posts 16 - 30 of 30
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 23

1. I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions, because the very founding of the United States was caused by the oppression, condemnation, and exploitation of others. If it weren't for the Native Americans they pushed out, tricked, and abused, or the enslaved involuntarily working for free, America would not have had the economic backing needed to succeed. American society was built around benefiting the white people that inhabited it-- which is ironic in the grand scheme of things because they are immigrants, but they claim America is theirs.

  1. (a)The person I would like to choose for this question is Jennifer. Jennifer is a Vietnamese American who lived in Chicago, Illinois. What she talked about in her interview was about her living in a predominantly Vietnamese community and living in a poor economic status, and how it shaped the way she viewed race in America. Jennifer made me understand a bit more about racism found in Asian communities towards brown people, and it seems to be tied to it being because of having no exposure to dark-skinned individuals/groups. (b) I think this is significant because I feel as though if people were just more well informed and acquainted with one another, misconceptions would fall away.
3. (a) The factoid found on page 26 about Africa was a fact I found interesting. What the fact was saying was that race wasn't a biological thing, and that there is a lot of genetic and physical variation of people in Africa, to the point where someone from the Congo can have more relation to someone in Germany instead of Botswana. (b) I felt that this was important to note because race is a social construct, and I felt this was a good factoid to use to explain that.

4. I really like the book so far. I really like seeing the perspectives of others, especially when they talk about their background and how it influenced their ways of thinking.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Do you agree with Winona + Priya's assumptions or do you want to challenge some part of what they believe about the role of race? Why or why not?

While overviewing the assignment, I mostly agreed with Winona and Priya's assumption of race. I disagreed with the part where they called it similar to cancer. In my interpretation, it seemed like they were calling race a bad thing. I do not think race is bad. However, after reading the first few pages on this chapter I can see where that statement comes into play. Race is something that can negatively affect everyone, similar to how cancer affects people. Like it is said in the text, the very existence of America is built on race.

Identity one first-person account from this first chapter in the book that says something that, in your view, is important about race and identity. Identify the person you select and share with us.

Queen Esther talks about her experience as being an artist in country music. The musician often gets comments basically telling her how the music she chose to play is "White people music." She explains that country music is not something that belongs to White people, its origin comes from enslaved people. She then describes the many, many times when White people took credit for a Black person's doing. The development of America would be nonexistent without African Americans. Queen Esther's story is important to me because it opened my eyes to a lot of things. I had never really thought of the possibility that inventions that are said to be made by white people were actually inventions of African Americans. It makes me wonder how far America would be if slavery never happened.

Select at least 2 footnotes and lift them up in the post.

The first footnote on page 43 proposes a question that highlights the fact that people of non-white features are not taken into consideration. Something as simple as shampoo is not as simple as it seems. As a person with straight hair, it has never occurred to me to worry about what shampoo the hotel gives me because any shampoo works for my hair. However, people with different hair have to worry about this all the time.

The first footnote on page 45 states that the liberation of slaves did not erase all the cruelty that happened, even though it is believed that it did. More people should know about this because it allows for us to accept the consequences and discourages from concealing the ongoing problems as a result of slavery. The notion that the Emancipation solved all problems downplays the horrible treatment of Black people.

If you like or dislike this book.... so far.... say so! Tell us why you feel the way you do about it.

I really like this book so far. It's comforting to know that I am not the only one going through what I'm going through. I love how there are facts of history integrated into the stories. I am excited to read more!

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

  1. Yes I do agree with Winona and Pirya. This country was built on race this country was built by the blood sweat and tears of the minority population. The unspeakable was justified because of race. One thing I would like to add on is how oblivious groups of people can get when the topic of race/ racism comes up. Since racism can be see as having no effect on them it automatically does not exist. Just because you haven't experienced it does not mean it can't happen. Back to the main point, I agree wether you notice it or not race is so deeply ingrained in American history it is basically impossible to 'not see color' or to 'solve the issue of racism'. The very house that you live in was built on land that is not your own, the inventions that were made to make your lives easier were not made by the white men in your history books etc. and all these things happened because of race.

(a.Justin explained the dualism that they felt when they transferred to a more prestigious school he explained how some of his friends from his former school are now dropouts while the people he goes to school with now compare scores and are solely focused on their education.

(b) Moving from a school where, yes they took education seriously but not as serious as BLS, to a place where everyone was very likeminded in their goals in the future I also felt a sense of dualism. People at my old school didn't care much for test scores or comparing grades. They came to school to do school related things while students at BLS go to school. Meaning my former school created a more relaxed environment where work was done but in a way where comparison wasn't needed and it is the complete opposite of BLS all students talked about grades to the point of exhaustion.

(a) Queen Esther touches on a couple of important things in her account the most important being about the maltreatment of black women within the medical field. Black women are more likely to die from chid birth due to doctors not believing them when they say that they're in pain.

