posts 16 - 30 of 33
freud
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Originally posted by gato927 on October 02, 2021 21:52


3) The stories of Riley, Parker, and Marley were extremely eye opening about American views towards Hawaiians. The girls talked about their experiences living in Hawaii, and how people would stereotype them by asking them questions like "do you wear a coconut bra?" or "do you ride a dolphin to school?". I think that their stories are significant especially to American culture because Hawaii is labeled a part of the United States, when it shouldn't be. Until recently, it never dawned on me how Hawaii probably never wanted to "join" with the States. I also never considered Hawaiians as indigenous people, because I always categorized them as Americans. I think their story is important because it allows for more people, especially me, to understand the hardships Hawaiians have faced by being a part of America.


I had a very similar response to their stories about Americans views towards Hawaiians. I had never considered them to really be indigenous and I'd never thought about their reactions to being forced into America. Recognizing colonization towards indigenous people is really important, and Hawaiians are just another example of that.

freud
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Originally posted by mango04 on October 03, 2021 13:59


  1. 1. Alexa: In Alexa’s excerpt she touched upon her personal experiences of code-switching, or alternating between different dialects and ways of speaking among different groups of people. She admitted that she used to use the N-word often and was unaware of its meaning and background. Alexa then went on to talk about how she was bullied by other Mexican kids in school for being light-skinned, and went on to talk about how based on her lighter skin, kids assumed she was rich. She was able to connect color to socioeconomic status. I thought that her account was noteworthy because she was able to speak on her own experience with discrimination based on her lighter skin color from people from her own ethnic group. Her experience acts as a reminder that colorism is a real issue derived from ideas of white supremacy, and it needs to be addressed more in conversations about racism. I also found her connection between skin tone and socioeconomic status significant because it brought to light internalized racism that the “whiter” you are, the more money you’ll have.

This acknowledgement of the importance of discussing colorism is really important. It really high lights that an importance of talking about oppression is talking about privilege in tangent. Almost all people hold both marginilization and privilege and if you can't separate these things and recognize their impacts upon one another, it's impossible to have a nuanced and beneficial discussion about race.

dinonuggets
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by etherealfrog on October 03, 2021 16:04

1. Winona and Priya believe that racism impacts everything around us, which I agree with. So much of our lives can connect with racism in terms of our institutions, our laws, and the existence of our country as it is today can be traced back to racism in some way. The concept of race itself has inherently racist roots, because race is a human construct to divide and categorize people. Culture, ethnicity, and race should not be equated in the way they often are— culture and ethnicity have to do with tradition, history, heritage, and more, but race is defined as being division by physical characteristics. However, we cannot pretend that race doesn’t play a major part in our society. Just because it’s a made up category to divide people doesn’t mean its effect isn’t real.


2. One account that I think covered some really important information was Queen Esther. She talks about being a Black country artist, and about how even though country music is often presumed to be a genre only for white people, all American music has its roots in Black culture. She then talks about how so much of our modern knowledge and technology was either created at the expense of or by Black people. I think it’s important to acknowledge the history of things we take for granted in our lives today. One disturbing example Queen Esther mentioned was how the field of gynecology exists because of a doctor who experimented on Black women without anesthesia. I knew a bit about this, but it’s not talked about nearly enough. The same goes for things that Black people invented but were not given credit for, such as Jack Daniel’s whiskey. Learning history through a white lens erases the impact people of color have had on our country today.


Nick’s account was an important perspective because he shares the history of two different cultures. His mother is Native American and his father is Jewish. He talks about how his grandfather told him that the act of standing up with people who are persecuted is what makes a person Jewish. He has also been directly faced with discrimination even as a child when the police threw a tear gas canister into his family’s car at a protest. He feels strongly in favor of fighting back against injustices towards Indigenous people. One of his most important points, in my opinion, is about the “American dream”. He believes (and I agree) that the American dream only exists because of colonization and erasing the history of Native people. I strongly agree that we should remember and acknowledge that the land we are on once belonged to Indigenous people. He also talked about how some people seem to believe that the Native Americans just disappeared after America was colonized, even though millions of Native people still live here today. I think it’s really important that non-Indigenous people learn about Indigenous people not as a thing of the past, but as a group that has existed, does exist, and will continue to exist.


Rylee, Marley and Parker talked about being Hawaiian and the stereotypes a lot of the rest of the country has about Hawai’i and Hawaiians. They talked about how people don’t think that it’s possible to appropriate Hawaiian culture because it’s part of the United States and they think this makes it acceptable for anyone in America. They also talked about how the United States illegally annexed Hawai’i and the people already living there were not allowed to do anything related to their culture, and they haven’t received reparations. I think their account is significant because a lot of times, people in the United States just think of Hawai’i as just being a place for vacations, and they don’t know about the history of the land. They also forget that living in Hawai’i doesn’t make a person Hawaiian, because Hawaiians have lived in Hawai’i long before it was annexed and made a part of the United States. I also think it’s really important to realize that cultural appropriation applies to Hawaiian culture as well, as Rylee said.


3. One detail I think is important was on page 16, the book defines “ally”. It says that an ally is a person who tries to recognize their privilege and stands with oppressed people. I think an important part of allyship that more people need to realize is that as an ally, you are supposed to listen to and appreciate the groups you’re standing with, but not speak over them. Allies should be allies because they actually care, not because they want to feel good about themselves or earn “woke” points.

On page 26, there is a footnote about Justin saying “Senegal” as opposed to just “Africa”. I think this is an important thing to mention because a lot of the time, people make the assumption that all of Africa is the same. Because we’re often taught more Eurocentric history in this country, a lot of people don’t learn about the differences in African regions and countries in the same way we do with Europe, which is an issue.


4. I like this book a lot so far. I like that it’s written in short accounts from different people, because I find it’s easier to connect with the stories if they’re directly from real people, and I also like that it shows a wide range of experiences.


