posts 16 - 24 of 24
Posts: 24

I agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions that race plays such an important part in this countries founding that race was essential to its creation. Without the idea of inferiority between White people and non-White people, there wouldn’t have been exploited labor, economic growth, and people would’ve been too focused on surviving to think about their own “right” even though they were denying those same rights to other people. Of course, it is a bad way of thinking about it, but America needed to have this separation for it to be founded and for it to be the way it is today. It’s obviously not a perfect country, at all, and the ideas that were behind independence applied exclusive to White men because even White women were denied those basic rights. The same issues that people of color had back then are still relevant today, racism and forgetting that there are still cultures who survived despite the constant threats and genocide they faced through their history.

The first 3 accounts (Alexa, Justin, Jennifer) brought up challenges that first-generation children/immigrants have. They talk about having to deal with different cultures with their friends, families, and other schools. Fro example Jennifer talks about how, to make her father proud of her, she held onto the stereotypes her father used to tell her about Black people without realizing how wrong that was. Alexa talks about her struggles being an undocumented woman in the US. She has to work harder to achieve everything she wants to do in life, even go to a good school, because of her citizenship status and even the discrimination she faced by her other Latinx peers when she was younger. Justin talks about how his friends, who’s grew up in very different neighborhoods with no immigrant and low-income families, would be amazed and ask him about different parts of his neighborhood that hey thought were “exotic.” Alexa’s relationship between her home and school environment is best described as being “too colored for the kids in our school, and then we go back to our families and we’re too White for them. It’s like you can’t have it any way” (page 18). Her trying to fit in both at home and at school is relatable for many immigrant/first-generation children who feel like they don’t fit in either way. It’s important to know ally heir stories and see how people’s bias and stereotypes affect the way others, especially minorities, live and think about their lives.

The footnotes found at the bottom of the text are interesting and give you good context to know what the speaker is talking about/referring to. One of the most interesting factoids was Janet E. Helm’s Model of White Racial Identity Development. Melina, who begins her journey of educating herself and other White people about what she calls “The Big Three” - patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy. The footnotes include all 5 stages of the racial identity development including contact, disintegration, reintegration, pseudo-independence, immersion/emersion, then finally, autonomy. As Melina shares her story the change in perspective and the process she went through to acknowledge her privilege and help educate others about their too. The 5-step process is very helpful for someone to recognize their own privilege and try to shift their understanding and perspective nor ace relations in America and the world.

Likewise when Jennifer was talking about becoming an ally and accepting the fact that not everything thinks like she does. The accompanying footnote clearly defined what an ally as “‘Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice..and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression’” (page 16). This definition of what an ally is, what they support and fight for is really helpful in highlighting the struggle she went thought to accept and support others around you. Many people call themselves an ally, but they don’t actually meant it. They might discriminate against another person based on their gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc., and won’t actively try to work with oppressed groups to have a more equal and just society. Instead they call themselves allies and expect to be praised for it when in reality they do nothing to help other peoples situation.

So far I really like this book because it makes you re-consider what you know about racism and race’s role in American society. It almost gives you a birds-eye view of racial issues and brings out the stuff that most people are too uncomfortable to talk about. It does it in away that identifies what’s wrong with society, while also saying what you could do to improve it. It also gives a lot of context on references and facts that are helpful as you read. The book also puts people who usually aren’t given the spotlight a chance to talk about their struggles with colonization and race issues in America.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 26

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

On the whole, I would agree with their assumption that race plays a large role in virtually all parts of American life. I recently read a book called “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race,” by Beverly Tatum, which I would strongly recommend, that also goes into how deeply racial divisions are ingrained in our society, even to the point that it dictates social groups at the school level.

I found Alexa’s account particularly interesting, especially her opinions on what forms of allyship are actually helpful. She mentioned that she finds it especially important to “validate people’s experiences.” This makes a lot of sense to me, and I agree a common pitfall of many discussions revolving around race is a tendancy by those who are less affected by racial discrimination to try and either argue with or provided a counterpoint to someone else’s lived experience, instead of truely listening to what they are saying.