(b) I think this is a topic that isn't talked about enough. Black women are apparently seen to feel less pain as their other racial parts and when they ask for medication from the doctors they're denied because they use the medication is going to be used recreationally? I am not entirely sure of the reasoning but I know that more people should be educated on this matter because if patients don't believe doctors it'll create a sense of mistrust in the medical field which is already believed in the community and with that they will start going to the doctors less and relying on themselves more.

a) In parts of Melinas account she talks about her experience as a white woman in comparison to a black woman and the benefits of white privilege.

b) There is a lot of general misconception about what white privilege actually means. Yes as a white person you can struggle just like everyone else but it's the fact that it's easier to get out of that struggle and more resources are handed to you in terms of your success. When presented with this argument it is understandably hard to see because it has not been experienced yet. Having people aware of white privilege can allow them to use it to help others in any way that they can.

4. This book is not my favorite. Formatting wise it is a great book and an easy read its just the contents of it that threw me for a loop. the mention a lot about saying certain offensive but in the area that I grew up in (predominately hispanic) I never even thought to say words that are in any way offensive towards that ethnic group despite it being said around me. I was self aware enough to know and understand the weight of the word in which I never used it. Why is it different with the n-word? The weight a singular word holds globally should be enough for people to steer clear from it yet people use it despite context purposes. Some people use the excuse of the word being normalized within our society in which I agree in certain aspects but it has been reclaimed by the black community so it wouldn't hold such a heavy weight. Although in the book they are relatively young which I understand but I was also young and knew better. Which leads to the idea that black kids are forcibly pushed to grow up faster than those of other racial/ethnic backgrounds in America not allowing for a proper childhood. Which I think the book should've touch upon more

Posts: 19

I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race. Many of their beliefs surrounding this topic are all things that I’ve thought about before. They raise a very valid point about how our current society is built on the views white people wanted, and how even things that seem minuscule, like media is biased. The many scenarios they bring up about how society as a whole without us knowing about is biased is something that I’ve thought about in a greater context

Jennifer’s story talks about the Asian-American experience within a majority-white institution. She is Vietnamese and grew up with mostly just her mother present, but if her father was around, he would typically make racially-biased comments due to his conservative beliefs. Because she is Asian-American, Jennifer realizes that her experiences are not exactly like her White peers, but also that her life is less frightening compared to what some of her other POC peers have to face. I especially find it significant that Jennifer talks about her realization that she has a different place in society. Even though she is someone of color, her experiences are different because she is Asian. She is able to pass on light-skinned privilege, some that many of her other POC classmates don’t have the luxury to. I think this point is very important, because I’ve always thought about Asian-American treatment in American society as something that’s with so much grey area. I think the general perception is the model minority, however, in the past few years we’ve seen such an uprise in Asian-American hate crimes. Her story affirms some of the thoughts I’ve had about living in this society as an Asian-American.

On the margin, one of the widgets mentions how the model minority is used to suppress the oppressed groups in American society. I think more people should know about the model minority and the model minority myth because yes, I agree with this widget that it definitely suppresses the struggles of the oppressed in this society. It’s important to know what the model minority is because it has shaped many stereotypes society has on people of color. Another widget that caught my eye was how in 2015, Texas adopted a new history curriculum that had minimal talk with themes of racism. This included slavery, the KKK, and the Jim Crow laws. As we see in 2022, legislatures and school boards in primarily conservative states continually are adopting more conservative school curricula that don’t teach students about the LGBTQ+ community or the Critical Race Theory. This widget is ever so prominent in 2022 still, and is something we keep seeing happening across the country.

Currently, I am enjoying this story a lot. Hearing an up-close account of experiences I may never go through, both fortunately and unfortunately, is super insightful. I think the format of this novel is also very engaging for me, since it’s not a lot of formal language, as I’m used to in textbooks and English reading books.

boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

1. I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions about the role of race. Ultimately, I believe it is one of the most misunderstood parts of our society. Furthermore, the role it played in oppression has led to stereotypes that have left certain racial groups with perpetual disadvantages relating to the way they look. I believe that putting harmful ideas onto someone for simply existing is absurd...yet it affects every aspect of our daily lives. From politics to our safety to the way we're perceived while walking on a public road, there is no way to escape the idea of race in the current state of our society is in. On that note, it irks me a bit when people claim to be "colorblind" to race because, with our current societal state, it's too important to pretend it doesn't exist. To act as if race means nothing in our current world is a privilege, especially because many people have to be conscious of their race whenever they have human interaction for their own safety. Racism has deeply rooted itself in every aspect of daily life, whether we realize it or not.

2a. I've decided to write about Alexa because she touches on the relationship between race and socioeconomic status, as well as colorism among racial groups. She talks about how she began to see herself as different when she was in school among mostly dark-skinned people, while she was light-skinned. Alexa also applied to a private boarding school but was denied because she was undocumented. Her interviewer said that she was one of the best interviews he had, but that wasn't enough.

