- I agree entirely with Winona and Priya’s assumptions. Their statement that stood out to me the most was “race and racism inescapably impact everything around us. Even the very existence of the United States demanded their presence” (12), which I couldn’t agree more with. Honestly, after reading all the personal accounts later given by many people who experienced this first hand, it’s impossible to think otherwise. Every story told in this book proves how when some are oblivious to the role their race plays, other races are harmed. For example, the POC in this book account for times in their lives when they felt that their culture wasn’t appreciated because so many Americans are conditioned to believe that white culture is the “right” culture. I’m putting the word right in quotes here because I completely disagree with the statement. It’s appalling that white Americans have put down so many other cultures for celebrating their cultures differ from their own.
- 1) Alexa, a girl, who was born in Mexico and moved to America, shares her story about being a girl growing up in a majorly Hispanic gifted program. She also brings up the issue of how much less money women are given than men in the workplace. She mentions that a white woman makes seventy-eight cents for every dollar a man makes, and a Hispanic woman makes fifty-six cents. This was a noteworthy point because we all know that there is a vast gap between the amount men and women make, but hearing that depending on the women’s race, she could be making even less is so incredibly infuriating. This proves how much of a need to fight for this issue; there still is, because of the patriarchy, even though women have been given the right to vote, we still get paid significantly less than men, and POC women get even smaller wages than white women.
2) Vic, an Asian woman who struggled with gentrification her whole life, talks about her experiences trying to speak up against blatant racism. When watching a film about the Vietnamese-American War, her classmates didn’t flinch when Vietnamese soldiers were being shot up but did when a pig was killed. White American students cared more about the death of an animal than human lives. To me, this really stuck out because it can be inferred that the reason the students didn’t flinch was either that they didn’t believe in the soldiers’ humanity or that they were conditioned to believe that the killing of Vietnamese people was okay, both are extremely concerning thoughts.
3) Vineela and Tyler are an interracial couple who had difficulties getting permission to date from Vineela’s mom. Vineela’s mom didn’t like the fact that Tyler dropped out of school or that he wanted to be an actor, but after finally agreeing to meet him, her opinions completely changed. She showed up to the date wearing a flannel shirt, Tyler’s favorite and even talked to Vineela’s mom more than her. This story is a great example of the ways people can stereotype a certain group of people to make them seem “different” in a bad way but then can change their perspectives after actually getting to know the people they previously disliked.
- 1) One interesting factoid that I found was mentioned in Alexa’s story. It said that in a Supreme Court decision, it was decided that the children of undocumented workers have the right to attend public primary and secondary schools. This relates to when Alexa talks about how she was rejected from a school because of her documentation status. This shows us firsthand how awful institutional racism can be; the school that rejected Alexa didn’t care that she was an incredibly bright student who excelled in her schoolwork but instead denied her access because she wasn’t an American citizen.
2) Another factoid I found interesting was one mentioned toward the middle of Nick’s story. The fact reads that over five hundred treaties were made with American Indian tribes, and yet five hundred were broken. Americans violated the treaties they initially agreed to when first stealing American Indian land. Then, telling us that they never meant what they agreed to in those treaties, they only wanted to sign them and take over the land as soon as possible, not caring about the many American Indians they violated in the process.
4. I am extremely enjoying this book for far. It is fascinating learning about all the different ways race and culture have affected how people live. It’s important to highlight these stories so we can learn from them, and when we do, it’s truly eye-opening. I like that the book puts readers into the shoes of these people. And because of that, we can hear and try out best to understand these people’s stories. These accounts have truly highlighted a feeling of connectedness. When discussing such a complicated thing as racism, such a validating and accepting forum such as this book is a good reading source because it gives the perspectives of people from all different races and backgrounds.