posts 1 - 15 of 17
Boston, US
Posts: 350


From Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi, Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, and Identity (2019).

NOTE: Yes, I know that looks like quite a bit of reading. Page-wise it is, though you have a few days to do this. But it’s an easy read, with ample page-sized photos (that are like 2D identity vessels!) so the actual text is not as long as it appears to be, based on the page numbers. Still, budget your time to do this, as the post itself is somewhat involved.

Some background:

We’re going to take a look at what I think is an uber-cool book by two women, Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi, who graduated from high school in Princeton, New Jersey, and took a gap year to write it.

The book is called Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, and Identity and it was published just before the pandemic, in 2019. The women who wrote it became interested in exploring this topic in depth after the murder of Eric Garner in 2014 and a discussion that followed in their 10th grade history class. At first, they formed a club--called CHOOSE--as a way to explore racial literacy. As a professor they consulted described it, “racial literacy is developing a historical + sociological tool kit to understand how we got here and how it could’ve been/CAN BE otherwise.” And they began collecting stories...and stories….and stories, mostly from folks in New Jersey and New York.

One of the results was this book, first published as a textbook called The Classroom Index, which got considerable buzz thanks to Teen Vogue and a boatload of social media. That motivated the two to fundraise to support taking a year off without working pre-college to travel across the United States--from Anchorage, Alaska to Charlottesville, Virginia--and get….more stories.

In the introduction to the book, Priya + Winona let us inside their thinking:

“Our heads throb and our hearts hurt when we think about the stories we have heard. Many are tragic. Many are hopeful. Most detail lives we have never imagined and still cannot imagine.

The stories leave us feeling disturbed. Touched. Tired. Energized. Sad. Optimistic. Angry. Compassionate. More than anything, they leave us urgently wanting to make sure these stories are heard. As we have traveled, we have learned that racial literacy never stops. We--including the two of us--can all learn more about who we are.”

<b>The post: </b>

We will look at more parts of this book in class on Wednesday. But for this post, I ask you to address the following:

Winona + Priya state that “race and racism inescapably impact everything around us. Even the very existence of the United States demanded their presence.” (12) They go on to say “race is a cancer that impacts every part of our lives.” (13) Their inquiry + book starts from the notion that this is true and proceeds from that assumption.

  1. Do you agree with Winona + Priya’s assumptions or do you want to challenge some part of what they believe about the role of race? Why or why not?
  2. Identify one (1) 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

(a) a brief summary of what each person said and

(b) why you think it’s important/significant/noteworthy (your choice).

  1. IMO, among the cool things about this book are the eye-opening factoids/information details that appear in the margins, as if they are footnotes OR side-references, OR commentary. Select at least 2 of those and lift them up in the post by

(a) VERY briefly summarizing the factoid/information and

(b) why you think more people should know about this.

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

Be sure to divide your post into paragraphs. Paragraphs are your friend and they make your post much more readable. Thank you in advance for making this reader-friendly.

brighton, ma, US
Posts: 9
  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assertions and assumptions about race. In “A Brief History of Whiteness” they place the the origins of race in labor (the changing dynamics of agriculture, how a new workforce that could perform unwaged labor), but simultaneously recognize the early racialization of Muslim and Jewish people (despite those being religions) and how they were othered and forced to convert by the Catholic Church, or face violence and persecution. I also agree with race being socially constructed, rather than framed in the way it often is of an innate or cultural distinction that is irreconcileable.

  1. An account that stood out to me was Nick’s, which began on page 29. He began talking about his early experiences and involvement with protesting and police as an Indigenous and Jewish person. He goes on to talk about his personal Jewish identity, especially in solidarity with other struggles. What stood out to me in particular was how Nick took note of the shared struggle of racism and the importance of land sovereignty to Indigenous people.