2b. This is significant because colorism is so deeply rooted in the idea of achieving whiteness...Alexa claims that she was given a complex when her peers would call her names regarding her light skin. She would ask herself "Am I white? Why are these kids calling me white?"(18). This is especially detrimental because it causes further racial divides among groups, causing people to be pitted against each other because they either are or aren't white enough. Furthermore, there are so many stereotypes regarding immigrants who are undocumented, but most people who criticize them fail to ask "why?" Wouldn't you want to be accepted when looking for refuge in another place?

3a. In Justin's section, he discusses how Black people are only introduced as slaves in history. I agree with this, and I think that my fellow students will be able to too. I know we are supposed to remain anonymous, but as a black person, I want to include my own opinion here. Growing up, whenever slavery was brought up in history class, all of my white classmates would turn to look at me (I went to a predominantly white school). It made me feel as if that's all they'd ever see me as. Black, like enslaved people, and nothing more. A factoid that is introduced in this section is Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which is "a theory that explains the etiology of many of the adaptive survival behaviors in African American communities throughout the United States and the Diaspora."

3b. I believe this piece of information is vital for other groups to know because it reminds us that slavery wasn't too long ago and many communities are still affected by it today. Going back to what I said earlier, some (ignorant) people like to say that "Slavery is behind us! I don't see color!" but it is so much deeper than that.

4. So far, I like the book. I believe that the accounts in it are sincere and emotionally impacting. All in all, they reflect the way that race affects many people on a daily basis, whether white people want to accept that or not.

Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 17



I agree with most of Winona and Priya’s claims, especially the one about how racism effects everything. In a sense it does because think about the first physical things you notice about a person, their height, how long their hair is, what clothes they are wearing, but the first thing you notice is the color of their skin. That is a fact. It is not wrong to do that, but as a human it is your moral decision to treat them equally or be mean to them and discriminate against them over something they cannot control and something which quite literally has no meaning except the one that people around the world made a while ago so they could have people work for them. Race will always be a part of everything even if it is bad or good. The only way it ever won’t be is if everyone was blind.

I’d like to talk about Jennifer's story. It really brings up the point on how set in stone racism is for some people and how hard it is to break free of it and not conform to your family. Also brings up a very important fact that racism is taught from the people who raise you. If your parents, grandparts, and siblings are all saying the N-word and calling black people dirty your whole life of course you are going to think that too especially if you are very young. It is hard as a person to overcome that because usually your parents are right and you listen to them right? But it is your responsibility to overcome that just as Jennifer has and tell them its wrong and most importantly don’t be racist yourself so that you can teach your kids and your generation that it is wrong so eventually it will disappear. Also it relates to my life in a way, I was lucky to have great parents that raised me to not be racist and treat everyone equally, but growing up my grandmother would visit from Russia and every time there was a black person she would cross the street and say that he was scary. That's just how she was raised and never got told that doing that was wrong because her whole life she lived in a majority white Russia and grew up that way. My family all told her it was wrong but its hard to get people out of their old ways. But I didn’t turn out racist because I used it as a lesson of what not to do and not as a model of what to do just like Jennifer.

I wanna talk about the quote “Notice how Justin didn’t just say “Africa,” as if it’s a country (it’s a continent). There is more genetic and physical variation within all populations of sub-Saharan Africa than there are among any other populations on the globe”(26 Guo and Vulchi). The quote here is very powerful and resonates to me because I take Afro this year and Mr. Smith is really opening my eyes to just how amazing and beautiful Africa is rather than just the stereotypical savanna and grassland where lions and giraffes walk. People are so quick to put all black people in the African American category when most people who are balck aren’t African and if they are they are from a specific place in Africa. Africa is the 2nd biggest continent in the world and we think of it as such a small place.

The first chapter of the book was very enticing and I would definitely want to read more. I like how it gives real life examples and tells you real life stories on a first hand account to show you that the problem of race is so real. Also it gets real and digs deep into how it really is such a negative factor in most cultures. I’d like to bring it back to the point that race will always be an issue until the day everyone turns blind.

Posts: 10

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

1. I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions that “race and racism inescapably impact everything around us" because race and racism can be seen in every aspect of American culture; systematically in how it oppresses people of color, especially Black and Indigenous people, while lifting white people up, socially in how there's different expectations and stereotypes for different races and how learning that you don't need to (or accepting that you don't) conform to these boundaries is something people of color have to especially deal with, and culturally in how only certain aspects of people's cultures are accepted (or even twisted into a fetish) and in someone's culture can be praised but the person is looked down upon because they're a part of that culture.

Justin E.

