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secretname7
Posts: 29

Originally posted by clown emoji on October 02, 2019 13:29



if these forms are important for diversity, than why is it limited to diversity of races/ethnicities? If we’re all for a diverse population, then wouldn’t we take into account varying gender identities, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, and common experiences?


This is a great point! As you said earlier, many boxes seem to belittle people of mixed races, many Asian races, and many other areas combined into one box. I can only guess that it is arranged in this belittling fashion simply for convenience- which is a shame. People are too lazy to categorize every race and ethnicity as well as gender identities and sexual orientations probably because it would mean more sorting people out. I don't agree at all with the "too lazy" ideology, but unfortunately some people have the mentality of "whatever reduces the work I have to do", which in this case crosses cultural awareness lines.

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RedStudent
Posts: 19

Please Check One

I noticed when looking at all the forms today I realized that a lot of these forms ask for personal information that more than likely has nothing to do with what the form is intended for. Many of the forms asked for you pick one for your gender and your race. Something that surprised me was that on multiple forms it asked you if you were Hispanic or Latino. If you answered no to that question it then asked what race you were and provided many different races. Why did they ask if you were Hispanic or Latino in a different question? Another question that I had was on these forms white is typically an option for you to pick, but there's never an option for black. African American is the option that usually blacks would identify with. I also realize most whites in this country came from Europe, but in none of the forms did I see European American as an option. So the question is are they looking for the color of your skin or are they looking for your race.

I think for some forms knowing a person's gender, race, or ethnicity would be very important and needed. I feel like for some health forms it's important to know your race/ethnicity because there are some diseases that are more prevalent amongst blacks. It's important to know if the person is a female because they would have a completely different health requirement. I also know that on some job applications they ask for your race and gender. I think for some companies its important because they want to hire a more diverse staff and come from different backgrounds. However, there are some forms where this information shouldn't be needed. For instance if you want to open a bank account or you want a mortgage or you want to apply for food stamps. Why do they need to know that you're a female or if you are asian or black? While knowing these things are important for some forms, like health and jobs as I stated above. I feel like knowing your race or gender could also work against you. It's no surprise that many people have prejudice against others and I would hate it if someone that decided if I get housing or if I get food stamps sees that I'm black and decides I don't qualify. I also think that a lot of these questions are becoming outdated. More and more people can't just pick one box anymore. There's no longer just two genders. Theres no longer just 4 or 5 ethnicities. So maybe instead of having boxes that people have to identify as, we should have a more open question that just ask people to identify themselves.

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secretname7
Posts: 29

Originally posted by dummkopf on October 02, 2019 19:07



One thing still bothers me though. How do we know if the organizations want to help people learn better at all? They technically have no obligation to do so. The answer is racial profiling. These operations want to know which race does what and how well they do that. As we saw today in the Frontline documentary, the world is not free of racism or extremism by any means.


Yet, when we categorize people by their race, it makes it seem like we have barriers between us, when there is no such thing.

This is a great point! Since the institutions have no obligation to help then why do they even need to know our race? To me, this seems like useless info if nothing is going to be used with it. If one does nothing with the info given, then asking is even more pointless. In this case, it can be challenging for students to pick just one box that defines them, when in many cases, students can check multiple boxes.

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secretname7
Posts: 29

Originally posted by ATH3NA on October 02, 2019 15:45


You bubble in ‘black’ so therefore you must be poor or uneducated, another person bubbles in ‘white’ which has to mean that they came out of the womb prejudiced and better-off in life. You want to bubble in ‘other’ for your gender, but that’s too vague for those people that want to generalize every aspect of yourself. It’s these generalizations that poison our world and how we interact with one another, effectively cutting off paths and closing doors to a brighter future.

I agree with this. Pre existing opinions of others still exist in society today. While many have changed with the times, others have not. The fact that we still need to categorize ourselves gives more opportunity for prejudicial views to exist, which is awful. As humans, I believe the more people we interact with, the better we become, so enforcing prejudicial views actually puts us students and young adults beginning path to a possible career at a disadvantage.