  1. Two “factoids” that stood out to me were the ones about Chinese American, and more broadly Asian American history on page 32. The first was about the barring of Chinese people from testifying in court, own property, vote, marry non-Chinese people, and work in institutional agencies. This stood out to me because it demonstrates the ways in which the law has historically barred people of color from activities or institutions that may allow them certain jobs, or labor protections that ultimately keep them as a low paid workers. Another piece of information I found interesting was how Chinese women were not allowed to immigrant to America, only men (although many were kidnapped) were, for their labor. This stood out to me because it was a measure on the government’s part to not have American born Chinese people who would have been citizens.

  1. So far, I like this book. It offers a perspective of race that is often uncommon and not oversimplified.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

1. I agree with their observation. Even if some of us don't notice it, race impacts everything in the US. Unfortunately certain opportunities may be closed off to people of certain races. If not certain races, being part of a lower social class might make those opportunities unobtainable. Nonwhite races usually make up the majority of lower classes. This is because America purposefully makes it very hard to escape poverty. How are you supposed to get a better job when they don't hire you because of your race? When they pay less because of your race? When they refuse to hire homeless people? There are so many roadblocks and it is never as easy as working hard. Maybe a child was excluded from a sport or class because they were being bullied because of their race, didn't get the grades or extracurricular they needed, and lost a scholarship or college acceptance because of it? Everything can be traced back to race, because society in the US is structured to make it that way. And that isn't saying its inherently because of their race, but rather because of the way society views their race, like the nurture in nature vs nurture

2. Rylee, Parker, and Marley from Hawaii says a lot about the US as a colonizing government as well as how we treat natives. They spoke about Hawaiian stereotypes and what Hawaii is really like, and mentioned that Hawaii is separate from the US. To me this is important for a few reasons. One, while the stereotypes they shared might seem like jokes, clearly they were still impacted by them. Jokes can be just as hurtful and harmful as intentional racism. Two, they shared how the US attempted to eradicate their culture and took over their home. Many people in the US see Hawaii as another state or a tourist attraction. They never think about the native Hawaiians there. They are overlooked both as natives and as a colonized group. Three, they said how all Hawaii got is sorry. This shows how much we still need to do to right our past wrongs. If Hawaii wants to be independent, it should be.

3. In Vic's passage, the second annotation mentions the first Chinese immigration law which banned Chinese women from immigrating because America didn't want Chinese families, they wanted workers. It further shows how America is systemically racist. More people need to know this because it is a strong piece of evidence toward America's racist culture and society.
In Nick's passage, the first annotation is about the treaties colonizers signed and then broke. To this day the laws meant to structure society and be fair don't apply to nonwhite races, especially Native Americans. This is important because Native Americans still suffer firsthand the effects of these broken treaties.

4. So far i like this book! It feels personal and its easy to read. Its relatable and understandable and doesn't feel like a chore to read, which is especially good for this particular subject matter. It has very powerful content, however, and the words have a strong impact.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

1. I agree with Hollyfawn on their assertions. Race and bias impact everyone in the US regardless of status, and the only thing that could be argued as a larger factor is class. However, some of the things said in "A Brief History of Whiteness" don't make a lot of sense to me. It is very helpful to know this was made by two highschoolers, because it read out like a history report. None of what was said was very groundbreaking, they just summarized some events from history, while not talking about whiteness much at all. What baffled me even more is they characterize Catholicism as "white". Catholicism is the largest religion on the planet, making up 1/7 the world's population, so to even bring up the Spanish Inquisition is incredibly confusing since that had nothing to do with race at all.

2. Jennifer's story stood out to me the most. Her account of growing up in a segregated neighborhood only to experience race for the first time as a highschooler was very eye-opening. It was especially interesting how she described being disgusted by black kids at her school only to experience hate as a freshman, that kind of experience has to be very unique, since she has been in both a position of scorn and being scorned.