I like how you said the idea of race is inherently racist. This is why we need to learn about the origins of how the concept of race came about and how it's a social construct. I also like how said that we can't ignore the fact that race has a huge effect on society, even if it's a made up construct because it impacts us everywhere. A construct that was made up is now one of the deepest issues in America and our society.

mango04
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by giraffes12 on October 03, 2021 18:35

1. I completely agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about what they believe about the role of race. The United States was built on slavery. It was built on the atrocities committed by Europeans against Native Americans. This country was built on racism. I also agree with the statement made about how the patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism are like the big three, and that they are all connected very deeply going back generations. I don't think it's possible to get rid of just one of them because of what Winona and Priya said, they're like cancer, everything in the United States can be connected back to at least one if not all three of them.

2.

a. Ed talked about how he was one of the only people of color working in weather. This is important because it's really not something that I hear people talk about, and honestly not something that occured to me, that the people we see on TV telling us the news and the weather are almost always white. It's important to acknowledge that so we can work to fix it, and open up more opportunities for people of color in the weather field.

b. Rylee spoke about how wearing aloha shirts is something that is just so normalized in American society, in my elementary school we definitely had like parties where we would wear them and have parties and stuff. Only as I got older I realized that that was complete cultural appropriation. Also, I feel like whenever people bring up cultural appropriation, especially with Hawaiian culture, other people are always saying things like, "oh come on, not everything is cultural appropriation!" But, it is! So many things from so many cultures have been appropriated in this society.

c. Melina said a few things that really stuck with me, and I'm going to quote one here because it's a great point. "It used to be that fair skin was an indication of your class status, because you didn't have to be in the fields working in the sun. Now, having tan skin as a White person is an indication of your class privilege, because you can go on vacation, of you can go to a tanning bed." This is important because I think a lot of white people don't understand this about tanning, they don't even understand the implications of it, which is why I think this quote is outstanding.

3.

a. In the margins of page 26, it talks about how a lot (and I mean a lot) of people don't understand the diversity and variation of people in Africa. I am ashamed to say that I really thought Africa was one country until probably around 5th grade, when we were taught limited world geography. The American school system is terrible at teaching kids geography, especially when it comes to Africa. My elementary school (a mostly white school with mostly white teachers) made it seem that Africa was one country that it's only significance is that that's where the slaves came from. This is horrible and complete erasing of history, culture, and diversity, and to this day it makes me angry every time I think about it.

b. Another one I found important was on page 15 where it talks about the "model minority" myth. I think a lot of people struggle to find what is wrong with this myth, because some people would think, "isn't it good that people think they're smart?" But in the margins it brings up a great point, that the myth perpetuates the false idea that if anyone works hard enough they can achieve what they want. It's a "racial wedge" used by white people to minimize minorities struggles.

4. So far, this book is incredibilly interesting. I read the entire chapter in about thrity minutes in one sitting because I couldn't stop reading it. It's very eye-opening, and I like how each person's account gets right to the point. I love having pictures of each person so I can imagine them saying what they wrote. Overall it's a great book so far!

I feel the exact same way that you do about the book. I couldn't put it down either! I thought that your answer to the first question was incredibly intelligent and thoughtful. This country was built on racism, on the backs of enslaved peoples. Therefore, racism can be seen everywhere in this country.

dinonuggets
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

1) I fully agree with Winona and Priya’s statement that race impacts everything around us. I think about the four dimensions of racism - institutional, internalized, interpersonal, and systemic. Those basically cover every interaction and aspect of society - so racism is embedded in pretty much everything. Not everybody experiences direct racism but they can see it or perpetuate it, even if it is an unspoken thought. Race and the effects of colonialism impact how others perceive each other and how we perceive ourselves.


2)

  1. Alexa moved to the US with her family from Mexico. At one of her schools she was bullied for having light skin and it made her question her identity and race. She talked about realizing the connection between skin color and socioeconomic status - she was called rich because of her lighter skin even thought it was not true. She also said how at home, getting an education is equated to being white. Over time Alexa realized that there was a deeper reason for why she got bullied. Her story is meaningful because it shows that there are divides within communities of color. It’s also important because Alexa is an example of one person holding privilege and being part of an oppressed minority at the same time.
  2. Justin E. talked about his identity and roots as a black man, and how his ancestors were forced to come to America through the West African slave trade. He mentioned that black people are often just introduced as slaves in the context of history. He said something that stood out to me, which was that “Only a White person...can talk to another White person and get farther than I can get.” He also said, “The oppressed shouldn’t have to do it all.” It’s so easy for white people and those who aren’t oppressed to sink into their cushions of privilege and ignore racial issues. Black people and other people of color have been the ones doing the most but like Justin said, white people “run the world.” This means white people need to step out of their comfort zone because they can make a huge difference within the white community that also extends to communities of color.
  3. Rylee, Marley, and Parker are from Hawaii. They talked about microaggressions and assumptions people would make about them. Rylee said she feels like most native Hawaiians don’t see themselves as Americans and that being from Hawaii doesn’t mean you’re Hawaiian. The three of them identify as Hawaiian because they are indigineous. I’m glad they mentioned that even though Hawaii was annexed and is now part of the US, it is its own island with rich culture and tradition. This made me think about how literally all of the mainland belonged (and still does) to the native people who lived there but colonizers claimed it for themselves. It’s a similar story with a different group of people.

3)

  1. The first sidenote that caught my attention was the one about the change in Texas’s history curriculum in 2015. It fails to properly address the slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, and sugarcoats the Civil War as a debate over states’ rights. This is astonishing and outrageous. I thought of a poster I’ve seen on Ms. Freeman’s wall that says something like, “To understand where we’re going we have to understand where we’ve been.” Simply erasing events from textbooks does not erase them from history. And it’s not like these things were just a part of history or something strictly from the past, they still have lasting effects to this day. If we as a society want to improve our racial issues the least we can do is acknowledge the horrible things that have been done in the past, because they are still relevant.
  2. Another sidenote that stood out to me was from Liz’s story. It pointed out that shampoo in hotels almost never works for Black hair. I had never thought about this before. It made me realize that there are probably so many little things I don’t even know about, like the shampoo, that show how there is a white standard in America. As a non-Black person it is much harder to see these things and it makes me want to be more active in pointing out these parts of our society.

