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freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 318

Read:

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.


BigGulpFrom711
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Racial Identity

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?
  1. 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.

Considering what Winona and Priya stated, I agree that race and racism impact everything around us, but I only partially agree that race is a cancer that impacts our very lives. In a way, I do somewhat believe that race is a social construct that has been formed by a long history of events (slavery, religion, government), which could lead to racial prejudice, discrimination, and even acts of violence / hate crimes. However, I would not say that race is a cancer that impacts our day-to-day lives. The next few things I say are a bit hypocritical and contrasting with each other, as I am very conflicted. Yes, I believe that race impacts our day to day lives, but I do not agree that it is a cancer cell that continues to spread. Race has a long history and it can lead to separation of communities, learning / economic opportunities, and even behavior. A very large portion stems from gentrification, with Boston as a primary example of this. Many communities are split into portions of Boston, with many of these portions having a specific race as the majority of the population. This can also lead to associating specific areas of Boston to a specific race, social class, or economic class, which then can create stereotypes and racial prejudice. Yet, at the same time, I feel that these communities in Boston are places where people can belong. Many people label themselves, with race and cultural background being one of those said labels. Although there are many issues concerning the gentrification of these communities regarding race, I also feel that labeling yourself with a certain race can let someone fit into a community and embrace their culture.


Throughout the chapter, there were many interesting stories that were detailed with racial issues and incidents. However, I found that Chef Tu spoke the most to me. Chef Tu was the one who took a slight step away from the other stories. While other stories shared about their own personal experiences of experiencing racial issues, Chef Tu talked more about the merging and connections of people through food. One food was similar to another, which would then be connected with another food. This hit me for quite a bit of time, as Tu shared a way that could unite people: food. Regardless of racial prejudice, stereotypes, or ignorance, people can come together and share stories through a common meeting ground.


The information details at the bottom of some pages, usually linking to specific words or phrases, provide a lot of insight into the history of what had happened. Two notes I found interesting were about white supremacy on page 37 and the concept of positionality on page 32. The concept of positionality is about how power and privilege in society can shape someone’s identity and access to economic, learning, and even housing opportunities. This is very important, as this is a lot more present in our lives than we think. This can range from things such as skin color to what you offer in society. The second one was about white supremacy, where it stated that it is both unconsciously enjoyed and consciously continued on. It also stated that white supremacy was embedded into the American lifestyle, and this can be seen when we use white as the standard or as a comparison. I think it’s also important to note that it is a privilege that has been built upon within the country for an extremely long amount of time that must be discontinued.


Overall, I do like reading the book, as it takes personal accounts of people who experience racial issues. It takes into account different perspectives, from one of the accounts being a white person that is taking action to a chef that wants to find a common ground through food. However, it also feels that the side notes sometimes stretch out the meaning of something, or it may feel too personal. Sometimes, it also feels like the notes and stories are venting, showing that their voices have been suppressed for a very long time now.

lil breezy
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I definitely agree with Winona and Priya's opinions about race. Although unfortunate, it still holds very true. There are some obvious cases where race comes into play. But as a growing society, we try not to make things about race. However, I feel like we sometimes make decisions with the idea of race in our minds. For example, friend groups. I think we all know that BLS already has its divisions. The rich white kid friend groups. Then there are groups where most people are poc. There is also, of course, people who don't really join either friend group. But I have heard a lot of poc people say they feel more comfortable with their own race, most likely due to the fact they find it easier to relate to each other. This can also depend on their past history with white people as well, depending if they are bad or good. The basis of America soley depends on race because of the idea that we are so "diverse," and I don't doubt that without that, America wouldn't have as big of a reputation. We also can't ignore that America never belonged to the white man.


I chose Liz's story. She explained that when she likes to travel alone, but whenever she visits predominately white places, she is always seen as some outlandish things, almost like a tourist attraction. People constantly ask to take pictures of/with her, and these people are complete strangers. They will even go as far as to paying her to take a photo of them. When she visits places like Nigeria, she feels like she belongs. Even when she is in America, she can still feel people staring at her, even if they are not asking for a photo. I think her story is especially important because it shows how uneducated most places are about race. Her encounters made it seem like she was almost and alien. Not only did these people ask her for photos (for no reason), they disrespected her as a human. And it makes you think if they even view her as human. When she says that she can just feel the stares, when in America, it made me realize that blatant racism isn't the only thing America needs to fix. We cannot indirectly alienate people, because this makes them feel that they are unfit for society, which explains why poc naturally feel more comfortable around other poc.