3. The increased segregation in large cities is a very large discussion topic at least for me. One of the best pieces of evidence to prove the biases in America still exist is to look at our schools. They're more segregated now than they have been since the 60s. While most of the prejudice of that era has evaporated, it has left behind a rot in the foundation of America. The number of American Indian treaties that have been broken is an important one to me as well. It is honestly shocking some of the callous disregard the US has shown to Indians, and there is no metaphor more poignant and apt than the fact the land Mount Rushmore stands on was from a broken treaty.

4. So far, I have to say I don't like the book. It still feels amateur to me, and the opening "A Brief History of Whiteness" is a good indicator of that. Opening with it implies that book is going to be a metacommentary on America (Which I doubt you could accurately make fresh out of high school), but it's a collection of testimonials instead. That's fine, but the text just kind of presents them at us without much else to say about it.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

1. At this point in history, Winona and Priya are correct about race, it is a pertinent factor in every social interaction, whether it drives people apart or brings them together. Race is one of the most noticeable and defining characteristics about yourself, and will affect people's conscious and unconscious treatment of you. I also agree that the "very existence of the United States demand[s] their presence" as it is a nation built on racism. The founding fathers ensured a future of unequal racial treatment when they added the infamous ⅗ compromise into the constitution. This continued a history of white supremacy, considering non-white groups to be less than people. Our country began with the colonization of indigenous groups, and was built on the slave labor and forced servitude of non-white groups. This inhumane treatment was justified through racism, and this hatred became so ingrained in our system that it still shows itself today. While we try to eliminate the effects of racial prejudice, it is impossible to live in a country built on racism without recognizing its role in our day to day lives. Their final point on the cancerous nature of race is valid as one's racial identity impacts one's treatment in all aspects of life. One's whiteness acts as a booster, eliminating problems and opening doors. One's blackness serves as an everlasting barrier; subconscious racism will affect every interaction, no matter the circumstances. I agree with hollyfawn's point that race enforces systemic barriers, and think their example of a race-based rejection from a job opportunity is notable. Instead of being a point of connection across cultures, race serves as a barrier of upward mobility for minority communities; race is simply inescapable and prevalent across all bounds of life.

2. Liz explains her experience with her race, how it is the most noticeable feature about her in many places. When traveling to the Czech Republic and Australia, her race set her apart from others. People treated her differently, asking to take pictures of her, and had no idea of the impact of their actions–many people aren't even aware of their subtle and unsubtle racism. Even in the United States, as a member of a minority group, she felt like she never really belonged, she could "feel their eyes on" her. It's only when she went to East and South Africa that she got a breath of fresh air, a break from the constant othering. Even there, where she was no longer in the minority, there was a lasting impact of the colonialism that ruled the continent for decades. While some places were far better than others, there truly was no escape to the anti-black racism that's plagued this world for centuries.

Liz's story is important because it provides anecdotes of the marginalization black people experience in daily life. She forces us to think of the ways that view minority groups as "others," treating them as if they don't truly belong. I think her story of South Africa is noteworthy. She traveled to countries in Africa where she wasn't in the minority any more, but still her race followed her. Colonization remains ingrained in systems, and echoes of apartheid still show themselves in South African culture. For brief moments, however, this racism was significantly decreased. Liz got a glimpse of freedom, something we must strive to provide across the world.

3. One interesting footnote is a quote by Vernon Francois, a celebrity hairstylist for many black celebrities, who explains what cultural appropriation means to her. They define this practice, saying that it occurs when a group adopts another's culture and it is celebrated in a way it never was with the originators. I think we must remember this in our everyday lives as AAVE is reidentified as merely slang, as we adopt new hairstyles, or as we appreciate new types of music. We must identify the fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation and always remember the origins.

A fact that stood out to me was about the first US Chinese immigration policies that banned women. It explains how Chinese men were permitted to enter to build railroads, but they didn't want women to accompany them and have children born in the US, as the children would have to be given citizenship. This is important because it provides insights into the role of minority communities and how they have been and are viewed. It shows how they were only valued for their labor, not as human beings. The Chinese were only permitted to enter as long as they could do the hard work of building and expanding the US, but they couldn't settle down and place roots in the country–that was reserved for the white.

