How are you integrating the community partner’s perspective into your own critical development of local issues around race? How are you applying course terms and concepts to help unpack the team’s research topic?
Applications of Course Content
The lens that I have chosen was race. In my opinion, race is a social ideology that we have created as humans to segregate consciously or subconsciously one’s biological backgrounds. According to Black Law’s Dictionary, it is defined as “a tribe, people, or nation, belonging or supposed to belong to the same stock or lineage.” Although by reading the definitions of race, society still struggles with accepting the fact that there are people of color whom also roam the earth. Race can often be mistaken as ethnicity in which the Live Science Staff defines as, “ethnicity is the term for the culture of people in a given geographic region, including their language, heritage, religion, and customs. To be a member of an ethnic group is to conform to some or all of those practices.” Even though these two lenses can be mistaken, they can overlap. For instance, in my case my biological factors are rooted from my parents who are Asian; therefore, the assumption could be that my ethnicity is Asian when I was raised within an American culture that shaped who I am today. An example of race being discussed in class was when we watched Donald Glover’s (Childish Gambino) ‘This is America.’ This music video represented various issues that our society is struggling with today, granting all this what I found to be the most apparent point he was trying to make was awareness towards racism. With the pose of Jim Crow, innocent shootings leading to mass shootings (specific references to the African American community), the distraction of African American dancers, or the fact that everyone in the music video is African American – seems to be that race plays a large factor in the message he is trying to get all of us to understand. Having to even create such a video in the year 2018, speaks of how the social ideologies in America are corrupt. Those of the colored race have become a community that struggles to receive the proper treatment and equality from those who see their own race as superior.
Coming into contact with Bailey Williams of Yes! Magazine, our previous community partner, was a much easier process than our previous experience in which I am very thankful for. My first question seemed to relate to Yes! Magazines ideologies: what does bringing awareness to minority races mean to Yes! Magazine and why? Her response could not have been more ideal as she explains how Yes!’s mission is to bring awareness to minority races. Bailey mentions that our history has been narrated by white supremacy and that a lot of communities of color have suffered at the hands of an oppressive system; furthermore, she informs us that Yes! Magazine is here to give space to people in those communities to tell their stories and that it is important because you cannot dismantle white supremacy if you don’t allow everyone a seat at the table. Yes! Magazine has created a platform of readers from all over the world – to my belief. Creating articles that people may not have the knowledge of such as, the injustices of being a minority, can allow the reader to make a connection and perhaps change their perception on how they originally viewed individuals of color. Keeping in mind of course, that creating such content could offend individuals who do not believe in racism, is where my second question comes in – When representing minority races in your articles, do people get offended by you doing so? If so, how do you go about it?
Screenshot of the email thread with Bailey Williams, Yes! Magazine. (1 of 2)
It is inevitable for Yes! Magazine that they will face people who aren’t happy about some of the content she states while giving an example of receiving emails after the Decolonize issue was published because on the cover it said, “An End to White Supremacy.” Bailey explains that the issue also featured 14 indigenous groups and some people felt it was “excluding” certain people. Yes! Magazine believes that racism, sexism, white nationalism, all the “isms” need to be brought to light and reported on and that people in marginalized communities deserve the opportunity to tell their stories. Bailey reassures us that Yes! Magazine is open to people critiquing their work, and that not everyone is going to like everything – but they stand firm in not allowing hate speech and bullying. Her response to my question ties in with the term cognitive dissonance that we discussed in class. According to Saul Mcleod (2018), cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance, etc. Yes! Magazine’s contribution to our project does not only stand at being our community partner but rather being a community of power. As I had mentioned above, Yes! Magazine has a foundation of values in which all must understand when viewing their content. From bringing awareness to social and world issues to be the voice of those unheard, would make Yes! Magazine a significant community of power.