4) I really enjoyed reading this book so far. The people whose stories we have heard all come from different backgrounds and have unique experiences. Reading about things I have never experienced before is very meaningful and eye opening, and I think it’s a good way for others to learn and reflect as well. Although I can’t directly relate to a lot of what I read, I gained new insight and knowledge and that is one of the most important things.

eac
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

1. I do agree with what Winona and Priya state, that the concept of race has had a terrible impact on the United States. The idea of the different races has caused innumerable conflicts in this country. Using skin color to give people a label is an extremely harmful act. However, I do wish that they made this statement about the rest of the world as well. Racial conflicts have been a driving force in Africa, Europe, and Asia as well. The ideal of race has been harmful to our entire species, not just the United States. It's been so prevalent in the United States though because of the conflicts being entirely about skin color, not about cultural backgrounds.

2. a) One of the most interesting accounts to me was Queen Esther's who talked about the lack of recognition of the accomplishments of Black people, and I found it interesting because there were many sentiments that I deeply agreed with but then some that I didn't. It is true that African Americans have invented many things to improve our quality of life and they often had been ignored because they were African American. It is true that African Americans went through horrific medical experimentation, including the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, which was just a terrible crime against humanity. It is true that many parts of the south want to ignore the horrors of slavery and want their future generations to forget. The phrase "you owe black people for everything" just irked me, because it's the kind of pretentious statement that she accuses white people of believing. It's as wrong as the phrase "you owe white people for everything". Some of the other things that she stated seemed like stretches of the truth to me as well, like that an African American invented the refrigerator (John Standard invented an unpowered refrigerator design that wasn't popular at the time, and was obsolete 2 decades later by the invention of the electric refrigerator which was invented by a woman, and Frederick McKinley Jones who invented the system that refrigerates box trucks that carry fresh produce, which isn't exactly what she said but still an important achievement), implying that the US and the Caribbean would be a backwater nation without slavery, which isn't impossible but it's more likely that a system would be used like indentured servitude or a system like Australia or Siberia where prisoners were sent there to do whatever, and she claims that the entirety of country music, especially the banjo, were derived entirely from African origins, which is mostly true, but country has a large white southwestern influence separate from bluegrass and the banjo, while the most direct origin is from the Senegambian akonting and other West African instruments, the instrument also has roots in the Portuguese banza, the Chinese sanxian, the Japanese shamisen, the Moroccan sintir, and the Persian tar. Sorry if I went a bit overboard on the analysis lmao.

b) I liked Chef Tu's account because it talked about the way food forms bridges between different cultures, which I really appreciate because of how I know food. It I had a bakery and I had a day where I would bake Vietnamese desserts and I made nothing but croissants I would technically be all good as croissants have found a place in Vietnam when they were part of French Indochina (even though the most common derivative of croissants in Vietnam is the Bánh patê sô, which is savory and filled with meat). If people get mad at me, because they think the croissant is French, I can tell them off by saying that the croissant's origins are Austrian, since it is a version of the Kipfel that used French puff pastry. I just appreciate the way that food mixes around and never becomes rigid, it interconnects cultures. It doesn't care about the manmade idea of race.

c) I liked Parker's second paragraph specifically, where she talks about how Hawai'i was illegally annexed. The United States is one of the few colonial empires left that hasn't allowed its colonies their independence (except the Philippines), others including Russia and China. The US admitted in 1993 that the annexation of Hawai'i was an illegal act, soon after the Cold War ended, probably passed because of the decreased importance of Hawai'i as a military base. The similarities to the annexation of Native American lands are obvious. This is definitely something that tends to get ignored in the American education system that should be brought up much more often.

3. a) On page 29, a note is made about the false treaties that the US made regarding the Native Americans, and how nearly every single one was broken. It's important to spread how many false guarantees that the indigenous people were given as their land was stolen and they were forced onto reservations.

b) On page 23, it's noted that the Texan education curriculum is barely acknowledging slavery and spreading the thought that the Civil War was entirely about state's rights and not about slavery. This is an ongoing issue that really needs to be put into the same spotlight as the Texas Abortion Bill. This is also another reason why Woodrow Wilson is my most hated president, he was a racist POS that helped popularize this way of thinking.

4. Through a very critical lens, I actually thoroughly enjoy this book. It's really important to hear from actual human experiences, as it's more helpful than statistics to understand this sort of thing. I like overanalyzing what quite a few of these people have said, the general idea is one I agree with but there are multiple hypocritical ways of thinking that I noted and that I really despise, like generalizing all white people as racist, self-centered, and uneducated about the plights of other races, I'm not saying that this isn't true of many or even a majority, but it's a dangerous generalization.

turtle17
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

1. I definitely agree with what Winona and Priya said, and I agree for a variety of reasons. First, they said "race and racism inescapably impact everything around us". This is so incredibly true, everything that we have living in the United States is a direct result from slavery, and slave labor. You have to learn to think in a racial critical lens, literally everything you have ever touched or thought has a connection to race, even if it isn't obvious at first. This connects to them calling race a cancer, by how it affects everything in our lives. That statement was a little iffy for me, I don't think it's the best to think of race as a cancer. In a way, race can be beautiful, because that's how some people have been able to connect with their cultures after they have been stripped away. The cancerous part of race is when people begin to feel superior because of their color.

2. One of the first quotes that really struck me was stated by Melina, "Conversations around White Supremacy are my responsibility" (36). This is something that is extremely significant to me because I always get annoyed when white people will say stuff like, 'oh why do we have to bring race into this' or other nonsense like that, because they just don't realize that even thinking like that is a result of privilege.