In the book, an “ally” is partially defined as “someone who makes the effort to recognize their privilege based on gender, class, race, etc.” But there is definitely a difference between simply recognizing your own privilege, and being able to, if not understand completely, at the very least listen to and support those who do not have that same privilege. The latter of the two is decidedly more difficult, but also, I think, more important.

Posts: 18

How Does Racial Identity Play into How People See Us?

Yes, I agree with what Winona and Priya assume about race. I think that when you live in the U.S., you are impacted by race every single day. Just living on the land that you live on is the presence of race. It is present as you interact with other people, if you realize it or not. It is so incredibly ingrained in our world that it is inescapable. However, I think for a lot of people, they don't consiously think about race very often. It is sometimes easy to pretend it is not a problem, or doesn't exist if you are white. A lot of the time, ignoring race is easier in the present than thinking about it constantly, however that is what causes problems. In America, race is not something you can ignore, and it won't just go away. It needs to be thought about and addressed in order for there to be a change.

One person who's story I found very interesting was Jennifer. Jennifer is Vietnamese and grew up in a Vietnamese neighborhood. She was not around kids of other races growing up, and developed a lot of views from her dad. She ended up saying and doing some extremely hateful things to Black kids at her school, however as she got older she faced discrimination herself. I think it was really interesting to see how much the desire for approval from her dad dictated her actions and impacted how she treated others. I think it is also worth noting that one of the main reasons her father held these views was because he had never met a Black person before, and was giving in to racist, extreme, and incrediblv harmful stereotypes.

One footnote that I think is noteworthy talks about how in 2015, Texas adopted a new curriculum that barely mentions slavery, Jim Crow laws, or the KKK. These are topics that have hugely impacted where we are as a country today, and it is important that everyone learns about them, especially throughout their school career. These parts of history should never be forgotten or erased, which is what the Texas school system is trying to do. Another note I found interesting was the one in Justin's section on how he talked about Senegal (the country) rather than Africa (the continent). I think this emphasizes the importance of the language that we use, as refering to Africa as a whole rather than the country further perpetuates the false ideology that all African people are geneticly and culturally the same.

I really like this book so far and I think it is really interesting. It is cool that it was written by two young women, and the people featured in it have a lot of interesting things to say.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 20

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I agree and disagree with Winona and Priya's assumption, I think that society has made race a larger idea than it should be and it has affected a lot of parts of everyone's lives, but not every little aspect. Race has been instilled in so many different ideas that even if you do not agree with those ideas, you were probably raised thinking those ideas, and it is hard to completely push it away completely, but there are some things that wouldn't be affected by race. Alexa was born in Mexico and moved to America, and when she went to a school that was mostly Hispanic people, she was light-skinned, and her friends would say that she was white and rich. She was hurt by this because she wasn't white or rich. When she applied to a boarding high school, she wrote in the application that she was a citizen, even though she wan't, and got in, but during the interview, she said that she wasn't documented, and she couldn't go anymore. This is significant because even though she was smart, and was alligible to get a full scholarship to the high school, they decided that she couldn't go because she wasn't born in America. This could be because of the stereotypes of non-white races, and if people knew that a Mexican student went to the school, they could think less of it, and not send their children there. When people think about how sexism affects pay, they think that women earn 78 cents to a man's dollar, but what they don't know is that it is a White man's money to a White woman's money. Hispanic women only earn 56 cents to a White man's dollar. Also, only White women were allowed to vote when the law passed in 1920, but most people think that it was all women. More people should know this because people are misinformed a lot, and if someone tries to correct them, then they could say that they learned this in school, and usually, school's wouldn't teach misinformation. I like the book so far because in books where there are experiences from people with first-hand experience, it is usually just a couple sentences or it is paraphrased. The author could have taken parts out that they wouldn't want people to know, but in this book, there are experiences that are more than a page long, and in detail.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

How does racial identity play into how people see us?