I think a fact that everyone should know is the fact that Hispanic woman earn 50 cents to a white-man's dollar, whereas white women earn 78 cents. While both are obvious problems, I think it is obvious that the only reason hispanic women get payed less, is soley because of their race. I was surprised when I read this, because I have only ever heard about the white women pay, thinking it was the same for every women- and this just further reveals that white is considered the norm in America, because white women has turned into every women.

So far, I really enjoy the book. It has brought a lot of insight and educated me about a lot of struggles that poc deal with. I hope there is more to come!

JnjerAle
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Racial Identity

While race impacts many different people in many different ways, I do believe that it truly is an inescapable part of our society. Even most of the media we consume is affected by race, such as the lack of positive representation for many minorities on TV (things on that front have been getting better recently though). The impact race has on our society may not be as noticeable to those more privileged than others, but it is still very important to recognize the fact that people of color do not have the same advantages that white people have. Even small implicit biases that others may hold against a group of people could drastically change the opportunities they have in life. Although systematic racism is not as blaringly obvious as it was in, say, the 1900s, institutions such as the justice system still puts people of color (especially black and brown people) at a disadvantage. Generational wealth also plays a big role, as we all know how important having money and connections is to gaining important opportunities to rise up in the socioeconomic ladder. Extreme racist laws that have since been abolished still affect minorities today; Getting rid of a law does not get rid of its consequences and societal impacts. Because of this, I do agree that race is an inescapable part of our lives, but one’s race does not have to only affect them negatively. Race can also draw someone closer to their own culture and help them find a community (many minorities that grew up in neighborhoods with lots of members of their own ethnicity or race probably have a better understanding of this experience).


The very first story (Jennifer’s) is about her experience with race. The part I found very important was when she spoke about how she did not have to fear police brutality due to her pale-complexion, and she also mentions the model minority myth. I believe that being able to recognize one’s own privilege is an extremely important thing to do. Recognizing this also helps us as a society understand the difference in the ways different people of color are treated - a great example of this difference in treatment is the usage of the model minority myth. People of color still all face persecution, but this can be shown on various levels (main reason usually derives from their skin tone, particularly how much lighter or darker it is).


I greatly enjoyed reading about the margin that spoke about the harms of the model minority myth. While this idea/stereotype does paint Asian-Americans in a bit of a more “positive” light (this is obviously a fishy idea considering it is still a stereotype and greatly harms the community, so I apologize if I worded it badly), it only serves to further push the idea that all Americans have equal opportunity, which just isn’t true. As harsh as it sounds, hard work cannot get you anywhere in life. Racial prejudices still play a big role in our lives, and I feel like for many it is difficult to explain how harmful the model minority myth can be so I’m glad this text cleared it up a bit. Another margin I also found interesting was the one that spoke about Texas’s change in their history curriculum. First off, I think it’s absolutely enraging and callous to refer to enslaved people as “migrant workers” or “volunteers.” History is so incredibly important, and for a country to restrict the new generation’s knowledge on its faults is so unsettling. People need to know about the historical events that led to the formation of the systems we have today. We need to learn from our history, no matter how ashamed we are of it. Ignorance will not solve anything, it will only serve to halt society’s process of change. The horrible histories of the US cannot be forgotten, for it has impacted too many people to just be removed from the textbooks. It’s wrong and incredibly disrespectful.


Currently, I am enjoying the book greatly! It is very eye-opening and I feel that it is also very important due to the fact that it actually uses stories from actual people. Also, it brings up a lot of important topics, such as the fact that feminism largely caters to white women. While I didn’t mention this in my second paragraph, I also greatly enjoyed the part of Alexa’s story when she talks about how little Hispanic women are paid compared to white women, and how white women got the right to vote in the 1920s, not all women. Modern feminism’s lack of focus on struggling women of color needs to be addressed. Feminism should be a movement that benefits and protects all women, not just one group. One last thing I think people should pay attention to is when Justin says “White people are so worried about being uncomfortable for one moment, while we’re uncomfortable all the time.” This ties back to how racism affects people in many different ways, and also showcases the privilege that white people have.

