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.