2.a. Justin wrote about how he has always defined himself as being Black and as being a descendant of enslaved people ever since he realized who he was, when he was first called the n-word in middle school by a white person driving by in a car. However, when he went to Senegal in West Africa to study, he learned about the perspectives of Africans on slavery and how they acknowledge it's something that happened in their history, but not something that defines who they are now. He concluded by saying that White people need to do their part too by teaching other white people because the white people who aren't gonna listen to people of color are ones who need to be changed.

2.b. What Justin said and discovered is so important because the United States defines Black people by their status as people of color; by their blackness, and the history of enslaved people that is intrinsically tied to it. Realizing that being a descendant of enslaved people doesn’t have to define him but rather just be another, albeit important, part of who he is is probably so freeing because he knows he can choose not be limited by and reduced to one part of himself. The message that white people as the oppressors have to work towards educating the racist and ignorant white people too is also really essential because it’s an idea that we have to continue to spread so we can continue to make progress.

3.a. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a theory that explains the adaptive survival behaviors in African American communities throughout the U.S. and the Diaspora, a condition that exists as a consequence of the multigenerational oppression of Africans and their descendants.

3.b. More people should know about this because I have never heard of this idea before, but I definitely think there’s potential in this theory and that it should be looked at (researched) more to see if it can be proven or disproven and how it affects the everyday lives of African Americans.

3.c. Chinese people were prohibited from testifying in court, owning property, voting, being joined by their families, marrying non-Chinese people, and working in institutional agencies. They banded together in "Chinatowns," communities in order to survive which also have other Asian ethnic groups.

3.d. More people should know this because I feel like the history around the oppression of Asian Americans isn't as well known or taught enough, being overlooked a lot of the time. Understanding and educating more people on the history of Chinatowns might also help stop or prevent the gentrification of them.

4. I really like this book so far because it's given me so much to think about in terms of understanding race and racism, and it makes me want to learn more about how to be an ally and an anti-racist and how to understand (as well as I can) the experiences of people that experience and continue to experience racism in America.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

How does racial identity play into how people see us

  • I agree with some parts of Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race. I agree that “race and racism inescapably impact everything around us. Even the very existence of the United States demanded their presence”.Everywhere you go in the U.S. you’re asked about your race, at doctors office, etc. the entire country is very centered around race and peoples race had a huge impact on their daily experiences. The United States that we have today is also built on racism, racism against Native American, enslaved Africans, and other people of color. I do not believe that race is a cancer, although it makes very little sense, it's socially constructed, and doesn’t really exist. Race itself is not a cancer, Racism is cancer. Calling race a cancer gives it a negative connotation, but it also has positive aspects to it. For example how everyone of a certain race has similar cultures especially black people around the diaspora, taking little aspects of each other's cultures and making something new.
  • Queen Esther a Black, female country music artist, talks about her experience being a country music artist and how people feel like because she’s black she should be doing R&B or something more stereotypical to Black people. Even though African instruments are used in country music. She also talks about the many inventions that we use in our daily lives that African American people have created but get no credit for, instead white people get all the credit. Things like, the lightbulb, Jack Daniels Wiskey, gynecology, the lightbulb, potatochips, etc. she also states that “slavery established Americas first world status, The country wouldn’t be where it is without [her] ancestors, This country wouldn’t exist without [Black people], you owe Black people for everything”. I think this is important because African American people have really helped with the advancement of the United States, and they barely get any credit for it, even till today a lot of Black peoples work is stolen by White people, and Black creators still don’t get credit for the things they invent.
  • Two factoids that I found interesting were about Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome, and how Black women have no rights to their bodies. “[Slavery] forced its victims to perpetuate the very instution that subjugated them by bearing children who were born the property of their masters” I think this is important it has shaped the current negative and untrustworthy relationship that a lot of Black women have with the healthcare system and Doctors, and having children in general.
  • Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome developed by Joy DeGruy, is “a condition that exists when a population has experienced multigenerational trauma resulting from centuries of slavery and continues to experience oppression and institutionalized racism today” I learned about this condition last year and I think its very imporatant because it impacts how a lot of black/African American families are shaped today. Things like absent father figures, physical abuse excused as discipline, gang culture, etc. It also impacts the systemic problems that a lot of Black people face today.
  • I like this book and I can relate to a lot of the personal perspectives given about race, especially Alexa because we have similar identities, being immigrants, having to code switch and experiencing colorism.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20


  1. I agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions on race. I believe that because the United States was built on the backs of slavery, favoritism of white elites, and general mistreatment of those of color, we as a country will never actually escape it. In today's society, every person of color has a story where their race led them to a conflict whether it was a stereotype that was given to them or a racist comment toward them. Racism is described as cancer which I also agree with. Similar to cancer, racism spreads quickly and is very difficult to remove once it's made its way to the person. Whether they are racist or someone is being racist towards this person, it's not something that can be easily shaken off. If a person is a racist, that could take years to really change their beliefs and it was probably started based on their surroundings, their parents, or who their role models are. If someone is being racist towards a person, that person is always going to remember that moment and it's never going to not hurt.