I do agree with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race being something inescapable, that impacts all areas of life. People of color are faced with people’s stereotypes about them on a daily basis, and those stereotypes may often be used as ammo to prevent someone from getting a job they applied for, being respected in an institution, etc. However, I’m not sure I’d say race is a “cancer.” Racism, yes, but race is heavily connected to one’s ethnic and cultural identity, which I think are two very beautiful parts of identity that should be celebrated and treated respectfully, not like a terminal illness.

I thought that Justin’s comments about how his whole life he’s been code-switching in different situations was really interesting. How at school or somewhere predominantly white he’s his “school self,” praised for being well-spoken, intelligent, clever, the perfect student, and when he goes home he’s his “home self.” Almost every person of color in this chapter mentioned how they wished they didn’t have to be the ones to educate white people on anti-racism, but that other white people would take up the responsibility. That was never something I’d thought of before, how (based on their racist bias) these white people wouldn’t be as willing to listen to what a person of color had to say on the matter than they would if it was another white person talking to them. I found that to be very poignant.

Two of the footnote things that stuck out to me were the “model minority” one and the one about Africa being a continent not a country. The “model minority” refers to Asian people, stereotyped as being smarter, or more “put-together” than other minorities. I have definitely heard this stereotype before, but I wasn’t aware of how it could be used to minimize other minorities’ struggles, it already being a messed-up stereotype in itself. For the second, I had never thought about how incorrect it is for someone to say they “went to Africa” or only referred to a specific location within the continent of Africa as “Africa,” I just found that interesting.

I like this book!!! I think sociology and human identity are some of the most interesting topics out there, and really enjoyed reading about all these different people’s experiences.

Posts: 8

How Does Racial Identity Play Into How People See Us?

Race, as presented by Guo and Vulchi, is akin to wallpaper: it has no real bearing on the actual usability of a room, but to some people, it means everything. That is to say, race isn’t a scientific way of classifying or even just grouping people, it is a systematic way of marginalizing, discriminating, stereotyping, and classifying people based purely on the basic visual perception of those who call themselves White. This, I completely agree with. It’s a scientific matter, really, when it comes to grouping people, it is nigh on impossible to be accurate and uncomplicated, given the vast amount of genetic diversity in any population. Furthermore, modern racial ‘taxonomy’ is based on essentially the same highly questionable assumptions as social darwinism. That alone should be a red flag. Despite this, race and how modern society views it still influences many people.

That leads into Chef Tu, the individual whose story stuck out to me. He describes in his account how his complex heritage and commonly underrepresented style of Vietnamese cooking causes non-Vietnamese people to call his food or even him non-authentic, despite his actual family origins. The way he describes the difference between the boxing of people and the freedom of food though, was what really set his account apart. Food, he explains, can incorporate ingredients from all across the world, and styles and methods from multiple traditions. This allows for fusions that are never seen as valid among their original chefs, because that wouldn’t be authentic, which to Tu, is ridiculous. I think that’s very meaningful, and really challenges the obsession in America with authenticity.

On another note, the two facts which I found the most important to lift up regarded the 2015 Texas public school history curriculum and the history of Native American treaties. The history curriculum outright censors the history of racism and slavery in America, barely referencing slavery and claiming the Civil War was about state rights, while omitting the KKK and Jim Crow. This doesn’t really need much explanation; needless to say, this is horrific. It will shape the views of possibly whole generations of Texans who will be conditioned to support this wholly incorrect view of racial history. Speaking of what is often censored, one note also alludes to the 500/~500 treaties broken by ‘White’ Americans out of all of the treaties made. This is important to recognize, because it reminds us that all of our land should, legally, belong to Native peoples, which should humble us.

Finally, yes, I have enjoyed this book so far! It’s fascinating, because while the core stories are very insightful, I feel that I am learning so much more than I have in some history textbooks just from the footnotes and anecdotes.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

effect of settler colonialism on native Americans in America

I think it's crazy how small the Native American population is in America considering being ethnically American is literally being Native American. We need to understand that and acknowledge the part they have in so much about how our country has been built. For example, the way they were truly part of the origin of Thanksgiving. Native American culture and the truth of their history needs to be so much more incorporated into white culture, school lessons, etc.