4. I like this book so far because I think personal anecdotes are vital in the fight against racism. Often, people are able to dismiss this treatment because they have never seen a direct and obvious example or have never experienced it, so it's easy to label it as a distant occurrence, not relevant to one's daily life. These stories explain the experiences of normal people with normal lives to those who might not understand the true experiences of minority communities in the US and show the prevalence of these issues.

I think kantianorgan's use of the word "oversimplified" in their review of the book is important as discussions of race are often "dumbed down" so that the average person can understand them. While this might be helpful in certain circumstances–when teaching to younger children–it often ends with the omission of important issues. Race and racial discrimination are extremely complicated topics, and are difficult to properly simplify without missing key components

Posts: 13

I agree with Winona and Priya's points about race. They definitely highlighted how whiteness was created to be the dominant category and because race is so deeply ingrained in society, white people are consistently in the position of dominance and therefore viewed as the norm.

Although I think all of the people in the chapter had very important perspectives on race and identity, Queen Esther's story stood out to me in particular. She talked about how she is a black country singer and how she is constantly surrounded by the idea that country music is white when in reality it is rooted in African music traditions. She goes into more detail about how so many things that we rely on today such as the refrigerator and the traffic light were invented by black people and white people took credit for it. I think that this is so important because it shows how black people had their whole lives, cultures, and identities stripped from them to be forced to work without credit in a society that was built to tear them down. Before reading this I did not know that so much of our everyday lives were made from inventions and ideas that were stolen from black people and I think that we are obligated to recognize that in our own lives and educate others as well.

One of the facts that I found eye-opening was that biologically a woman from the Congo would likely have more in common with a woman from Germany than a woman from Botswana. To be honest this is something I had never really thought about before because in American education Africa is always portrayed more as one large country instead of a continent with many countries and countless peoples and cultures that vary distinctly from one another. I also did not know that the first immigration law in America was banning women from China from moving here. It shows how truly messed up and rooted in bigotry our immigration system is.

So far I have really enjoyed this book because it's given me the opportunity to learn about the perspectives of many different groups of people and learn about people's realities that are different from my own.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18
  1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race because it really does impact every corner of our lives. Roadblocks and societal barriers are placed at every step of the way to maintain the systems already in place. Race in the way we understand it today was created as a way for White people to economically exploit people, especially with process of global colonization. Not only did this ensure long-lasting effects within European empires, but everywhere else in the world as well. It is extremely clear in the US that everything in any part of society can be tied back to race.
  2. Jennifer’s story stood out to me, because she grew up in a segregated neighborhood and didn’t really encounter race until high school. She had only stayed in her tight-knit Vietnamese neighborhood. She was called racial slurs, and felt the impact of the model minority myth. At the same time, she started to challenge the racist ideas about Black people that she had accepted from her dad when she was younger without even fully understanding what they meant.
  3. One of the footnotes that stood out to me was the mention that new Texas public school history curriculum frames the Civil War as a state’s rights issue, and doesn’t mention the KKK or Jim Crow. Censorship of history in schools, especially when it comes to the experiences of people of color, has been increasing recently and is incredibly important because if we allow children to grow up without learning about the impact of racism and the atrocities of US history, we further risk it’s repetition and increased impact. Another piece of commentary that stood out to me was Queen Ester’s description of how gynecology was formed because a guy experimented on and butchered Black women because he didn’t believe they could feel pain. A lot of the medical knowledge we have now that we try to use to save people’s lives is rooted in experiments and malpractice on minority groups, and its important that we recognize where this came from.
  4. So far I like this book because it gives voice to specific experiences from many different people. While the goal is to dismantle systemic issues like racism, individual stories are key to fighting that battle because they force people to connect and understand what it’s like.
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 14

Racial Identity

1. For the most part, I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race; our perceptions of and interactions with the world around us is heavily influenced by our experiences --- which are obviously influenced by our race. However I wouldn’t go as far as saying that race is a “cancer”. The term “cancer” has a pretty strong negative connotation. I think race itself is not inherently an evil or malignant thing. It’s merely a social construct that helps categorize people into groups with shared experiences, histories, cultures, languages, etc. For myself, at least, I find that identifying with a particular race connects me to my heritage and my identity. However, when we begin to antagonize and discriminate against individuals based on their race, that's when it truly becomes cancerous.

