. Like others in the class, Queen Esther’s story was one that incredibly interesting to me. She is a Black country singer, and she speaks about how ostracizing that experience has been- and points out that country music was invented by Black people. She goes on to speak about other inventions created by Black people who were given no credit for their creations. This is important because it feeds into the cycle of racism. Countless everyday items were invented by Black people, and yet we are not taught any of this. This works to silence Black voices throughout history, and the lack of information on this subject perpetuates the prejudiced and wrong idea that Black people have not contributed anything to society. America was built by enslaved Balck people, and to now erase their creations is so damaging.
  3. Another person whose message I found powerful was Melina’s. Melina is a White woman who works to educate herself and others on the systems of racism and white supremacy- and most importantly, what they can do to help. Melina’s story is so incredibly important, because as white people, it is not enough to just be aware of what is going on. Awareness doesn’t stop the active racism that is occuring in our society. White people hold an immense amount of privilege in our world, and learning about that power, and how to not harm others with it is a huge part of undoing some of the damage that centuries of racism has done. She also points out how racism works in tandem with other systems, something that Winona and Priya pointed out, like capitalism and the patriarchy. Recognizing your own role in those systems too is another crucial part of working towards a better future.
  • One thing that stood out to me was another thing that Queen Esther spoke about, which was the origins of gynecology. I knew a little bit about this, but everytime I read more I am so disgusted with the way that this doctor treated Black women. The idea that we only know what we know today at the expense of actual human lives is so upsetting. I think this especially is important in today’s society, not only to honor the lives of the Black women who were harmed, but also because the mistreatment of Black women in the medical field is still a very prevalent issue. Relatively recent research done on several studies found that Black patients were 22% less likely to receive pain medication then White patients. So not only are Black people treated badly by police, people who are supposed to protect them, they are also not treated equally by doctors, also people who are supposed to be helping them. Understanding where this bias came from is important to unlearning it, and helping to solve yet another racist system.
  • The other thing that stood out was the fact that after emancipation about one million of four million formerly enslaved people died or suffered from illness. I think that this is a very important fact to remember, especially with the way that our curriculum teaches about the Civil War and emancipation. The way we are taught, slaves were freed, and then there was the Civil Rights Movement, and then everything was fine- but we all know this couldn’t be further from the truth. After the slaves were freed, they were offered no support, no reparations- the US government did not lift a finger to remedy the damage that they had caused. They did everything in their power to keep Black people oppressed, and understanding this, and all the other instances where no support was given to the Black community, is genuinely so important to understanding our current world.

So far I am really enjoying this book! Hearing the first hand accounts of all different kinds of people makes this so much more personal. I love hearing about all the issues that are important to each individual, and learning more about them.

caramel washington
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

Racial Identity

I absolutely agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions within this book, because I believe that they are making important points about intersectionality regarding race. They discuss themes that often aren’t brought up in other accounts about race, especially with aspects like intersectionality. This is incredibly important because race doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so there is no point in examining it outside of the wider context of the society that we live in.


In her account, Jennifer talks about being racist towards her peers who were black, despite being a minority herself. She also talks about living in a quite isolated community and never interacting with those who were different from her. This shows how ingrained xenophobia is within our culture, and how if we aren’t exposed to other cultures we end up fearing those who are different from us. Jennifer begins to reflect on her privilege, within her minority status, but also comes to understand why she feels like she doesn’t fit in. This is a kind of racial identity story that we don’t hear about that often, but definitely one worth sharing.


According to the text, in 2010-2014, Milwaukee was the most racially divided large city, followed by New York City, and then Chicago, and as of 2015, on average a white resident in Chicago lives in a neighborhood that is 71.5% white, and on average a black resident lives in a neighborhood that is 64% black. This piece of information is important to be aware of, because in my opinion racial segregation with regard to neighborhood is just a constant within our society, but it isn’t something that is ok or that we should accept. I also agree with no-one’s point of view on this factoid, where they say that “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.” We don’t pay enough attention to these divisions, even though they can lead to the kind of biased attitudes that people like Jennifer have.


I thought that the definition of ally that the book provided was very interesting: “someone who makes a commitment and effort to recognize their privilege and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways. We talk a lot about the struggle of oppressed people within society, but there isn’t much concrete information available about how others can actually make a difference within these struggles. This sort of information is important because it takes the burden off of the victims to defend themselves while also dealing with oppression, and puts it on those who want to help.


Queen Esther’s account talks about all of the things that black people discovered or helped discover and never got credit for, as well as things that were invented by exploiting black people. My reaction to this part originally was shock, and confusion: why did we not learn about these things in school before? So many of the things that we use all the time were influenced by people of color, and they got no credit or recognition. This made me realize: I cannot name a single black inventor. She also calls out the fact that American music places far too much emphasis on white musicians, especially in the country genre. I don’t listen to much country music, but when you think of country singers black women certainly aren’t the first thing that comes to mind, even though they are just as much a part of american culture.


Nick's story was another fascinating one to me, because of his mixed racial identity. He talks about his experiences with a Native American mom and a Jewish dad. The most interesting part of this account was how both of these identities related to his inclination for standing up for what is right. He remembers advocating for an end to mass incarceration for native americans, and also learning about the Jewish responsibility to stand in solidarity. This is an interesting point because it directly conflicts with some of the beliefs held by people like Jennifer. It makes the argument that although different racial groups face vastly different struggles, they have a role to play in helping each other out and collaborating for the common good.


So far, I have really been enjoying this book. I think it highlights a number of struggles and aspects of racial identity that aren’t particularly portrayed in mainstream media or even in other history courses I have taken. I think Boat1924 sums it up well with their points about whiteness: they explain that each group has their own struggles, although often shared, that correspond to the groups distance from whiteness. They also explain the important historical context of these views of our relationships with each other, both within America and the world.

posts 16 - 28 of 28