I think the first step to addressing the stereotypes and misconceptions would be to first learn more about the history and have it more normalized considering, as I said, being ethnically America is being Native American. I don't know how we would go about doing this because when you really think about it it doesn't make any sense that it's not already like that. Native Americans should've never been so alienated and that was what started this issue.

Unfortunately I don't think there's any legitimate action that could be taken now that could fix the genocide that Native Americans have faced other than to get anti Native American acts to stop happening. But they're still so prominent, like the forced sterilization talked about in one of the articles we were given.

I think non-indigenous people need to acknowledge that Native Americans are the American ones. In America it's very much everyone is American but immigrants/ poc are a different ethnicity but it needs to be that Native Americans are the Americans and this is where they originated from and everyone else is where their family came from like Italian or Greek or Chinese or African

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

how does racial identity play into how people see us

1. I agree with Winona and Priya’s presumption. When you’re a young kid, you’re not thinking about race. Everyone is just a human being. But as people get older and we see the way of the world, race is so built into our heads and how we think that it can’t no influence everything. It impacts everyone and affects opinions and how people think. People can deny it as much as they want but it’s so engraved into our brains because of society that it always will be, even in an underlying way. It doesn’t impact every little second but it is a deep-rooted distinction in the back of our minds (like how the only way to categorize people on those files we looked at in class was by race)

2. I’m choosing Alexa and the part of her account that I want to focus on most was her talking about how being an undocumented Latina has affected her growing up, how she’s treated, and getting jobs. It’s noteworthy because I think it’s kind of a controversial way to talk about her privilege based on other POC's perspectives and other stories in this chapter. “There is anger about my skin tone because, based on that, I get treated better. It’s not okay that they made fun of me, but it makes sense and there’s a reason behind it, and I know that and I do know, even if I am undocumented, there are so many other undocumented kids that are not in the position that I’m in now.” I just thought this was a really interesting perspective on racial identity and struggle.

3. My first one is the one about how undocumented people have the same right to attend public school as anyone else and are required to until a certain age. I think this is important to know because this is really important and useful information to know for people who may need to flee their homes because of a dangerous situation or something. Also, there are racist/biased people in the country who might use the fact that a student is undocumented to treat them a certain way or give them fewer rights, but by people knowing this that can happen less and people can stick up for themselves with concrete proof.

My second one is the one about post-traumatic slave syndrome which says how generational trauma from slavery can still affect the brain chemistry of African American descendants of slaves today. I think this is an educational fact that everyone should know. It emphasizes how much African American people are still affected by the horrible oppression they’ve dealt with in all of history and how it may never leave them for generations to come because of how bad it was.

4. I like it because it’s very educational and shows different views from different groups of people.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

I agree and I disagree to an extent with Winona and Priya’s assumptions about race. I am Southeast Asian, I am no stranger to racism. I agree that it pervades our very existence, and that it is the heaviest factor of our identities, and that it is the first thing people will notice about me. I understand how white supremacy and racism go hand in hand and how it is impossible to be “colorblind” or to act like these racial lines do not exist when they do. However, I don’t know how to explain it but it feels like Winona and Priya view race itself as a bad thing. Obviously, racism is a bad thing, but I don’t know how I feel about race itself. I think that humans will always find a way to categorize themselves; before racism and white supremacy there was ethnicity, before ethnicity there was language, etc. I kind of feel like Winona and Priya are pushing for “colorblindness”, and I personally have never seen a future where race as an idea is abolished as a good one. I do not like the racism I have had to endure, the violence against me and my family, the deaths and deportations. However, I do not see my race as “cancer”. I would never want to be seen as white, or analogous to white. I think that to some extent striving to eradicate the cancer that is race is to assimilate, an attempt to approximate oneself to whiteness. I think the ideal world is one where everyone is granted equal opportunity to succeed, where we can all understand and love one another, but also acknowledge our differences and respect where we come from. I do not feel self loathing in respect to my identity as Southeast Asian. I no longer scrub my skin until it bleeds praying that it would make me paler, I no longer go to bed pinning my nose so that it would be narrower, I no longer starve myself to make up for my big bones, I no longer shave in desperation to be closer to the pretty white girls on TV. I came to understand that I would never be beautiful in that way, and for a long time that destroyed me. However, I have grown up surrounded with other Southeast Asians, with latinas and black girls, and I have danced and dressed up with them. I had found sisterhood, and while none of us were Natalie Portman or Taylor Swift, while we were all berated for how we dressed and looked, we all found sisterhood in each other and we were all gorgeous. At some point I came to understand that I am not ever going to be some lithe, pale skinny blond person, and that was never a bad thing. Race is not inherently a cancer, some malignant evil. To me that was only ever one part of it.