The second quote I really liked was "Jewish people have a responsibility to stand up in solidarity with people being persecuted today", said by Nick's grandfather. In the same way that a lot of women feel safer with each other than they do with men, persecuted people feel safer among each other than they do with privileged ones. I don't think this is them stereotyping white people either, they are just trying to find comfort where they can. This also leads them to stand up for one another, its why so many persecuted people will advocate for others more than they do for themselves.

The last quote that caught my attention was said by Justin, when he brought up how a peer wanted to form a club talking about race, but you couldn't call things racists if they 'weren't'. This irked me, because the student who wanted to form the club was white, how would they be in the place to decide what is and what isn't racist?

3. The first factoid I liked was the one explaining the definition of an ally, on page 16. It explains that in order to be an ally, you have to commit, and emphasizes that you can't just call yourself one, and then do nothing about it. It's so important to spread that message, because if you're an 'ally', but you don't make any attempt to help people being persecuted, nothing is changing for the better.

The second factoid I really appreciated was one talking about Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. This is a theory created by Joy DeGruy, and it talks about the adaptations and specific ways of living relating to descendants of slaves. I really appreciated this footnote, because I had never heard of the term before, and I think its one everyone should know.

4. I really like this book so far! I think I like it so much because it has a variety of stories, but all of the stories get to the point. They are specific enough to open your eyes about the harsh realities of life, but they also aren't extremely long, so you don't loose concentration, and this allows me to appreciate them more.

turtle17
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by Nightshade on October 01, 2021 20:57

1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s opinion about the effects of race. It’s definitely important to acknowledge people’s culture and celebrate our differences, but the way “race” has been used and its origin has been harmful. They’re categories that put people’s identities into boxes and facilitate prejudice. There’s a way to acknowledge our individuality, backgrounds, and common cultures without looking at people and seeing only their skin color or features.


2.

1. Queen Esther talked about all the inventions and contributions African Americans have made to the United States. We rarely learn about these inventions in history class. Hamilton invented national banks. Edison invented the light bulb. Alexander Bell invented the telegram. We know all that. Not once have I heard about Nearest Green’s whiskey invention. We don’t learn in class about the medical abuse of black women who were enslaved. This is the kind of acknowledgement I’m talking about. What’s stopping us from learning about contributions by people of color? It’s really important to spread this message because we KNOW people from all over the world, not just the British colonists, made the U.S. what it is today. We just don’t acknowledge it.


2. Nick talks about his Jewish grandfather standing up for the Native Americans in his community. This part of his testimony really stood out to me because his grandfather mentioned that he was doing this because of the persecution Jews faced themselves. So when others are being discriminated against and harassed by police, of course he’s going to stand up for them. This is such an important ideal because as we’ve talked about before, being a bystander is complicit. We all need to learn how to use our privilege to stand up for those who need help.


3. Marley, Rylee and Parker discussed the assumptions people made about them, the history of oppression for Hawai’ians, and the cultural appropriation that occurs in the U.S. of Hawai’ian culture. This stood out to me because I looked down, and I was wearing Hawai’ian shorts. As guilt washed over me I realized how often I must be completely ignoring my use of other cultures without acknowledging it. In order to stop this, I need to acknowledge it and become conscious of this every time I do it. This is true with virtually all types of prejudice and biases. It’s only the first step, but it’s a necessary one.


  1. One factoid that I found really disturbing was one where it talked about how in Texas they’ve virtually eradicated discussing slavery in history classes because they’re “uncomfortable” with it. This is awful because we need to know all about our history, the ugly, the beautiful, and the horrific. How will we learn from it otherwise? I’ve realized as I’ve learned about events like the Holocaust and Social Darwinism that I’ve had thoughts that echo some of the horrifying beliefs people have had centuries ago. One of the biggest ways we can call ourselves out on thoughts that hurt others and ourselves is by learning about the disastrous effects they can have.
  1. Another factoid talks about how U.S. undocumented children have to be treated fairly and given the same opportunities for school. This was interesting because it followed Alexa talking about not getting into a boarding school after she told them she was undocumented. This proves that in order to end prejudice, we must not only end institutional prejudice but also internal bias and social bias. Otherwise, the U.S. will never truly have opportunities for all as leaders have claimed it does time and time again.

I love this book so far. Having a space for people to share their views and experiences accessible to so many people - privileged or not - is necessary for us to come together as a community, country, and world to fight inequality. The stories are so well described and they’re a reminder of the billions of people out there with their own stories. The book makes self reflection a necessity to understand the stories on a deeper level.

I also really was struck by the factoid about Texas changing the vocabulary in the textbooks. I knew before that the books we read for history class are made in Texas, but I recently learned that a lot of the information is blurred because of this. America has so much pride in itself, and refuses so much to talk about the horrible past, even though its a necessary thing to do.

Bumble Bee
Posts: 13

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s statements. Racial profiling is a huge problem that can prevent someone from getting a job, renting an apartment, or make them a suspect in a crime they didn’t commit. Boston in particular is a highly segregated city in part due to its history of red lining. Racism is deep rooted in the foundation of our country as @runningdog96 said. Our country was built on a foundation of racism. Colorism discriminates against races even further. This is where lighter skinned black people discriminate against darker skinned black people. In reality race doesn’t exist. This is a scientific fact yet people are still discriminated against based on “race”.

1. The first person I want to talk about is Justin E. He talks about growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and experiencing racism for the first time. Then he talks about going to Senegal, West Africa. He notices how slavery was a part of the Africans he talked to’s past, not something they are defined by unlike in America. Lastly he talks about how the oppressed shouldn’t have to do all the educating. The oppressors, or white people, should be educating each other. I thought that last sentiment was extremely important. The oppressors are the ones who caused the damage so they should be the ones to fix it. His take on how slavery defines black people in America was so powerful like the line, “Black people are only introduced in our history as slaves. That’s all we are.” This brings to light an important note about the education system and the bias that fills our history books.