2. Chef Tu is an Asian American chef who struggles with defining himself, but ultimately realizes that food is a way to connect and speak to all aspects of his identity. I connect with how Chef Tu discovered food as a middle ground between races. I also find myself feeling an immense amount of responsibility to keep the food/recipes of my family/culture alive. The feeling that my identity ---my food--- is slowly being reduced to a single stereotype by American society is frightening. I think some of the underlying reasons for this phenomena can be traced back to childhood bullying. Children find themselves ashamed of their race because society fails to celebrate their cultural food. In the process of americanization, they lose touch with significant aspects of their identity.

3. I agree with @kantianorgan that the two factoids on page 32 about Chinese immigrants were particularly shocking. Both talked about how marginalized the Chinese really are. They didn’t have many basic human rights: the ability to testify in court, own property, and vote. This prompted them to form communities called “Chinatowns.” Additionally, American immigration laws banned Chinese women from entering the United States as they only saw the Chinese as laborers not citizens. More people need to know about this because too often American society invalidates Asian American struggles because they are considered the “model minority.” It is important to recognize that anti-asian racism is just as real as anti-black, anti-hispanic racism.

4. I think the book is quite digestible with helpful footnotes that enhance the reader’s understanding. I appreciate that the perspectives are from a variety of individuals and the stories short enough to capture the attention of younger audiences. I would agree with @kantianorgan and @mustardspider that the book is toned down and fails to address the complexities and the complete picture of race.

Posts: 16

1: I agree with the second half of their statement that race affects every part of our lives. Although, when describing race as a cancer, I somewhat disagree. When you think of cancer, there is no good that comes with it. Although ideas about race can spread across a group of people like cancer, there are many great things that come with race. With race comes culture, which people are proud of and can heavily rely on when shaping their identity. Although race puts many at disadvantage, with it comes celebration and pride in who you are. The only case where race can really become a cancer is when it leads to discrimination and racism.

2: I found Jennifer's story unique. She grew up in a segregated area and race was never an apparent issue until she reached high school. I'd assumed that if she was so tightly enclosed in her Vietnamese culture she would notice the segregation and the problem with it. It stood out to me when she talked about reshaping her ideas on black students based upon what her Dad had planted into her mind as a child without fully understanding what he meant.

3: The definition of an ally is something everyone should pay attention to. I know I do this, but people often think that not being a bystander is enough, and as long as you aren't causing harm or being racist you are doing the right thing. The best way to push further toward true equality is to be an activist, and fight against racism rather than not engaging with either side. Also, reading that the average Asian American income is higher than the average white income, but the percentage of people below the poverty line is higher was kind of unsurprising. There are a lot of stereotypes of Asians being doctors and having very high-paying jobs, and then there is the stereotype of them working at places like nail salons, or gas stations. I'm not sure why this stat is the way it is, but it was interesting to notice.

4: I like the book so far. I have enjoyed hearing the different perspectives, as well as the unique facts in the margins that support the people's accounts and experiences with statistics.

Posts: 10

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

I agree with Winona and Priya when they say race impacts everything around us. Some people might not see it this way because they've never felt they've been directly affected by their own race but there are many other aspects to a person that could create boundaries. For example, religion, class, and gender are just three and depending on how you identify, you’ve probably come across a barrier without realizing it. I especially agree with the quote, “Even the very existence of the United States demanded their presence” because no one will ever be able to change my mind that the US wasn't built on ideas of inequality. Over centuries minority groups have had to fight and protest for rights the constitution states they supposedly have and your situation would be worse with the more minority groups you belong to, so for example, a black woman or a trans POC.