Jennifer’s statement was something I found very interesting, as another Vietnamese person. She noted how she grew up in a very tight knit Vietnamese community, and how she grew up viewing both black and white communities as racial “others”. She also mentions how she is light skinned and how she is expected to be a model minority, and how after moving into a white neighborhood she felt she didn’t fit into the concept of a “real American”, and how in her attempts to assimilate she became “whitewashed”. I find this noteworthy because as another Vietnamese person I can both relate and also I find a lot of differences in our experiences. I grew up in Dorchester, surrounded with immigrants from both Vietnam and the Caribbean. My grandparents ran a local laundromat, my father spoke Spanish, my friends were mostly immigrants. For a large portion of my life, my schools were primarily Black and Latine, and the white people I did know were Irish. In that sense I can relate. On the other hand, she mentions her family being conservative, and how they told her to stay away from black and brown children; something she unwittingly promoted segregation by doing. My family was no stranger to dated beliefs and language, but the times they did mess up largely came from wording things wrong. My friends were mostly people of color growing up. On top of this, I was not light skinned; I was often told by my family members to lighten my skin. I was not exactly a model minority; I was told all my life to focus on college and to graduate highschool, I was told I could only wear certain things and say certain things because my mom was paranoid of being seen as the “ghetto” Asians. Due to colorism, my community is often regarded with disgust even within the Asian community as a whole. Rather than nerdy model minorities, which is terrible on its own, my people are regarded as uneducated “FOBS” (“fresh off the boat”) who hail from a “third world” country. I think that Jennifer’s account in relation to mine is important because it can highlight how different our experiences can be even within our own communities, and it also reflects how even just a difference in skin tone or neighborhood can completely change someone’s perspective on race.

One of the notes mentions how Asian Americans have a higher median household income than white Americans, but 12% of Asian Americans live at the poverty level compared to 10.4% of White Americans at the poverty level. I think more people should know about this because I feel like American society focuses more on how Asians are successful or intelligent than Asian struggles and the diversity within our community. I think this is a result of the American subconscious really asking: “What can Asians do for us?” and on the Asian side: “How can we be seen as useful, and therefore worthy of acceptance?”; this line of thinking is inherently exploitative, and I feel like that reflects how the West views the East as a whole.

Another note mentions how the model minority myth was supplanted by White Americans and serves not only to exploit Asian Americans but also to minimize Black Americans’ struggles. I think this should be more well known because there is a lot of discord between our communities, with rampant antiblackness within the Asian community and xenophobia within the Black community. I think that being systematically pinned against one another is something by design; if we are too busy fighting each other we are too busy to unite. I think that in order to make a stand against white supremacy, communities of color are better off finding solidarity rather than infighting. If this fact were more well known, if other Asian people knew that the things that affect them also have an impact on other people, I believe that it would cultivate more empathy towards the black community. I think if many of the older generations, or even some of the young ones, truly understood how race informs their existence and how antiblackness and white supremacy are the root of it all, it would generate understanding.

So far, I really like this book. I like where it is going, I like how it has been so far. I can tell that there was extensive research done by the authors, with them even mentioning the Hmong community (Something I’ve never seen anyone else do!) and how they interviewed people across all different backgrounds.

posts 16 - 24 of 24