  1. (a) I chose to talk about Nick who is Native American and Jewish. He shares how his parents had organized a protest which soon became violent. Police had arrived with tear gas and in their riot uniform, scaring Nick, who was in the backseat of the car. Since then, he explains how he had a general fear of police officers. Nick says that according to his grandfather, being Jewish meant that they should have solidarity with those being persecuted in the modern days and that helping out makes you Jewish. Nick took this and states that this was all part of his identity. In the last few paragraphs, he describes how the American Dream was never real, sharing how all those who have come for it collectively had the same struggles. In his final and powerful thoughts, he exclaims that the Indegiounous people will not be going anywhere.

    (b) I think this story was very important for a few reasons. It shows how the fear begins for the police department from a young age and with good reason. Seeing your people or people, in general, being treated horribly for fighting for what they believe in is a perfect example of how people become fearful. Events like such are in their own rights and to be shot with gas or other harmful things is no way to help. He explains that from this event he saw the police department in a different way, saying how as someone who is Jewish he has to help others. I think more people should be thinking like this, Jewish or not. There's no way that you can see a group of people being persecuted or being hurt time after time and brush it off. There's a point where ignorance would step in, you have to choose to ignore it. I also think that the phrasing about the Indegionous people and people of color with the American Dream was excellent. In the Great Gatsby, the American Dream is one of the major topics but if you really think about it, the system is set up to fail. Systematic racism. It's harder for any person of color to gain respect, let alone social mobility. The Indegionous people were here first, they should be thriving, but instead, they're suffering.

  1. (1a) On page 30, there is a definition of racial equity. I remember this from 7th grade when they showed a photo of a very short child with one box, the medium height child with one, and the tallest child with one as well. This is equality, everyone gets the same thing. Equity is different because the shortest child will have the most boxes since they have the most trouble seeing over the fence, the medium child with two, and the tallest with none because they can see perfectly fine. Equity is the idea that if a community needs more help than another, the community should get its resources first.
    (1b) I think people should know more about this, from students to lawmakers so that they understand how they can help. It forces you to help the ones in the worst conditions before worrying about smaller issues. Low-income people of color have a higher rate of not graduating high school due to a lack of resources compared to their white counterparts. Instead of keeping the prices for resources high, keeping them away from the low-income people of color, lower them or give them a grant so they at least stand a chance after high school life.

    (2a) On page 32, there is a footnote about how people of the same racial group tend to come together in cities such as the Cape Verdean community in Brockton or the Vietnamese community in Dorchester. It explains how they came together to support each other as they came to the United States so that they could feel more comfortable because they were surrounded by their own people who could relate to them about their struggles or just understand. This is the same for people who were of the same religious group such as the Jewish communities throughout New York or the Islamic communities in New Jersey.
    (2b) It's important to know that this wasn't always the plan nor is it really positive to think about. These people came together when they first immigrated because no one else wanted them. Immigrants were looked down upon as they got off the boat, especially if you had no money, no family, and no connections. They wouldn't be sent away but they wouldn't be given the same warm welcome as the German immigrants who came with money before the war. Though it's nice to have a community where you live and to be surrounded by people you can relate to, the backstory behind it is not pretty.

4. Usually, I don't like the books that we have to read for classes, but this book was very interesting. I liked that it was people with different backgrounds sharing their stories and it reminded me of the 9/11 book that we read in class. I think that if people want students to be engaged with the material, a book like this where the student feels represented should be read. Not another book by some dead white guy who had thoughts on society.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Racial Identity

I do agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions because at least here in America, race is one of the first things people judge you by and vice versa, even if you don’t realize it. In the beginning of America as we know it now, the colonizers created an “us vs. them” narrative in the way they treated Native Americans, viewing them as savages and idiots. Since then, society has continued separating people of different races to the point where our racism is systematic. And I agree with ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink, the parallels between the development of racism and the rise of capitalism are incredibly interesting specifically because capitalism is praised so much in America and many white supremacists are vehemently against communism. The fact that capitalism and racism are tied together is something I don’t think many people think about, despite its importance in being able to create a society without systematic racism.

Alexa’s story about her moving to the U.S. from Mexico was really interesting. She is light-skinned and a lot of her peers, who were Hispanics with darker skin, would call her white despite the fact that she was the one who was actually raised in Mexico. She talks about being “too colored for the kids in our school” because of her skin color and “too white for them” (her family) because she’s educated and to them being educated is for white people. I also think the fact that many of her peers called her rich because she was light-skinned is very telling about how intertwined race and economic status are. These positive traits (being educated and rich) are attributed to white people, even by minorities, which I think says a lot about our society. I also think it’s really important that she acknowledges the privilege she gets for being white-passing. As she grew older she was able to understand, without excusing them, that those kids made fun of her because of their anger.