renaissance
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

Destabilizing systems starts with taking a look at race

The role of race

  • There are a few things that stand out to me in Winona and Priya's statements on race.
    • First, the idea that the white lens continues to dictate the way we view the world today. From the idea of the "Age of 'Discovery'" and the way that race labels are relative to whiteness, the way we are taught history and behave within society has trained us to view everything relative to whiteness — as if everything revolves around it.
    • Second, the idea of the monolith. We view whiteness as a multinational unit — with people from Britain, Spain, France, etc. — yet we assume stereotypes upon all other races. For example, the "Model Minority Myth" causes ignorance: we overlook the uncountable amount of different experiences that Asians have had.
    • Third, the idea that nationalism and capitalism expedited the influence of racism.
  • Something I think about often is that race is a social construct, but because of its impact on society, it cannot be ignored. From eugenics and Social Darwinism to racial divisions, Europeans sought to differentiate themselves with various means of justification. Because of these methods, horrific things have happened to Africans, Asians, and Americans around the world. To set race as a border between you and me isn't an arbitrary line, the line is real and alive — in it, there are people, atrocities and histories.

An important profile: Queen Esther

  • Queen Esther, a Black Americana musician, shares about the idea that Black people "haven't done anything" and how this viewpoint is a complete lie. Sharing about how Black experiences and inventions continue to influence our society in uncountable ways, from the creation of the Jack Daniels brand by an enslaved person to the refrigerator to potato chips to how gynecology came to be (inhumanely tested on and violated enslaved Black women). It was not the colonists who built USA, but Black people — along with Indigenous groups and immigrants from Asia and the Americas.

Important factoids

  • Defining ally on Page 16 is important for me. Often, we view it as someone who supports a specific group — but that is not enough. Allies should be open to learning where their own place of privilege is, the history of that privilege, and play a part in educating not only their own communities of privilege, but advocating for change for peers of different identities.
  • I appreciated that Winona and Priya pointed out the Page Exclusion Act of 1875. Most people don't know that Chinese fetishization and the patriarchy are caused the first immigration ban in America. It's sad that preconceived notions of people continue to inform immigrations bans today — for instance in Mexico/South America and the Middle East.

Do I like this book?

  • Yes! It's awesome that the authors are giving the mic to actual people with distinctive stories instead of using their perceptions and lenses to describe these people. It reminds me of our Identity Vessel project.

drakefan02
boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I agree with Winona + Priya's that "race and racism inescapably impact everything around us" and that "race is a cancer that impacts every part of our lives" (12-13). Everything they said in "A Brief History of Whiteness" was reasonable and with merit. I agree that race is a cancer because it has only made life worse in America and the world. Winona + Priya touched on how the concept of whiteness and blackness came from slavery and because Africans were "perfect slaves" for multiple reasons. Even way after the end of slavery in America, the concept of whiteness and blackness remains. Like a cancer, race just doesn't seem to go away, and its impacts on life are huge.

I choose to talk about Justin who grew up in southwest Chicago. He and his brother were great students and they started with small goals, but he ended up excelling and more and more doors opened for him. He touches upon how everyone in his neighborhood really had the same situation going on. He talks about how he gets called white by his family who cant really explain why, and how kids in his new school don't understand the world he came from. I think his story is important to know about because it helps people better understand the mind of someone with his upbringing. To him and everyone he grew up around, they were just trying to make it in life. Nobody really dreamed big. He didn't even dream big at first. But when he tried to adapt into this "whiter" school environment, he felt he didn't really belong. When kids learned about where he lives, they started asking question after question. They were amazed that someone who lived there went to their school. They were intrigued by the "exotic" life. If it weren't for racial identity, so much less discomfort would have been present in Justin's life.

An important footnote in the text was the one explaining the harm of "the model minority myth". It talks about the way Asians were used as a "racial wedge" against other minorities in American history. This footnote gives important information because it stresses that the model minority myth only has negative impacts in history and today. No stereotype is a good stereotype.

Another important footnote would be the one explaining the situation of textbooks in Texas. History textbooks in Texas were being rewritten and that change was going on in 2015. This is important because it shows how so many white people are afraid of being made uncomfortable by historical facts, even in recent years. You can't just rewrite history, and only shed light on what you want to.