2. The next people I want to talk about are Rylee, Parker, and Marley. They are Hawaiian. They describe a bunch of stereotypes people have towards Hawaiians. Rylee talks about how any other culture can say they are being culturally appropriated except for Hawaiians. They talk about how Hawaiians don’t think of themselves as Americans since they were overthrown and illegally annexed. They also express their love for Hawaii. Their story is important because it brings to light how many stereotypes there are for Hawaiians. Many people assume they are “uncivilized” and ride dolphins to school. It also shows how different being from Hawaii is than being from a different state. It’s not just a fun vacation destination, real people have lives there. Even though it is a part of the United States (due to unethical means) the people have their own culture and way of life. The history of Hawaii should not be ignored and the girls’ stories show you why.


3. The last person I want to talk about is Chef Tu. He is a chef from an island of Vietnam. He talks about his frustration when non Vietnamese people say his food doesn’t taste authentic, or people say he isn’t Vietnamese enough. He has trouble identifying with one group since he is so much more than just one. He loves food because it builds bridges between cultures. He talks about watching his mother cook and how important handing down recipes is to him. His story brings a different perspective to ethnicity which is through food. He shows how all people are connected by explaining the similarities in cultures’ food. When he talks about not feeling like he fits into one culture in particular it’s a notion that a lot of people can relate to. People can’t be grouped into boxes because everyone has a different history and life experience. Nobody has the right to tell him that he isn’t Vietnamese enough.


1. In Justin E’s story there is a blurb that talks about two major things. One is that Africa is a continent and not a country. There are more genetic and physical differences within the population of Sub-Saharan Africa than among any other population. The second is that it talks about the U.S. eugenics movement which forced certain people to be sterilized in order to eliminate “undesirable” traits. First of all, a lot of people refer to Africa like it’s a country and they should know how diverse the continent is. Second, we can’t hide from the past, no matter how awful it may be. People need to know about bad events like the U.S. eugenics movement to gain a better understanding of the deep rooted operation of Black people in America and so that we don’t repeat history.


2. In Liz’s story a short blurb is added about the inequalities of travel. It’s pointed out that most hotels don’t offer shampoos that work with Black hair, and the main highlight of a resort is sunbathing by a pool. This was a complete privilege check for me, similarly to @dinonuggets, since to be honest I hadn’t noticed that. If I didn’t realize that then others might not either which is why this information should be spread. One of the privileges of being white is the ability to change your skin color and suffer no loss of status. Tanning is a form of racial tourism, white people can pretend they are “exotic” and then go back to their lives of white privilege. This needs to be talked about more.


  1. I really like this book so far. I love hearing about different people’s unique experiences but all surrounding a similar topic. The stories put names and faces to racial identities. They show the diverse spectrum of humans on our planet. It brings to light many injustices that often don’t get the proper attention. It mixes history and current stories to illustrate how identity has changed over time. I think the book is extremely well written and enjoyable to read. It makes you think, which I appreciate.
Bumble Bee
Posts: 13

Originally posted by dinonuggets on October 03, 2021 19:22

1) I fully agree with Winona and Priya’s statement that race impacts everything around us. I think about the four dimensions of racism - institutional, internalized, interpersonal, and systemic. Those basically cover every interaction and aspect of society - so racism is embedded in pretty much everything. Not everybody experiences direct racism but they can see it or perpetuate it, even if it is an unspoken thought. Race and the effects of colonialism impact how others perceive each other and how we perceive ourselves.


2)

  1. Alexa moved to the US with her family from Mexico. At one of her schools she was bullied for having light skin and it made her question her identity and race. She talked about realizing the connection between skin color and socioeconomic status - she was called rich because of her lighter skin even thought it was not true. She also said how at home, getting an education is equated to being white. Over time Alexa realized that there was a deeper reason for why she got bullied. Her story is meaningful because it shows that there are divides within communities of color. It’s also important because Alexa is an example of one person holding privilege and being part of an oppressed minority at the same time.
  2. Justin E. talked about his identity and roots as a black man, and how his ancestors were forced to come to America through the West African slave trade. He mentioned that black people are often just introduced as slaves in the context of history. He said something that stood out to me, which was that “Only a White person...can talk to another White person and get farther than I can get.” He also said, “The oppressed shouldn’t have to do it all.” It’s so easy for white people and those who aren’t oppressed to sink into their cushions of privilege and ignore racial issues. Black people and other people of color have been the ones doing the most but like Justin said, white people “run the world.” This means white people need to step out of their comfort zone because they can make a huge difference within the white community that also extends to communities of color.
  3. Rylee, Marley, and Parker are from Hawaii. They talked about microaggressions and assumptions people would make about them. Rylee said she feels like most native Hawaiians don’t see themselves as Americans and that being from Hawaii doesn’t mean you’re Hawaiian. The three of them identify as Hawaiian because they are indigineous. I’m glad they mentioned that even though Hawaii was annexed and is now part of the US, it is its own island with rich culture and tradition. This made me think about how literally all of the mainland belonged (and still does) to the native people who lived there but colonizers claimed it for themselves. It’s a similar story with a different group of people.

3)

  1. The first sidenote that caught my attention was the one about the change in Texas’s history curriculum in 2015. It fails to properly address the slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, and sugarcoats the Civil War as a debate over states’ rights. This is astonishing and outrageous. I thought of a poster I’ve seen on Ms. Freeman’s wall that says something like, “To understand where we’re going we have to understand where we’ve been.” Simply erasing events from textbooks does not erase them from history. And it’s not like these things were just a part of history or something strictly from the past, they still have lasting effects to this day. If we as a society want to improve our racial issues the least we can do is acknowledge the horrible things that have been done in the past, because they are still relevant.
  2. Another sidenote that stood out to me was from Liz’s story. It pointed out that shampoo in hotels almost never works for Black hair. I had never thought about this before. It made me realize that there are probably so many little things I don’t even know about, like the shampoo, that show how there is a white standard in America. As a non-Black person it is much harder to see these things and it makes me want to be more active in pointing out these parts of our society.