One of the little footnotes in Jennifer’s story is about the “model minority” myth and how it affects not only Asian-Americans but also different races. This myth pushes the idea that anyone can achieve the American Dream, as long as they try, which just isn’t true. I think it’s super important to take note of this because I think almost every race pushes this idea that Asians are smart, not just white people.

I also think the little footnote on white privilege is very important, especially as it becomes increasingly relevant. Many people struggle to understand the notion that white privilege isn’t always that white people are treated better because of their race, but that they aren’t treated worse because of it. Instead of trying to deny their privilege, I think white people should use it to try and help others, the way Melina does.

I really enjoyed this book. I always love hearing about different perspectives on different issues and I think it is especially important to listen to other people on the topic of race so that we can better understand each other.

coffee and pie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18
  1. I agree with Winona and Priya that race and racism is everywhere and foundational (unfortunately and unjustly) to the existence of this country. The country was built on the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of kidnapped Africans - White colonizers would not have been able to build a country without that free labor and that feeling of superiority. It is still is impacting our lives today, very clearly. Think about the BLM protests and what they were fighting for, the stop asian hate movement, even to the Charlottesville documentary we saw in class. Race drives so many people for whatever reason. It cannot be ignored as it is integrated into everyone's minds and the way this society operates. Is that good? Of course not, racism and unequal treatment is never right. But, it is true. I think their definition (in the quotes) don't leave room for growth, especially that word 'cancer'. It implies that to fix it we need to remove race entirely, which is not possible. Rather, we need to change our thinking of race, to the point where it won't matter anymore. However, the color of your skin and where your ancestors came from will always be important to the individual, even if our idea of race radically changes.
  1. One account I found notable was Vic (pg. 32-33)

(a) She recounts how in the past, she would (for lack of better words) 'suck up' to white people. That is, watch what she said, what she did, and educate white people for their benefit and comfortability. She changed what she thought though, expressing that it is not her responsibility to educate. She wraps up by recounting the different view of violence against poc between her and white girls and how academia alone could not change anything.

(b) I think this is an experience any racial minority can relate to: the burden of racial education being pushed onto the oppressed for the comfort of white people. It is difficult but often unknown to even the most "woke" white person. In this effort of racial justice, this concept continues to prioritize white comfort. And with that, many don't realize the differences between poc perspectives and white perspectives. If you gave a white person and a black person an assignment on slavery, the responses would be vastly different because slavery is so much more heavy for that black student. It is not real to the white student. Many teachers don't realize this. It may be hard to swallow but white people more often than not don't understand poc and are not willing enough to educate themselves.

  1. In Vietnam alone there are 54 ethnic groups. More people should know about this because it is an example of the rich diversity in countries that are grouped together. One good example is how people treat "Africa" as a single entity with no significant differences in people - they were all just black. This is so far from the truth, as Africa (a continent) is made of so many different groups even within countries. Similarly, there is great diversity within countries all around the world, but people forget this and group them together as one entity too often.
    1. 500+ treaties with Native Americans were broken. People should know about this because it is an example of how contradictory the foundation of America is. The declaration said that there were universal rights entitled to everyone, including life liberty and pursuit of happiness. However in practice, this did not include women, enslaved black people, or Native Americans. It was just white men. In fact, this country is preached to be an equal, free asylum and a beacon of hope. It is not, and we need to remind ourselves it isn't so we can fix it.
  1. I really like this book, I love how it takes multiple different perspectives from people from a diverse background. The one thing I don't like, though, is the single-quote excerpts. These people were probably interviewed and probably said much more - I would love to read what else they said, even if it is a bit choppy.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

1) Unfortunately, I do agree with Winona and Priya. Race really does impact almost every single part of our lives because of how deeply ingrained the effects of colonialism and social constructs are today. The first thing people see when they meet someone is their race, and from these observations comes implicit bias. There are still people who believe in racial stereotypes and/or discriminate against or treat people of other races differently. Doctors don't take people of color seriously, police brutality occurs more frequently to people of color, and there are so many more instances of things that race shouldn't play a part in and yet they do. One of the first questions in almost every survey is "what is your race," because apparently it matters that much.

2a) I chose Alexa's story. Alexa is from Mexico, but for most of her life she didn't feel Mexican enough because she was light skinned and kids from her school would call her white and rich, even though she was far from either of those things. (The rich assumption came from the white accusations. The kids automatically associated race with socioeconomic status.) She ended up moving because of the bullying to a predominantly white school, and she felt even more out of place. Another obstacle she faced was being undocumented, and when it came to applying for a private school, she lied on her application and said she was a citizen because she knew that saying otherwise would make it much harder for her to get in. She does get in and even gets a scholarship, but in the end the school decided she couldn't go. She learns that she is both victimized/oppressed because she is an undocumented Mexican immigrant, but also privileged because she is light skinned. Because of her skin color, she has opportunities that other kids wouldn't get even despite her lack of citizenship. She ends by saying that it is important to listen to and validate everyone's experiences, despite assumptions and biases, and those who have more privilege should act as a megaphone for those who are silenced.