I really like this book because the way the people talk make everything easy to read. I've learned so much about so many different people and I find everyone's account uniquely intriguing in some way.

Juicy Burger
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 12

Breaking the Bubble

1. I agree largely that racism is a structural and systemic problem that is a form of widespread violence in the United States. It does impact everything, and the effects compound overtime and often invisibly to politicians and people. So while race does impact everything, I don't think race itself is everything. Our identities are shaped by our race, but also by our culture, gender expression and identity, teachers, friends, environment, sports, etc: all these pieces of our lives are interrelated but not the same nor synonymous.

2. Nick's story that starts on page 29 deeply resonates with my perspective on the contemporary world and racism. He explains that native Americans and indigenous Americans often are forgotten in contemporary discussion, citing a statistic that "seven out of the eleven poorest places in America are Indian reservations in South Dakota." I think this is blatant proof that racism and injustices still continue. What make's it worse is that this abuse often happens invisibly. I think Nick is absolutely correct that discussions are being left out and we aren't doing enough to acknowledge the past and create better future circumstances. The most important part of this story is that it lets us examine our perspective of racism and America and helps us open our bubbles to the real world.

3. I don't know if this counts, but it is a very powerful italicized quote from page 36. Quote: "Conversations around gender are my gift. Conversations around White Supremacy are my responsibility." I think this quote characterizes the responsibility of all people, especially in places of privilege. If you are a gender minority or a person of color, you should talk about issues you face or your community faces. But if you are a cis-gender, male, or white, it should be your responsibility to seek out and educate yourselves on the issue. That position of power demands your help dismantling the structures of oppression that exist.

Another quote I liked was about how we made 500 treaties with Native American communities, and around 500 were broken. I think this is important because we often say we support these racial minorities, but this is only a coverup for all the terrible things the US has gone back on. We need to do better to create actual standards and support.

4. I really like this book because it tells many perspectives about an important issue, in a very casual and student-like way. It is a great read for people to see the different lives of other people. Often we exist in our own world, and we truly need to permeate through that to the different life experiences of everyone around us.



Juicy Burger
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by renaissance on October 04, 2022 20:42

The role of race

  • There are a few things that stand out to me in Winona and Priya's statements on race.
    • First, the idea that the white lens continues to dictate the way we view the world today. From the idea of the "Age of 'Discovery'" and the way that race labels are relative to whiteness, the way we are taught history and behave within society has trained us to view everything relative to whiteness — as if everything revolves around it.
    • Second, the idea of the monolith. We view whiteness as a multinational unit — with people from Britain, Spain, France, etc. — yet we assume stereotypes upon all other races. For example, the "Model Minority Myth" causes ignorance: we overlook the uncountable amount of different experiences that Asians have had.
    • Third, the idea that nationalism and capitalism expedited the influence of racism.
  • Something I think about often is that race is a social construct, but because of its impact on society, it cannot be ignored. From eugenics and Social Darwinism to racial divisions, Europeans sought to differentiate themselves with various means of justification. Because of these methods, horrific things have happened to Africans, Asians, and Americans around the world. To set race as a border between you and me isn't an arbitrary line, the line is real and alive — in it, there are people, atrocities and histories.

An important profile: Queen Esther

  • Queen Esther, a Black Americana musician, shares about the idea that Black people "haven't done anything" and how this viewpoint is a complete lie. Sharing about how Black experiences and inventions continue to influence our society in uncountable ways, from the creation of the Jack Daniels brand by an enslaved person to the refrigerator to potato chips to how gynecology came to be (inhumanely tested on and violated enslaved Black women). It was not the colonists who built USA, but Black people — along with Indigenous groups and immigrants from Asia and the Americas.

Important factoids

  • Defining ally on Page 16 is important for me. Often, we view it as someone who supports a specific group — but that is not enough. Allies should be open to learning where their own place of privilege is, the history of that privilege, and play a part in educating not only their own communities of privilege, but advocating for change for peers of different identities.
  • I appreciated that Winona and Priya pointed out the Page Exclusion Act of 1875. Most people don't know that Chinese fetishization and the patriarchy are caused the first immigration ban in America. It's sad that preconceived notions of people continue to inform immigrations bans today — for instance in Mexico/South America and the Middle East.