4) I really enjoyed reading this book so far. The people whose stories we have heard all come from different backgrounds and have unique experiences. Reading about things I have never experienced before is very meaningful and eye opening, and I think it’s a good way for others to learn and reflect as well. Although I can’t directly relate to a lot of what I read, I gained new insight and knowledge and that is one of the most important things.

I totally agree that we can’t erase the past even if it makes us uncomfortable. It should make us uncomfortable, but we need to sit in that discomfort in order to heal as a society. Racism can’t be ignored, especially by schools. If we neglect to teach the future generations about the discrimination minorities face then we are neglecting to take responsibility for the history of racism in our country. If we don’t teach the true history then we won’t learn how to do better and we risk repeating the past.

dancingsnail
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about the role of race. Every single person in this class, this school, this state, and this country has unconscious racial bias whether they like it or not. We see it in our city which is segregated by race. We were all raised in a society where whiteness is inescapable and we are taught to associate whiteness with what’s good in the world. This unconscious or conscious bias that we all hold dictates our actions and our attitudes towards other people, and dismantling this bias is work that not a lot of people are willing to do. As long as white people allow themselves to be comfortable with the way our societies work and they aren’t willing to make themselves uncomfortable changes will never occur. People of color are forced to face the realities of racism every day and white people can just choose to ignore it. There is no way to separate ourselves from this bias, we can’t simply choose to be colorblind (as many people like to say), whether we like it or not the moment we look at a person we make judgments about who they are based on their race. Dismantling this mentality is nearly impossible since it affects us all, but hard work can be done to combat the bias in our minds. People know racism is bad and we know that it exists and that’s often all people choose to acknowledge. People often think that they’re better than other people, or better than other white people because of knowledge they have on race or their awareness of certain issues, but that simply isn’t the truth. Definitive action always speaks louder than words. Race will be cancer to American society for the rest of our lives and will continue long after we’re dead since it is just so fundamentally American.

    1. Queen Esther is a Black country singer who discussed the importance of acknowledging the contributions Black people have made to our society since America was quite literally built on their backs. She tells us that the origins of country music actually originate from Africans, but since white people stole it as their own it has become known as a white genre. Queen Esther is reclaiming the country genre as it rightfully belongs to the people from who it originated. Her story is important because it points out how much white people have taken credit for in history and how they have taken advantage of Black people time and time again. Unfortunately, our schools are doing nothing to eradicate this and we continue to only learn about white inventors and contributors to history. Our country would be nothing without the contributions of people of color. In Queen Esther’s story, I saw the irony that white people wanted to “erase the African captives’ history, their, culture, their language, their religion, their everything and just leave this stripped-down husk of a person.” (23), while they take the credit for Black inventions and steal their culture for themselves. Cultural appropriation is something that people today still don’t understand the gravity of, it’s not just using a hairstyle or making a type of music your own, it’s racism. It’s disrespecting the generations of people of color whose culture was stripped away from them only for white people to use it and it to suddenly become acceptable.
    2. In his interview, Justin says that slavery is how Black people are defined in America, they are defined by their oppression. He talks about his struggle to help white people understand the trauma that comes with being a Black person in America, and he understands a fundamental truth, “Only a White person, I’ve learned, can talk to another White person and get farther than I can get. Because either they’re gonna stop listening to me, I’m gonna get angry, or both.” This is something I’ve observed since elementary school. No white person wants to be lectured about race and white people become defensive if faced with frustration with their race. Justin also states another important truth, that the oppressed are forced to do all the work to help white people understand racism when they shouldn’t be the ones doing it. People of color already have to face racism in their daily lives, they owe white people nothing, including education. It has to be the responsibility of a white person to want to change and to help, other white people change. Even the most progressive white people struggle with confronting racism, but it has to be a struggle white people are committed to because people of color shouldn’t have to bear the weight of racism as well as the weight of ending it.
    3. Ed is an African American weatherman, who wasn’t sure if he would ever make it as a meteorologist due to a lack of representation of Black people in science. The most important thing it took from his story was when there was a hurricane in Dallas, and his white colleagues didn’t even think to cover the damage in neighborhoods of color. I would like to be surprised, but this is too common. Consciously and subconsciously white people often overlook people of color and their hardships in favor of their own. It shouldn’t have taken a weatherman of color to tell white people to help neighborhoods of color, that is ridiculous. It can not be the responsibility of people of color to point out the obvious when it comes to race, this is just another example where white people need to step up.

    1. A factoid from Queen Esther’s interview tells us about the abuse of Black women’s bodies in American history. Most importantly it states that Black women were used to continuing the institution of slavery as they were forced to give birth to children who would become enslaved. Of course, this is disturbing, but this would only be one of the first of many instances of Black women being used for their bodies in American history. Since slavery seems so long ago it often forms in our mind as an abstract idea that we know is bad. Learning about the specific horrors of slavery is difficult, but it helps us understand its gravity and why it can never be put behind us.
    2. A factoid from Justin’s interview tells us about Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome, which describes the generational trauma experienced by African Americans because of slavery. This factoid is important because as a country we often think that slavery is something that we can just put behind us, but this is proof of its continuing impact on Black Americans. I believe it can present itself as internalized racism as well as institutional as it affects the way people may see themselves as well as the way others see them.
  2. I am enjoying this book, I think it’s interesting to explore the perspectives of different people of color, from those who benefit from privilege associated with white supremacy to those who don’t. All of the people of color seemed to be of a similar socio-economic background which was also interesting. This isn’t necessarily a critic of the book, but something I found interesting was many of the interviews seem to be from the perspective of people of color who “made it.” Many of the interviewees played the system in their favor. I’m not saying that made their lives easier because it clearly didn’t, racism doesn’t stop existing because you reach a different economic status. I’m just curious as to why the authors chose these types of people to interview and whether interviewing people who weren’t able to take advantage of the system would’ve given the reader and the author a different perspective. There is so much still left to this book so this thought might be irrelevant soon.
dancingsnail
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by Nightshade on October 01, 2021 20:57

1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s opinion about the effects of race. It’s definitely important to acknowledge people’s culture and celebrate our differences, but the way “race” has been used and its origin has been harmful. They’re categories that put people’s identities into boxes and facilitate prejudice. There’s a way to acknowledge our individuality, backgrounds, and common cultures without looking at people and seeing only their skin color or features.