Alexa’s story really struck me, she immigrated to the US from mexico. When she attended public school she would get bullied for being “too light”, and because she was lighter than most kids of color at the school they would call her a gringa, which is like slang for what you would call a white person. Alexa was confident in her identity before leaving her home, but after being called a gringa so much, she started having an identity crisis and didn't know if she was even really Mexican all because she was considered “too light.” I think some don’t realize that even small remarks on someone's identity can interfere with the way they see themselves because if they start believing that everyone around them is mis-identifying them, it can lead to them convincing themselves that those views are correct. I also think this is important because it brings up the topic of colorism within the Hispanic community.

One of the footnotes that really surprised me was the history of Chinatowns. Chinese people were prohibited by the law to be able to vote, own property, marry a non-Chinese person, and more. There are about 50 Chinatowns in the US and they were all created by Chinese people who wanted somewhere they could feel at peace, like a sanctuary. I don't know if people know about this or if it's well known but it came as a huge shock to me, it's something everyone should be aware of that Chinatowns aren't just neighborhoods that are heavily Asain.

So far I do like the book, mainly because of the first accounts we get to read. I think its important to really understand others' stories first before talking about racism or any topics that would relate to someone's identity.

Boston, US
Posts: 16

I pretty much agree with the idea that race plays a role in pretty much everything in our society. Since different-looking groups of people have been able to interact with one another, the way someone looks has been one of, if not the first, things that people notice about each other. One of the biggest parts of the average individual's appearance is their race, and the idea of looking at other people as other "groups". These divisions were exacerbated by the period of colonialism, and the idea of different races as set groups became more solidified. This is something that has carried over into modern society today, and I think that is pretty evident in almost every part of our society.

I personally found Ed's story very interesting. In his account, he discussed the enslavement of his grandfather and how that greatly impacted the rest of his family's trajectory. He works as a meteorologist, an industry with very few minorities in it at all. I think that the most important part of his story, however, was his anecdote about a storm he remembers from his time in Dallas. He said that he remembered that his colleagues only helped people affected by the storms in white neighborhoods and completely ignoring the others. When he questioned them, they said that it hadn't even occurred to them to go check on those neighborhoods and offer support to them. I found this to be a really eye-opening story about just how deeply rooted racism is in our society, and just how subtle it's affects can be to those who aren't paying attention. It shows how sometimes even without intention, the structure is still there to help keep certain groups lower in society.

One of the factiods I found very interesting was the idea that a woman from the Congo was more genetically similar to a woman from Germany than one from Botswana. I feel like a large portion of people, especially Americans, think about Africa as one big thing. That's not to say everyone thinks Africa is a country, but I do think that a lot of people just think about Africa and Africans in general as one big group. I think that this fact definitely provides scientific evidence directly countering that belief, and is a very good starting point to show more people just how diverse it is as a continent. The other fact I found interesting t=was that 1/4 of all slaves either died or caught some disease or another within the first 8 years of their emancipation. I feel like a lot of people assume that after emancipation, slaves just kind of dispersed and became members of white society instantly. These are statistics that prove just how little support there was for these newly freed slaves, highlighting just how little the government cared about them.

I think that this book is alright, especially for the message that it is trying to convey. I do think that a lot of it is very oversimplified, but I think that this works here, because it is supposed to be an introduction to these ideas, not some high level analysis. I also think that the format of it is very interesting, with all of these stories of different kinds of people and how their race has affected their lives. If anything, I think that the pictures are the most important part. There are definitely a lot of other books that do similar things, but I think seeing the people who are telling these stories makes them feel much more like real people and not just some characters on a page.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

1. I do agree with Winona and Priya's assumption of the role of race, especially in America. The core of America is all about the importance and success of the white population and one result of colonialism and forced labor is a superiority complex and underlying racism even if it didn't happen immediately. Ideals become more significant and are passed down and in the modern day are represented in virtually everything we do even if it's subconsciously.