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DuckBoots
Posts: 25

Basically Learning Statistics

One document that I found particularly striking was the attendance sheet from our own school. In the ancient times before SIS, teachers needed to manually record which students were present. This makes sense that each student's name and grade be listed for emergencies and general safety. However, student's race were also recorded and changed into statistics. This practice is continued today at BLS. Why are these statistics necessary or recorded? A certain teacher of mine told our class that the school has hundreds of graphs about the makeup of our school including race. Why is it necessary to sort unique individuals into categories? Why is labeling such a big thing at a school that claims to encourage self expression. Does the school's view of me go beyond my skin color? Will colleges or future employers?

These bubbling questions have always been easy for me. I fit into a very obvious category. However, I have seen my peers confused and upset by these questions. Some students have rich and multi-cultural background that is not as simple as a box. The questions can harm a young student's mindset as early as first grade. How can we encourage views of equality among young children while constantly separating them?

From a statistical perspective, I understand why these questions are being asked. Data is valuable to any institution, and for a school BPS can present an accurate demographic for parents enrolling their children this fall. These statistics can effect a parent's decision since they want their student to be comfortable. Some parents want their children to be surrounded by people of a similar background. My parents wanted the opposite. They believed the rich blends of culture my public elementary offered was amazing for my development as a person. However, I don't understand why there is a need on every form every year to fill out those boxes. I understand that being colorblind is a lofty goal, but why is race still such a big factor?

Race no longer dictates social or economic class as it did when people of color were severely oppressed. If people believe there are still groups unable to achieve the same opportunites why is that problem ignored in favor of catagories and standards?

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sea salt
Posts: 18

Is the race question analytical, atonement, or a form of racism?

Every form, from the doctor's office to job applications, asks a few standard questions: gender, date of birth, ethnicity, and so forth. None of these, however, are as highly debated as ethnicity -- and for a good reason.

A form is a spreadsheet of one's identity -- a way to meet someone without knowing them. So if a form aims to boil down the essence of a person, why is race/ethnicity considered essential?

Identification questions are more reasonable in some forms than others. In the emergency room, asking a patient their race and gender are justified to identify the patient quickly during emergencies. Yet, looking at the prevalence of the race question, it's purpose becomes suspicious.

Race in the context of statistics helps society see the disparities, but some record-keeping seems like over-kill. BLS reports - by race - which kids are tradies and absences. What is the purpose here - to some extent it feels like their trying to prove a point? Data showing something like "well a Black student is 10% more likely to be late than an Asian student," is open to be interpreted in a racist way.

Considering race in terms of atonement seems beneficial. If Americans can agree that racial inequality is an ugly reality, then measures must be put in place to close the divide. Affirmative action doesn't destroy the integrity of a school; affirmative action seeks to keep disadvantaged students climbing the socio-economic ladder. Why should a student with learning disabilities be given extra time but a student unable to afford a tutor not be given leniency on ISEE or SAT scores?

Of course, race as the only assumption of one's privileges is also problematic. So why can't finical and family history questions be the sole decider in one's disadvantages? Does race play a more integral role than this?

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DuckBoots
Posts: 25

Originally posted by RedStudent on October 02, 2019 21:23

I noticed when looking at all the forms today I realized that a lot of these forms ask for personal information that more than likely has nothing to do with what the form is intended for. Many of the forms asked for you pick one for your gender and your race. Something that surprised me was that on multiple forms it asked you if you were Hispanic or Latino. If you answered no to that question it then asked what race you were and provided many different races. Why did they ask if you were Hispanic or Latino in a different question? Another question that I had was on these forms white is typically an option for you to pick, but there's never an option for black. African American is the option that usually blacks would identify with. I also realize most whites in this country came from Europe, but in none of the forms did I see European American as an option. So the question is are they looking for the color of your skin or are they looking for your race.

I think for some forms knowing a person's gender, race, or ethnicity would be very important and needed. I feel like for some health forms it's important to know your race/ethnicity because there are some diseases that are more prevalent amongst blacks. It's important to know if the person is a female because they would have a completely different health requirement. I also know that on some job applications they ask for your race and gender. I think for some companies its important because they want to hire a more diverse staff and come from different backgrounds. However, there are some forms where this information shouldn't be needed. For instance if you want to open a bank account or you want a mortgage or you want to apply for food stamps. Why do they need to know that you're a female or if you are asian or black? While knowing these things are important for some forms, like health and jobs as I stated above. I feel like knowing your race or gender could also work against you. It's no surprise that many people have prejudice against others and I would hate it if someone that decided if I get housing or if I get food stamps sees that I'm black and decides I don't qualify. I also think that a lot of these questions are becoming outdated. More and more people can't just pick one box anymore. There's no longer just two genders. Theres no longer just 4 or 5 ethnicities. So maybe instead of having boxes that people have to identify as, we should have a more open question that just ask people to identify themselves.