2.

1. Queen Esther talked about all the inventions and contributions African Americans have made to the United States. We rarely learn about these inventions in history class. Hamilton invented national banks. Edison invented the light bulb. Alexander Bell invented the telegram. We know all that. Not once have I heard about Nearest Green’s whiskey invention. We don’t learn in class about the medical abuse of black women who were enslaved. This is the kind of acknowledgement I’m talking about. What’s stopping us from learning about contributions by people of color? It’s really important to spread this message because we KNOW people from all over the world, not just the British colonists, made the U.S. what it is today. We just don’t acknowledge it.


2. Nick talks about his Jewish grandfather standing up for the Native Americans in his community. This part of his testimony really stood out to me because his grandfather mentioned that he was doing this because of the persecution Jews faced themselves. So when others are being discriminated against and harassed by police, of course he’s going to stand up for them. This is such an important ideal because as we’ve talked about before, being a bystander is complicit. We all need to learn how to use our privilege to stand up for those who need help.


3. Marley, Rylee and Parker discussed the assumptions people made about them, the history of oppression for Hawai’ians, and the cultural appropriation that occurs in the U.S. of Hawai’ian culture. This stood out to me because I looked down, and I was wearing Hawai’ian shorts. As guilt washed over me I realized how often I must be completely ignoring my use of other cultures without acknowledging it. In order to stop this, I need to acknowledge it and become conscious of this every time I do it. This is true with virtually all types of prejudice and biases. It’s only the first step, but it’s a necessary one.


  1. One factoid that I found really disturbing was one where it talked about how in Texas they’ve virtually eradicated discussing slavery in history classes because they’re “uncomfortable” with it. This is awful because we need to know all about our history, the ugly, the beautiful, and the horrific. How will we learn from it otherwise? I’ve realized as I’ve learned about events like the Holocaust and Social Darwinism that I’ve had thoughts that echo some of the horrifying beliefs people have had centuries ago. One of the biggest ways we can call ourselves out on thoughts that hurt others and ourselves is by learning about the disastrous effects they can have.
  1. Another factoid talks about how U.S. undocumented children have to be treated fairly and given the same opportunities for school. This was interesting because it followed Alexa talking about not getting into a boarding school after she told them she was undocumented. This proves that in order to end prejudice, we must not only end institutional prejudice but also internal bias and social bias. Otherwise, the U.S. will never truly have opportunities for all as leaders have claimed it does time and time again.

I love this book so far. Having a space for people to share their views and experiences accessible to so many people - privileged or not - is necessary for us to come together as a community, country, and world to fight inequality. The stories are so well described and they’re a reminder of the billions of people out there with their own stories. The book makes self reflection a necessity to understand the stories on a deeper level.

I agree that the way race has ruled our society is harmful, but I think it is impossible to acknowledge our differences and commonalities without seeing people's skin color or features. Human beings make snap judgments, that is how we are and in an ideal world this wouldn't be the case. Sometimes people think they can be colorblind, meaning they believe they don't see race. This simply isn't the case and it would take the complete destruction and reconstruction of everything we know to dismantle this part of ourselves.

flowerpower
Posts: 12

Racial Identity

1) I agree with Winona and Priya that “race and racism inescapably impact everything around us.” (12) The neighborhoods we live in, the schools we learn in, the jobs we work at, and the whole world around us is influenced by colonialism that led to racism. Especially in America it is presented that everyone who works hard will have equal opportunity to succeed but this is not the truth. White people are given far more opportunities and resources from an early age to set them up for far greater success than other minorities. This keeps white figures in power who continue the oppression of all people of color.


2) 1- Jennifer: Jennifer said that until high school she had never really talked to a white person before (15.). This quote was red and at the bottom of the page connected to the section was more information about segregation within cities. I thought this was significant because we see this clearly in Boston. The wealth gap in our city is extreme and the segregation between different neighborhoods like West Roxbury and Mattapan is obvious. Systemic racism keeps our city like this.

2- Queen Esther- Queen Esther talks about all the different inventions of black people that have been stolen or forgotten. She also says “You owe Black people for everything” (24.) I thought her passage was important to note because she emphasizes that the United States would be nothing without Black people. The country that so many racist white Americans are so proud of, was built from the ground up by black people. It would never have been the powerhouse it is today without slavery.

3- Ed - Ed is the grandson of a slave, he is also a meteorologist. In his section he talks about how his colleagues were only supporting white communities affected by weather and not communities of color. He got his managers to help these communities and teach them what to do during weather emergencies. I thought this was important to lift up because it's very zoomed in. A lot of other passages were about people's experiences connecting to broader ideas about racism while Ed just focused on what he could do to help. I think it’s important for us to think about our day to day interactions and experiences through a race lense. How are we expressing our thoughts on racism to the world, how is the world's systemic racism affecting us? People need to recognize these things in their lives, like Ed did, and act on them.


3) 1- page 35- the factoids on this page go through the journey of a white person working on anti-racism and being the best possible ally. One thing it talks about that I think is really important to highlight is the responsibility of white people to teach other white people, and for us to fight for equality and equity. Racist white people will listen more to other white people than people of color. It is also our responsibility to have conversations with the people around us, our friends and our families to promote anti racism.

2- On page 40 the factoid is about cultural appropriation, it says cultural appropriation is when a piece of a culture is borrowed and lifted up in ways it wasn’t for it’s originator. I think this is a very hot topic right now, as people explore different trends they don’t always think about where they came from, many trends that are being showcased by white people were originated by black people but labeled as “ghetto.” When people borrow from other cultures without appreciating the history behind what they are borrowing it is disrespectful.


flowerpower
Posts: 12

Originally posted by Nightshade on October 01, 2021 20:57

2.