2. One first-person account is shared by Alexa who is a light-skinned Mexican who moved to America at a young age. She highlights her journey and struggles in the school system and how she has to transfer from school to school. In a school predominantly POC she struggled with finding herself and often code-switched around her friends. She also encountered many generalizations and poor treatment because of her light skin appearance. I think her story is significant because it shows how having light-skin privileges does benefit a minority but doesn't diminish the fact that they still encounter struggles. It also represents how other minorities can view this privilege and make assumptions in a form of projection.

3. At the bottom of page 22 they elaborate on the reality of black women slaves. As explained in the text they were used as test subjects because of the idea they had a high pain tolerance, and because they were legally owned they were forced to bear children but also face treacherous conditions in doing so with no choice. This should be known by more people because I would say it has had an influence on the modern world today. Our medical field is derived from using slaves specifically slave women and these women going through such horrid practices should be acknowledged. Another piece of information shared that I found important was when they explained how textbooks in Texas diminished the reality of slavery and the role of white people in creating such terrible conditions. This was further explained in the margins by saying how they hardly mentioned the presence of the KKK or Jim Crow laws. This is wild to me and should be known by everyone because it creates a long-term effect of a lack of knowledge. This will only enhance the issues of discrimination and prejudice because people would not know the history of this country and the real reasons why society is the way it is.

4. In all I think this is a great book so far because you are able to learn about societal reality from the perspectives of many different people. We get to see the minds and lives of more than one individual which I find to be a great learning experience. Books like these open the reader's eyes to the harsh reality of society and teach us how to be more understanding.

Posts: 15
  1. I agree with Priya and Winona the basis of human existence revolves around race and racism. This country was built by hardworking slaves who spent their whole lives being treated as inferior solely based on the shade of their skin. Slavery and its bad treatment of humans had nothing to do with those who are good and those who are bad it had everything to do with those who are different.
  2. Justin E,’s story spoke to me because I can relate, he talked about how white people in conversation won’t see past the color of their skin. This speaks so true because when a black person has first been encountered the first thing that is recognized is the color of their skin. Their personalities or what they have to say is not what people first judge them on its simply the color of their skin, something they are unable to control. And this one feature is how society defines them, how worthy they are or how much respect they deserve is determined by the color of their skin.
  3. One of the factoids that I thought was interesting was the one about different definitions of white privilege (page 37). I thought it was interesting to learn how deeply rooted white privilege is and it’s not just access to more opportunities but also consciously perpetuated, more people should know about this because it's important. And the second factoid is on page 45, it talks about how the emancipation proclamation didn’t truly end slavery for everyone. This one shocked me because from what I was learning in my previous history class was that the emancipation proclamation was like the end all be all, but in reality, there were still millions of slaves.
  4. I like this book so far because the stories of African Americans must be heard so that they may finally start being understood.
Curious George
Boston, MA
Posts: 18

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

1. I definitely agree with the notion of their assumption that race impacts everything around us. As one of the stories puts it, the Big Three are patriarchy, capitalism, and White Supremacy. They all depend on and facilitate each other. White men are the richest in the world. Black people, especially women, are hyper masculinized and are the most underpaid. And Asian people are hyper feminized. In order for capitalism to "work", the majority of people must be overworked and underpaid, aka poc. POC are used as labor units (prison pipeline) and defensive units (industrial military complex).