I agree that nowadays most of the categories are outdated. Thank you RedStudent for bringing up the question about gender. I had not considered how restrictive the male and female choices are in an age of openness for non-binary people. I do disagree with the fact that your identity doesn't matter in the example of banks. A bank will need every possible way to identify any person when the access their account. Skin color and gender (in binary cases) are useful identifiers. I agree with the fact that we need more open-ended questions about identity. Do you think that these new questions should focus on parent's identity or where the individual was raised? I don't think people can read through an individual paragraph. Should there remain boxes, but many more?

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secretname7
Posts: 29

Categorizing Yourself



The other day, when we examined the exam sheets and attendance lists,I noticed that people were categorized by gender, grade, and by race. I was not startled so much by grade or gender- however other or neither should be an option (which I've seen on recent tests and online forms), so that's improving. But, what I haven't seen much change in is race. Theres only a handful of options for race, some of which are White, Latino, Black, or Asian, with a few specific others like Alaskan or Hawaiian. This leaves the vast majority of us needing to pick/define ourselves from those 4 options.

When we fill out a form, or take a standardized test, by checking that box, we are defining ourselves. Learning that supremacist ideologies unfortunately and horrifyingly still exist, filling out this box can subject many to fall victim to prejudicial views. I would understand checking off a box, if and only if it was to rank schools in neighborhood typically having one race in bulk, to make sure these racist ideologies are no longer prevalent and make all educational opportunities equal to all races. But the truth is, that at a school such as BLS, checking off a race box won't make a difference because BLS is a diverse enough school and has the same standard per student per graduating year that educational quality cannot vary. Students at a school styled like BLS, should not need to categorize themselves by one race, especially if they feel that they don't fit any of the categories. One can't expect a student of a mixed race to only define themselves by one race. Or others who don't feel like they belong in any of the boxes, to be forced to chose one, especially when it is information that is not needed. All in all, I don't think categorizing students is very useful in most environments and it should be stopped.

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sea salt
Posts: 18

Originally posted by fatimazraibi on October 02, 2019 20:37

There is no benefit to ignoring race. There wouldn’t be as much profiling and assumptions, sure, but race is a major identifier. At police stations, when placing a report, if you don’t know the name, the next best identifier is gender and race. In some censuses, race is important to understand the demographic. The cultures tied to each race are rarely ever the same. Sure stereotypes are rarely, if ever, completely true, but different races almost never share the same culture. White Americans, for example, will usually feel a closer cultural connection to and share circumstances and problems with White Americans rather than Latino Americans, Arab Americans, or Asian Americans. It is pointless to pretend race isn’t there because groups of people are so similar within themselves and different from each other that if race isn’t used as a way to start conflict and division, it will be ethnicity, or gender, or ability, which already ARE ways people discriminate. My point is this: Race allows for a better understanding in countries like the United States with such different circumstances and levels of privilege for each race.

I agree that race is important to note for demographic sake, but to what extent? There is, in my opinion, a difference between showing basic racial disparities (number of evictions, precent incarcerated, number colleges graduates) and fruitless statistics like the tardies and absences. I suppose that all race based statistics can be made a tool of racists. But certain recordings by race seem to be a habit of racial distinction.