1. Queen Esther talked about all the inventions and contributions African Americans have made to the United States. We rarely learn about these inventions in history class. Hamilton invented national banks. Edison invented the light bulb. Alexander Bell invented the telegram. We know all that. Not once have I heard about Nearest Green’s whiskey invention. We don’t learn in class about the medical abuse of black women who were enslaved. This is the kind of acknowledgement I’m talking about. What’s stopping us from learning about contributions by people of color? It’s really important to spread this message because we KNOW people from all over the world, not just the British colonists, made the U.S. what it is today. We just don’t acknowledge it.

I think it's especially important to highlight the abuse of black womens bodies from experimentation. We barely ever hear about this and it could be because it's too humanizing, when people hear this story their jaws drop (id assume). If more people new about the specific abuses that specific people faced maybe they would feel more empathy. Stories cause connection. Hearing about these things and realizing they were real people too, their pain was real and unfair. Maybe if people thought about this more they wouldn't be so cruel.

Nightshade
Posts: 12

Originally posted by mango04 on October 03, 2021 13:59

  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s remarks because I believe that the four dimensions of racism, such as internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic, significantly shape the difference in American experiences based on what skin color and features you may have. I believe race should be acknowledged, and like @Nightshade said, there is a way to acknowledge and celebrate one’s race and racial history without solely focusing on skin color and features. Until the past few years, I had not been aware of the extent to which race plays a role in the lives of everyone. Before, my privilege blinded me to the realities of the world and the many forms that racism comes in. I now know that whether you are willing to accept it or not, racism is not just interpersonal, but also in the form of your mind’s racial biases and prejudices and in the form of the many institutions and systems considerably disadvantageous to people of color.

  1. 1. Alexa: In Alexa’s excerpt she touched upon her personal experiences of code-switching, or alternating between different dialects and ways of speaking among different groups of people. She admitted that she used to use the N-word often and was unaware of its meaning and background. Alexa then went on to talk about how she was bullied by other Mexican kids in school for being light-skinned, and went on to talk about how based on her lighter skin, kids assumed she was rich. She was able to connect color to socioeconomic status. I thought that her account was noteworthy because she was able to speak on her own experience with discrimination based on her lighter skin color from people from her own ethnic group. Her experience acts as a reminder that colorism is a real issue derived from ideas of white supremacy, and it needs to be addressed more in conversations about racism. I also found her connection between skin tone and socioeconomic status significant because it brought to light internalized racism that the “whiter” you are, the more money you’ll have.

2. Justin E.: In Justin’s writing he describes how he feels being Black and his connection the African slave trade define him. He ends his passage calling upon white people to listen and learn from the experiences of people of color, so that they can help educate more white people on the issues of racism in America. I thought Justin’s account was important because he calls for white people, or the oppressors, to assist in the efforts of people of color, or the oppressed. He says that in his own experiences, a white person can get farther in educating another white person on the experiences people of color face, than he, an actual person of color, can. This is significant because it shows how Justin and many other people of color feel that unfortunately white people have the ability to influence conversations on racism, when in the end they can’t possibly understand its true impacts.


3. Ed: Ed begins his excerpt by stating that his grandfather was an enslaved person that was freed when he was ten. He then talks about his time in school and how not many people believed that he could make it to college, let alone be a meteorologist. He explains how there is little representation of Black meteorologists on TV and in science fields in general. He recalls a destructive storm that hit Dallas, Texas and neither Hispanic nor African-American communities were given aid or covered. When he finally convinced his managers to let him help inform those Black and Hispanic communities, he realized his big responsibility as a person of color working in weather. Ed’s story of having to force his managers to allow him to aid Black and Hispanic communities is significant because it shows how white-washed the news can be and how he used his identity and experiences to relate to and help those communities. He was able to recognize the racism and prejudices within the news covering of the storm, and chose to use his knowledge to provide equitable aid.


  1. 1. One factoid that I found very eye-opening was the second one on Queen Esther’s excerpt (page 23) that mentioned how in 2015 schools in Texas developed a new history curriculum. This curriculum barely touches upon slavery, disregards the role slavery played in the Civil War, and doesn’t mention the KKK or Jim Crow Laws. I found this especially terrifying because it means that kids my age will not learn about America’s dark past, making them less likely to help in the much needed fight for change. I believe more people need to know about this deprivation of our country’s history because it is important to recognize the U.S.’s past, so that it will never be repeated again. I think there should be more debate over this because it does not only a disservice to our country’s history, but also does a great disservice to the African-American population.

2. Another factoid that I found specifically eye-opening was the first one on Justin E.’s excerpt (page 26) that talked about how many people still are unaware that Africa is a continent, not a country, and that there is more genetic and physical variations within sub-Saharan African populations than there is anywhere else in the world. I had never learned about the eugenics movement in the U.S., so after further research I was able to conclude just how horrendous and damaging the ignorance is surrounding the false idea that race is instead biological. Not only do I think more people should know about this part of U.S. history, but I also believe more people should be educated on the many genetic variations within the continent of Africa to avoid these types of abuses in the future.


4. I really enjoy this book so far because it is allowing me the opportunity to listen to real stories of people of color. I think this book provides such an accepting forum that lets people share their experiences, relate to others experiences, and recognize and understand how to use their privilege to help. Books like this one should be read and discussed more often because they create a better sense of understanding and connectedness that we need in my generation to move forward and join the fight against racism.

I agree with your note about how being educated about the history of the world is necessary to progress. Ignorance is so harmful, which is especially highlighted by Justin E.'s comment about people's confusion around Africa. Not only does it perpetuate false beliefs about Africa as a continent and the many countries within it, it also encourages biases towards African Americans because it furthers stereotypes. Africa is incredibly diverse and pretending like it's just one mono-cultural place is harmful to everyone.

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