Do I like this book?

  • Yes! It's awesome that the authors are giving the mic to actual people with distinctive stories instead of using their perceptions and lenses to describe these people. It reminds me of our Identity Vessel project.

One thing I just wanted to touch on was this idea of the big three that is mentioned: Racism, Sexism, Capitalism. I was wondering to what extent do you think we need to dismantle something like capitalism to achieve equity? Or is that not feasible? Then, at that point, to what extent can we achieve equity in this world?

ok i pull up
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

1. I agree with their statement, however, I believe it could be reworded. Race does have an effect, however, not in everyday life but it has such a negative connotation, that I believe shouldn't be so negative. What really caught my eyes was when they said that race was made to divide us, that it is simply a concept made by people to characterize us by where they came from. Most of the time these names can be referred to in a bad way, and so I confidently agree with that statement.

2. Melina's perspective caught my eye, because she brings up what white people SHOULD be doing, and the responsibility they have to do what they should. She brings up that our system is made of 3 concepts, Capitalism, Patriarchy, and White Supremecy, and she mentions these as the big 3. She also talks about her experience as a woman, how we should go against sexism and racism in this country, and how our country has been formed by privilege, specifically white privilege.

3. One is Pseudo-Independence, which is the acknowledgment that white people have the most privilege in America, based on our history, and I believe that this is important for people to educate themselves. Second is Reparations, which I believe is important to go along with the other word because this is what white people should be educating themselves with, because I personally didn't know of this word until a year ago, and it should be more common.

4. I believe it is a good chapter, with many perspectives, however dense for a slow reader like me.

Quote and Reply

glass
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9
  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 do 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 do 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.


While I do agree with the fact that race impacts people every day I would not say that it is cancerous. Race in itself and how we view it is completely based on social constructs and if we take those away race still exists. It is the basic variations in our species, how people adapted to their habitats, and from there the differences in our cultures. Race isn't inherently a bad thing but people have viewed it through a lens in that it is one and that certain looking people are not as good as others and that is how it has grown to affect people every day.

One person that really stuck out to me was Nick. When he was three, his first memory, he was in a car at a protest when tear gas was thrown into his car and he was knocked out. Then for years afterward he would be f=terrified of cops and claw his way into hiding whenever he saw them and this was really impactful and stood out to me since thinking about a little three-year-old baby screaming for help is not the best image to have in your head. Not even mentioning the trauma that would and did give him.

One footnote ( including the story itself) that really made me shocked was how gynecology practices were discovered. A white man thought black people felt no pain and so relentlessly experimented on these poor women's bodies to form now what we use to help with pregnancy and cancer and more. I think people need to know this because I was floored and had no idea about that at all and it is very important to note and keep track of when looking at practices today and how they came to be. Another one to note was one about how Chinese people were denied the right to testify because that is just blasphemous and absurd but things like that happened all the time and people need to be aware of it.

I do like this book quite a bit and think it gives a very powerful voice to POC and especially having to read it in a class it is very eye-opening. Each of the stories is, but there are definitely ones that stick out for various reasons.

bubbles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

Racial Identity and Perception

1. I do agree with their stance on how race affects your identity. Even if it's not explicit, implicit racism still plays a huge role in modern society, and this can range from preconceived notions concerning a certain race to how you may even view yourself in comparison to these racial stereotypes. When everyone in society has some sense of implicit racism, no matter how extreme it may be, it's impossible to deny the impact of race in everyone's daily life. However, I do disagree with the idea of race as a cancer. I think that there's a history, a story behind every race, and with that story there's both hardship and also pride. Everyone perceives race differently, but to disregard the entire construct as a cancer almost seems disrespectful to the communities that have been born out of race, or the people who take pride in their race, even after the daily struggles that they may endure.

2. The story that left the biggest impact on me was the first story, Jennifer's story. Jennifer is a Vietnamese-American who grew up in a highly segregated town, and grew up in a conservative household, which impacted her views on black people as a child, something that is still reflected in her younger sister. As she grew up, she learned about the impact of the model minority myth, and how Asian stereotypes affected her. I think that her racism against black people as a child is something that's really noteworthy, as in my experience many Asian households still hold on to the beauty standards of their original country, which reflects in pale white skin, directly playing into the idea of colorism. So for Jennifer to directly call out how the colorist ideals of her father were then reflected in her as a child really reinforces the notion that children aren't racist or homophobic or anything like that because they choose to be, but because of the environment that they're in. There's another part where she mentions the idea of a model minority, which is something that is also used to separate different communities of color, and discourages notions of POC unity.