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DuckBoots
Posts: 25

Originally posted by fatimazraibi on October 02, 2019 19:53

I personally have been confused my whole life as to which box I should check off. I don’t know if I fit in black, Asian, or white. I fall under white legally but not ethnically. I spoke to a few friends and they had the same issue. The way these documents and questions are set up make some people dread having to fill it out. Of course certain people, such as black/subsaharan African, European white, or East Asian people aren’t as confused because it is straight forward. However people in between are not always represented, and have to check off the other box, if there even is one. The most common races listed are Black/African, White, Asian, and Hispanic. Sometimes Hispanic is listed as an ethnicity, separated from the race question, and sometimes it’s broken down into countries, which adds to the complexity. I think I was most confused by the fact that absences and tardies were documented by race. I thought it was the most random thing, and it made no sense to me. After putting some thought into it, and remembering some video on a similar topic I watched a while ago, I came to the conclusion that it is human nature to put people into boxes. It is satisfying to us naturally to divide things into groups. It allows us to be more organized. With humans, it is easiest to do it based on race and gender, so as to more easily identify the person. It also comes in handy for censuses and research on race topics, especially topics like gentrification or economic status.

I agree completely with Fatimazraibi. These boxes favor people for whom there is an obvious answer or box such as "white". I also cannot comprehend why attendance includes race. What does our school do with the racial statistics? If there happen to be a larger percentage of Asian students absent on one day what does that mean? I agree that human beings love to catorgarize. Within three minutes of meeting someone we slap that person with 50+ labels that help us to interact with them. Can this tendency to sort be un-learned? Or are boxes okay as long as they arn't used to limit others?

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DuckBoots
Posts: 25

Originally posted by ghostchicago on October 02, 2019 20:08

I think that the idea of racial checkboxes is inherently limiting, but there is some use for it in terms of census taking or data collection. I think having racial and/or ethnic data is important for something like the US census, where it isn’t being used to categorize people but simply to gain information on the demographics of a certain population.


However, there seem to be some issues with how limiting these checkboxes can be. I think the idea that a person should be expected to check only one box is not reflective of the ethnic diversity that exists in the US. There are many people who don’t identify with only one checkbox.


While reviewing the documents, it struck me how individual these identities could be. For example, not every racial or ethnic identity is fixed as one thing, or even a combination of different checkboxes. Two people from the same country or town with the exact same ethnic/racial background could consider themselves to be different races, depending on their own perspective.

I agree with ghostchicago that human beings are complex in backgrounds. I thought they worded it quite nicely in their example of the village. I agree that on the US census the questions are in theory there to collect information. However, a recent proposed question by president Trump would cause immense discrimination. That is the controversial question of citizenship. Should such a valuable document force it's readers to answer such deep questions about background at the risk of our county's safety? If masses of people are unaccounted for because they feel uncomfortable with such questions, how can America account for the people living in it in times of disaster? Questions about identity can be a dangerous slope for some people, and I think that is important to keep in mind when brushing them to the side.

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guardianangel
Posts: 15

We Need To Talk

I personally feel that it is okay for students to be identified by race, but by their own choice and in their own words. Generally, all the boxes seen were White, Asian, African America, Pacific Islander, etc. but as we know it excludes a multitude of people and it changes how they must racially identify. On top of that, I feel that it is incorrect to use the term "African American" as many black people are not always from Africa. They can be from Barbados, Cape Verde, Haiti or any other black nation. Using the term "black" is racially inclusive and while some may have different connotations with the word,it still is the correct term to use. It's only stigmatized if you make it so. Furthermore, the Asian box they include speaks of only a minor section of Asia. There are multiple ethnicities that can be found in Asia. Also, providing the category "other" is disrespectful and seems to show that the writers simply don't want or have the time to include certain peoples.


Conclusively, we don't have to live in a colorblind world. We can talk about race and appreciate racial identities and cultures but we cannot use that to separate from each other. We can't use it in a hierarchy or a competition. If we can open the conversation about race to everyone, we can all have a voice while continuing to have human worth and dignity.

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eljefethefird
Posts: 10

Why does it even matter?

Ok. I don't know exactly why the government would ask for race, but maybe it has to do with how censuses work. I feel like our country's intention isn't bad. The government is only trying to keep a record on how many people of each "race" there are in the population. The only problem I see is when they are very loose with "races". An example would be people who are Arab. Arabs don't consider themselves white, and yet our census demands that they be called white. What will people who are very mixed put into the race section? The "races" that were on the papers were very subjective, and that was very common between a lot(if not, all) of the papers.

This is going to sound very controversial, but I have a feeling about it that I can't explain. I feel like there's a deeper reasoning to why the government cares about race. The closest thing that I could describe it as would be to see what "race" does what (i.e crimes committed, education rate, etc).


