Monday, April 17, 2017

Race Panel

We were so fortunate to have a panel of our own students talking about "race."  The students had many insights.  One was that those who have to navigate different racial worlds never feel quite right anywhere.  For example, some students emigrated from another country like Mexico.  So, in the US they are considered Hispanic and they do not feel that they fit in, but in Mexico they are considered white and they do not feel that they fit in there.

Along these lines, students spoke about how their master status often becomes their minority status.  That is, other people (usually those from the majority) only see them as black or Asian or whatever their minority status is.  This takes away the student's individuality.  Sometimes this results in the student being forced to speak for their whole minority group.  It also results in many of the students feeling pressure to represent their minority group or live up to an ideal that is more pressure than those in the majority have to experience.

Also students talked about the racial prejudice that lies just below the surface; sometimes it comes out from another student in a class of their, or their own parents or school teachers and administrators.  A third conclusion that I drew from the panel was the diversity within different groups.  Many people assume that all blacks are the same or all Hispanics are the same, but really there is a great deal of diversity within each group and this is another reason that stereotypes are ignorant and don't hold up.

Finally, I think there was an emphasis on empathy.  Multiple students talked about the need to develop empathy for those from other races. I really like that idea.  Empathy is an aspect of sociological mindfulness.  Here is a Ted Talk from a sociologist called "A Radical Experiment in Empathy."

Here are some notes from the presentation:

Mom is Indian and dad is Pakistani. 
Racially profiled on a flight.  Mom said that we will be treated differently, but have to react differently.   Profiled as terrorist, but also stereotyped that good at math, bad at sports.  Mom said we might be treated differently but what matters is how we treat others.
Recalls a time teased by a kid in 6th grade.  Called Osama Bin Laden by a boy who didn’t even know me.  Asked if he dislikes Jewish people even though most friends are Jewish. Asked if I know how build bombs.
I grew more aware of cliques and how race shapes social groups.  But I didn’t feel that I fit into one group, but was still bullied for being not white.  Asked where are you from?  Where are you really from?  Parents encouraged me to blend in and not identify, but wanted to embrace being brown, Pakistani Muslim.
Alerted at the rise of white supremacy and trump, I wanted to be involved.
I know I am blessed and cursed to live in a bubble. 
My bubble burst a few weeks ago.  I was volunteering at a hospital, a white woman walked past without a pass.  When I stopped her, she asked my name and told me that I have no business in this country as a brown boy.  She talked about how I don’t belong here.  You’re people ruined this country and destroy buildings.
She shouted cussed me out and called me “sand nigger”.  I got a hold of myself and remembered my moms advice.  I gave her a pass and wished her well and asked her to have a nice day.

Identify as Biracial and live in a multiracial family.  Father is white german/Swedish.  Mom is Indian and Pakistani but switched between both.  I also have two black uncles and black cousins. 
Adopted my sister who was black, then had me.
I knew we weren’t conventional.
Always normal to have different races in my family.
3rd and 4th grade is when I realized it was different and I became more aware.
I was always more pale than my mom. 
People used to think my mom was my nanny.  One friend told me that my mom couldn’t be my mom.  People said that my sister couldn’t be my sister just because of our looks.  People think how someone looks defines their experiences and their relationships.  I was visiting an aunt in the hospital and followed back to the room because the nurse didn’t believe that we were sisters and only family were allowed.  People were more inclined to think that my adopted sister and my mom were blood related because they are both minorities but not me and my mom even though shes my biological mom.
Didn’t connect to my mom’s side of the family because they didn’t accept that we were a mixed family. My own grandma said that I have “devil’s blood” in me because of my Indian and white.  Crazy because your grandma is supposed to love you no matter what, but because of race, they have these viewpoints.  Now I am more proud

Used to be troublesome.
Typical Indian family.
I was different, I took interest in other cultures.  My family never understood this.  When I played with cousins, I always felt left out.  There were groups – older cousins and younger cousins and then I was stuck in the middle.  I used to be the goody two shoes in middle school.  In high school I rebelled – didn’t want to do chores or get good grades.  My dad is a pediatrician in India and he owns a hospital.  I grew up feeling that I was not Indian.  In high school I didn’t feel like myself, my family didn’t accept

Born in Chicago.   Raised in Jalisco, Mexico.
Growing up in Mexico was nice.  Played with everyone esp on fri sat.  Went to religious catholic school . Less rules in Mex.  I miss it.  Still feels like my home.
Moved back in 6th grade.  Knew very little English.  I couldn’t make friends because of the language and people didn’t want to talk to me.  Eventually, I talked and became friends with the few other minorities.  I don’t fit into the same experiences with my parents.  I
I started to be rebellious and self harm.  But parents don’t accept mental illness as a real medical problem.  I was bullied and stereotyped.  We came to high school but thought we were going to Mundelein but ended up at SHS.  Felt like I was being stereotyped that I was  a minority who was up to no good. 
Microaggressions – day after election.  “Trump won, why are you still here?”

Born in Seoul South Korea.  I have memories of Korea.  I am part of 1.5 generation.  I migrated with parents so mot exactly the first one here.  Father will move to states for better econ opportunity, but family will stay or vice versa.  Wild Goose father. Moved to California first.  Actually very excited.
Moving here, realized people thought they knew me better than I know myself.   Got to choose my own English name – Jenny.  Chose Jenny because I thought it was sexy J  At first got in trouble because of language barrier.  Despite speaking eng fully by 3rd grade still getting bullied.  I moved to Buffalo Grove at age 9.
Remember my first night at orientation they spoke to me slowly assuming I could speak slowly.  They put me in ESL without evaluating me.
Race became master status – everything related back to my race.  Chiky eyes, youre pretty for an Asian, youre smart because youre Asian,
Mom packed traditional Korean food, but I tried to speak English on the phone.
I tried to Americanize myself as much as I could. I wished that I was white.  After middle school I was at all time low.  At SHS I felt better, but still tried hard to prove stereotypes wrong by rebelling and not getting good grades.  Didn’t want to be just another cookie cutter Asian.
Mom put me into traditional Korean drumming and I was thrilled to get praise from the Korean community.  It’s the most joy and pride I have felt in my own culture.  I never viewed the world by races, but …
My said that she was told America is a melting pot but recently Race is more of a salad bowl
People try to pick out ingredients and make fun of them or take them out of the salad bowl.
I think we should embrace our backgrounds and our history but not judge others based on their race.

Asian (Thai and Laotian) and identify as Caucasian?
My identity and race problem is never really placed quite right.
I remember watching Tarzan and realizing that I didn’t look like my family like Tarzan and his tribe of apes.  My mom told me that she loved me no mater what. However in middle school I had more trouble because there were other Asians who I didn’t relate to even though I wanted to identify with them.  I felt a little left out. I started identifying as white.  I couldn’t put that hyphen next to my nationality.  Race was always at the forefront of my life.  I have learned some
Everyone’s situation is different.  Listen with an open mind.

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