3. A fact that needs to be addressed more is how the standard curriculum in America varies from state to state. For example, the new Texan history curriculum barely mentions racism, from dancing around the idea of slavery to the absence of Jim Crow. It's super important that people are educated properly so that they can make more informed decisions, especially when it comes to past mistakes, and to ignore the ENTIRE idea of Jim Crow and the terror of the KKK is egregious. It's infuriating that the government mandates education, but does almost nothing to enforce the quality of the education.

4. So far, I really like this book. I appreciate the different perspectives that are provided, and how honest they are with their upbringings. Hearing all of these different stories is like listening to another round of Identity Vessels.

sue denym
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

Yes I do agree with Winona & Priya’s assumptions that race impacts everything we do from day to day, whether it’s conscious or not. This has been something I’ve reflected on recently myself, and I think it’s fascinating to read about it through their perspective. I think one of the things that stuck out to me, was early on Alexa. Alexa talked about how her experience was immigrating and she recalled how she was bullied for being light skinned and she included the quote “it started opening my eyes to this connection between color and socioeconomic status”. I find this very important because not only is she correct in this, I would like to add on that the lightness or darkness of one’s skin leads to different assumptions and opinions, some more prejudiced than others. I think this is something that’s important and should be reflected on further.


I do also agree that the factoids that help with context in the book is very fascinating to have. One factoid I found particularly notable was the studies of Janet E. Helms Model of White Racial Identity Development in regards to Melina’s journey. I found that this was not so much as eye opening as it was sort of “Hm. Okay, this is interesting”, I don’t really know how to describe my curiosity when it comes to this but I think everyone should take note of it and the perspective it provides. Another factoid I think everyone should take note of is Vernon, a celebrity stylist, clarifying their definition of cultural appropriation. I think this is important to acknowledge because I think it’s a problem that should be addressed more due to how easily it happens in media and publicly. I can easily recall multiple examples of cultural appropriation I’ve seen personally which should not be the case. Ultimately I’d say that I really am enjoying this book so far, especially with the added context of the factoids, It’s sort of an extension of the Identity Vessel presentations, and I enjoy learning more about everyone’s stories.

woozi
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I do agree with Winona + Priya’s assumptions about the role of race. I probably wouldn’t have put it as bluntly as they did but for many people, especially people of color, their race dictates their way of life. Whether it’s indirect or directly, it has an overwhelming effect on everything they do and everything associated with them. Despite all the negative aspects of race, such as discrimination, it is a concept that cannot be eliminated. Unfortunately, race has divided us in the past, but each race's history enables us to learn from one another and become better people. I believe the main takeaway from reading this chapter was that we can all become more educated simply by listening to one another.

I was most interested in Jennifer's story of her childhood experiences in a traditional Vietnamese family and her blatant racism toward other students at her school. This is primarily because, despite the fact that she didn't fully understand what she was doing when she isolated herself from her poc peers, I find it interesting how she simply followed what her father taught. I believe that many kids experience this, and it's crucial to note. Their parents' ideals and beliefs influence who they are because they don't know any better. This can regularly be seen as dangerous because the parent's opinion they blindly follow might be highly questionable. The things Jennifer’s father told her passes on these negative connotations about black people. Imagining how many families associate negative stereotypes to other races will just continue the cycle of discrimination and race being deemed as an unfavorable topic

Some footnotes I think that are worth bringing up are two of which relate to immigration and a school's curriculum. In general they both state that something was in some way unfair or unjust to x group of people. In this first instance, Chinese people. According to this footnote, “America’s very first immigration law banned females from China” and it literally says “White Americans only wanted Chinese immigrants for their labor, not to welcome them as citizens”. This is an appalling fact I did not know. It’s especially interesting because America was built on immigration and the idea of freedom. This was never taught in school and my guess is because the law practically contradicts that idea and schools just don't want it being shared. This also relates to how different Texas textbooks vary in information. Many important pieces of information were removed or revised from Texas textbooks in 2015 because it probably just made people uncomfortable to learn about. I don't think this should be allowed and I don't understand how it was. I know that this is not only a problem in Texas because many textbooks across the United States do not share all the details or the full story. Many of these stories cater to one side, in order to make them look better. All parts of history should be taught though; it is the only way to protect our future