Screenshot of the email thread with Bailey Williams, Yes! Magazine. (2 of 2)
Evaluation & Synthesis
In correlation with our course readings and concepts, the lens of race can be seen in both of our course readings of Amusing Ourselves to Death by Postman and A Different Mirror by Takaki. For our first example of race in our readings will be from A Different Mirror, in the chapter Pacific Crossings, Asians became laborers under the supervision of whites as they were “skilled” and obtained supervisory positions due to the color of their skin. “Contrary to the stereotype of Japanese immigrants as quiet and accommodating, they aggressively protested against the unfair labor conditions and often engaged in strikes…The planters responded by pressuring the government to arrest the strike leaders for ‘conspiracy'” (pp. 242-243). This excerpt is a prime example of Dr. Robin Angelo’s definition of white fragility. “White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium” (Angelo 2017). The planters’ immediate response to the laborers’ protests were instantly defensive, simply proving Angelo’s definition/theory as the master race of Caucasians tactics to avoid their race and the term racist to ever be suggested with one another. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman explains why we are disconnected from the reality of history. “The modern mind has grown indifferent to history because history has become useless to it; in other words, it is not obstinacy or ignorance but a sense of irrelevance that leads to the diminution of history” (p.137). When we hear shocking news of a minority being mistreated or assaulted due to the color of their skin, a good chunk of society would react by becoming angry or upset because of the racist acts they had just gained knowledge of. When seeing/hearing of such acts they are not just ‘headlines,’ but rather society’s lack of knowledge and regard for the countless lives lost and the battles fought by the colored homo sapiens of this world. With these examples from our course readings, Yes! Magazine has become a ground in which anyone from all parts of the world – a community of power. Integrating the meanings of the excerpts above is what they have done since the beginning. To conclude my understandings of this final project, racism is a blinding issue and it will continue to be if people are not taught even history of those who have suffered and why it is simply not okay living life to believe racism will go away on its own without the actions of others standing up for it and make a change.
Word Count: 1,310
Research day with the Communities of Power group!
My Questions to the Community Partner
How does social context influence our perception of race?
Everything is perspective. Everyone has a different perspective so our context can change the way we see things.
What role can race play in the community of power and community of struggle inequality in America?
Race can strengthen a groups sense of community, but it can also be used to oppress a group i.e. institutionalized racism. I think there is something beautiful about finding familiarity with people and helping to lift up others in your community. But i do think that race is manipulated by the notion that whiteness is the supreme race. In addition, it’s important to understand that the notion of race started within the legal system and created a racial class system within American society. Just like it takes time for past sins of racial superiority to be cleansed from our systems and institutions.
People perceptions or belief about race are based on their imagination that if you are black or white different color skin and looking each other differently and creating racism. In America, there is lot of racism between the whites and the blacks.
The survey finds that black and white adults have widely different perceptions about what life is like for blacks in the U.S. because of race. For example, by large margins, blacks are more likely than whites to say black people are treated less fairly in the workplace, when applying for a loan or mortgage, in dealing with the police, in the courts, in stores or restaurants, and voting in elections. By a margin of at least 20 percentage points, blacks are also more likely than whites to say racial discrimination (70% vs 36%), lower quality schools (75% vs 53%) and lack of jobs (66% vs 45%) are major reasons that blacks may have a harder time getting ahead than whites.
Racial divide in America have been going on for a long time and is not in a better shape in the United States as evident. We have witnessed in the past and continue to do so, the unequal policing in the black communities. Statistically, we have more blacks behind bars than whites and economically, there is a staggering difference between blacks and their white’s counterparts. Racial inequality has manifested itself in America in all forms, from unemployment rate, wealth, housing, educational opportunities and incarceration rate. More minorities or poor people of color, namely African Americans or Hispanics live in poverty-stricken neighborhoods with limited or no resources than whites.
In the first chapter of the book A Different Mirror by (Takaki, 1993) “What i call the Master Narrative of American History. According to this powerful and popular but inaccurate story, our country was settled by European immigrants, and Americans are whites. “RACE,” observed Toni Morrison, has functioned as a metaphor necessary to the construction of Americanness: in the creation of our national identity, “American” has been defined as white not to be white is to be designated as the other different, inferior, and unassimilable.” This explained that America is known to be a race country as different people from different race made the nation. The English immigrants are given a brief introduction as the first ethnic group to settle in America. The group has defined the culture and the society through centuries of American history. The African Americans are viewed as a minority group that were introduced into the country as slaves.
DiAngelo, R., Dr. (2016, February 03). Retrieved June 06, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktVaZVVgJyc
Mcleod, S. (2018). Cognitive Dissonance. Retrieved June 6, 2018, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html
Postman, N. (2007). Amusing ourselves to death: Public discourse in the age of show business. London: Methuen.
Staff, L. S. (2012, May 09). What is the Difference between Race and Ethnicity? Retrieved June 06, 2018, from https://www.livescience.com/33903-difference-race-ethnicity.html
Takaki, R. T. (2008). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America. New York: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, and.
What is RACE? definition of RACE (Black’s Law Dictionary). (2011, November 07). Retrieved June 06, 2018, from https://thelawdictionary.org/race/
YES! Magazine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.yesmagazine.org/