P.S. My main problem was the government asking for race, but if I remember correctly, most of the older papers that asked for gender only had male and female. Today, there would also be a non binary or other option, but it goes to show how they didn't care about gender. They only cared about the gender problem when it became mainstream a few years ago.

Also, I put the word race in quotes because race is very subjective.

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DiamondBlue
Posts: 12

Why Confine Ourselves to Categories?

During class, we reviewed a bunch of forms that essentially all asked the same thing: for respondents to use a very few and selective categories to show how they identified themselves, racially speaking. It is appalling at how many forms we fill out through our lifetimes that ask us for our races. In older documents, there were less options to choose from, in comparison to newer documents. But either way, the categories we have to choose from are extremely limited. For example, like clown emoji said, if someone is mixed race, they can only check off one box, which is unfair; people of mixed races are more and more common, and the ‘mixed race’ category was rarely an option in the forms we looked through in class. On some forms more than others, the form used “Hispanic/Latino”, which suggested that the two terms are the same, which is not true whatsoever. The document that surprised me the most was the BLS attendance sheet. The fact that it came from our school, and that it compared attendance with race. The comparison of the two makes zero sense to me unless it was to categorize the attendance records, which seems entirely unnecessary to me. I believe these questions are asked from a standpoint of humans wanting to keep things in order, to the point borne made, “The classification and compartmentalization of everything and anything makes them easier for us to understand.” This make complete sense to me because it allowance them to keep a kind of control, even handle on what’s surrounds them.

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tablechair
Posts: 19

Is Categorizing Bad or Simply Human Nature?

From test bubbles to school data collection sheets that we were shown in class, they all ask you to mark down your race. You can choose one option out of those given, and you are thrown into a group with a bunch of people who marked the same answer as you did. This is used for different reasons: identification, data collection, etc. However, as the times progress and many people start to identify as racially mixed, it’s hard to say whether we should still be required to put down our race on these forms, or why we’re even doing so in the first place.

I think that many forms should change that option of only choosing one race. There are a lot of multiracial people who may find it hard to identify themselves under one category when they are made up of two or more. Allowing people to choose more than one race is what’s appropriate for the year that we are in as we are becoming a more progressive and open society. I think it is also fair for people to choose not to share their race as that is their choice.

That being said, I don’t think forms asking for people to mark down their race is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think in many ways it can be considered important for the bettering of our society. For example, colleges want to know how many people from each racial category attend their school to make sure they have an at least somewhat diverse community. This way, they’re bringing in different groups of people together and allowing them to be exposed to different views, opinions, and cultures.

Even with exam schools like Boston Latin, it’s important we are welcoming in a diverse array of students. I agree, getting into an exam school is based on merit, but how can we expect kids to get into a school based on merit when not everyone is given equal opportunity. It’s a fact that minority groups are put at a disadvantage educationally, especially when it comes to test prep with the ISEE. If we can look further into the data on whether minority kids in different elementary schools are at the same level coming into the test, then we can solve a lot of the issues surrounding the racial inequality involved with the exam schools acceptance rates.

Like Regina Phalange said, many are asked to put down their race for “pay rates [and] employment rates” (most likely after they’ve been employed so race doesn’t play a role in the employment process). It’s helpful information to have if it’s ever needed, and it can reveal a lot about inequities within the workforce and pay. By analyzing racial data, we can see where the discrepancies lie within our society, and we can use it as a catalyst for change.

I also just think a lot of companies and schools use it to show their customers how great they are because they’re so welcoming and accepting of all. It’s a marketing tactic.

As I see it, marking down your race is not a bad thing, as long as you’re able to put down every option you identify with and you are comfortable with doing so. Many times it’s not being used as a bad thing, but rather a form of identification or grouping. To say that marking our races down is bad and promotes racism is completely inaccurate and ignorant of the fact that race isn’t the reason why there’s racism. There’s racism because people choose to put down or hurt another because of their color.

We will always be categorized. It’s human nature. We identify certain people with certain generalizations or characteristics, and race is a big one because it’s very obvious to someone who doesn’t know you and a lot of people can be grouped the same way. But that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad thing. As long as we’re using these bubble sheets with good intentions, I do not see them as being a menace to our society.


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