2b) It think this particular story is so significant because it really draws attention to the colorism that POC face in America, and how much the color of a person's skin matters to the world around them and affects their life and their opportunities. Alexa notices how even though she is still treated worse than white people, she is treated much better than her peers with darker skin.

3a) Factoid one: The "model minority" myth is used as a way for white Americans to minimize the struggles of other oppressed groups and perpetuate the false narrative that anyone can "make it" if they work hard enough.

Factoid two: America's very first immigration laws banned females from China because they wanted male Chinese men to work for them, not Chinese couples living in America and having children who would be considered citizens.

3b) For the first factoid, I think it is very important for people to understand that even seemingly "good" stereotypes are still forms of oppression and aren't actually good at all. Stereotyping people will always do more harm than good. For the second factoid, I guess it just further cements how awfully America treated anyone who wasn't a white American. The fact that they had to create an entire immigration law just so they could prevent having Chinese citizens is abhorrent. They only welcomed these people when they had something to offer them (aka labor in which they didn't pay the workers nearly as much as they should have).

4) I really like this book so far! It's very cool to see all the different experiences and takes on race in America, and yes I also think the factoids are very cool and very interesting and it's both saddening and intriguing to see how all of these historical events still apply and have connections today.

South Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 12

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

1. I agree with Winona and Priya in their assumptions that race plays a role in every part of your life because sadly it does. The concept of race is a social construct that has sustained itself for thousands of years, well because people love to judge each other. Race plays a part in not only your personal identity but also your privileges, we live in America and horribly, discrimination is not far-fetched. Although I do agree with their assumption that race plays a part in all of your life I disagree with the fact that race is cancer, cancer is a completely evil disease with no positives, whereas race is just a part of who you are, and is not negative in any sort of way, discrimination against race is.

2. I read about Liz, a black woman living in NYC. Liz loved to travel and was constantly on the road. She visited the Czech Republic, Australia, and East and South Africa, her experiences amazed me with their differences. When Liz traveled to the Czech Republic she described herself as being seen as ¨the first black person they have ever seen¨. This very much disheartened Liz, as it was not only glares but people asking to take pictures of her. Yes not of them, or even with her, but of her, making her feel like an abnormal person. In Australia, Liz was treated poorly until she identified herself as an American. She explained the emotions this forced upon her, not being accepted until she showed her American side. During her trips in Africa, Liz was treated kindly and was welcomed, she described the feeling of almost a sense of home and belonging while walking down the street. Liz´s experiences truly show the significance of race and its effects around the world.

3. It is crazy that in the past Chinese people were, ¨Prohibited by law to testify in court, to own property, to vote, to have families join them, to marry non-Chinese, and to work in institutional agencies. This discrimination blows my mind, I cannot believe it took us so long as a nation to begin to stop discrimination. Another horrific fact I read was that ¨about one million of the four million formerly enslaved people died or suffered severely from illnesses(60,000 died from a smallpox epidemic)between 1862 and 1870.¨

4. I very much enjoyed this book because I love reading and learning about others' experiences, it gave me a larger understanding of discrimination around the world.

Posts: 18

Racial Identity and How People See Us

1. I agree with their assumptions. This country as we know it was built off of white supremacy, and has since thrived off the backs of non-white people. We're very deep rooted in racism as a country, and even more so societally. One's race, even if not easily identifiable to others, is one of the very first things they'll notice. It is so easy for people to make assumptions about people based on just their race alone, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. Unfortunately, it is also something that all-too-often dictates how people are treated. Race can award one privileges while at the same time depriving another of theirs. We see this everywhere, from one neighborhood to the other, from one race to another. That being said, I don't think cancer would be an appropriate metaphor for race. While it does impact every single aspect of our lives, it our views on race are something that we should be able to control. There are steps we can take to prevent the negative outcomes that come with racism and discrimination, and ultimately it is up to us as a society how we treat each other.

2. I read Alexa's account about her struggles of colorism and trying to navigate her way around both Hispanics and Europeans, being a light-skinned Mexican woman. In her account she tells the story of how she went to a predominantly colored school, but had to transfer due to high levels of gang activity. There was also a lack of resources, and the school wasn't able to tailor itself to Alexa's need for a higher level of education. In her second school in Chicago, she was placed in the gifted program, a class composed almost entirely of Hispanics and Black people, where she was bullied for being light-skinned. At her last, she was rejected because she was undocumented. I thought that her second experience was especially important because it goes to show that discrimination can even be found within a race. We've seen colorism throughout history, but it always seems to be overlooked when we talk about racism. She then goes on to say that because she is of lighter skin, she would be treated better in a lot of places because of the "resemblance" to a White person. And in a lot of places, lighter skin tone has always been more valued. Alexa understands that, and understands that for the most part, that was the reason she was being bullied. She also understands that it's not okay. It is through no fault of ours today that White Supremacy is a thing, and I found it impressive that she didn't let other people's viewpoints dictate hers about herself.