2. Liz's story stood out to me because she is a black woman who enjoys traveling alone. The most specific story that stood out to me was a tourist misidentifying her as an aboriginal person in Australia while asking to take a picture. I recently met a woman who also enjoyed traveling alone, and she had shared with me her experiences. In some areas of the world, while touring, she'd be the first woman a man would be able to meet and talk with and people would constantly ask for photos with her, so I cannot imagine what it was like for a black woman. But at the end of But at the end of her passage, Liz stated that she found comfort in Africa because she was fully surrounded by other black people and did not feel the pressures she would have in the US. However, she soon faced the apartheid state / racial segregation in South Africa, proving that race would continue to play a role everywhere in the world. This also shows the extent of European (British) colonialism and influence

3. a factoid I found interesting was the data that Asian americans have a higher household income than whites, yet have a higher percentage that live at the poverty level than whites. This is really important to me because it shows that Asian unity does not exist. Asia itself already holds many different groups and colors. Because of early immigration laws, only educated Chinese people were allowed, then only male laborers. But this greatly differs from the thousands of families who have fled to escape wars begun by America. There is a huge divide between rich and poor asian americans. not all AAs follow the model minority myth and definitely do not want to be used as a pawn by white people to justify their racism to black people

another important factoid was the idea that black women have been denied the rights to their own bodies. In the sotries specific context, a white doctor believed that black woman could not feel pain (hyper masculinzation) and used many enslaved women as the subject to his vaginal expiremnts without anesthesia. As enslaved people, black women were owned by white men, and as women, black women belonged ot their husbands. Black women were also subject to unwanted sterilizations.

4. so far, I think the book is okay. The idea of traveling the country to find and uplift powerful stories is amazing, should be promoted, and is key to dismantling unjust systems. However, the book in itself does not provide much analysis

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

  1. I definitely agree with Winona and Priya's assumptions about race. Race literally impacts our everyday lives, whether it's who you're interacting with, the opportunities/treatment you receive, or the stereotypes that are based off of race and someone's phenotypic features. We all have stereotypes that have been taught to us by either previous generations, society, or media. We're all afraid to say it out loud, but unfortunately, we all know them. The idea of race is similar to cancer as it spreads throughout the body (society) and there is no universal cure for it.
  1. Rylee, Marley, and Parker from Honolulu, Hawaii (39-41)
    1. Rylee was talking about how people often assume that she's Black, and are surprised when she says she's Hawaiian. She was also talking about how cultural appropriation is very significant in Hawaiian culture, as many people wear aloha shirts and leis, and disregard it because technically Hawaii is part of the United States. Parker talked about the history of Hawaii becoming a part of the US and how they feel that they are pushed to act American, despite Hawaii being its own culture. Marley added a stereotype, when someone asked her if she rode a dolphin to school.
    2. I think that this account is important because it reflects the cultural appropriation, ignorance, and prejudice of Americans while ignoring the importance of Hawaiian culture. Instead of priding themselves for representing multiple cultures, other than just "Western/American culture", Americans are trying to erase Hawaiian history. Hawaiians are indigenous people, and always will be, no matter what country they are a part of. Their culture needs to be valued and celebrated.
    1. model minority myth (15): a way for White Americans to try to rationalize racial prejudice and discrimination by spreading the fake narrative that every American has equal opportunity to "make it" if you work hard. I think that more people should know about this because it's a very common belief that everyone can get somewhere if they persevere and work hard enough. But many people do not take into consideration how race factors in. There is so much racial prejudice and racism that it's hard to just ignore it and act like everyone is on a level playing field.
    2. Stage 4 of Helm's Model of White Racial Identity Development - "Pseudo-Independence" (35): This refers to people finally taking responsibility for White American's racism, and how to deal with it. I think that more people should know about this because in the past couple of years, America has started accepting its past mistakes, and acknowledging that it was wrong and has been trying to move forward, and trying to get rid of racial prejudice slowly but surely. I think the more people learn about this idea, the more people will become aware of these racial issues, and America's racist history and past.

4. So far, I really like this book. I love that it sheds light on problems that are so prevalent in today's world, while giving real-world examples and evidence from actual people. I also really like that it defines terms while giving more contextualization and annotates the text which helps guide you through it.

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