I like the book so far! However the chapter was a bit long in my opinion and it was hard for my attention span to keep up. Despite that though, I love reading the stories and making personal connections to them. The ideas presented in this book so far are incredibly interesting and good things to think about


sage_gorilla
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

I wholly believe in Winona and Priya’s assumptions about how race impacts everyday life. As a person of color, I have firsthand experience with race affecting my daily interactions. It is not something that people of color blow out of proportion for fun. This is something that we are actually forced to deal with. Racism functions on many levels, from internalized to systematic, it is woven throughout society so that it is impossible to avoid.


I think that the interview with Ed speaks to a large part of being a person of color. He speaks to being one of few black people working in meteorology. He mentions one specific experience when he was working in Texas. His colleagues were covering the damage of a particularly awful storm that swept away entire homes---but only in white communities. It did not occur to them that black and Hispanic communities were impacted as well and needed the same help. Ed had to push for them to visit these communities before anything was done. This is significant because as a person of color working in any white-dominated field, you often watch people who look like you get left behind. Ed had to watch as his colleagues completely ignored his community and was forced to take on the task of advocating for them. For many POC like Ed, a large portion of their workload can become fighting for their communities when they should not have to.


One of the factoids describes what white privilege is. It has to do with unconsciously enjoying and actively perpetuating greater access to resources and power than people of color possess. It is very important that the authors included this because many people like to deny its existence merely because they do not truly understand it. It is a topic that everyone needs to understand, especially those who benefit from it. Being aware of how white privilege plays into your life can help you keep it in check and/or use it to benefit marginalized communities.


Another factoid describes the racism embedded in America’s first immigration law. This law banned women from China from immigrating to the United States to prevent the beginning of Chinese-American families and citizens. This law was implemented simply to keep America as white as the government could manage. More people should know about this because it is important to remember the racist history of America and its laws. Being aware of them can also inform you about our current laws and pick up how they are also negatively or positively related to race.


For the most part, I like the book so far. I think that it brings to light important conversations surrounding race and how people interact with it. I do wish that the factoids did not take up half of the page though. They become tiring to read because I become more focused on them than on the interview themselves.

Pinyon Jay
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I generally agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race, since race does not have a logical basis and is a social construct that is overwhelmingly harmful. Factors like nationality and ethnicity are more readily a source of pride because there are not as many massive generalizations involved in these classifications. Race is often used inaccurately, and I think it is very important to understand how the U.S. system was built upon notions of racial categories and hierarchies, and so racism has its roots, no matter how big or small, in every part of it. I would like to expand upon race as a cancer, by noting the difference in perspective on race between young children and grown people. From many of the accounts in this book, it seems like children quite simply are not born with hostility against races other than their own, and internal racial hierarchies are taught and reinforced over time. Therefore, race is not truly impactful on every single part of one’s life until the idea of it is cemented in one’s perspective.

One account I thought was important was Alexa’s. She talks about her experience as the child of undocumented immigrants from Mexico, trying to get into college. She highlights how she was alienated from others in school because she is light-skinned, and people called her white. This account was important because it shows the complexity of racism’s impact and the interplay between racism and colorism. I think colorism doesn’t tend to be discussed as much, but it is a big issue that leads to feelings of invalidation. This account was also important to me because it made me consider how privileged I am to not have to worry about external factors such as citizenship status to get a quality education.

One factoid I found interesting was on page 16, about so called “positive” stereotypes about certain races. It explains that stereotypes of any kind are inaccurate and harmful, as it always confines people in a box, and perhaps sets unrealistic expectations. This is important to understand because I think a lot of people have a notion that if a stereotype is positive, it is basically a compliment and acceptable to say.

Another factoid I found interesting was on page 18, stating that children of undocumented immigrants have the same rights to primary and secondary education as citizens. This does not include college, which shows the barriers children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. face trying to get a quality education, and how race and citizenship status as a whole impacts the education system.

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