Intersectionality is another topic she touched on. As a woman, people assume all the time that she has all these rights. But they're wrong. They don't take into account that she is a Hispanic woman. We get paid 56 cents to the White man's dollar, whereas White women get paid 78 cents to the White man's dollar. I had no idea that that was the case, and I find that appalling. Also, White women earned the right to vote in 1920, not Hispanic women. We came later. I found those facts to be very surprising in the sense that I don't previously know them, but not very surprising in terms of history.

3. The very first laws during the California Gold Rush surrounding immigration banned Chinese women from entering the United States. This law was made so that when people arrived on the West Coast, they would not be able to have kids and grow the Chinese population in America. I think more people should be aware of this fact because it's disgusting. The fact that America was letting so many people in to work, for its own benefit, but wouldn't allow them to bring their wives. To be here for so long while doing harsh labor, all alone, where discrimination was already abundant, and not be allowed any sort of comfort is so awful to think about. America was determined to "win" no matter what.

W.E.B Du Bois said that we are always looking at ourselves through other people's eyes. People of color can always see themselves as two things. American, and their race. They're always there, always separate, always colliding. I thought that this was a very relatable quote. People who can simply call themselves an American, and nothing else won't ever understand this. It's a struggle every day for people of color to accept themselves as they are, because others can't. I think this quote is very powerful.

4. I thoroughly enjoyed this. We see people of so many different backgrounds, we see so many different facts, hear so many stories. I've felt a way about myself, but at the same time if was so eye opening to hear about others. Every speaker is so vulnerable, and more people sjhould listen to what they have to say,

Posts: 16

1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about the role of race because race and racism is so deeply rooted in our society that it often impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. This country was built on racism and racist ideologies, its bricks laid down though exploitation and murder and genocide. Their point about how stories about race have been ignored or suppressed for so long stuck out to me; as a society it seems that people in power are constantly trying to water down or flat-out rewrite our history to make it more ‘palatable’ for white people.

2. The first-person account I chose was Alexa’s. She discussed how colorism, economic status, and being a noncitizen has affected her day-to-day life as she grew up. People she met often assumed she was rich due to her light skin, associating economic status with whiteness, despite the fact that her family was struggling after immigrating to the country. She talks about how she was often bullied at some of these predominantly Hispanic and Black high schools because of her light skin and that she had to move schools because of that, while also pointing out that this bullying was stemming from a real place, a real anger, seeing as her light skin did give her privilege, while understanding and discussing how that’s not okay and that they shouldn’t have treated her like that. She had to constantly code-switch at her new predominantly white school, feeling too white for her family and too colored for the kids at school. She was denied access to resources and a boarding school despite her being the best candidate due to her status as a noncitizen. Alexa talks about how important it is to raise up other people’s voices and listen, validating their experiences. This is incredibly important because she points out the intersectionality of these issues, including the fact that it’s white women who earn 75 cents to a white man’s dollar while hispanic women only earn 56 cents to a white man’s dollar. She continues to say that these things, these intersections of issues layered on top of each other, are rarely talked about. Alexa talks about her own privilege, how her being light skinned and able to get into college (with some difficulty) has affected what she is able to do based on how our society is structured. One other noteworthy part was when she pointed out that just listening and being a megaphone for someone’s voice when they’re talking about their experiences can make all the difference.

3. One of the factoids that stuck out to me was how 500 treaties were made with the American Indian tribes and around 500 of them were broken. It seems that US history often glosses over that sheer number, often illustrating how the US would break treaties but rarely going into the details beyond that offhand comment. The United States prefers to believe itself free of crime and the pinnacle of democracy when it is in fact much darker and much more complicated than that. To ignore history is to doom the kids sitting in those classrooms who don’t have the much needed context in today’s society. The other piece of information that appeared in the margins that stuck out to me was the fact that Chinese people weren’t allowed to testify in court, own property, vote, have their families join them, marry non-Chinese people, or work in institutionalized agencies. I wasn’t exactly surprised by the fact that there was this much discrimination, it was the fact that the US went as far as to embed it into law that shocked me. So much of this hate was woven into our country’s structure so early on, and laws such as these most certainly still have ripple effects even if they’ve been repealed. The discrimination and hate still lingers.

4. I really liked the book so far! It presented the information in an organized and interesting way, giving insight into a person’s personal first-person experience and perspective to shine a light on a much broader issue.

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